June 5, 2017

Hubble’s Tale Of Two Exoplanets: Nature vs. Nurture

This illustration compares the atmospheres of two “hot Jupiter”-class planets orbiting very closely to different sunlike stars. The planets are too far away for the Hubble Space Telescope to resolve any details. Instead, astronomers measured how the light from the parent stars is filtered through each planet’s atmosphere. Hubble was used to measure the spectral fingerprint caused by the presence of water vapor in the atmosphere. HAT-P-38 b did have a water signature, indicating the upper atmosphere is free of clouds or hazes. By contrast, a very similar hot Jupiter, WASP-67 b, showed no water vapor, suggesting that most of the planet’s atmosphere is masked by high-altitude clouds. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and Z. Levy (STScI)

June 5, 2017 – Is it a case of nature versus nurture when it comes to two “cousin” exoplanets? In a unique experiment, scientists used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to study two “hot Jupiter” exoplanets. Because these planets are virtually the same size and temperature, and orbit around nearly identical stars at the same distance, the team hypothesized that their atmospheres should be alike. What they found surprised them. Read More


ALMA Returns To Boomerang Nebula

This is a composite image of the Boomerang Nebula, a pre-planetary nebula produced by a dying star. ALMA observations (orange) showing the hourglass-shaped outflow, which is embedded inside a roughly round ultra-cold outflow. The hourglass outflow stretches more than three trillion kilometers from end to end (about 21,000 times the distance from the Sun to the Earth), and is the result of a jet that is being fired by the central star, sweeping up the inner regions of the ultra-cold outflow like a snow-plow. The ultra-cold outflow is about 10 times bigger. The ALMA data are shown on top of an image from the Hubble Space Telescope. Image Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO); NASA/ESA Hubble; NRAO/AUI/NSF

June 5, 2017 – An ancient, red giant star in the throes of a frigid death has produced the coldest known object in the cosmos — the Boomerang Nebula. How this star was able to create an environment strikingly colder than the natural background temperature of deep space has been a compelling mystery for more than two decades. Read More


DigitalGlobe Makes MDA’s RADARSAT-2 Data Available On The GBDX Platform

June 5, 2017 – DigitalGlobe, Inc. today announced an agreement with MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates to make RADARSAT-2 data available on DigitalGlobe’s Geospatial Big Data platform, GBDX, unlocking new applications made possible by the combination of optical and radar satellite data. Read More


Mimas Dwarfed

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

June 5, 2017 – From high above Saturn’s northern hemisphere, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft gazes over the planet’s north pole, with its intriguing hexagon and bullseye-like central vortex. Saturn’s moon Mimas is visible as a mere speck near upper right. Read More


Ball Aerospace NEOWISE Spacecraft A Discovery Machine

This graphic shows asteroids and comets observed by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/JHU

June 5, 2017 – NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission has released its third year of survey data, with the spacecraft, built by Ball Aerospace, discovering 97 previously unknown celestial objects in the last year. Of those, 28 were near-Earth objects, 64 were main belt asteroids and five were comets. Read More


Dragon Captured After Two-Day Flight To Station

The SpaceX Dragon is seen seconds away from its capture with the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Image Credit: NASA TV

June 5, 2017 – While the International Space Station (ISS) was traveling about 250 miles over the south Atlantic ocean east of the coast of Argentina, Flight Engineers Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson of NASA captured Dragon a few minutes ahead of schedule at 7:52 a.m. MDT. Read More


Grand Challenge Research On Subauroral Polarization Streams

Joule heating of the ionosphere simulated by the NCAR TIE-GCM, with a sub-auroral polarization stream imposed. The two arcs near the pole are caused by auroral heating during a geomagnetic disturbance, and the arc to the far left in the evening sector, around 18 local time, is caused by the polarization stream. Image Credit: NCAR/UCAR/HAO

June 5, 2017 – A team from the NCAR High Altitude Observatory, Johns Hopkins University, and Rice University, led by HAO scientist Wenbin Wang, has been awarded a prestigious NASA Heliophysics Grand Challenge Research Grant to study the magnetosphere-ionosphere interaction known as subauroral polarization streams. Read More


More News:

American Rover Earns World’s Top Mars Rover Title
Source: The Mars Society

After three days of intense competition under the hot desert sun, the Mars Rover Design Team (MRDT) from the Missouri University of Science and Technology became the first team from the United States to win the University Rover Challenge (URC) since 2010.


