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Sonntag, 10. Juli 2016 - 22:20 Uhr

Raumfahrt - ISRO setzt auf Aditya-1 Sonnenkorona Experiment 2019

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India sets sight on Sun’s corona experiment
With Nasa tasting success in its Jupiter orbiter Juno mission, India sets its eye on Sun’s corona experiment which is considered as a big scientific experiment in the league of Mars Orbiter Mission, AstroSat and Chandrayaan-1.
Indian scientists are looking at the Sun directly through Aditya-1. Along with the Chandrayaan-2 and Mars Orbiter Mission-2 projects, Aditya-1 will be our important scientific experiment.
Aditya-1 which is also known as corona experiment aims to solve the Solar Mystery. For some reason, the Sun’s corona’s temperature is of 1 to 2 million degrees Celsius and sun’s surface temperature is 5,700 degrees Celsius. The largest layer of Sun’s atmosphere (corona) is hotter than the surface below it and no one is able to know why.
Visible Emission Line Coronagraph (VELC), the main payload for the mission is being built at the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru. The advisory committee for space sciences is keeping tab of the projects.
Jagdev Singh, Principal Investigator, VELC mission, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bengaluru said, the VELC is undergoing various stages of testing.
“We have finished the designing part. The engineering and flight models will be ready in two years. The Sun’s corona experiment can be launched in three year’s time.”
The coronagraph can also predict the space weather and can provide unique and very important information about understanding the heating, dynamics and temperature structure of the solar corona. “Though the project was being discussed from 2006 the works started only in 2010. We are confident of launching it in 2019,” he said. “The experiment will be placed in the Lagrangian point (L1). It is about 1.5 million kilometres from Earth where the gravitational force due to the Earth and the Sun works in the opposite direction and the payload put at that point can see the Sun all the time without any eclipse,” he added.
Some scientists from Isro said the Chandrayaan-2 which will land on the Moon and research will be the next space mission. The project is in the advanced stage, it may be launched in a year’s time, they claimed.
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But India is also looking at our own moon.
“Even now Russia is carrying out moon missions. We are going to land on the moon and as well as Mars in the next missions. These missions are important as our moon and Mars rich in minerals and explored for future human settlements,” he said.
Isro’s Chandrayaan-1 mission had helped to discover the presence of water on the moon.
Using the data collected by Chandrayaan-1, Nasa had detected magmatic water locked under the surface of the moon.
Quelle: The Asian Age

Tags: Raumfahrt 

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Sonntag, 10. Juli 2016 - 18:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Das mysteriöse Astronauten Sicht-Syndrom bei Langzeit-Raumflügen

