Spy agency gives NASA two spare Hubbles - Achenblog Posted at 09:21 AM ET, 06/05/2012 Jun 05, 2012 01:21 PM EDT TheWashingtonPost What a country! The Hubble being deployed. At The Atlantic, Alexis Madrigal poses a number of questions about this rather startling technology transfer, including: “....if the DOD didn’t need these two birds, which are both better than any civilian telescope, what *do* they have? “....how did this happen? Here’s my semi-informed effort to answer Alexis. I’m told by a government engineer with knowledge of the new instruments that they’re “a successful part of an otherwise failed program on the NRO side.” As for what they else the military/intelligence agencies have up there, well, they have more of these KH-11 Kennan spy satellites that use Hubble-class mirrors. As for how this transfer came about, the answer is, with much effort on the part of NRO and NASA folks. So the story that broke yesterday was really a controlled roll-out by NASA of something that’s been in the works for nearly a year and a half.
NASA new discovery could revolutionize search for life in the universe Source: NASAblueshift via Flickr Caption: NASA new discovery, Kepler-22b (an artist's rendition) A new discovery from NASA could be the best candidate yet for an Earth-like life-bearing world beyond our own solar system, and it's only 600 light-years from our home planet. NASA’s new discovery, named Kepler-22b, shares some crucial similarities with Earth, leading scientists to believe that this newly-discovered planet could be the best chance yet for supporting life. Kepler-22b was spotted by NASA’s Kepler space telescope in its position outside our solar system. “It’s right in the middle of the habitable zone,” said Natalie Batahla, a Kepler scientist. A habitable zone is comprised of the space around a star that life-supporting liquid water could possibly exist in. What excites scientists and researchers beyond Kepler-22b’s position within a Goldilocks zone, are the similarities the planet shares with our own.
Space smells like seared steak, hot metal, astronauts report Astronauts who have gone on spacewalks consistently speak of space's extraordinarily peculiar odor. Skip to next paragraph Subscribe Today to the Monitor Click Here for your FREE 30 DAYS ofThe Christian Science MonitorWeekly Digital Edition Astronaut Greg Chamitoff, aboard the International Space Station 220 miles above Earth, is taking your questions. They can't smell it while they're actually bobbing in it, because the interiors of their space suits just smell plastic-y. Fugitives from the near-vacuum — probably atomic oxygen, among other things — the clinging particles have the acrid aroma of seared steak, hot metal and welding fumes. "It's like something I haven't ever smelled before, but I'll never forget it," NASA astronaut Kevin Ford said from orbit in 2009. But astronauts don't dislike the sharp smell of space, necessarily. The interior of the International Space Station smells a little more mundane.
Big Bang Was Actually a Phase Change: New Theory How did the universe begin? The Big Bang is traditionally envisioned as the moment when an infinitely dense bundle of energy suddenly burst outward, expanding in three spatial directions and gradually cooling down as it did so. Now, a team of physicists says the Big Bang should be modeled as a phase change: the moment when an amorphous, formless universe analogous to liquid water cooled and suddenly crystallized to form four-dimensional space-time, analogous to ice. In the new study, lead author James Quach and colleagues at the University of Melbourne in Australia say the hypothesis can be tested by looking for defects that would have formed in the structure of space-time when the universe crystallized. "Think of the early universe as being like a liquid," Quach said in a statement. If they exist, these cracks should be detectable, the researchers said, because light and other particles would bend or reflect off of them as they trek across the cosmos.
San Rafael boy gets letter from Neil Armstrong shortly before astronaut's death By Janis Mara Marin Independent Journal Posted: 08/28/2012 07:11:26 AM PDT0 Comments|Updated: about a year ago As the world mourns Neil Armstrong, the first astronaut to walk on the moon, an 11-year-old San Rafael boy has a special reason to miss him -- and a message from the astronaut he will always treasure. "Sometimes when I look up at the moon, I wonder if my mom and dad are watching me," wrote Max Boddington, whose mother died in 2005 and his father in 2008. He ended his essay, written two years before Armstrong's death on Saturday: "My dream is to meet Neil Armstrong, the world's Number One space hero." The boy's adoptive mother, Janet Boddington, kept the essay and submitted it to the 2012 Marin County Fair. On Aug. 1 the astronaut, who commanded the Apollo 11 moon landing on July 20, 1969, emailed her back: "Thanks for sharing Max's essay with me," Armstrong wrote. When his mom showed him the email, "I jumped up and down. "We were all just overwhelmed that Mr.
Goddard Multimedia Item 10918 - Galactic Lobes Gamma rays radiate from the Milky Way's center, but where do they come from? Scientists have discovered gigantic structures 25,000 light-years tall ballooning above and below the Milky Way. Within each curved lobe, extremely energetic electrons of unknown origin interact with lower-energy light to generate the gamma rays that define these bubbles. Short URL to This Page: Please give credit for this item to: NASA's Goddard Space Flight CenterImage of Fermi all-sky map, with bubbles outlined courtesy of NASA/GSFC/DOE/Fermi LAT/D.Finkbeiner et al.
