“Photos by NASA/JPL/University of Arizona/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio.”
“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:
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.
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Hubble Telescope, a beautiful image of the Westerlund 2 star cluster taken by the orbital observatory has been released: Hubble Space Telescope Celebrates 25 Years of Unveiling the Universe – HubbleSite.
A 3-D visualization of the cluster:
Here’s a statement included with the release:
A new window to the universe opened for humanity on the morning of April 24, 1990, when NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope was lofted into space, riding atop a Promethean flame from the space shuttle Discovery.
“Even the most optimistic person to whom you could have spoken back in 1990 couldn’t have predicted the degree to which Hubble would re-write our astrophysics and planetary science textbooks,” said Charlie Bolden, NASA administrator and pilot of the mission that brought Hubble into orbit. “A quarter century later, Hubble has fundamentally changed human understanding of the universe and our place in it.”
Hubble’s scientific payoff has been immeasurable; it has shown us the universe as we never imagined.
“Hubble has changed the course of science with its discoveries and shown us the depth and beauty of the universe,” said John Grunsfeld, Hubble astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “With both new observations and treasures hidden in the existing archive of data, Hubble will continue to unravel the mysteries of the cosmos in the years ahead.”
Above the hazy blur of Earth’s atmosphere, Hubble provides a larger-than-life, “super-rainbow” view of the universe: from ultraviolet, visible, and into near-infrared wavelengths of light. Hubble’s fantastic images unveil both beauty and cataclysmic disturbances across an unimaginably deep cosmic tapestry. Combined with the powers of NASA’s Great Observatories, Chandra, Spitzer, and the deorbited Compton Gamma-ray Observatory, Hubble painted a picture of the solar system and beyond that has changed astronomy forever.
Initially tasked to measure the expansion rate of the universe, find very distant galaxies, and investigate black holes, Hubble’s research has now covered nearly every frontier in deep-space astronomy: the expansion and acceleration rate of the universe, the apparent link between galaxy mass and central black hole mass; early galaxy formation shortly after the Big Bang; strange transient events in space; and the chemistry and potential habitability of planets orbiting other stars.
Hubble’s long exposures of the far universe have unveiled an “undiscovered country” of discordant objects, violent explosions, and tumultuous galaxy collisions. They tell the story of the dynamic evolution of the universe from the Big Bang.
Hubble has also provided a fascinating view of our own dynamic solar system, revealing colliding asteroids, changing aurorae and weather on planets and moons, and even enabling the detection of previously unknown moons.
More than being just a tool for astronomers, Hubble is the people’s telescope. It is one of the most influential scientific instruments ever built, reinvigorating and reshaping what the world perceives as outer space. Its images and discoveries have captured the imagination of people around the world, touching everything from pop culture to science fiction, from academia to art. Hubble has also substantially improved science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education nationwide. Its education materials are used by half a million teachers and six million students annually in all 50 states.
Thanks to five space shuttle servicing missions, totaling 32 astronaut space walks, and the multitude of scientists, engineers, and staff that worked on Hubble, the observatory has long out-lasted its planned end-of-mission in 2005. The observatory’s science capabilities are more powerful than at its launch, with upgraded instruments, computers, and control systems operating at top performance until at least the end of the decade.
With support from ESA (European Space Agency), Hubble has served as a trailblazer for planning humanity’s next big step into the cosmos. The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a partnership with ESA and the Canadian Space Agency, is scheduled for launch in 2018 and will see farther back in time than Hubble with its extended infrared capabilities. JWST will reveal fledgling galaxies from the first 200 million years after the Big Bang. It will also peer deeply into the dusty planet-forming disks around young stars that Hubble often sees in silhouette, and push the boundaries of learning about planets orbiting other stars.
