The latest NASA report on activities on the International Space Station:
The latest NASA report on activities on the International Space Station:
All 38 episodes of the 1950s space adventure series Men Into Space have been posted on YouTube: Men Into Space, TV Series Before The Moon Landing – YouTube.
Here is the first episode:
An announcement from The Philip K. Dick Film Festival :
The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival
Announces Schedule for 2015 Event
Four-Days Jam-Packed with Award-Winning and Groundbreaking
Features and Shorts
HIGHLIGHT: Mark Netter’s “Nightmare Code” Starring
“The Walking Dead’s” Andrew J. West
NYC PREMIERE: Jacob Akira Okada’s Documentary Short
“Painting The Way To The Moon”
(New York City, N.Y.) December 18, 2014 – Legend states that events come in threes — a phenomenon in its truest form for The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival as it embarks on a third year honoring the literary world’s most nuanced and visionary author, Philip K. Dick. The highly anticipated four-day experience from January 15-18, 2015 will screen at three distinguished locations including The Cervantes Institute, Tribeca Cinemas and The Producer’s Club and features a slate of innovative features and shorts which capture the distinctive boldness of the the genre and brings forth the most riveting moments of science fiction cinema ever to grace the big screen.
The festival launches on Thursday, January 15, 2015 at The Cervantes Institute with a free-admission night of international science fiction shorts beginning at 7pm. The exciting schedule includes Martín Rosete’s Voice Over (2011, Spain), Michel Goossens’ Exit (2013, Spain/Netherlands), MacGregor and Bruno Zacarías’ Similo (2014, Spain), Daniel Romero’s No Mires Ahí (2014, Spain), Fernandez Sanchez’s Sujeto Darwin (2014, Spain), Antonio Souto Fraguas’ Renacimiento (2013, Spain), Thierry Lorenzi’s On/Off (2013, France), Didier Philippe’s Seule (2014, France), Lee Citron’s Martian American (2014, USA/Mexico) and Federico Telerman’s Albino (2014, Argentina).
The mayhem comes full force on Friday, January 16, 2015 at Tribeca Cinemas with the frighteningly entertaining and award-winning Nightmare Code (2014) at 7pm in Theater One. The starstudded film features Andrew J. West, widely known to audiences as Gareth on AMC’s mega-hit The Walking Dead, Mei Melançon (X Men: The Last Stand, The L Word) and Googy Gress (Apollo 13, Parenthood) and follows the gripping account of a start-up programmer who battles a mysterious software code that takes on a life of its own following the murderous rampage of his predecessor. The feature film is directed and produced by Mark Netter, written by Netter and M.J. Rotondi and executive produced by Craig Allen and Avi Bachar. A Q&A session with Netter is scheduled to follow.
Having premiered to critical success across the board, Jacob Akira Okada’s documentary short Painting the Way to the Moon (2013) will have its exclusive New York City premiere at 9pm in Theater One. Produced by Adam Morrow and Carylanna Taylor the film follows Princeton mathematician and artist Ed Belbruno, who discovered a new form of space travel. His “eureka” moment while working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in the 1980s came to him while painting. The groundbreaking conjecture that satellites could use the mathematics of the chaos theory rather than rocket fuel to orbit around the moon and send experiments into space was initially rejected by NASA and he was soon fired. However, his work eventually found a home at the agency. The film examines how “art and science share a common process and explores how creative thinking is not only for artists,” according to the official film synopsis. A Q&A session with Belbruno is scheduled to follow.
A block of international science fiction short films begins at 7:30pm in Theater Two. A highlight of the evening is Room 731 (2014, USA) which stars Tim Kang, best known as Kimball Cho on CBS’ smash-hit The Mentalist. The film directed by Young Min Kim and written by Kim and Christie Cushing is a supernatural mystery along the bloodlines of The Grudge and Saw and follows an amnesiac girl who awakens in a jail-like room and is haunted by dangerous spirits. Also starring Yoojung Kim and Nikki SooHoo, the film sheds light on the traumas of the WWII-era Japanese concentration camp known as “Unit 731.” Industry professionals including Eddie Yang (co-founder, Alliance Studio), SFX makeup artist Diana Choi (The Dark Knight), Vanessa Mi Kyung Lee (The Hunger Games), editor Jimmy Gadd (The Mentalist) and executive producers Anna Liza Recto and Michael Kaleda (Bold MP) have rallied behind the project. The evening continues with Thomas Charles’ Désaffection (2013, France), Mat Owen’s Turn On (2013, UK), Winnie Cheung’s Dear Lucas (2014, USA), Laura Maxfield’s A Girl, A Cat, A Bomb (2014, USA), [followed by Room 731 in sequence], Faroukh Virani’s Vimana (2014, USA/India), Aldo Romero’s Silent Threat (2014, USA), Erin Li’s Kepler X-47 (2014, USA) and Vanessa Gould’s The Atom Bomb (2013, USA).
