Blogarchiv

Sonntag, 8. Mai 2016 - 09:15 Uhr

Astronomie - Erste globale Höhenkarte von Merkur sieht aus wie ein Wanderer Traum

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A view of Mercury’s northern volcanic plains in enhanced color.

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Want to take a hike on Mercury?
On Friday — about one year after the Messenger spacecraft ended its mission by crashing into Mercury — scientists released the first complete global elevation map produced by the long-lived spacecraft.
The new map, which looks somewhat like a map a hiker would use, shows the highest and lowest points on the planet, with its highest point coming in at 4.48 kilometers above the average elevation on the planet, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), said in a statement.
The planet's lowest point is 5.38 km below the average in the Rachmaninoff basin.
In all, it took more than 100,000 images collected by Messenger to create the map, the APL said. 
In total, however, Messenger beamed back about 300,000 images of Mercury in its time circling the planet closest to the sun.
“The wealth of these data ... has already enabled and will continue to enable exciting scientific discoveries about Mercury for decades to come,” Susan Ensor, a software engineer at the APL said in the statement.
Scientists also produced a map of a part of Mercury near the north pole as never seen before.
Messenger "had previously discovered that past volcanic activity buried this portion of the planet beneath extensive lavas, more than a mile deep in some areas and covering a vast area equivalent to approximately 60% of the continental United States,” said APL’s Nancy Chabo.
Messenger (which is of course an acronym short for MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry and Ranging) launched toward Mercury in 2004 and began orbiting the planet in 2011. 
Scientists using Messenger data already created the first full map of Mercury, which showed never-before-seen features on the small planet like volcanic vents around the Caloris basin, the world's magnetic field and a giant iron core.
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Video hier:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MRsaHLfZxbU
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Quelle: Mashable

Tags: Astronomie 

1266 Views

Sonntag, 8. Mai 2016 - 09:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Keine weitere Space Race für die USA, Rivalität bietet Weg zur Zusammenarbeit

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Expedition 47 Commander Tim Kopra of NASA captured this brightly lit night image of the city of Chicago on April 5, 2016, from the International Space Station. Kopra (@astro_tim) wrote, "#Goodnight #Chicago from @Space_Station. #CitiesFromSpace"

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While many Americans celebrate May 5 as Cinco de Mayo, the anniversary of a Mexican military victory, science nerds recognize the date as a technological milestone: the day the United States first put a man into space.
In 1961, the year astronaut Alan Shepard Jr. made his milestone 15-minute flight, hysteria about the U.S.- Soviet Union space race was in full swing. Russia had already put a man in orbit and had launched the world's first artificial satellite, the Sputnik 1, in 1957, igniting fears that the United States was losing its status as the dominant world power.
The United States quickly assembled scientific teams that had been working on space travel; the race to achieve the first manned spaceflight was on. The new U.S. space agency was named the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, and the manned spaceflight program was named the Mercury Project, after the Roman god of swift travel and transit between worlds.
First forays into space
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1961: Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. during suiting for the first manned suborbital flight, MR-3 mission. The Freedom 7 spacecraft, carrying the first American, Astronaut Shepard and boosted by the Mercury-Redstone launch vehicle, lifted off on May 5, 1961.
Shepard, a U.S. Navy commander who had experience with aircraft test flights, was selected to pilot the first manned Mercury spacecraft. He wrote later that when he informed his wife he had been selected to become the first American to travel to space, she quipped: "Who let a Russian in here?"
But her presumption was right. Soviet Cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin beat Shepard into space by one month, manning the Vostok 1 as it made one orbit around the earth April 12, 1961.
Shepard made his own historic journey three weeks later, in a less spectacular journey that went only 187 kilometers above the Earth and lasted only 15 minutes. But it was seen as an important milestone as the United States strove to catch up to its Cold War rival in technological innovation.
The competition continued throughout the 1960s, finally culminating with the U.S. moon landing on July 20, 1969. Shepard made his own journey to the moon on the third Apollo mission in 1971. Despite being one of the best known names in U.S. space travel, Shepard flew only two missions.
Cooperation on the new frontier
In the four decades between Shepard's last spaceflight, much has changed between the United States and its onetime rival in space.
With the 1998 launch of the International Space Station, pushing further into space has become a collaborative effort, including not just the United States and Russia, but also the European Union, China, and Japan. Over the years, at least 222 spaceflight technicians from 18 countries have worked together on long-term projects as they orbit the Earth every 90 minutes.
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FILE - Ground personnel help International Space Station (ISS) crew member Scott Kelly of the U.S. to get off the Soyuz TMA-18M space capsule after landing near the town of Dzhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on March 2, 2016.
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In March of this year, U.S. Astronaut Scott Kelly returned from a one-year assignment in orbit on the space station as NASA scientists monitored the effects of long-term space travel on the human body. During that time his identical twin, former Astronaut Mark Kelly, acted as a control subject on Earth. NASA plans to monitor both men for the next year as it prepares for a new era of space exploration -- one in which private industry plays a role.
Since the U.S. space shuttle program ended in 2011, the United States has depended on Russia for transportation to and from the space station on the Soyuz spacecraft — a mind-boggling reversal from the early, competitive days of space travel. But NASA has said it hopes to transfer that role to private U.S. companies as they develop suitable spacecraft.
Several U.S. companies are working on just that. Today, the private firm SpaceX landed a rocket on an ocean platform for the second time, a signal that private industry is drawing nearer to becoming a major player in what has become a global space industry. Its goal is to develop rockets that can be used for multiple launches rather than discarded after one use, as has been the standard in the past. SpaceX cofounder Elon Musk has said reusable rockets could greatly reduce the cost of space travel.
Musk swiftly shared his elation over the successful launch and recovery Friday with a tweet on social media, saying only "Woo-hoo!" He soon followed that message with one saying "May need to increase size of rocket storage hangar," meaning SpaceX would soon be storing its rockets rather than disposing of them.
Next Stop: Mars
Now, with the success of the space station, international collaboration is expected to continue as scientists pursue their next goal: the planet Mars.
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From left: NASA astronaut Jeff Williams, Russian cosmonauts Alexei Ovchinin, and Oleg Skripochka of Roscosmos, members of the main crew of the expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), March 19, 2016.
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In March, the Russian space agency, Roscosmos, and the European Space Agency launched a robotic exploratory mission meant to land on Mars in October. Private industry is not far behind: SpaceX has also declared its intention to send a craft to the red planet as soon as 2018. And U.S. President Barack Obama announced in 2010 that the U.S. hopes to send manned missions to Mars by the 2030s.
Over a half-century, what began as a struggle for dominance between two world powers has changed entirely. Limited space and resources may continue to cause tensions here on Earth, but the search for something beyond our planet is one common goal that helps preserve peace.
Quelle: Voice of America

