Advertisements

Cosmic Dust Grains Found on City Rooftops for the First Time

getty-paris

Sifting through muck trapped in roof gutters in Paris, Oslo and Berlin yielded 500 tiny particles from the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Cosmic dust raining down from space has been discovered on rooftops in three major cities.

“We’ve known since the 1940s that cosmic dust falls continuously through our atmosphere, but until now we’ve thought that it could not be detected among the millions of terrestrial dust particles, except in the most dust-free environments such as the Antarctic or deep oceans.”

The tiny particles date back to the birth of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago.

Scientists usually collect cosmic dust in the frozen wastes of Antarctica. Now, for the first time, the space debris has been found hidden in city dirt.

“The obvious advantage to this new approach is that it is much easier to source cosmic dust particles if they are in our backyards.”

—  Matthew Genge, Imperial College London

Researchers sifted through 300 kilograms of muck trapped in roof gutters in Paris, Oslo and Berlin. Using magnets to pull out the particles, which contain magnetic minerals, they identified a total of 500 cosmic dust grains. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

[VIDEO] Replay: Incredible Lunar Views From The Japanese Selene Orbiter – Earthrise 

Take a journey across the surface of the moon. See the earth rise and set from the lunar surface.

This video was recorded by the SELENE Lunar Orbiter – images are copyright JAXA / NHK
SELENE , better known in Japan by its nickname Kaguya, was the second Japanese lunar orbiter spacecraft following the Hiten probe]

Produced by the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and the National Space Development Agency (NASDA), the spacecraft was launched on September 14, 2007. After successfully orbiting the Moon for a year and eight months, the main orbiter was instructed to impact on the lunar surface near the crater Gill on June 10, 2009.[2] Read the rest of this entry »


OH YES THEY DID: NASA’s Mars Rover Just Found an ‘Alien Egg’ on Mars

NASA’s Curiosity rover has just found something truly surreal on Mars – a black, shiny object which looks like an alien egg.

The object is actually a metallic meteorite – but that (of course) hasn’t stopped UFO sites from suggesting that the thing might actually hatch.

“Iron meteorites provide records of many different asteroids that broke up, with fragments of their cores ending up on Earth and on Mars.”

Mystery Vault says that the find raises, ‘hopes of finding life on Mars’.

It doesn’t of course – but what NASA scientists call the ‘Egg Rock’ is interesting nonetheless.

Scientists of the Mars Science Laboratory project, which operates the rover, first noticed the odd-looking rock in images taken by Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) at at a site the rover reached by an Oct. 27 drive.

‘The dark, smooth and lustrous aspect of this target, and its sort of spherical shape attracted the attention of some MSL scientists when we received the Mastcam images at the new location,’ said ChemCam team member Pierre-Yves Meslin.

ChemCam found iron, nickel and phosphorus, plus lesser ingredients, in concentrations still being determined through analysis of the spectrum of light produced from dozens of laser pulses at nine spots on the object. Read the rest of this entry »


Ariane 5 on the Launch Pad

nasa

Ariane 5 on the launch pad. Ariane-5 is an ESA launch vehicle, managed by Arianespace at the ELA-3 launch site at the Guiana Space Centre, Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana

source: 


[VIDEO] Happy Thanksgiving, From Space! 

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 45 Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren of NASA send Thanksgiving wishes to all on Earth. The pair also shared their plans for the holiday – including an early sampling of their Thanksgiving Day meal. Kelly is heading into the ninth month of his year-long mission aboard the complex, while Lindgren is wrapping up his flight and preparing for a landing in Kazakhstan in a Soyuz spacecraft Dec. 11.

Astronauts gave thanks and preview their “traditional” space meal in a video greeting from the International Space Station just in time for Thanksgiving.

NASA astronauts Scott Kelly, who is nearing the end of his one-year mission, and Kjell Lindgren took a moment to celebrate the season in a video preview of their Thanksgiving dinner, where they discussed what they’re thankful for and grabbed a few quick bites of their zero-gravity feast.

The two NASA astronauts, along with Japanese astronaut Kimiya Yui, have the day off from their 250-mile-high (400 kilometers) research on Thursday, and will share their Thanksgiving meal with the others aboard the space station: Russian cosmonauts Mikhail Kornienko, Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Volkov.  Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] New Planetary Finds Hailed as Breakthroughs

science-bitch

Georgia McCafferty reports: The two finds, one planet at the edge of our solar system and one just beyond, have both been hailed as major scientific advances.

“One of the goals of astronomy and astrophysics and finding these planets is firstly to really find another Earth. And part of the reason of finding another Earth is that we ultimately do want to find life in the universe. It’s a question that weighs on everyone’s mind.”

