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quarta-feira, 30 de abril de 2014

NASA WEB -NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 17 April 2014


NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 17 April 2014

©NASA
NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 17 April 2014
SpaceX (SpX)-3 Launch/Berth, Extravehicular Activity (EVA) 26 Status: The ISS Program elected to target April 18th and 19th for SpX launch attempts. Teams are evaluating the following options
- SpX launch on 4/18, berth on 4/20 and EVA 26 on 4/23
- SpX launch on 4/19, EVA 26 on 4/20 and SpX berth on 4/22
Body Measures Investigation: Wakata, with the help of Mastracchio, conducted his Return-30 session of Body Measures. Wakata set up body marker instrumentation and took calibration and body pose pictures along with circumference measurements. He then recorded a neutral body posture video. The goal of this study is to gather data to better understand the magnitude and variability of changes due to microgravity and fluid shifts within the human body during long-duration space flight. Results of the investigation may result in changes to space suit fit and sizing, workstation design, etc. for future missions to maximize performance, prevent injury, and reduce crew time to accommodate their anthropometrics.

NASA WEB-NIAC Seeks Phase II Proposals

NIAC Seeks Phase II Proposals

©NASA
NIAC Seeks Phase II Proposals
NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program is seeking proposals for technologies that could be used on future exploration missions. The new proposals will build on the most promising ideas developed in the program's first phase.
The NIAC program funds cutting-edge concepts that have the potential to transform future missions, enable new capabilities, or significantly alter current approaches to launching, building, and operating aerospace systems.
NIAC's Phase II studies provide an opportunity to develop the most promising Phase I concepts. These are aerospace architecture, mission, or system concepts with transformative potential. They must continue to push into new frontiers, while remaining technically and programmatically credible. NIAC's current portfolio of diverse efforts advances aerospace technology in many areas, including construction, human systems, transportation, imaging, and robotic exploration.
"During the second phase of our NIAC program, visionary concepts are matured to advance concepts from notional to feasible," said Michael Gazarik, NASA's associate administrator forspace technology at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "These advanced technology concepts are critical for kick-starting innovation that will enable our future missions."
Recent NIAC Phase II studies have included a concept for a sample return for extreme environments, which could lead to a simple and efficient way to obtain multiple samples drilled out of an asteroid crust.
Another NIAC Phase II study is examining "SpiderFab," an approach to 3D-printing of large structures in space. This could one day enable NASA to produce giant telescopes in orbit without having to design them to fit within a rocket shroud or withstand the vibration and g-loads of launch.
"In NIAC Phase I Studies, the focus is basic feasibility and potential benefit. In Phase II, we can get into real systems engineering and in some cases even demonstration" said Jay Falker, NIAC program executive at NASA Headquarters. "This is critical for taking concepts from paper studies to engineering implementation. Phase II also helps address the important technology development needs of NASA's current and future programs."
NASA will be accepting NIAC Phase II proposals of no more than 20 pages until June 3. Selection announcements are expected later this year. This solicitation is open only to current or previously awarded NIAC Phase I concepts. Complete guidelines for proposal submissions are available on the NIAC website at
http://www.nasa.gov/niac
NASA expects to select approximately five new Phase II studies this year. The number of awards will depend on the strength of proposals, availability of appropriated funds, and the overall number of Phase I and Phase II awards. Selected proposers may receive as much as $500,000 over two years to further analyze and develop their innovative concepts.
"Over the next 18 months, NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate will make significant new investments that address several high priority challenges for achieving safe and affordable deep-space exploration," Gazarik added. "These focused technology thrust areas are tightly aligned with NASA's Space Technology Roadmaps, the Space TechnologyInvestment Plan, and National Research Council's recommendations."
NIAC is part of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is innovating, developing, testing and flying hardware for use in NASA's future missions. To view the NASA NIAC Research Announcement for this solicitation and for more information about the agency's Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit:
http://go.usa.gov/R1N

