July 24, 2017

Saturn Surprises As Cassini Continues Its Grand Finale

This false-color view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft gazes toward the rings beyond Saturn’s sunlit horizon, where a thin haze can be seen along the limb. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

July 24, 2017 – As NASA’s Cassini spacecraft makes its unprecedented series of weekly dives between Saturn and its rings, scientists are finding — so far — that the planet’s magnetic field has no discernable tilt. This surprising observation, which means the true length of Saturn’s day is still unknown, is just one of several early insights from the final phase of Cassini’s mission, known as the Grand Finale. Read More

NASA Recommends Safety Tips To View The August Solar Eclipse

A total solar eclipse, which is when the Moon completely covers the Sun, will occur across 14 states in the continental U.S. on Aug 21, 2017. Image Credit: NASA

July 24, 2017 – More than 300 million people in the United States potentially could directly view the August 21 total solar eclipse, and NASA wants everyone who will witness this celestial phenomenon to do so safely. Read More

Van Allen Probes Surf Through Waves In Space To Understand Space Weather

The two populations of hiss, low and high frequency, inhabit two separate regions in near-Earth space. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith

July 24, 2017 – The space surrounding our planet is full of restless charged particles and roiling electric and magnetic fields, which create waves around Earth. One type of wave, plasmaspheric hiss, is particularly important for removing charged particles from the Van Allen radiation belts, a seething coil of particles encircling Earth, which can interfere with satellites and telecommunications. A new study published in Journal of Geophysical Research using data from NASA’s Van Allen Probes spacecraft has discovered that hiss is more complex than previously understood. Read More

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Hughes Awarded U.S. Government Contract For SATCOM Communications Architecture
Source: Hughes Network Systems, LLC

Hughes Network Systems, LLC (HUGHES), the global leader in broadband satellite networks and services, today announced it has been awarded a Wideband Communications Architecture Study (WCAS) contract to support the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) plan for resilient, cost-effective satellite communications (SATCOM) capabilities. Under the contract, Hughes will investigate a wide-ranging commercial perspective on how different satellite transports can interoperate for wideband government applications.

CubeCab To Launch 1,000 Satellites For ThumbSat
Source: CubeCab

In the largest single agreement to date, educational satellite company ThumbSat has agreed to launch 1,000 of its satellites on CubeCab’s Cab-3A rocket family.

Professor UR Rao, Ex-ISRO Chief And Renowned Space Scientist, Passes Away
Source: Times of India

Internationally-renowned space scientist UR Rao passed away early Monday, leaving the Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) bereft of the experience of a man who has been a part of all its launches in one capacity or another. He was 85.

Russian First 3D Printed Satellite To Go Into Space
Source: TASS Russian News Agency

The Russian crew of the International Space Station (ISS) on August 17 will launch into the open space the first 3D printed Russian satellite. The Tomsk-TPU-120 satellite has been at ISS since spring, 2016, awaiting going into the space, press service of the Tomsk Polytechnic University said on Monday.

Installation Of New Flame Deflector For SLS Begins On 39B
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

Engineers have begun to install the new Flame Deflector into the Flame Trench of Pad 39B. Following the demolition of the legacy deflector that catered for the Space Shuttle, a large Ignition Over-Pressure/Sound Suppression (IOP/SS) manifold pipe has now been installed ahead of surrounding it with the new universal deflector for the Space Launch System (SLS).

Turbulence In Planetary Cores Excited By Tides
Source: CRNS

Veritable shields against high-energy particles, planets’ magnetic fields are produced by iron moving in their liquid core. Yet the dominant model for explaining this system does not fit the smallest celestial bodies. Researchers at the Institut de Recherche sur les Phénomènes Hors Equilibre (IRPHE, CNRS/Aix Marseille Université/Centrale Marseille) and the University of Leeds have proposed a new model suggesting that turbulence in the liquid cores is due to tides produced by gravitational interactions between celestial bodies.

