Sonntag, 19. Juli 2015 - 12:45 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Der Sommer ist da und die UFOs auch...


Wie wir schon Ende Juni berichteten, hatten wir verstärkt Anrufe bei unserer UFO-Meldestelle von CENAP welche wir auf das Planeten-Duo Jupiter und Venus zurückführen konnten, diesen Meldungen folgten in den nachfolgenden Wochen weitere, welche wir hier rückblickend nur durch Beobachtungs-Orte aufführen.


Aufnahme von Venus und Jupiter über Hameln, 2.Juli 2015 (Zoom-Unschärfe) welche Beobachter zu Strukturen auf Leuchtobjekten stundenlang faszinierte.

Aus nachfolgenden Beobachtungsorten erreichten uns weitere beunruhigende Anrufer ob der zwei auffälligen Leuchtobjekten am Westhimmel:

23.06.2015: Nordhausen, Germersheim, Lorsch, Hannover, Kiel,

24.06.2015: Hennef, Saarbrücken

26.06.2015: Würzburg, Nürnberg, Hirschberg, Neckargemünd

28.06.2015: Weinheim, Speyer, Hochheim, Basel/Schweiz

29.06.2015: Ulm, Freiburg, Linz/Österreich, Saalfeld,

01.07.2015: Hamburg, Gelsenkirchen, Gera, Lübeck, Mainz,

02.07.2015: Konstanz, Rottweil, Neustadt/Pfalz, Frankfurt/M, Wolfsburg, Hameln, Köln, Bonn, Maxdorf, Dahn, 

03.07.2015: Siegen, Gundelfingen, Ludwigsburg, Neckarsteinach,


Eine Video-Aufnahme bekamen wir aus Hanau, auf welcher nach der Aufnahme ein "Flugobjekt" zu sehen war, welches während der Aufnahme nicht zu sehen war:

Frams aus Zusender-Video:


Nach mehrfacher Video-Analyse sind wir der Auffassung das es sich hierbei um ein Insekt (vermutlich Hornisse) handelt

welches unbemerkt bei der Aufnahme durch den Aufnahmebereich flog.




Nachfolgend Vergleichsaufnahmen von Insekten-Aufnahmen aus dem CENAP-Archiv:



Vergleichsaufnahmen wie sie in großer Vielzahl von diversen Insekten vorliegen.


Derzeit laufen weitere Recherchen zu Meldungen welche ebenfalls mit Video-Aufnahmen uns erreichten und zu aktuellen Meldungen vom Wochenende.


Tags: UFO-Forschung 


Sonntag, 19. Juli 2015 - 11:30 Uhr

Mars-Chroniken - NASA-Rover Curiosity steuert Route zu Marsberg an


This May 10, 2015, view from Curiosity's Mastcam shows terrain judged difficult for traversing between the rover and an outcrop in the middle distance where a pale rock unit meets a darker rock unit above it. The rover team decided not to approach this outcrop and identified an alternative.


