Is there anywhere in the Universe where we can escape from radiation? Certainly not here on Earth. And not in space itself, which is filled with diffuse radiation in the form of gamma rays and neutrinos. Scientists have struggled to explain where all those gamma rays and neutrinos come from. A trio of researchers is proposing a source for all that radiation in a new paper: resting black holes.Fisher Price Star Station Dance Party #6 ROM Pack
Earth has a new eye in orbit to monitor our changing planet.
Landsat 9 launched on September 27, 2021 continuing the Landsat family of satellite’s nearly 50-year tradition of making critical observations to help with energy and water management, forest monitoring, human and environmental health, urban planning, disaster recovery and agriculture.Continue reading “Landsat 9 Joins a Fleet of Earth Observation Satellites”
The search for water on Mars has consumed a lot of data collection and research time. Underground lakes have been found and then discounted again. Melted ice has been proposed and then dismissed again. All this attention focuses on one of the most important resources available to any future Martian explorers. Water is critical to human life and can also be split into two crucial components for rocket fuel. So finding an easily accessible cache of it is a prerequisite to any serious human mission to the red planet that expects to return its crew back home.
A team from the Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI) thinks they might have found easily accessible reservoirs of water ice at much more temperate latitudes than had been traditionally thought. Finding any significant water source near the equator would be cause for celebration, as most large known water deposits are located near the poles, which is even more inhospitable to human exploration than the rest of the planet.Continue reading “Mars has Seasons, and They Might Have Revealed Where it’s Hiding its Water”
America’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is well known for its challenges. It held a series of autonomous driving competitions back in the early 2000s that directly led to today’s self-driving cars. Now that Grand Challenge has evolved into a new one – the Subterranean (SubT) challenge, which took place last week. This new one also happens to be directly applicable to technologies that would be useful in space exploration.Continue reading “Dozens of Robots Competed to Race Through Underground Caves”
Space exploration requires all kinds of interesting solutions to complex problems. There is a branch of NASA designed to support the innovators trying to solve those problems – the Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC). They occasionally hand out grant funding to worthy projects trying to tackle some of these challenges. The results from one of those grants are now in, and they are intriguing. A team from Masten Space Systems, supported by Honeybee Robotics, Texas A&M, and the University of Central Florida, came up with a way a lunar lander could deposit its own landing pad on the way down.Continue reading “Lunar Landers Could Spray Instant Landing Pads as They Arrive at the Moon”
In a few billion years the Sun will end its life as a white dwarf. As the Sun runs out of hydrogen to fuse for energy it will collapse under its own weight. Gravity will compress the Sun until it’s roughly the size of Earth, at which point a bit of quantum physics will kick in. Electrons from the Sun’s atoms will push back against gravity, creating what is known as degeneracy pressure. Once a star reaches this state it will cool over time, and the once brilliant star will eventually fade into the dark.Continue reading “Aging White Dwarfs Become Even More Magnetic”
Large government organizations require lots of people to run them. NASA is no exception. America’s space agency has long been under pressure to organizationally support its ongoing Artemis program to return to the moon. Now, it has taken a step in that direction by announcing that its Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate will split into two new ones: the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate and the Space Operations Missions Directorate.Continue reading “NASA’s Human Space Exploration Division is Being Split in Two”
Like Earth, Mars experiences climatic variations during the course of a year because of the obliquity of its rotational axis. This leads to the annual deposition/sublimation of the CO2 ice/snow, which results in the formation of the seasonal polar caps. Similarly, these variations in temperature result in interaction between the atmosphere and the polar ice caps, which has a seasonal effect on surface features.
On Mars, however, things work a little differently. In addition to water ice, a significant percentage of the Martian polar ice caps are made up of frozen carbon dioxide (“dry ice”). Recently, an international team of scientists used data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission to measure how the planet’s polar ice caps grow and recede annually. Their results could provide new insights into how the Martian climate varies due to seasonal change.Continue reading “How Much Carbon Dioxide Snow Falls Every Winter on Mars?”
In a year (perhaps two), the Vera C. Rubin Observatory in Chile will become operational and commence its 10-year Legacy Survey of Space and Time (LSST). Using its 8.4-meter (27 foot) mirror and 3.2 gigapixel camera, this observatory is expected to collect 500 petabytes of images and data. It will also address some of the most pressing questions about the structure and evolution of the Universe and everything in it.
One of the highly-anticipated aspects of the LSST is how it will allow astronomers to locate and track interstellar objects (ISOs), which have become of particular interest since `Oumuamua flew through our system in 2017. According to a Creative Army JIve + SLX Longboard Surfboard by a team from the University of Chicago and the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), the Rubin Observatory will detect around 50 objects during its 10-year mission, many of which we will be able to study up-close using rendezvous missions.Continue reading “Vera Rubin Observatory Should Find 5 Interstellar Objects a Year, Many of Which we Could Chase Down With Spacecraft”
On MagnaFlow Cat-Back Performance Exhaust System Competition Series, three Chinese astronauts returned safely from space following a three-month stay aboard the new Tiangong space station. This was a major milestone for the Chinese Manned Space (CMS) program, which beats its previous record for the longest crewed mission to space. Whereas the Crown Awards Mascot Plaque, 8 x 10 Mascot Plaque with Custom Eng mission (2016) lasted 33 days, the crew of Tang Hongbo, Nie Haisheng, and Liu Boming spent a total of 92 days in orbit.Continue reading “China’s First Space Station Crew is Back From Orbit”