And just when you thought the screams had died down, three filmmakers barricade themselves in a haunted house where no one has survived past 21 Days (2014) at 9:30pm in Theater Two. The spine-chilling and multiple award-winning feature film written and directed by Kathleen Behun stars Whitney Rose Pynn (co-star of NBC’s upcoming David Duchovny series Aquarius), Max Hambleton and Mickey River. A Q&A session with Behun is scheduled to follow.
The festival continues on Saturday, January 17, 2015 at The Producer’s Club with three blocks of short films. First up are Philip K. Dick-inspired films of “Paranoia, Conspiracy and Dystopia” at 3pm including John Butler’s The Terminal Node (2014), Stephen Parkhurst’s Frontier (2014), Scott Danzig’s Sky Paradise (2013), Alessandro Bricoli’s Ignorenatus Alius (2014), Gavin Williams’ Sleepworking (2013), Anthony Willis’ Escapement (2014), Etienne Gravrand’s The Fischer Case (2014), Joachim Huveneers’ I Wish My Life (2014), Ayoub Qanir’s Artificio Conceal (2014) and William Hart and Ciaran Birks’ Serpent Dreams (2014). After the block, audience members will have the opportunity to vote for the “Best PKD Short.” Next is “Wonders, Curiosities and Oddities” at 5pm include Zac Grant and Jason Markowitz’s The Dahl House (2014), Peter LaSala and Christopher Ventura’s Except for Us (2014), Dustin Lee’s The Astronomer (2015), Michel Goossens’ Ego (2014), Edmond Deraedt and Kristin Arnesen’s Reliquary (2014) and Keaton Smith’s The Story of Christopher Jenkins (2014). “Horror and Supernatural” closes out the lineup with Andy Green’s Vomica (2014), Lauren Morrison’s Viscera (2014) and Kristen Swinkels’ Nigredo (2013).
But the night is far from over with the screening of the award-winning feature film The Perfect 46 (2014) starring Whit Hertford, Don McManus and James M. Connor. Written and directed by Brett Ryan Bonowicz, the film follows the story of a geneticist who develops a website to pair individuals of a pure genetic match in order to create the “perfect child.” Ending the night is the feature There (2014), a high-octane thriller about a socially displaced war veteran who ” justifies domestic terrorism by interpreting his actions with alien invasion.” Written and directed by prolific underground filmmaker James Fotopoulos, the film stars Xander O’Connor, Brenda Bakke and Sarah Brooks.
The festival ends on Sunday, January 18, 2015 but not before the twists and turns of Inverse (2014) at 4pm in Tribeca Cinemas’ Theater One. Written and directed by Matt Duggan, the feature film stars Luisa Beck, W.C. Boelter and John Burish in this story of eternal ruination and forbidden desire. Experience captivating shocks as a man awakens from what he perceived as death but is in fact a parallel universe all the while he falls in love with his doppelgänger’s wife and mankind is threatened with total destruction. A Q&A session with Duggan is scheduled to follow. When all is dead and done, the highly anticipated awards ceremony brings the festival to a satisfying close.
The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival has thrilled its attendees with entertaining and visually captivating themes which have made the event a favorable and continued success. For full schedule and ticketing information please visit www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com. The festival will take place on January 15, 2015 at The Cervantes Institute (day is free admission) at 211 East 49th Street, New York, NY 10017 (visit nyork.cervantes.es/en/default.shtm or call 212-308-7720), January 16 and 18, 2015 at Tribeca Cinemas at 54 Varick Street, New York, NY 10013 [at Laight Street, one block below Canal Street] (visit www.tribecacinemas.com or call 212-941-2001) and January 17, 2015 at The Producer’s Club at 358 W 44th Street, New York, NY 10036 (visit www.producersclub.com or call 212-315-4743). And always be sure to visit the festival’s Twitter page at twitter.com/PhilipKDickFest (tweet the hashtag #PKDFestNYC) and the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ThePhilipKDickFilmFestival.