NASA's Curiosity Mars rover climbed a hill Thursday to approach an alternative site for investigating a geological boundary, after a comparable site proved hard to reach.
The drive of about 72 feet (22 meters) up slopes as steep as 21 degrees brought Curiosity close to a target area where two distinctive types of bedrock meet. The rover science team wants to examine an outcrop that contains the contact between the pale rock unit the mission analyzed lower on Mount Sharp and a darker, bedded rock unit that the mission has not yet examined up close.
Two weeks ago, Curiosity was headed for a comparable geological contact farther south. Foiled by slippery slopes on the way there, the team rerouted the vehicle and chose a westward path.The mission's strategic planning keeps multiple route options open to deal with such situations.
The Martian outcrop where pale rock meets darker overlying rock near the middle of this May 21, 2015, view is an example of a geological contact. Such contacts can reveal clues about how environmental conditions that produced one type of rock were related to conditions that produced the other.
"Mars can be very deceptive," said Chris Roumeliotis, Curiosity's lead rover driver at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "We knew that polygonal sand ripples have caused Curiosity a lot of drive slip in the past, but there appeared to be terrain with rockier, more consolidated characteristics directly adjacent to these ripples. So we drove around the sand ripples onto what we expected to be firmer terrain that would give Curiosity better traction. Unfortunately, this terrain turned out to be unconsolidated material too, which definitely surprised us and Curiosity."
In three out of four drives between May 7 and May 13, Curiosity experienced wheel slippage in excess of the limit set for the drive, and it stopped mid-drive for safety. The rover's onboard software determines the amount of slippage occurring by comparing the wheel-rotation tally to actual drive distance calculated from analysis of images taken during the drive.
The rover was heading generally southward from near the base of a feature called "Jocko Butte" toward a geological contact in the eastern part of the "Logan Pass" area.
Routes to this contact site would have required driving across steeper slopes than Curiosity has yet experienced on Mars, and the rover had already experienced some sideways slipping on one slope in this area.
"We decided to go back to Jocko Butte, and, in parallel, work with the scientists to identify alternate routes," Roumeliotis said.
The team spent a few days analyzing images from the rover and from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to choose the best route for short-term and long-term objectives.
"One factor the science team considers is how much time to spend reaching a particular target, when there are many others ahead," said Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada of JPL. "We used observations from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter to identify an alternative site for investigating the geological contact in the Logan Pass area. It's a little mind-blowing to drive up a hill to a site we saw only in satellite images and then find it in front of us."
Curiosity has been exploring on Mars since 2012. It reached the base of Mount Sharp last year after fruitfully investigating outcrops closer to its landing site and then trekking to the mountain. The main mission objective now is to examine successively higher layers of Mount Sharp.
Names related to the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic have been informally assigned to a crater NASA's Opportunity Mars rover is studying. This false-color view of the "Spirit of St. Louis Crater" and the "Lindbergh Mound" inside it comes from Opportunity's panoramic camera.
NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is studying an elongated crater called "Spirit of St. Louis" and a rock spire called "Lindbergh Mound" within the crater.
The crater and several features in and near it are shown in a recent image from Opportunity's panoramic camera (Pancam).
Throughout Opportunity's 11-plus years on Mars, the science team for the rover has picked crater names from a list of "vessels of exploration," including ships, spacecraft and aircraft. The names informally assigned for this crater and features in it refer to Charles Lindbergh's May 1927 flight from New York to Paris in the airplane he named Spirit of St. Louis, the first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic.
Mars Rover's Laser-Zapping Instrument Gets Sharper Vision
This May 15, 2015, image from the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows detailed texture of a rock target called "Yellowjacket" on Mars' Mount Sharp. This was the first rock target for ChemCam after checkout of restored capability for autonomous focusing.
Tests on Mars have confirmed success of a repair to the autonomous focusing capability of the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover.
This instrument provides information about the chemical composition of targets by zapping them with laser pulses and taking spectrometer readings of the induced sparks. It also takes detailed images through a telescope.
Work by the instrument's team members at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico and in France has yielded an alternative auto-focus method following loss of use of a small laser that served for focusing the instrument during Curiosity's first two years on Mars.
"Without this laser rangefinder, the ChemCam instrument was somewhat blind," said Roger Wiens, ChemCam principal investigator at Los Alamos. "The main laser that creates flashes of plasma when it analyzes rocks and soils up to 25 feet [7.6 meters] from the rover was not affected, but the laser analyses only work when the telescope projecting the laser light to the target is in focus."
For the past several months, the team has coped without auto-focusing. For each target, the instrument has taken multiple images or multiple laser analyses at different focal distances. The data were sent to Earth for selection of the in-focus image or laser analysis among the set.
The repair required sending new software to be installed on the instrument. It now takes multiple images and uses those to autonomously select the focus positions for the final images and laser analyses sent back to Earth.
"We think we will actually have better quality images and analyses with this new software than the original," said Wiens.
Diverse Grains in Mars Sandstone Target 'Big Arm'
This view of a sandstone target called "Big Arm" covers an area about 1.3 inches (33 millimeters) wide in detail that shows differing shapes and colors of sand grains in the stone.
Three separate images taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover, at different focus settings, were combined into this focus-merge view. The Big Arm target on lower Mount Sharp is at a location near "Marias Pass" where a mudstone bedrock is in contact with overlying sandstone bedrock.  MAHLI recorded the component images on May 29, 2015, during the 999th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars.
The rounded shape of some grains visible here suggests they traveled long distances before becoming part of the sediment that later hardened into sandstone.  Other grains are more angular and may have originated closer to the rock's current location.  Lighter and darker grains may have different compositions. 
MAHLI was built by Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for the NASA Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Studies Rock-Layer Contact Zone
This May 25, 2015, view from the Curiosity rover's Mastcam shows a site where two different types of bedrock meet near "Marias Pass" on Mount Sharp. Pale mudstone in the foreground is like bedrock the rover studied at "Pahrump Hills." The darker sandstone above it is called the Stimson unit.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is examining a valley where at least two types of bedrock meet, for clues about changes in ancient environmental conditions recorded by the rock.
In addition to two rock types for which this site was chosen, the rover has found a sandstone with grains of differing shapes and color.
Curiosity's international team has resumed full operations of the car-size mobile laboratory after a period of limited activity during most of June. The operations moratorium for Curiosity and other spacecraft at Mars happens about every 26 months, when Mars passes nearly behind the sun from Earth's perspective, and the sun interferes with radio communication between the two planets.
At the rover's current location near "Marias Pass" on Mount Sharp, Curiosity has found a zone where different types of bedrock neighbor each other. One is pale mudstone, like bedrock the mission examined previously at "Pahump Hills." Another is darker, finely bedded sandstone above the Pahrump-like mudstone. The rover team calls this sandstone the Stimson unit.
On Mars as on Earth, each layer of a sedimentary rock tells a story about the environment in which it was formed and modified. Contacts between adjacent layers hold particular interest as sites where changes in environmental conditions may be studied. Some contacts show smooth transitions; others are abrupt.
Curiosity climbed an incline of up to 21 degrees in late May to reach Marias Pass, guided by images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter showing Pahrump-like and Stimson outcrops close together. 
"This site has exactly what we were looking for, and perhaps something extra," said Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "Right at the contact between the Pahrump-like mudstone and the Stimson sandstone, there appears to be a thin band of coarser-grained rock that's different from either of them."
The in-between material is a sandstone that includes some larger grains, of mixed shapes and colors, compared to the overlying dark sandstone.
"The roundedness of some of the grains suggests they traveled long distances, but others are angular, perhaps meaning that they came from close by," Vasavada said. "Some grains are dark, others much lighter, which indicates that their composition varies. The grains are more diverse than in other sandstone we've examined with Curiosity."
The science team has identified rock targets for further close-up inspection of the textures and composition of the mudstone and sandstone exposed near Marias Pass. The team ancipates keeping Curiosity busy at this site for several weeks before driving higher on Mount Sharp.
Curiosity has been exploring on Mars since 2012. It reached the base of Mount Sharp last year after fruitfully investigating outcrops closer to its landing site and then trekking to the mountain. The main mission objective now is to examine successively higher layers of Mount Sharp.
Panorama from Curiosity's Sol 1000 Location
This 360-degree panorama from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the surroundings of a site on lower Mount Sharp where the rover spent its 1,000th Martian day, or sol, on Mars.
Sol 1,000 of Curiosity's Mars-surface mission corresponded to May 30, 2015. The component images for this scene were taken on Sol 997 (May 27, 2015). The site is a valley just below "Marias Pass" on lower Mount Sharp.
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Mars-Chroniken 


Sonntag, 19. Juli 2015 - 11:00 Uhr

Mars-Chroniken - NASA Mars Rover Curiosity verfolgt Sonnenflecken


The sequence of seven images in this animation shows sunspots as viewed by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover from June 27 to July 8, 2015. From Mars, the rover was in position to see the opposite side of the sun from the side facing Earth during this period. North is up.


