Sonntag, 7. Mai 2017 - 08:00 Uhr

Astronomie - Radio-Astronom Pionier Harold Weaver stirbt im Alter von 99 Jahren



Harold Weaver in 1981. (Woody Sullivan photo)

Harold Francis Weaver, a pioneer of radio astronomy who discovered the first microwave laser, or maser, in space, passed away peacefully in his Kensington, California, home on April 26 at the age of 99.

Weaver was a professor emeritus of astronomy, the founder of UC Berkeley’s Radio Astronomy Laboratory and its director from 1958 until 1972 and a former chairman of the Department of Astronomy.

As a young astronomer at the University of California’s Lick Observatory near San Jose, and starting in 1951 as a member of the UC Berkeley astronomy faculty, Weaver became keenly aware of the potential of radio astronomy, which at the time was a young field. Many objects in space give off radio waves, from gas clouds and stars to galaxies, and today astronomers even observe microwave background radiation to infer the early history of the universe shortly after the Big Bang.

After several years of proposal writing, talking to administrators and searching for funds, Weaver founded the Radio Astronomy Laboratory in 1958. Two of his colleagues were Samuel Silver, a professor of electrical engineering and the namesake of the campus’s Space Sciences Laboratory, and Luis Alvarez, a physicist and winner of the 1968 Nobel Prize in Physics.

Harold Weaver

Weaver when he was director of the Radio Astronomy Laboratory in the 1960s or ’70s.

The lab dedicated its first telescopes, including an 85-foot dish – at the time, one of the world’s largest – in June 1962, in Hat Creek Valley in Northern California, far from radio noise that would have interfered with observations. Using the dish, Weaver and his colleagues discovered the first astrophysical maser – microwave amplification by stimulated emission or radiation, the radio equivalent of a laser – which had only been realized on Earth eight years earlier by the late UC Berkeley physicist and Nobel laureate Charles Townes.

At the time, many astronomers thought molecules could not exist in space, and the radio emissions Weaver recorded were attributed to an unknown form of interstellar matter named “mysterium.” But the emission was soon identified as coming from OH or hydroxyl molecules inside molecular clouds. Since then, many interstellar molecules have been found to emit coherent light in the form of a maser.

For decades, Weaver used the telescope to study other aspects of the interstellar medium and conducted large-scale surveys of interstellar hydrogen. The large telescope he built was destroyed by heavy winds in 1993, by which time Weaver’s successors were building smaller telescopes and assembling them in arrays to obtain even more sensitive measurements of radio emissions from space.

A gifted teacher, he mentored both undergraduate and graduate students, and occasionally taught seminars on archeoastronomy, the study of how ancient civilizations viewed and explained the changing night sky.

“Harold was an outstanding thesis adviser,” said one of Weaver’s former graduate students, Miller Goss, who went on to direct the Very Large Array of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory. “His exacting counsel was invaluable. I learned many lessons that have stayed with me for the past 50 years. As I finished my thesis in early 1967, I will never forget sitting in the living room of the Weavers’ house with scissors as he taught me how to ‘cut and paste’ in a pre-computer manner.”

Among the many astronomers he mentored was Carl Sagan, whom he encouraged to explore his far-out ideas on the beginnings of life in the universe.

Weaver was born Sept. 25, 1917, in San Jose, where he lived with his parents above a spaghetti factory. After high school, as he was deciding whether to study astronomy or classics, Carmel poet Robinson Jeffers befriended him and encouraged his telescope building. Finally deciding to continue with astronomy, he went on to obtain his bachelor’s degree in 1940 and his Ph.D. in 1942 in astronomy from UC Berkeley.

After spending one year as a National Research Council postdoctoral fellow at Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, Weaver was conscripted into the war effort, working on optics with the National Defense Research Committee and later on isotope separation at the Berkeley Radiation Lab as part of the Manhattan Project.

As an undergraduate taking a course in practical astronomy, he met his future wife, Cecile Trumpler, daughter of UC Berkeley astronomer Robert Trumpler. They married in 1939, before the elder Trumpler supervised Weaver’s Ph.D. dissertation on peculiar stars, star clusters and stellar statistics based on observations at Mt. Wilson Observatory in Southern California.

After the war, Weaver returned to astronomy as a staff scientist at Lick Observatory from 1945 to 1951, when he joined the Berkeley faculty at a time when the department’s focus was shifting from orbital calculations to stellar astrophysics. In 1953, Weaver and his father-in-law co-authored the book Statistical Astronomy.

Over Weaver’s career, he published more than 70 professional papers. He retired in 1988, but remained very much involved in the department until nearly the end of his life.

“Harold came in every day until he was well into his 90s and was always a welcoming presence,” said Leo Blitz, a professor emeritus of astronomy and former director of the Radio Astronomy Lab. “He was never too busy or removed to talk about science, especially the implications of his groundbreaking survey of interstellar atomic hydrogen.”

“Harold was hidden away in his office in the old Campbell Hall almost daily, trying to map the local Bubble, the low-density region in interstellar space in which our sun and planets are located”, said Imke de Pater, a professor and former chair of astronomy.

Weaver helped guide development of the Berkeley campus as a member and then chair of the Campus Facilities Committee in the 1950s and 60s, helping to design and name the new home of the astronomy department, Campbell Hall. The building was recently demolished and rebuilt on the same site.

“Harold was truly a giant in our Department of Astronomy,” said colleague Alex Filippenko. “I will always remember his warm smile, his generosity and how he kept going with his research and other activities well into old age.”

“Harold was the wise voice of departmental memory – always discreet, yet with biting insight,” said Jon Arons, a professor emeritus and former chair of astronomy. “He was a fascinating source of insight into radio astronomy’s early days, and what the Radio Astronomy Lab meant to the health of the department.”

Weaver served as treasurer of the American Astronomical Society in the 1980s, and as treasurer of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific. He was part of the group that founded the Chabot Space and Science Museum and played an active role on its board for many years.

As a lover of music ranging from Mahler to the Beatles and Dave Brubeck, he also teamed up with David Williams and Tap Lum to found Berkshire Technologies, Inc., a company that made radio receivers that could pick up the faintest sounds. He also applied his interest in statistics to the stock market, working with Victor Nierderhofer on stock market modeling.