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In 2005, astronaut John Phillips took a break from his work on the International Space Station and looked out the window at Earth. He was about halfway through a mission that had begun in April and would end in October.
When he gazed down at the planet, the Earth was blurry. He couldn’t focus on it clearly. That was strange — his vision had always been 20/20. He wondered: Was his eyesight getting worse?
“I’m not sure if I reported that to the ground,” he said. “I think I didn’t. I thought it would be something that would just go away, and fix itself when I got to Earth.”
It didn’t go away.
During Phillips’ post-flight physical, NASA found that his vision had gone from 20/20 to 20/100 in six months.
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John Phillips began experiencing sight issues during his time on the International Space Station in 2005, but was reluctant to say anything while in space. (NASA)
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Rigorous testing followed. Phillips got MRIs, retinal scans, neurological tests and a spinal tap. The tests showed that not only had his vision changed, but his eyes had changed as well.
The backs of his eyes had gotten flatter, pushing his retinas forward. He had choroidal folds, which are like stretch marks. His optic nerves were inflamed.
Phillips case became the first widely recognized one of a mysterious syndrome that affects 80 percent of astronauts on long-duration missions in space. The syndrome could interfere with plans for future crewed space missions, including any trips to Mars.
Visual impairment intracranial pressure syndrome (VIIP) is named for the leading theory to explain it. On Earth, gravity pulls bodily fluids down toward the feet. That doesn’t happen in space, and it is thought that extra fluid in the skull increases pressure on the brain and the back of the eye.
At first, NASA thought that Phillips’s was an isolated case. But then researchers found evidence of VIIP in other astronauts. VIIP has now been recognized as a widespread problem, and there has been a struggle to understand its cause — and to study it.
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Before-and-after images of an astronaut’s eyes via spectral domain optical coherence tomography show choroidal folds (marked by arrows), which are similar to stretch marks. (Courtesy North American Neuro-Ophthalmology Society)
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The theory that fluid builds up in the skull during spaceflight hasn’t actually been tested. The only proven methods of measuring intracranial pressure are invasive: the spinal tap or drilling a hole into the skull.
“There’s the risk for infection and just doing the procedure, quite frankly, in space is difficult,” said J.D. Polk, a senior flight surgeon at NASA. “Having to anchor somebody and do a spinal tap in space is not something we would relish.”
Here on Earth, the most similar condition is idiopathic intracranial hypertension (IIH). Patients with this condition also have increased pressure in their heads, and they experience visual changes such as those of the astronauts. Another condition, papilledema, involves optic nerve swelling.
But they are not perfect models for the astronauts’ disorder. “Idiopathic” means that no one knows what causes it. It comes with a deluge of other symptoms, including nausea, dizziness and severe headaches, that astronauts with VIIP do not experience. And the medication for papilledema, optic-nerve swelling, does not work on astronauts with VIIP.
Karina Marshall-Goebel at the Institute of Aerospace Medicine in Germany is trying to study VIIP using a head-down tilt test, in which participants’ bodies are tilted slightly to simulate the fluid shift in space. But Marshall-Goebel said that the test is not ideal. It is still affected by gravity, and researchers cannot keep people tilted for as long as astronauts live in space.
“It’s a unique environment; you can’t replicate it without going into space,” she said. “And you always have to keep that in the back of your head.”
Other researchers are searching for less-invasive ways to assess brain health on Earth and, potentially, in space. Eric Bershad, an intensive-care neurologist at the Baylor College of Medicine, is working on a way to measure brain pressure using an ultrasound test on an eye artery.
Other devices being developed use sound waves and radio waves to attempt to measure the brain at its different access points: the skull, ears and eyes. There is one that estimates brain pressure by pushing on an anesthetized eye until a vein flattens, sort of like stepping on a gardening hose.
“So far, none of the non-invasive technologies are accurate enough to replace the invasive measurement, but I think within the next few years there is a good chance there will be,” Bershad said.
Ross Ethier, a biomedical engineer at Georgia Tech, is using models to simulate what happens in the body when intracranial pressure goes up. He is looking at a potential mechanical solution: a device that could draw fluid back down to the legs in space. It would likely be clunky and uncomfortable, so he would need to know how long a person would have to wear it — two hours a day? Three?
“Right now, there’s a million things you could measure, and you kind of don’t even know where to start,” Ethier said.
Michael Barratt, the former head of NASA’s human research program and a specialist in space medicine, argues for a more radical approach.
Barratt is also an astronaut. While he was on a six-month mission on the space station in 2009, he noticed his vision deteriorating. He and a crewmate, Bob Thirsk, were both medically trained, and they decided to do something about it.
“We’re thinking to ourselves, ‘Are we not physicians?’ ” Barratt said. “So we did ophthalmoscopic exams on one another.” They both found hints of a swollen optic nerve. After NASA sent up more imaging equipment, they discovered the classic VIIP syndrome — the flattening of the eye shape and optic-disc edema — in each other.
Barratt thinks solving the puzzle of VIIP is going to require testing intracranial pressure in space, even if that means an invasive procedure. One option is an intracranial probe that would be surgically implanted months before flight and allow pressure to be measured at different points during spaceflight. It could also answer questions about other potential factors, including heightened carbon dioxide levels and the effect of in-flight exercise.
“This is one of those times I think aggressive science is extremely warranted,” Barratt said.
A study published in April 2015 tested intracranial pressure during a parabolic flight, which achieves zero gravity for around 25 seconds. A team took advantage of scalp implants that four men had for other medical reasons, and measured pressure at all stages of flight. The results showed an initial spike in pressure, but during zero gravity, intracranial pressure went down. It was a confusing result, showing the opposite of what was expected.
Barratt draws parallels to a similar conundrum from the 1990s, when it was unclear how the pressure in the heart was affected by space flight. NASA performed an invasive test, inserting catheters up into the hearts of astronauts. The test showed conclusively that blood pressure in veins close to the heart did not go up. In fact, it went down.
“We took that risk then, purely for science, and now we’re faced with a similar risk decision,” Barratt said. “But in this case it’s not just a science project, it’s a medical issue, which is arguably our number two risk in human spaceflight right now.”
The top risk remains radiation exposure. According to a radiation detector that flew aboard the Mars Curiosity Rover, a human would be exposed to a minimum of .66 sieverts to get to Mars and back — the equivalent of getting a whole body CT scan every five to six days, which would heighten the risk for cancer and other diseases.
Before a human trip to Mars — a journey of six-to-nine months that NASA says it wants to achieve by the 2030s — researchers agree that VIIP must be understood much better.
VIIP could be the first sign of greater dangers to the human body from microgravity. “We’re seeing the visual and neural, ophthalmic manifestations of it,” Barratt said. “I’m fairly certain this is a bit more global than that.”
Richard Williams, the chief health and medical officer at NASA, agrees that what we do not know about VIIP still poses the biggest threat. Ironically, one of the only ways to get more knowledge is spend more time in microgravity. “The longer we stay in space, the more we’re going to learn,” Williams said.
It took about six months back on Earth, but Phillips’s vision did improve a little. It went from 20/100 to 20/50, and it has remained there for the past 11 years. He cannot pass a DMV eye exam without glasses.
But he and other astronauts say that they would not trade their time in space to get back the lost visual acuity. Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria holds the U.S. record for the most time spent doing spacewalks. His longest trip was 215 days, and he called being in microgravity “magical.” He wears contacts with a +2.5 correction.
Phillips now considers himself just another 65-year-old with glasses. But before his trip in 2005, he was always used to being the guy with the best vision, the first one in the car to read a street sign.
“So that era was over,” he said.
Quelle: The Washington Post