Carbon Nanotubes Stand At Attention
Source: Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

Just as members of a marching band align themselves for a performance, carbon nanotubes create a similar configuration. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) scientists recently used synchrotron X-ray scattering to fully capture the hierarchical structure in self-organized carbon nanotube materials from the atomic to micrometer scale.

Boulder Gathering Marks One Month To Solar Eclipse, Moment Of Cosmic Inspiration
Source: Loveland Reporter-Herald

Friday marked one month to what scientists, astronomers, backyard scientists and millions of Americans are viewing with near-breathless excitement: the first total solar eclipse to sweep the entirety of the United States in 99 years. Scientists gathered at Boulder’s National Center for Atmospheric Research on Friday to talk about the groundbreaking science that will be done Aug. 21 across the country in the 91 minutes that it takes a 65-mile swath of the moon’s shadow to trace an arcing path from Oregon to South Carolina.

Dark Matter Is Likely ‘Cold,’ Not Fuzzy, Scientists Report After New Simulations
Source: University of Washington

Dark matter is the aptly named unseen material that makes up the bulk of matter in our universe. But what dark matter is made of is a matter of debate. Scientists have never directly detected dark matter. But over decades, they have proposed a variety of theories about what type of material — from new particles to primordial black holes — could comprise dark matter and explain its many effects on normal matter.

Giant Radio Telescope Scaled Back To Contain Costs
Source: Nature

Designs for the world’s largest radio telescope have been scaled back to save money — a decision that astronomers say could affect its ability to peer deep into the Universe’s past.

Enceladus’ Sea Floor Has Hydrothermal Vents Like Ours
Source: GreenArea.me

In 1977, a group of marine researchers discovered something they’d only before theorized: cracks in the ocean floor releasing heat, warming up (and often boiling) the ocean around it. They also found mollusks in them, and subsequent vents have yielded heat resistant microbes, giant tube worms, and more fantastic creatures living in what are essentially small, underwater volcanoes. Now, NASA has announced that they have indirect evidence for hydrothermal vents beyond Earth.

Video: Landsat Celebrates 45 Years Of Earth Observations
Source: NASA Goddard

Since 1972, Landsat satellites have orbited our home planet, collecting data about the land surface we rely on. This video shows footage of the launch of the first Landsat satellite, on July 23, 1972, and a time lapse of the changing coastal wetlands in Atchafalaya Bay, Louisiana.

NASA Flights Gauge Summer Sea Ice Melt In The Arctic
Source: NASA

Earlier this year Arctic sea ice sank to a record low wintertime extent for the third straight year. Now NASA is flying a set of instruments north of Greenland to observe the impact of the melt season on the Arctic’s oldest and thickest sea ice. Operation IceBridge, NASA’s airborne survey of polar ice, launched a short campaign on July 17 from Thule Air Base, in northwest Greenland. Weather permitting, the IceBridge scientists are expecting to complete six, 4-hour-long flights focusing on sea ice that has survived at least one summer.

Elon Musk’s Mars Rocket May Be About To Lose Half Of Its Engines
Source: Ars Technica

Last year, SpaceX founder Elon Musk shared plans for his transportation system to send humans to Mars in the 2020s. But the fantastically huge rocket, with 42 Raptor engines and enormous technical challenges, seemed more like science fiction than reality. Then there was the small matter of who would pay the tens of billions of dollars to develop a rocket that had few—if any—commercial prospects beyond sending 100 people to Mars at a time.

NASA Might Privatize One Of Its Great Observatories
Source: Spaceflight Now

Management of NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope could be turned over to an academic institution or private operator in 2019 once the space agency’s funding for the observatory runs out, a senior NASA manager said this week.

A Look At The History Of Suborbital Spaceflight
Source: Parabolic Arc

With Richard Branson once again predicting that Virgin Galactic will fly SpaeShipTwo into space before the end of the year, it seems like a good time to take a look at the history of suborbital spaceflight.

Scientists Spy New Evidence Of Water In The Moon’s Interior
Source: Brown University

Using satellite data, Brown researchers have for the first time detected widespread water within ancient explosive volcanic deposits on the Moon, suggesting that its interior contains substantial amounts of indigenous water.