About The Philip K. Dick Science Fiction Film Festival: The Philip K. Dick International Film Festival of Science, Science Fiction, Fantastic Film and the Supernatural is New York City’s first festival of its kind and is organized by individuals and filmmakers who understand the difficulties and challenges of telling a unique story in a corporate environment. With extremely successful 2012-2013 festivals, a 2013 international event in Lille, France and endless screening events the festival is only beginning its vision of honoring the legacy of the great Philip K. Dick. From guest speakers and writers who best represent the goals of the festival, original voices and enhanced visions in works submitted, this is a festival created by filmmakers for filmmakers.
About Philip K. Dick: “Reality is whatever refuses to go away when I stop believing in it.” – Philip K. Dick Philip K. Dick (1928-1982) was one of the 20th century’s most profound novelists and writers within the science fiction community. His exploration, analysis and beliefs led to the publishings of 44 novels and 121 short stories. Dick’s enormous library of works led to several film developments including Blade Runner (1982), Total Recall (1990), Minority Report (2002), Paycheck (2003) A Scanner Darkly (2006), Radio Free Albemuth (2010), The Adjustment Bureau (2011) andTotal Recall (2012). Dick’s enormously effective views comprised of fictional universes, virtual realities and human mutation foresaw an exaggerated version of the current state of government and contemporary life. Though he is gone in the physical form his philosophies live on in the techniques applied to modern stories and films and generate large displays of appreciation and understanding.
Festival Websites/Social Media
Official Website: www.thephilipkdickfilmfestival.com
Twitter Hashtag: #PKDFestNYC
International Website: www.philipkdickfilmfestival-europe.com
Fractured Atlas Donation Page: www.fracturedatlas.org/site/contribute/donate/6853
The latest science from the European Southern Observatory (ESO):
This spectacular image of the star cluster Messier 47 was taken using the Wide Field Imager camera, installed on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. This young open cluster is dominated by a sprinkling of brilliant blue stars but also contains a few contrasting red giant stars.
The Star ClusterThis spectacular image of the star cluster Messier 47 was taken using the Wide Field Imager camera, installed on the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. This young open cluster is dominated by a sprinkling of brilliant blue stars but also contains a few contrasting red giant stars. Credit: ESO
Messier 47 is located approximately 1600 light-years from Earth, in the constellation of Puppis (the poop deck of the mythological ship Argo). It was first noticed some time before 1654 by Italian astronomer Giovanni Battista Hodierna and was later independently discovered by Charles Messier himself, who apparently had no knowledge of Hodierna’s earlier observation.
Although it is bright and easy to see, Messier 47 is one of the least densely populated open clusters. Only around 50 stars are visible in a region about 12 light-years across, compared to other similar objects which can contain thousands of stars.
Messier 47 has not always been so easy to identify. In fact, for years it was considered missing, as Messier had recorded the coordinates incorrectly. The cluster was later rediscovered and given another catalogue designation — NGC 2422. The nature of Messier’s mistake, and the firm conclusion that Messier 47 and NGC 2422 are indeed the same object, was only established in 1959 by Canadian astronomer T. F. Morris.
This chart shows the constellation of Puppis (The Poop) and includes all the stars that can be seen with the unaided eye on a clear and dark night. This region of the sky includes some bright star clusters, chief amongst them Messier 47 (circled) and its contrasting sister cluster Messier 46. Both clusters are well seen in small telescopes, with Messier 47 having far fewer, but brighter, stars. Credit: ESO, IAU & Sky and Telescope
The bright blue–white colours of these stars are an indication of their temperature, with hotter stars appearing bluer and cooler stars appearing redder. This relationship between colour, brightness and temperature can be visualised by use of the Planck curve. But the more detailed study of the colours of stars using spectroscopy also tells astronomers a lot more — including how fast the stars are spinning and their chemical compositions. There are also a few bright red stars in the picture — these are red giant stars that are further through their short life cycles than the less massive and longer-lived blue stars .
By chance Messier 47 appears close in the sky to another contrasting star cluster — Messier 46. Messier 47 is relatively close, at around 1600 light-years, but Messier 46 is located around 5500 light-years away and contains a lot more stars, with at least 500 stars present. Despite containing more stars, it appears significantly fainter due to its greater distance.