While busily investigating bedrock types on Mars' Mount Sharp and preparing for a drill test, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has also been looking up frequently to monitor sunspots on the face of the sun that is turned away from Earth.
Large sunspots are evident in views from Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam). Scientists temporarily have no other resource providing views of the sun from the opposite side of the solar system from Earth. The sun completes a rotation about once a month -- faster near its equator than near its poles. Information about sunspots that develop before they rotate into view of Earth and Earth-orbiting spacecraft is helpful in predicting space-weather effects of solar emissions related to sunspots.
NASA's STEREO-A spacecraft, which monitors the sun, is currently almost exactly behind the sun from Earth's perspective, but for precisely that reason it is temporarily out of communication. The sun disrupts radio transmissions that pass too close to it. Communication with Curiosity was also suspended last month when Mars passed nearly behind the sun, but the rover resumed full communication and operations in late June. Daily information from STEREO-A is expected to begin again this month.
"Tracking the sunspot activity on the far side of the sun is useful for space-weather forecasting," said Yihua Zheng, project leader for NASA Space Weather Services at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. "It helps us monitor how the sunspots evolve and grow before they become visible from this side."
Space weather forecasting aids in anticipating and taking precautions against possible effects of solar storms on spacecraft orbiting Earth and elsewhere in the solar system. Intense space weather can degrade telephone communications, broadcasting and other electronic technology on Earth.
The main purpose for most imaging of the sun by Curiosity and other Mars rovers has been to monitor how its apparent brightness is affected by dust in Mars' atmosphere above the rovers. Mark Lemmon of Texas A&M University, College Station, is a Mastcam team member who studies the Martian atmosphere. Three months ago, he coordinated sunset imaging by Curiosity for a Martian evening when Mercury was passing directly in front of the sun from Mars' viewpoint.
"We saw sunspots in the images during the Mercury transit, and I was trying to distinguish Mercury from a sunspot," Lemmon said. "I checked with heliophysicists who study sunspots and learned that STEREO-A was out of communications, so there was no current information about sunspots on that side of the sun. That's how we learned it would be useful for Curiosity to monitor sunspots."
In addition to its sunspot viewing, Curiosity is examining rocks near "Marias Pass." A test is planned this month for the percussion mechanism of the rover's sample-collecting drill, which exhibited a transient short circuit during transfer of sample material collected four months ago. The test is designed to provide diagnostic information for use in planning the rover's next drilling operation, possibly in the Marias Pass area.
Curiosity has been working on Mars since early August 2012. It reached the base of Mount Sharp last year after fruitfully investigating outcrops closer to its landing site and then trekking to the mountain. The main mission objective now is to examine successively higher layers of Mount Sharp.
The sequence of six images in this animation shows sunspots as viewed by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover from April 4 to April 15, 2015. From Mars, the rover was in position to see the opposite side of the sun from the side facing Earth during this period. North is up.
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Mars-Chroniken 


Samstag, 18. Juli 2015 - 22:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Das erste Free-Space PADLES Experiment wurde vom 1 bis 15 Juni 2015 durchgeführt und sollte die Raumstrahlendosis außerhalb des japanischen Experiment-Modul "Kibo" untersuchen


The first Free-Space PADLES experiment intended to investigate the space radiation dose outside the Japanese Experiment Module “Kibo” was conducted from June 1-15, 2015.
PADLES will be shipped to the JAXA Tsukuba Space Center (TKSC) for analysis after its return to earth. During this technology demonstration mission, the following will be closely evaluated:
The space radiation environment in Low Earth Orbit (LEO)
The hull wall capability of Kibo as compared to its internal environment
The results of this experiment using PADLES will provide basic data useful for the risk assessment of Extravehicular Activities (EVA), and the assessment and optimization of hull wall thickness for manned spacecraft.
The next experiment is scheduled in March 2016 or later.
Astronaut Scott Kelly verifies the retrieved Free-Space PADLES (June 17, 2015) (Credit: JAXA/NASA)
Retraction to Kibo’s airlock
On June 15, under remote control from the TKSC, Kibo’s robotic arm with Free-Space PADLES attached to the Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) was transferred from the exposure point to in front of Kibo’s airlock door. PADLES on the MPEP was then retracted into the airlock.
MPEP being transferred to the airlock (June 15, Credit: JAXA/NASA)
The MPEP being transferred to the airlock on June 15 (Credit: JAXA/NASA)
Retrieval to the Kibo’s PM
The MPEP was retracted into the Kibo’s airlock. After depressurization to 1 atm, Astronaut Scott Kelly retrieved PADLES for its return to earth.
Retracted MPEP (Credit: JAXA/NASA)
Free-Space PADLES being removed from the MPEP (Credit: JAXA/NASA)
Various types of experiments using PADLES have been conducted since 2008 with the launch of Kibo modules.
Quelle: JAXA

Tags: Raumfahrt 


Samstag, 18. Juli 2015 - 21:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NASA-Raumsonde Dawn im Orbit von Zwergplaneten Ceres - Update-5



Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Ceres: Dwarf Planet's White Spots Shine in New Pic

The clearest photos yet of dwarf planet Ceres have been sent back by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, and the mysterious white spots are as bright as ever and more defined than before. But that doesn't mean scientists know what they are."Reflection from ice is the leading candidate in my mind," Chris Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission, said in a NASA statement. "But the team continues to consider alternate possibilities, such as salt. With closer views from the new orbit and multiple view angles, we soon will be better able to determine the nature of this enigmatic phenomenon."
Craters stud the northern hemisphere of Ceres. NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
The new shots were taken from about 2,700 miles away on June 6, during the probe's second mapping orbit. Dawn will make a few more passes at this distance (each orbit takes about three Earth days), then advance (or descend, depending on your frame of reference) to 900 miles from Ceres sometime in August. The improved resolution of photos, temperature and geographic data will hopefully give scientists the boost they need to solve the mystery of the white spots and make further theories about this ancient object residing in our solar system.
Quelle: NBC-News

Latest close-up of Ceres' bright spots

New images from NASA's Dawn spacecraft show the surface of the dwarf planet Ceres in sharper detail than ever before, yet certain features continue to puzzle scientists. Some of the first images, taken during Dawn's second mapping orbit at an altitude of 4,400 km (2,700 miles), are of the mysterious bright spots that lie in a crater about 90 km (55 miles) across. Scientists are still unsure about the nature of the cluster of spots which appear to be of various sizes. Chris Russell, principal investigator for the Dawn mission based at the University of California, said in a statement: "The bright spots in this configuration make Ceres unique from anything we've seen before in the Solar System. The science team is working to understand their source. Reflection from ice is the leading candidate in my mind, but the team continues to consider alternate possibilities, such as salt. With closer views from the new orbit and multiple view angles, we soon will be better able to determine the nature of this enigmatic phenomenon." Other images from Dawn's visible and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIR) show a region of Ceres' cratered northern hemisphere and include a true-colour view and a temperature image taken in the infrared light range. It is hoped that VIR will help finally to solve the puzzle of the bright spots. Dawn will continue to observe Ceres in its current orbits of about three days each, until June 28, before moving to its next orbit at an altitude of only 1,450 km (900 miles) in early August.
Images from Dawn's visible and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIR) show a portion of Ceres' cratered northern hemisphere. From top to bottom: a black-and-white image; a true-colour view and a temperature image. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/ASI/INAF 
Quelle: SEN
Update: 17.06.2015

NASA's Dawn Probe Focuses on a Different Mystery Spot on Ceres

This image, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft, shows dwarf planet Ceres from an altitude of 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers). The June 6 image has a resolution of 1,400 feet (410 meters) per pixel. NASA / JPL-Caltech / UCLA / MPS / DLR / IDA
Now here's a spot of a different color: The latest picture released by the science team for NASA's Dawn mission shows a bright patch on the dwarf planet Ceres that's distinct from the eerie "alien headlights" seen in other imagery.
The best-known collection of bright spots on Ceres is known as "Spot 5," and the best guess is that those spots are made of ice deposits — although scientists haven't completely ruled out the possibility that they're made of salt or some other light-colored material.
Quelle: NBC-News
Update: 20.45 MESZ