Night-Shining Clouds Get Glow from Meteor Smoke Rare and mysterious clouds that are so bright they can be seen at night have mystified people since they were first observed more than a century ago, but scientists have now discovered a key cosmic ingredient for these night-shining clouds: "smoke" from meteors as they burn up in the Earth's atmosphere. Blue-white clouds that eerily glow in the twilight sky are called noctilucent clouds, or NLCs. They typically form about 50 to 53 miles (80 and 85 kilometers) above ground in the atmosphere, at altitudes so high that they reflect light even after the sun has slipped below the horizon. PHOTOS: Transit of Venus Photos From Our Readers In a new study, scientists found that noctilucent clouds have an extraterrestrial link. "We've detected bits of 'meteor smoke' imbedded in noctilucent clouds," James Russell, an atmospheric scientist at Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, said in a statement. PHOTOS: Blue Moon Seen Around the World Smoke from meteors HOWSTUFFWORKS: Clouds A German named T.W.
NASA considers orbital outpost near moon as next big project in Morris, Illinois WASHINGTON (MCT) — Top NASA officials have picked a leading candidate for the agency’s next major mission: construction of an outpost that would send astronauts farther from Earth than they’ve ever been. The “gateway spacecraft” would hover in orbit on the far side of the moon, support a small crew and function as a staging area for future missions to the moon and Mars.... One NASA supporter in Congress — Rep. NASA funding “always has been very precarious,” Posey said. The White House did not respond to a request for comment, and a NASA statement was noncommittal about the outpost. “There are many options — and many routes — being discussed on our way to the Red Planet,” spokesman David Weaver said. A second major concern is astronaut safety. The outpost would be more vulnerable to space radiation because it would be largely beyond the protective shield of Earth’s magnetic field, said scientists with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute.
Origin of Monster Black Hole's Energy Jet Revealed A peek at swirling matter around a giant black hole verifies that it is the source of a monstrous blast of energy thousands of light-years long, researchers say. Bursts of energy known as relativistic jets spew out matter at close to the speed of light. These jets can travel across an entire galaxy, suggesting they can affect the evolution of the galaxy. "For a long time, astronomers have theorized that black holes and the matter swirling around them were responsible for the jets we see in some galaxies, but we've never had a telescope with the resolving power to verify this,"said study lead author Sheperd Doeleman, an astronomer at MIT's Haystack Observatory in Westford, Mass. This views show the simulated event horizon-resolving images for the ultra-relativistic jet launched from the 7 billion solar-mass black hole at the center of the giant elliptical galaxy M87.Credit: Avery E. Black Hole Quiz: How Well Do You Know Nature's Weir... Black holes are so bizarre, they sound unreal.
Incredible Cosmic Spiral Helps Unravel Details of Stellar Evolution | Wired Science Astronomers have spotted a strange spiral of gas and dust winding outward from a giant red star named R Sculptoris. The elderly star, which is about 1,500 light-years from Earth, is in the final stages of its life and is slowly shedding the outer layers of its atmosphere. Intensely high temperatures at the star’s core create a powerful stellar wind that drives these layers out, where they usually accumulate into spectacular objects called planetary nebulas over a few million years. Most small- and medium-sized stars, such as our sun, will undertake this process at the end of their days. Every 20,000 years or so during this stage, the star will undergo a thermal pulse – a 200-year-long thermonuclear convulsion that happens deep in the star’s core. The star will rapidly fuse helium into heavier elements, releasing tons of energy, brightening greatly, and shedding a high-density shell of material. Other scientists are praising the finding. Image: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO)
Spectacular Nebula Photos Captured By Space Telescope's X-Ray Vision Amazing glowing nebulas resembling cosmic candy take center stage in a group of new photos unveiled today (Oct 10) by the science team behind NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory. The pictures are part of a survey the Chandra space telescope is making of nearby planetary nebulas, which are formed when dying stars push off their outer gaseous layers. The first stage of this survey, which includes Chandra observations of 21 of these nebulas, has now been released. Chandra observes the universe in short-wavelength X-ray light. "Planetary nebulae have provided astrophysicists with dying star 'laboratories' for more than a century," Rochester Institute of Technology astronomer Joel Kastner, who led the study, said in a statement. All the nebulas being studied in the survey lie relatively close, astronomically speaking, within 5,000 light-years of Earth. The sun itself is expected to produce a planetary nebula in several billion years.
Surprising New Discovery Made Regarding the Development of a Galaxy The previously held belief had it that most disc galaxies formed more or less into their present shape eight billion years ago, a little more than half of the universe’s estimated age. New data reveals that while Andromeda and the Milky Way have largely settled into a condition where rotation and orderly movement dominates, more distant blue galaxies are more disorderly, still finding their orbital footing, so to speak. Blue galaxies are identifiable by color and are known to be galaxies where stars are forming. The distant blue galaxies being studied in this project have been shown to be slowly developing into orderly, rotating galaxies like our own. The study surveyed all galaxies with emission lines visible enough to reliably track interior motion. The results have contradicted a decades-old presumption that all galaxies must be ordered around rotation in order to hold together, but as we see, some galaxies are still coming into shape billions of years after first forming.
NASA'S PhoneSat Wins 2012 Popular Science Best Of What's New Award WASHINGTON, Nov. 14, 2012 -- /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- NASA's PhoneSat project has won Popular Science's 2012 Best of What's New Award for innovation in aerospace. PhoneSat will demonstrate the ability to launch one of the lowest-cost, easiest-to-build satellites ever flown in space -- capabilities enabled by using off-the-shelf consumer smartphones. (Logo: ) Each year, Popular Science reviews thousands of new products and innovations, and chooses the top 100 winners across 12 categories for its annual Best of What's New issue. To win, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category. All of the winners will be featured in the December special issue of the magazine. NASA's PhoneSat 1.0 satellite has a basic mission goal -- to function in space for a short period of time, sending back digital imagery of Earth and space via its camera, while also sending back information about the satellite's health.