In addition to Weaver’s excitement about science, he was known for his kindness and his warm smile, his colleagues said. He and his wife, Cecile, organized numerous social events at their house, a tradition that has been continued by the Radio Astronomy Lab.

He is survived by his wife, three children – Margot of Tucson, Arizona, Paul of Kensington and Kirk of Houston, Texas – six grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. He and his wife donated their home in Kensington to the university to be used after their deaths to fund the Trumpler-Weaver Endowed Professorship of Astronomy at UC Berkeley.

A memorial service is being arranged. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial gifts be made to the scholarship fund that enabled Weaver to attend college, the Cal Alumni Leadership Award. Donations should be sent to California Alumni Association, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720.

Quelle: Berkeley University


Samstag, 6. Mai 2017 - 07:30 Uhr

Raumfahrt - NASA startet RAISE Mission Forschungsrakete welche bis 1500 Sonnen Bilder in 5 Minuten aufnimmt




NASA will launch a rocket 200 miles into space on Friday to take 1,500 images of the sun. This will allow scientists to observe the tiny changes that take place in active regions of the sun, giving a better understanding of the extreme conditions from which massive solar flares and coronal mass ejections—plasma and magnetic field lines that are ejected from the outermost part of the sun’s atmosphere—can emerge.

At present, NASA has a number of missions that constantly monitor the sun. Its Solar Dynamics Observatory looks specifically at the causes of changes to the sun and how this affects Earth. This includes its magnetic field, the interior of the sun and its atmosphere. Yet despite decades of research, scientists do not fully understand the processes that take place on the sun.


With its latest launch, NASA will zoom in on the areas of the sun where lots of activity takes place. The RAISE mission—Rapid Acquisition Imaging Spectrograph Experiment—will take images of these regions for just five minutes, taking a picture five times per second. This will allow scientists to track the changes taking place, helping them work out the mechanisms involved.

“Dynamic processes happen on all timescales,” Don Hassler, principal investigator for the RAISE mission, said in a statement. “With RAISE, we’ll read out an image every two-tenths of a second, so we can study very fast processes and changes on the sun. That’s around five to 10 times faster than comparable instruments on other sounding rocket or satellite missions.”


“RAISE is pushing the limits of high-cadence observations [short interval between images], and doing so is challenging. But that’s exactly what the NASA sounding rocket program is for. We expect this flight to provide some of the highest cadence spectral observations of the sun at these wavelengths ever taken.”

The RAISE rocket flight will last for just 15 to 20 minutes before the data is returned to Earth via parachutes. At present, the launch is scheduled to take place at 2:25 p.m. ET at the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico.

The images returned will create a spectrograph, an instrument that separates the Sun’s light into different wavelengths—meaning scientists can examine how solar material moves around and, potentially, how this movement gives rise to solar eruptions.

Understanding activity on the sun is of hugely important as it produces solar flares and coronal mass ejections, which can cause geomagnetic storms that damage communications satellites and cause power outages on Earth.

The largest solar storm ever recorded—dubbed the Carrington Event—took place in 1859. Auroras, which are associated with solar winds, could be seen across the globe, with the northern lights seen as far south as the Caribbean. The event also led to the failure of telegraph systems across Europe and North America, with pylons throwing sparks.


Should a similar solar storm hit today, the impact would be devastating, leading to a technology melt-down that could take years to recover from.  A 2008 report by the National Research Council estimated the cost of a Carrington Event-sized storm today would top $2 trillion. And researchers say it is only a matter of time before this happens.

In an interview with Nature magazine earlier this year, Juha-Pekka Luntama, head of the ESA’s space-weather program, said: “We have been lucky that we have not been hit by a really big event. We will be hit eventually, the questio

Quelle: N

Tags: RAISE Mission 


Samstag, 6. Mai 2017 - 07:10 Uhr

Raumfahrt - JUNO SPACECRAFT-Jupiter-Mission Update-8


This enhanced-color image from NASA's Juno spacecraft of a mysterious dark spot on Jupiter seems to reveal a Jovian 'galaxy' of swirling storms.

This enhanced-color image of a mysterious dark spot on Jupiter seems to reveal a Jovian "galaxy" of swirling storms.

Juno acquired this JunoCam image on Feb. 2, 2017, at 5:13 a.m. PDT (8:13 a.m. EDT), at an altitude of 9,000 miles (14,500 kilometers) above the giant planet's cloud tops. This publicly selected target was simply titled "Dark Spot." In ground-based images it was difficult to tell that it is a dark storm.

Citizen scientist Roman Tkachenko enhanced the color to bring out the rich detail in the storm and surrounding clouds. Just south of the dark storm is a bright, oval-shaped storm with high, bright, white clouds, reminiscent of a swirling galaxy. As a final touch, he rotated the image 90 degrees, turning the picture into a work of art.

JunoCam's raw images are available at for the public to peruse and process into image products.

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory manages the Juno mission for the principal investigator, Scott Bolton, of Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. Juno is part of NASA's New Frontiers Program, which is managed at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver, built the spacecraft. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA.

Quelle: NASA


Juno Spacecraft Set for Fifth Jupiter Flyby

This enhanced-color image of a mysterious dark spot on Jupiter seems to reveal a Jovian "galaxy" of swirling storms. Image courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko. For a larger version of this image please go here.

NASA's Juno spacecraft will make its fifth flyby over Jupiter's mysterious cloud tops on Monday, March 27, at 1:52 a.m. PDT (4:52 a.m. EDT, 8:52 UTC).

At the time of closest approach (called perijove), Juno will be about 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) above the planet's cloud tops, traveling at a speed of about 129,000 miles per hour (57.8 kilometers per second) relative to the gas-giant planet. All of Juno's eight science instruments will be on and collecting data during the flyby.

"This will be our fourth science pass - the fifth close flyby of Jupiter of the mission - and we are excited to see what new discoveries Juno will reveal," said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "Every time we get near Jupiter's cloud tops, we learn new insights that help us understand this amazing giant planet."

