Sunday, May 27, 2018

Why We Won't Get to Mars Without Teamwork

If humanity hopes to make it to Mars anytime soon, we need to understand not just technology, but the psychological dynamic of a small group of astronauts trapped in a confined space for months with no escape, according to a paper published in American Psychologist, the flagship journal of the American Psychological Association.

APEX Takes a Glimpse into the Heart of Darkness

Schematic diagram of the 1.3 mm VLBI observations of Sagittarius A* (Sgr A*) in the Galactic centre, which were performed in 2013.  The insets show possible shapes of the source emission that are consistent with the measurements. For better visualization of the angular dimensions, a white circle of 50 micro-arcseconds in diameter is superimposed on the models. The location of the APEX telescope on the southern hemisphere in Chile now provides longer interferometric baselines, leading to a doubling of the angular resolution in comparison to earlier observations.  This setup enables a spatial resolution of only 3 Schwarzschild radii in Sgr A*. © Eduardo Ros/Thomas Krichbaum (MPIfR)

The 12 m radio telescope APEX in Chile has been outfitted with special equipment including broad bandwidth recorders and a stable hydrogen maser clock for performing joint interferometric observations with other telescopes at wavelengths as short as 1.3 mm and the goal to obtain the ultimate picture of the black hole shadow.

SwRI Scientists Introduce Cosmochemical Model for Pluto Formation

New Horizons not only showed humanity what Pluto looks like, but also provided information on the composition of Pluto’s atmosphere and surface. These maps — assembled using data from the Ralph instrument — indicate regions rich in methane (CH4), nitrogen (N2), carbon monoxide (CO) and water (H2O) ices. Sputnik Planitia shows an especially strong signature of nitrogen near the equator. SwRI scientists combined these data with Rosetta’s comet 67P data to develop a proposed “giant comet” model for Pluto formation. Credit:  Image Courtesy of NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute

Southwest Research Institute scientists integrated NASA’s New Horizons discoveries with data from ESA’s Rosetta mission to develop a new theory about how Pluto may have formed at the edge of our solar system.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Expanded Owens Valley Solar Array Reveals New Insights into Solar Flares' Explosive Energy Releases

EOVSA radio intensity spectrogram of the 2017 September 10 solar flare, with frequency (vertical scale) and time (horizontal scale).

Last September, a massive new region of magnetic field erupted on the Sun’s surface next to an existing sunspot. The powerful collision of magnetic fields produced a series of potent solar flares, causing turbulent space weather conditions at Earth. These were the first flares to be captured, in their moment-by-moment progression, by NJIT’s recently expanded Owens Valley Solar Array (EOVSA).

Take a Virtual Trip to a Strange New World with NASA

With NASA's interactive Exoplanet Exploration website, you can virtually explore an imagined surface of planets that lie outside our solar system. Shown here, the imagined surface of Kepler-186f, an Earth-size planet orbiting a small red star located 492 light-years from Earth. No real photos of Kepler-186f exist. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Are you looking for an exotic destination to visit this summer? Why not take a virtual trip to an Earth-size planet beyond our solar system with NASA's interactive Exoplanet Travel Bureau?

OA-9 Cygnus Cargo Spacecraft Arrives at Space Station

OA-9 Cygnus spacecraft docks with ISS. Credit: Oleg Artemyev

The Orbital ATK Cygnus cargo ship was bolted into place on the International Space Station’s Earth-facing port of the Unity module at 8:13 a.m. EDT on Thursday, May 24. The spacecraft will spend about seven weeks attached to the space station before departing in July. After it leaves the station, the uncrewed spacecraft will deploy several CubeSats before its fiery re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere as it disposes of several tons of trash.

First SKA-Low Prototype Station Completed On Site

A full station of 256 antennas at CSIRO’s Murchison Radio-astronomy Observatory in outback Western Australia. The demonstrator is used to help test and finalise the design of the low frequency antennas for the SKA. Credit: ICRAR/Curtin University

A complete prototype station of antennas for the future SKA-low telescope has been completed and is being tested at the SKA site in Western Australia.