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Solar System News (miscellaneous articles)

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DocM    16,615

I have a strong feeling those NASA guys will have to go through a Mars Customs line in a hab with a big SpaceX logo on it.

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Draggendrop    5,747
14 minutes ago, DocM said:

I have a strong feeling those NASA guys will have to go through a Mars Customs line in a hab with a big SpaceX logo on it.

Yes, those NASA (tourist) astronauts......I am going to photoshop a SpaceX logo, just for fun, on a few posters, for wallpapers.....:shiftyninja:

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Unobscured Vision    2,678
13 hours ago, DocM said:

I have a strong feeling those NASA guys will have to go through a Mars Customs line in a hab with a big SpaceX logo on it.

It'll take a string of M-2100's (Mars-variant of the A-2100) to hold 'em all. Line all the way back to the LZ ... everyone's gonna want to add a tour of Mars to their resume. And I'm sure that SpaceX is gonna get people home too. No way that NASA would allow the trip to be one-stop.

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Jim K    13,750

Earth has a small companion orbiting'ish around it.  Not really, it orbits the sun but Earth's gravity keeps it from getting too far away or too close.

 

Quote

A small asteroid has been discovered in an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth, and it will remain so for centuries to come.

 

As it orbits the sun, this new asteroid, designated 2016 HO3, appears to circle around Earth as well. It is too distant to be considered a true satellite of our planet, but it is the best and most stable example to date of a near-Earth companion, or "quasi-satellite."

 

"Since 2016 HO3 loops around our planet, but never ventures very far away as we both go around the sun, we refer to it as a quasi-satellite of Earth," said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "One other asteroid -- 2003 YN107 -- followed a similar orbital pattern for a while over 10 years ago, but it has since departed our vicinity. This new asteroid is much more locked onto us. Our calculations indicate 2016 HO3 has been a stable quasi-satellite of Earth for almost a century, and it will continue to follow this pattern as Earth's companion for centuries to come."

 

A small asteroid has been discovered in an orbit around the sun that keeps it as a constant companion of Earth, and it will remain so for centuries to come.

As it orbits the sun, this new asteroid, designated 2016 HO3, appears to circle around Earth as well. It is too distant to be considered a true satellite of our planet, but it is the best and most stable example to date of a near-Earth companion, or "quasi-satellite."

 

"Since 2016 HO3 loops around our planet, but never ventures very far away as we both go around the sun, we refer to it as a quasi-satellite of Earth," said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA's Center for Near-Earth Object (NEO) Studies at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "One other asteroid -- 2003 YN107 -- followed a similar orbital pattern for a while over 10 years ago, but it has since departed our vicinity. This new asteroid is much more locked onto us. Our calculations indicate 2016 HO3 has been a stable quasi-satellite of Earth for almost a century, and it will continue to follow this pattern as Earth's companion for centuries to come."

 

In its yearly trek around the sun, asteroid 2016 HO3 spends about half of the time closer to the sun than Earth and passes ahead of our planet, and about half of the time farther away, causing it to fall behind. Its orbit is also tilted a little, causing it to bob up and then down once each year through Earth's orbital plane. In effect, this small asteroid is caught in a game of leap frog with Earth that will last for hundreds of years.

 

The asteroid's orbit also undergoes a slow, back-and-forth twist over multiple decades. "The asteroid's loops around Earth drift a little ahead or behind from year to year, but when they drift too far forward or backward, Earth's gravity is just strong enough to reverse the drift and hold onto the asteroid so that it never wanders farther away than about 100 times the distance of the moon," said Chodas. "The same effect also prevents the asteroid from approaching much closer than about 38 times the distance of the moon. In effect, this small asteroid is caught in a little dance with Earth."

 

Asteroid 2016 HO3 was first spotted on April 27, 2016, by the Pan-STARRS 1 asteroid survey telescope on Haleakala, Hawaii, operated by the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy and funded by NASA'sPlanetary Defense Coordination Office. The size of this object has not yet been firmly established, but it is likely larger than 120 feet (40 meters) and smaller than 300 feet (100 meters).

 

 

More at JPL NASA

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Draggendrop    5,747

Not Guilty

 

pia20485-1041.jpg?itok=QSv1TNL0

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

 

Quote

A bright disruption in Saturn's narrow F ring suggests it may have been disturbed recently. This feature was mostly likely not caused by Pandora (50 miles or 81 kilometers across) which lurks nearby, at lower right. More likely, it was created by the interaction of a small object embedded in the ring itself and material in the core of the ring. Scientists sometimes refer to these features as "jets."

 

Because these bodies are small and embedded in the F ring itself, they are difficult to spot at the resolution available to NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Instead, their handiwork reveals their presence, and scientists use the Cassini spacecraft to study these stealthy sculptors of the F ring.

 

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 15 above the ring plane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on April 8, 2016.

 

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.4 million miles (2.2 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 105 degrees. Image scale is 8 miles (13 kilometers) per pixel.

 

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

http://www.nasa.gov/image-feature/jpl/pia20485/not-guilty

 

----------------

 

'Mysterious Object' May Be First 'Extinct' Meteorite

 

meteorites1.jpg?interpolation=lanczos-no

A newly found fossil meteorite is of a kind different than any ever found, suggesting it may come from a parent asteroid consumed by collisions whose fragments no longer fall to Earth.
Credit: Birger Schmitz

 

Quote

A newly uncovered meteorite may be the first-ever "extinct" meteorite — a member of a class of meteorite that no longer falls to Earth. The ancient rock may yield insights on a cosmic impact that created most of the meteorites that now crash on Earth, and which may have influenced the evolution of life on Earth, researchers said.