UCLA-led NASA mission provides closest ever look at dwarf planet Ceres

First images from Dawn spacecraft produce 3D model of the ‘mysterious’ terrain

A NASA mission led by UCLA professor Christopher Russell has released new images of the dwarf planet Ceres, the largest asteroid between Mars and Jupiter.
The photos were produced by the spacecraft Dawn, which is now observing Ceres from 2,700 miles above its surface; NASA has also produced a one-minute video animation that sheds new light on this mysterious and heavily cratered world.
“Everything we learn from Ceres will be absolutely new,” said Christopher Russell, a UCLA professor of space physics and planetary science, and the Dawn mission’s principal investigator. “We approach it in awe and almost total ignorance.”
Dawn’s visit to Ceres, which is scheduled to last more than a year, began on March 6. From July 2011 to September 2012, it observed Vesta, a “minor planet” that is the second most massive body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Over the years, scientists have learned about the conditions at the beginning of the solar system by studying meteorites from Vesta that have fallen to Earth. There have been no such meteorites produced by Ceres, an indication that the two bodies are likely very different. For example, Dawn found little evidence to indicate there is water on Vesta. But Russell said Ceres could have a substantial amount of water or ice beneath its rocky crust.
The presence of water, he said, could “affect the time for relaxation of craters and mountains on Ceres and reduce the height of the topography compared to Vesta, and will affect minerals on the surface.” Russell also said Ceres, unlike Vesta, might have a weak atmosphere and perhaps even life.
Dawn, which launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2007, is the first NASA spacecraft to visit a dwarf planet and the first to orbit two celestial bodies beyond the moon.
Scientists expect the mission to provide insights about Ceres’ shape, size, composition, internal structure, and tectonic and thermal evolution. The findings also should provide new understanding about the conditions under which Ceres and Vesta were formed.
Dawn is powered by an advanced NASA technology known as ion propulsion that enables it to use fuel more than 10 times more efficiently than standard rockets. It is outfitted with two high-resolution cameras (including one backup), a visible and near-infrared mapping spectrometer to identify minerals on the surface, and a gamma ray and neutron spectrometer, which will be used to reveal the presence of elements such as iron and hydrogen in the soil.
NASA has reported that Dawn’s price tag — including the construction and launch of the space craft and 10 years of operations — is $472 million. Russell said the Dawn mission is actually very cost-efficient compared with other means of space exploration. Separate missions to Ceres and Vesta would likely have cost more than double that amount.
Russell and his team are in charge of Dawn’s scientific research — with the lead role in analyzing and interpreting data from the space craft — and public outreach. In 2014, they received the Trophy for Current Achievement, the National Air and Space Museum’s highest honor in the fields of aerospace science and technology.
“The Dawn flight team and the Dawn science team are high achievers, but the spacecraft itself is the highest achiever,” Russell said.
The Dawn mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech, for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate. Team members include scientists from JPL, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the Planetary Science Institute, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other institutions. The mission’s international partners include the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Gottingen, Germany, the DLR Institute for Planetary Research in Berlin, the Freie Universitaet of Berlin, the Italian National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome, and the Italian Space Agency. 

Quelle: UCLA
Update: 22.06.2015

Viele helle Flecken und ein pyramidenförmiger Berg auf Ceres

Zurzeit kreist die Raumsonde Dawn in einem Beobachtungsorbit um Zwergplanet Ceres und blickt aus 4400 Kilometern Höhe auf seine Oberfläche: Aufnahmen mit der Kamera an Bord zeigen nun nicht nur weitere rätselhafte hellen Flecken, sondern auch einen pyramidenförmigen Berg, der in einem ebenen Gelände nach Schätzung der Wissenschaftler rund fünf Kilometer in die Höhe ragt. "Die doch beachtliche Anzahl an hellen Ablagerungen lassen vermuten, dass auf Ceres frisches Material an die Oberfläche gelangt. Auch der sehr steile Berg ist ein Beleg für besondere Aktivitäten in der Kruste", sagt Prof. Ralf Jaumann, Planetenforscher am Deutschen Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) und Wissenschaftler der amerikanischen Dawn-Mission.
Helle Flecken im Detail
Schon bei der Annäherung an Ceres, den die Dawn-Sonde am 6. März 2015 erreichte, faszinierten rätselhafte helle Flecken die Planetenforscher. Die Spannung stieg mit jeder weiteren Aufnahme, die die Kamera zur Erde sendete. Eine Erklärung für diese stark reflektierenden Regionen auf der Oberfläche des Zwergplaneten konnte bisher noch nicht eindeutig gefunden werden - unter anderem Eis oder Salz könnten der Ursprung dieses Phänomens sein. Am 5. Juni 2015 erreichte Dawn den "Survey Orbit" in 4400 Kilometern Höhe und zumindest eines wird auf einer Aufnahme vom 9. Juni 2015 deutlich: Innerhalb eines Kraters mit etwa 90 Kilometern Durchmesser sind mindestens acht weitere helle Flecken zu erkennen. Sie befinden sich nahe eines besonders hellen Gebietes mit einem Durchmesser von rund neun Kilometern. Mit Spektralmessungen wollen die Wissenschaftler während der Mission herausfinden, aus welchem Material die hellen Flecken bestehen.
Berg in Pyramiden-Form
Neben den hellen Flecken zeigen die Kamerabilder aber auch erstmals deutlich einen steilen, pyramidenförmigen Berg, aufgenommen am 14. Juni 2015. Er ragt rund fünf Kilometer aus einem relativ flachen Gelände auf Ceres heraus. Auch zahlreiche Krater haben in ihrem Mittelpunkt einen Berg. Außerdem entdecken die Planetenforscher mehr und mehr Hinweise auf Aktivitäten an der Oberfläche des Zwergplaneten - dazu gehören fließförmige oder eingesunkene Strukturen sowie Hangrutschungen. Ceres scheint damit mehr Überbleibsel ehemaliger und vielleicht vor Kurzerm entstandene Aktivität zu zeigen als Vesta, der Asteroid, den die Dawn-Sonde von Juli 2011 bis August 2012 erkundete. "Ceres scheint durch viel komplexere geologische Prozesse geprägt worden zu sein als bisher vermutet", sagt DLR-Planetenforscher Prof. Ralf Jaumann.
Noch bis zum 30. Juni 2015 bleibt Dawn im Beobachtungsorbit und wird sich dann bis zum 4. August 2015 Ceres‘ Oberfläche bis auf 1450 Kilometer Entfernung nähern. Dann wird sich auch die Auflösung der Kamerabilder von bisher 410 Meter pro Bildpunkt auf 140 Meter pro Bildpunkt verbessern. Das DLR-Institut für Planetenforschung verfeinert mit diesen Daten das bereits erstellte dreidimensionale Höhenmodell des Zwergplaneten.
Die Mission
Die Mission DAWN wird vom Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) der amerikanischen Weltraumbehörde NASA geleitet. JPL ist eine Abteilung des California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Die University of California in Los Angeles ist für den wissenschaftlichen Teil der Mission verantwortlich. Das Kamerasystem an Bord der Raumsonde wurde unter Leitung des Max-Planck-Instituts für Sonnensystemforschung in Göttingen in Zusammenarbeit mit dem Institut für Planetenforschung des Deutschen Zentrums für Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR) in Berlin und dem Institut für Datentechnik und Kommunikationsnetze in Braunschweig entwickelt und gebaut. Das Kamera-Projekt wird finanziell von der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, dem DLR und NASA/JPL unterstützt.
Quelle: DLR
Update: 24.06.2015