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1369 Views

Sonntag, 10. Juli 2016 - 10:15 Uhr

Astronomie - Teenagers an der Keele Universität entdecken möglichen neuen Exoplaneten

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6.07.2016

Twenty four students in years 10, 11 and 12, boys and girls aged 15 to 17, from local schools and colleges came together for the week in the Lennard-Jones building at Keele to work on a research project that aimed to discover exoplanets - planets that orbit other stars - and to characterize eclipsing stellar binary systems.
The highlight of their week at Keele has been the discovery of at least one new strong exoplanetary candidate - a Neptune-sized planet in a 19-day orbit around a Sun-like star.
The potential planet orbits a star, much like the Sun, that is about 800 light-years away in the constellation of Virgo. The star was previously an anonymous object, about 100 times fainter than you could see with the naked eye.
The results of their work are feeding into Keele's ongoing research into exoplanetary systems and binary stars, and some of the discoveries will be followed-up immediately next week by Professor Rob Jeffries [http://www.astro.keele.ac.uk/~rdj], of Keele's Astrophysics group, with spectroscopy at the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope in the Canary Islands.
During this week, Professor Jeffries, Dr. Pierre Maxted and the Astrophysics group at Keele hosted "Project Tatooine."
A key focus of the project was to search for rare examples of "circumbinary exoplanets" - those planets that orbit around a double star, like the fictional Tatooine from the film "Star Wars."
The students carefully examined thousands of light curves: precise measurements of stellar brightness taken every 30 minutes over the course of 75 days by NASA's Kepler satellite observatory.
In teams, they characterized the light curves, identified eclipsing binary systems and searched for the elusive transit signals of orbiting exoplanets. They collated their results, produced a final report and delivered a presentation of their work to each other and the Astrophysics group.
Professor Jeffries said: "The project entailed the students rapidly assimilating a great deal of new knowledge about stellar variability and astrophysical measurements.
They also had to practice and improve many transferable skills: team building, time management, information retrieval, communication and presentation, computing and problem solving. They also had the opportunity to visit the observatory at Keele University."
Quelle: SD
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Update: 10.07.2016
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Teenagers on work experience at Keele University 'discover' new planet

A group of teenagers on work experience at Keele University in Staffordshire may have discovered a new planet.
Twenty four students in years 10, 11 and 12, boys and girls aged 15 to 17, from local schools and colleges came together for the week in the Lennard-Jones building at Keele to work on a research project that aimed to discover exoplanets - planets that orbit other stars - and to characterise eclipsing stellar binary systems.
The highlight of their week at Keele has been the discovery of at least one new strong exoplanetary candidate - a Neptune-sized planet in a 19-day orbit around a sun-like star. The potential planet orbits a star, much like the Sun, that is about 800 light years away in the constellation of  Virgo. The star was previously an anonymous object, about 100 times fainter than you could see with the naked eye.
The results of their work are feeding into Keele's ongoing research into exoplanetary systems and binary stars and some of the discoveries will be followed-up immediately next week by Professor Rob Jeffries, of Keele's Astrophysics group, with spectroscopy at the 2.5-m Isaac Newton Telescope in the Canary Islands.
During this week, Professor Jeffries, Dr Pierre Maxted and the Astrophysics group at Keele hosted "Project Tatooine". A key focus of the project was to search for rare examples of "circumbinary exoplanets" - those planets that orbit around a double star, like the fictional Tatooine from the film "Star Wars".
The students carefully examined thousands of light curves: precise measurements of stellar brighteness taken every 30 minutes over the course of 75 days by NASA's Kepler satellite observatory. In teams, they characterised the light curves, identified eclipsing binary systems and searched for the elusive transit signals of orbiting
exoplanets. They collated their results, produced a final report and delivered a presentation of their work to each other and the Astrophysics group.
Professor Jeffries said: "The project entailed the students rapidly assimilating a great deal of new knowledge about stellar variability and astrophysical measurements. They also had to practise and improve many transferable skills: team building, time management, information retrieval, communication and presentation, computing and problem solving. They also had the opportunity to visit the observatory at Keele University."
The students worked in teams of six to analyse data, and the team who made the discovery consisted of students from Trentham High School, South Cheshire College, Sandbach School and Congleton School.
Josh, 15, who is studying Triple Science at Trentham High School, made the discovery whilst analysing data from thousands of light curves.
He commented: "Its been a fun week, and I've met new people, and you'd never do this anywhere else. And because the information is all public, if I want to, I can now go home and do more research myself, and learn more."
Whilst Josh and his team were working on writing up their discovery, another student also uncovered some promising data. Rob, from Newcastle College, has also found a potential exoplanet candidate, of a similar size and orbit as the initial discovery.
Professor Jeffries added: "We think this is probably another exoplanet candidate. And it's remarkably similar to the first one we found. This one's got an orbital period of about 18 days, and is also about the size of Neptune."
"Many of our astrophysics undergraduate students work on projects associated with data from the Keplar telescope, but also the telescopes that we operate at Keele called superWASP, which is a ground-based experiment which does very similar things, just not with the same precision. So that's very good for finding things the size of Jupiter around these stars, whereas Keplar can pick up things the size of Neptune and even smaller."
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Quelle: Keele University, Staffordshire, UK