 

The most common meteorites on Earth, which make up about 85 percent of the rocks that fall onto this planet from space, are known as ordinary chondrites. Chondrites are made up of tiny round pellets known as chondrules, which form when molten mineral droplets quickly cool in space. These stony meteorites are thought to come from similarly rocky asteroids. [Photos: Rare Meteorite Found in Minnesota]

 

The most common kind of ordinary chondrite is known as the L-type, which makes up about 47 percent of those rocks. Previous research on meteorites embedded in ancient marine limestone revealed that about 470 million years ago, there was an at least hundredfold rise in the number of L-type chondrites that crashed onto Earth. This suggested that the parent asteroid of all the L-type chondrites experienced a major collision with another asteroid at about that time.

 

This cosmic impact occurred during the Ordovician Period, when major changes in Earth's marine animal diversity occurred, such as the first appearance of coral reefs. A better understanding of this extraterrestrial collision could shed light on astronomical disturbances that might have influenced Earth, said study lead author Birger Schmitz, a geologist at Lund University in Sweden.

 

meteorites2.jpg?1465922959?interpolation

More than 100 fossil meteorites embedded in marine limestone have been found in Sweden's Thorsberg quarry. The meteorites fell to Earth around 470 million years ago after asteroids smashed into one another.
Credit: Birger Schmitz

 

Quote

"The single meteorite that we found on the Ordovician seafloor is of a type that we do not know of from today's world," Schmitz told Space.com.  "This hints that the types of meteorites that fell on Earth in the ancient past were very different than those falling today."

 

Quote

The newfound meteorite is a rock about 3.15 inches (8 centimeters) long that is about 470 million years old. It was unearthed in Thorsberg quarry near the Swedish village Österplana alongside more than 100 L-type chondrites of similar age.

 

The meteorite possesses grains of crystals known as spinels that are very different from those found in all other known meteorites. Further analysis of the strange meteorite found that its ratio of chromium to oxygen isotopes is unlike any seen from known meteorite types.

 

Quote

Schmitz and his colleagues measured how long the newfound meteorite had been exposed to cosmic rays, a dating technique called cosmic ray exposure, and they found that the impacts that gave birth to the meteorite, now named Österplana, or Öst 65, and to the L-type chondrites found with Öst 65 both occurred about 1 million years before all these meteorites crashed on Earth. This suggests that the impact that formed Öst 65 was the same one that destroyed the parent of the L-type chondrites, the scientists said.

 

The researchers said the parent asteroid of Öst 65 may have been almost destroyed during its collision with the progenitor of the L-type chondrites, which could explain why this kind of meteorite was previously not discovered on Earth.

 

"This is the first documented example of an extinct meteorite — that is, a type of meteorite that no longer falls on Earth today," Schmitz said. "We knew of extinct animals, and it has been speculated that there is something like extinct meteorites, but this is the first one found."

 

The findings suggest that the meteorites largely found on Earth today may not give a full picture of the kinds of bodies in the asteroid belt more than 500 million years ago, or in the nebula cloud of gas and dust that gave birth to the solar system about 4.6 billion years ago.

http://www.space.com/33163-first-extinct-meteorite-discovered.html

 

Abstract

A new type of solar-system material recovered from Ordovician marine limestone

http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2016/160614/ncomms11851/full/ncomms11851.html

 

:)

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Jim K    13,750

Can you spot it?  Do you know what it is?

 

0BdO35w.jpg

 

 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,678

Curiosity Rover. :) 

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Draggendrop    5,747

I am having trouble with this one, for a quick answer, no reference for location.

 

Will assume this is an MRO image, enhanced color.

 

Not Beagle 2, it's in 3 pcs.

Viking 1 or 2.....appears to be wrong shape

Pathfinder (Sojourner)...too small for this size on image.

Phoenix Lander...octagon solar panels...fits shape

Spirit....wrong shape

Opportunity...wrong shape

Curiosity.....wrong shape

Mars 2....almost the right shape

Mars 6.....no debris shown

 

quick guess would be the Phoenix.....:s

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Jim K    13,750
57 minutes ago, Draggendrop said:

I am having trouble with this one, for a quick answer, no reference for location.

 

Will assume this is an MRO image, enhanced color.

 

Not Beagle 2, it's in 3 pcs.

Viking 1 or 2.....appears to be wrong shape

Pathfinder (Sojourner)...too small for this size on image.

Phoenix Lander...octagon solar panels...fits shape

Spirit....wrong shape

Opportunity...wrong shape

Curiosity.....wrong shape

Mars 2....almost the right shape

Mars 6.....no debris shown

 

quick guess would be the Phoenix.....:s

Nice little rundown ... :)

 

It is the Curiosity on the Naukluft Plateau.  Image was acquired by the HiRISE on the MRO.
 

Quote

HiRISE periodically acquires images of the two working rovers on Mars, Opportunity (Mars Exploration Rover) and Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory). Although earlier pictures are generally sufficient for mapping the terrain and topography, new images allow scientists and engineers to study rover tracks and their covering with dust over time. 

