The night sky for the coming month is described in NASA JPL’s What’s Up for September 2014:
The night sky for the coming month is described in NASA JPL’s What’s Up for September 2014:
The company Malloy Aeronautics has designed a one-person ducted-fan vehicle, i.e a hoverbike, and hopes to pay for its development with sales of a 1/3 scale-model drone version. They have more than doubled their £30,000 goal in a Kickstarter campaign to cover marketing the drone : Hoverbike by Chris Malloy — Kickstarter
The objective of this campaign is to kick-start sales of our beautiful 1/3rd scale Hoverbike drone and accessories via your pledges, and to help create a long term income stream that we can use to continue development of the manned Hoverbike.
Here is their Kickstarter video:
More about the project: Watch A Robot Ride A Hovercycle - Popular Science -
Here’s the latest Space to Ground episode reporting on this week’s activities aboard the International Space Station:
Dennis Wingo gives an update on the ISEE-3 reboot satellite project, including what it accomplished and what they hope to do next : ISEE-3 Post Lunar Flyby Status and Modification of Mission Goals – denniswingo
Communication with the ISEE-3 satellite was successfully re-established with the goal of commanding the satellite to change its trajectory with the goal of putting it into a libration point orbit that would allow it to resume its original mission goals of collecting data for solar physics research. The trajectory change goal unfortunately could not be completed due to the failure of the onboard thrusters. This failure was apparently the result of the loss of nitrogen pressurant in the Hydrazine fuel system.
This inability to change the spacecraft’s orbit rules out the original reboot mission goals which would have provided long-term data collection from the satellite instrumentation package using modest antennas. After the orbit change attempt, the ISEE-3 Reboot Team powered on the instrumentation package and began data collection from the instruments to assess their current physical status and usefulness for any ongoing scientific mission.
We are now redefining our mission goals to obtain the maximum scientific usefulness of ISEE-3 in its new interplanetary orbit. Figure 1 shows the flyby orbit and the long-term sun centered (heliocentric) orbit.
He reviews the trajectory of the spacecraft in the coming years, the health of the spacecraft, and what sort of science might be done with it, particularly with public citizen science involvement.
So expect to see more from us in the very near future. After the rush of the flyby we took a bit of a break but we are moving forward with the new “ISEE-3 Interplanetary Citizen Science Mission”. As soon as we have the real time display systems and reliable ground station communications support we will start putting more data out to be seen. We cannot sufficiently express our appreciation to the ground stations that have helped us make this a reality. Arecibo, our national treasure, in Puerto Rico. The Bochum Radio Observatory in Germany, our reliable friends and the ground station that first got us interested in ISEE-3. Morehead state in Kentucky has provided crucial support for transmitting to the bird of late. And the SETI Institute has been listening in as well. We are working to increase this list, but without these folks and their dishes, this would not have happened…
Here is another overview of the conference: 2014 ISEC Space Elevator Conference Wrapup – The Space Elevator Blog
This year for instance, they had a 1,200 m long tether held up by balloons. Climbers are powered by batteries and scores are awarded based on speed, payload, etc.
The participants have been all Japanese so far but the JSEA wants to bring in other teams to make it an international competition.
The Spitzer infrared space telescope spotted the debris cloud from what looks to be the collision of two asteroids around a star 1200 light years away from us.
NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has spotted an eruption of dust around a young star, possibly the result of a smashup between large asteroids. This type of collision can eventually lead to the formation of planets.
Scientists had been regularly tracking the star, called NGC 2547-ID8, when it surged with a huge amount of fresh dust between August 2012 and January 2013.
This artist’s concept shows the immediate aftermath of a large asteroid impact around
NGC 2547-ID8, a 35-million-year-old sun-like star thought to be forming rocky planets.
Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
“We think two big asteroids crashed into each other, creating a huge cloud of grains the size of very fine sand, which are now smashing themselves into smithereens and slowly leaking away from the star,” said lead author and graduate student Huan Meng of the University of Arizona, Tucson.