Dawn Mission Reveals More Detail in Mysterious Ceres

From its orbital perch 2,700 miles above Ceres, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft returned new images of the dwarf planet showing more even more small bright spots inside a 55-mile crater.
At least eight bright areas now have been found next to a large white region glinting inside the crater. Scientists suspect they are seeing some kind of highly reflective material, such as ice or salt, but there are other options as well, like geysers, volcanoes or rock.
The new images, which were taken on June 9 and released today (June 22), also show that Ceres has a steep, three-mile high mountain rising from the surface in an area that is otherwise relatively smooth and flat.
On June 6, Dawn took a picture of what looks to be a pyramid-shaped mountain, upper right, rising about three miles from the surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA
Several craters, many with central peaks, have been discovered, along with landslides, flows and collapsed structures that are evidence of past surface activity.In August, Dawn is scheduled to make more observations of Ceres from a lower orbit just 900 miles above the surface.
Quelle: D-News
Update: 11.07.2015 

The weird white spots on Ceres might not be ice after all

Pluto may be the star of the dwarf planet scene for the next few days, but let's not forget about Ceres: We've been salivating over the mysterious white spots on its surface since NASA's Dawn orbiter sent its first photos home. But according to the mission's principal investigator, the crowd favorite theory -- that the spots are made of some kind of water or ice -- is probably about to be debunked.
According to Christopher Russell of the University of California at Los Angeles, the Dawn mission's principal investigator, the team is "shying away from there being ice on the surface."
"The general consensus on the team right now is that water is definitely a factor on Ceres, but that the spots themselves are more likely to be just highly reflective salt, rather than water," Russell told The Post.
The mystery is far from completely solved, Russell cautioned. The team failed to get the quality of measurements they wanted in examining the spots, and they'll have to try again at a closer orbit -- like the next planned mapping orbit, which will take them from 2,700 miles over the surface to just 900. The photos taken at that height will also have significantly better resolution, which should further help the team determine what the spots are made of.
But based on the spectral data the team did get, Russell said, the spots "really don't look like mounds of ice."
Quelle: The Washington Post
Update: 18.07.2015

Mission Status Report
NASA's Dawn spacecraft is using its ion propulsion system to descend to its third mapping orbit at Ceres, and all systems are operating well. The spiral maneuvering over the next five weeks will take the spacecraft to an altitude of about 900 miles (less than 1,500 kilometers) above the dwarf planet.
The spacecraft experienced a discrepancy in its expected orientation on June 30, triggering a safe mode. Engineers traced this anomaly to the mechanical gimbal system that swivels ion engine #3 to help control the spacecraft's orientation during ion-thrusting. Dawn has three ion engines and uses only one at a time.
Dawn's engineering team switched to ion engine #2, which is mounted on a different gimbal, and conducted tests with it from July 14 to 16. They have confirmed that the spacecraft is ready to continue with the exploration of Ceres.
By the end of the day on July 17, Dawn will have descended to an altitude of about 2,400 miles (3,900 kilometers). After arrival at its next mapping orbit -- called the High-Altitude Mapping Orbit, or HAMO -- in August, Dawn will begin taking images and other data at unprecedented resolution.
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Raumfahrt 


Samstag, 18. Juli 2015 - 08:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt-History - 1938: 10,000 Miles an Hour! - Rocket flights of tomorrow will circle the earth in 3hours-maybe.


Aus dem CENAP-Archiv:



Quelle: CENAP-Archiv

Tags: Raumfahrt 


Freitag, 17. Juli 2015 - 21:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NEW HORIZONS Ankunft bei Pluto - Update-11



Frozen Carbon Monoxide in Pluto’s 'Heart'