Tags: Astronomie 

1489 Views

Sonntag, 10. Juli 2016 - 10:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Gelöst: Das Geheimnis der Marsmonde

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Artist's impression of the giant impact that would have given birth to Phobos and Deimos. The colliding object is about 1/3 the size of Mars—which at the time may have had a thicker atmosphere and water on its surface.
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The aura of mystery surrounding Mars has long been intensified by its curious pair of moons: Phobos and Deimos, whose origins have remained clouded until now.
No planet stirs human imagination quite like Mars. As non-stop land-based missions continue to probe its past and search for possible traces of life, another intrigue—this time high above its skyline—had long baffled scientists: how did Mars end up with its two small moons, Phobos and Deimos, first spotted in 1877? This riddle may have just been solved by a multidisciplinary study combining French, Belgian and Japanese expertise.1
Capture or Impact?
Scientists have long hesitated between two hypotheses. The first suggests that the moons are asteroids like those found in the belt between Jupiter and Mars; but why they should have been trapped around Mars remains unclear. An alternative theory posits that the moons formed from the debris of a collision between Mars and a protoplanet—a planet in the making; here though, uncertainty has hovered over the mechanism producing two small satellites. “A major difficulty has been to explain why a giant impact on Mars would have left two moons so different from our own Moon, a huge single mass, that also formed from Earth undergoing such an impact,” explains planetary scientist Sébastien Charnoz of the IPG,2 who contributed to the new study.
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To shed light on this puzzle, the researchers3 pooled their expertise in astrophysics, planetary science, mathematics and computer science to create complex models running a range of hydrodynamic and numerical simulations able to recreate the sequence of past events. Their findings back up the second hypothesis of an almighty collision while also, for the first time, coherently filling in the gaps to explain how two moons emerged from the crash debris.
A mission is scheduled to bring back samples from Phobos by 2026.
According to the simulations, Mars suffered a colossal impact with a body three times smaller some 4 to 4.5 billion years ago. Debris from the collision initially accumulated into a long disk around Mars, resembling one of Saturn’s rings. Within this disk, an enormous moon a thousand times the mass of Phobos gradually formed—similar to the way in which our Moon amassed from debris created by Earth’s impact.
The tide effect
The new study innovates by identifying the crucial factor differentiating moon formation around Mars and Earth: the planets’ differing rotation speeds, prompting “completely different tidal actions,” explains Charnoz. The scientist indicates that at the time of their respective giant impacts, “Earth took less than 4 hours to spin on its axis whereas Mars rotated very slowly over a 24-hour period.” The upshot of this divergence is that Earth kept a single large moon whereas debris from the Mars collision further collected into a dozen smaller moons alongside a larger companion. Eventually, Martian tide action due to the planet’s slow rotation caused most of the moons, including the largest one, to fall back onto the planet’s surface, leaving only the two most distant ones: Phobos and Deimos. Conversely, the Earth’s fast rotation pushed its moon further away.
In future analyses, the team plans to examine the “long-term dynamics of Phobos and Deimos,” says Charnoz. Fellow team member and planetary scientist Ryuki Hyodo, originally from Kobe University, currently also collaborating with the IPG, adds that “high-resolution impact simulations are still needed to understand more about the disk structure.”
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Diagram showing the six phases of formation of Deimos and Phobos around Mars.
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Another moon "landing"
Even if concrete evidence is still required to confirm the team’s scenario, parallel findings certainly seem to back it up. A recent French study on the orbital and physical properties of the Martian moons points towards their formation from a colossal impact.4 And further plans are underway to gather more conclusive evidence. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has announced a space mission commencing in 2022, with an expected return to Earth in 2026. “Its objective is to carry out close-up remote sensing and in-situ observations of both Phobos and Deimos, and to bring back samples from Phobos,” says Hyodo. The current study’s Franco-Belgian-Japanese collaboration has an exciting role to look forward to in this mission: JAXA will enlist them to conduct tests on the samples to determine whether this moon is indeed composed of a mixture of Martian mantle and debris from the vanished protoplanet as implied by their simulations.
The team’s input thus marks a crucial step towards deciphering the enigma. “More generally, our findings clarify how giant impacts give birth to satellites and can create a diverse variety of satellite systems,” explains Charnoz. Casting attention to other regions of our universe, the planetary scientist anticipates that the team could apply their method to study “Uranus and Neptune and—why not?—systems of satellites around exoplanets that we may identify in the future.”
Footnotes
1. P. Rosenblatt et al., “Accretion of Phobos and Deimos in an extended debris disc stirred by transient moons,” Nature Geoscience, 2016. DOI: 10.1038/NGEO2742.
2. Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (CNRS / Université Paris Diderot).
3. From Université Paris Diderot, Royal Observatory of Belgium, Université de Rennes 1, CNRS and Earth Life Science Institute (Tokyo Institute of Technology), with additional support from IPGP, the Labex UnivEarthS and Kobe University.
4. T. Ronnet et al., “Reconciling the Orbital and Physical Properties of the Martian Moons,” Astrophysical Journal, forthcoming.
Quelle: CNRS