The Juno science team continues to analyze returns from previous flybys. Scientists have discovered that Jupiter's magnetic fields are more complicated than originally thought, and that the belts and zones that give the planet's cloud tops their distinctive look extend deep into the its interior. Observations of the energetic particles that create the incandescent auroras suggest a complicated current system involving charged material lofted from volcanoes on Jupiter's moon Io.

Peer-reviewed papers with more in-depth science results from Juno's first flybys are expected to be published within the next few months.

Juno launched on Aug. 5, 2011, from Cape Canaveral, Florida, and arrived in orbit around Jupiter on July 4, 2016. During its mission of exploration, Juno soars low over the planet's cloud tops - as close as about 2,600 miles (4,100 kilometers). During these flybys, Juno is probing beneath the obscuring cloud cover of Jupiter and studying its auroras to learn more about the planet's origins, structure, atmosphere and magnetosphere.

Quelle: SD


Update: 30.03.2017


NASA's Juno Spacecraft Completes Fifth Close Flyby of Jupiter, With More Incredible Images

Crescent Jupiter, with two of its moons, Europa and Io, as seen by Juno during its fifth flyby on March 27, 2017. This is a view never possible from Earth. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

NASA’s Juno spacecraft has successfully completed its fifth close flyby of Jupiter, gathering more scientific data and sending back more incredible images of the largest planet in our Solar System. Juno, the first mission dedicated to Jupiter since Galileo, has been helping scientists to understand some of the long-standing mysteries about the largest planet in our Solar System.


Juno’s closest approach during the flyby occurred on Monday, March 27, at 1:52 a.m. PDT (4:52 a.m. EDT, 8:52 UTC). All of the spacecraft’s science instruments were operating during the flyby, and now scientists back on Earth will have even more data to go through from the mission so far, as well as, of course, more stunning images.

During each close flyby, Juno can see Jupiter’s clouds in incredible detail, revealing intricate and complex formations, especially at the planet’s poles. Indeed they look like works of art. While Jupiter’s mid-latitude and equatorial regions are dominated by broad bands of clouds, the poles features many circular cyclones and other cloud formations. As seen from above the poles, Jupiter almost looks like a completely different planet. At closest approach, Juno is about 2,700 miles (4,400 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops, traveling at a speed of about 129,000 miles per hour (57.8 kilometers per second) relative to the planet.

As mentioned earlier by Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, for Juno’s fourth flyby last February, “This will be our fourth science pass – the fifth close flyby of Jupiter of the mission – and we are excited to see what new discoveries Juno will reveal. Every time we get near Jupiter’s cloud tops, we learn new insights that help us understand this amazing giant planet.”

Jupiter’s north pole, as seen by Juno during its fifth flyby on March 27, 2017. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

Jupiter, the largest planet in our Solar System, is a gas giant with a deep atmosphere dominated by hydrogen and helium. It is 2.5 times the mass of all the other planets in the Solar System combined, including Saturn and the ice giants Uranus and Neptune. Jupiter doesn’t have a solid surface like rocky planets, but rather is thought to have a dense core surrounded by a layer of liquid metallic hydrogen, with some helium, and an outer layer predominantly composed of molecular hydrogen.

Last February, it was announced that Juno would remain in the same orbit around Jupiter for the rest of its mission. This is an elongated 56-day orbit, which brings the spacecraft close in over the cloud tops before swinging out farther away from the planet again. Juno was supposed to then switch to a closer, 14-day orbit, but a problem with the main engine meant that the new orbit might be less than desirable, so it was decided that the spacecraft would remain in the same orbit it is in now, for the rest of the mission.

“During a thorough review, we looked at multiple scenarios that would place Juno in a shorter-period orbit, but there was concern that another main engine burn could result in a less-than-desirable orbit,” said Rick Nybakken, Juno project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “The bottom line is a burn represented a risk to completion of Juno’s science objectives.”

The problem with the engine began when two helium check valves that are part of the plumbing for the engine did not operate they way they should have when the propulsion system was pressurized last October. Telemetry from Juno indicated that it took several minutes for the valves to open, compared to only a few seconds during past main engine firings. That could cause a serious problem when trying to enter the new orbit.

Jupiter’s north pole in black and white, as seen by Juno during its fifth flyby on March 27, 2017. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bill Dunford

While a disappointment, there are actually some advantages to being in the current orbit. The shorter 14-day orbit would have kept Juno much closer in to Jupiter at all times; while this is good for science, it meant that the spacecraft would also have been exposed to Jupiter’s intense radiation for much longer periods of time.

“Another key advantage of the longer orbit is that Juno will spend less time within the strong radiation belts on each orbit,” said Bolton. “This is significant because radiation has been the main life-limiting factor for Juno.”

There are also some scientific advantages. When Juno is farther out during each longer orbit, it will be able to better examine the region of space that is dominated by Jupiter’s powerful magnetic field. This includes the far magnetotail, the southern magnetosphere, and the magnetospheric boundary region called the magnetopause. Scientists want to study how the magnetospheres interact with the solar wind coming from the Sun. The altitude of Juno during each closest approach still remains the same however, which is when the most breathtaking images are taken.

Apart from the engine problem, Juno is in excellent health.

“Juno is healthy, its science instruments are fully operational, and the data and images we’ve received are nothing short of amazing,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The decision to forego the burn is the right thing to do – preserving a valuable asset so that Juno can continue its exciting journey of discovery.”

Enhanced color view from Juno’s previous flyby on Feb. 2, 2017. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

Intricate cloud formations in Jupiter’s atmosphere, from Juno’s previous flyby on Feb. 2, 2017. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Björn Jónsson

Intricate cloud formations in Jupiter’s atmosphere, from Juno’s previous flyby on Feb. 2, 2017. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Björn Jónsson

Juno’s findings so far include the fact that the distinctive “belts” in the clouds are not just a “surface” feature, but rather they actually extend deep down into Jupiter’s thick atmosphere. Juno has also found that Jupiter’s magnetic fields and aurora are larger and more powerful than previously thought. Using its Microwave Radiometer (MWR) instrument and its largest antenna, Juno can “see” about 215 to 250 miles (350 to 400 kilometers) below the top cloud deck, which essentially is still just a scratch, since Jupiter doesn’t have a solid surface per se, the atmosphere just keeps getting more and more dense the farther down you go.