While dusty aftermaths of suspected asteroid collisions have been observed by Spitzer before, this is the first time scientists have collected data before and after a planetary system smashup. The viewing offers a glimpse into the violent process of making rocky planets like ours.
Rocky planets begin life as dusty material circling around young stars. The material clumps together to form asteroids that ram into each other. Although the asteroids often are destroyed, some grow over time and transform into proto-planets. After about 100 million years, the objects mature into full-grown, terrestrial planets. Our moon is thought to have formed from a giant impact between proto-Earth and a Mars-size object.
In the new study, Spitzer set its heat-seeking infrared eyes on the dusty star NGC 2547-ID8, which is about 35 million years old and lies 1,200 light-years away in the Vela constellation. Previous observations had already recorded variations in the amount of dust around the star, hinting at possible ongoing asteroid collisions. In hope of witnessing an even larger impact, which is a key step in the birth of a terrestrial planet, the astronomers turned to Spitzer to observe the star regularly. Beginning in May 2012, the telescope began watching the star, sometimes daily.
A dramatic change in the star came during a time when Spitzer had to point away from NGC 2547-ID8 because our sun was in the way. When Spitzer started observing the star again five months later, the team was shocked by the data they received.
“We not only witnessed what appears to be the wreckage of a huge smashup, but have been able to track how it is changing — the signal is fading as the cloud destroys itself by grinding its grains down so they escape from the star,” said Kate Su of the University of Arizona and co-author on the study. “Spitzer is the best telescope for monitoring stars regularly and precisely for small changes in infrared light over months and even years.”
A very thick cloud of dusty debris now orbits the star in the zone where rocky planets form. As the scientists observe the star system, the infrared signal from this cloud varies based on what is visible from Earth. For example, when the elongated cloud is facing us, more of its surface area is exposed and the signal is greater. When the head or the tail of the cloud is in view, less infrared light is observed. By studying the infrared oscillations, the team is gathering first-of-its-kind data on the detailed process and outcome of collisions that create rocky planets like Earth.
“We are watching rocky planet formation happen right in front of us,” said George Rieke, a University of Arizona co-author of the new study. “This is a unique chance to study this process in near real-time.”
The team is continuing to keep an eye on the star with Spitzer. They will see how long the elevated dust levels persist, which will help them calculate how often such events happen around this and other stars. And they might see another smashup while Spitzer looks on.
The results of this study are posted online Thursday in the journal Science.
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, manages the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Science operations are conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. Spacecraft operations are based at Lockheed Martin Space Systems Company in Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive housed at the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.
For more information about Spitzer, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/spitzer
This is a Great Zoom into the so-called Distributary Fan on Mars. It is located just northeast of Holden Crater. As seen from Martian orbit by the Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) flying on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft, this dramatic visualization shows us where liquid water likely flowed across the Martian surface sometime in the planet’s past.
The videos have been posted of the panels in Monday’s two-part NASA event (see earlier posting) about the New Horizons Pluto mission and comparing that probe’s passing the orbit of Neptune with the 25th anniversary of the Voyager 2 fly-by of Neptune.
A panel discussion of the New Horizons project:
NASA’s Mission to Pluto was a two part televised science event at NASA headquarters on August 25 – the same date that the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft passed the orbit of Neptune on its way to Pluto and exactly 25 years after the Voyager spacecraft’s encounter with Neptune in 1989. During the first event, entitled NASA’s New Horizons Pluto Mission: Continuing Voyager’s Legacy of Exploration, NASA scientists and officials discussed the two missions.
Five participants in the Voyager 2 fly-by of Neptune in 1989 reminisce and compare that event with next year’s New Horizon’s fly by of Pluto:
NASA’s Mission to Pluto was a two part televised science event at NASA headquarters on August 25 – the same date that the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft passed the orbit of Neptune on its way to Pluto and exactly 25 years after the Voyager spacecraft’s encounter with Neptune in 1989. During the second event, entitled New Horizons-Voyager Connections: Memories from the Team, several New Horizons science team members gave personal accounts of their work during the Voyager Neptune encounter and discussed their new assignments on the Pluto mission.