Tags: Astronomie 

1348 Views

Samstag, 9. Juli 2016 - 22:45 Uhr

Astronomie - SETI-Institut fordert neue Optionen auf der Suche nach ET

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MOUNTAIN VIEW – The SETI Institute Director of Research, proposed a broader, multidisciplinary approach to the SETI search, beyond radio and optical modalities, in an article published today in the journal Astrobiology. “Are we alone in the Universe?” is the provocative question that inspires the scientific search for life beyond Earth. Today, we know definitively of only one planet that hosts life, and that is Earth. How can we find life, and in particular, intelligent life beyond our world?

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“Alien Mindscapes – A Perspective on the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence” authored by Nathalie A. Cabrol, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for Research at the SETI Institute, suggests the need for a sea change in the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, where the full complement of physical, biological, computer and social sciences are deployed in a quest to look for life as we do not know it. Cabrol asserts that “To find ET, we must open our minds beyond a deeply-rooted, Earth-centric perspective, expand our research methods and deploy new tools.  Never before has so much data been available in so many scientific disciplines to help us grasp the role of probabilistic events in the development of extraterrestrial intelligence. These data tell us that each world is a unique planetary experiment. Advanced intelligent life is likely plentiful in the universe, but may be very different from us, based on what we now know of the coevolution of life and environment.”
Led by pioneers such as Frank Drake and Jill Tarter, SETI – the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence – commenced in the 1960’s using radio astronomy to listen for signals from ET.  Today, both radio and optical SETI searches seek signals generated by technology similar to ours.  There are compelling reasons to continue with these endeavors, but equally compelling reasons to broaden the search criteria and expand the existing methodologies.
In her paper’s call to action, Cabrol promotes the establishment of a Virtual Institute with participation from the global scientific community.  The new SETI Virtual Institute will integrate our new knowledge to understand who, what, and where ET can be, and step beyond the anthropocentric perspective. New detection strategies generated by this approach will augment our chances of detection by identifying new survey targets. The purpose is to expand the vision and strategies for SETI research and to break through the constraints imposed by imagining ET to be similar to ourselves. This new endeavor will probe the alien landscapes and mindscapes, and expand our understanding of life in the universe.
“The timing is right for SETI research around the world to open a new chapter in its history. The SETI Institute is taking the lead on this new path,” says Bill Diamond, President and CEO of the SETI Institute. “In the coming months, we will invite the US and international research communities to contribute to a new scientific roadmap for SETI. We will explore resources for the development of a Virtual Institute and an intellectual framework for projects focused on the advancement of knowledge on extraterrestrial intelligence.”
About SETI Institute
The SETI Institute is a multi-disciplinary, highly collaborative research organization committed to exploring, understanding, and explaining the origin, nature and prevalence of life in the universe.  It does so with expertise in fields ranging from astrophysics and planetary science to biology and social science, as well as computer science and signal detection.  We have a passion not only for discovery, but also for sharing knowledge as scientific ambassadors to the public, the press, and government.  The SETI Institute is a distinguished partner for government agencies, academic institutions, and corporations around the world.

Tags: Astronomie 

1308 Views

Samstag, 9. Juli 2016 - 22:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Ankunft von ISS-Crew-48 bei Internationalen Space Station am Samstag

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8.07.2016

Three crew members representing the United States, Russia and Japan are on their way to the International Space Station after launching from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 9:36 p.m. EDT Wednesday, July 6 (7:36 a.m. Baikonur time, July 7).
Kate Rubins of NASA, Soyuz Commander Anatoly Ivanishin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos and Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency are traveling in an upgraded Soyuz spacecraft. They’ll spend two days -- and 34 Earth orbits – testing modified systems before docking to the space station’s Rassvet module at 12:12 a.m. EDT Saturday, July 9.
NASA TV coverage of docking will begin at 11:30 p.m. Friday, July 8. Hatches are scheduled to open about 2:50 a.m. Saturday, July 9, with NASA TV coverage starting at 2:30 a.m.
The arrival of Rubins, Ivanishin and Onishi returns the station's crew complement to six. The three will join Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos. The Expedition 48 crew members will spend four months conducting more than 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development.
Rubins, who holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular biology and a doctorate in cancer biology, Ivanishin and Onishi are scheduled to remain aboard the station until late October. Williams, Skripochka and Ovchinin will return to Earth in September.
Expedition 48 crew members are expected to receive and install the station’s first international docking adapter, which will accommodate future arrivals of U.S. commercial crew spacecraft. Scheduled for delivery on SpaceX’s ninth commercial resupply mission (CRS-9) to the station, the new docking port features built-in systems for automated docking and uniform measurements. That means any spacecraft may use the adapters in the future – from NASA’s new crewed and uncrewed spacecraft, developed in partnership with private industry, to international spacecraft yet to be designed. The work by private companies to take on low-Earth orbit missions is expected to free up NASA's resources for future crewed missions into deep space, including the agency’s Journey to Mars, with the Orion crew capsule launching on the Space Launch System rocket.
Investigations arriving on SpaceX CRS-9 in July will test capabilities for sequencing DNA in space, regulating temperatures aboard spacecraft, understanding bone loss, and tracking ships around the world. Other investigations will study how to protect computers from radiation in space and test an efficient, three-dimensional solar cell.
The crew members also are scheduled to receive Orbital ATK’s sixth commercial resupply mission and two Russian Progress resupply flights delivering several tons of food, fuel, supplies and research. A Japanese cargo craft will deliver new lithium-ion batteries to replace the nickel-hydrogen batteries currently used on the station to store electrical energy generated by the station’s solar arrays.
For more than 15 years, humans have been living continuously aboard the International Space Station to advance scientific knowledge and demonstrate new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that also will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. A truly global endeavor, more than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 1,900 research investigations from researchers in more than 95 countries.
Quelle: NASA
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Update: 9.07.2016
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Russian New Soyuz-MS Spacecraft Docks With ISS for First Time

