The AP reports on the Mars Society‘s Mars Desert Research Station in Utah: Remote Utah outpost serves as stand-in for surface of Mars – AP
VAXHeadroom (Emory Stagmer) joins us in-studio to talk about the old Saturn V competitor: Sea Dragon. Capable of lofting 1 million LBS to Low Earth Orbit, this 1/2 submarine 1/2 rocket system would dwarf anything humans have ever built to date. What is it and how did it work? Check out this live episode of TMRO to get an idea!
Kerbal Space Program is about building and flying rockets into space. Chances are you already knew that, because it was first released, in alpha, back in 2011. Thanks to the strength of the core sandbox concept, its potential was evident from the start. The added tools and features of subsequent patches have only strengthened the game’s ability to deliver on that initial promise of full space program management and execution. Kerbal Space Program was one of the few Early Access games that I felt comfortable giving an unreserved recommendation. It was brilliant then, and it remains brilliant now that it’s updated to version 1.0 for an official release.
These two videos highlight the launch of KSP 1.o:
An interesting photo from Rosetta of Comet 67P/C-G: CometWatch 26 April | Rosetta – ESA’s comet chaser
Comet 67P/C-G on 26 April 2015 from a distance of 98 km. The image has been processed to bring out details of the comet’s activity. Credits: ESA/Rosetta/NAVCAM – CC BY-SA IGO
Here’s the latest weekly report from NASA on activity related to the Int. Space Station:
The latest report from ESO (European Southern Observatory):
The Pillars of Creation Revealed in 3D
New study suggests that iconic structures more aptly
named the Pillars of Destruction
Using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT), astronomers have produced the first complete three-dimensional view of the famous Pillars of Creation in the Eagle Nebula, Messier 16. The new observations demonstrate how the different dusty pillars of this iconic object are distributed in space and reveal many new details — including a previously unseen jet from a young star. Intense radiation and stellar winds from the cluster’s brilliant stars have sculpted the dusty Pillars of Creation over time and should fully evaporate them in about three million years.
This visualisation of the three-dimensional structure of the Pillars of Creation within the star formation region Messier 16 (also called the Eagle Nebula) is based on new observations of the object using the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile. The pillars actually consist of several distinct pieces on either side of the star cluster NGC 6611. In this illustration, the relative distance between the pillars along the line of sight is not to scale. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser
The original NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image of the famous Pillars of Creation was taken two decades ago and immediately became one of its most famous and evocative pictures. Since then, these billowing clouds, which extend over a few light-years , have awed scientists and the public alike.
The jutting structures, along with the nearby star cluster, NGC 6611, are parts of a star formation region called the Eagle Nebula, also known as Messier 16 or M16. The nebula and its associated objects are located about 7000 light-years away in the constellation of Serpens (The Serpent).
This view shows how the MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope has created a three-dimensional view of the iconic Pillars of Creation in the star-forming region Messier 16. Each pixel in the data corresponds to a spectrum that reveals a host of information about the motions and physical conditions of the gas at that point. The slices of the data corresponding to some of the different chemical elements present are highlighted. Credit: ESO
The Pillars of Creation are a classic example of the column-like shapes that develop in the giant clouds of gas and dust that are the birthplaces of new stars. The columns arise when immense, freshly formed blue–white O and B stars give off intense ultraviolet radiation and stellar winds that blow away less dense materials from their vicinity.
Denser pockets of gas and dust, however, can resist this erosion for longer. Behind such thicker dust pockets, material is shielded from the harsh, withering glare of O and B stars. This shielding creates dark “tails” or “elephant trunks”, which we see as the dusky body of a pillar, that point away from the brilliant stars.
MUSE has shown that the tip of the left pillar is facing us, atop a pillar that is is actually situated behind NGC 6611, unlike the other pillars. This tip is bearing the brunt of the radiation from NGC 6611’s stars, and as a result looks brighter to our eyes than the bottom left, middle and right pillars, whose tips are all pointed away from our view.
Astronomers hope to better understand how young O and B stars like those in NGC 6611 influence the formation of subsequent stars. Numerous studies have identified protostars forming in these clouds — they are indeed Pillars of Creation. The new study also reports fresh evidence for two gestating stars in the left and middle pillars as well as a jet from a young star that had escaped attention up to now.