Messier 46 could be considered to be the older sister of Messier 47, with the former being approximately 300 million years old compared to the latter’s 78 million years. Consequently, many of the most massive and brilliant of the stars in Messier 46 have already run through their short lives and are no longer visible, so most stars within this older cluster appear redder and cooler.
This image of Messier 47 was produced as part of the ESO Cosmic Gems programme .
An announcement from NASA JPL:
NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill.
The hold drilled by Curiosity into the rock named Cumberland.
“This temporary increase in methane — sharply up and then back down — tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a member of the Curiosity rover science team. “There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.”
Researchers used Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere. During two of those months, in late 2013 and early 2014, four measurements averaged seven parts per billion. Before and after that, readings averaged only one-tenth that level.
Curiosity also detected different Martian organic chemicals in powder drilled from a rock dubbed Cumberland, the first definitive detection of organics in surface materials of Mars. These Martian organics could either have formed on Mars or been delivered to Mars by meteorites.
Possible ways to produce and reduce methane on Mars
Organic molecules, which contain carbon and usually hydrogen, are chemical building blocks of life, although they can exist without the presence of life. Curiosity’s findings from analyzing samples of atmosphere and rock powder do not reveal whether Mars has ever harbored living microbes, but the findings do shed light on a chemically active modern Mars and on favorable conditions for life on ancient Mars.
“We will keep working on the puzzles these findings present,” said John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “Can we learn more about the active chemistry causing such fluctuations in the amount of methane in the atmosphere? Can we choose rock targets where identifiable organics have been preserved?”
Researchers worked many months to determine whether any of the organic material detected in the Cumberland sample was truly Martian. Curiosity’s SAM lab detected in several samples some organic carbon compounds that were, in fact, transported from Earth inside the rover. However, extensive testing and analysis yielded confidence in the detection of Martian organics.
The ways that Mars makes it difficult to find its organic molecules.
Identifying which specific Martian organics are in the rock is complicated by the presence of perchlorate minerals in Martian rocks and soils. When heated inside SAM, the perchlorates alter the structures of the organic compounds, so the identities of the Martian organics in the rock remain uncertain.
“This first confirmation of organic carbon in a rock on Mars holds much promise,” said Curiosity Participating Scientist Roger Summons of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Organics are important because they can tell us about the chemical pathways by which they were formed and preserved. In turn, this is informative about Earth-Mars differences and whether or not particular environments represented by Gale Crater sedimentary rocks were more or less favorable for accumulation of organic materials. The challenge now is to find other rocks on Mount Sharp that might have different and more extensive inventories of organic compounds.”
Researchers also reported that Curiosity’s taste of Martian water, bound into lakebed minerals in the Cumberland rock more than three billion years ago, indicates the planet lost much of its water before that lakebed formed and continued to lose large amounts after.
SAM analyzed hydrogen isotopes from water molecules that had been locked inside a rock sample for billions of years and were freed when SAM heated it, yielding information about the history of Martian water. The ratio of a heavier hydrogen isotope, deuterium, to the most common hydrogen isotope can provide a signature for comparison across different stages of a planet’s history.
“It’s really interesting that our measurements from Curiosity of gases extracted from ancient rocks can tell us about loss of water from Mars,” said Paul Mahaffy, SAM principal investigator of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of a report published online this week by the journal Science
The ratio of deuterium to hydrogen has changed because the lighter hydrogen escapes from the upper atmosphere of Mars much more readily than heavier deuterium. In order to go back in time and see how the deuterium-to-hydrogen ratio in Martian water changed over time, researchers can look at the ratio in water in the current atmosphere and water trapped in rocks at different times in the planet’s history.
Martian meteorites found on Earth also provide some information, but this record has gaps. No known Martian meteorites are even close to the same age as the rock studied on Mars, which formed about 3.9 billion to 4.6 billion years ago, according to Curiosity’s measurements.
The ratio that Curiosity found in the Cumberland sample is about one-half the ratio in water vapor in today’s Martian atmosphere, suggesting much of the planet’s water loss occurred since that rock formed. However, the measured ratio is about three times higher than the ratio in the original water supply of Mars, based on the assumption that supply had a ratio similar to that measured in Earth’s oceans. This suggests much of Mars’ original water was lost before the rock formed.
Curiosity is one element of NASA’s ongoing Mars research and preparation for a human mission to Mars in the 2030s. Caltech manages the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and JPL manages Curiosity rover science investigations for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The SAM investigation is led by Paul Mahaffy of Goddard. Two SAM instruments key in these discoveries are the Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer, developed at Goddard, and the Tunable Laser Spectrometer, developed at JPL.