Russian new Soyuz-MS spacecraft for the first time docked with the International Space Station on Saturday, the Russian space agency Roscosmos said.
The docking was carried out in automatic mode, a spokesperson for Roscosmos told RIA Novosti.
Russian cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin, NASA astronaut Kathleen Rubins and Japanese astronaut Takuya Onishi joined the current 48th ISS Expedition of Russian cosmonauts Oleg Skripochka, Aleksey Ovchinin and NASA astronaut Jeffrey Williams.
Soyuz-MS was launched aboard the Soyuz-FG launch vehicle from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 7.
Manufactured by the S.P. Korolev Rocket and Space Corporation Energia, Soyuz-MS is equipped with the advanced navigation and motion control systems, as well as an improved power supply system.
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Quelle: Sputnik
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Hatches Open and Station Crew Grows to Six

The new six-member Expedition 48 crew join each other for well wishes and congratulations from family, friends and mission officials. In front, from left, are the new crew members Kate Rubins, Anatoly Ivanishin and Takuya Onishi. In the back row are Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin and Commander Jeff Williams. Credit: NASA TV
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NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, cosmonaut Anatoly Ivanishin of Roscosmos, and astronaut Takuya Onishi of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) joined their Expedition 48 crew members aboard the International Space Station officially at 2:26 a.m. EDT July 9 when the hatches opened between their Soyuz MS-01 and the space station.
Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams of NASA and Flight Engineers Oleg Skripochka and Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos welcomed the trio aboard their orbital home.
In the coming months, the crewmates are scheduled to receive multiple cargo resupply flights delivering several tons of food, fuel, supplies and research.
SpaceX’s ninth commercial resupply services mission under contract with NASA is scheduled to launch to the space station no earlier than July 18 at 12:45 a.m. Research aboard the Dragon cargo spacecraft will include experiments to test the capabilities for sequencing DNA, understand bone loss, track heart changes in microgravity and regulate temperature aboard spacecraft. The first of two international docking adapters is also headed to station in Dragon’s unpressurized trunk, which will allow commercial spacecraft to dock to the station when transporting astronauts in the near future as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. Williams and Rubins are scheduled to install the adapter during a spacewalk later this summer.
Rubins, Ivanishin and Onishi are scheduled to remain aboard the station until late October. Williams, Skripochka and Ovchinin will return to Earth in September.
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1466 Views

Samstag, 9. Juli 2016 - 09:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - In Russland diskutiert man eine Proton-Trägerrakete Light-Version für 2018 zu entwickeln

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The light modification of Russia’s Proton carrier rocket may be developed in 2018, Khrunichev Space Center Head Andrei Kalinovsky said on Friday.
"We hope, in 2018," he said, responding to a journalists’ question about the possible timeframe of developing a new version of the carrier rocket.
The project is "at the stage of making a decision," the head of the Khrunichev Space Center said.
"We agree the issues at various levels for making a decision, including technical characteristics. It has to be understood that this project is commercial. The required business plan is available," he said, adding that the approval process was under way.
The development of the light version of the Proton carrier rocket was announced in June by State Space Corporation Roscosmos CEO Igor Komarov.
According to him, the developers are set to increase the rocket’s efficiency and cut the cost of bringing a kilogram of payload into outer space.
Russia is currently using only one modification of the Proton carrier rocket - Proton-M, which is referred to heavy-class rockets. In the estimate of Roscosmos, this model will be used for several more years.
Quelle: TASS

Tags: Raumfahrt 

1340 Views

Samstag, 9. Juli 2016 - 09:15 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - Das alte Thema Kornkreise unglücklich aufgewärmt

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Eigentlich war das Thema Kornkreise von Anfang an geklärt, nur von Hardcore-Ufologen ein weiterer Strohhalm gewesen wie die Roswell-Saga und natürlich von der damaligen Esoterik-Szene willkommen aufgenommen. In den letzten Jahren war es wesentlich ruhiger geworden und die tatsächlichen Feld-Künstler haben das Feld verlassen und so kommen solche Mißerfolge heraus wie jetzt in der Schweiz:

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«Diese Aliens haben zu viel Korn getrunken»

Im Thurgau entstand ein Kornkreis. Die Ersteller scheinen in Geometrie nicht in der vordersten Reihe gesessen zu haben. Kreisrund sieht jedenfalls anders aus. 

