Friday, 30 November 2012

Ice Found in Mercury's Polar Regions

New Evidence for Ice on Mercury





Nov. 29, 2012:  New data from NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft suggest that there's enough ice on Mercury to encase the entire US capitol.

"The new data indicate the water ice in Mercury's polar regions, if spread over an area the size of Washington, D.C., would be more than 2 miles thick," said David Lawrence, a MESSENGER participating scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., and lead author of one of three papers describing the findings in the online edition of Science Express.

Ice on Mercury (splash)
Mercury's north pole. Red denotes areas that are in shadow in all images acquired by MESSENGER to date. (The mapping of shadows is still incomplete near the pole.) Yellow shows the locations of bright polar deposits imaged by Earth-based radar. Updated from N. L. Chabot et al., Journal of Geophysical Research, 117, doi: 10.1029/2012JE004172 (2012). [more]

More - Link >>> http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2012/29nov_iceonmercury/

Source: NASA Science News.

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Earth's Auroras: 1st-Ever Hyperspectral Images

First-Ever Hyperspectral Images of Earth's Auroras: New Camera Provides Tantalizing Clues of New Atmospheric Phenomenon

ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2012) — Hoping to expand our understanding of auroras and other fleeting atmospheric events, a team of space-weather researchers designed and built NORUSCA II, a new camera with unprecedented capabilities that can simultaneously image multiple spectral bands, in essence different wavelengths or colors, of light. The camera was tested at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory (KHO) in Svalbard, Norway, where it produced the first-ever hyperspectral images of auroras -- commonly referred to as "the Northern (or Southern) Lights" -- and may already have revealed a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon.


The aurora as seen as a color composite image from the NORUSCA II camera. Three bands were combined to make the image. Each band was assigned a different color -- red, green, and blue -- to enhance the features of the aurora for analysis. (Credit: Optics Express)
Details on the camera and the results from its first images were published November 29 in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express.

More - Link >>> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121129111839.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fspace_time+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Space+%26+Time+News%29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail

Sources: Optical Society of America, ScienceDaily.com .

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Thursday, 29 November 2012

Rocks on Moon: Use to Make Parts w/ 3-D Printer?

Could Astronauts Use a 3-D Printer to Make Parts from Moon Rocks?

ScienceDaily (Nov. 28, 2012) — Imagine landing on the moon or Mars, putting rocks through a 3-D printer and making something useful -- like a needed wrench or replacement part.

Full moon in the darkness of the night sky. It is patterned with a mix of light-tone regions and darker, irregular blotches, and scattered with varying sizes of impact craters, circles surrounded by out-thrown rays of bright ejecta.
Full moon as seen from Earth's northern hemisphere
(Source: Wikipedia org )
 
"It sounds like science fiction, but now it's really possible," says Amit Bandyopadhyay, professor in the School of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University.

More - Link >>> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128093909.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fspace_time+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Space+%26+Time+News%29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail

Sources: Washington State University, ScienceDaily.com .

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Photos: Saturn Monster Storm

Saturn Storm PHOTO: NASA's Cassini Probe Reveals Biggest Twister In Solar System

By: Clara Moskowitz
Published: 11/28/2012 02:09 PM EST on SPACE.com


Amazing new photos from NASA's Cassini probe orbiting Saturn reveal a dizzying glimpse into a monster storm raging on the ringed planet's north pole.

Cassini took the spectacular Saturn storm photos yesterday (Nov. 27) and relayed it back to Earth the same day, mission scientists said in a statement. The pictures reveal a swirling storm reminiscent of the recent Hurricane Sandy that recently plagued our own planet.

Story continues below.
saturn storm

More - Link >>> http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/saturn-storm-photo-cassini-hurricane_n_2206795.html

Sources: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA, Space.com , Huffington Post.

Additional photos of Saturn Storm from NASA:
Link >>> http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/search/?searchbox=saturn+storm

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Wednesday, 28 November 2012

NASA Mars 'Historic' Discovery: Misunderstanding

Self portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity.
Self portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, which arrived at the Red Planet on Aug. 6, 2012.
Andrew Bodrov/360Cities.net/NASA/JPL/Caltech.





















Well, this is a letdown.

Remember last week when we told you about how NASA's Curiosity rover had reportedly sent back some very interesting data from Mars in the form of a soil sample that could be, in the apparent words of one of the mission's leaders, "one for the history books"? Yeah, well, now NASA is saying that all the hype is actually just a giant misunderstanding between the scientist and the NPR reporter who interviewed him—a mistake that was then multiplied many times over by each news outlet (again, including us) who picked up the story.


