The latest Planetary Post with Robert Picardo is about Space Robots in Antarctica –
While Picardo speaks to Astronauts and fans on a Star Trek cruise ship, one of our other board members, Dr. Britney Schmidt toughs it out at the South Pole to research how one day robots could work underwater on ice moons.
Here is a recent panel discussion at NASA JPL about the first US satellite, Explorer 1, launched 60 years ago on Jan.25, 1958:
Explorer 1 marked the start of the Space Age for America, and heralded the study of Earth from space. The JPL-built satellite confirmed the existence of the Van Allen radiation belts, the very first space science discovery. Explorer 1’s success was only the first of an array of Earth missions that have mapped and probed our planet’s lands, waters and atmosphere on scales ranging from the millimeter to global views. This conversation and multimedia journey spanned from the dawn of Earth space science to today’s modern fleet that is providing vital information in understanding the changes taking place on the only planet humans can yet call home. For more info on Explorer 1, please visit https://explorer1.jpl.nasa.gov
Blaine Baggett, JPL Fellow – Moderator Erik Conway, JPL Historian Carmen Boening, JPL Earth Scientist Erika Podest, JPL Earth Scientist Jason Craig, JPL Visualization Specialist
A dark cloud of cosmic dust snakes across this spectacular wide field image, illuminated by the brilliant light of new stars. This dense cloud is a star-forming region called Lupus 3, where dazzlingly hot stars are born from collapsing masses of gas and dust. This image was created from images taken using the VLT Survey Telescope and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope and is the most detailed image taken so far of this region.
In the star-forming region Lupus 3, in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), dazzlingly hot stars are born from collapsing masses of gas and dust. This short podcast showcases a new picture of this dramatic object, created from images taken using the VLT Survey Telescope and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is the most detailed image taken so far of this region.
The Lupus 3 star forming region lies within the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion), only 600 light-years away from Earth. It is part of a larger complex called the Lupus Clouds, which takes its name from the adjacent constellation of Lupus(The Wolf). The clouds resemble smoke billowing across a background of millions of stars, but in fact these clouds are a dark nebula.
Nebulae are great swathes of gas and dust strung out between the stars, sometimes stretching out over hundreds of light-years. While many nebulae are spectacularly illuminated by the intense radiation of hot stars, dark nebulae shroud the light of the celestial objects within them. They are also known as absorption nebulae, because they are made up of cold, dense particles of dust that absorb and scatter light as it passes through the cloud.
Famous dark nebulae include the Coalsack Nebula and the Great Rift, which are large enough to be seen with the naked eye, starkly black against the brilliance of the Milky Way.
This zoom sequence starts with a view of the central parts of the Milky Way. We close in on a region in the constellation of Scorpius (The Scorpion). The final view is a combined image from data from both the VLT Survey Telescope and the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It shows a dark cloud where new stars are forming along with a cluster of brilliant stars that have already burst out of their dusty stellar nursery. This cloud is known as Lupus 3 and it lies about 600 light-years from Earth. It is likely that the Sun formed in a similar star formation region more than four billion years ago. Credit: ESO/R. Colombari/Digitized Sky Survey 2/N. Risinger (skysurvey.org). Music: Astral electronic.
Lupus 3 has an irregular form, appearing like a misshapen snake across the sky. In this image it is a region of contrasts, with thick dark trails set against the glare of bright blue stars at the centre. Like most dark nebulae, Lupus 3 is an active star formation region, primarily composed of protostars and very young stars. Nearby disturbances can cause denser clumps of the nebula to contract under gravity, becoming hot and pressurised in the process. Eventually, a protostar is born out of the extreme conditions in the core of this collapsing cloud.
The two brilliant stars in the centre of this image underwent this very process. Early in their lives, the radiation they emitted was largely blocked by the thick veil of their host nebula, visible only to telescopes at infrared and radio wavelengths. But as they grew hotter and brighter, their intense radiation and strong stellar winds swept the surrounding areas clear of gas and dust, allowing them to emerge gloriously from their gloomy nursery to shine brightly.
These two stars are still very young — so young that nuclear fusion has not yet been triggered in their cores. Instead, their brightness is caused by the conversion of gravitational energy into heat as their turbulent cores contract.
Understanding nebulae is critical for understanding the processes of star formation — indeed, it is thought that the Sun formed in a star formation region very similar to Lupus 3 over four billion years ago. As one of the closest stellar nurseries, Lupus 3 has been the subject of many studies; in 2013, the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at ESO’s La Silla Observatoryin Chile captured a smaller picture of its dark smoke-like columns and brilliant stars (eso1303).
Niamh is on Mars and a member of Crew 173, on a long duration mission to investigate new ways of growing food in this arid foreign land. As their 2 year mission comes to an end, one crucial experiment remains for Niamh. But will she overcome her personal struggles or put the whole crew and the mission in danger?
A highly visual exploration of future interplanetary human exploration, Shaw and her creative team create a new world order, reminding us of the power of the collective, the fragility of the solitary human and the united will behind all major breakthroughs. Because we may one day leave the cradle of Earth, but we will always be human.
The show about Niamh’s dream to go to Space has been inspired by Elon Musk’s grand design for a future interplanetary civilisation, testimonies of ESA employees, and Niamh’s personal space journey.
Created by Niamh Shaw & Sarah Baxter in collaboration with CIT Blackrock Castle Observatory, ESERO Ireland, European Space Agency & ESA Astronaut Centre. Funded by Science Foundation Ireland Discover Programme 2017.
1. Monday, Jan.29 , 2018: 2-3:30 pm PST (4-5:30 pm CST, 5-6:30 pm EST): We welcome back Laura Montgomery, noted space attorney. Laura will be discussing recent trends and concepts for US legal space policy and the OST.
2. SPECIAL DAY AND TIME: Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018: 9:30 am -11 am PST, (12:30 -2 pm EST; 11:30 am -1 pm CST): We welcome Paul Gilster regarding interstellar.possibilities and technologies.
3. Wednesday, Jan.31, 2018: Hotel Mars. See Upcoming Show Menu and the website newsletter for details. Hotel Mars is pre-recorded by John Batchelor. It is archived on The Space Show site after John posts it on his website.
4. Friday, Feb. 2, 2018; 9:30 am -11 zm PST, (12:30 -2 pm EST; 11:30 am -1 pm CST): No show today as am working on finishing my move and studio setup.