This week’s episode of NASA”s Space to Ground report on activities on the Int. Space Station:
I’ve had a posts here and here recently about the Zero Gravity Cocktail Glass from Cosmic Lifestyle. Here is an interesting NASA video with Dr. Mark Weislogel of Portland State University about the development of these types of beverage holders, as well as pipes and other fluid flow hardware, that use capillary forces to provide easier and more practical use in weightlessness:
NASA Commentator Brandi Dean talks with Dr. Mark Weislogel of Portland State University about a new experiment on the International Space Station to test a drinking cup that will work in weightlessness. The Capillary Beverage experiment applies recent findings about capillary flows and surface tension and their impact on fluids in microgravity to design containers that mimic the role of gravity and should provide station crew members with the ability to actually drink water or coffee or other beverages rather than sucking them out of beverage bags with straws, as they do now.
In February I posted a video interview with Mars One candidate Leila Zucker’. The interview was made by Melissa Balan and colleagues at Senior Post as the first in their series of “Life on Mars” interviews.
The video below shows an interview with long time space advocate Bob Werb, a co-founder of The Space Frontier Foundation. The SFF is a non-profit organization that pushes for the development and settlement of space.
This is part two of an on-going exploration of mankind’s fascination with Mars. In upcoming episodes, we’ll continue to examine current initiatives to build human settlements on the red planet.
Wonderful new images of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko from Rosetta “ESA’s comet chaser” have been released in the past week or so:
The comet’s activity has been significantly increasing over the last weeks and months. As the comet moves closer to the Sun along its orbit, its nucleus gets warmer and warmer. Frozen gases sublimate from its surface, carrying dust particles with it and enshrouding the nucleus in a dense coma. With only four months to go until perihelion – the closest point to the Sun – this process is well underway, with pronounced dust jets seen at all times on the comet’s day side.
Rosetta’s OSIRIS wide-angle camera captures the moment a jet bursts
into action. The first image was captured at 07:13 CET on 12 March
2015, the second two minutes later.
Credits: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team
The two images released today show the remarkable onset of such a jet for the first time. They were taken on 12 March from a distance of 75 kilometres. In the first image, obtained at 07:13 CET, several rays of dust jets frame the upper, illuminated side of the comet. The dark underside shows no such features. Two minutes later, the picture has changed: a spectacular new jet has emerged on the dark side, hurtling dust into space and displaying a clearly discernable fine structure.
“This was a chance discovery,” says OSIRIS principal investigator Holger Sierks from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany. “No one has ever witnessed the wake-up of a dust jet before. It is impossible to plan such an image.”
Today’s CometWatch entry is a single frame NAVCAM image obtained on 15 April, from a distance of 170 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. At this distance, the resolution is 14.5 m/pixel; the image has been cropped to 11.4 km (the original frame, provided at the end of the post, measures 14.8 km across).
Today’s CometWatch entry is another single frame NAVCAM image taken on 15 April, almost four hours after the one that was published last Friday. The new picture was obtained at about 165 km from the centre of Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, where the resolution of NAVCAM is 14 m/pixel. The image has been cropped and measures 10.4 km (the original frame, provided at the end of the post, measures 14.4 km across).
The image [below] was captured on 15 April 2015 by Rosetta’s Navigation camera from a distance of 162 km from the comet centre. The resolution is 14 m/pixel and the image measures 14 km across. It has been processed to bring out the incredible detail of the comet’s activity streaming away from the nucleus.
The previous two CometWatch entries were also acquired on 15 April and today’s image fits into the sequence nicely, captured just before midday spacecraft time, a little over two hours after Monday’s entry.
Under the viewing conditions at this time, the comet appears largely in shadow, with the ‘underside’ of the comet’s large lobe beautifully silhouetted against the background glow of activity that surrounds the nucleus.
* Rosetta update: Two close flybys of an increasingly active comet – The Planetary Society – Emily Lakdawalla gives a tour of the new images.
In the two months since I last checked up on the Rosetta mission, the comet has heated up, displaying more and more jet activity. Perihelion is now only four months away, and the pictures are just getting more and more dramatic with time.
More Space Pod short video reports from TMRO.tv:
* Mousetronauts and Growing Seeds in Microgravity – Space Pod 04/22/15 – “Lisa Stojanovski discusses the different experiments that will performed on mice at the International Space Station as well as plant growth experiments.”