The results of the Curiosity rover investigation into methane detection and the Martian organics in an ancient rock were discussed at a news briefing Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union’s convention in San Francisco. The methane results are described in a paper published online this week in the journal Science by NASA scientist Chris Webster of JPL, and co-authors.
A report on organics detection in the Cumberland rock by NASA scientist Caroline Freissenet, of Goddard, and co-authors, is pending publication.
For copies of the new Science papers about Mars methane and water, visit: go.nasa.gov/1cbk35X
Learn about NASA’s Journey to Mars at: www.nasa.gov/content/nasas-journey-to-mars/
The Voyager 1 space probe is currently over 19.5 billion kilometers from earth and considered to be in interstellar space. It still occasionally detects waves in the extremely thin haze of ionize particles that it is flying through. The waves are driven by coronal mass ejections from the sun.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft has experienced three “tsunami waves” in interstellar space. This kind of wave occurs as a result of a coronal mass ejection erupting from the sun. The most recent tsunami wave that Voyager experienced began in February 2014, and may still be going. Listen to how these waves cause surrounding ionized matter to ring like a bell.
Students at Glasgow Caledonian University, School of Engineering and Built Environment, created this animated simulation of the deployment of a lunar space elevator:
1. Monday, Dec. 15, 2014: 2:00-3:30PM PST (5:00-& 6:30 PM EST, 4:00-5:30 PM CST): DR. JEFF FOUST of The Space Review and Space News joins us for space news, updates, events, and more.
2. Tuesday, Dec. 16, 2014:,7-8:30 PM PST (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST): We welcome back BOB ZIMMERMAN for his end of the year roundup on space news and events and a look forward to 2015 space activities.
3. Friday, Dec. 19, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PST (12:30-2 PM EST; 11:30-1 PM CST): We welcome PAUL TURNER to the show. Mr. Turner is the author of The Space Trade book which he says is the most comprehensive step-by-step guide to profitable space development. For more information, visit www.thespacetrade.com.
4.SPECIAL TIME: Sunday, Dec. 21 2014, 9:30-11 AM PST (12:30-2 PM EST, 11:30 AM – 1 PM CST): We welcome MARC MILLIS back to the show to discuss advanced propulsion, interstellar travel and more.
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.
Rick Boozer on his Astro Maven blog has posted the fourth installment of his Photometry with AIP4WIN: a Tutorial, which is aimed at astronomers both amateur and professional:
From Part 1:
The science of photometry can be used by both amateur astronomers and professionals for some very advanced scientific work. You can detect the light changes caused by eclipsing binary stars, plot the changes in luminosity of a variable star and even detect an exoplanet orbiting another star. This tutorial will be your step-by-step guide on how to employ the powerful Magnitude Measurement Tool that comes with the renowned astronomical imaging software known as AIP4WIN by Richard Berry and Robert Burnell. Special thanks to Mr. Berry for giving me permission to include screen images and extensive operating details from AIP4WIN.
Findings from Rosetta indicate comet water is probably not a major source of water on earth:
10 December 2014: ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has found the water vapour from its target comet to be significantly different to that found on Earth. The discovery fuels the debate on the origin of our planet’s oceans.
The measurements were made in the month following the spacecraft’s arrival at Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko on 6 August. It is one of the most anticipated early results of the mission, because the origin of Earth’s water is still an open question.
One of the leading hypotheses on Earth’s formation is that it was so hot when it formed 4.6 billion years ago that any original water content should have boiled off. But, today, two thirds of the surface is covered in water, so where did it come from?
In this scenario, it should have been delivered after our planet had cooled down, most likely from collisions with comets and asteroids. The relative contribution of each class of object to our planet’s water supply is, however, still debated.
Rosetta image of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko
The key to determining where the water originated is in its ‘flavour’, in this case the proportion of deuterium – a form of hydrogen with an additional neutron – to normal hydrogen.
This proportion is an important indicator of the formation and early evolution of the Solar System, with theoretical simulations showing that it should change with distance from the Sun and with time in the first few million years.
One key goal is to compare the value for different kinds of object with that measured for Earth’s oceans, in order to determine how much each type of object may have contributed to Earth’s water.