For more stars to form in environments like the Pillars of Creation, it is a race against time as intense radiation from the powerful stars that are already shining continues to grind away at the pillars.
By measuring the Pillars of Creation’s rate of evaporation, MUSE has given astronomers a time frame for when the pillars will be no more. They shed about 70 times the mass of the Sun every million years or so. Based on the their present mass of about 200 times that of the Sun, the Pillars of Creation have an expected lifetime of perhaps three million more years — an eyeblink in cosmic time. It seems that an equally apt name for these iconic cosmic columns might be the Pillars of Destruction.
The ESA Rosetta mission released nearly 1300 images today of Comet 67P/C-G as the probe approached the object last summer: Major release of NAVCAM images: 800 to 30 km | Rosetta – ESA’s comet chaser
Today marks a major release from the Rosetta downlink and archive groups of detailed images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko taken by Rosetta’s Navigation Camera, or NAVCAM. The 1297 images, which can be accessed via the Archive Image Browser, were acquired between 1 August and 23 September. This corresponds to the final approach of Rosetta to the comet, its arrival at a distance of 100 km on 6 August and its transition to a global mapping phase at 30 km (click here for an animation describing the spacecraft’s trajectories at this time). It was during these two months that mapping and characterisation of the comet’s surface began, and Philae’s candidate landing sites were proposed, analysed and finally selected.
Here the images are presented a video clips:
Emily Lakdawalla comments on the images and provides thumbnails for them: More than 1000 Rosetta NavCam images released! – The Planetary Society.
Pluto starting to come into focus as New Horizons gets closer:
For the first time, images from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft are revealing bright and dark regions on the surface of faraway Pluto – the primary target of the New Horizons close flyby in mid-July.
The images were captured in early to mid-April from within 70 million miles (113 million kilometers), using the telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) camera on New Horizons. A technique called image deconvolution sharpens the raw, unprocessed images beamed back to Earth. New Horizons scientists interpreted the data to reveal the dwarf planet has broad surface markings – some bright, some dark – including a bright area at one pole that may be a polar cap.
“As we approach the Pluto system we are starting to see intriguing features such as a bright region near Pluto’s visible pole, starting the great scientific adventure to understand this enigmatic celestial object,” says John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “As we get closer, the excitement is building in our quest to unravel the mysteries of Pluto using data from New Horizons.”
Also captured in the images is Pluto’s largest moon, Charon, rotating in its 6.4-day long orbit. The exposure times used to create this image set – a tenth of a second – were too short for the camera to detect Pluto’s four much smaller and fainter moons.
Since it was discovered in 1930, Pluto has remained an enigma. It orbits our sun more than 3 billion miles (about 5 billion kilometers) from Earth, and researchers have struggled to discern any details about its surface. These latest New Horizons images allow the mission science team to detect clear differences in brightness across Pluto’s surface as it rotates.
“After traveling more than nine years through space, it’s stunning to see Pluto, literally a dot of light as seen from Earth, becoming a real place right before our eyes,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. “These incredible images are the first in which we can begin to see detail on Pluto, and they are already showing us that Pluto has a complex surface.”
The images the spacecraft returns will dramatically improve as New Horizons speeds closer to its July rendezvous with Pluto,
“We can only imagine what surprises will be revealed when New Horizons passes approximately 7,800 miles (12,500 kilometers) above Pluto’s surface this summer,” said Hal Weaver, the mission’s project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland.
APL designed, built, and operates the New Horizons spacecraft, and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. SwRI leads the science team, payload operations and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
These two “movies” show a series of LORRI images of Pluto and Charon taken at 13 different times spanning 6.5 days, from April 12 to April 18, 2015. During that time, the spacecraft’s distance from Pluto decreased from about 69 million miles (111 million kilometers) to 64 million miles (104 million kilometers).
Pluto and Charon rotate around a center-of-mass (also called the “barycenter”) once every 6.4 Earth days, and these LORRI images capture one complete rotation of the system. The direction of the rotation axis is shown in the figure. In one of these movies, the center of Pluto is kept fixed in the frame, while the other movie is fixed on the center of mass (accounting for the “wobble” in the system as Charon orbits Pluto).
