Monday, April 23, 2018

Jim Bridenstine Sworn in as NASA Administrator

Jim Bridenstine, right, is sworn in as the 13th NASA Administrator by Vice President Mike Pence as Bridenstine's family watch, Monday, April 23, 2018 at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky

Jim Bridenstine was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday, April 19, to serve as the agency’s 13th administrator and sworn in by Vice President Mike Pence on April 23. Vice President Pence and newly sworn-in NASA Administrator Bridenstine spoke live with three NASA astronauts on the International Space Station.

Face Recognition for Galaxies: Artificial Intelligence Brings New Tools to Astronomy

A 'deep learning' algorithm trained on images from cosmological simulations is surprisingly successful at classifying real galaxies in Hubble images. Top row: High-resolution images from a computer simulation of a young galaxy going through three phases of evolution (before, during, and after the "blue nugget" phase). Middle row: The same images from the computer simulation of a young galaxy in three phases of evolution as it would appear if observed by the Hubble Space Telescope. Bottom row: Hubble Space Telescope images of distant young galaxies classified by a deep learning algorithm trained to recognize the three phases of galaxy evolution. The width of each image is approximately 100,000 light years. [Image credits for top two rows: Greg Snyder, Space Telescope Science Institute, and Marc Huertas-Company, Paris Observatory. For bottom row: The HST images are from the Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS)

A machine learning method called "deep learning," which has been widely used in face recognition and other image- and speech-recognition applications, has shown promise in helping astronomers analyze images of galaxies and understand how they form and evolve.

Creating Star Stuff on Earth is the Aim of New $7 Million Project

It sounds impossible, but researchers in The University of Texas at Austin’s Department of Astronomy conduct experiments that recreate the physical conditions of stars. To replicate the extreme temperatures and densities of plasma, the stuff inside stars, astronomers Don Winget and Mike Montgomery are leading a team that makes use of Sandia National Laboratories’ Z Machine, the world’s most powerful laboratory generator of X-rays. Credit: Randy Montoya

Astrophysicists will conduct experiments designed to re-create the physical environment inside stars, with a new $7 million grant that the Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration (DOE/NNSA) has awarded to The University of Texas at Austin. This work could help astronomers reduce uncertainties about the sizes and ages of super-dense objects known as white dwarf stars.

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Russian Rokot Launcher to Orbit Sentinel-3B Earth-Observing Satellite on Wednesday

Sentinel-3B being mated with the Rokot adapter. Photo Credit: ESA - S. Corvaja

Russian Rokot launch vehicle is poised to blast off from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome on Wednesday, April 25, tasked with the delivery of European Sentinel-3B Earth-observing satellite. The rocket will blast off from Plesetsk’s Site 133/3 at 17:57 GMT (1:57 p.m. EDT).

Clear as Mud: Desiccation Cracks Help Reveal the Shape of Water on Mars

Old Soaker: Mastcam image of the Old Soaker rock slab taken on Sol 1555. The red-toned bed is covered by ridges that are the remnants of sediment that filled cracks that formed in drying lake in Gale Crater some ~3.5 billion years ago. The slab is about 80 cm across.

As Curiosity rover marches across Mars, the red planet’s watery past comes into clearer focus. In early 2017 scientists announced the discovery of possible desiccation cracks in Gale Crater, which was filled by lakes 3.5 billion years ago. Now, a new study has confirmed that these features are indeed desiccation cracks, and reveals fresh details about Mars' ancient climate.

Atoms May Hum a Tune from Grand Cosmic Symphony

An expanding, ring-shaped cloud of atoms shares several striking features with the early universe. (Credit: E. Edwards/JQI)

Researchers playing with a cloud of ultracold atoms uncovered behavior that bears a striking resemblance to the universe in microcosm. Their work, which forges new connections between atomic physics and the sudden expansion of the early universe, was published April 19 in Physical Review X and featured in Physics.

Hyperspectral Instrument DESIS En Route to International Space Station in 2018

The German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the United States corporation Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE) announcing the completion of the development and manufacturing of the DESIS hardware. From left to right: Pascale Ehrenfreund, Chair of the DLR Executive Board; Jack Ickes, Senior Vice President, Geospatial Solutions and International Manufacturing, TBE; Janice L. Hess, President of Teledyne Brown Engineering and Uwe Knodt, DLR Programme Manager for DESIS. Credit: DLR

The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and the United States corporation Teledyne Brown Engineering (TBE) are announcing the completion of the development and manufacturing process of the DESIS hardware. Operating the DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS) on the International Space Station (ISS) makes DLR the first user of the revolutionary multiplatform system MUSES (Multi User System for Earth Sensing) that was installed on board the ISS in 2017. The launch of the DESIS joint venture is scheduled for summer 2018 from Cape Canaveral and will be lifted into space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.