Here, let's have Mashable, which did the legwork to follow up on the original NPR report, explain (emphasis ours):

The quote heard around the world came shortly after [scientist John] Grotzinger explained that NASA had just received the initial data from Curiosity’s first soil experiment using a new Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, which is capable of identifying organic compounds.
Naturally, the public assumed that this meant Curiosity had discovered a complex organic molecule. But while NASA does have the latest soil samples, the mission team tells Mashable that researchers haven’t determined that particular groundbreaking discovery. ...
What Grotzinger was actually trying to convey is that Curiosity’s data over her entire two-year mission will further our knowledge of Mars more than ever before, making it a historical mission.

More - Link >>> http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2012/11/27/nasa_mars_discovery_misunderstanding_mission_leader_excited_about_entire.html

Source: Slate Magazine Blog: Slatest.

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Former Spy Satellite Telescopes: NASA Considering Uses

How Should NASA Use Former Spy Satellite Telescopes?

Date: 28 November 2012 Time: 07:32 AM ET
Hubble Space Telescope, an icon in space.
The Hubble Space Telescope got one last overhaul in May 2009 by NASA astronauts on the space shuttle Atlantis and has been sending home stunning new photos ever since. Seen here, the iconic space telescope orbits high above the Earth, after it was released at the close of the STS-125 servicing mission to once more gaze deep into the universe.
CREDIT: NASA
NASA is asking scientists for ideas about how best to use two huge space telescopes it received from the United States' spy satellite agency earlier this year.

On Monday (Nov. 26), NASA officially invited researchers to propose uses for the telescopes, which are comparable to the agency's famous Hubble Space Telescope in size and appearance. The best ideas will be presented at a workshop this coming February in Huntsville, Ala., officials said.

"Because there are two telescopes, there is room for projects that span the gamut of the imagination," Michael Moore, a senior program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said in a statement. "They range from simple balloon flights to complex missions in science using new technologies under development and the capabilities available with the International Space Station and our commercial spaceflight partners."

More - Link >>> http://www.space.com/18649-nasa-nro-space-telescopes-ideas.html

Source: Space.com .

NASA News Release:
Link >>> http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/nov/HQ_12-403_Scopes_RFI.html

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Nuclear Power System for Space Travel Tested

Novel Power System for Space Travel Tested

ScienceDaily (Nov. 26, 2012) — A team of researchers, including engineers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, has demonstrated a new concept for a reliable nuclear reactor that could be used on space flights.


John Bounds of Los Alamos National Laboratory's Advanced Nuclear Technology Division makes final adjustments on the DUFF experiment, a demonstration of a simple, robust fission reactor prototype that could be used as a power system for space travel. DUFF is the first demonstration of a space nuclear reactor system to produce electricity in the United States since 1965. (Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Los Alamos National Laboratory)
The research team recently demonstrated the first use of a heat pipe to cool a small nuclear reactor and power a Stirling engine at the Nevada National Security Site's Device Assembly Facility near Las Vegas. The Demonstration Using Flattop Fissions (DUFF) experiment produced 24 watts of electricity. A team of engineers from Los Alamos, the NASA Glenn Research Center and National Security Technologies LLC (NSTec) conducted the experiment.

More - Link >>> http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121126131344.htm?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+sciencedaily%2Fspace_time+%28ScienceDaily%3A+Space+%26+Time+News%29&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy, Los Alamos National Laboratory, ScienceDaily.com .

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1-Year Space Station Flight for US-Russian Crew

US-Russian Crew Picked for One-Year Space Station Flight

Date: 26 November 2012 Time: 07:44 AM ET
Sunlight glints off the International Space Station.
Sunlight glints off the International Space Station with the blue limb of Earth providing a dramatic backdrop in this photo taken by an astronaut on the shuttle Endeavour just before it docked after midnight on Feb. 10, 2010 during the STS-130 mission.
CREDIT: NASA
A veteran NASA space commander and Russian cosmonaut have signed on for the ultimate space voyage: a yearlong trip on the International Space Station.

American astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will launch on the one-year space station flight in spring 2015 and return to Earth in spring 2016, NASA officials announced today (Nov. 26). They will begin their mission training in early 2013.

The mission will help NASA understand how the human body adapts to extremely long space missions, such as voyages around the moon, to an asteroid and ultimately to Mars, NASA officials said.