Here are more examples from that collection:
Alan Stern, principle investigator for the New Horizons mission to Pluto and head of Uwingu, spoke on The Space Show last weekend: Dr. Alan Stern, Sunday, 8-24-14 | Thespaceshow’s Blog.
Listen to the audio:
He discussed the status of the New Horizons spacecraft, which just passed by Neptune, and its fly-by of Pluto next summer. He also talked about Uwingu’s public participation programs including the new Beam Me To Mars activity.
1. Monday, August 25, 2014: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back MICHAEL LISTNER, space atty.
2. Tuesday, August 26, 2014:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome back BOB ZIMMERMAN for space news updates.
3. Friday, August 29, 2014, 9:30 -11 AM PDT (12;30-2 PM EDT; 11:30-1 PM CDT): TBD as I have a conflict with medical follow up appointments. Check the website newsletter for the latest regarding the program for this date as I am working to reschedule the conflicting appointments. I will update the website newsletter as to the status of a program this date no later than Thursday evening. .
4. Sunday, August 31, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT). We welcome back DR. WILLIAM (BILL) ROWE for his new information. We should have our earlier phone line issues resolved and we are looking forward to this program. Find out more about Dr. Rowe’s work at his website, www.femsinspace.com.
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.
There will be two live programs today on NASA TV dealing with the New Horizons mission to Pluto:
Media and the public are invited to attend two events Monday, Aug. 25 from 1-3 p.m. EDT to learn more about the agency’s New Horizons mission to Pluto and its historic connection to the Voyager spacecraft’s visit to Neptune in 1989.
The events, which will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website, will take place in the Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street SW in Washington.
New Horizons will conduct a six -month-long study of Pluto and its five moons, including a close approach in July 2015.
• The 1-2 p.m. event will feature a panel discussion with:
o Jim Green, director, NASA’s Planetary Division, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters, Washington
o Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena
o Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado
• The 2-3 p.m. event will include several New Horizons science team members giving personal accounts of their work during the Voyager Neptune encounter and their new assignments on the Pluto mission. Panel participants include:
o Moderator: David Grinspoon, Planetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona
o Fran Bagenal, University of Colorado, Boulder
o Bonnie Buratti, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
o Jeffrey Moore, NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California
o John Spencer, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado
Media and the public can also ask questions via social media using #askNASA.
For NASA TV streaming video, schedules and downlink information, visit: www.nasa.gov/nasatv
For more information on New Horizons on the Internet, visit: www.nasa.gov/newhorizons
[ Update: Panel videos can be seen here.]
I mentioned earlier the UK’s Register newspaper’s LOHAN (Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator) project. They have now opened the crowd-funding campaign to pay for their launch at Spaceport America in New Mexico: Balloon launch of the Vulture 2 rocket-powered spaceplane by Special Projects Bureau — Kickstarter.
The world’s first 3D-printed, rocket-powered aircraft will lift off from Spaceport America, New Mexico, in Autumn 2014
Here’s their Kickstarter video:
The latest Mars One newsletter has been posted: Mars Exchange: the new interactive Mars One community component.
Check out the new networking site for Mars One supporters : Mars One Community Platform
The latest live TMRO/Spacevidcast show is now available on line: Firefly Space - TMRO.
From the caption:
TMRO is a crowd funded show. If you enjoyed this episode, consider contributing to the show, allowing us to expand and do cool new things. Even as little as $1/ep can make a high difference - http://www.patreon.com/tmro
We bring on guest PJ King the COO of Firefly Space Systems to talk about their Flirefly Alpha and Firefly Beta rockets. Interview starts at12:43
TMRO is a weekly show all about space and the comsos. Covering major events from NASA, ESA, JAXA, Roscosmos, SpaceX and more, TMRO is your weekly news and views show for every space geek! Featuring monthly live shows and weekly cosmic updates, get your Space Geek on right here! Don’t forget to subscribe.