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Leser-Reporter Toni Stäheli aus Neuwilen TG hat den Kornkreis mit einer Drohne von oben fotografiert. Sein Kommentar dazu: «Diese Aliens müssen zu viel Korn getrunken haben bei der Arbeit!» Der 40-jährige Künstler kann sich keinen Reim drauf machen, wer den Kornkreis so stümperhaft erstellt hat. «Da wurde eindeutig gebastelt.»

Auch eine weitere Leser-Reporterin kann sich nicht erklären, wie das Muster ins Feld kam. «Als ich mit meinem Hund am Mittwoch in der Nähe des Bommer Weihers spazieren war, sah ich plötzlich einen auffällig regelmässigen Kreis in einem Weizenfeld», so die Leser-Reporterin. Sie dachte, dass es sich dabei um einen dieser mysteriösen Kornkreise handeln muss. «Es sah sehr speziell aus.»
Ein Blick vor Ort zeigt: Es ist tatsächlich ein Kornkreis. In der Mitte befindet sich ein Kreis, der dadurch entstand, dass Weizen regelmässig flachgedrückt wurde. Weiter aussen befindet sich ein weiterer kleinerer Kreis mit flachgedrücktem Weizen. Der innere Kreis hat etwa einen Durchmesser von sieben Metern, mit dem Aussenkreis kommen noch einmal rund zwei dazu. 
Der Besitzer des Feldes wohnt in unmittelbarer Nähe. «Ich habe keine Ahnung, wer dafür verantwortlich ist», so der Landwirt. Stören tut ihn der Kornkreis nicht. Er wird nun so bald wie möglich ein Schild am Feld aufstellen, damit allfällige Schaulustige wissen, wo sie durchlaufen. «Sonst trampeln sie mir noch das ganze Feld kaputt.»
Schönster Kornkreis der Schweiz
Kornkreis-Experte Beni Sidler geht davon aus, dass der Kornkreis vom Bommer-Weiher von Menschenhand entstanden ist. «Der Weizen sieht so aus, als habe ihn jemand flachgedrückt», so Sidler. Für seine These spricht auch, dass der Landwirt ein Seil im Kornkreis gefunden hat.
Den letzten Kornkreis, bei dem es mysteriös zu- und hergegangen sein könnte, hat Sidler in Hörhausen im Kanton Thurgau vor rund sieben Jahren erforscht. «Das ist der schönste Kornkreis, den ich je in der Schweiz gesehen habe», sagt Sidler auch heute noch.
Sollte man selbst mal einen Kornkreis entdecken, gibt es laut den Forschern einiges zu beachten. So sollte man zum Beispiel nie quer durch das stehende Getreide marschieren, auch wenn dies teils lange Umwege bedingt. Grundsätzlich gelte, dass man Grund und Boden sowie die Privatsphäre der Bauern stets respektieren solle.
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Die zwei kunstvoll verflochtenen Spiralen haben einen Durchmesser von 120 Metern, das Korn ist auf einer Länge von über 900 Metern gleichmässig umgeknickt. 
«Es ist der schönste Kornkreis, den ich je in der Schweiz gesehen habe», sagt Kornkreisforscher Beni Sidler, der die mysteriösen Zeichen vor Ort ausgemessen hat. Ganz sicher aber, dass es über­natürlich zu und her ging, ist sich Sidler nicht: «Ich habe Spuren von Menschen ge­sehen, etwa abgebrochene Halme.» Hörhausen jedenfalls ist für den Ansturm der Alien-Fans gerüstet: Der schlaue Bauer hat das Feld abgesperrt und ein Kässeli aufgestellt.
Quelle: 20minuten
 



