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Solar System News (miscellaneous articles)

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Unobscured Vision    2,666
1 minute ago, Draggendrop said:

That is quite the shot...I put the mapper there as well for the curious, but you already know it is a "shot" to the right of the "3 sisters" and Olympus Mons. You can really see the depth of the depressions.

:D

No doubt, bud. AND, the view is almost straight-on the prime landing targets for better than 75% of the missions that have gone to Mars. And it's always nice to see Colony-One's LZ that we chose in the ThinkTank. :D 

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Draggendrop    5,747
1 minute ago, Unobscured Vision said:

No doubt, bud. AND, the view is almost straight-on the prime landing targets for better than 75% of the missions that have gone to Mars. And it's always nice to see Colony-One's LZ that we chose in the ThinkTank. :D 

Did you get a chance to see the "slide show" in that post...it shows one of the rovers on the side of a crater....a probe shot of a rover which had taken shots of the area....pretty neat.

:)

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Unobscured Vision    2,666

I did. 2015's Science Return was the stuff of legend. :yes: 

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Unobscured Vision    2,666

Oh my giddy Aunt.

 

That 360 Panorama ... it makes me almost want to reach out and scoop up a handful of Martian soil with my hands, and examine it closely with my own eyes. The grains, asking each one individually "What's happened to you over the course of your lifetime?"

 

Listening to that barely audible Martian wind .. the stark aloneness that comes with being the only Human on Mars. Knowing that nobody else could possibly be thinking what I'm thinking, or feeling what I'm feeling, within 30 million miles of me. The calm acceptance that settles over me as I let that handful of Martian soil fall back to the surface, knowing that for this moment, I am truly the only being that exists here.

 

And then I realize I'm not really here.

 

:) 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Yes..the more I see, the more I want to go there now...and not come back, whole new world to explore.......:D

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Draggendrop    5,747

The First Meteor Shower of 2016 Is Peaking, and It's an Exceptional One

 

quadrantid-meteor-2012-roberto-portosss.

The 2016 Quadrantid meteor shower of 2016 peaks before dawn on Monday Jan. 4, and could be one of the best of the year, weather permitting. Here, astrophotographer Roberto Porto captures a Qudrantid meteor over Tenerife in Spain's Canary Islands in 2012.
Credit: Roberto Porto

 

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The first meteor display of 2016 – the Quadrantid meteor shower - will hit its peak early Monday morning (Jan. 4), with a strong display of "shooting stars" likely for Europe and North America.

 

Weather permitting, observers in the eastern regions of the United States and Canada will be in position for the maximum activity from the Quadrantid meteor shower, which is expected about 3 a.m. EST, when the radiant of the shower will be well up the dark northeastern sky. This is perfect timing – it falls right in our prime meteor-watching hours before dawn.  

 

The meteors appear to radiate from a spot on the sky midway between the last handle star of the Big Dipper and the head of Draco, the Dragon. The radiant is actually located within the boundaries of the constellation of Boötes, the Herdsman, so we might expect them to be called the "Boötids." 

 

But back in the late-18th century there was a constellation here called Quadrans Muralis, the "Mural or Wall Quadrant" (an astronomical instrument). It is long-obsolete star pattern, invented in 1795 by J.J. Lalande to commemorate the instrument used to observe the stars in his catalogue. Adolphe Quetelet of Brussels Observatory discovered the shower in the 1830s, and shortly afterward it was noted by several astronomers in Europe and America. Thus they were christened "Quadrantids" and even though the constellation from which these meteors appear to radiate no longer exists, the shower's original moniker continues to this day.

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For mid-northern observers, the meteor shower's radiant stays near the northern horizon until midnight but rises high in the northeast by dawn. And come Monday morning observers all across North America may experience one of the best meteor showers of the year.

 

Morning twilight will not interfere until about 6 a.m. local time. The predicted hour for the peak – 3 a.m. EST – comes from the Canadian Observer's Handbook. 

 

At greatest activity, probably anywhere from 60 to 120 meteors per hour will be seen. These moderately swift, many leaving trains, may be seen by a single observer with a dark sky. Any light pollution cuts down the numbers greatly. Give your eyes at least 15 to 20 minutes to adapt to the dark before started a serious meteor count.