 

The ability to keep track of the rovers' progress and seeing their current location on Mars in the HiRISE images is of great interest to the public. In the case of Curiosity, new images allow the tracking of active sand dunes currently in the vicinity of the rover. This dune field, informally named the “ Bagnold Dunes” after the pioneering British aeolian scientist Ralph Bagnold (1896-1990), has recently been investigated by Curiosity.

Curiosity is currently located on the Naukluft Plateau just north of the Bagnold Dune field. Its position was captured by HiRISE on 25 March 2016 (MSL Sol 1291. Views from the surface at this location are available here and here.) The rover is within sandstone outcrops informally named the “Stimson Formation.” There are no obvious rover tracks in the HiRISE views indicating that this bedrock contains little dust that otherwise could be disturbed by the rover wheels as has been seen earlier in Curiosity's traverse.

More (and much higher resolution images) at HiRISE

 

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Jim K    13,750

Neat shot of Jupiter in preparation for Juno's arrival on the 4th.  

 

eso1623a.jpg

Quote

 

In preparation for the imminent arrival of NASA’s Juno spacecraft, astronomers have used ESO’s Very Large Telescope to obtain spectacular new infrared images of Jupiter. They are part of a campaign to create high-resolution maps of the giant planet. These observations will inform the work to be undertaken by Juno over the coming months, helping astronomers to better understand the gas giant ahead of Juno’s close encounter.

 

A team led by Leigh Fletcher of the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom are presenting new images of Jupiter at the UK’s Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting in Nottingham. Obtained with the VISIR instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope, the new images are part of a focused effort to improve understanding of Jupiter’s atmosphere prior to the arrival of NASA’s Juno spacecraft [1] in July this year.

 

The campaign has involved the use of several telescopes based in Hawaii and Chile, as well as contributions from amateur astronomers around the world. The maps do not just give snapshots of the planet, they also reveal how Jupiter’s atmosphere has been shifting and changing in the months prior to Juno’s arrival.

 

The Juno spacecraft was launched in 2011, and has traveled nearly 3000 million kilometers to reach the Jovian system. Spacecraft can collect data free from the limitations affecting telescopes on Earth so with that in mind, it might seem surprising that this ground-based campaign was considered so important.

 

Leigh Fletcher describes the significance of this research in preparing for Juno’s arrival: “These maps will help set the scene for what Juno will witness in the coming months. Observations at different wavelengths across the infrared spectrum allow us to piece together a three-dimensional picture of how energy and material are transported upwards through the atmosphere.”

 

/snip

 

Bolded something peculiar with their write up ... "3000 million km" ... vs just writing 3 billion km. :) 

 

Anyway, more at European Southern Observatory

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

ref above displacement term...

 

You will see terms expressed in this way, that the layperson will have a better understanding when relating to an everyday term, here being kilometers.

It would be even more difficult to express in scientific notation, proper, in lieu of metric 3 place groupings, where not everyone is familiar with main metric placeholders.

 

Hence, big as a football field, twice across America, to the moon and back, values common to most and a size comparison image even helps understanding.

 

At the same time, this exaggerated use of terms can artificially make a distance, velocity, cost, mass appear longer, shorter, cheaper, when in reality, it may not be so, just the way one perceives it.

 

Capt. Obvious signing off.....:woot:

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Draggendrop    5,747

@jjkusaf   Congrats, very happy to see you get the blue...well done.   :D

 

Dwarf Planet Makemake Has A Moon

 

oomakemake-system.jpg

Makemake and Moon            credit SWRI

 

Quote

A Southwest Research Institute-led team has discovered an elusive, dark moon orbiting Makemake, one of the "big four" dwarf planets populating the Kuiper Belt region at the edge of our solar system.

 

The findings are detailed in the paper "Discovery of a Makemakean Moon," published in the June 27 issue of Astrophysical Journal Letters.

"Makemake's moon proves that there are still wild things waiting to be discovered, even in places people have already looked," said Dr. Alex Parker, lead author of the paper and the SwRI astronomer credited with discovering the satellite. Parker spotted a faint point of light close to the dwarf planet using data from Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3. "Makemake's moon -- nicknamed MK2 -- is very dark, 1,300 times fainter than the dwarf planet."

 

A nearly edge-on orbital configuration helped it evade detection, placing it deep within the glare of the icy dwarf during a substantial fraction of its orbit. Makemake is one of the largest and brightest known Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs), second only to Pluto. The moon is likely less than 100 miles wide while its parent dwarf planet is about 870 miles across. Discovered in 2005, Makemake is shaped like football and sheathed in frozen methane.

 

"With a moon, we can calculate Makemake's mass and density," Parker said. "We can contrast the orbits and properties of the parent dwarf and its moon, to understand the origin and history of the system. We can compare Makemake and its moon to other systems, and broaden our understanding of the processes that shaped the evolution of our solar system."

 

With the discovery of MK2, all four of the currently designated dwarf planets are known to host one or more satellites. The fact that Makemake's satellite went unseen despite previous searches suggests that other large KBOs may host hidden moons.