Peering closely at the “heart of Pluto,” in the western half of what mission scientists have informally named Tombaugh Regio  (Tombaugh Region), New Horizons’ Ralph instrument revealed evidence of carbon monoxide ice.  The contours indicate that the concentration of frozen carbon monoxide increases towards the center of the “bull’s eye.” These data were acquired by the spacecraft on July 14 and transmitted to Earth on July 16. 
Last Updated: July 17, 2015
Editor: Sarah Loff
New Horizons Reveals Pluto’s Extended Atmosphere
Scientists working with NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft have observed Pluto’s atmosphere as far as 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface of the planet, demonstrating that Pluto’s nitrogen-rich atmosphere is quite extended. This is the first observation of Pluto’s atmosphere at altitudes higher than 170 miles above the planet’s surface (270 kilometers).
The new information was gathered by New Horizon’s Alice imaging spectrograph during a carefully designed alignment of the sun, Pluto, and the spacecraft starting about an hour after the craft’s closest approach to the planet on July 14. During the event known as a solar occultation, New Horizons passed through Pluto’s shadow while the sun backlit Pluto’s atmosphere.
“This is only the beginning for Pluto atmospheric science” says New Horizons scientist Andrew Steffl of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “Next month, the full Alice occultation dataset will be sent to Earth for analysis. Even so, the data we have now show that Pluto’s atmosphere rises higher above its surface, in relative terms, than does the Earth’s.”  
This figure shows how the Alice instrument count rate changed over time during the sunset and sunrise observations. The count rate is largest when the line of sight to the sun is outside of the atmosphere at the start and end times. Molecular nitrogen (N2) starts absorbing sunlight in the upper reaches of Pluto’s atmosphere, decreasing as the spacecraft approaches the planet’s shadow. As the occultation progresses, atmospheric methane and hydrocarbons can also absorb the sunlight and further decrease the count rate. When the spacecraft is totally in Pluto’s shadow the count rate goes to zero. As the spacecraft emerges from Pluto’s shadow into sunrise, the process is reversed. By plotting the observed count rate in the reverse time direction, it is seen that the atmospheres on opposite sides of Pluto are nearly identical.
This figure shows the locations of the sunset and sunrise solar occultations observed by the Alice instrument on the New Horizons spacecraft. The sunset occultation occurred just south of the “heart” region of Pluto, from a range of 30,120 miles (48,200 km), while the sunrise occurred just north of the "whale tail", from a range of 35,650 miles (57,000 km).
Last Updated: July 17, 2015
Editor: Lillian Gipson
Pluto Wags its Tail: New Horizons Discovers a Cold, Dense Region of Atmospheric Ions Behind Pluto
Artist’s concept of the interaction of the solar wind (the supersonic outflow of electrically charged particles from the Sun) with Pluto’s predominantly nitrogen atmosphere. Some of the molecules that form the atmosphere have enough energy to overcome Pluto’s weak gravity and escape into space, where they are ionized by solar ultraviolet radiation. As the solar wind encounters the obstacle formed by the ions, it is slowed and diverted (depicted in the red region), possibly forming a shock wave upstream of Pluto. The ions are “picked up” by the solar wind and carried in its flow past the dwarf planet to form an ion or plasma tail (blue region). The Solar Wind around Pluto (SWAP) instrument on the New Horizons spacecraft made the first measurements of this region of low-energy atmospheric ions shortly after closest approach on July 14. Such measurements will enable the SWAP team to determine the rate at which Pluto loses its atmosphere and, in turn, will yield insight into the evolution of the Pluto’s atmosphere and surface. Also illustrated are the orbits of Pluto’s five moons and the trajectory of the spacecraft.
Credits: NASA/APL/SwRI
New Horizons has discovered a region of cold, dense ionized gas tens of thousands of miles beyond Pluto -- the planet’s atmosphere being stripped away by the solar wind and lost to space. Beginning an hour and half after closest approach, the Solar Wind Around Pluto (SWAP) instrument observed a cavity in the solar wind -- the outflow of electrically charged particles from the Sun -- between 48,000 miles (77,000 km) and 68,000 miles (109,000 km) downstream of Pluto. SWAP data revealed this cavity to be populated with nitrogen ions forming a “plasma tail” of undetermined structure and length extending behind the planet.
Similar plasma tails are observed at planets like Venus and Mars. In the case of Pluto’s predominantly nitrogen atmosphere, escaping molecules are ionized by solar ultraviolet light, “picked up” by the solar wind, and carried past Pluto to form the plasma tail discovered by New Horizons. Prior to closest approach, nitrogen ions were detected far upstream of Pluto by the Pluto Energetic Particle Spectrometer Science Investigation (PEPSSI) instrument, providing a foretaste of Pluto’s escaping atmosphere.
Plasma tail formation is but one fundamental aspect of Pluto’s solar wind interaction, the nature of which is determined by several yet poorly constrained factors. Of these, perhaps the most important is the atmospheric loss rate. “This is just a first tantalizing look at Pluto’s plasma environment,” says co-investigator Fran Bagenal, University of Colorado, Boulder, who leads the New Horizons Particles and Plasma team. “We’ll be getting more data in August, which we can combine with the Alice and Rex atmospheric measurements to pin down the rate at which Pluto is losing its atmosphere. Once we know that, we’ll be able to answer outstanding questions about the evolution of Pluto’s atmosphere and surface and determine to what extent Pluto’s solar wind interaction is like that of Mars.”
Last Updated: July 17, 2015
Editor: Lillian Gipson
Frozen Plains in the Heart of Pluto’s 'Heart'
This annotated view of a portion of Pluto’s Sputnik Planum (Sputnik Plain), named for Earth’s first artificial satellite, shows an array of enigmatic features. The surface appears to be divided into irregularly shaped segments that are ringed by narrow troughs, some of which contain darker materials. Features that appear to be groups of mounds and fields of small pits are also visible. This image was acquired by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on July 14 from a distance of 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers). Features as small as a half-mile (1 kilometer) across are visible. The blocky appearance of some features is due to compression of the image.
In the latest data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft, a new close-up image of Pluto reveals a vast, craterless plain that appears to be no more than 100 million years old, and is possibly still being shaped by geologic processes. This frozen region is north of Pluto’s icy mountains, in the center-left of the heart feature, informally named “Tombaugh Regio” (Tombaugh Region) after Clyde Tombaugh, who discovered Pluto in 1930.
“This terrain is not easy to explain,” said Jeff Moore, leader of the New Horizons Geology, Geophysics and Imaging Team (GGI) at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. “The discovery of vast, craterless, very young plains on Pluto exceeds all pre-flyby expectations.”
This fascinating icy plains region -- resembling frozen mud cracks on Earth -- has been informally named “Sputnik Planum” (Sputnik Plain) after the Earth’s first artificial satellite. It has a broken surface of irregularly-shaped segments, roughly 12 miles (20 kilometers) across, bordered by what appear to be shallow troughs. Some of these troughs have darker material within them, while others are traced by clumps of hills that appear to rise above the surrounding terrain. Elsewhere, the surface appears to be etched by fields of small pits that may have formed by a process called sublimation, in which ice turns directly from solid to gas, just as dry ice does on Earth.
Scientists have two working theories as to how these segments were formed. The irregular shapes may be the result of the contraction of surface materials, similar to what happens when mud dries. Alternatively, they may be a product of convection, similar to wax rising in a lava lamp. On Pluto, convection would occur within a surface layer of frozen carbon monoxide, methane and nitrogen, driven by the scant warmth of Pluto’s interior.
Pluto’s icy plains also display dark streaks that are a few miles long. These streaks appear to be aligned in the same direction and may have been produced by winds blowing across the frozen surface.
The Tuesday “heart of the heart” image was taken when New Horizons was 48,000 miles (77,000 kilometers) from Pluto, and shows features as small as one-half mile (1 kilometer) across. Mission scientists will learn more about these mysterious terrains from higher-resolution and stereo images that New Horizons will pull from its digital recorders and send back to Earth during the next year. 
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Raumfahrt 


Freitag, 17. Juli 2015 - 20:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Das weltweit größte und leistungsfähigste Gammastrahlen-Observatorium scheint in Chile und den Kanarischen Inseln ansässig zu werden


The Cherenkov Telescope Array will consist of 120 telescopes that will search the skies for gamma rays and signs of dark matter.