* India’s Human Spaceflight Program – Space Pod 04/21/15 – “Michael Clark talks about India’s human spaceflight program and the rockets that will enable them.”
* Living in the Galactic ‘Burbs – Space Pod 04/20/15 – “Ariel Waldman chats about our home in the Milky Way galaxy and displays her #spacehipster pride in explaining why the Spitzer Space Telescope is awesome.”
A new report from ESO (European Southern Observatory):
First Exoplanet Visible Light Spectrum
New technique paints promising picture for future
Astronomers using the HARPS planet-hunting machine at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile have made the first-ever direct detection of the spectrum of visible light reflected off an exoplanet. These observations also revealed new properties of this famous object, the first exoplanet ever discovered around a normal star: 51 Pegasi b. The result promises an exciting future for this technique, particularly with the advent of next generation instruments, such as ESPRESSO, on the VLT, and future telescopes, such as the E-ELT.
This artist’s view shows the hot Jupiter exoplanet 51 Pegasi b, sometimes referred to as Bellerophon, which orbits a star about 50 light-years from Earth in the northern constellation of Pegasus (The Winged Horse). This was the first exoplanet around a normal star to be found in 1995. Twenty years later this object was also the first exoplanet to be be directly detected spectroscopically in visible light. Credit: ESO/M. Kornmesser/Nick Risinger (skysurvey.org)
The exoplanet 51 Pegasi b  lies some 50 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Pegasus. It was discovered in 1995 and will forever be remembered as the first confirmed exoplanet to be found orbiting an ordinary star like the Sun . It is also regarded as the archetypal hot Jupiter — a class of planets now known to be relatively commonplace, which are similar in size and mass to Jupiter, but orbit much closer to their parent stars.
Since that landmark discovery, more than 1900 exoplanets in 1200 planetary systems have been confirmed, but, in the year of the twentieth anniversary of its discovery, 51 Pegasi b returns to the ring once more to provide another advance in exoplanet studies.
The team that made this new detection was led by Jorge Martins from the Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) and the Universidade do Porto, Portugal, who is currently a PhD student at ESO in Chile. They used the HARPS instrument on the ESO 3.6-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile.
Currently, the most widely used method to examine an exoplanet’s atmosphere is to observe the host star’s spectrum as it is filtered through the planet’s atmosphere during transit — a technique known as transmission spectroscopy. An alternative approach is to observe the system when the star passes in front of the planet, which primarily provides information about the exoplanet’s temperature.
The new technique does not depend on finding a planetary transit, and so can potentially be used to study many more exoplanets. It allows the planetary spectrum to be directly detected in visible light, which means that different characteristics of the planet that are inaccessible to other techniques can be inferred.
The host star’s spectrum is used as a template to guide a search for a similar signature of light that is expected to be reflected off the planet as it describes its orbit. This is an exceedingly difficult task as planets are incredibly dim in comparison to their dazzling parent stars.
The signal from the planet is also easily swamped by other tiny effects and sources of noise . In the face of such adversity, the success of the technique when applied to the HARPS data collected on 51 Pegasi b provides an extremely valuable proof of concept.
Jorge Martins explains: “This type of detection technique is of great scientific importance, as it allows us to measure the planet’s real mass and orbital inclination, which is essential to more fully understand the system. It also allows us to estimate the planet’s reflectivity, or albedo, which can be used to infer the composition of both the planet’s surface and atmosphere.”
51 Pegasi b was found to have a mass about half that of Jupiter’s and an orbit with an inclination of about nine degrees to the direction to the Earth . The planet also seems to be larger than Jupiter in diameter and to be highly reflective. These are typical properties for a hot Jupiter that is very close to its parent star and exposed to intense starlight.
HARPS was essential to the team’s work, but the fact that the result was obtained using the ESO 3.6-metre telescope, which has a limited range of application with this technique, is exciting news for astronomers. Existing equipment like this will be surpassed by much more advanced instruments on larger telescopes, such as ESO’s Very Large Telescope and the future European Extremely Large Telescope .