1st Private Space Station Will Become An Off-Earth Manufacturing Hub
Source: Space.com

The first-ever commercial space station will become a manufacturing hub just a few years after reaching orbit, if everything goes according to plan.


DigitalGlobe Announces Multi-Source Area Monitoring And Analytic Capabilities For SecureWatch
Source: DigitalGlobe

DigitalGlobe, Inc., the global leader in Earth imagery and information about our changing planet, today announced it will launch a premium monitoring service, SecureWatch Sites, which provides current satellite images of high-interest, global locations on a regular basis from multiple commercial providers. SecureWatch Sites imagery is made available through the SecureWatch web-based interface with locations customized by the customer.


Air Force Moving Forward After Blue Origin ‘Setback’
Source: Investor’s Business Daily

The Air Force said Monday it is working to “figure out how to progress forward” after a setback in the development of a U.S.-made rocket engine.


A Planet Hotter Than Most Stars
Source: Ohio State University

A newly discovered Jupiter-like world is so hot that it’s stretching the definition of the word “planet.” With a day-side temperature of 4,600 Kelvin (more than 7,800 degrees Fahrenheit), planet KELT-9b is hotter than most stars, and only 1,200 Kelvin (about 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit) cooler than our own sun.


Discovery Reveals Planet Almost As Hot As The Sun
Source: University of Notre Dame

A newly discovered planet almost three times the size of Jupiter is fascinating scientists with a unique orbit, atmospheric features and a daytime temperature hotter than most stars.


Study Estimates Amount Of Water Needed To Carve Martian Valleys
Source: Northern Illinois University

A new study led by Northern Illinois University geography professor Wei Luo calculates the amount of water needed to carve the ancient network of valleys on Mars and concludes the Red Planet’s surface was once much more watery than previously thought.


Area Native Working For NASA Receives Award
Source: Standard Speaker

A Sugarloaf Twp. native employed as an interplanetary navigator by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory received an award from the University of Colorado at Boulder. The Recent Alumni Award recognizes the exceptional contributions made by Dr. Jill (Tombasco) Seubert early in her career.


India Hopes New Rocket Can Carry Humans Into Space
Source: Colorado Springs Gazette

India successfully launched its heaviest-ever rocket on Monday which it hopes will eventually be able to carry astronauts into space, a feat that only Russia, the United States and China have achieved, its space agency said.


Small Business Manufactures ‘Space Dirt’ For NASA Research
Source: NASA

Deep Space Industries recently delivered 3.5 gallons of dirt to NASA. But this wasn’t ordinary dirt; it was developed to simulate the material found on an asteroid or moon.


NASA Investigates Space Radiation With Miniaturized Particle Telescope
Source: NASA

Radiation speeds across the solar system as energized, charged particles from the sun, other planets, and even stars outside our solar system. It is one of the most detrimental environmental factors in space, and has the potential to harm astronauts and spacecraft crossing its path. The Miniaturized Particle Telescope (MPT) is a radiation detector that NASA developed in cooperation with private company Advacam s.r.o. to characterize charged particles and support radiation protection efforts for astronauts on future deep space missions.


Quantifying The Effects Of Climate Change
Source: ESA

Last year was the hottest on record, Arctic sea ice is on the decline and sea levels continue to rise. In this context, satellites are providing us with an unbiased view of how our climate is changing and the effects it is having on our planet.


How One CU Boulder Scientist Views The Invisible With Help From NASA
Source: KUNC

Since it established its orbit in 2004, Cassini has continued to thrill scientists — and the public — with images and data of Saturn’s rings and atmosphere. One of the excited scientists is University of Colorado Boulder’s Larry Esposito.


Video: U.S. Commercial Cargo Ship Arrives At The Space Station
Source: NASA

The SpaceX/Dragon cargo ship arrived at the International Space Station after a two-day journey to deliver about 7,600 pounds of supplies and science experiments to the Expedition 52 crew. Following its launch atop the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket June 3 from the Kennedy Space Center, Florida, Dragon was captured by Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA using the station’s Canadian-built robotic arm.