“Juno is providing spectacular results, and we are rewriting our ideas of how giant planets work,” said Bolton. “The science will be just as spectacular as with our original plan.”

Unlike previous missions, Juno’s orbit takes it repeatedly over Jupiter’s poles, which is why there have been so many amazing images of those regions. Other spacecraft, such as Galileo and Voyager, have glimpsed the poles, but not in the detail that Juno has. Juno first arrived at Jupiter on July 4, 2016, and will conduct a planned series of 37 close flybys to investigate the existence of a possible ice-rock core, determine the amount of global water and ammonia present in the atmosphere, study convection and deep wind profiles in the atmosphere, investigate the origin of the Jovian magnetic field, and explore the polar magnetosphere.

Quelle: AS


Update: 4.05.2017


First results from Jupiter probe show huge magnetism and storms


Jupiter's south pole showing swirly storms
A JunoCam’s-eye view of Jupiter’s south pole, in enhanced colour

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/John Landino

Big planets come with big surprises. Last week, delegates at the annual European Geosciences Union meeting got the first glimpse of data from the Juno spacecraft now in orbit around Jupiter, and the findings are already challenging assumptions about everything from the planet’s atmosphere to its interior.

“The whole inside of Jupiter is just working differently than our models expected,” said mission principal investigator Scott Bolton of the Southwest Research Institute in Texas.

Launched on 5 August 2011, Juno reached Jupiter and began its first orbit on 4 July last year. Since then, it has performed four more circuits. There are 33 planned pole-to-pole circuits in all, encircling the entire planet bit by bit.




The findings presented in Vienna come from these first few circuits, which each last 53 Earth days and include a 6-hour scan of the planet from north to south. Although the information is preliminary, the researchers involved are thrilled.

Ammonia weather, fuzzy core

Much of the excitement centres on the discovery of a dense zone of ammonia gas around Jupiter’s equator, plus other regions where ammonia is depleted, which together suggest an ammonia-based weather system. We have long known that Jupiter is completely shrouded in ammonia clouds, but the existence of such a deep “belt” is surprising.

“We’ve known there’s a spike at the equator, but the new microwave data is showing that the spike goes way, way down into the abyss, 300 kilometres below the cloud,” says Leigh Fletcher of the University of Leicester, UK, who was not involved in the work. “It suggests ammonia is being distributed by a weather system that penetrates much deeper than anyone expected.”

The findings are also challenging models of what’s inside the planet. We had assumed Jupiter has a uniform interior, with a shallow “crust” of liquid hydrogen overlying a thin layer where helium rains down. Under that is a much deeper layer of metallic hydrogen, with a smaller solid core around 70,000 kilometres down. Those assumptions were based on mapping the planet’s gravity.

But initial gravity measurements from Juno challenge the idea that the internal layers inside are completely regular in their make-up. “Jupiter’s molecular envelope is not uniform,” said Tristan Guillot of the University of the Cote d’Azur in France. “We assumed we could treat the envelope as global, but now, with the finer data, it appears less regular.”

Fletcher says it points to a core that is not solid like Earth’s, but “fuzzy” and dilutely mingled with the overlying metallic hydrogen layer.


Massive magnetism

Another shock is that Jupiter’s huge magnetic field is even stronger and much more irregular than expected. The irregularity of the field so far is a sign that the dynamo driving it may originate higher up in Jupiter’s interior, perhaps from a layer of metallic hydrogen.

“I didn’t expect all the theories to be wrong, but there’s motion going on in the planet we did not anticipate,” Bolton said.

Jupiter’s magnetic field also dwarfs the 0.25 to 0.65 gauss at Earth’s surface by an even bigger margin than we expected. Juno readings on its closest approaches so far, presented by Jack Connerney of the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, suggest it could be 8 to 9 gauss rather than the 5 gauss predicted.

More tantalisingly, Juno’s magnetometers found that the field dipped in other regions, a telltale sign that the dynamo driving the field is close to the surface over the entire planet, not buried deep within it like Earth’s core.

“Jupiter’s magnetic field is spatially complex, and there were deficits of up to 2 gauss elsewhere,” said Connerney. “We may need many more orbits to resolve this.”

Earth-sized cyclones

The first orbits have also produced several new insights into the planet’s atmosphere. The probe’s JunoCam camera has already sent back amazing pictures of hitherto unknown cyclones over the poles.

Glenn Orton of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, who helps manage the JunoCam website, showed stunning composite videos of the cyclones swirling. “They’re the size of Earth, or maybe half an Earth,” Orton told New Scientist. “They’re probably composed of condensed ammonia.”

Strange white ovals have been spotted, too, in belts south of Jupiter’s equator. They could be clouds containing ammonia and hydrazine, a substance used as rocket fuel on Earth, according to an analysis of Juno infrared radiation readings presented by Alberto Adriani of the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology in Rome.

Adriani also presented stunning infrared images of the auroras which occur daily at the poles. His analyses revealed that the areas where they glow are composed mainly of methane and an ion containing three hydrogen atoms (H3+), at temperatures ranging from 500 to 950 kelvin. Adriani’s composite movies of the auroras – not released to the public yet – were equalled by others showing similar features imaged with ultraviolet spectrometers, presented by Bertrand Bonfond of the University of Liège in Belgium.

The camera is proving tougher than expected, too. Fears that it would last just a dozen circuits because of the battering from Jupiter’s intense radiation have turned out to be misplaced. “The good news is radiation damage so far is almost negligible, so it will operate for many years,” Orton said.

And more data will arrive after the next closest approach on 19 May. Eventually, Juno will fly over Jupiter’s famous Great Red Spot, and Fletcher is excited about the data that will generate. “It means that for the first time, we can go down deep and find out what’s going on underneath,” he says.

Quelle: NewScientist


Update: 6.05.2017


Approaching Jupiter


This enhanced color view of Jupiter’s south pole was created by citizen scientist Gabriel Fiset using data from the JunoCam instrument on NASA’s Juno spacecraft.  Oval storms dot the cloudscape. Approaching the pole, the organized turbulence of Jupiter’s belts and zones transitions into clusters of unorganized filamentary structures, streams of air that resemble giant tangled strings.