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1418 Views

Samstag, 7. Mai 2016 - 22:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Australien gibt UFO-Akten frei: Reports on Flying Saucers and other Aerial Objects

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Australien gibt UFO-Akten frei welche von 1950 bis 1974 verfolgt bzw. dokumentiert wurden:

Zu finden über diesen Link: http://www.naa.gov.au/collection/a-z/ufos.aspx

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Beispiel-Seiten aus dem Archiv:

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Quelle: National Archives of Australia


Tags: UFO-Forschung 

1638 Views

Samstag, 7. Mai 2016 - 20:30 Uhr

Luftfahrt - Aurora baut VTOL X-Plane LightningStrike

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Im Auftrag der DARPA entwickelt Aurora Flight Sciences einen revolutionären Senkrechtstarter mit Kippflügeln und Hybridantrieb.
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Die von Aurora Flight Sciences entwickelte LightningStrike hat elektrisch betriebene Propeller zwischen den Doppeldecker-Tragflächen (Zeichnung: DARPA).  
Wenn bei Konstruktion und Bau keine Schwierigkeiten auftreten, soll das unbemannte Versuchsgerät etwa 2018 mit der Flugerprobung beginnen. Die Ziele sind ehrgeizig: Eine Höchstgeschwindigkeit von 555 bis 740 km/h soll mit einer Effizienz im Schwebeflug wie bei einem Hubschrauber (75 Prozent) kombiniert werden. Außerdem soll der Widerstandsbeiwert im Reiseflug bei zehn liegen. Als Zuladung werden mindestens 40 Prozent der Abflugmasse von rund 5650 kg angestrebt.
Um all diese Vorgaben zu erfüllen haben die Ingenieure von Aurora ein neues Antriebskonzept entworfen. Eine AE 1107C-Wellenturbine von Rolls-Royce treibt nicht wie in der Osprey Rotoren an sondern erzeugt über drei von Honeywell gelieferte Generatoren drei Megawatt elektrische Leistung. Diese wird zu den Mantelstrompropellern geleitet, von denen es neuen in jedem Flügel und drei in jedem Canard gibt. Ihre Leistung leigt bei 100 beziehungsweise 70 kW.
Tragflächen und Canards sind jeweils als Doppeldecker ausgelegt, mit den Propellern dazwischen. Sie können elektrisch von der Vertikalen in die Horizontale gedreht werden, um einen Schwebeflug zu ermöglichen. Die Flugsteuerung erfolgt über ein dreifach redundantes Fly-by-Wire-System. Verstellt werden können die Propeller, die mit konstanter Drehzahl arbeiten wie auch Klappen in der Propellerummantelung.
Zur Vorbereitung der Flugtests mit dem LightningStrike wird Aurora Versuche mit einem kleineren Modell vornehmen. Zudem gibt es Systemprüfstände für die Antriebseinheit.
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Quelle: FLUGREVUE