 

Prior to this discovery, the lack of a satellite for Makemake suggested that it had escaped a past giant impact. Now, scientists will be looking at its density to determine if it was formed by a giant collision or if it was grabbed by the parent dwarf's gravity. The apparent ubiquity of moons orbiting KBO dwarf planets supports the idea that giant collisions are a near-universal fixture in the histories of these distant worlds.

http://spaceref.com/pluto/dwarf-planet-makemake-has-a-moon.html

 

SwRI's Parker discovers moon over Makemake in the Kuiper Belt

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-06/sri-spd062716.php

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Jim K    13,750

Not any new updates ... just thought this was too neat not to share.  Full screen is a must. :) 

 

 

Quote

Travel along with the Voyager spacecrafts as they traverse the solar system on their planetary expedition spanning over three decades.

A film by - Santiago Menghini

santiagomenghini.com/voyagers

 

This film showcases the images and sounds of the solar system through the real photographs and plasma frequencies received by the voyager crafts.

 

Featuring
The Golden Record - Murmurs of Earth: The Voyager Interstellar Record
Containing the sounds, music, & images of earth
by
Carl Sagan, F.D. Drake, Ann Druyan, Timothy Ferris, Jon Lomberg, and Linda Salzan.

 

Visuals, Edit, & Sound by Santiago Menghini
Sound Design by Pascal Plante
Sound Mix by Giuliu Wehrli
Jimmy Carter (voice) by Dave Callaway
Voyager 3D Model by Andrew Simonenko

 

Visuals Created with the use of photographs and textures from:
NASA/JPL, NASA/CICLOPS, NASA/GODDARD Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio, ESA, U.S. Geological Survey, Bjorn Jonsson, & Other unknown online sources.

 

The film is a tribute to the voyager missions.

 

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Jim K    13,750

 

Nothing like a "little" Aurora on Jupiter.

 

Quote

Jupiter boasts some of the most spectacular auroras in the solar system—vast, super-energetic fields of light that are permanently on display and bigger than planet Earth.

 

Lately, scientists say, the Jovian lights have been even more magnificent than usual. Researchers are matching up ultraviolet imagery taken by the Hubble telescope with data from spacecraft Juno, which is set to enter Jupiter’s orbit next week. Their goal is to better understand how the solar wind affects the planet’s auroras.

 

“These auroras are very dramatic and among the most active I have ever seen,” said Jonathan Nichols, an astronomist at the University of Leicester, in a statement on Thursday. “It almost seems as if Jupiter is throwing a firework party for the imminent arrival of Juno.”

 

/snip

 

More at The Atlantic

 

 

Quote

jupiter.jpg

Solar storms are triggering X-ray auroras on Jupiter that are about eight times brighter than normal over a large area of the planet and hundreds of times more energetic than Earth’s "northern lights," according to a new study using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. This result is the first time that Jupiter's auroras have been studied in X-ray light when a giant solar storm arrived at the planet.

 

The Sun constantly ejects streams of particles into space in the solar wind. Sometimes, giant storms, known as coronal mass ejections (CMEs), erupt and the winds become much stronger. These events compress Jupiter's magnetosphere, the region of space controlled by Jupiter's magnetic field, shifting its boundary with the solar wind inward by more than a million miles. This new study found that the interaction at the boundary triggers the X-rays in Jupiter's auroras, which cover an area bigger than the surface of the Earth.

 

These composite images show Jupiter and its aurora during and after a CME's arrival at Jupiter in October 2011. In these images, X-ray data from Chandra (purple) have been overlaid on an optical image from the Hubble Space Telescope. The left-hand panel reveals the X-ray activity when the CME reached Jupiter, and the right-hand side is the view two days later after the CME subsided. The impact of the CME on Jupiter's aurora was tracked by monitoring the X-rays emitted during two 11-hour observations. The scientists used that data to pinpoint the source of the X-ray activity and identify areas to investigate further at different time points. They plan to find out how the X-rays form by collecting data on Jupiter's magnetic field, magnetosphere and aurora using Chandra and ESA’s XMM-Newton.

 

NASA

 

Edit:

 

A new video has been posted

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Happy 4th of July.......

 

Thought this one is timeless......

 

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

An Interesting Unnamed Large Crater On Mars

 

oonameless.jpg

Unnamed crater   ESA

 

Quote

This striking perspective view from ESA's Mars Express shows an unnamed but eye-catching impact crater on Mars.

 

This region sits south-west of a dark plain named Mare Serpentis (literally 'the sea of serpents'), which in turn is located in Noachis Terra (literally 'the land of Noah').

 

Noachis Terra is one of the oldest known regions on the Red Planet, dating back at least 3.9 billion years-- in fact, the earliest martian era, the Noachian epoch, is named after it. Noachis Terra is representative of ancient Mars' surface, which is characteristically peppered with craters that have been preserved for billions of years, although many have degraded over time.

 

The crater visible on the top right of this image is around 4 km deep and 50 km in diameter. At its very centre is a small depression known as a central pit. These are common in craters on rocky worlds throughout the Solar System, especially on Mars, and are thought to form as icy material explosively vaporises and turns to gas in the heat of the initial crater-forming collision.

 

The outer walls around the crater are slightly raised above its surroundings. These stacked deposits may have formed during the impact that carved out the crater itself. As a rocky impactor slammed into the surface of Mars it likely compacted the loose and powdery material -- small-grained dust and soil dubbed 'regolith' -- to form a small plateau that has stood the test of time.

