NEW DELHI: A team of scientists from Indian space research organisation will soon arrive in Leh to further corroborate that the mysterious luminous objects seen on the horizon over a lake in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir are actually "Chinese lanterns".
Official sources said today that after getting the preliminary report that the luminous objects flying over the horizon of Pangong lake, located 160km from Leh township, could be Chinese lanterns, the security agencies wanted an assessment of experts from another organisation for confirmation.
Therefore, it was decided to request Isro to send a team of scientists to examine the flying objects and give its report, the sources said.
Indo-Tibetan Border Police(ITBP) had written to the government in October this year about sighting of some orange-yellow luminous flying objects on the horizon over the Pangong Lake. Besides, Leh-based 14-Corps was also alerted by the ITBP which reported to its Udhampur-based Northern Command.
After the incident, scientists from various organisations in consultation with experts of the IAF, whose radars were also unable to pick up any signal due to the flying of the unidentified objects on the horizon of the lake, came to a conclusion that it was Chinese lanterns.
Quelle: The Times of India
The NASA Mars rover Curiosity used its Mast Camera (Mastcam) during the mission's 120th Martian day, or sol (Dec. 7, 2012), to record this view of a rock outcrop informally named "Shaler."
The outcrop's striking layers, some at angles to each other in a pattern called crossbedding, made it a target of interest for the mission's science team. The site is near where three types of terrain meet at a place called "Glenelg," inside Gale Crater.
The area covered by the image spans about 3 feet (90 centimeters) in the foreground. Figure 1 includes a 10-centimeter (4-inch) scale bar.
The image has been white-balanced to show what the rock would look like if it were on Earth. Figure 2 is a raw-color version, showing what the rock looks like on Mars to the camera.
Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, developed, built and operates Mastcam. JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the project's Curiosity rover.
Mars Science Laboratory Mission Status Report
PASADENA, Calif. -- The NASA Mars rover Curiosity drove 63 feet (19 meters) northeastward early Monday, Dec. 10, approaching a step down into a slightly lower area called "Yellowknife Bay," where researchers intend to choose a rock to drill.
The drive was Curiosity's fourth consecutive driving day since leaving a site near an outcrop called "Point Lake," where it arrived last month. These drives totaled 260 feet (79 meters) and brought the mission's total odometry to 0.37 mile (598 meters).
The route took the rover close to an outcrop called "Shaler," where scientists used Curiosity's Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) instrument and Mast Camera (Mastcam) to assess the rock's composition and observe its layering. Before departure from Point Lake, a fourth sample of dusty sand that the rover had been carrying from the "Rocknest" drift was ingested and analyzed by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.
Curiosity ended Monday's drive about 30 percent shorter than planned for the day when it detected a slight difference between two calculations of its tilt, not an immediate risk, but a trigger for software to halt the drive as a precaution. "The rover is traversing across terrain different from where it has driven earlier, and responding differently," said Rick Welch, mission manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "We're making progress, though we're still in the learning phase with this rover, going a little slower on this terrain than we might wish we could."
Curiosity is approaching a lip where it will descend about 20 inches (half a meter) to Yellowknife Bay. The rover team is checking carefully for a safe way down. Yellowknife Bay is the temporary destination for first use of Curiosity's rock-powdering drill, before the mission turns southwestward for driving to its main destination on the slope of Mount Sharp.
JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and the mission's Curiosity rover for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL designed and built the rover.
This map traces where NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drove between landing at a site subsequently named "Bradbury Landing," and the position reached during the mission's 123rd Martian day, or sol, (Dec. 10, 2012). The inset shows the most recent legs of the traverse in greater detail.
With the Sol 123 drive of 63 feet (19 meters), the rover approached a step down into an area called "Yellowknife Bay," which is a potential location for selecting the first target rock for Curiosity's hammering drill. The drive brought the mission's total driving odometry to 0.37 mile (598 meters).
This image was taken by ChemCam: Remote Micro-Imager (CHEMCAM_RMI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 126 (2012-12-13 13:16:16 UTC) .
This image was taken by ChemCam: Remote Micro-Imager (CHEMCAM_RMI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 126 (2012-12-13 13:16:16 UTC) .
This image was taken by ChemCam: Remote Micro-Imager (CHEMCAM_RMI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 127 (2012-12-14 13:43:56 UTC) .
This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 127 (2012-12-14 16:40:39 UTC)
This image was taken by Navcam: Right A (NAV_RIGHT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 127 (2012-12-14 16:43:00 UTC) .
This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 127 (2012-12-14 16:45:37 UTC) .
This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 127 (2012-12-14 16:40:03 UTC) .