Commenting on one of the planets, Brad Tucker, an astronomer from Mount Stromlo Observatory in Canberra, Australia who was not involved in the research, said it “probably gives us the best chance for life outside our solar system right now.”

“One of the goals of astronomy and astrophysics and finding these planets is firstly to really find another Earth,” he added. “And part of the reason of finding another Earth is that we ultimately do want to find life in the universe. It’s a question that weighs on everyone’s mind.”

Lying on the edge of our solar system, a new, rocky planet close to the size of Earth and named GJ 1132b, is the discovery that holds the most potential for finding new life to date, according to astronomers.

The scientists who discovered it it said its small size and proximity — it’s three times closer than any other similar object found orbiting a star — “bodes well for studies of the planet’s atmosphere,” according to their report in the journal, Nature.

“By being able to find evidence of these smaller, more inner planets, these rocky planets that we have in our solar system, we’re really realizing that the planets are probably in the trillions in our galaxy alone.”

“GJ 1132b (is) arguably the most important planet ever found outside the solar system,” Drake Deming, an astronomer at the University of Maryland said in an accompanying letter in the journal. He added that it’s proximity will “allow astronomers to study the planet with unprecedented fidelity.”

“It’s more habitable, it’s less harsh and this gives us a good strong chance of actually finding life or something as opposed to the other Earth-like planets found to date.”

Found moving across a “red dwarf” star that is only a fifth of the size of the world’s sun, the planet has a radius only 16% larger than Earth’s, and has surface temperatures that reach 260 degrees Celsius. Although that’s too hot to retain liquid water or sustain life as we know it, Tucker said it was cool enough to support some of the basic building blocks of life, and possibly support life forms like bacteria. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Crew Celebrating the International Space Station’s 15th Anniversary

In recognition of the 15th anniversary of the arrival of the first Expedition crew to the International Space Station, the six crewmembers currently serving aboard the orbital outpost talked to the media about the fifteen uninterrupted years of human presence aboard the station. Station Commander Scott Kelly and Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren of NASA, Flight Engineers Mikhail Kornienko, Oleg Kononenko and Sergey Volkov of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) and Flight Engineer Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) participated in the news conference.


[VIDEO] HOLY MACKEREL! Cooking in Microgravity with Samantha Cristoforetti: Quinoa Salad & Leek Cream Tortilla

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is currently living on board (Update: Cristoforetti returned to earth in early June) the International Space Station for her long duration mission Futura. Food is an important item in space, also on the psychological side; that’s why astronauts are allowed a certain quantity of the so-called “bonus food” of their choice that reminds them of their home cooking tastes. We asked Samantha to show us how she manages to cook one of her bonus food recipes in microgravity: a quinoa salad with dried tomatoes, mackerel and leek cream, all wrapped in a warm tortilla.


[PHOTO] ‘Buona Notte Dallo Spazio’

CDKCGkwWIAEpQ_m

Good night from .

Samantha Cristoforetti is an Italian European Space Agency astronaut, Italian Air Force pilot and engineer. She is the first Italian woman in space.


Jeffrey Kluger: The Enduring Importance of the Last Man on the Moon

cernan-NASA

A new documentary about astronaut Gene Cernan is far more than the story of one person’s life

Jeffrey Kluger  writes: Real astronauts never say goodbye. At least, not the way you’d think they would before they take off on a mission that could very well kill them. They’re good at the quick wave, the hat tip, the catch-you-on-the-flip-side wink. But the real goodbye—the if I don’t come home here are all the things I always wanted to say to you sort of thing? Not a chance.

“You’re almost too young to know what it means to have your Daddy go to the moon. But one day, you’ll have the feeling of excitement and pride Mommy and Daddy do.”

But Gene Cernan, commander of Apollo 17, tried to split the difference—as a scene in the new documentary The Last Man on the Moon, sweetly captures. Before Cernan headed off for his first trip to the moon, the Apollo 10 orbital mission, which was the final dress rehearsal for the Apollo 11 moon-venuslanding a few months later, he mailed his young daughter Tracy a letter. It was written on the fragile onion skin that was air mail stationery, back in the era when the very idea of air mail carried a whiff of exotic distance.

“Punk, we have lots of camping and horseback riding to do when I get back. I want you to look at the moon, because when you are reading this, Daddy is almost there.”

Cernan was a young man when he wrote the letter in 1969, and is a much older man, at 81, when he returns to it in the film. “You’re almost too young to know what it means to have your Daddy go to the moon,” he reads aloud, “But one day, you’ll have the feeling of excitement and pride Mommy and Daddy do. Punk, we have lots of camping and horseback riding to do when I get back. I want you to look at the moon, because when you are reading this, Daddy is almost there.” If the Navy pilot who once landed jets on carrier decks and twice went to the moon mists up as he reads, if his voice quavers a bit, well what of it?