 

Just within the crater walls are channels and valleys threading and weaving down the inner slope -- these are thought to have been carved and sculpted by running water. This water, locked up within the soil as groundwater and ice, would have melted as the Sun illuminated the crater walls, driving fluvial erosion processes and sketching thin lines down towards the centre of the crater.

 

This image was created using data from the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera's stereo channels (resulting in this oblique perspective) as well as its colour and nadir channels (creating the colour). The data were obtained on 29 July 2015 during orbit 14680. The resolution is approximately 14 m per pixel and the image is centred at 37° East and 35° South.

 

The image is a perspective view from a series that includes a colour nadir view, a colour-coded digital terrain model and a 3d anaglyph.

http://spaceref.com/mars/an-interesting-unnamed-large-crater-on-mars.html

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Draggendrop    5,747

This one is very special, to me.....

 

July 20, 1976: Landing on the red planet

 

Quote

Today marks the 40th anniversary — July 20, 1976 — of the first U.S. robotic landing on another planet by the Viking 1 spacecraft on Mars.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/07/20/july-20-1976-landing-on-the-red-planet/

 

Viking I Lands on Mars, ABC News, July 20, 1976

video is 3:18 min.   (Carl is in this one)

 

 

 

---------------------

 

Viking Remembered: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the First Search for Life on Mars

 

1468347884777.gif

Iconic painting of a Viking lander on Mars, prior to launch. The sampling arm reaches into the foreground. Image Credit: Charles Bennett/Lockheed Martin (Martin Marietta)

 

Quote

July 20, 1976, will be forever remembered by space enthusiasts. On that day, Viking 1 became the first U.S. spacecraft to land on another planet—in this case, Mars (the USSR Venera 9 spacecraft landed on Venus in 1975). That lander, and Viking 2 which followed it Sept. 3, 1976, paved the way for more complex missions later on, which would begin to finally unlock some of the secrets of the mysterious Red Planet. The two Viking landers, and their counterpart orbiters, were genuine trailblazers, opening up the vast Martian landscape to robotic and human eyes for the first time.


Viking 1 landed in the Chryse Planitia region, while Viking 2 landed much farther away in Utopia Planitia. The two landers were a joint project of NASA, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Langley Research Center, and Lockheed Martin (Martin Marietta at the time before the merger with Lockheed Corporation in 1995). Their mission was a relatively simple-sounding one: to search for evidence of life on Mars. It was a bold move, and no one knew if it would pay off. Nothing like it had been attempted before, and trying to answer such a huge question the first time landing somewhere was no small feat, especially since there were still so many unknowns about the planet. Scientists had a general understanding of the surface conditions, but there were still many questions to be answered, and surprises to be discovered.

 

The first accomplishment of course had to be to land safely. As with all such landings, the several minutes during the landing sequence are a nail-biting time for engineers and scientists alike. Something could easily go wrong, but fortunately for the Viking team, it didn’t.

much more at the link...

http://www.americaspace.com/?p=94492

 

 

151106main_image_feature_599_ys_full-600

Carl Sagan posing with a model of the Viking 1 lander in Death Valley, Calif. Photo Credit: NASA

 

 

viking-lander-600x442.jpg

Diagram of the Viking landers (both identical). Image Credit: NASA

 

 

1468348428976-600x214.png

The first image sent back by Viking 1 of the surface of Mars. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

first-panoramic-view-from-the-surface-of

Panoramic view of the terrain in Chryse Planitia at the Viking 1 landing site. Photo Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

-------------------------------

 

NASA's Viking Data Lives on, Inspires 40 Years Later

 

Quote

<snip>

 

NASA's Deep Archives


David Williams is the planetary curation scientist for the NASA Space Science Data Coordinated Archive at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The archive houses much of NASA's planetary and lunar spacecraft data stored on microfilm and computer tapes, including the Viking data. Williams works to digitize all of the data so that it can be easily accessed from the web.

 

"At one time, microfilm was the archive thing of the future," Williams said. "But people quickly turned to digitizing data when the web came to be. So now we are going through the microfilm and scanning every frame into our computer database so that anyone can access it online."

 

In the early 2000s, Williams received a call from Joseph Miller, professor of pharmacology at the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine, requesting data from the Viking biology experiments. But all that was left of the data was stored on microfilm.

 

"I remember getting to hold the microfilm in my hand for the first time and thinking, 'We did this incredible experiment and this is it, this is all that's left,'" Williams said. "If something were to happen to it, we would lose it forever. I couldn't just give someone the microfilm to borrow because that's all there was."

 

The archive team decided to tear open the boxes of microfilm and begin digitizing the data.

 

Lasting Knowledge


Miller wanted to analyze the data from Viking's biology experiments to see if the Viking science team had missed something in the original analysis. He concluded that one of the Viking biology experiments did, indeed, offer proof that life may exist on Mars.

 

In one of the experiments, known as Labeled Release (LR), the Viking landers scooped up soil samples and applied a nutrient cocktail. If microbes were present in the soil, they would likely metabolize the nutrient and release carbon dioxide or methane. The experiment did indicate metabolism, but the other two Viking experiments did not find any organic molecules in the soil. The science team believed the LR data had been skewed by a non-biological property of Martian soil, resulting in a false positive. While arguments continue, this remains the consensus view.