The world's largest and most powerful gamma-ray observatory looks set to be based in Chile and the Canary Islands, following a decision today by the governing board of the Cherenkov Telescope Array (CTA). Sites in the Atacama Desert and the island of La Palma—already home to major astronomical facilities—were chosen ahead of rival sites in Namibia and Mexico for the northern and southern portions of the CTA, a €297 million facility that will allow astrophysicists to study some of the most energetic and distant objects in the universe.
The decision came during a 2-day meeting of the CTA Resource Board on 15 and 16 July. The board, made of representatives from 14 of the project’s 31 member countries, did not give final approval for the site selection—that is the job of the CTA Council—but it did vote to start formal negotiations with the European Southern Observatory (ESO), which operates the Paranal Observatory in Chile, and Spain.
Chair of CTA Resource Board Beatrix Vierkorn-Rudolph would not tell ScienceInsider how the 14 members voted. But she says it was not an easy decision, since all 4 bidders put forward "very good sites." The selection criteria were many, she explains, including the sites' environmental suitability, scientific potential, and likely cost. But one factor stood out in both cases, she says—how swiftly construction could get underway once the official green light has been given.
The Chilean site is less than 10 kilometers from the ESO’s Paranal Observatory, which has significant infrastructure—like the four, 8.2-meter optical observatories of the Very Large Telescope—already in place. The northern site, which is operated by the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canaries, sits at an altitude of 2200 meters and is already home to the 2 MAGIC gamma-ray telescopes (pictured above).
The CTA, which should be completed by around the end of the decade, would allow scientists to carry out a range of research projects across astrophysics and fundamental physics, from the origin of cosmic rays to particle acceleration around black holes. The array would also look for signs of hypothetical dark matter particles. It would comprise 120 individual telescopes of 3 different diameters (24, 10-12, and 4-6 meters), about 100 of which would be located in the southern hemisphere. Like existing ground-based gamma-ray observatories, the telescopes wouldn't detect gamma rays directly but would instead pick up the flashes of light given off when gamma radiation interacts with atoms in the upper atmosphere.
Rene Ong, an astrophysicist at the University of California Los Angeles and CTA co-spokesperson, says that negotiations with the hosts of the preferred sites should take about 6 months. During that time, he says, CTA member countries will need to establish, among other things, whether money offered as part of the site bids really will be made available. He says that Spain has offered to contribute "upwards of €40 million" in support of the La Palma site, while ESO has not made any financial offer but is interested in partnering on the science and management of CTA. He also notes that the ESO council has still to formally approve its site proposal.
Ong says that a number of member countries have shown a "strong intention" to provide funding for the project. However, the threshold of about 80% funding—at which point construction could be approved—has yet to be reached. He hopes the line can be crossed in the next year. If it isn't, he says, the project scope may need to be “adjusted.”
Quelle: AAAS

Tags: Astronomie 


Freitag, 17. Juli 2015 - 13:33 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Trümmer von alten russischen Satelliten zwang ISS-Besatzung in Notfall


Life aboard the International Space Station (ISS) has returned to normal after a late conjunction threat forced the Station’s crew into contingency operations. The implementation of Flight Rule B4-101 – resulting in the crew taking up the “safe haven” of a docked Russian Soyuz vehicle – was required during a close pass of debris from an old Russian weather satellite.
ISS Conjunction:
The threat of space debris is a continuous consideration for all spacefaring vehicles.
The ISS has the safety blanket of Space Command/NORAD, which tracks relatively large pieces of debris – usually originating from expended satellite and rocket hardware.
Usually, this allows for the Station to receive a heads up and conduct a Pre-Determined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM) to move the orbital outpost into a different path and thus avoid a potential collision.
Rare events are classed as Red Late Conjunctions, where the threat is spotted late – with no time to conduct a PDAM – and is inside a path that has a chance – albeit very small – of hitting the Station.
One such incident occurred on March 13, 2009 – when a “RED Late” Conjunction threat resulted in NASA’s Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke, Russian Flight Engineer Yury Lonchakov and NASA’s Sandra Magnus being asked to evacuate into the “safe haven” of the docked Soyuz, as the ‘25090 PAM-D’ debris closed in on the Station.
The debris passed by the Station at a safe distance, allowing for nominal operations to resume.
During Thursday’s event, the three members of the Station – Commander Gennady Padalka, Mikhail Kornienko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly – closed the hatches and took up residency onboard Soyuz TMA-16M. They stayed in the Soyuz for around 10 minutes, according to Roscosmos.
Per L2 ISS Status, it was confirmed the event was a Late Conjunction threat.
“Late Notice Conjunction: Crew Shelter in Place. This morning the Flight Control Team was notified of a conjunction with insufficient time to execute a Predetermined Debris Avoidance Maneuver (PDAM).
“The ISS crew sheltered in place until the Time of Closest Approach (TCA) passed without incident at 7:01 AM CDT.”
2014-11-14 00_01_59-Soyuz TMA-16 launches for journey to ISS – Safe Haven evaluations _ NASASpaceFli
The order would be to initiate an emergency departure from the Station, had the debris threat realizes itself into an impact and caused a breach of the life support environment.
Such larger debris threats do have the capability of puncturing one of the Station’s modules, as was later noted via the 2009 threat of the “yo weight” that was originally part of a Delta PAM-D stage used to launch GPS 37 in 1993.
However, the odds of the Station – racing around at 17,500mph – being hit by a major debris strike are extremely small.
Also, the ISS does have some protection against the smaller MicroMeteoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) strikes.
The ISS sports a number of battle scars from such strikes, ranging from impacts to the arrays, windows and handrails – the latter pointed out ahead of EVAs, where the spacewalkers are told to be careful where they put their hands, due to the shape edges that usually surround the impact point.
Such sharp edges could cut their EMU gloves, which subsequently threaten the termination of an EVA, such as the scenario that occurred to STS-118 spacewalker Rick Mastracchio, who was sent back to the Quest airlock after a cut was observed in his glove during on routine half-hourly check.
The Station’s modules are outfitted with nextel/Kevlar shielding, which has been tested to show it can successfully withstand MMOD strikes.
Such examples of testing include ESA’s evaluations into the nextel/Kevlar material used to protect its ATV spacecraft, showing it could protect the vehicle’s hull after test firing a 7.5 mm-diameter aluminium bullet at 7 km/s.
“The stuffing fabric and a surrounding sheet was thoroughly shredded by the impact, but the overall mass and energy of the debris was sufficiently dissipated that it harmlessly scorched the innermost 3-mm-thick aluminium wall,” noted the test results.
Thursday’s event is understood to be only the fourth time in ISS history that the Station’s crew have been told to take up the “safe haven” of the docked Soyuz.
With the threat passing without incident, the three crewmembers have returned to their duties, which include continued work on maintenance of the troublesome Carbon Dioxide Removal Assembly (CDRA).
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Raumfahrt 


Freitag, 17. Juli 2015 - 12:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ESA-Sonde Rosetta/Philae auf Komet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko - Update-30