NASA WEB -NASA Spinoff 2013 Shows How Much Space is in Our Lives

NASA Spinoff 2013 Shows How Much Space is in Our Lives

NASA-developed space technologies benefit those of us here on Earth.NASA-developed space technologies benefit those of us here on Earth. Image credit: NASA
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April 28, 2014
Water filtration bottles, comfortable car seats and remote medical monitoring devices all have one thing in common -- they all have benefited from NASA technology.
These products are featured in Spinoff 2013, an online publication now available that highlights commercial products created using NASA-developed technology, including some developed at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. Also featured in the 2013 edition is an air purification system that can sustain miners in the event of a disaster, a solar-powered vaccine refrigerator saving lives in remote areas throughout the world, and a powerful heat shield used on the first commercial spacecraft to successfully achieve orbit and return to Earth.
"NASA develops technologies to push the boundaries of what's possible in space, but those same technologies also make life better here on Earth," said Daniel Lockney, NASA's Technology Transfer program executive. "Spinoff 2013 is filled with examples of how NASA technology benefits our lives every day."
NASA has a long history of transferring technologies from their original mission applications to secondary uses. For example, Mars continues to be a rich destination for scientific discovery and exploration, and NASA's missions there have inspired a variety of practical, terrestrial benefits. Spinoff 2013 features stories about some of these technologies, including a wind turbine that could one day be used to provide energy for a human exploration mission on the Red Planet, and is being used today in harsh environments here on Earth.
New to Spinoff this year is a section called "Spinoffs of Tomorrow," which showcases 18 NASA technologies currently available for licensing and partnership opportunities.
NASA's Technology Transfer Program is charged with finding the widest possible applications of agency technology. Through partnerships and licensing agreements with industry, the program ensures NASA's investments in pioneering research find secondary applications that benefit the economy, create jobs, and improve quality of life.
Spinoff 2013 is available online at: http://spinoff.nasa.gov/
The California Institute of Technology in Pasadena manages JPL for NASA.

segunda-feira, 28 de abril de 2014

NASA WEB-Marte: O planeta vermelho é o único, além da Terra, que possui clima- use translate


Marte: O planeta vermelho é o único, além da Terra, que possui clima



Desde os tempos remotos da história da humanidade, Marte agita a imaginação das pessoas. Para os povos antigos, o brilho avermelhado desse planeta era um símbolo celeste de sangue e, talvez por isso, ele foi ligado à ideia de guerra.

Os gregos antigos o chamavam Ares - que, segundo a mitologia desse povo, era o deus da guerra. O povo romano herdou muitas coisas da antiga cultura grega, inclusive os deuses. Ares ganhou dos romanos o nome Marte.
O planeta possui duas luas, as quais foram batizadas pelos astrônomos com os nomes dos filhos de Ares na mitologia grega, Phobos e Deimos. 
Gelo marciano
Dentre os oito planetas do Sistema Solar, Marte ocupa a quarta posição, a partir do Sol. Sua cor avermelhada se deve ao solo rico em ferro. A superfície, cheia de crateras formadas por impactos de asteroides, apresenta diversas estrias, como se fossem antigos leitos de rios.
Por esse motivo acreditou-se, durante muito tempo, que havia água em Marte. E estudos da Nasa, a agência espacial norte-americana, indicaram, em 2004, que o planeta possuiu mares e confirmaram sinais da existência de água, no tempo em que as rochas ali estavam se formando.

Entretanto, Marte possui gelo em seus pólos, que não é feito de água, mas de gás carbônico - o "gelo seco" - que é abundante na atmosfera marciana. A temperatura de até 142 graus Celsius negativos congela esse gás e forma a neve carbônica.

No inverno, essa é a temperatura usual e faz com que o branco do gelo se expanda até quase alcançar o equador (a metade) de Marte. Já no verão marciano, as temperaturas sobem para, no máximo, 20 graus Celsius e a camada branca recua para os pólos.