 

According to Guy Ottewell, editor of the 2016 edition of the Astronomical Calendar, "Faint Quadrantids caused by small particles may peak half a day earlier, and there may sometimes be a second peak some hours later, detected partly by radio observations."

 

january-2016-quandrantids.thumb.jpg.af13

Monday, January 4, midnight to dawn. The Quadrantid meteor shower, one of the most reliable in the year, peaks 3 a.m. on January 4, so the best times to observe will be between midnight and dawn on the morning of the 4th. Look for Comet Catalina in close to Arcturus in Boötes.

 

more at....

http://www.space.com/31506-quadrantid-meteor-shower-peaking-now.html

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

A Triple Play Out Saturn Way

 

pia18352.jpg

Image courtesy JPL NASA.

 

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What looks like a pair of Saturnian satellites is actually a trio upon close inspection.

 

Here, Cassini has captured Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) above the rings and Rhea (949 miles or 1,527 kilometers across) below.

 

The comparatively tiny speck of Atlas (19 miles or 30 kilometers across) can also be seen just above and to the left of Rhea, and just above the thin line of Saturn's F ring.

 

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 0.34 degrees below the ring plane.

 

The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 24, 2015.

 

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.8 million miles (2.8 million kilometers) from Rhea. Image scale on Rhea is 10 miles (16 kilometers) per pixel. The distance to Enceladus was 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) for a scale of 5 miles (8 kilometers) per pixel.

 

The distance to Atlas was 1.5 million miles (2.4 million) kilometers) for an image scale at Atlas of 9 miles (14 kilometers) per pixel.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/A_Triple_Play_Out_Saturn_Way_999.html

 

Where's "Waldo", in this case, Atlas.....:D

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Draggendrop    5,747

The Steep Sand Dunes of Mars Are Seen Up-Close in These New NASA Images

 

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The Curiosity Rover has sent back images of a sand dune measuring 15 feet in height, boasting an incredibly steep downwind slope. It’s the first image of a dune like this on Mars — and the dunes, blown by Martian winds, react much in the same way they do on Earth’s deserts.

 

“As on Earth, the downwind side of a sand dune has a steep slope called a slip face,” reads an announcement by NASA about the Martian landscape.

 

The latest images are part of a dune investigation campaign by Curiosity that’s “designed to increase understanding about how wind moves and sorts grains of sand, in an environment with less gravity and much less atmosphere than well-studied dune fields on Earth.”

 

Curiosity captured these images of the back of the “Namib Dune” on December 17:

https://www.inverse.com/article/9849-the-steep-sand-dunes-of-mars-are-seen-up-close-in-these-new-nasa-images

 

This is a composite of a shot, just like +jjkusaf posted for us one page back..........(only you can't "play" in this one below)

 

pia20284-curiosity-rover-mars-color-pano

 

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1.4.2016

This view of the downwind face of "Namib Dune" on Mars covers 360 degrees, including a portion of Mount Sharp on the horizon. The site is part of the dark-sand "Bagnold Dunes" field along the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp. Images taken from orbit indicate that dunes in the Bagnold field move as much as about 3 feet (1 meter) per Earth year.

 

The component images of this scene were taken on Dec. 18, 2015, by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover during the 1,197th Martian day, or sol, of the rover's work on Mars.

 

The bottom of the dune nearest the rover is about 23 feet (7 meters) from the camera. This downwind face of the dune rises at an inclination of about 28 degrees to a height of about 16 feet (5 meters) above the base. The center of the scene is toward the east; both ends are toward the west.

 

A color adjustment has been made approximating a white balance, so that rocks and sand appear approximately as they would appear under Earth's sunlit sky. A brightness adjustment accommodates including rover hardware in the scene.

 

The mission's examination of dunes in the Bagnold field, along the rover's route up the lower slope of Mount Sharp, is the first close look at active sand dunes anywhere other than Earth.

http://mars.nasa.gov/msl/multimedia/deepzoom/PIA20284/

 

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The high winds that cause the slip-side of the dune to become so steep also push the dunes about one yard every Earth year.