The ISEC 2014 Space Elevator Conference has been underway this weekend at the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. Several of the presentations are described in the The Space Elevator Blog. For example:
Space reporter Leonard David is also at the meeting: What’s Up with Space Elevators? – LeonardDavid.com.
Neptune’s moon Triton is far, far away but we got a close up look at it when the Voyager 2 probe passed by in 1989. The Voyager’s imagery of Triton has been enhanced with modern processing techniques:
August 21, 2014 : NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft gave humanity its first close-up look at Neptune and its moon Triton in the summer of 1989. Like an old film, Voyager’s historic footage of Triton has been “restored” and used to construct the best-ever global color map of that strange moon. The map, produced by Paul Schenk, a scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, has also been used to make a movie recreating that historic Voyager encounter, which took place 25 years ago, on August 25, 1989.
The Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Triton, a moon of Neptune, in the summer
of 1989. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lunar & Planetary Institute.
Full image and caption
The new Triton map has a resolution of 1,970 feet (600 meters) per pixel. The colors have been enhanced to bring out contrast but are a close approximation to Triton’s natural colors. Voyager’s “eyes” saw in colors slightly different from human eyes, and this map was produced using orange, green and blue filter images.
In 1989, most of the northern hemisphere was in darkness and unseen by Voyager. Because of the speed of Voyager’s visit and the slow rotation of Triton, only one hemisphere was seen clearly at close distance. The rest of the surface was either in darkness or seen as blurry markings.
The production of the new Triton map was inspired by anticipation of NASA’s New Horizons encounter with Pluto, coming up a little under a year from now. Among the improvements on the map are updates to the accuracy of feature locations, sharpening of feature details by removing some of the blurring effects of the camera, and improved color processing.
Although Triton is a moon of a planet and Pluto is a dwarf planet, Triton serves as a preview of sorts for the upcoming Pluto encounter. Although both bodies originated in the outer solar system, Triton was captured by Neptune and has undergone a radically different thermal history than Pluto. Tidal heating has likely melted the interior of Triton, producing the volcanoes, fractures and other geological features that Voyager saw on that bitterly cold, icy surface.
Pluto is unlikely to be a copy of Triton, but some of the same types of features may be present. Triton is slightly larger than Pluto, has a very similar internal density and bulk composition, and has the same low-temperature volatiles frozen on its surface. The surface composition of both bodies includes carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, methane and nitrogen ices.
Voyager also discovered atmospheric plumes on Triton, making it one of the known active bodies in the outer solar system, along with objects such as Jupiter’s moon Io and Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Scientists will be looking at Pluto next year to see if it will join this list. They will also be looking to see how Pluto and Triton compare and contrast, and how their different histories have shaped the surfaces we see.
Although a fast flyby, New Horizons’ Pluto encounter on July 14, 2015, will not be a replay of Voyager but more of a sequel and a reboot, with a new and more technologically advanced spacecraft and, more importantly, a new cast of characters. Those characters are Pluto and its family of five known moons, all of which will be seen up close for the first time next summer.
Triton may not be a perfect preview of coming attractions, but it serves as a prequel to the cosmic blockbuster expected when New Horizons arrives at Pluto next year.
The new Triton map and movie can be found at: www.lpi.usra.edu/icy_moons/
In another historic milestone for the Voyager mission, Aug. 25 also marks the two-year anniversary of Voyager 1 reaching interstellar space.
The Voyager mission is managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, California, for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, manages the New Horizons mission for NASA’s SMD.
For more information about the Lunar and Planetary Institute, visit: ww.lpi.usra.edu
For more information about Voyager, visit:
For more information about New Horizons mission, visit:
The latest weekly report from NASA on activities aboard the International Space Station:
design a utilitarian Mars base that can withstand the elements and maybe even make you feel at home, despite being 140 million miles away from Earth, on average.
The design models are 3D printable.