The image was taken on Dec. 11, 2016 at 9:44 a.m. PST (12:44 p.m. EST), from an altitude of about 32,400 miles (52,200 kilometers) above the planet’s beautiful cloud tops.


The Edge of Jupiter

Enhanced-color image of Jupiter

This enhanced color Jupiter image, taken by the JunoCam imager on NASA’s Juno spacecraft, showcases several interesting features on the apparent edge (limb) of the planet.


Prior to Juno’s fifth flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops, members of the public voted on which targets JunoCam should image. This picture captures not only a fascinating variety of textures in Jupiter’s atmosphere, it also features three specific points of interest: “String of Pearls,” “Between the Pearls,” and “An Interesting Band Point.” Also visible is what’s known as the STB Spectre, a feature in Jupiter’s South Temperate Belt where multiple atmospheric conditions appear to collide. 


JunoCam images of Jupiter sometimes appear to have an odd shape. This is because the Juno spacecraft is so close to Jupiter that it cannot capture the entire illuminated area in one image—the sides get cut off.


Juno acquired this image on March 27, 2017, at 2:12 a.m. PDT (5:12 a.m. EDT), as the spacecraft performed a close flyby of Jupiter. When the image was taken, the spacecraft was about 12,400 miles (20,000 kilometers) from the planet.


This enhanced color image was created by citizen scientist Bjorn Jonsson.

Quelle: NASA



Tags: Planet Jupiter JUNO SPACECRAFT-Jupiter-Mission Update-8 


Samstag, 6. Mai 2017 - 07:00 Uhr

Mars-Chroniken - NASA Rover Samples Active Linear Dune on Mars


NASA Rover Samples Active Linear Dune on Mars

This 360-degree panorama was acquired by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity rover looking out over part of an area called Bagnold Dunes, which stretch for miles on Mars. This location, called "Ogunquit Beach," is on the northwestern flank of lower Mount Sharp. Points of interest include the dune’s ripples, and bedrock made from sediments deposited in lakes billions of years ago.

As it drives uphill from a band of rippled sand dunes, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is toting a fistful of dark sand for onboard analysis that will complete the rover's investigation of those dunes.


From early February to early April, the rover examined four sites near a linear dune for comparison with what it found in late 2015 and early 2016 during its investigation of crescent-shaped dunes. This two-phase campaign is the first close-up study of active dunes anywhere other than Earth.


Among the questions this Martian dune campaign is addressing is how winds shape dunes that are relatively close together, on the same side of the same mountain, into different patterns. Others include whether Martian winds sort grains of sand in ways that affect the distribution of mineral compositions, which would have implications for studies of Martian sandstones.

View from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover
This view from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows two scales of ripples, plus other textures, in an area where the mission examined a linear-shaped dune in the Bagnold dune field on lower Mount Sharp in March and April 2017.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

"At these linear dunes, the wind regime is more complicated than at the crescent dunes we studied earlier," said Mathieu Lapotre of Caltech, in Pasadena, California, who helped lead the Curiosity science team's planning for the dune campaign. "There seems to be more contribution from the wind coming down the slope of the mountain here compared with the crescent dunes farther north."


The linear dunes lie uphill and about a mile (about 1.6 kilometers) south from the crescent dunes. Both study locations are part of a dark-sand swath called the Bagnold Dunes, which stretches several miles in length. This dune field lines the northwestern flank of Mount Sharp, the layered mountain that Curiosity is climbing.


"There was another key difference between the first and second phases of our dune campaign, besides the shape of the dunes," Lapotre said. "We were at the crescent dunes during the low-wind season of the Martian year and at the linear dunes during the high-wind season. We got to see a lot more movement of grains and ripples at the linear dunes."


To assess wind strength and direction, the rover team now uses change-detection pairs of images taken at different times to check for movement of sand grains. The wind-sensing capability of the Curiosity's Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) is no longer available, though that instrument still returns other Mars-weather data daily, such as temperatures, humidity and pressure. Two of the six wind sensors on the rover's mast were found to be inoperable upon landing on Mars in 2012. The remainder provided wind information throughout the rover's prime mission and first two-year extended mission.


A sample of sand that Curiosity scooped up from a linear dune is in the sample-handling device at the end of the rover's arm. One portion has been analyzed in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument inside the rover. The science team plans to deliver additional sample portions to SAM and to the rover's Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument.

360-degree scene from the Mastcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover
This 360-degree scene from the Mastcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover includes part of a linear-shaped dune the rover examined in early 2017 for comparison with what it found previously at crescent-shaped dunes. The view shows the dark, rippled surface of the active dune, near sedimentary bedrock.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

One factor in choosing to drive farther uphill before finishing analysis of the scooped sand is the status of Curiosity's rock-sampling drill, which has not been used on a rock since a problem with the drill feed mechanism appeared five months ago. Engineers are assessing how the use of vibration to deliver samples may affect the drill feed mechanism, which is used to move the drill bit forward and backwards. In addition, high winds at the linear-dunes location were complicating the process of pouring sample material into the entry ports for the laboratory instruments.


"A balky brake appears to be affecting drill feed mechanism performance," said Curiosity Deputy Project Manager Steven Lee, of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "In some cases, vibration has been observed to change feed effectiveness, so we're proceeding cautiously until we better understand the behavior. In the meantime, the engineering team is developing several methods to improve feed reliability."


Curiosity landed near Mount Sharp in August 2012. It reached the base of the mountain in 2014 after successfully finding evidence on the surrounding plains that ancient Martian lakes offered conditions that would have been favorable for microbes if Mars has ever hosted life. Rock layers forming the base of Mount Sharp accumulated as sediment within ancient lakes billions of years ago.


Seasonal Flows in Valles Marineris 

Seasonal flows in Valles Marineris on Mars

Recurring slope lineae (RSL) are seasonal flows on warm slopes, and are especially common in central and eastern Valles Marineris, as seen in this observation by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This image covers a large area full of interesting features, but the enhanced color closeup highlight some of the RSL.

Here, the RSL are active on east-facing slopes, extending from bouldery terrain and terminating on fans. Perhaps the fans themselves built up over time from the seasonal flows. Part of the fans with abundant RSL are dark, while the downhill portion of the fans are bright. The role of water in RSL activity is a matter of active debate.