This image was taken by Navcam: Left A (NAV_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 127 (2012-12-14 16:41:14 UTC) .
This image was taken by Front Hazcam: Left A (FHAZ_LEFT_A) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 127 (2012-12-14 15:32:26 UTC) .
The Chinese lunar orbiter Chang'e 2 has completed its flyby of asteroid Toutatis, a five-kilometer (three mile) long space rock that recently had a "close" encounter with Earth.
The probe, which completed its primary moon-mapping mission in 2011, was commanded to depart lunar orbit in June 2011 and travel to the Earth-sun L2 point -- a region of gravitational stability, approximately 1.5 million kilometers away in the opposite direction of the sun.
The official Xinhua news agency quoted officials at the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, or SASTIND, as saying that Chang'e 2 buzzed past the 3-mile-long (5-kilometer-long) asteroid at a relative speed of 24,000 mph (10.73 kilometers per second).
Chang'e 2 was launched in 2010 primarily to serve as a lunar orbiter, but after a successful mission at the moon, the $132 million spacecraft was repurposed as a deep-space explorer. The encounter with Toutatis had been planned for months, but Chinese media kept mum about the results until Saturday.
Aficionados of planetary science hailed China's success.
"Oh my goodness, did they succeed. This is awesome," the Planetary Society's Emily Lakdawalla said in a blog post passing along the news. On the Unmanned Spaceflight discussion forum, Ted Stryk wrote, "Welcome to the interplanetary club, China."
Toutatis is a near-Earth object that's big enough to cause a mass extinction if it were to hit our planet — but fortunately, it isn't projected to come all that near in the foreseeable future. This week it passed by Earth at a minimum distance of 4.3 million miles (7 million kilometers). That provided scientists with an opportunity to study the peanut-shaped space mountain at a relatively close but totally safe distance.
NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory conducted a series of radar observations using the Goldstone radio antenna in California, and on Friday, JPL released a grainy time-lapse video showing Toutatis' rotation.
The insights gleaned from such observations could conceivably help scientists figure out how asteroids came into existence early in the solar system's history, how to mine asteroids for valuable resources, or how to divert asteroids that have the potential to threaten Earth.
Lakdawalla noted that the radar readings, combined with China's up-close images, made Toutatis one of the "best-studied asteroids in the solar system." That sounds like a bold statement, considering that NASA studied the asteroid Eros with NEAR Shoemaker for more than a year, and had Dawn in orbit around the asteroid Vesta for a year as well. But the fact that Toutatis has gotten so much attention in the past week from multiple space efforts certainly suggests that scientists see "minor planets" as a major interest.
Still more asteroid encounters are on the agenda in coming years — including Dawn's arrival at the dwarf planet Ceres in 2015, a potential sequel to Japan's Hayabusa mission, and the crewed mission that NASA wants to send to a near-Earth asteroid in the mid-2020s.
And let's not forget China. Chang'e 2 isn't finished just yet. Xinhua quoted sources as saying that the probe "is continuing its deep space travel and will reach a distance of more than 10 million kilometers away from Earth in January next year."
Frams: Here is a CCTV report on the encounter
Relative speed at 10.73 km/s
Closest flyby at 3.2 km altitude
Sequence (local time):
• Dec13 15:25 Return solar panels to 180 degrees
• Dec13 15:30 Switch to inertial altitude control
• Dec13 15:45 Switch to star orientation 10
• Dec13 15:48 Switch to star orientation 2
• Dec13 16:20 Solar panel monitoring camera power up
• Dec13 16:30 Closest flyby
• Dec13 16:45 Solar panel monitoring camera power down
Attached image: captured at 93–240 km distance between 16:30:09–16:30:24, maximum resolution 10 meters/pixel
Die ESA wird im April 2013 eine viertägige internationale Konferenz zum Thema „Weltraummüll“ ausrichten. Als weltweit größte Veranstaltung zum Thema wird sie sich mit den vielfältigen Gefahren für die Raumfahrt durch die wachsende Anzahl von Objekten in erdnahen Umlaufbahnen beschäftigen.
Die ESA veranstaltet diese sechste europäische Konferenz zu Raumfahrtrückständen am ESOC, dem Europäischen Satellitenkontrollzentrum in Darmstadt (D), vom 22. bis 25. April 2013. Mehr als 300 ausgewiesene Experten aus aller Welt werden erwartet. Die Ausrichtung der Konferenz wird unterstützt durch die nationalen Raumfahrtagenturen Deutschlands, Frankreichs, Großbritanniens und Italiens (DLR, CNES, UKSA und ASI), das „Committee on Space Research“ (COSPAR) sowie die „International Academy of Astronautics“ (IAA).