Tags: Luftfahrt 

1375 Views

Samstag, 7. Mai 2016 - 18:10 Uhr

Science - Little ANTs: Forscher entwickeln den kleinsten Motor der Welt

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Researchers have developed the world's tiniest engine - just a few billionths of a metre in size - which uses light to power itself. The nanoscale engine, developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, could form the basis of future nano-machines that can navigate in water, sense the environment around them, or even enter living cells to fight disease.
The prototype device is made of tiny charged particles of gold, bound together with temperature-responsive polymers in the form of a gel. When the 'nano-engine' is heated to a certain temperature with a laser, it stores large amounts of elastic energy in a fraction of a second, as the polymer coatings expel all the water from the gel and collapse.
This has the effect of forcing the gold nanoparticles to bind together into tight clusters. But when the device is cooled, the polymers take on water and expand, and the gold nanoparticles are strongly and quickly pushed apart, like a spring. The results are reported in the journal PNAS.
"It's like an explosion," said Dr Tao Ding from Cambridge's Cavendish Laboratory, and the paper's first author. "We have hundreds of gold balls flying apart in a millionth of a second when water molecules inflate the polymers around them."
"We know that light can heat up water to power steam engines," said study co-author Dr Ventsislav Valev, now based at the University of Bath. "But now we can use light to power a piston engine at the nanoscale."
Nano-machines have long been a dream of scientists and public alike, but since ways to actually make them move have yet to be developed, they have remained in the realm of science fiction. The new method developed by the Cambridge researchers is incredibly simple, but can be extremely fast and exert large forces.
The forces exerted by these tiny devices are several orders of magnitude larger than those for any other previously produced device, with a force per unit weight nearly a hundred times better than any motor or muscle. According to the researchers, the devices are also bio-compatible, cost-effective to manufacture, fast to respond, and energy efficient.
Professor Jeremy Baumberg from the Cavendish Laboratory, who led the research, has named the devices 'ANTs', or actuating nano-transducers. "Like real ants, they produce large forces for their weight. The challenge we now face is how to control that force for nano-machinery applications."
The research suggests how to turn Van de Waals energy - the attraction between atoms and molecules - into elastic energy of polymers and release it very quickly. "The whole process is like a nano-spring," said Baumberg. "The smart part here is we make use of Van de Waals attraction of heavy metal particles to set the springs (polymers) and water molecules to release them, which is very reversible and reproducible."
The team is currently working with Cambridge Enterprise, the University's commercialisation arm, and several other companies with the aim of commercialising this technology for microfluidics bio-applications.
Quelle: SD

Tags: Science 

1364 Views

Samstag, 7. Mai 2016 - 18:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von SpaceX-Falcon-9 Trägerrakete mit JCSAT 14 Satelliten