The map is projected here at a scale of 50 centimeters (19.7 inches) per pixel. [The original image scale is 52.6 centimeters (20.7 inches) per pixel (with 2 x 2 binning); objects on the order of 158 centimeters (62.2 inches) across are resolved.] North is up.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Quelle: NASA



Tags: Rover Curiosity Linear Dune on Mars 


Freitag, 5. Mai 2017 - 22:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Start von ISRO´s GSLV / GSAT-9 Mission am 5. Mai


ISRO gearing up for GSLV/GSAT-9 mission on May five

CHENNAI: The Indian Space Agency is gearing up for the launch of a GSLV mission, the first this year, from the spaceport of  Sriharikota on May five.

     The GSLV-F09 would be carrying the communication satellite GSAT-9 and it would lift off from the Second Launch Pad.    The timing of the launch was expected to be announced by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) in a day or two.

   This would be the first GSLV mission in eight months after the  success of GSLV-F05, the first operational flight of GSLV powered  by the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS), when it launched  the advanced weather satellite the 2,211 kg INSAT-3DR in the desired  orbit on September eight last year.

    ISRO sources said GSAT-9 is a Geostationary Communication Satellite  being launched with the objective to provide various communication  applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries.

    The 2,230 kg GSAT-9 was configured around the ISRO’s standard  I-2K bus.

    The main structure of the satellite is cuboid in shape built around  a central cylinder with a mission life of more than 12 years.

    GSLV-F09 mission would be the 11th flight of GSLV and its fourth  consecutive flight with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS).

   The success of the previous GSLV mission in September last year provided the much needed boost for future GSLV missions to launch  satellites weighing two to 2.2 tonnes using India’s own cryogenic  engine.

On that occasion, ISRO Chairman A S Kiran Kumar had said that with  the third successive GSLV successful mission, GSLV had truly proved  that it was the operational vehicle for ISRO, with the Make in India  Cryogenic stage.

     The success of GSLV-F05 also helped India join the five space faring  nations–US, Russia, UK, China, Japan and France–in mastering the  complex cryogenic stage.

     Prior to this, the previous two successive successful missions were in January 2014 and in August 2015 after which the Indian Space agency  had announced that the the GSLV has shed the developmental tag and it  has got the operational tag.



Update: 29.04.2017


India to launch GSAT-9 communication satellite on May 5: ISRO

India will launch communication satellite GSAT-9 using its heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) on May 5, the ISRO said on Friday.

GSAT-9 is configured around the ISRO’s standard I-2K bus, with lift off mass of 2,230 kg. (IANS)

India will launch communication satellite GSAT-9 using its heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09) on May 5, the ISRO said on Friday.

According to Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the GSAT-9 communication satellite is being launched with an objective to provide different communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries.


“GSAT-9 is configured around the ISRO’s standard I-2K bus, with lift off mass of 2,230 kg. The main structure of the satellite is cuboid in shape built around a central cylinder with a mission life of more than 12 years,” it said.

The GSLV rocket will fly with indigenous cryogenic engine and would blast off from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh, the ISRO added.



Update: 2.05.2017


ISRO to Launch South Asian Satellite on Friday; PM Modi Lists Benefits

ISRO to Launch South Asian Satellite on Friday; PM Modi Lists Benefits

Photo Credit: ISRO


Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday said the 'South Asia Satellite' to be launched by India on May 5, will go a long way in addressing the region's economic and developmental priorities.

"The capacities of this satellite and the facilities it provides will go a long way in addressing South Asia's economic and developmental priorities," the Prime Minister said in his radio address 'Mann Ki Baat'.

"Natural resources mapping, tele medicine, the field of education, deeper IT connectivity or fostering people-to-people contact - this satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire region."


"It is an important step by India to enhance cooperation with the entire South Asia... It is an invaluable gift. This is an appropriate example of our commitment towards South Asia. I welcome all the South Asian countries who have joined us on the South Asia Satellite in this momentous endeavour," he added.

The communication satellite GSAT-9 will be launched using Indian Space Research Organisation's (ISRO) heavy rocket Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV-F09).

All South Asian countries, except Pakistan, are part of this project.

Quelle: NDTV


Update: 5.05.2017


Isro all set to launch South Asia Satellite today; countdown begins

The satellite will go a long way in addressing the region's economic priorities, said PM on Saturday


Representative Image


A 28-hour countdown for the Friday launch of the or commenced on Thursday, the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced.

According to ISRO, the countdown began at 12.57 p.m.


The Geosynchronous Vehicle (GSLV-Mk II) carrying the is expected to blast off from the second launch pad at Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

The is being launched with an objective to provide different communication applications in Ku-band with coverage over South Asian countries, the stated.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the South Asia Satellite, will go a long way in addressing the region's economic and developmental priorities.

"The capacities of this satellite and the facilities it provides will go a long way in addressing South Asia's economic and developmental priorities," he said in his monthly radio address 'Mann Ki Baat'.

"Natural resources mapping, telemedicine, the field of education, deeper IT connectivity or fostering people-to-people contact, this satellite will prove to be a boon in the progress of the entire region."

"It is an important step by India to enhance cooperation with the entire South Asia...It is an invaluable gift. This is an appropriate example of our commitment towards South Asia. I welcome all the South Asian countries who have joined us on this momentous endeavour," he had said.

The space agency said that the is configured around the ISRO's standard I-2K bus, with a lift-off mass of 2,230 kg, and the satellite's main structure is cuboid in shape built around a central cylinder with a mission life of more than 12 years.

According to an official, on experimental basis decided to have electric power for the satellite.

"We have not reduced the volume of the traditional on-board fuel because of the electric power. We have added electric power facility to check its performance for use in future satellites," the official told IANS.

He said the next satellite with electric power will be the GSAT-20 slated for launch next year.

Meanwhile, the is also gearing up to launch its heaviest rocket GSLV-Mk III later this month.