Weltraummüll entsteht aus künstlichen Objekten und umfasst funktionsuntüchtige Satelliten, Raketenoberstufen und andere freigesetzte Komponenten. Viele dieser Objekte, die unseren Planeten umkreisen, bergen das Risiko, zu zerfallen oder zu explodieren und somit das Problem zu verschärfen.
Geschwindigkeiten von bis zu 56.000 km/h
Manche dieser Schrottteile bewegen sich mit Relativgeschwindigkeiten zu operationellen Satelliten von bis zu 56 000 km pro Stunde. „Jedes dieser Objekte kann einem operationellen Raumfahrzeug erhebliche Schäden zufügen“ warnt Prof. Dr. Heiner Klinkrad, Leiter des Space Debris Office der ESA in Darmstadt. „Eine Kollision mit einem 10cm großen Objekt könnte eine komplette Zerstörung mit sich bringen, ein 1cm großes Objekt einen durchschnittlichen Satelliten außer Funktion setzen oder die Abschirmung der ISS-Raumstation durchdringen, und ein 1mm großes Objekt könnte empfindliche Satellitensensoren zerstören.“ so Prof. Klinkrad weiter.
Der deutsch-französiche Fernsehsender Arte zeigt am 15. Dezember 2012 um 21:45 Uhr den Film „Begegnung im All“ in der klassischen 2D-Fassung und zeitgleich auf dem Astra 3D-Demonstrationskanal in 3D. Die 55 minütige Dokumentation entstand in enger Zusammenarbeit mit ESA, NASA und der russischen Raumfahrtorganisation Roscosmos.
Mit der von der ESA entwickelten 3D-Kamera „ERB-2" drehte ESA-Astronaut André Kuipers die ersten 3D-Aufnahmen für eine Fernsehdokumentation von der ISS. Die amerikanische Raumfahrtbehörde NASA steuerte exklusives 3D-Material bei. HD-Bilder des ESA-Astronauten Paolo Nespoli, aufgenommen während seiner MagISStra-Mission, ergänzten das Material.
Astronaut zu werden, war und ist sicherlich der Kindheitstraum vieler. Inspiriert von Abenteuer- und Entdeckergeist, gepaart mit etwas Action, Ruhm und einer einmaligen Chance dahin zu gelangen, wo unsere bekannte Welt aufhört, umgibt diesen Beruf etwas Magisches. Doch was heißt es, diesen Traumjob auszuüben? Wie sehen die Vorbereitungen eines heutigen Weltraumfahrers überhaupt aus? Wie funktionieren die dazu nötigen Trainings in Europa, den USA und Russland für den Flug ins All, einen sechsmonatigen Aufenthalt auf der Internationalen Raumstation ISS und eine sichere Rückkehr auf unseren Heimatplaneten?
In Zusammenarbeit mit Arte, ZDF und ZDF Enterprises entstand unter der Regie von Jürgen Hansen eine einstündige Dokumentation, welche diesen Fragen nachgeht. Dabei wird einerseits der niederländische ESA-Astronaut André Kuipers während seines Aufenthalts im Rahmen der PromISSe-Mission an Bord der Internationalen Raumstation vom 21. Dezember 2011 bis 1. Juli 2012 portraitiert. Zugleich wurden auf der Erde die parallelen Vorbereitungen des jungen deutschen Geophysikers und ESA-Astronauten Alexander Gerst auf seine anstehende Mission zur ISS 2014 verfolgt und begleitet. Über mehrere Monate hinweg konnte das Filmteam in mehreren Drehabschnitten die Trainings bei ESA, NASA und Roscosmos in Deutschland, Frankreich, den USA und Russland verfolgen.
One of the world’s most sophisticated satellite tracking stations is nearing readiness in Malargüe, Argentina, 1200 km west of Buenos Aires. The massive, 35 m-diameter antenna will capture precious scientific data from missions voyaging hundreds of millions of kilometres into our Solar System.
The inauguration of Malargüe, set for 18 December, also marks the completion of the Agency’s trio of deep-space antenna – DSA – stations as part of the Estrack network and confirms ESA as one of the world’s most technologically advanced space organisations.
Joining DSA 1 in New Norcia, Australia, and DSA 2 in Cebreros, Spain, DSA 3 Malargüe provides the final leg in ESA’s global coverage for deep-space probes including, today, Mars Express, Venus Express, Rosetta, Herschel and Planck, and, in the future, Gaia, BepiColombo, ExoMars, Solar Orbiter and Juice.
A new satellite tracking station at Malargüe, Argentina, will be formally inaugurated on Tuesday, completing the trio of deep-space stations and confirming ESA as one of the world’s most technologically advanced space organisations.