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3.05.2016

File photo of a Falcon 9 rocket’s static fire test at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad. Credit: SpaceX
SpaceX technicians are attaching a Japanese communications satellite to the top of a Falcon 9 rocket ahead of a planned launch Thursday morning from Cape Canaveral.
The JCSAT 14 communications satellite, made in California by Space Systems/Loral, is fueled and encapsulated inside the Falcon 9 rocket’s payload fairing. Workers were expected to connect the satellite with the launcher’s second stage inside the Falcon 9 hangar as soon as Monday.
The rocket passed a key preflight test Sunday evening, when SpaceX’s launch team fueled the Falcon 9 with super-chilled kerosene and liquid oxygen and fired its nine Merlin 1D first stage engines for several seconds at Cape Canaveral’s Complex 40 launch pad.
Hold-down restraints kept the rocket on the ground during the brief static fire test, a customary all-up check of the Falcon 9 and its ground systems before the real countdown begins.
The static fire occurred without the mission’s satellite payload on-board, and SpaceX planned to return the rocket to its hangar, where the JCSAT 14 spacecraft and the Falcon 9’s nose cone were scheduled to be added.
The Falcon 9’s fourth launch of the year is set for 1:21 a.m. EDT (0521 GMT) Thursday at the opening of a two-hour launch window.
There is an 80 percent chance of favorable weather for Thursday’s launch attempt, according to the official launch forecast issued by the U.S. Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron.
A late-season frontal boundary is approaching Florida early the week, with rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for Wednesday.
“On Wednesday, more widespread rain and thunderstorms associated with the frontal boundary will move through the spaceport,” forecasters wrote in the Air Force weather outlook. “A few of the storms may contain hail and strong winds. The front is expected to be south of the area, with conditions clearing by the launch window.”
The primary weather concerns for Thursday morning are liftoff winds and the thick cloud rule, the Air Force weather team wrote in their forecast.
The outlook calls for scattered clouds at 12,000 feet and 28,000 feet, northwest winds at 20 to 25 mph, and a temperature of 68 degrees Fahrenheit at launch time.
If the launch is delayed to Friday morning, conditions should improve somewhat with a 10 percent chance of weather violating one of the Falcon 9 weather rules.
Owned by SKY Perfect JSAT Corp. of Tokyo, JCSAT 14 will provide television broadcast programming, data network services and broadband Internet connectivity across Asia, Russia, Oceania and the Pacific islands for a 15-year mission.
The Falcon 9 will deploy the JCSAT 14 satellite in an egg-shaped geostationary transfer orbit about a half-hour after liftoff, and the spacecraft’s on-board thrusters will steer it into a circular orbit nearly 22,300 miles (about 35,700 kilometers) over the equator within a few weeks.
The distant orbit targeted by Thursday’s launch will require almost all of the Falcon 9’s propellant load, leaving little leftover fuel for landing maneuvers to touch down on a platform floating several hundred miles east of Cape Canaveral in the Atlantic Ocean.
“Following stage separation, the first stage of Falcon 9 will attempt an experimental landing on the ‘Of Course I Still Love You’ droneship,” SpaceX said in a post on the company’s website. “Given this mission’s GTO destination, the first-stage will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, making a successful landing unlikely.”
SpaceX successfully landed a rocket on the drone ship for the first time last month after a launch from Cape Canaveral with a Dragon supply ship. That mission went into low Earth orbit on the way to the International Space Station, requiring less speed than the orbit targeted on Thursday’s flight.
Quelle: SN
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Update: 4.05.2016
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SPACEX'S FALCON 9 SCHEDULED TO LAUNCH AGAIN ON THURSDAY MORNING
AND TRY ANOTHER DRONE SHIP LANDING, THOUGH THE ODDS ARE STEEP
For the first time since its history-making takeoff and landing last month, SpaceX is launching again. On Thursday at 1:21 AM Eastern, the Falcon 9 is scheduled to carry a Japanese broadcasting satellite into orbit. It will also try to repeat its landing feat.
The rocket will take off from Cape Canaveral and deliver the satellite into geostationary orbit. That's higher than the average satellite, which means the Falcon 9's first-stage booster will have less fuel left over when it comes back down for a landing. It will also be coming down faster, adding to the difficulty of landing on the 100-foot-wide barge. Although a successful landing isn't expected, SpaceX has surprised us before.
There's an 80 percent chance of favorable weather, according to forecasters.
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Update: 5.05.2016 / 9.30 MESZ
Tonight’s SpaceX rocket launch: start time, live stream, and what to expect / 18.40 MESZ
Due to the potential for bad weather, SpaceX has pushed back the launch to Friday at 1:21AM ET.
SpaceX is gearing up for its next launch this week, and this one is taking place well past bedtime (at least for those of us on the East Coast). The company's Falcon 9 rocket is scheduled to launch a Japanese communications satellite, JCSAT-14, from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 1:21AM ET on Friday. The launch was originally scheduled for Thursday, but was pushed back due to weather concerns. As usual, the company will try to land the majority of its rocket on a floating drone ship at sea — but SpaceX does not expect a successful vehicle recovery this time.
The Falcon 9 is meant to deliver the JCSAT-14 satellite to a very elliptical orbit high above the Earth’s surface, called a geostationary transfer orbit. This high orbit is the reason that SpaceX doesn't expect the rocket landing to happen. The company says that "the first-stage [of the rocket] will be subject to extreme velocities and re-entry heating, making a successful landing unlikely." Additionally, getting to GTO uses up a lot more fuel than getting to lower Earth orbit. The rocket has to reach higher speeds to get up to the higher orbit, eating up a lot of fuel on the vehicle's initial ascent. That leaves less leftover fuel for the rocket's return to Earth.
SpaceX finally pulled off its first drone ship landing in April, after many failed attempts over the past year and a half. It was the second time the company has landed a rocket post-launch; the first time was in December, when the Falcon 9 touched down on solid ground at Cape Canaveral after launching a satellite into space. SpaceX has said that land landings are only possible for certain types of missions, while drone ship landings are better for missions that go to higher speeds. The company is going to need to master both landing types if it wants to recover and reuse as many of its rockets as possible.
Despite SpaceX's low expectations for the landing, there is a 90 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for the launch itself, according to Patrick Air Force Base. The JCSAT-14 satellite going up on this mission is meant to provide telecommunications coverage to Japan and Asia-Pacific regions, according to the probe's manufacturer, the JSAT Corporation. Check back here Friday morning to watch the launch and landing attempt live (if you're not asleep).
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Update: 21.20 MESZ 
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Update: 6.05.2016 / 7.12 MESZ
...7.26 MESZ
 