Comets in particular are unique tools for probing the early Solar System: they harbour material left over from the protoplanetary disc out of which the planets formed, and therefore should reflect the primordial composition of their places of origin.
But thanks to the dynamics of the early Solar System, this is not a straightforward process. Long-period comets that hail from the distant Oort cloud originally formed in Uranus–Neptune region, far enough from the Sun that water ice could survive.
Comets originate from either the Kuiper Belt (30-50 AU) or Oort Cloud (50 000–
100 000 AU) where AU (astronomical unit) = distance from the sun to the earth.
They were later scattered to the Solar System’s far outer reaches as a result of gravitational interactions with the gas giant planets as they settled in their orbits.
Conversely, Jupiter-family comets like Rosetta’s comet were thought to have formed further out, in the Kuiper Belt beyond Neptune. Occasionally these bodies are disrupted from this location and sent towards the inner Solar System, where their orbits become controlled by the gravitational influence of Jupiter.
Indeed, Rosetta’s comet now travels around the Sun between the orbits of Earth and Mars at its closest and just beyond Jupiter at its furthest, with a period of about 6.5 years.
Previous measurements of the deuterium/hydrogen (D/H) ratio in other comets have shown a wide range of values. Of the 11 comets for which measurements have been made, it is only the Jupiter-family Comet 103P/Hartley 2 that was found to match the composition of Earth’s water, in observations made by ESA’s Herschel mission in 2011.
By contrast, meteorites originally hailing from asteroids in the Asteroid Belt also match the composition of Earth’s water. Thus, despite the fact that asteroids have a much lower overall water content, impacts by a large number of them could still have resulted in Earth’s oceans.
This graph shows that the ratio for the hydrogen in the water on Comet 67P/C–G
does not match that of water on the earth. Water for most of the asteroids tested do
match with earth’s water.
It is against this backdrop that Rosetta’s investigations are important. Interestingly, the D/H ratio measured by the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis, or ROSINA, is more than three times greater than for Earth’s oceans and for its Jupiter-family companion, Comet Hartley 2. Indeed, it is even higher than measured for any Oort cloud comet as well.
“This surprising finding could indicate a diverse origin for the Jupiter-family comets – perhaps they formed over a wider range of distances in the young Solar System than we previously thought,” says Kathrin Altwegg, principal investigator for ROSINA and lead author of the paper reporting the results in the journal Science this week.
“Our finding also rules out the idea that Jupiter-family comets contain solely Earth ocean-like water, and adds weight to models that place more emphasis on asteroids as the main delivery mechanism for Earth’s oceans.”
“We knew that Rosetta’s in situ analysis of this comet was always going to throw up surprises for the bigger picture of Solar System science, and this outstanding observation certainly adds fuel to the debate about the origin of Earth’s water,” says Matt Taylor, ESA’s Rosetta project scientist.
“As Rosetta continues to follow the comet on its orbit around the Sun throughout next year, we’ll be keeping a close watch on how it evolves and behaves, which will give us unique insight into the mysterious world of comets and their contribution to our understanding of the evolution of the Solar System.”
More about the findings:
“67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, a Jupiter Family Comet with a high D/H ratio” by K. Altwegg et al., is published in the 10 December 2014 issue of Science.
ROSINA is the Rosetta Orbiter Sensor for Ion and Neutral Analysis instrument and comprises two mass spectrometers: the double focusing mass spectrometer (DFMS) and the reflectron time of flight mass spectrometer (RTOF) – and the cometary pressure sensor (COPS). The measurements reported here were conducted with DFMS.
The analysis is based on the results of over 50 spectra collected between 8 August and 5 September 2014, and the D/H ratio was derived from measurements of HD16O/H2 16O.
The ROSINA team is led by Kathrin Altwegg of the University of Bern, Switzerland.
On this episode of Tom Ashbrook’s radio program, he and his guests discuss the possibility of Mars settlement and the willingness of many people to sign up to go to the Red Planet: Life On Mars, Eventually – On Point with Tom Ashbrook.
His guests include:
Listen to the audio:
Rosetta is the third cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Horizon 2000 Programme. It’s goals are to examine some of the original material of the solar system with a comprehensive evaluation of the minearologic, isotopic, and organic constituents of a comet; understand how the body works as a machine to absorb and re-radiate energy from the sun; and understand more about the origins of the solar system.