The massive radio reflector dish of ESA’s new station is the most visible indication of the impressive technology that will soon track missions voyaging hundreds of millions of kilometres deep in our Solar System.
Forty metres tall and with a moving antenna assembly weighing 610 tonnes, the station strikes a starkly beautiful pose 1500 m up on an arid Argentinian plain, where high tech meets the high Pampas.
In addition to tracking missions at Mars and Venus, it can also conduct radio science experiments, allowing scientists in Europe and Argentina to study the matter through which the spacecraft–ground communication signals travel.
In exchange for hosting it for a planned 50 years, the station’s capacity will be shared with Argentina, whose CONAE national space office was an instrumental partner.
“Malargüe station receives X- and Ka-band radio signals, significantly boosting its ability to receive large amounts of data from very far away,” says ESA’s Roberto Maddè, station project manager.
“It’s a marvellous piece of engineering, and years of design and development work at the Agency will come to fruition next week.
We were helped a lot by our Argentinian partners in the making of the station and this collaboration shows how good is the relationship between ESA and CONAE.”
A 20 kW amplifier enables transmission of telecommands hundreds of millions of kilometres into space, while low-noise amplifiers cooled to –258ºC enable receipt of ultra-weak signals from beyond Jupiter.
To compare: the smartphone in your pocket transmits using a puny battery at about 125 milliwatts. This is millions of times more powerful than the signals that Malargüe can receive.
Things are looking good for NASA’s Orion spacecraft. The agency announced yesterday the program has passed a number of significant milestones recently. The tools that will mate the pieces of Orion’s heat shield, the adapters that will connect the spacecraft to its launch vehicle, as well as the launch and recovery crews based at Kennedy, all have a green light to move forward towards 2014’s Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1).
One vital piece of hardware that needs to work before Orion can fly is a tool that will allow technicians to mate the spacecraft’s heat shield’s titanium skeleton to its carbon-fiber skin. At the Denver facility of prime contractor Lockheed Martin, workers can begin assembling the heat shield, a job that means installing some 3,000 bolts while the piece sits in a special stand that keeps the skin and the skeleton aligned. The mating should be done sometime in January, at which point the heat shield will be shipped to Textron Defense Systems near Boston where it will gain a layer of ablative material. The completed heat shield should be ready and at NASA’s facilities at the Kennedy Spaceflight Center next summer.
The heat shield is, of course, the star of the EFT-1 mission; it’s the main system to be tested on the flight. This inaugural flight will see Orion fly more than 3,600 miles above Earth’s surface, more than 15 times farther than the International Space Station’s that orbits the Earth at about 200 miles. From its apogee, Orion will reenter the atmosphere traveling almost 5,000 mph faster than any current vehicle. It’s about as close to a reentry from the Moon as NASA can get without leaving Earth orbit.
For Orion to reach its high orbit, it needs to ride a rocket and that means it needs to be mated, in this case, to a Delta IV. This week, engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville received the materials they need to start building the adapter that will connect Orion to Delta. The system consists of four rings, two forward and two aft, welded to barrel panels to form two adapters. One of the two adapters will attach Orion to the Delta IV, while the other will be a structural test article. Marshall will use this one to gain knowledge on the adapter’s design, data that will provide invaluable experience developing hardware early in the design process. It’s an important test. If the system works on EFT-1, the same adapter will connect Orion to its designated rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). And, pending success, reusing this design will ultimately cut some costs associated with Orion/SLS missions.
Last of the latest major milestones, NASA’s Ground Systems Development and Operations (GSDO) Program passed a major review. This is the branch that lays the groundwork at Kennedy to support Orion/SLS launches, a team that is streamlining the overall processes to provide the nation with a safe, affordable, and sustainable launch facility. An independent board of technical experts from across NASA evaluated the GSDO program’s infrastructure specifications, budget, and schedule, ultimately confirming that the program is ready to move from concept development to preliminary design. The GSDO program also led the third Stationary Recovery Test Working Group session in Norfolk, Va. The team presented a complete list of the tasks included in stationary recovery test objectives to the U.S. Navy detachment that will actually recover the capsule during EFT-1 mission.
“These recent milestones are laying the foundation for our first flight test of Orion in 2014,” said deputy associate administrator for exploration systems development, Dan Dumbacher, at NASA’s Headquarters in Washington. “The work being done to prepare for the flight test is really a nationwide effort, and we have a dedicated team committed to our goal of expanding the frontier of space.” If things keep going this way, we just might see Orion launch right on time.
-14.12.2012 / 9.45 MEZ
This image was taken by ChemCam: Remote Micro-Imager (CHEMCAM_RMI) onboard NASA's Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 124 (2012-12-11 11:58:38 UTC