Curiosity won’t dare to attempt to roll over the dune — within the greater Bagnold Dunes on the planet — it’s currently going around it.

https://www.inverse.com/article/9849-the-steep-sand-dunes-of-mars-are-seen-up-close-in-these-new-nasa-images

 

this-december-17-2015-view-combines-mult

This December 17, 2015, view combines multiple images from the telephoto-lens camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover to reveal fine details of the downwind face of "Namib Dune."

 

Quote

Unfortunately, Curiosity did not capture any sand sliding down the face of this steep dune. Most of that activity likely happens during Mars’ southern summer, rather than now, its late fall.

 

Curiosity has been rolling around Mars since August 12, 2012 — or 1,196 Martian days, or sols. Back in November, it first reached the epic Bagnold Dunes. Curiosity reached the base of Mount Sharp in 2014; its mission now is to explore Sharp’s higher layers.

https://www.inverse.com/article/9849-the-steep-sand-dunes-of-mars-are-seen-up-close-in-these-new-nasa-images

 

PIA20281_fig1.jpg

 

 

 

Full-Circle Panorama Beside 'Namib Dune' on Mars.......the upper image...

is available in many sizes, including a monster full tiff at 320MB...all are here at the link..

http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA20284

 

:D

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Unobscured Vision    2,666

Oh man! :D The first thing I thought of after reading the post and getting a nice, zoomed-in look-see was that it would make a fantastic backdrop for a Sci-Fi movie.

 

Then I remembered that it's science fact -- and that Curiosity is seeing stuff like this every time it turns on its' instruments.

 

Love it.

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Draggendrop    5,747
11 minutes ago, Unobscured Vision said:

Oh man! :D The first thing I thought of after reading the post and getting a nice, zoomed-in look-see was that it would make a fantastic backdrop for a Sci-Fi movie.

 

Then I remembered that it's science fact -- and that Curiosity is seeing stuff like this every time it turns on its' instruments.

 

Love it.

Check out the Universe news....I've been bad....:woot:

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Draggendrop    5,747

ESA wants to be a part of NASA’s mission to Europa

 

europa_full.thumb.jpg.d4350f2d27624618e4

Artist’s concept of the Europa mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

 

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As NASA quietly works on a lander that could accompany a $2 billion flyby probe to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, the head of the European Space Agency’s science program tells Spaceflight Now that Europe is ready to play a significant role in the project.

 

The goals of the ESA contribution would be decided by European scientists, but the agency has the funding for a piggyback probe costing up to 500 million euros, or nearly $550 million, according to Alvaro Gimenez, ESA’s director of science and robotic exploration.

 

NASA asked the European Space Agency last year whether it was interested in contributing to the Europa mission, and Gimenez said in an interview with Spaceflight Now that the answer is yes.

 

“We will participate with no cost to NASA by us contributing something equivalent to a half-billion euros in cost to ESA,” Gimenez said. “Now, where it goes depends on the cooperation.

 

“This is a NASA mission, and we are happy to be a junior partner with NASA,” Gimenez told Spaceflight Now in December. “It’s our natural partnership with the U.S., and we will be very happy to do it. Now, they have to tell us the profile of the mission, what they want to do, and where do we have a role. But certainly we would appreciate the opportunity.”

 

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NASA officials say the design of the Europa spacecraft, which is still unnamed, has room for an extra 250 kilograms, or 550 pounds, of mass. With limited free space and mass aboard the Europa mission, the spacecraft may be able to accommodate a lander or a sizable ESA piggyback probe, but perhaps not both.

 

The solar-powered spacecraft is expected to launch no sooner than 2022, then slip into orbit around Jupiter on a trajectory to make up to 45 flybys of Europa, which spans more than 3,100 kilometers (1,900 miles) in diameter and harbors a global ice sheet floating on top of an ocean of liquid water.