 

This was not the first time scientists disagreed about the results of the Viking biology experiments. Since the very first data analysis, scientists argued about whether the experiments proved that Mars really was harboring life.

 

"The data were very controversial," Williams said. "But, in a way, it helped push for continued Mars missions and landers. The very next missions were planned around what we found with Viking, and then the next group of missions built upon those. But even our most current Mars missions still refer back to Viking."

 

<snip>

http://www.marsdaily.com/reports/NASAs_Viking_Data_Lives_on_Inspires_40_Years_Later_999.html

 

AFAIK, the data is still being digitized to enable open access for all.

 

:D

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DocM    16,615

 

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LOC    1,170

So Curiosity will now begin growing its robot race on Mars with no Human interaction and then in 2122 they will invade looking for V'Ger. Right? :D

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Draggendrop    5,747

Sun Blasts 2016's Most Powerful Flare Yet, Part of Flare Trio | Video

video is 1:09 min.

 

Quote

Published on Jul 25, 2016
The sun erupted with a M7.6-class flare on July 23rd, 2016. The blast was the second of three m-class flares that occurred in a time span of a few hours. (the 2nd and 3rd flares were only separated by 15 minutes.) 

 

 

:)

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LOC    1,170

Could be worse, could be an X class flare, and don't forget the world ends this friday! So who knows.

 

:p

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Draggendrop    5,747

Supercharged Perseid Meteor Shower Peaks This Month

 

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The Perseids are here: The dazzling meteor shower's peak of activity is Aug. 12, but you can already see its streaks of light peppering the sky.

 

Skywatchers are particularly excited about this year's Perseids. Though the meteor shower is an annual event, the Perseids are in outburst this year.

 

That means that rather than 80 meteors per hour, we might see 150 to 200 per hour, according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke.

 

"Next, we move into the August Perseids, which is perhaps the most popular meteor shower of all," Cooke told Space.com in our summer meteor shower guide. "This year, they will be in what we call 'outburst' — their rates will double, because we're running into more material left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle." 

 

The Perseid meteor shower occurs when Earth moves through the trail of dust and debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle as it orbits the sun; the debris hits Earth's atmosphere and burns up, creating the white-hot streaks we see in the sky. Most of the pieces of debris, which move at 37 miles per second (59 kilometers per second), are about the size of a grain of sand, NASA has said.

 

Earth is passing through a particularly dense clump of debris this year — the source of the outburst — caused by the influence of Jupiter's gravity on Swift-Tuttle's trail. The number of meteors is increasing as Earth penetrates the heart of the debris, and it will diminish again once it passes through (after the peak). 

more at the link...

http://www.space.com/33602-supercharged-perseid-meteor-shower-2016-peaks-this-month.html

 

Perseid Meteor Shower 2016: When, Where & How to See It

 

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When to see them?

 

Earth will pass through the path of Comet Swift-Tuttle from July 17 to Aug. 24, with the shower's peak — when Earth passes through the densest, dustiest area — occurring on Aug. 12. That means you'll see the most meteors in the shortest amount of time near that peak, but you can still catch some action from the famed meteor shower before or after that point.

 

perseid-meteor-shower-sky-map-2015.jpg?1

This sky map shows the radiant of the Perseid meteor shower from the constellation Perseus in the northeastern sky during the meteor display's peak on Aug. 12 and 13, 2015. The Perseids appear to radiate out from a point on the border of constellations Perseus and Cassiopeia.
Credit: Sky & Telescope Magazine Illustration

 

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The meteors will seem to originate from the constellation Perseus, which appears on the horizon at about 10 p.m. local time. However, the most meteors will be visible after midnight. They can appear all over the sky, but they will always look like they're streaking away from Perseus.

 

You can see the Perseid meteor shower best in the Northern Hemisphere and down to the mid-southern latitudes, and all you need to catch the show is darkness, somewhere comfortable to sit and a bit of patience.

 

The full moon is on Aug. 18, so you will likely get a better glimpse of the meteors earlier in themonth, when the moonlight is not as bright and disruptive.

more at the link...

http://www.space.com/32868-perseid-meteor-shower-guide.html

 

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Aurora Forecast

 

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The OVATION model is a 30-40 minute aurora forecast using data provided by the ACE spacecraft. Using the latest real-time solar wind and interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) data, a forecast for a visual aurora displays intensity and location is automatically created. If you are located within the red view line area, then it may be possible to witness visual aurora when looking to the northern sky if viewing conditions are good.

aurora-forecast-northern-hemisphere.png

 

 

latest.png

 

http://www.solarham.net/

 

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Chang'e 3 gathers plenty of data in past 30 months

 

4250c5bdd4024af899342008e78d1462.jpg

File photo of China's lunar probe Chang'e 3. [Photo: qq.com

 

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China's lunar probe Chang'e 3 has been roaming around the moon for the last two and a half years.

 

Working for 33 lunar nights, it now has the honor of being the probe which has operated the longest on the moon's surface.

 

It has collected 7 terabytes of data including pictures and videos that have been sent to over 1,000 colleges, universities and scientific institutions on the Chinese mainland, in Hong Kong and Macao.

 

Chang'e-3, with China's first moon rover aboard, successfully landed on the moon in December 2013, marking China's first successful soft-landing on the surface of an extraterrestrial body.