Isso mesmo: Marte possui estações - ele é o único planeta, além da Terra em que o ano se divide em estações do ano - mas elas duram mais tempo que as daqui. 
Anos mais longos
O ano terrestre tem 365 dias separados por 24 horas - exceto os anos bissextos, com 366 dias. Um ano em Marte tem 687 dias, o equivalente a quase dois anos na Terra. Já os dias marcianos têm 24 horas e 37 minutos, quase o mesmo número de horas dos dias aqui em nosso planeta.
Caso houvesse marcianos no planeta vermelho, como nos desenhos e filmes de ficção científica, eles fariam aniversário a cada um ano e 11 meses, aproximadamente, na contagem do tempo terrestre.
Essa diferença temporal deve-se aos movimentos de rotação e translação dos planetas. A rotação corresponde ao giro em torno do próprio eixo e dura um dia. O tempo que um planeta leva para dar uma volta ao redor do Sol corresponde a um ano, e o nome desse movimento é translação.
O vulcão mais alto do Sistema Solar
Com cerca de 27 km de altura, e 600 km de diâmetro, o maior vulcão do Sistema Solar está em Marte. Batizado de Monte Olimpo, ele faz o Monte Everest, a maior montanha da Terra com 8,84 km de altitude, parecer modesto.

A sudeste do Monte Olimpo, encontram-se outros vulcões imponentes - são eles o Monte Arsia com 9 km de altura, o Monte Pavoris com 7 km de altura - e se você for mais ao norte desse vulcão, encontrará o Monte Ascraeus que tem mais de 11 km de altura.
O Monte Arsia possui a maior caldeira - buraco por onde a lava é expelida - do Sistema Solar, com 110 km de diâmetro. Junto com o Pavoris e o Ascraeus, esses vulcões formam um grupo chamado de Montes Tharsis. 
Tempestades de areia
Marte é o único planeta do Sistema Solar, além da Terra, que possui algo mais parecido com um clima. Não fosse por isso, não haveria estações marcianas. O que possibilita tal fato é a atmosfera, formada por 95% de gás carbônico. Os outros 5% correspondem a substâncias como o nitrogênio e o oxigênio.
Por vezes, o céu de Marte fica rosado graças aos ventos fortes carregam a poeira para o alto. Mas ao olhar esse fenômeno marciano aqui da Terra, observam-se manchas escuras espalhadas pelo planeta.
Antigamente, os astrônomos pensavam que tais manchas eram florestas ou outro tipo de vegetação, mas hoje sabe-se que isso não existe por lá.
As tempestades de areia no planeta vermelho possuem ventos que podem chegar a 150 km por hora. Elas duram semanas, ou meses, e podem tomar conta do planeta inteiro.
 Vida marciana
Muitas hipóteses sobre a existência de vida em Marte foram estudadas, ao longo dos séculos, pelos cientistas. Nem formas de vida inteligentes, tampouco bactérias foram encontradas no planeta vermelho.
Entretanto, ainda há muito por descobrir. Talvez, condições vitais para o desenvolvimento de seres marcianos estejam se formando. Ou quem sabe, já houve algum tipo de vida em Marte - a ciência busca, incansável, por respostas.
Apesar de muitas vezes as perguntas em relação a Marte continuarem "no ar", as revelações fornecidas pelos cientistas nos mostram um mundo diferente e fantástico. O planeta vermelho continua a encantar a imaginação e a aguçar a curiosidade humana.
CREDIT UOL