 

Scientists place Europa at or near the top of locations in the solar system to search for life, and a survey released by the National Research Council in 2011 ranked a potential Europa mission as the second-highest priority for NASA, after a rover set for launch in 2020 to collect samples on Mars for eventual return to Earth.

http://spaceflightnow.com/2016/01/05/esa-wants-to-be-a-part-of-nasas-mission-to-europa/

 

PIA00502-768x384.thumb.jpg.b81c090f22ff1

This image shows two views of the trailing hemisphere of Jupiter’s ice-covered satellite, Europa. The left image shows the approximate natural color appearance of Europa. The image on the right is a false-color composite version combining violet, green and infrared images to enhance color differences in the predominantly water-ice crust of Europa. NASA’s Galileo spacecraft captured the imagery in 1996. Credit: NASA/JPL/DLR

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

This is a bit of a corny article, but I thought it would be good to post it....only because of the nice images and motion shots of the NASA prototype "cruiser".

 

We can recognize this....

 

568dca33ccab0_MarsRover.thumb.jpg.dcfb94

 

how about this...

 

3.thumb.jpg.70e04e3d0b77be2dafde1d412029

 

 

I drove the 6,600-lb 'car' that NASA designed for astronauts on Mars, and I'll never see space exploration the same way again

 

Quote

It's not the fastest or the sleekest, but NASA's Space Exploration Vehicle (SEV) is definitely the coolest car on the planet — and hopefully, before too long, something like it will be the coolest car on other worlds as well.

 

The SEV is one of NASA’s concepts for a new generation of flexible vehicles that can transport astronauts across near-earth asteroids and Mars. To see what this might be like, we got inside this 6,600-pound behemoth of a machine for a test run.

 

As you might expect, driving something that’s designed for traipsing across another planet is an out-of-this-world experience.

 

Join us on the journey:

If curious, check out this link...

http://www.businessinsider.com/i-drove-a-vehicle-nasa-wants-to-2015-12

 

:)

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Unobscured Vision    2,666

Oh sure, I remember these. I like the first one very much. They had a Documentary about these in 2006 or so about some Prototype models that these are based from, when NASA was deciding which one they wanted to build.

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Draggendrop    5,747
1 minute ago, Unobscured Vision said:

Oh sure, I remember these. I like the first one very much. They had a Documentary about these in 2006 or so about some Prototype models that these are based from, when NASA was deciding which one they wanted to build.

/s       I want to see the SpaceX  X-men Full thrust cruiser...coming to a dealer near you (Tesla)

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+Mirumir    5,635

Hello, my fellow space travelers!

 

I've always been fascinated by the examples of Fibonacci sequence, the golden ratio, and the sacred geometry present in nature (broccoli romanesco is my favourite, love to cook it :D), so I've found the following videos to be very exciting!

 

Hope you'll enjoy them too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Nice to motion perspectives containing large numbers of systems and forces.....:)

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Unobscured Vision    2,666

Some interesting hypotheses are popping up lately in Theoretical Physics circles. Especially having to do with the structure of spacetime and why things work the way they do. Recent findings from the latest batch of LHC runs are pretty interesting, but nothing that's seriously game-changing just yet* ...? :shifty: (*Peer-review is still debating that one ...)

 

There's also an idea that the dimension you currently occupy will represent itself as facets that will replicate themselves as patterns upward from the microscopic scale on up to the macroscopic scale; ie, "the large reflects the small". Patterns get reproduced regardless of scale. An interesting idea but it seems a little too "pseudo-sciencey" for me currently.

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Draggendrop    5,747

Yes, it takes at least the following year to get the "documented and peer reviewed" paperwork....but, I don't mind waiting as it's usually worth it.

 

:)

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Draggendrop    5,747

The First 3D Printed Object Ever Made From Asteroid Metals

 

oo3DSystems_Me.thumb.jpg.2ba2c47cbde3f33

Asteroidal material printed        PLANETARY RESOURCES

 

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The future of space colonization and industrialization can now be visualized.

 

Planetary Resources, in collaboration with our partner 3D Systems, have developed the first ever direct metal print from asteroid metals. At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) today in Las Vegas, NV., we unveiled the geometric object on the Engadget stage.

 

This spacecraft prototype was 3D printed from actual an asteroid that was, pulverized, powdered and processed on the new 3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) ProX DMP 320 metals 3D printer. It is the first part ever 3D Printed with material from outer space and is reminiscent of a design that could originate from a 3D printer in the zero-gravity environment of space.