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Update: 16.15 MESZ - Rückblick auf Start:
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Quelle: SpaceX
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Update: 7.05.2016
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SpaceX lands rocket's first stage after space launch
SpaceX successfully landed the first stage of its Falcon 9 rocket on a floating platform in the Atlantic Ocean early Friday after launching a Japanese communications satellite into orbit.
Shouts of "USA, USA, USA" and applause from the ground control crew greeted the feat, only the second time it has been accomplished by SpaceX, the company headed by Internet entrepreneur Elon Musk.
The two-stage rocket lifted off on schedule at 1:21 am (0521 GMT) with a telecommunications satellite owned by Japanese operator SKY Perfect JSAT.
As the second stage moved into orbital position, the first stage fell back for the landing, firing its engine to re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.
SpaceX had not expected to land the first stage successfully because of the returning rocket's high speed, but streaming video captured a picture-perfect touchdown.
The California-based company pulled off such a landing last month for the first time, after launching an unmanned cargo ship to the International Space Station.
SpaceX wants to perfect the technique as part of its effort to re-use rocket parts instead of jettisoning the costly equipment into the ocean after each launch.
Quelle: SD

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1642 Views

Samstag, 7. Mai 2016 - 16:45 Uhr

Raumfahrt - New Horizons peilt nächstes Ziel an, ein geheimnisvolles Objekt am Rand des Sonnensystems

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An artist's impression of NASA's New Horizons spacecraft encountering 2014 MU69, an object thought to be unchanged since the solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago. (NASA/Johns Hopkins University Ap / HANDOUT)
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Scientists still are analyzing the images and observations of Pluto that the New Horizons mission captured in unprecedented detail last July, but they also are looking ahead to an even closer look at a space object with which they are even less familiar.
Known as 2014 MU69, the object is thought to be unchanged since the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. Scientists plan to use the same cameras and other instruments that showed the world a ruddy, textured Pluto to reveal more about the building blocks of the planets, the ripple effects of the sun's energy and the boundaries of space.
The team managing the mission at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel submitted plans last month to NASA to fly past the relatively tiny chunk of icy matter on New Year's Day 2019. If NASA approves it, the extended New Horizon mission could give a close-up view of what has so far only appeared to scientists as a faint dot of light.
"There's no other way to see it," said Kenneth R. Sembach, director of Baltimore's Space Telescope Science Institute, which helped the Hopkins scientists find the object. "Even the largest and most powerful telescopes can't tell us about what those objects are like up close."
The object is in a 300-year orbit around the sun in the Kuiper Belt, a region of space beyond Neptune believed to contain small bodies made largely of ice.
Some of those bodies have been knocked into orbits that take them into the inner solar system (including the likes of Halley's Comet), and that exposure to the sun's heat means they aren't quite as they were billions of years ago. Others, like Pluto, are close enough to Neptune that the planet influences their orbits.
But 2014 MU69 is thought to be part of a third category of Kuiper Belt objects that has remained far from interactions with other bodies. It will be more than 43 times the distance between the Earth and the sun when New Horizons passes.
"These may be the most primitive objects in the solar system," said Hal Weaver, New Horizons project scientist at the Hopkins lab.
Though New Horizons isn't the first NASA mission to venture so far from Earth, technological advancements mean it will likely reveal new discoveries. NASA's Pioneer 10, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 missions passed through the Kuiper Belt decades ago, but none made any close-up observations of objects.
New Horizons has two cameras on board to give a detailed view of 2014 MU69, which it will come four times closer to than the 7,700-mile distance from which it observed Pluto at its closest approach. That is in part because 2014 MU69 is much smaller — probably about 18 miles across, compared with 1,500-mile-wide Pluto.
"You have less real estate to deal with," Weaver said. "If you want to have hundreds of pixels across the surface and the body's only 30 kilometers across, you've got to get pretty close."
But perhaps more illuminating will be data captured by spectrographic instruments that observe radiation to show more about the composition and characteristics of the object. If 2014 MU69 is indeed an untouched remnant of the early solar system, that information could prove groundbreaking.
Other observations about the environment surrounding the object will be richer in detail than ever obtained. Both Voyager spacecrafts are still gathering data from a distance of more than 100 times the space between Earth and the sun, and there is some question whether they are seeing evidence of charged particles from the sun even in interstellar space.
"In the next few years, New Horizons is probably going to enable there to be some better understanding of that, and perhaps some paradigm shifts in how the solar system interacts with interstellar space," said Ralph McNutt, chief scientist in the space department at the Hopkins lab.
The Hopkins team transmitted a series of maneuvers to New Horizons last fall to start guiding the spacecraft toward 2014 MU69, in case the mission is approved. And if it is, more adjustments in its trajectory might be needed. The scientists also have proposed using the Hubble Space Telescope to gather more intelligence on the object, so they can best navigate and time the fly-by.
A panel of scientific experts convened by NASA will consider the extended mission proposal over the coming months. A decision is expected by fall, and the mission, if approved, would begin in 2017, said NASA spokeswoman Laurie Cantillo.
The panel will weigh the proposal "based on the value of the science New Horizons can perform at 2014 MU69 and the health of the spacecraft and its instrument payload, she said. The proposed mission would cost $80 million over five years, on top of the $700 million budget for New Horizons' primary mission.
The Hopkins scientists are optimistic.
The spacecraft is "still working beautifully," Weaver said. Its power source, a single radioisotope thermoelectric generator, is gradually losing power but is expected to last into the 2030s.
If NASA wanted to send another spacecraft to do the proposed observations, it would take a long time to catch up with New Horizons.
"It takes 30 years to put together one of these missions, and it takes 10 years to get out to this region of the solar system," Weaver said. "Nothing else could do this in the next 30 years and probably 50 years."
Quelle: THE BALTIMORE SUN