NASA WEB-4,000 Kilometers Above Saturn's Iapetus

4,000 Kilometers Above Saturn's Iapetus
What does the surface of Saturn's mysterious moon Iapetus look like? The below image from Cassini is from about 4,000 kilometers out and allows objects under 100-meters across to be resolved. Cassini found an ancient and battered landscape of craters, sloping hills, and mountains as high as 10 kilometers and so rival the 8.8-kilometer height of Mt. Everest on Earth. Just above the center of this image is a small bright patch where an impacting rock might have uncovered deep clean water ice. Space scientists will be studying flyby images like this for clues to the origin of Iapetus' unusual shape and coloring with particular emphasis because no more close flybys of the enigmatic world are planned.
Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA



4,000 Kilometers Above Saturn's Iapetus   What does the surface of Saturn's mysterious moon Iapetus look like? The below image from Cassini is from about 4,000 kilometers out and allows objects under 100-meters across to be resolved. Cassini found an ancient and battered landscape of craters, sloping hills, and mountains as high as 10 kilometers and so rival the 8.8-kilometer height of Mt. Everest on Earth. Just above the center of this image is a small bright patch where an impacting rock might have uncovered deep clean water ice. Space scientists will be studying flyby images like this for clues to the origin of Iapetus' unusual shape and coloring with particular emphasis because no more close flybys of the enigmatic world are planned.   Credit: Cassini Imaging Team, SSI, JPL, ESA, NASA

NASA WEB-NASA HEADQUARTERS


NASA WEB

The STS-111 and Expedition Five crews, attired in training versions of the full-pressure launch and entry suit, pose for a group photo prior to a training session in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). From left are astronauts Kenneth D. Cockrell and Paul S. Lockhart, STS-111 mission commander and pilot, respectively; Philippe Perrin and Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, both STS-111 mission specialists; Peggy A. Whitson, Expedition Five flight engineer, and cosmonauts Valery G. Korzun, Expedition Five mission commander, and Sergei Y. Treschev, Expedition Five flight engineer. Perrin represents CNES, the French Space Agency, and Korzun and Treschev represent Rosaviakosmos.    16 October 2001
on in the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility at the Johnson Space Center (JSC). From left are astronauts Kenneth D. Cockrell and Paul S. Lockhart, STS-111 mission commander and pilot, respectively; Philippe Perrin and Franklin R. Chang-Diaz, both STS-111 mission specialists; Peggy A. Whitson, Expedition Five flight engineer, and cosmonauts Valery G. Korzun, Expedition Five mission commander, and Sergei Y. Treschev, Expedition Five flight engineer. Perrin represents CNES, the French Space Agency, and Korzun and Treschev represent Rosaviakosmos. 16 October 2001

NASA WEB · European Space Agency



NASA WEB

Certifications, readiness and brilliant problem solving: What’s happening with ATV-5 - an update with a detailed report on the launch campaign in Kourou. Via http://wp.me/p1hblA-2pZ (Image shows Joint Operations Working Group meeting - ESA, NASA, RSCE, Roscosmos - in Toulouse.)



Certifications, readiness and brilliant problem solving: What’s happening with ATV-5 - an update with a detailed report on the launch campaign in Kourou. Via http://wp.me/p1hblA-2pZ (Image shows Joint Operations Working Group meeting - ESA, NASA, RSCE, Roscosmos - in Toulouse.)

NASA WEB-APOLLO 13

NASA WEB-APOLLO 13


With little food, water, and battery power remaining, Apollo 13 splashed down gently in the Pacific Ocean on April 17, 1970, at 1:07 p.m. Eastern. Flight Director Gene Kranz and the rest of the Mission Control team celebrated the successful return of astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise with cheers, handshakes, and cigars. The crew of three, sleep-deprived and dehydrated, had lost a total of 31.5 pounds in body weight, 50 percent more than any previous crew. Despite this, Lovell, Swigert, and Haise were in good spirits, receiving a warm welcome aboard their rescue ship, the U.S.S. Iwo Jima.