[Read the full text here, at TIME]

As the title of the movie makes clear, Cernan was the last of the dozen men who set foot on the moon, and the 24 overall who journeyed there. No human being has traveled further into space than low-Earth orbit since Cernan climbed up the ladder of his lunar module in December of 1972, closed the hatch and headed for home. That makes it a very good time for a movie that can serve as equal parts biography, reminiscence and, yes, cultural reprimand for a nation that did a great thing once and has spent a whole lot of time since trying to summon the resolve, the discipline and the political maturity to do something similar again.

“That story, as Cernan and Craig came to agree, would be about the lunar program as a whole and the up-from-the-farm narrative of so many of the men who flew in it, as well as the random currents of fortune that saw some those men make it from terrestrial soil to lunar soil, while others perished in the violent machines that were necessary for them to make those journeys.”

The Last Man on the Moon, which premiered at Austin’s South by Southwest festival in March and was later shown at the Toronto Film Festival, had a long provenance, beginning eight years ago when director Mark Craig, who had read Cernan’s book, requested an interview. Cernan agreed and six months later Craig got back in touch and said he wanted to make a movie based on his memoir.

“My first answer was, ‘Who would be interested in a movie about me?’” Cernan tells TIME. The answer he got impressed him: “This movie is not going to be about you.” It was, instead, going to be about the larger story. Read the rest of this entry »


Hubble Telescope Spots an Emoticon in Outer Space

A smiling lens

In the center of this Hubble Telescope image is the galaxy cluster SDSS J1038+4849 — and it appears to be smiling back at you.

The two orange eyes of the grinning face are actually two distant galaxies, and the peculiar smile was caused by an effect known as strong gravitational lensing….92 more words

 


[VIDEO] GROOMING IN OUTER SPACE: Samantha’s Haircut at Terry’s Space Salon

On the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti gets a haircut from colleague NASA astronaut Terry Virts while cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov assists with the vacuum cleaner, making sure that no hair cuttings float off.

 


[PHOTO] International Space Station Decorated with Christmas Stockings: ESA Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti

Cristoforetti
ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti is in the holiday spirit as the International Space Station is decorated with stockings for each crew member and a tree.


First Espresso in Space

Space-espresso

This Is the First Espresso Machine In Space

The International Space Station is getting a fresh jolt with the first coffee machine aboard the station. The world of instant powdered coffee is giving way in low earth orbit to freshly brewed Italian espresso.

PopMech


Rosetta Probe Directly Discovers Organic Molecules on Comet

Philae-bw
Gautam Naik reports: The probe that landed on the surface of a comet has discovered organic molecules, the most rudimentary building blocks of life, according to the German agency involved in the mission.

“A study of the comet’s organic materials ‘will help us to understand whether organic molecules were brought by comets to the early earth,’ which could have kick-started life here.”

An instrument aboard the Philae lander detected the molecules after “sniffing” the comet’s atmosphere. An organic compound is one whose molecules contain the carbon atom, the basis of life on earth.

“We are very confident that in coming months we’ll get more sun and power and Philae can be reactivated.”

— Stephan Ulamec, Philae lander manager and scientist at the German Aerospace Center

Scientists are analyzing the data to see whether the organic compounds detected by Philae are simple ones—such as methane and methanol—or a more complex species such as amino acids, the building blocks for proteins. A drill on Philae also obtained some material from the comet’s hard surface, but data about organic molecules from that experiment have yet to be fully analyzed. Read the rest of this entry »


Modern Feminism: The Fainting Couch

Fainting-couch


The Probe That Launched a Thousand Shirts

Space scientist Matt Taylor apologized for the shirt he wore during live coverage of the Rosetta mission to land a probe on a comet. VPC

Better not to land a spaceship on a comet than let men wear sexist clothing.

Glenn Reynolds writes: So how are things going for feminism? Well, last week, some feminists took one of the great achievements of human history — landing a probe from Earth on a comet hundreds of millions of miles away — and made it all about the clothes.mt

“…what should have been the greatest day in a man’s life — accomplishing something never before done in the history of humanity — was instead derailed by people with their own axes to grind. “

Yes, that’s right. After years of effort, the European Space Agency’s lander Philae landed on a comet  300 million miles away. At first, people were excited. Then some women noticed that one of the space scientists, Matt Taylor, was wearing a shirt, made for him by a female “close pal,” featuring comic-book depictions of semi-naked women. And suddenly, the triumph of the comet landing was drowned out by shouts of feminist outrage about … what people were wearing. It was one small shirt for a man, one giant leap backward for womankind.