Today’s CometWatch entry was taken on 7 July, from a distance of 154 km from Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. The image resolution is 13.1 m/pixel and the image measures 13.4 km across.
Comet 67P/C-G on 7 July 2015. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0
The image has been processed to bring out the details of the comet’s activity.
In this orientation the comet’s small lobe is to the top left, while the large lobe is to the bottom right.
The transition between the Seth and Anubis regions on the large lobe is quite prominent, with a distinct ridge separating the numerous quasi-circular depressions in Seth (left) from the smoother surface of Anubis (right).
In January the first maps of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko were published, identifying 19 geomorphologically distinct regions on its surface. Six months on and much more work has been done on refining the boundaries between these regions. This blog post showcases some of the OSIRIS images acquired from close orbit and presented in a new paper that have enabled an in-depth study of the different regions and their boundaries. This post was prepared with inputs from lead author M. Ramy El-Maarry from the University of Bern, who introduces this post with an inside story on how some of the regional names were chosen:
OSIRIS images showing Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko in different orientations. Rotation axes have been added; in the middle two panels the rotation axis is almost toward the viewer, that is, providing a north polar view.
Right: the same images with regional boundaries and nomenclature added.
“Early on in the mapping phase, we decided on naming the regions of the comet using names of ancient Egyptian deities. We wanted to adhere to the ancient Egyptian theme of the mission and have a large inventory of names if needed. Luckily, ancient Egyptians had so many deities in their long history that made this an easy decision. Moreover, many of the names were catchy, easy to remember, and more importantly, easy to pronounce. I remember we initially tried using names of ancient cities and we were coming across a lot of names that were very difficult to wrap your tongue around, even for an Egyptian like me! So we decided to use the following naming convention: gods for the ‘body’ lobe and goddesses for the ‘head’. We picked Hapi for the neck since Hapi is the Nile god, and we figured that he should separate the lobes in the same way that the Nile splits Egypt into an eastern and western side. Of course, there were obvious names to discard (such as Osiris!) so we decided to skip on all 'world-famous' gods such as R’a and Amun, partly because they have been used before in other missions, but also to introduce people to lesser-known names.
In another story, we decided on using Imhotep for one of the most notable regions on the comet. Imhotep was one of the most brilliant figures of the ancient world as a scientist, engineer, and a physician. Luckily for us, there were no Nobel prizes in ancient Egypt, so when Imhotep died, he was deified by ancient Egyptians to credit his accomplishments, which meant we could actually use his name as a nice tribute from our side!”
Around Aten, Aker, Babi and Khepry
This set of images focuses on a number of boundaries on the comet’s large lobe, in particular on the smaller regions Aten, Aker, Babi and Khepry, their relationship to each other and to the larger and perhaps more familiar Seth and Ash regions nearby. The transition into the smooth Hapi neck region is also indicated in the context image. The insets show interesting contrasts in surface textures at the boundaries of Aten and Babi (left) and Khepry, Babi and Aker (right).
Aten is dominated by a large elongate depression surrounded by the brittle and dusty material of Ash and Babi. El-Maarry et al suggest that its sharp sides and irregular shape could point to a rapid and perhaps violent burst of activity. The close-ups show rubble and boulders inside the depression, the largest of which reach up to 30m in diameter. The rubble suggests rock fall events, most likely from the rim of the depression.
The smooth deposits on the surrounds make a striking contrast and mark the boundary with Babi. In the middle inset (left) this dusty covering can be seen overlying regions of significant layering, which could be parts of Seth extending below the dusty deposits of Ash and into Babi. Indeed, Babi hosts one quasi-circular structure reminiscent of Seth that rises 60-80m over Khepry, marking the boundary in this area (see insets at top and middle right). Well-defined ridges also separate the lower-lying Babi from Aker and Seth.
Khepry and Aker both have a rough, consolidated appearance, exhibit linear markings but very few boulders. Aker has a slightly smoother surface texture than Khepry but they both contain very smooth patches 50–100m across that are located in topographical lows. The inset at bottom right shows a close-up view of one of these smooth deposits close to the Khepry-Aker border.
From Anubis and Atum to Hapi and Anuket
This image set highlights the boundaries between Anubis, Atum and Seth on the large lobe, and the transition between the neck and Anuket on the small lobe.
Atum is a rather complex, rough-textured region with linear features that are similar to some of the structures observed in Imhotep and interpreted as terraces resulting from erosion of an underlying layered terrain. Atum borders the smooth-textured Anubis region and almost encloses it, with a well-defined ridge separating it from Seth.
A notable feature between the boundary of Anubis with Atum is a set of parallel curved lineaments. This feature could indicate possible folding of the surface, or the surface expression of buried terraces.
Nearby, Atum shares a boundary with the Anuket region on the head lobe, the latter of which appears to traverse the neck region in an area devoid of the smooth deposits that define the transitional Hapi region.
Anuket has a rough surface with numerous boulders but appears to smooth out away from the neck and toward the boundary with dust-covered Ma’at. The smoother regions seen in Anuket are patches of dust, suggesting that material similar to that of Anuket’s surface may extend underneath the dust-covered Ma’at region.
On the head: Ma’at, Maftet, Nut and Serqet
The Nut depression and Serqet are two of the smallest regions on the surface of the comet in terms of surface area, but yet show significant morphological diversity. The Serqet region is defined by a ridge of consolidated material with an adjacent flat and smooth, dusty plain, which forms the rim of Nut. Nut is classified as a depression and is extensively infilled with boulders, perhaps from the erosion of Serqet and an influx of dust similar to that seen in Ma’at.
Ma’at’s dust-covered texture resembles Ash on the comet’s body. It also exhibits sharp outcrops of materials emerging from the dust, which show similarities to the more consolidated material in Anuket. Ma’at grades into Maftet where the dust gradually thins out into rough, terraced and fractured terrain pockmarked with irregularly shaped shallow depressions. Patches of the fading dusty material along this boundary show a pitted texture, which El-Maarry et al suggest is an ice-rich material that may be undergoing desiccation through sublimation. The dust covered regions both on the head and on the body of the comet are likely linked to ‘airfall’ deposition from more active regions.
Explore the comet in 3D
Further details of the comet’s boundaries are provided in stunning anaglyph images that are possible when two images of similar spatial resolution and illumination are taken of the same region and can be appropriately co-registered. The following anaglyphs were used to identify and assess topographical boundaries between adjacent regions and changes in relief in the latest study. To best enjoy the 3D effect, please use red-blue/green “3D” glasses.
OSIRIS narrow-angle camera image showing the smooth nature of the dust covering the Ash region and highlighting the contrast with the more brittle material exposed underneath in Seth.
Quelle: ESA

Tags: Raumfahrt 


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