Foto: With little food, water, and battery power remaining, Apollo 13 splashed down gently in the Pacific Ocean on April 17, 1970, at 1:07 p.m. Eastern. Flight Director Gene Kranz and the rest of the Mission Control team celebrated the successful return of astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise with cheers, handshakes, and cigars. The crew of three, sleep-deprived and dehydrated, had lost a total of 31.5 pounds in body weight, 50 percent more than any previous crew. Despite this, Lovell, Swigert, and Haise were in good spirits, receiving a warm welcome aboard their rescue ship, the U.S.S. Iwo Jima.   Learn more about the mission here:  www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/apollo/missions/apollo13.html

NASA WEB -Nave espacial da Nasa colide contra a Lua em missão suicida proposital.

Nave espacial da Nasa colide contra a Lua em missão suicida proposital.
Batida foi forçada após a nave transmitir dados sobre poeira e gases. Missão iria até 21 de abril, mas combustível acabou e colisão foi adiantada.
Uma espaçonave robótica americana finalizou sua missão pioneira de mapear poeira e gases ao redor da Lua com uma colisão propositalmente suicida na superfície lunar nesta sexta-feira (18), afirmaram oficias da Nasa (a agência espacial americana).
Conhecida como LADEE, a nave voou a altitudes cada vez mais baixas para estudar como a poeira é levantada da superfície lunar e quais gases compõem a chamada exosfera lunar -- a região do espaço que rodeia a lua.
Oficiais da Nasa planejavam a colisão da nave com a Lua após ela transmitir a última série de dados.
Antes de bater na superfície lunar, a LADEE viajou a 5.790 km por hora, três vezes mais rápido que uma bala de rifle de alta potência, para que a nave não apenas quebrasse com o impacto, mas as peças dela chegasem a se vaporizar.
"O impacto nessas velocidades não é nada gentil", afirmou o cientista que liderou a missão, Rick Elphic, em um comunicado.
Sem combustível
Lançada no dia 6 de setembro de Wallops Island, no estado americano da Virginia, a LADEE ficou em órbita em torno da Lua em outubro. Em novembro, ela iniciou sua tarefa, que esperava-se que durasse cem dias.
Depois a missão foi estendida até o dia 21 de abril, mas a nave ficou sem combustível e caiu em algum lugar da lua ena madrugada desta sexta-feira.
Controladores de voo vão tentar descobrir onde exatamente a LADEE caiu para obter imagens do local.
Além de entender melhor a lua, os cientistas planejam usar os dados coletados sobre a exosfera lunar para o recriar o ambiente de outros corpos sem ar, incluindo Plutão, que será visitado pela primeira vez por uma nave da Nasa no próximo ano.


Nave espacial da Nasa colide contra a Lua em missão suicida proposital.  Batida foi forçada após a nave transmitir dados sobre poeira e gases. Missão iria até 21 de abril, mas combustível acabou e colisão foi adiantada.  Uma espaçonave robótica americana finalizou sua missão pioneira de mapear poeira e gases ao redor da Lua com uma colisão propositalmente suicida na superfície lunar nesta sexta-feira (18), afirmaram oficias da Nasa (a agência espacial americana).   Conhecida como LADEE, a nave voou a altitudes cada vez mais baixas para estudar como a poeira é levantada da superfície lunar e quais gases compõem a chamada exosfera lunar -- a região do espaço que rodeia a lua.   Oficiais da Nasa planejavam a colisão da nave com a Lua após ela transmitir a última série de dados.   Antes de bater na superfície lunar, a LADEE viajou a 5.790 km por hora, três vezes mais rápido que uma bala de rifle de alta potência, para que a nave não apenas quebrasse com o impacto, mas as peças dela chegasem a se vaporizar.   "O impacto nessas velocidades não é nada gentil", afirmou o cientista que liderou a missão, Rick Elphic, em um comunicado.   Sem combustível   Lançada no dia 6 de setembro de Wallops Island, no estado americano da Virginia, a LADEE ficou em órbita em torno da Lua em outubro. Em novembro, ela iniciou sua tarefa, que esperava-se que durasse cem dias.   Depois a missão foi estendida até o dia 21 de abril, mas a nave ficou sem combustível e caiu em algum lugar da lua ena madrugada desta sexta-feira.   Controladores de voo vão tentar descobrir onde exatamente a LADEE caiu para obter imagens do local.   Além de entender melhor a lua, os cientistas planejam usar os dados coletados sobre a exosfera lunar para o recriar o ambiente de outros corpos sem ar, incluindo Plutão, que será visitado pela primeira vez por uma nave da Nasa no próximo ano.