In this talk, I’ll explain the science background of some of the mysteries of comets including pros and cons about why we think comets might have brought Earth’s water, concepts regarding missing nitrogen in the outer solar system, and material the comet is made of (CAIs & IDPs). The talk will include early images of the comet’s activity. I’ll set the stage for the landing and walk through the 60 hours of time spent on the comet’s surface. Finally I’ll present an overview of initial findings.
Here’s an update on the solar cycle, which appears now to be following a predicted path: Solar maximum ramp down continues- Behind The Black
Follow the sun and space weather daily on the The Sun & Space Weather page here at HobbySpace.
The latest news from NASA JPL on Curiosity rover’s findings:
Observations by NASA’s Curiosity Rover indicate Mars’ Mount Sharp was built by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years.
This evenly layered rock photographed by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA’s
Curiosity Mars Rover shows a pattern typical of a lake-floor sedimentary
deposit not far from where flowing water entered a lake. Continue…
This interpretation of Curiosity’s finds in Gale Crater suggests ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes at many locations on the Red Planet.
“If our hypothesis for Mount Sharp holds up, it challenges the notion that warm and wet conditions were transient, local, or only underground on Mars,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “A more radical explanation is that Mars’ ancient, thicker atmosphere raised temperatures above freezing globally, but so far we don’t know how the atmosphere did that.”
Why this layered mountain sits in a crater has been a challenging question for researchers. Mount Sharp stands about 3 miles (5 kilometers) tall, its lower flanks exposing hundreds of rock layers. The rock layers – alternating between lake, river and wind deposits — bear witness to the repeated filling and evaporation of a Martian lake much larger and longer-lasting than any previously examined close-up.
“We are making headway in solving the mystery of Mount Sharp,” said Curiosity Project Scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “Where there’s now a mountain, there may have once been a series of lakes.”
Curiosity currently is investigating the lowest sedimentary layers of Mount Sharp, a section of rock 500 feet (150 meters) high, dubbed the Murray formation. Rivers carried sand and silt to the lake, depositing the sediments at the mouth of the river to form deltas similar to those found at river mouths on Earth. This cycle occurred over and over again.
“The great thing about a lake that occurs repeatedly, over and over, is that each time it comes back it is another experiment to tell you how the environment works,” Grotzinger said. “As Curiosity climbs higher on Mount Sharp, we will have a series of experiments to show patterns in how the atmosphere and the water and the sediments interact. We may see how the chemistry changed in the lakes over time. This is a hypothesis supported by what we have observed so far, providing a framework for testing in the coming year.”
After the crater filled to a height of at least a few hundred yards, or meters, and the sediments hardened into rock, the accumulated layers of sediment were sculpted over time into a mountainous shape by wind erosion that carved away the material between the crater perimeter and what is now the edge of the mountain.
On the 5-mile (8-kilometer) journey from Curiosity’s 2012 landing site to its current work site at the base of Mount Sharp, the rover uncovered clues about the changing shape of the crater floor during the era of lakes.
“We found sedimentary rocks suggestive of small, ancient deltas stacked on top of one another,” said Curiosity science team member Sanjeev Gupta of Imperial College in London. “Curiosity crossed a boundary from an environment dominated by rivers to an environment dominated by lakes.”
Despite earlier evidence from several Mars missions that pointed to wet environments on ancient Mars, modeling of the ancient climate has yet to identify the conditions that could have produced long periods warm enough for stable water on the surface.
NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Project uses Curiosity to assess ancient, potentially habitable environments and the significant changes the Martian environment has experienced over millions of years. This project is one element of NASA’s ongoing Mars research and preparation for a human mission to the planet in the 2030s.
“Knowledge we’re gaining about Mars’ environmental evolution by deciphering how Mount Sharp formed will also help guide plans for future missions to seek signs of Martian life,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program at the agency’s headquarters in Washington.
JPL, managed by Caltech, built the rover and manages the project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
Cameron M, Smith is an archaeologist who has become involved in the study of spaceflight and space settlement. He has become known in the space blog-o-sphere for his DIY space suit projects (see a list of posts here). Below is a video of a lecture he gave recently for the Public Lecture Series at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. The lecture was titled, Interstellar Voyaging: An Evolutionary Transition :
The discovery of countless exoplanets and new ideas in propulsion physics have resurrected international interest in the ancient concept of humanity traveling far beyond Earth. Such voyages will take place over many generations, requiring careful attention to both biological and cultural change over time. In this talk Cameron Smith will outline the foundations of a biocultural science of long-term space settlement.