The 3x-magnified view of Pluto highlights the changing brightness across the disk of Pluto as it rotates. Because Pluto is tipped on its side (like Uranus), when observing Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft, one primarily sees one pole of Pluto, which appears to be brighter than the rest of the disk in all the images. Scientists suggest this brightening in Pluto’s polar region might be caused by a “cap” of highly reflective snow on the surface. The “snow” in this case is likely to be frozen molecular nitrogen ice. New Horizons observations in July will determine definitively whether or not this hypothesis is correct.
In addition to the polar cap, these images reveal changing brightness patterns from place to place as Pluto rotates, presumably caused by large-scale dark and bright patches at different longitudes on Pluto’s surface. In all of these images, a mathematical technique called “deconvolution” is used to improve the resolution of the raw LORRI images, restoring nearly the full resolution allowed by the camera’s optics and detector.
(Image credit: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute)
Project Helium Tears takes an X-Wing fighter to the edge of space:
On Saturday May 2nd we’ll testfire several rocket engines between 12.00 and 16.00.
The plan is to test the first engine at approx. 13:00 after that two or three engines more with about one hour in between.
We invite you to watch the test live at our facility. You can buy tickets here.
The webcast will be on the Copenhagen Suborbitals YouTube channel.
Here is a video of a recent firing test:
Check out satellite before/after images of the capital city of Nepal: Photos: Nepal Earthquake, before and after in satellite photos – Denver Post.
The images come from DigitalGlobe, which is giving relief groups free access to images of Nepal: DigitalGlobe opens access to satellite data to support disaster response efforts in Nepal – DigitalGlobe.
Planet Labs is also offering its images: Responding to the Nepal Earthquake – Planet Labs.
A typical satellite image in Google map view might be two or three years old. This Google Crisis Map shows where new imagery is available for Nepal. You can then zoom in on a particular area in the new images.
Here’s an article about the broader role that satellites are playing in the recovery, particularly regarding communications services: Satellite Industry Responds to Nepalese Earthquake – Via Satellite.
* SpaceX Successfully Launches TurkmenSat 1 – Space Pod 04/28/15 – “SpaceX successfully launched Turkmenistan’s first communications satellite, however they did not attempt to land the first stage as all the fuel was needed to deliver the payload to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit.”
* Telstar 1 & the Icons of the Early Space Age – Space Pod 04/27/15 – “Ariel Waldman talks about the iconic impact of Telstar 1 and shows where you can find relics of the space race in your emoji.”
“Photos by NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.”
Here are some images from NASA of the Calbuco volcano in southern Chile that erupted on April 22, 2015.
An image from NASA’s Terra satellite.
A closer view from NASA’s Terra satellite.
In 2009, NASA released this cool view of the Sarychev volcano on one of the Russian Kuril islands north of Japan. The image was taken by astronauts on the the Int. Space Station: Sarychev Volcano – NASA
1. Monday, April 27, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT; 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome ERIC BERGER, space & science journalist with the Houston Chronicle. He spent all of 2014 working on a series, Adrift, about the present and future of American spaceflight.
2. Tuesday, April 28, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CDT): OPEN LINES. All space and STEM topics are welcome. First time callers are welcome and encouraged to call.
3. Friday, May 1, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): We welcome back Brent Sherwood who is a space architect at JPL. He will be updating us with his earlier work on human spaceflight.
:4. Sunday, May 3, 2015: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome DAMIAN PEACH, one of the top amateur astronomers in the world. Mr. Peach is in the UK. Check out his website at www.damianpeach.com.
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.
The latest episode of the TMRO.TV live show is now available on line: Students for the Exploration and Development of Space – TMRO
We are joined live by SEDS (Students for the Exploration and Development of Space) chair Hannah Kerner. SEDS is a great way for high school and college students to get excited and engaged in space.
geared towards teachers, students and parents as well. The publication blends space history – past, present and future – with interviews, career paths, astronomy lessons, aerospace and astronomy news, museum features, NASA technology spinoffs, puzzles, games, quizzes, lesson plans and other educational resources, along with easy-to-follow explanations of the mathematics and physics of all things to do with aerospace and space travel.
The 11th issue of the magazine just came out: Issue #11 • April 2015 – RocketSTEM
our supersize collector’s issue of RocketSTEM devoted 100% to the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Space Telescope observing the Universe from Earth’s orbit.
Table of Contents:
- Showing humanity the Universe For 25 years, the Hubble Space Telescope has been peering outward.