NASA WEB-CURIOSITY REACHES OUT TO SCRUTINIZES NEXT MARTIAN DRILL TATGET AT MOUNT REMARKABLE

NASA WEB-Curiosity Reaches Out to Scrutinize Next Martian Drill Target at Mount Remarkable



Multisol composite photo mosaic shows deployment of Curiosity’s rovers robotic arm and APXS X-ray spectrometer onto the ‘Winjana’ rock target at Mount Remarkable for evaluation as missions third drill target inside Gale Crater on Mars.  The colorized navcam raw images were stitched together from several Martian days up to Sol 612, April 26, 2014.   Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer - kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo
Multisol composite photo mosaic shows deployment of Curiosity roversrobotic arm and APXS X-ray spectrometer onto the ‘Winjana’ rock target at Mount Remarkable for evaluation as missions third drill target inside Gale Crater on Mars. The navcam raw images were stitched together from several Martian days up to Sol 612, April 26, 2014 and colorized. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo
See more Curiosity photo mosaics below
To Drill or not to Drill?
That’s the momentous question posed by the international team of scientists and engineers who commanded NASA’s SUV sized Curiosity rover to reach out with her high tech robotic arm this weekend (Apr 25-27) and gather critical science measurements for high powered scrutiny of an outcrop on a Martian butte named Mount Remarkable.
See our multisol, composite photo mosaic – above – illustrating Curiosity’s arm in action pressing down her X-ray spectrometer on Saturday, April 26, Sol 612, at an alien rock on Mount Remarkable at the current stopping point at “The Kimberley Waypoint” along the epic trek to towering Mount Sharp.
Via a combination of laser shots, images, brushings and spectrometry the team is pondering new data streaming back daily across hundreds of millions of kilometers of interplanetary space to Earth to determine whether to bore into a sandstone slab being evaluated as the target for the missions third drilling campaign.
The team deployed the arm this weekend onto a rock target called “Windjana,” after a gorge in Western Australia.
Curiosity’s Panoramic view of Mount Remarkable at ‘The Kimberley Waypoint’ where rover will conduct 3rd drilling campaign inside Gale Crater on Mars.  The navcam raw images were taken on Sol 603, April 17, 2014, stitched and colorized.   Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer - kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo
Curiosity’s Panoramic view of Mount Remarkable at ‘The Kimberley Waypoint’ where rover will conduct 3rd drilling campaign inside Gale Crater on Mars. The navcam raw images were taken on Sol 603, April 17, 2014, stitched and colorized. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com/Marco Di Lorenzo
After confirming that the 1 ton robot was in a stable position, the team commanded study observations on Saturday, Sol 612, using the APXS spectrometer and MAHLI camera on the terminus of the arm’s turret.
“The observation will document its chemical composition and morphology before drilling,” says science team member Ken Herkenoff in a mission update.
She also brushed off the potential ‘Windjana’ drill target with the wire-bristle Dust Removal Tool (DRT) to clear away obscuring Red Planet dirt and dust hindering the data collections.
NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has driven within robotic-arm's reach of the sandstone slab at the center of this April 23 view from the rover's Mast Camera. The rover team plans to have Curiosity examine a target patch on the rock, called "Windjana," to aid a decision about whether to drill there. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has driven within robotic-arm’s reach of the sandstone slab at the center of this April 23 view from the rover’s Mast Camera. The rover team plans to have Curiosity examine a target patch on the rock, called “Windjana,” to aid a decision about whether to drill there. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
The rover is also conducting continuing remote sensing observations with the ChemCam, Mastcam and Navcam cameras mounted on the Mast.
Today, April 27, Sol 613, “MAHLI will take another selfie of the rover” according to Herkenhoff.
In early April, the six wheeled rover pulled into a scientifically enticing science destination known as “The Kimberley Waypoint” in hopes of carrying out the next drilling operation into alien Martian terrain in search of further clues about ancient Martian environments that may have been favorable for life.
“We are officially in ‘The Kimberley’ now,” Curiosity Principal Investigator John Grotzinger, of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, told me at that time.