 

The asteroid (or meteorite) used for the print materials was sourced from the Campo Del Cielo impact near Argentina, and is composed of iron, nickel and cobalt similar materials to refinery grade steel.

http://spaceref.biz/company/the-first-3d-printed-object-ever-made-from-asteroid-metals.html

 

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

 

Fermi sharpens its high-energy vision

 

2fhl_all-sky_labels_0.jpg

This image, constructed from more than six years of observations by NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, is the first to show how the entire sky appears at energies between 50 billion (GeV) and 2 trillion electron volts (TeV). For comparison, the energy of visible light falls between about 2 and 3 electron volts. A diffuse glow fills the sky and is brightest in the middle of the map, along the central plane of our galaxy. The famous Fermi Bubbles, first detected in 2010, appear as red extensions north and south of the galactic center and are much more pronounced at these energies. Discrete gamma-ray sources include pulsar wind nebulae and supernova remnants within our galaxy, as well as distant galaxies called blazars powered by supermassive black holes. Labels show the highest-energy sources, all located within our galaxy and emitting gamma rays exceeding 1 TeV. Image courtesy NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration.

 

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Major improvements to methods used to process observations from NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope have yielded an expanded, higher-quality set of data that allows astronomers to produce the most detailed census of the sky yet made at extreme energies.

 

A new sky map reveals hundreds of these sources, including 12 that produce gamma rays with energies exceeding a trillion times the energy of visible light. The survey also discovered four dozen new sources that remain undetected at any other wavelength.

 

"What made this advance possible was a complete reanalysis, which we call Pass 8, of all data acquired by Fermi's Large Area Telescope (LAT)," said Marco Ajello, a Fermi team member at Clemson University in South Carolina.

 

"The end result is effectively a complete instrument upgrade without our ever having to leave the ground."

 

By carefully reexamining every gamma-ray and particle detection by the LAT since Fermi's 2008 launch, scientists improved their knowledge of the detector's response to each event and to the background environment in which it was measured.

 

This enabled the Fermi team to find many gamma rays that previously had been missed while simultaneously improving the LAT's ability to determine the directions of incoming gamma rays. These improvements effectively sharpen the LAT's view while also significantly widening its useful energy range.

 

Using 61,000 Pass 8 gamma rays collected over 80 months, Ajello and his colleagues constructed a map of the entire sky at energies ranging from 50 billion (GeV) to 2 trillion electron volts (TeV). For comparison, the energy of visible light ranges from about 2 to 3 electron volts.

 

"Of the 360 sources we cataloged, about 75 percent are blazars, which are distant galaxies sporting jets powered by supermassive black holes," said co-investigator Alberto Dominguez at the Complutense University in Madrid.

 

"The highest-energy sources, all located in our galaxy, are mostly remnants of supernova explosions and pulsar wind nebulae, places where rapidly rotating neutron stars accelerate particles to near the speed of light."

 

One famous example, the Crab Nebula, tops the list of the highest-energy Fermi sources, producing a steady drizzle of gamma rays exceeding 1 TeV.

Astronomers think these very high-energy gamma rays are produced when lower-energy light collides with accelerated particles. This results in a small energy loss for the particle and a big gain for the light, transforming it into a gamma ray.

 

For the first time, Fermi data now extend to energies previously seen only by ground-based detectors. Because ground-based telescopes have much smaller fields of view than the LAT, which scans the whole sky every three hours, they have detected only about a quarter of the objects in the catalog. This study provides ground facilities with more than 280 new targets for follow-up observations.

 

"An exciting aspect of this catalog is that we find many new sources that emit gamma rays over a comparatively large patch of the sky," explained Jamie Cohen, a University of Maryland graduate student working with the Fermi team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt.

 

"Finding more of these objects enables us to probe their structures as well as better understand mechanisms that accelerate the subatomic particles that ultimately produce gamma-ray emission." The new catalog identifies 25 of these extended objects, including three new pulsar wind nebulae and two new supernova remnants.

http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Fermi_sharpens_its_high_energy_vision_999.html

 

:)

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Unobscured Vision    2,666

Ooooh ... /me rubs hands furiously together

 

Finally got the image they've been waiting for. :D LOOK AT THAT GLOW! 