 

However its rover Jade Rabbit became faulty and shut down in early 2014. Luckily, it awoke shortly after and has lasted beyond its life expectancy.

 

The Chang'e 3 mission has provided scientists with an enormous number of images which reveal valuable details about the lunar surface.

 

It made the first ever geological map of the moon with lunar penetrating radar, providing an insight into the evolution of the moon and the basis to explore its resources.

 

Lin Yangting, a researcher from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, says the rover even discovered a new type of rock - the Lunar Basalt.

 

"The radar detected three layers of basalt under the ground. The top layer is 195 meters deep. This indicates that until the late period, about two billion years since it was born, there were still huge amounts of magma that were erupting. This shows that the activity of the magma on the moon lasted longer than expected."

 

Lin's colleague Wei Jianyan says Chang'e 3 also gathered data which confirmed speculation that there is no water on the moon.

 

"We measured the amount of water on the lunar surface and above, and found only very small quantities, which is in line with the expectations of the experts on the formation of the moon."

 

In addition, Chang'e 3's optical telescope made observations of the moon in the ultraviolet range at its north pole to provide information for comparison studies in the future.

 

Equipped with the world's first extreme ultraviolet imager, Chang'e 3 has been able to study changes in the plasmasphere to monitor solar storms that could disrupt telecommunications on earth.

 

Liu Tongjie, deputy director of the moon exploration center at the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, says the success of the Chang'e 3 has guaranteed China a leading role in moon exploration.

 

"Since the 1990s, the international community has conducted 13 lunar explorations, including five by the United States and four by China. China ranks second in terms of both the frequency of exploration and the scientific achievements. We can say that China has reached the advanced level in some areas of lunar exploration, and this has stimulated the development of moon exploration in the world."

 

China is planning to send another probe to the moon - the Chang'e 5 robotic lunar sample return mission - which is due to be launched in 2017 from the new Wenchang Satellite Launch Center.

 

China has more launches coming up in its space missions.

 

The Tiangong 2 orbiting space lab has been delivered to the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center where it will liftoff later this year.

 

It will dock with the crewed Shenzhou 11 spacecraft and a Tianzhou cargo vessel which are slated for launch later.

http://english.cri.cn/12394/2016/07/31/4081s936147.htm

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

SwRI space scientists observe Io's atmospheric collapse during eclipse

 

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San Antonio -- Aug. 2, 2016 -- A Southwest Research Institute-led team has documented atmospheric changes on Io, Jupiter's volcanically active satellite, as the giant planet casts its shadow over the moon's surface during daily eclipses.

 

A study led by SwRI's Constantine Tsang concluded that Io's thin atmosphere, which consists primarily of sulfur dioxide (SO2) gas emitted from volcanoes, collapses as the SO2 freezes onto the surface as ice when Io is shaded by Jupiter. When the moon moves out of eclipse and ice warms, the atmosphere reforms through sublimation, where ice converts directly to gas.

 

"This research is the first time scientists have observed this phenomenon directly, improving our understanding of this geologically active moon," said Tsang, a senior research scientist in SwRI's Space Science and Engineering Division.

 

The findings were published in a study titled "The Collapse of Io's Primary Atmosphere in Jupiter Eclipse" in the Journal of Geophysical Research. The team used the eight-meter Gemini North telescope in Hawaii and the Texas Echelon Cross Echelle Spectrograph (TEXES) for this research.

 

Data showed that Io's atmosphere begins to "deflate" when the temperatures drop from -235 degrees Fahrenheit in sunlight to -270 degrees Fahrenheit during eclipse. Eclipse occurs 2 hours of every Io day (1.7 Earth days). In full eclipse, the atmosphere effectively collapses as most of the SO2 gas settles as frost on the moon's surface. The atmosphere redevelops as the surface warms once the moon returns to full sunlight.

 

"This confirms that Io's atmosphere is in a constant state of collapse and repair, and shows that a large fraction of the atmosphere is supported by sublimation of SO2 ice," said John Spencer, an SwRI scientist who also participated in the study. "Though Io's hyperactive volcanoes are the ultimate source of the SO2, sunlight controls the atmospheric pressure on a daily basis by controlling the temperature of the ice on the surface. We've long suspected this, but can finally watch it happen."

 

Prior to the study, no direct observations of Io's atmosphere in eclipse had been possible because Io's atmosphere is difficult to observe in the darkness of Jupiter's shadow. This breakthrough was possible because TEXES measures the atmosphere using heat radiation, not sunlight, and the giant Gemini telescope can sense the faint heat signature of Io's collapsing atmosphere.

 

Tsang and Spencer's observations occurred over two nights in November 2013, when Io was more than 420 million miles from Earth. On both occasions, Io was observed moving in and out of Jupiter's shadow, for a period about 40 minutes before and after eclipse.

 

Io is the most volcanically active object in the solar system. Tidal heating, the result of Io's gravitational interaction with Jupiter, drives the moon's volcanic activity. Io's volcanoes emit umbrella-like plumes of SO2 gas extending up to 300 miles above the moon's surface and produce extensive basaltic lava fields that can flow for hundreds of miles.

 

This study is also timely given that NASA's Juno spacecraft entered Jupiter orbit on July 4. "Io spews out gases that eventually fill the Jupiter system, ultimately seeding some of the auroral features seen at Jupiter's poles," Tsang said. "Understanding how these emissions from Io are controlled will help paint a better picture of the Jupiter system."