Since arriving in the Kimberley region, Curiosity’s earth bound handlers have been maneuvering the 1 ton robot around to thoroughly survey destination “Kimberley” in choosing the best drill site.
Why was Kimberley chosen as a science destination ?
“The Kimberley” has interesting, complex stratigraphy,” Grotzinger told me.
If Windjana meets the required criteria, Curiosity will bore into the sandstone rock, and then pulverize and filter it prior to delivery to the two onboard miniaturized chemistry labs – SAM and CheMin.
Windjana would be the first sandstone drill target, if selected. The first two drill locations at ‘John Klein’ and ‘Cumberland’ inside Yellowknife Bay were mudstone.
Curiosity scans scientifically intriguing rock outcrops of gorgeous Martian terrain at ‘The Kimberley’ waypoint in search of next drilling location beside Mount Remarkable butte, at right.  Mastcam color photo mosaic assembled from raw images snapped on Sol 590, April 4, 2014. Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer - kenkremer.com
Curiosity scans scientifically intriguing rock outcrops of gorgeous Martian terrain at ‘The Kimberley’ waypoint in search of next drilling location beside Mount Remarkable butte, at right. Mastcam color photo mosaic assembled from raw images snapped on Sol 590, April 4, 2014. Credit: NASA/JPL/MSSS/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com
Curiosity departed the ancient lakebed at the Yellowknife Bay region in July 2013 where she discovered a habitable zone with the key chemical elements and a chemical energy source that could have supported microbial life billions of years ago – and thereby accomplished the primary goal of the mission.
“We want to learn more about the wet process that turned sand deposits into sandstone here,” said Grotzinger, in a NASA statement.
“What was the composition of the fluids that bound the grains together? That aqueous chemistry is part of the habitability story we’re investigating.”
“Understanding why some sandstones in the area are harder than others also could help explain major shapes of the landscape where Curiosity is working inside Gale Crater. Erosion-resistant sandstone forms a capping layer of mesas and buttes. It could even hold hints about why Gale Crater has a large layered mountain, Mount Sharp, at its center,” NASA elaborated in the statement.
To date, Curiosity’s odometer totals 3.8 miles (6.1 kilometers) since landing inside Gale Crater on Mars in August 2012. She has taken over 143,000 images.
The sedimentary foothills of Mount Sharp, which reaches 3.4 miles (5.5 km) into the Martian sky, is the 1 ton robots ultimate destination inside Gale Crater because it holds caches of water altered minerals. Such minerals could possibly indicate locations that sustained potential Martian life forms, past or present, if they ever existed.
Curiosity has some 4 kilometers to go to reach the base of Mount Sharp sometime later this year.
Martian landscape with rows of curved rock outcrops at ‘Kimberly’ in the foreground and spectacular Mount Sharp on the horizon. NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover pulled into Kimberly waypoint dominated by layered rock outcrops as likely drilling site.  This colorized navcam camera photomosaic was assembled from imagery taken on Sol 576 (Mar. 20, 2014).  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer-kenkremer.com
Martian landscape with rows of curved rock outcrops at ‘Kimberly’ in the foreground and spectacular Mount Sharp on the horizon. NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover pulled into Kimberly waypoint dominated by layered rock outcrops as likely drilling site. This colorized navcam camera photomosaic was assembled from imagery taken on Sol 576 (Mar. 20, 2014). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer-kenkremer.com
Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing Curiosity, Opportunity, Chang’e-3, SpaceX, Orbital Sciences, LADEE, MAVEN, MOM, Mars and more planetary and human spaceflight news.
Curiosity Mars rover captured this panoramic view of a butte called "Mount Remarkable" and surrounding outcrops at “The Kimberley " waypoint on April 11, 2014, Sol 597. Colorized navcam photomosaic was stitched by Marco Di Lorenzo and Ken Kremer.  Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer - kenkremer.com
Curiosity Mars rover captured this panoramic view of a butte called “Mount Remarkable” and surrounding outcrops at “The Kimberley ” waypoint on April 11, 2014, Sol 597. Colorized navcam photomosaic was stitched by Marco Di Lorenzo and Ken Kremer. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Marco Di Lorenzo/Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com

