January 18, 2018

NASA Announces Updated Crew Assignments For Space Station Missions

Image Credit: NASA

January 18, 2018 – NASA is announcing an addition to the NASA lineup for upcoming launches, and making changes to some assignments for International Space Station missions in 2018. Serena Auñón-Chancellor, who previously was assigned to Expedition 58/59, has been reassigned to the Expedition 56/57 crew, launching in June. Read More

New Images From NOAA-20 Show Dramatic Change In Temperatures Over North America

Image Credit: NOAA

January 18, 2018 – NOAA-20 captured these two images of North America five days apart (January 11, 2018 and January 16, 2018). Note the contrast in the surface temperature (blue = cold) between the two images associated with a sharp dip in the jetstream over the US Midwest. The difference in temperature between the two dates is more than 54 degrees Fahrenheit (30 degrees Celsius). Surface temperature observations confirm this extreme contrast: in Calgary, Alberta, the afternoon high temperature was 45°F on January 16th, whereas just five days earlier the afternoon high was only -15°F. In Nashville, Tennessee the opposite fluctuation occurred: on January 11th the high was a mere 17°F but five days later had reached 69°F. This pattern reversal is indicated in the NOAA-20 imagery, which shows the warmth focused in the eastern US, and sharply colder arctic air moving south into west-central Canada. Read More

Neutron-Star Merger Yields New Puzzle For Astrophysicists

This graphic shows the X-ray counterpart to the gravitational wave source GW170817, produced by the merger of two neutron stars. The left image is the sum of observations with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory taken in late August and early Sept. 2017, and the right image is the sum of Chandra observations taken in early Dec. 2017. The X-ray counterpart to GW170817 is shown to the upper left of its host galaxy, NGC 4993, located about 130 million light years from Earth. The counterpart has become about four times brighter over three months. GW170817 was first observed on Aug. 17, 2017. Image Credit: NASA/CXC/McGill/J.Ruan et al.

January 18, 2018 – The afterglow from the distant neutron-star merger detected last August has continued to brighten – much to the surprise of astrophysicists studying the aftermath of the massive collision that took place about 138 million light years away and sent gravitational waves rippling through the universe. Read More

More News:

NASA Team Studies Middle-Aged Sun By Tracking Motion Of Mercury
Source: NASA

Like the waistband of a couch potato in midlife, the orbits of planets in our solar system are expanding. It happens because the Sun’s gravitational grip gradually weakens as our star ages and loses mass. Now, a team of NASA and MIT scientists has indirectly measured this mass loss and other solar parameters by looking at changes in Mercury’s orbit. The new values improve upon earlier predictions by reducing the amount of uncertainty.

Meteoritic Stardust Unlocks Timing Of Supernova Dust Formation
Source: Carnegie Institution for Science

Dust is everywhere—not just in your attic or under your bed, but also in outer space. To astronomers, dust can be a nuisance by blocking the light of distant stars, or it can be a tool to study the history of our universe, galaxy, and Solar System. For example, astronomers have been trying to explain why some recently discovered distant, but young, galaxies contain massive amounts of dust. These observations indicate that type II supernovae—explosions of stars more than ten times as massive as the Sun—produce copious amounts of dust, but how and when they do so is not well understood.

Bridenstine, Myers Nominations Again Clear Committee On Party-Line Votes
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

The Senate Commerce Committee voted again today on the nominations of Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Oklahoma) to be NASA Administrator and AccuWeather CEO Barry Myers to be NOAA Administrator. Like last year, they were approved on party-line votes, 14-13. The next step is for the full Senate to consider the nominations. That did not happen last year because both are controversial, which is why President Trump had to renominate them, necessitating today’s committee action.

Viruses Are Everywhere, Maybe Even In Space
Source: Portland State University

Viruses are the most abundant and one of the least understood biological entities on Earth. They might also exist in space, but as of yet scientists have done almost no research into this possibility.

New Technique For Finding Life On Mars
Source: Frontiers

Researchers demonstrate for the first time the potential of existing technology to directly detect and characterize life on Mars and other planets. The study, published in Frontiers in Microbiology, used miniaturized scientific instruments and new microbiology techniques to identify and examine microorganisms in the Canadian high Arctic — one of the closest analogs to Mars on Earth.

Kilopower: What’s Next?
Source: NASA

When astronauts someday venture to the Moon, Mars and other destinations, one of the first and most important resources they will need is power. A reliable and efficient power system will be essential for day-to-day necessities, such as lighting, water and oxygen, and for mission objectives, like running experiments and producing fuel for the long journey home.

Atlas 5 Team Scrubs Launch To Study Troublesome Valve
Source: Spaceflight Now

Launch of an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral with a U.S. Air Force infrared surveillance satellite was scrubbed Thursday evening after engineers encountered a balky valve associated with the first stage’s liquid oxygen system.

Asteroid Missions On Track To Reach Their Destinations In 2018
Source: Spaceflight Now

Pioneering spacecraft from NASA and the Japanese space agency promise to reveal two unexplored asteroids later this year, officials said Wednesday, beginning surveys that will culminate in daring descents to capture samples for return to Earth, where eager scientists await a hands-on look at the specimens.

Video: GOES-S Pack And Ship B-Roll
Source: NOAA

This video contains footage of the GOES-S satellite being prepared, transported, and loaded onto an Air Force C-5 transport for shipment from Littleton, Colorado, to Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Jupiter’s Swirling South Pole
Source: NASA

This image of Jupiter’s swirling south polar region was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it neared completion of its tenth close flyby of the gas giant planet.

Apollo Astronauts Often Fell Behind Schedule On The Moon
Source: The Verge

When the Apollo astronauts journeyed to the Moon, they had a hard time sticking to schedule. Virtually all of their excursions fell behind their pre-set timelines, new research finds, and that could have big implications for how NASA handles human missions to Mars in the future.