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-08/sri-sss080216.php

 

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NASA Solar Observatory Suffers Hiccup During Eclipse (Photo)

 

sdo-eclipse-glitch.jpg?interpolation=lan

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured this photo of a “lunar transit” — basically, an eclipse viewed from the spacecraft’s perspective — on Aug. 2, 2016. SDO failed to go back into “science mode” as expected shortly thereafter.
Credit: NASA/SDO

 

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NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) spacecraft experienced a glitch while observing an eclipse Tuesday (Aug. 2) but appears to be on the mend, agency officials said.

 

SDO watched the moon pass in front of the sun from 7:13 a.m. EDT to 8:08 a.m. EDT (1113 to 1208 GMT) Tuesday morning, capturing some amazing photos in the process.

 

The orbiting spacecraft didn't go back into "science mode" when the eclipse ended, but the situation does not seem to be dire, mission team members said.

 

"SDO is currently in inertial mode," NASA officials wrote in an update today (Aug. 3). "The team is receiving data from the spacecraft and is bringing SDO's instruments back online."

 

The eclipse that SDO observed Tuesday was visible only from the spacecraft's perspective in Earth orbit. The next solar eclipse humanity can observe will occur on Sept. 1, when an annular or "ring of fire" eclipse will be visible to skywatchers across much of Africa.

 

The $800 million SDO mission launched in February 2010. The probe's spectacular, high-definition images are helping researchers better understand the sun's magnetic field and what drives the variation in solar activity, mission team members have said.

http://www.space.com/33644-nasa-sun-watching-spacecraft-eclipse-glitch.html

 

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Saturn's 'Dirty Snowball' Moon Cleans Up in Sparkling NASA Photo

 

saturn-moon-rhea-nasa-photo.jpg?interpol

Saturn's icy moon Rhea shines in full sunlight in this new image taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on June 3, 2016. NASA released the image on Aug. 1.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

 

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The icy surface of Saturn's moon Rhea sparkles in this striking new photo from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. 

 

Rhea is Saturn's second-largest moon (after Titan) and measures 949 miles (1,527 kilometers) across. The Cassini spacecraft captured this view of the moon on June 3, and NASA unveiled the image Monday (Aug. 1).

 

Rhea is composed almost entirely of ice, with traces of rock mixed in, causing it to resemble a dirty snowball. What's more, the battered moon has suffered numerous impacts, making it one of the most heavily cratered celestial bodies in the solar system. [Rhea: Photos of Saturn's 2nd Largest Moon]

 

"Rhea, like many moons in the outer solar system, appears dazzlingly bright in full sunlight, NASA officials wrote in an image description. "This is the signature of the water ice that forms most of the moon's surface."

 

The icy moon also has a very thin oxygen-rich atmosphere that is about 5 trillion times less dense than that found on Earth. Even still, Rhea is the only known celestial body outside of Earth to have an oxygen atmosphere. 

 

Cassini was about 365,000 miles (587,000 kilometers) away from Rhea when it captured the new portrait. The view shows the "anti-Saturn hemisphere of Rhea," NASA officials wrote.

 

The Cassini spacecraft has been orbiting Saturn since 2004. However, the probe's mission is expected to end in September 2017. 

http://www.space.com/33621-saturn-moon-rhea-nasa-cassini-photo.html

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

Saturn Casts Shrinking Shadow Over Rings in NASA Photo

 

saturn-rings-bw.jpg?interpolation=lanczo

The shadow of Saturn cast across the planet's massive ring system, captured by the Cassini probe on May 21, 2016.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

 

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On Earth, the change of the seasons can be marked by the length of the shadows cast by the sun. This approach also works on Saturn, where the shadow of the massive planet grows shorter each day.

 

A new photo from the Cassini probe shows the shadow of Saturn blanketing a large section of the planet's ring system. But back in 2007, Cassini images showed Saturn's shadow stretching well beyond the edge of the rings. The shortening of the planet's shadow will continue as Saturn approaches a solstice in May 2017.  

 

saturn-rings-shadow.jpg?1470696993?inter

The shadow of Saturn cast across the planet's ring system, captured by the Cassini probe in 2007.
Credit: NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute

 

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Saturn experiences a change of seasons for the same reason Earth does: The ringed world's axis of rotation is slightly tilted compared to its orbital path around the sun. While the northern hemisphere tilts toward the sun, the southern hemisphere points away. 

 

When Saturn reaches its northern hemisphere solstice, the shadow of the planet will fall at about the middle of the B ring (which is the bright section of rings that border the large gap in the ring system), according to NASA. 

 

Quote

Cassini has spent 12 years studying the Saturn system, but the probe's days are numbered. Starting late this year, Cassini will zip through the space between Saturn and its rings, making a total of 22 passes and gathering new data about the system. In September 2017, the probe will end its mission by intentionally diving into Saturn, collecting new information on the way down.

http://www.space.com/33682-saturn-shadow-over-rings-nasa-photo.html

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LOC    1,170

I know its pretty lame, but every time I see a Saturn photo with the planet casting a shadow over its ring system....I think of the opening to Star Trek Voyager (specifically when the rings of that planet show up lol) :D

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