domingo, 27 de abril de 2014

NASA WEB-Gallery: Incredible Mirages In Space Show Dark Matter, Supernovas And Galaxies

NASA WEB

This artist’s impression of a supernova shows the layers of gas ejected prior to the final deathly explosion of a massive star. Credit: NASA/Swift/Skyworks Digital/Dana Berry
This artist’s impression of a supernova shows the layers of gas ejected prior to the final deathly explosion of a massive star. Credit: NASA/Swift/Skyworks Digital/Dana Berry
How can an exploding star appear far brighter than expected? This question vexed astronomers since the discovery of PS1-10afx, supernova that was about 30 times more luminous than other Type 1A supernovas. Astronomers have just confirmed in Science that it was likely due to well-known illusion in space.
The mirage is called a gravitational lens that happens when a huge object in the foreground (like a galaxy) bends the light of an object in the background. Astronomers use this trick all the time to spy on galaxies and even to map dark matter, the mysterious substance believed to make up most of the universe.
Check out some spectacular images below of the phenomenon in action.

NASA WEB-NASA Tests Supersonic Flying Saucer for Future Mars Missions

Friday, April 11, 2014

NASA Tests Supersonic Flying Saucer for Future Mars Missions

Eat your heart out, Marvin the Martian: NASA is building its own flying saucer as part of a project to get bigger payloads to Mars. The disk-shaped object is called a Low Density Supersonic Decelerator, and it's due to fly for the first time this June.
Journalists got an advance peek at the saucer this week at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., where it's being readied for the test flight. The saucer will be taken to Hawaii and then lofted up to an altitude of 120,000 feet (37 kilometers) on a high-altitude balloon. It'll fire a rocket engine to rise even higher, to 180,000 feet (55 kilometers). And then it'll start falling.
During its Mach 3.5 descent, it will inflate like a pufferfish to increase atmospheric drag, slowing its speed to about twice the speed of sound. That will trigger the deployment of a super-strong 100-foot-wide (33.5-meter-wide) parachute, which should slow down the test vehicle enough for a gentle splashdown.
Why go to all that trouble? NASA had to use a complex, rocket-powered sky crane to get its 1-ton Curiosity rover safely down to the surface of Mars in 2012, but the payloads required for human missions to Mars are expected to weigh significantly more — as much as 100 tons. The sky-crane system can't handle payloads that heavy. That's why NASA says it'll need the supersonic decelerator to send astronauts to Mars.
Let's just hope those astronauts don't face the Q-36 explosive space modulatorwhen they get there.
Journalists are dressed in special suits inside a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory as they get a look at the saucer-shaped test vehicle for the agency's Low Density Supersonic Decelerator project on Wednesday.
The Low Density Supersonic Decelerator is designed to inflate balloon-like pressure vessels during its descent, to increase atmospheric drag and slow the vehicle down from Mach 3.5 to Mach 2.