Quelle: IANS


Update: 5.05.2017


GSLV-F09 / GSAT-9 Start

GSLV-F09 launches 2230 kg South Asia Satellite GSAT-9 into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO). GSLV-F09 mission is the eleventh flight of India’s Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and its fourth consecutive flight with the indigenous Cryogenic Upper Stage (CUS).   The vehicle is designed to inject 2 - 2.5 ton class of satellites into GTO. The overall length of GSLV-F09 is 49.1 m. GSLV-F09 was launched on May 05, 2017 from the Second Launch Pad (SLP) at Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR (SDSC SHAR), Sriharikota, the space port of India.

GSLV-F09 vehicle configuration including the CUS is similar to the ones successfully flown during the previous three missions – GSLV-D5, D6 and F05 – in January 2014, August 2015 and September 2016 respectively. GSLV-D5 and D6 successfully placed two communication satellites –GSAT-14 and GSAT-6, while GSLV-F05 placed India’s weather satellite INSAT-3DR, in the intended GTOs.

S-band telemetry and C-band transponders enable GSLV-F09 performance monitoring, tracking, range safety/flight safety and Preliminary Orbit Determination (POD).



Tags: ISRO´s GSLV / GSAT-9 Mission 


Freitag, 5. Mai 2017 - 22:00 Uhr

UFO-Forschung - IFO-Universität: UFO oder Drohne?



Eine nächtliche Begegnung 

(Bruchköbel/jgd) - BK-Leser Karl-Heinz Gloede traute seinen Augen nicht: Ende April, beim Gassigehen mit dem Hund, umschwirrte den abendlichen Spaziergänger plötzlich ein vor sich hin schnurrendes Flugobjekt, das "hell in verschiedenen Farben" leuchtete. An ein UFO wollte Leser Gloede nicht glauben, sondern vermutete hinter der Erscheinung eine der neuartigen "Drohnen", wie man sie sich inzwischen im Internet und in Elektronikmärkten nach Lust und Laune bestellen kann.

Der Versuch, flugs mit dem Smartphone ein Foto zu machen, brachte immerhin einige bunte Lichtspuren auf die Speicherkarte (siehe Bild). Über Typ oder Größe des Objektes aber, oder auch die Frage, von wo aus das Gerät gesteuert wurde, blieb aber bloß ein Rätselraten. 

In der deutschen Sprache werden unbemannte, fern- oder automatisch gesteuerte Luftfahrzeuge umgangssprachlich seit einiger Zeit auch als "Drohnen" bezeichnet. Der Begriff wird sowohl für militärisch oder kommerziell genutzte unbemannte Luftfahrzeuge als auch für Flugmodelle wie Quadrocopter genutzt. Das Gerät, das unserem Leser nächtens begegnete, dürfte ein solcher Quadkopter gewesen sein, die sich mit zwei oder mehreren Propellern fortbewegen bzw. in der Luft stabilisieren lassen. 

Rechtlich besehen, ist das Steuern einer "Drohne" jedem Bürger erlaubt. Es gibt allerdings Regeln, die zu beachten sind. Diese finden sich in der Luftverkehrsordnung, wo auch der Einsatz "unbemannter Luftfahrtsysteme" und Flugmodelle betrachtet ist. Nach der aktuellen Gesetzgebung dürfen Drohnenpiloten ihre Geräte ausschliesslich unter Sichtflugbedingungen steuern. Der Pilot muss sein Modell mit den eigenen Augen zu jedem Zeitpunkt so gut erkennen können, das er es sicher steuern kann. Die beobachteten, bunten Lichter an dem Gerät, das unserem Leser erschien, dürften demnach weniger wegen des Effektes einer nächtlichen "Lightshow" geleuchtet haben, sondern zur besseren Erkennbarkeit auch im Dunkeln. Möglicherweise war der Pilot sogar über eine Videobrille direkt mit seinem Fluggerät verbunden und "sah" durch dessen Kameralinse, wohin die Reise geht. - Auch interessant: Das Überfliegen fremder Grundstücke ist zwar nach der bisherigen Luftverkehrsordnung erlaubt. Aber die Führer von Drohnen müssen gewahr sein, dass sie eine Verletzung der Persönlichkeitsrechte des Grundstücksinhabers verursachen können; zumal dann, wenn sie mit ihrer Drohnenkamera Aufnahmen machen.

Quelle: Bruchköbeler Kurier

Tags: CENAP UFO-Forschung UFO oder Drohne 


Donnerstag, 4. Mai 2017 - 22:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Stephen Hawking gibt uns 100 Jahre, um die Erde zu verlassen - und zeigt, wie es geht




Stephen Hawking in
British physicist Stephen Hawking looks into technologies that could help humanity create a second home beyond Earth within the next century. (Credit: Discovery Channel)


In an upcoming TV documentary, British physicist Stephen Hawking revives his prediction that humanity will have to spread out a new home in space within 100 years in order to ensure the species’ survival.

But this time, he’s looking into how it can be done.

The two-part documentary, titled “Expedition New Earth,” is due to air on BBC Two as part of the British network’s revived “Tomorrow’s World” TV series.

Hawking has repeatedly warned of the potential threats facing humanity, including nuclear war, rapid climate change, potential pandemics, catastrophic asteroid strikes and even a robot uprising. That echoes similar warnings issued by Elon Musk, the billionaire founder of SpaceX.

Last November, Hawking told an audience at Oxford Union in Cambridge, “I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet.” Hawking has previously referred to shorter time scales, on the order of 100 to 200 years.



“Expedition New Earth” takes Hawking’s argument several steps further by delving into the technologies that could add plausibility to the idea of inhabiting off-Earth locales – ranging from the moon and Mars to habitable exoplanets.

Among those technologies are:

Hawking’s fellow travelers for the show will be Danielle George, an engineering professor at the University of Manchester; and Christophe Galfard, a former student of Hawking’s who is now an author and science advocate.

“The journey shows that Professor Hawking’s ambition isn’t as fantastical as it sounds – that science fact is closer to science fiction than we ever thought.,” the BBC said in a news release.

Quelle: GeekWire

Tags: Stephen Hawking gibt uns 100 Jahre 


Donnerstag, 4. Mai 2017 - 22:05 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Vector Becomes First to Complete Successful Flight Test of Launch Vehicle


Launch of Vector-R propels Vector closer to orbital capacity, validates engineering and technology behind vehicle design



TUCSON, Ariz.,Vector, a micro satellite space launch company comprised of new-space and enterprise software industry veterans from SpaceX, Virgin Galactic, McDonnell Douglas, Sea Launch and VMware, today announced the successful test launch of the P-19H engineering model of the Vector-R launch vehicle. This flight test is the first of several upcoming launches which will enable Vector to evaluate critical technologies and functions of the operational family of Vector launch vehicles.

