Archive for the ‘space’ category: Page 4

Oct 27, 2020

Water exists on the moon, scientists confirm

Posted by in categories: chemistry, space

Now, Casey Honniball at NASA’s ASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, US, and colleagues have detected a chemical signature that is unambiguously H2O, by measuring the wavelengths of sunlight reflecting off the moon’s surface. The data was gathered by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (Sofia), a modified Boeing 747 carrying a 2.7-metre reflecting telescope.

The water was discovered at high latitudes towards the moon’s south pole in abundances of about 100 to 400 parts per million H2O. “That is quite a lot,” said Mahesh Anand, professor of planetary science and exploration at the Open University in Milton Keynes. “It is about as much as is dissolved in the lava flowing out of the Earth’s mid-ocean ridges, which could be harvested to make liquid water under the right temperature and pressure conditions.”

The existence of water has implications for future lunar missions, because it could be treated and used for drinking; separated into hydrogen and oxygen for use as a rocket propellant; and the oxygen could be used for breathing. “Water is a very expensive commodity in space,” said Anand.

Continue reading “Water exists on the moon, scientists confirm” »

Oct 27, 2020

NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon

Posted by in categories: chemistry, physics, space

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.

SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. Previous observations of the Moon’s surface detected some form of hydrogen, but were unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH). Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million – roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water – trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface. The results are published in the latest issue of Nature Astronomy.

“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.”

Oct 27, 2020

The moon is sprinkled with patches of frozen water, NASA scientists discovered. Mining it may be crucial for travel to Mars and beyond

Posted by in categories: energy, space

So they’re planning to turn the moon water into rocket fuel. And the moon is now a stepping stone to Mars.

NASA is also planning to send a rover to moon’s south pole on 2022. 😃


Continue reading “The moon is sprinkled with patches of frozen water, NASA scientists discovered. Mining it may be crucial for travel to Mars and beyond” »

Oct 26, 2020

The magnetic fields of the jellyfish galaxy JO206

Posted by in categories: physics, space

An international team of astronomers has gained new insights into the physical conditions prevailing in the gas tail of so-called jellyfish galaxies. They are particularly interested in the parameters that lead to the formation of new stars in the tail outside the galaxy disk. They analyzed, for example, the strength and orientation of the magnetic fields in the galaxy JO206.

Ancla Müller and Professor Ralf-Jürgen Dettmar from Ruhr-Universität Bochum describe their findings together with Professor Christoph Pfrommer and Dr. Martin Sparre from the Leibniz Institute for Astrophysics in Potsdam as well as colleagues from the INAF—Italian national institute of Astrophysics in Padua, Selargius and Bologna in the journal Nature Astronomy from 26 October 2020.

Oct 26, 2020

Study offers more complete view of massive asteroid Psyche

Posted by in category: space

A new study authored by Southwest Research Institute planetary scientist Dr. Tracy Becker discusses several new views of the asteroid 16 Psyche, including the first ultraviolet observations. The study, which was published today in The Planetary Science Journal and presented at the virtual meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, paints a clearer view of the asteroid than was previously available.

At about 140 miles in diameter, Psyche is one of the most massive objects in the orbiting between Mars and Jupiter. Previous observations indicate that Psyche is a dense, largely metallic object thought to be the leftover core of a planet that failed in formation.

“We’ve seen meteorites that are mostly metal, but Psyche could be unique in that it might be an asteroid that is totally made of and nickel,” Becker said. “Earth has a metal core, a mantle and crust. It’s possible that as a Psyche protoplanet was forming, it was struck by another object in our and lost its mantle and crust.”

Oct 26, 2020

Clavius Crater Water Found in Sunny Lunar Regolith

Posted by in categories: food, habitats, space

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) discovered water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places. This water was detected in Clavius Crater, yes the very same crater featured in the movie 2001 a Space Odyssey as the site of the lunar monolith. In reality this crater’s discovery my spur space exploration, development, and settlement. Find out how in this video.

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Continue reading “Clavius Crater Water Found in Sunny Lunar Regolith” »

Oct 26, 2020

NASA’s Big Moon Surprise Is That Lunar Soil Contains Water

Posted by in category: space

Still, big questions remain.

Oct 26, 2020

Why the sky is no limit for RAF’s space ambitions

Posted by in categories: climatology, finance, military, space

Like its key allies, the UK is increasingly reliant on space-based assets for daily life in ordinary civil society and for the perfornance of its military forces. So, the Royal Air Force’s operating domain now extends from the ground to far beyond the atmosphere.

In a lockdown summer of downbeat aviation news, it is perhaps fitting that a highlight was a model aeroplane in a windtunnel. In turbulent times for aerospace, that aircraft is even named after a storm. But in showing some detail of the external shape of the Tempest future fighter, BAE Systems has also emphasised the UK’s determination to ride out the technological, financial and geopolitical hurricanes which are set to shape the national defence challenges of the next few decades.

Those late August images from BAE’s Warton, Lancashire test facility reveal an external profile designed for stealth at Mach 2, to carry a wide range of payloads and to cope with the internal heat from enough onboard electric power to anticipate exotic technologies like laser directed-energy weapons.

Continue reading “Why the sky is no limit for RAF’s space ambitions” »

Oct 26, 2020

First Habitable-Zone, Earth-Sized Exoplanet Discovered With Planet-Hunter TESS

Posted by in categories: climatology, space

TESS, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, was launched in 2018 with the goal of discovering small planets around the Sun’s nearest neighbors, stars bright enough to allow for follow-up characterizations of their planets’ masses and atmospheres. TESS has so far discovered seventeen small planets around eleven nearby stars that are M dwarfs — stars that are smaller than the Sun (less than about 60% of the Sun’s mass) and cooler (surface temperatures less than about 3900 kelvin). In a series of three papers that appeared together this month, astronomers report that one of these planets, TOI-700d, is Earth-sized and also located in its star’s habitable zone; they also discuss its possible climate.

CfA astronomers Joseph Rodriguez, Laura Kreidberg, Karen Collins, Samuel Quinn, Dave Latham, Ryan Cloutier, Jennifer Winters, Jason Eastman, and David Charbonneau were on the teams that studied TOI-700d, one of three small planets orbiting one M dwarf star (its mass is 0.415 solar masses) located one hundred and two light-years from Earth. The TESS data analysis found the tentative sizes of the planets as being approximately Earth-sized, 1.04, 2.65 and 1.14 Earth-radii, respectively, and their orbital periods as 9.98, 16.05, and 37.42 days, respectively.

Continue reading “First Habitable-Zone, Earth-Sized Exoplanet Discovered With Planet-Hunter TESS” »

Oct 25, 2020

New Receiver Will Boost Interplanetary Communication

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

If humans want to travel about the solar system, they’ll need to be able to communicate. As we look forward to crewed missions to the Moon and Mars, communication technology will pose a challenge we haven’t faced since the 1970s.

We communicate with robotic missions through radio signals. It requires a network of large radio antennas to do this. Spacecraft have relatively weak receivers, so you need to beam a strong radio signal to them. They also transmit relatively weak signals back. You need a large sensitive radio dish to capture the reply. For spacecraft beyond the orbit of Earth, this is done through the Deep Space Network (DSN), which is a collection of radio telescopes custom designed for the job.

The only major crewed mission we currently have is the International Space Station (ISS). Since the ISS orbits only about 400 kilometers above the Earth, it’s relatively easy to send radio signals back and forth. But as humans travel deeper into space, we’ll require a Deep Space Network far more powerful than the current one. The DSN is already being pushed to its data limits, given the large number of active missions. Human missions would require orders of magnitude more bandwidth.

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