Tags: UFO-Forschung 

1378 Views

Freitag, 8. Juli 2016 - 21:45 Uhr

Mars-Chroniken - Eisig kalte Nächte das ganze Jahr hindurch auf dem Mars

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This map shows the frequency of carbon dioxide frost's presence at sunrise on Mars, as a percentage of days year-round. Carbon dioxide ice more often covers the ground at night in some mid-latitude regions than in polar regions, where it is generally absent for much of summer and fall.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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Some dusty parts of Mars get as cold at night year-round as the planet's poles do in winter, even regions near the equator in summer, according to new NASA findings based on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observations.
The surface in these regions becomes so frigid overnight that an extremely thin layer of carbon dioxide frost appears to form. The frost then vaporizes in the morning. Enough dust covers these regions that their heat-holding capacity is low and so the daily temperature swing is large. Daily volatilization of frost crystals that form among the dust grains may help keep the dust fluffy and so sustain this deep overnight chill.
Carbon dioxide is the main ingredient of Mars' atmosphere. The planet also has large reserves of frozen carbon dioxide buried in the polar ice caps. Seasonal buildup and thawing of carbon dioxide frost at high latitudes on Mars have been studied for years and linked to strange phenomena such as geyser-like eruptions and groove-cutting ice sleds.
Here's what's new knowledge: the presence and extent of transient overnight carbon dioxide frosts, even at middle and low latitudes. Infrared-wavelength observations of dust-covered regions by the Mars Climate Sounder instrument on NASA's Mars Reconnaisance Orbiter not only indicate cold-enough nighttime surface temperatures for carbon dioxide frost to form, they also detect a spectrum signature at night consistent with a trace of frost.
"The temperature gets so low, you start freezing the atmosphere onto the surface," said Sylvain Piqueux of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, lead author of a report on these findings published online by the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. "Once you reach that temperature, you don't get colder, you just accumulate more frost. So even on the polar caps, the surface temperature isn't any colder than what these lower-latitude regions get to overnight."
Three middle- and low-latitude areas in the Tharsis, Arabia and Elysium regions of Mars have nightly temperatures cold enough for carbon dioxide frost year-round or nearly year-round. Each of the three is bigger than Texas. All three are dust-covered to the extent that surface temperatures change much quicker than in areas with exposed-bedrock surfaces.
Piqueux said, "These same regions that are coldest at night are the warmest during the day.  It has to do with the nature of the material -- it's so fluffy. Think of when you're at the beach on a  summer afternoon, where you step on the fine grain sand. You almost burn your foot, it's so hot at the surface, but just below the surface it's not as hot, and if you touch a boulder, it doesn't feel as hot. Then it's the opposite at night: The surface of the sand cools off quickly, while the boulder stays warm." 
Unlike the polar regions, at lower latitudes the atmosphere is warmer than the ground at night. A critical step in understanding just how cold the ground in these areas gets at night was correcting observations of the planet's surface for slightly warmer atmospheric temperatures. Temperatures are determined from orbit by analyzing the infrared radiation oserved at the top of the atmosphere; this includes radiation from both the ground and the atmosphere. The Mars Climate Sounder instrument, by observing both sideways toward the horizon from orbit and downward, can record infrared emissions from a cross-section of the atmosphere, as well as from the planet's surface. Analysis then reveals the true -- colder -- ground temperature.
The same instrument also provides readings at multiple infrared wavelengths, yielding results consistent with the presence of microscopic-scale carbon dioxide frost crystals forming a layer no thicker than a few sheets of paper. 
"If at night you form little frost crystals between the grains of dust on the surface, pushing the grains apart, then the frost crystal becomes a little puff of air in the morning, that might be helping to maintain the fluffiness of the surface," Piqueux said. "You prevent the cementation of grains, the locking together of grains into a more consolidated surface. It's a self-maintaining process: Where you keep the soil fluffy, you maintain the conditions to form frost at night."
"A cycle of carbon dioxide frost that happens every night could be related to other active processes on Mars," said Rich Zurek, JPL's chief Mars scientist. "This agitation of the soil would affect surface physical properties and could have implications for erosive processes and for the exchange of water vapor between the atmosphere and surface."
Many streaks on Martian slopes appear to be slides of dry material, with no liquid involved. The lubrication effect of carbon dioxide frost thawing directly into gas has been linked to such slides where winter frost thaws in spring. Daily frost cycles may have similar effects.
Another type of slope activity on Mars is called recurring slope lineae (RSL). These appear as dark streaks advancing downhill in a warm season, then fade away, then re-appear the next warm season. Hydrated salt has been confirmed at some of these sites, and they are considered the strongest evidence for the possible presence of liquid water on the surface of modern Mars. "Although RSL appear to start on steep, rocky slopes, the realization that overnight carbon dioxide frosts occur even during warm seasons adds another factor to be considered in RSL activity," Zurek said.
The science instruments on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have been examining Mars since 2006. JPL, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington and built the Mars Climate Sounder. Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver built the orbiter and supports its operations. 
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Mars-Chroniken 

1314 Views

Freitag, 8. Juli 2016 - 21:30 Uhr

Mars-Chroniken - Martian Morse Code

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This image of dark dunes on Mars was taken on Feb. 6, 2016, at 15:16 local Mars time by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. These dunes are influenced by local topography. The shape and orientation of dunes can usually tell us about wind direction, but in this image, the dune-forms are very complex, so it’s difficult to know the wind direction. 
However, a circular depression (probably an old and infilled impact crater) has limited the amount of sand available for dune formation and influenced local winds. As a result, the dunes here form distinct dots and dashes. The “dashes” are linear dunes formed by bi-directional winds, which are not traveling parallel to the dune. Instead, the combined effect of winds from two directions at right angles to the dunes, funnels material into a linear shape. The smaller “dots” (called “barchanoid dunes”) occur where there is some interruption to the process forming those linear dunes. This process is not well understood at present and is one motivation for HiRISE to image this area. 
The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.
Quelle: NASA

Tags: Mars-Chroniken 

1326 Views


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