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1317 Views

Samstag, 7. Mai 2016 - 16:30 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Ex-NASA-Astronauten Tom Jones gibt klares Statement zu UFOs und Astronauten

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Astronaut Tom Jones during one of his three spacewalks on Space Shuttle mission STS-98 in February 2001 which activated the U.S. Destiny Laboratory, the historic scientific centerpiece of the International Space Station.
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Ex-NASA Astronaut Tom Jones ‘Used To Be A Big UFO Fan.’ Not Now.
“I haven’t seen the proof that would satisfy me that there’s really something there.”
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Stories have been told for decades about American astronauts who supposedly have seen unexplained aerial phenomena (as Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton prefers to call UFOs).
But how many astronauts have really reported close encounters with objects that could be verified as actual unknowns? Vanishingly few, it turns out.
Veteran NASA astronaut Tom Jones said he wondered about UFOs long before he joined the space agency.
“I used to be a big UFO fan when I was a teenager, thinking that this was the next great frontier of exploration,” Jones said in a recent interview with The Huffington Post. “I dropped that opinion later on, after not seeing the evidence that I was looking for.”
In his Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine column, “Ask the Astronaut,” Jones answered a recent question about whether he or other astronauts had ever seen UFOs from orbit. He wrote:
Astronauts have not seen any evidence of alien life. Reports of unidentified flying objects in images returned from the shuttle or [space] station have turned out to be ice crystals, drifting orbital debris, lightning flashes, or meteors streaking through the dark atmosphere below. So far, our search for extraterrestrial life — and other civilizations in space — has turned up no proof of alien civilizations.
Jones told HuffPost how, during his 1996 space shuttle mission, there were reports that his crew saw UFOs:
I was on the shuttle Columbia — STS-80 — and even made a blog entry, ‘Did UFOs Visit The Shuttle Columbia?’ Because when we came back from that mission in 1996, NASA got several queries from people who were watching the video — NASA TV back then — and said, ‘Hey, we saw spaceships on the shuttle video. What’s NASA got to say about that?’
Public affairs referred them to me because I was one of the crew members, and I looked at the video and I said, ‘Oh, I know what this is — this is just ice crystals floating along beside the ship for the first couple of days of the flight.’ What looked to some people like a spaceship streaking across the star field, was — to us, looking out the windows — a complete non-event. And yet, it was very significant to people who were watching.
Jones flew on four space shuttle missions over 11 years, culminating with STS-98, in February 2001, as seen in the below video. On that mission, he led three spacewalks to install the U.S. Destiny Laboratory — the historic scientific centerpiece for the International Space Station.
Jones said no contemporary astronaut has ever told him of seeing something unexplained or inexplicable. “Certainly, nothing in the way of spaceships,” he added.
“Now, I’m aware that there have been a couple of astronauts in the past who’ve spoken out and said they know from other people that there’s evidence of UFOs and spaceships that have visited the Earth and that the government might be withholding it.
“They all seem to be secondhand, or they seem to be sightings of things that they’ve seen in orbit that, perhaps, they couldn’t explain at the time. And that’s where the story seems to peter out.”
One of those mentioned by Jones was the late Gordon Cooper, an original Mercury astronaut — one of the famous “Right Stuff” space voyagers. In 1975, Cooper told this writer how, in 1951 (before he became an astronaut), he and several other officers at an Air Force base in Germany witnessed groups of circular objects passing over the base.
“A weatherman spotted some strange objects flying at fairly high altitude and before long, the entire fighter group was out peering through binoculars at these groups of objects coming over in very strange patterns. But unlike fighters, they would almost stop in their forward velocity and change 90 degrees in their flight path. We never could get close enough to pin them down, but they were round in shape and very metallic-looking.
“I’d like to point out that most astronauts are very reluctant to even discuss UFOs due to the great numbers of people who have indiscriminately sold fake stories and forged documents abusing their names and reputations without hesitation,” Cooper said.
Jones said it’s important to be cautious about unusual aerial objects.
“Even from people that I respect, like a couple of very early and famous astronauts, I haven’t seen the proof that would satisfy me that there’s really something there,” he said. “And I think it’s far more likely that people who see unexplained things in the sky, there’s no proof that they’re actually intelligently guided or alien spaceships of any kind.
“Until all these people running around with cellphones and video cameras now can really produce something that’s really grabbing, I don’t think that I should change my mind about it.” 
Quelle: HuffPost