"2017 has already been a ground-breaking year for Vector as we continue testing full-scale vehicle engineering models to demonstrate functionality and flight operations," said Vector co-founder and CEO Jim Cantrell. "The success of this test not only sets the standard for the swift mobile development of our launch vehicles, but also furthers our mission to revolutionize the spaceflight industry and increase speed to orbit."


This successful flight test represents Vector's next technical milestone of the Vector-R launch vehicle. The flight test, which took place in Mojave, Calif. on May 3, featured Vector's first stage 5K-lbf engine and 3D additive manufacturing printed injector, which was successfully tested in December 2016, and developed in partnership with NASA's Flight Opportunities Program. This specific use of a 3D additive manufacturing injector is the latest in manufacturing technology.  Traditional manufacturing uses a machine to produce multiple parts and then workers to assemble them together, but 3D additive manufacturing technology does not need assembly since it is built in one piece. This new manufacturing technology will reduce both cost and labor, as well as cut down on wasted raw material. It will also improve quality issues such as the alignment of parts.

"With this successful in-flight operation of an additively manufactured injector, we have now moved the maturity of this technology to the next level for small launch vehicles," said John Peugeot, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center project manager for 3D Additive Manufactured (AM).  "This represents a critical step in moving AM hardware beyond laboratory testing and toward qualification for real-world applications."

This announcement comes on the heels on Vector's recent agreement to conduct a flight test in Camden County, Georgia. Vector and key members of the spaceport community in Camden County showcased the Vector-R launch system and concept of operations for future launch operations on-site last week. The summer launch from Spaceport Camden is part of a series of incremental launches which will help Vector further validate the company's technology, mature launch vehicle design and operations, and evaluate candidate launch sites for the future.


"In the 1960's NASA tested some of the most powerful rockets ever constructed on the site proposed for Spaceport Camden and we benefited from that enthusiasm and hunger for innovation," said David Ralston, Speaker of the Georgia House of Representatives. "Vector's successful tests prove that it is an innovator in this dynamic field.  Georgia looks forward to working with commercial space companies, like Vector, as we begin the next chapter of space exploration and innovation."


About Vector:
Founded by the original SpaceX founding team, Vector is a disruptive company that connects space startups and innovators with affordable and reliable launch services, enabling platforms and vehicles to access space at a price never before possible.

Quelle: Vector

Tags: Raumfahrt 


Donnerstag, 4. Mai 2017 - 22:00 Uhr

Raumfahrt - USAF setzt auf Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS), um Startkadenz zu erhöhen


US Air Force targets launching rockets twice in 18 hours

The US Air Force (USAF) is replacing key range infrastructure at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (AFS) in Florida as it prepares for a goal two or three months from now of launching rockets twice within 18 hours, according to a key officer.

Brigadier General Wayne Monteith, the 45th Space Wing Commander told Jane's on 2 May at the Pentagon that the service recently took down its complete fibre backbone and also replaced ageing equipment that was single point failure.

United Launch Alliance often launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for US military missions. (ULA)

United Launch Alliance often launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida for US military missions. (ULA)

Brig Gen Monteith said, for the first time in years, all range equipment functioned properly coming out of repairs. This time, he said, the range was "green" for four consecutive launches before further maintenance was required. The USAF said it would be unable to provide further comment by press time.

The USAF is gearing up for the age of commercial space and reusable rocketry where it will be required to launch more often with quicker turnaround time. Currently the air force's launch ranges, located at both Cape Canaveral AFS and Vandenberg Air Force Base (AFB) in California are built for expendable rockets that fly only once.

Pentagon contractor SpaceX has a reusable vehicle, while another contractor, United Launch Alliance (ULA), is developing its own reusable rocket called Vulcan. Cape Canaveral has also seen increased use from commercial companies such as SpaceX performing missions for NASA or commercial satellite developers.

The USAF is counting on a technology called Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) to help it increase its launch cadence. AFSS is a GPS-guided termination system that will automatically destroy a rocket if it veers off a set path, putting the public at risk. Legacy flight safety systems use humans and equipment such as tracking radars to serve as safety valves in case rockets veer off course.

Quelle: Janes360


Tags: Autonomous Flight Safety System (AFSS) 


Donnerstag, 4. Mai 2017 - 08:15 Uhr

Raumfahrt - Sunglint Effekt bei Satellitenaufnahmen


Eerie Dark Swath Extends Across Arabian Satellite Photo

Eerie Dark Swath Extends Across Arabian Satellite Photo
A new image shows what seems like the intrusion of darkness into light areas in this satellite image of the Arabaian Sea. The effect is an artifact of a natural phenomenon known as sunglint.
Credit: Jeff Schmaltz/NASA

The forces of darkness seem to be coalescing in the Arabian Sea in a spooky satellite image taken from space.

But the eerie supernatural effect, in which the tentacles of darkness seem to be intruding into regions of light, has a completely ordinary cause: normal weather patterns in the area.

The image was taken on April 11 using the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard NASA's Terra satellite. When satellites gather light from above smooth waters, the light reflects upward like a mirror. But once water gets wavy, light hitting the water's surface reflects up toward the satellite at many different orientations — meaning less light reaches the satellite's photodetectors, according to NASA's Earth Observatory. When the sun, the satellite and the water are all aligned, the water appears much brighter. The phenomenon is known as sunglint, agency officials said.

When someone is looking at satellite images of Earth, sunglint typically appears as a streak of bright light that shows up in the middle of the satellite image. In this image, the sunglint appears most pronounced in the bottom central area of the image, which shows the Arabian Sea

While some of the most spectacular examples of sunglint may appear in space photos, the phenomenon is also terrestrial: Anyone sitting on the beach who has looked out at a bright line of sunlight hitting the ocean has seen a similar process, known as a glitter path.

Quelle: SC


Weitere 8 Nachrichten nachladen...