More - Link >>> http://www.space.com/18616-astronauts-one-year-space-mission.html

Source: Space.com .

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Monday, 26 November 2012

Scientists Lobby For Underground Mars Mission

 

While NASA is busy working on a strategy that would see bits of rock and soil from the Martian surface returned here to Earth, some scientists say that the most intriguing samples from the Red Planet lie in underground caverns.

 

NASA's next move on Mars is geared towards mounting a sample-return mission, which is widely believed to be the best way to look for signs of life there. These signs are more likely to be found in material pulled from the planet's subsurface, so some researchers are hoping that the space agency's first sample-return mission will not be its last.

More - Link >>> http://www.clevelandleader.com/node/19434

Source: The Cleveland Leader.

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Universe Expanding Faster Than After Big Bang

Dark energy » Findings show the force has been a constant part of the universe. 

First Published Nov 26 2012 01:01 am • Updated 1 hour ago
 
The expansion of the universe has been speeding up for the past 5 billion years, but that hasn’t always been the case.

Shortly after the Big Bang—the event scientists believe occurred 13.8 billion years ago that created the universe and everything in it—the universe was expanding at a much slower rate.

"If we think of the universe as a roller coaster, then today we are rushing downhill, gaining speed as we go," Nicolas Busca of the Laboratoire Astroparticule et Cosmologie of the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS), one of the lead authors of the study, said in a statement. "Our new measurement tells us about the time when the universe was climbing the hill—still being slowed by gravity."



Source: The Salt Lake Tribune.


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Sunday, 25 November 2012

SpaceX Plans Mars Colony of 80,000 Settlers

Huge Mars Colony Eyed by SpaceX Founder Elon Musk

Date: 23 November 2012 Time: 07:00 AM ET
SpaceX Dragon Mars
This still from a SpaceX mission concept video shows a Dragon space capsule landing on the surface of Mars. SpaceX's Dragon is a privately built space capsule to carry unmanned payloads, and eventually astronauts, into space.
CREDIT: SpaceX
Elon Musk, the billionaire founder and CEO of the private spaceflight company SpaceX, wants to help establish a Mars colony of up to 80,000 people by ferrying explorers to the Red Planet for perhaps $500,000 a trip.

In Musk's vision, the ambitious Mars settlement program would start with a pioneering group of fewer than 10 people, who would journey to the Red Planet aboard a huge reusable rocket powered by liquid oxygen and methane.

"At Mars, you can start a self-sustaining civilization and grow it into something really big," Musk told an audience at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London on Friday (Nov. 16). Musk was there to talk about his business plans, and to receive the Society’s gold medal for his contribution to the commercialization of space. 

More - Link >>> http://www.space.com/18596-mars-colony-spacex-elon-musk.html

Source: Space.com .

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Russian Solar Physicist Freed From Siberia

Freed scientist finds little change or hope in Russia

File photo of Russian physicist Valentin Danilov standing outside the Krasnoyarsk regional court
File photo of Russian physicist Valentin Danilov standing outside the Krasnoyarsk regional court (Ilya Naymushin Reuters, REUTERS / November 13, 2012)

KRASNOYARSK, Russia (Reuters) - Grey, pale and thin, Valentin Danilov has changed more than the country that jailed him in 2004 for selling state secrets to China.

The 66-year-old Russian physicist, whose face is now criss-crossed with deep wrinkles, could not be blamed for suffering from "deja vu" when he was released on Saturday from a Siberian penal colony on spying charges he says were politically motivated.

President Vladimir Putin, now 60, is back in the Kremlin for a third term, corruption is rife, the unreformed economy is creaking under the weight of its dependence on energy exports, and opponents are still being imprisoned. 

Danilov, whose case human rights activists cite as evidence that Putin uses Russia's weak courts to persecute his enemies, sees little hope of rapid change.

"Nothing has changed," Danilov said in an interview, putting some of the blame on Russia's 142 million people. 


Sources: Reuters Wire Service, Chicago Tribune.

Biography of Valentin Danilov: Link >>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentin_Danilov
(Source: Wikipedia.org )

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* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
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* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
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* Public Transit:
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Saturday, 24 November 2012

New Dwarf Planet Revealed by Occultation

Rare Apparition of Dwarf Planet Makemake Reveals a Largely Airless World

Makemake briefly eclipsed a run-of-the-mill star last year, allowing astronomers to measure the dwarf planet's physical properties

1
Makemake artist's conceptionCLEAR SKIES: An artist's conception of the dwarf planet Makemake depicts the world without a significant atmosphere.Image: ESO/L. Calcada/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)
 
A new look at the dwarf planet Makemake, one of the more recent additions to the known solar system, has pinned down some of the object's most basic—and important—attributes.