Tags: UFO-Forschung 

1459 Views

Samstag, 7. Mai 2016 - 11:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Galaxygroße Erdnüsse?

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Galaxy-sized peanuts? Astronomers use new imaging software to detect double ‘peanut shell’ galaxy
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Astronomers at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, have discovered an unusually shaped structure in two nearby disc galaxies. The Swinburne team recently developed new imaging software, making it possible to observe the double “peanut shell shape” formed by the distribution of stars bulging from the centres of these galaxies. The results are published in a new paper in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
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The large (peanut shell)-shaped bulge at the centre of the disc galaxy NGC 128. Credit: Sloan Digital Sky Survey / Aladin Sky Atlas / A.Graham, B.Ciambur (Swinburne University of Technology)
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Using data from the Hubble Space Telescope and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the researchers realised that two of the galaxies they were studying – NGC 128 and NGC 2549 – were quite exceptional. They are roughly 200 and 60 million light years away respectively, in the constellations of Pisces and Lynx, and they displayed a peanut shell configuration at two separate layers within the galaxies’ three-dimensional distribution of stars.
 
“Ironically, these peanut-shaped structures are far from peanut-sized,” says Swinburne’s Professor Alister Graham, co-author of the research. “They consist of billions of stars typically spanning up to a quarter of the length of the galaxies.”
 
Although the ‘bulges’ of both galaxies were already known to display a single peanut shell pattern, astronomers had never before observed the fainter second structure in any galaxy.
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A model of the galaxy NGC 128, based on a Hubble Space Telescope image. Credit: B. Ciambur (Swinburne University of Technology)
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“They resemble two peanut shells, with one neatly nested within the other; this is the first time such a phenomenon has been observed,” says Bogdan Ciambur, the PhD student who led the investigation.
 
“We expect the galaxies’ surprising anatomy will provide us with a unique view into their pasts. Deciphering their history can tell us about transformations that galaxies like our own Milky Way might experience.”
 
Astronomers believe that peanut shaped bulges are linked to the bar-shaped distribution of stars that is observed across the centres of many rotating galaxy discs. Each of the two galaxies observed contain two such bars, and it is thought that one way the peanut shaped structures may arise is when these bars of stars bend above and below the galaxy’s central disc.
 
“The instability mechanism may be similar to water running through a garden hose: when the water pressure is low, the hose remains still (stars stay on their usual orbits), but when the pressure is high the hose starts to bend (stellar orbits bend outside of the disc plane),” says Mr Ciambur.
 
“By directly comparing real galaxies with state-of-the-art simulations, we hope to better understand how galaxies evolve,” says Mr Ciambur. “The discovery is exciting because it will enable us to more fully test the growth of bars over time, including their lengths, rotation speeds, and periods of instability.
 