“Whatever feminists say, their true priorities are revealed in what they do, and what they do is, mostly,  man-bashing and special pleading”

The Atlantic’s Rose Eveleth tweeted, “No no women are toooootally welcome in our community, just ask the dude in this shirt.” Astrophysicist Katie Mack commented: “I don’t care what scientists wear. But a shirt featuring women in lingerie isn’t appropriate for a broadcast if you care about women in STEM.” And from there, the online feminist lynch mob took off until Taylor was forced to deliver new-schoola tearful apology on camera.

[Glenn Reynolds‘ book “The New School: How the Information Age Will Save American Education from Itself is available at Amazon]

It seems to me that if you care about women in STEM, maybe you shouldn’t want to communicate the notion that they’re so delicate that they can’t handle pictures of comic-book women. Will we stock our Mars spacecraft with fainting couches?

Not everyone was so censorious. Read the rest of this entry »


NASA: Comet Landing The First Step For Humans To ‘Move Off This Planet’

 NASA-comet

WASHINGTON (CBS TAMPA/AP) – Following the first successful touchdown on a comet by the European Space Agency’s Philae probe, a NASA director expressed his own excitement by declaring it a big step toward “moving off this planet” and “taking” the entire solar system.

“How audacious! How exciting! The solar system is mankind’s — this mission is the first step to take it. It’s ours… It’s these steps that will lead us beyond this planet and on to Mars and out into the solar system.”

The U.S. space agency’s planetary science head, Jim Green, said the successful touchdown on Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko on Wednesday is evidence that the solar system is now in the grasp of wider human exploration, CNET reports. NASA has plans to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, although Elon Musk and Mars One hope to achieve that years earlier. Read the rest of this entry »


Rosetta Spacecraft Lands Robot on a Comet

Philae_touchdown-1

Amanda Wills reports: In one of the biggest space successes in years, a spacecraft named Rosetta landed a refrigerator-sized robot onto a comet.

Operated by the European Space Agency, the mission had a 70% chance of success. If Rosetta was just millimeters off on the drop, it could have resulted in total failure.

comets1-1-762x428

This landing is the main reason Rosetta made the 10-year journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, which is currently orbiting between Mars and Jupiter.

Rosetta deployed Philae early on Wednesday from about 14 miles away from the center of the comet. Philae is now on its own. The descent took about seven hours. The Rosetta team received the signal from Philae around 11 a.m. ET.

How it all went down

If you’re just tuning in, however, here are the highlights:

2:57 a.m ET:

Rosetta and Philae were cleared for separation despite some issues with the active descent system. Its cold gas thruster, which was designed to push the spacecraft onto the comet as harpoons and ice screws lock it to the surface, wasn’t working. Read the rest of this entry »


ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter

The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter module consisting of the spacecraft structure, thermal control and propulsion systems was handed over by OHB System to Thales Alenia Space France at a ceremony held 3 February 2014 in Bremen, Germany.

Comprising two missions that will be launched to Mars in 2016 and 2018, respectively, ExoMars will address the outstanding scientific question of whether life has ever existed on Mars by drilling the surface of the planet and analysing in situ the samples.

Read the rest of this entry »


European Satellite Burns Up During Re-entry

satellite

(CNN) — A 2,000-pound European satellite burned up as it re-entered Earth’s atmosphere early Monday, controllers reported.

Re-entry was made close to 1 a.m. Monday (7 p.m. ET), the European Space Agency said.

“As expected, the satellite disintegrated in the high atmosphere and no damage to property has been reported,” the space agency said.

The Gravity Field and Steady-State Ocean Circulation Explorer — a European Space Agency satellite known shorthand as GOCE — crossed over Siberia, the western Pacific Ocean, the eastern Indian Ocean and Antarctica upon its re-entry.

Read the rest of this entry »


China Steps Up the Space race: Lunar Probe This year

A Chinese Long March 3C rocket launches the unmanned Chang'e 2 lunar probe toward the moon on Oct. 1, 2010 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center. Credit: CALT

Long March 3C rocket launches the unmanned Chang’e 2 lunar probe Oct. 1, 2010 from the Xichang Satellite Launch Center – Credit: CALT

China will launch a lander and rover to the moon by the end of this year, officials announced Wednesday, part of an ambitious plan to return samples from the lunar surface by 2017 and send humans within the next decade.

China will send a rover to the moon by the end of the year, officials announced Wednesday. Though it was originally slated for September, officials are now planning to launch early December 2 local time (December 1 in the US).

“The Chang’e-3 mission makes best use of a plethora of innovative technology. It is an extremely difficult mission that carries great risk,” said Ma Xingrui, head of China’s space exploration body and chief commander of the lunar program. Read the rest of this entry »