 

Wow!

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Draggendrop    5,747

NASA Expands Frontiers of Next New Frontiers Competition

 

titan-enceladus-879x485.thumb.jpg.8a88f9

Saturn's moons Titan (left) and Enceladus, both potentially habitable worlds, are now eligible for consideration as destinations for NASA's next New Frontiers mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

 

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WASHINGTON — NASA has added two potentially habitable moons of Saturn to the list of possible destinations for its next billion-dollar planetary science mission.

 

In a Jan. 6 “community announcement” email to scientists, NASA said that “Ocean Worlds,” which it defined as Saturn’s moons Titan and Enceladus, were now included in a set of six classes of missions that the agency would accept proposals for in the next New Frontiers competition in 2017.

 

“The Ocean Worlds theme for this announcement is tentatively focused on the search for signs of extant life and/or characterizing the potential habitability of Titan or Enceladus,” the announcement stated. The statement did not explain why Ocean Worlds theme was added to New Frontiers.

Scientists have found evidence in recent years that both moons could be habitable. Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, has a dense atmosphere and lakes of liquid hydrocarbon on its surface. Smaller Enceladus likely has an ocean of liquid water beneath its icy surface.

 

The decision comes after the House, in the report accompanying its version of a fiscal year 2016 appropriations bill, directed NASA to establish an “Ocean Worlds Exploration Program,” specifically citing discoveries made on Titan and Enceladus.

 

“The Committee directs NASA to create an Ocean World Exploration Program whose primary goal is to discover extant life on another world using a mix of Discovery, New Frontiers and flagship class missions consistent with the recommendations of current and future Planetary Decadal surveys,” the report stated. That language was not included in the report accompanying the final omnibus spending bill, however.

 

Scientists have previously proposed smaller Discovery-class missions to both moons. Titan Mare Explorer, a mission that would have landed a probe in one of Titan’s liquid hydrocarbon lakes, was a finalist in the previous Discovery competition in 2012 ultimately won by the Mars InSight Lander. Enceladus Life Finder, a mission to perform multiple flybys of Enceladus, was submitted to the latest Discovery competition in 2015, but was not among the five finalists NASA selected in September for further study.

 

Unlike the Discovery program, which has few restrictions on destinations for missions proposed by scientists, NASA limits the New Frontiers program to a narrow set of potential missions identified by scientists as part of the decadal survey process. Prior to the addition of Titan and Enceladus, NASA had identified five eligible categories of missions for the upcoming New Frontiers competition, based on recommendations made in the latest decadal survey report in 2011:

 

A comet nucleus lander and sample return mission;
A mission to land at the moon’s South Pole-Aitken Basin and return samples to Earth;
A mission that would send a probe into Saturn’s atmosphere;
A spacecraft to explore a class of asteroids known as Trojans that are in the same orbit as Jupiter; and
A Venus atmospheric probe and lander.


NASA plans to issue a draft version of the New Frontiers announcement of opportunity in July and seek feedback. A final version is scheduled for release in January 2017, with proposals due to the agency 90 days later. NASA will select several proposals for additional concept studies by November 2017. That schedule calls for a final decision on the mission by May 2019, with launch by 2024.

The New Frontiers mission will have a cost cap for development of $850 million. That total does not include launch or operations, which would likely push the mission’s total cost to more than $1 billion.

 

The announcement also confirmed that NASA will make available up to three nuclear power systems known as multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generators (MMRTGs). The cost of using them will be included in the $850 million cap, with missions assessed costs between $105 million and $165 million depending on the number of MMRTGs used. Adding the nuclear power systems would also delay the mission’s launch to 2025.

The selected mission will be the fourth in the New Frontiers program, which fills the gap between smaller Discovery missions and large flagship planetary missions. New Horizons, which flew past Pluto last July, was the first New Frontiers mission, and Juno, which will enter orbit around Jupiter this July, is the second. The third New Frontiers mission, an asteroid sample return spacecraft called OSIRIS-REx, is scheduled for launch in September.

http://spacenews.com/nasa-expands-frontiers-of-next-new-frontiers-competition/

 

:)

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Unobscured Vision    2,666

WOOHOO! :D 

 

(And there was much rejoicing ... )

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Draggendrop    5,747

Yes...and no leaky star ships.....:woot:

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Draggendrop    5,747

Appreciating The Immense Size of Saturn

 

Quote

It is easy to forget just how large Saturn is, at around 10 times the diameter of Earth.