The study may also shed new light on the peanut-shaped bulge of our own Milky Way galaxy, which some astronomers suspect contains two stellar bars.
 
“Thankfully we are too distant from our Galaxy’s bulge to get caught up in the dizzying orbits that lead to these interesting peanut shell patterns,” adds Professor Graham. “However, this is an ideal vantage point to study our Galaxy’s stellar bulge.”
Quelle: The Royal Astronomical Society

Tags: Astronomie 

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Samstag, 7. Mai 2016 - 10:50 Uhr

Astronomie - NASA-Wissenschaftler enthüllt die Geschichte der Staubpartikel von sterbenden Sternen

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NASA scientists are revealing the histories of dust particles from dying stars that roved the Galaxy for millions of years before the sun and planets formed. These stardust grains survived the harsh environment of deep space and were found in meteorites on Earth.
During their journeys, these stardust grains were bombarded in space by high-energy cosmic radiation and shock waves from exploding stars, or supernovae. Scientists in the Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston used state-of-the-art instrumentation to study the histories of these ancient silicate stardust grains.
 A paper on the team’s findings has been published in The Astrophysical Journal.
The coordinated laboratory study of these remnants of stars that were once light years away from us has revealed detailed information on the conditions in stellar atmospheres and in the Galaxy. “These tiny stardust grains reveal incredible details of their parent stars, their journey through the Galaxy and the earliest history of the Solar System. Astrophysics in the laboratory is a powerful complement to the traditional means of studying the cosmos with telescopes,” said co-author Scott Messenger, NASA senior astromaterials and mission scientist.
The isotope signatures and atomic-scale structures were determined for individual grains of stardust that are smaller than 1/1000 of a millimeter in size. The small size of these grains makes these coordinated analyses especially challenging.
The silicate stardust grains were discovered by measuring their exotic isotopic compositions with the use of a high spatial resolution ion probe known as the NanoSIMS 50L. The isotopic compositions of stardust grains were imparted by nuclear reactions deep within the hearts of their parent stars and can be orders of magnitude different from the compositions of grains that formed in the Solar System. In particular, the abundance ratios of different isotopes of oxygen in silicate stardust are diagnostic of the type of star from which they came.
“About 1 in every 5,000 silicate grains from the meteorites we studied was produced by another star before our Solar System formed. After analyzing millions of silicate grains, we identified bona fide silicate stardust from three major dust producers in the Galaxy: red giant stars, explosive supernovae, and novae,” said the leading author, Dr. Ann Nguyen, Jacobs cosmochemist at NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
“The next step was to determine the chemistry and structure of these grains in order to answer questions such as, under what conditions did these grains form? How different were these conditions in stellar outflows compared to more violent stellar explosions? What types of environments did the grains encounter on their journey to our Solar System?”
These questions were addressed by carefully producing cross-sections of 9 silicate stardust grains. These cross-sections were a mere ~70 nanometers thick and were analyzed by co-author Lindsay Keller using another powerful instrument, the transmission electron microscope, or TEM.
“Coordinated analyses of these grains is a powerful approach. The isotopic measurements reveal that these grains originated from very different types of stars. Combining this information with the TEM observations provides us with unique insights into the physical and chemical conditions that existed when the grains formed,” said Keller, NASA planetary scientist.
Many of the silicates were amorphous with a wide range of chemical compositions. The study also uncovered silicate crystals from red giants that likely formed at higher temperatures than the amorphous grains.
Evidence for radiation processing in space was found in two of the stardust grains studied, one from a red giant star and one from a supernova. Both of the grains have the same chemical composition consistent with the mineral enstatite. One grain is completely amorphous while the other retains a crystalline core.
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These transmission electron microscope (TEM) images reveal that one interstellar grain consists of a small crystalline enstatite core within a non-crystalline (amorphous) silicate of similar elemental composition. The ‘bright field’ TEM image on the left shows density contrast, where the thick dark rind surrounding the interstellar grain (circled in red) is a protective platinum strap used for sample preparation. In the ‘dark field’ TEM image on the right, crystalline materials appear bright and amorphous materials are dark. The scale bar is 50 nanometers in length, 50 billionths of a meter.
"The chemical composition of the grains indicates they originally formed as crystals, but these grains later encountered high energy radiation in space sufficient to destroy their crystal structures. Evidence of this radiation exposure is extremely rare in silicate stardust. Most of the stardust grains that we studied seem to have escaped such processing,” said Nguyen.
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Astronomie 

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