- Hubble’s greatest discoveries Ground-breaking discoveries made possible by Hubble.
- Edwin P. Hubble The man behind the name of the space telescope.
- How they do it Processing B&W images from Hubble into stunning full-color.
- Making house calls Quick glance at the first four servicing missions.
- Last visit to Hubble The mission that almost never happened, STS-125.
Get updates on the release of new issues and other news by signing up for their mailing list.
Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will release an album of music he recorded in space during his stay on the ISS: Astronaut Hadfield to release music recorded in space – Sen.com –
“The serenity and grace I felt while orbiting our Earth, weightless by the window, gave a whole new place to write and perform music,” Hadfield said in a press release. “I’m delighted to be able to share these completed works as a new way to help tell the stories of early space exploration.” The album will be released in fall 2015 and will be produced by Warner Music Canada.
Here is a duo performance he did on earth with astronaut Catherine Coleman:
Grant Imahara, a former member of the Mythbusters team, has partnered with the electronics distributor Mouser.com to create space contests and participatory projects. For example, the Space Travel Challenge is a contest to send pictures and messages to the lunar surface via Astrobotic’s MoonMail service: Mouser and Imahara Launch New Space Series to Create a Lunar Legacy and Ultimate Space Face-Off: Mars vs Moon.
For the project, Imahara has a website with videos and articles: The Future of Space Travel | Empowering Innovation With Grant Imahara – Mouser.
For example, Imahara writes about the challenges facing space travelers: Challenges on the Final Frontier – Bench Talk/Mouser Blog
And here is a sampling of his video interviews:
* Bas Lansdorp, CEO of Mars One Project – To Colonize Mars
* Space Exploration – Bobak Ferdowsi talks about the Moon & Mars Exploration
* Space Electronics – John Branthoover, Astrobotic‘s Senior Electrical Engineer
23 April 2015: Katie Paterson’s ESA-supported work Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky – which included a symbolic return to space for a chunk of meteorite – has been shortlisted for the International Prize for Contemporary Art, granted by the Foundation Prince Pierre de Monaco.
Inspired by dreams of space exploration, Scottish artist Katie Paterson, then based in Berlin, imagined sending a piece of her meteorite artwork back to space in a celebration of science, art and human technology.
In 2014, ESA helped to make this a reality, when a fragment of the original 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite that comprises Campo del Cielo, Field of the Sky, was taken to the International Space Station inside the Agency’s Automated Transfer Vehicle.
Campo comprises a sample of meteorite that crashed into our planet over 4000 years ago. The artist made a cast of the object, arranged to have it melted in a furnace at 1700°C and then recast into a copy of its original self.
The work, which has been displayed at events and galleries in Europe, presents curious visitors with a newly formed yet still ancient meteorite, imbued with cosmic history.
“The iron, metal and dust inside have been reformed, and the layers of its cosmic lifespan – the intermixing of space and time, the billions of years of pressure and change – have become collapsed, transformed and then, by the hand of human technology, renewed,” she says.
Now, Katie’s work is one of the three nominees for the Prix International d’Art Contemporain / International Contemporary Art Prize, which is awarded every three years for a recent work by an artist at the forefront of their practice.
“I am really pleased to have been nominated for this tremendous prize, which demonstrates the value of testing the intersection of art and science,” says Katie.
“I am delighted that my vision of combining art with spaceflight was achieved with assistance from the engineers and scientists at the European Space Agency.”
In October 2013, Katie visited ESA’s ESTEC technical heart in the Netherlands to deliver a 680 g fragment of her Campo work. There, it was coated with protective paint by materials experts for delivery to the International Space Station, and was launched aboard ESA’s fifth and final ATV cargo ferry, Georges Lemaître, in July 2014.
The fragment was stowed inside ATV-5 for undocking and a destructive reentry over the Pacific on 15 February 2015, giving it the rare distinction – for a meteor – of having entered Earth’s atmosphere twice.
“ESA can be proud that we contributed to the success of this project,” says Fernando Doblas, ESA’s Head of Communication.
“It shows how artists and scientists mutually inspire each other’s work. Indeed, it demonstrates that imagination is a critical part of science and space exploration.”
Established in 1965, the Prize has been organised by The Fondation Prince Pierre de Monaco since 1983. In recent years, it has been awarded to artists of international repute, each nominated by a leading art world professional.