 

And with a diameter of about 72,400 miles (116,500 kilometers), the planet simply dwarfs its retinue of moons. One of those satellites, Tethys (660 miles or 1,062 kilometers across), is seen here at lower right.

 

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 8 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on March 7, 2015 using a spectral filter that preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 752 nanometers.

 

Tethys has been brightened by a factor of 2 to increase its visibility.

 

The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 1.6 million miles (2.6 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 10 miles (16 kilometers) per pixel. Tethys is slightly closer at 1.5 million miles (2.4 million kilometers) away, for an image scale of 9 miles (14 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.

 

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Full-Res: PIA18350 http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA18350

http://spaceref.com/saturn/appreciating-the-immense-size-of-saturn.html

 

PIA18350.jpg

Saturn   NASA/JPL

 

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

 

Starburst Spider Patterns at the South Pole of Mars

 

322457main_mro20090325b-browse.thumb.jpg

South Pole of Mars    NASA

 

Quote

Mars' seasonal cap of carbon dioxide ice has eroded many beautiful terrains as it sublimates (goes directly from ice to vapor) every spring.

 

In the region where the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took this image, we see troughs that form a starburst pattern. In other areas these radial troughs have been refered to as spiders, simply because of their shape. In this region the pattern looks more dendritic as channels branch out numerous times as they get further from the center.

 

The troughs are believed to be formed by gas flowing beneath the seasonal ice to openings where the gas escapes, carrying along dust from the surface below. The dust falls to the surface of the ice in fan-shaped deposits.

 

This image, covering an area about 1 kilometer (0.6 mile) across, is a portion of the HiRISE observation catalogued as ESP_011842_0980, taken on Feb. 4, 2009. The observation is centered at 81.8 degrees south latitude, 76.2 degrees east longitude. The image was taken at a local Mars time of 4:56 p.m. and the scene is illuminated from the west with a solar incidence angle of 78 degrees, thus the sun was about 12 degrees above the horizon. At a solar longitude of 203.6 degrees, the season on Mars is northern autumn.

 

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, is the prime contractor for the project and built the spacecraft. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment is operated by the University of Arizona, Tucson, and the instrument was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo.

 

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona Larger image

http://spaceref.com/mars/starburst-spider-patterns-at-the-south-pole-of-mars.html

 

obtained from this mosaic....

 

ESP_011842_0980_MRGB.abrowse.jpg

 

:D

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Draggendrop    5,747

A few posts back, a post was made showing this...

 

Namib Dune, Gale Crater, Mars

 

1194ml0054190000502902e01_dxxx-br2.thumb

Namib Dune   NASA

 

This dune is approximately 20 ft at the face.  To the left and on another bank system we have this...

 

23982942340_55e767d1a1_o.jpg

same area around the corner, approximate 10 ft face, darker composition

 

here is a paper...

THE BAGNOLD DUNES AT GALE CRATER – A KEY TO READING THE GEOLOGIC RECORD OF
MOUNT SHARP

http://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2015/pdf/1634.pdf

 

From this and Nasa/JPL-Caltech articles, it appears Mars has two dune types. One type composed of larger granular material, which now, does not move due to losses of atmosphere, and the other type, composed of finer particulates. The outer dust layers are usually lighter colored and base material appears to be mostly darker compositions. They are composed of mafic mineral sands, such as pyroxenes. The light granular grains can be as small as "smoke dust" and the absence of water has maintained structure and ensured continued erosion from environmental forces.

 

In a nutshell...This stuff is going to be great for regolith construction techniques, even 3D printing.

 

This dark dunes reminds one of several places on earth with stained or volcanic granular dunes such as Hawaii...

 

black_sand_beach.jpg

This is not Mars........yet!

 

:)

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