Astronomers took to observatories across South America in April 2011 to catch a rare glimpse of the dwarf planet—or at least its shadow—as Makemake (pronounced "mah-kee mah-kee") crossed in front of a faint background star and dimmed the star for about a minute. The duration of the occultation, as such celestial conjunctions are called, allowed the astronomers to more precisely estimate Makemake's physical size. The researchers reported their findings in the November 22 issue of Nature. (Scientific American is part of Nature Publishing Group.)

More - Link >>> http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=makemake-atmosphere-occultation&WT.mc_id=SA_DD_20121123

Source: Scientific American Magazine.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
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Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
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Europe Economy: Science Fund Cuts Could Hurt

Science fund cuts could hurt EU recovery, scientists warn


LONDON | Fri Nov 23, 2012 12:05pm EST
 
(Reuters) - Cutting science funding in the European Union would threaten economic recovery in the bloc, the heads of scientific organisations said on Friday after such cuts were proposed.

"We believe it would be deeply damaging to future economic growth if we were to cut funding now," Andrew Harrison, director general of Grenoble-based neutron research centre the Institut Laue-Langevin, told Reuters.

EU leaders on Friday abandoned talks to find a deal on the bloc's budget for 2014-2020 but European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, who chaired the summit, proposed cuts in a number of areas, including research and innovation, in an effort to reach a deal.



More - Link >>> http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/23/us-eu-budget-science-idUSBRE8AM0N420121123

Source: Reuters Wire Service.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
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Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
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Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
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Friday, 23 November 2012

Earth's 'Hum' Helps Probe Planet's Interior

The Earth's interior.
USGS
The Earth's interior.
 
By
OurAmazingPlanet
updated 11/23/2012 12:29:40 PM ET
 
The global "hum" of the Earth is now helping scientists probe the planet's deep interior, a group of researchers say. 

Since this hum — called seismic noise, which is generated by sources such as storm-driven ocean waves — is detectable everywhere on Earth, it could help scientists analyze the innards of the planet worldwide, investigators added in a new study detailed in the Nov. 23 issue of the journal Science.

More - Link >>> http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/49940778/ns/technology_and_science-science/#.UK_l9VF5Fic

Sources: OurAmazingPlanet.com , NBC News.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
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Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
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* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
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NASA: Federal Employees' Favorite Employer

NASA tops federal employees' list of favorite agencies

Lee Roop | lroop@al.com By Lee Roop | lroop@al.com
on November 23, 2012 at 10:45 AM, updated November 23, 2012 at 1:16 PM







nasalogo  
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- NASA tops this year's survey of federal employees on the top places work in federal government. The agency scored higher than the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Office of Management and Budget among the Top 3. There were no Department of Defense agencies ranked in the top 11.

The federal Office of Personnel Management asked 1.5 million full- and part-time civilian government workers in the spring of 2012 to fill out a survey on job satisfaction. Nearly 700,000 did reply, which is more than any previous response.

More - Link >>> http://blog.al.com/breaking/2012/11/nasa_tops_federal_employees_li.html

Source: The Huntsville Times On-Line.

gaw

Glenn A. Walsh, Project Director,
Friends of the Zeiss < http://friendsofthezeiss.org >
Electronic Mail - < gawalsh@planetarium.cc >
About the Author: < http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#GAW >
SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS, ASTRONOMICAL CALENDAR:
< http://buhlplanetarium.tripod.com/#news >
Twitter: < http://twitter.com/spacewatchtower >
Facebook: < http://www.facebook.com/pages/SpaceWatchtower/238017839577841?sk=wall >
Blog: < http://spacewatchtower.blogspot.com/ >
Author of History Web Sites on the Internet --
* Buhl Planetarium, Pittsburgh:
  < http://www.planetarium.cc >
* Adler Planetarium, Chicago:
  < http://adlerplanetarium.tripod.com >
* Astronomer, Educator, Optician John A. Brashear:
  < http://johnbrashear.tripod.com >
* Andrew Carnegie & Carnegie Libraries:
  < http://www.andrewcarnegie.cc >
* Civil War Museum of Andrew Carnegie Free Library:
  < http://garespypost.tripod.com >
* Duquesne Incline cable-car railway, Pittsburgh:
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* Public Transit:
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