“We are now eagerly awaiting first light of the ESPRESSO spectrograph on the VLT so that we can do more detailed studies of this and other planetary systems,” concludes Nuno Santos, of the IA and Universidade do Porto, who is a co-author of the new paper.
Check out this marvelous little musical comedy created by Esteban Gast: Found and Lost: The Story of Pluto –
Esteban says the work is “based off Mike Brown’s Why I Killed Pluto“. Brown responds here.
the intersections of government, entrepreneurs, and citizen scientists in space commercialization across the U.S.
The project recently opened a crowd-funding campaign to complete at least 9 more episodes: The Private Space Webseries by Tamir ElSahy — Kickstarter –
Three initial episodes are available at LifeAssembled Studios – YouTube. The first “features an interview with California State Sen. Steve Knight, the lead author of California’s Space Flight Liability and Immunity Act“.
The Dawn spacecraft shot past Ceres a month or so and has not been able to see the sunlight side of the dwarf planet until recently as it moves back towards a close orbit around it. It can now see the bright spots that it say on the approach to Ceres:
April 20, 2015—The two brightest spots on dwarf planet Ceres, which have fascinated scientists for months, are back in view in the newest images from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft. Dawn took these images on April 14 and 15 from a vantage point 14,000 miles (22,000 kilometers) above Ceres’ north pole.
An animation and still image are available here: www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA19064
The images show the brightest spot and its companion clearly standing out against their darker surroundings, but their composition and sources are still unknown. Scientists also see other interesting features, including heavy cratering. As Dawn gets closer to Ceres, surface features will continue to emerge at increasingly better resolution.
Dawn has now finished delivering the images that have helped mission planners maneuver the spacecraft to its first science orbit and prepare for subsequent observations. All of the approach operations have executed flawlessly and kept Dawn on course and on schedule. Beginning April 23, Dawn will spend about three weeks in a near-circular orbit around Ceres, taking observations from 8,400 miles (13,500 kilometers) above the surface. On May 9, Dawn will begin to make its way to lower orbits to improve the view and provide higher-resolution observations.
“The approach imaging campaign has completed successfully by giving us a preliminary, tantalizing view of the world Dawn is about to start exploring in detail. It has allowed us to start asking some new and intriguing questions,” said Marc Rayman, Dawn’s mission director and chief engineer, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
On March 6, Dawn became the first spacecraft to orbit a dwarf planet, and the first to orbit two extraterrestrial targets. Scientists will be comparing Ceres to giant asteroid Vesta, which Dawn studied from 2011 to 2012, in order to gain insights about the formation of our solar system. Both Vesta and Ceres, located in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, were on their way to becoming planets before their development was interrupted.
Dawn’s mission is managed by JPL for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate’s Discovery Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK, Inc., in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, the Italian Space Agency and the Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team. For a complete list of acknowledgements, visit dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/
1. Monday, April 20, 2015: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT; 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome DR. DONALD RAPP to discuss the use of indigenous resources on Mars to reduce the cost of a human mission to Mars and Climate Change from the perspective of those who do not start out with preconceived belief systems, but examine the data (which are fragmentary and noisy) honestly.
2. Tuesday, April 21,, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome Thomas Marotta who as a space advocate attended this year’s March Storm. Tom will report on the event.
WEBINAR AND SPECIAL TIME: 4. Sunday, April 26, 2015: 1-3 PM PDT (4-6 PM EDT, 3-5PM CDT): We welcome DR. JOHN JURIST to this listener requested webinar on selecting the right rocket, engine, and fuel for a mission. Dr. Jurist will explain how this is done, the type of trades and issues to consider. Dr. Jurist will have supporting documents for us which I will upload to The Space Show blog on Saturday before the webinar. You can listen to the webinar with audio only as you can any Space Show program. You can watch the webinar on our Space Show UStream site, www.ustream.tv/channel/the-space-show. The video will be archived on our Space Show Vimeo site.
The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.