May 1, 2017

NASA Taking A Fresh Look At Next Generation Space Telescope Plans

Image Credit: NASA

May 1, 2017 – NASA is initiating an independent, external review over the next several months on the scope of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) project to help ensure it would provide compelling scientific capability with an appropriate, affordable cost and a reliable schedule. Read More

NASA Mission Results Shed Light On Magnetic Reconnection

This artist’s depiction illustrates the four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft flying in a tetrahedral formation, superposed on a conceptual rendering of Earth’s magnetosphere (not to scale). MMS measurements along the dayside boundary of the magnetosphere have yielded important new insights into the role of electrons in magnetic reconnection. MMS is measuring this explosive physical process as the Sun’s and Earth’s magnetic fields interact, converting stored magnetic energy into kinetic energy and heat. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

May 1, 2017 – On Wednesday, May 3, LASP space physics research scientist Allison Jaynes will present early results from the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) Mission and the key role LASP (Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics) plays in the mission. Read More

Hubble’s Bright Shining Lizard Star

Image Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

May 1, 2017 – In space, being outshone is an occupational hazard. This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image captures a galaxy named NGC 7250. Despite being remarkable in its own right — it has bright bursts of star formation and recorded supernova explosions— it blends into the background somewhat thanks to the gloriously bright star hogging the limelight next to it. Read More

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Federal Dollars Spark Aerospace, Biotech, Laser Spin-Offs
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

As Congress determines the funding levels for the federal science agencies for fiscal years 2017 and 2018, a new report highlights 102 spin-off companies—three from the University of Colorado Boulder—that demonstrate how investments in basic scientific research benefit the overall economy.

Engineers Investigate A Simple, No-Bake Recipe To Make Bricks From Martian Soil
Source: University of California – San Diego

Explorers planning to settle on Mars might be able to turn the planet’s red soil into bricks without needing to use an oven or additional ingredients. Instead, they would just need to apply pressure to compact the soil–the equivalent of a blow from a hammer.

First Global Simulation Yields New Insights Into Ring System
Source: National Institutes Of Natural Sciences

A team of researchers in Japan modeled the two rings around Chariklo, the smallest body in the Solar System known to have rings (Figure 1). This is the first time an entire ring system has been simulated using realistic sizes for the ring particles while also taking into account collisions and gravitational interactions between the particles.

Hunting Elusive SPRITEs With Spitzer
Source: AAS Nova

In recent years, astronomers have developed many wide-field imaging surveys in which the same targets are observed again and again. This new form of observing has allowed us to discover optical and radio transients — explosive or irregular events with durations ranging from seconds to years. The dynamic infrared sky, however, has remained largely unexplored … until now.

The PI’s Perspective: No Sleeping Back On Earth!
Source: Alan Stern/New Horizons

Three weeks ago we put our New Horizons spacecraft into hibernation mode, the first time we’d done that since late 2014, before the Pluto flyby. By coincidence, that same day – April 7—was also the exact halfway mark on the calendar between our Pluto and Kuiper Belt object (KBO) flybys!

SLS Engine Section Test Article Loaded On Barge Pegasus
Source: NASA

An engine section structural qualification test article for NASA’s new rocket, the Space Launch System, is loaded onto the barge Pegasus at the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The test article now will make its way from Michoud to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for structural loads testing.

NASA Confirms First Flight Of Space Launch System Will Slip To 2019
Source: Spaceflight Now

NASA’s top human spaceflight official says the maiden flight of the Space Launch System, a behemoth booster designed to loft astronauts on expeditions into deep space, will be delayed from November 2018 until some time in 2019, according to a report published by a U.S. government watchdog Thursday.