sábado, 22 de abril de 2017
sábado, 8 de abril de 2017
|NASA Invests in 22 Visionary Exploration ConceptsA mechanical rover inspired by a Dutch artist. A weather balloon that recharges its batteries in the clouds of Venus.|
These are just two of the five ideas that originated at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and are advancing for a new round of research funded by the agency.
In total, the space agency is investing in 22 early-stage technology proposals that have the potential to transform future human and robotic exploration missions, introduce new exploration capabilities, and significantly improve current approaches to building and operating aerospace systems.
The 2017 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) portfolio of Phase I concepts covers a wide range of innovations selected for their potential to revolutionize future space exploration. Phase I awards are valued at approximately $125,000, for nine months, to support initial definition and analysis of their concepts. If these basic feasibility studies are successful, awardees can apply for Phase II awards.
"The NIAC program engages researchers and innovators in the scientific and engineering communities, including agency civil servants," said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate. "The program gives fellows the opportunity and funding to explore visionary aerospace concepts that we appraise and potentially fold into our early stage technology portfolio."
The selected 2017 Phase I proposals are:
• A Synthetic Biology Architecture to Detoxify and Enrich Mars Soil for Agriculture, Adam Arkin, University of California, Berkeley
• A Breakthrough Propulsion Architecture for Interstellar Precursor Missions, John Brophy, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California
• Evacuated Airship for Mars Missions, John-Paul Clarke, Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta
• Mach Effects for In Space Propulsion: Interstellar Mission, Heidi Fearn, Space Studies Institute in Mojave, California
• Pluto Hop, Skip, and Jump, Benjamin Goldman, Global Aerospace Corporation in Irwindale, California
• Turbolift, Jason Gruber, Innovative Medical Solutions Group in Tampa, Florida
• Phobos L1 Operational Tether Experiment, Kevin Kempton, NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia
• Gradient Field Imploding Liner Fusion Propulsion System, Michael LaPointe, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama
• Massively Expanded NEA Accessibility via Microwave-Sintered Aerobrakes, John Lewis, Deep Space Industries, Inc., in Moffett Field, California
• Dismantling Rubble Pile Asteroids with Area-of-Effect Soft-bots, Jay McMahon, University of Colorado, Boulder
• Continuous Electrode Inertial Electrostatic Confinement Fusion, Raymond Sedwick, University of Maryland, College Park
• Sutter: Breakthrough Telescope Innovation for Asteroid Survey Missions to Start a Gold Rush in Space, Joel Sercel, TransAstra in Lake View Terrace, California
• Direct Multipixel Imaging and Spectroscopy of an Exoplanet with a Solar Gravity Lens Mission, Slava Turyshev, JPL
• Solar Surfing, Robert Youngquist, NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida
• A Direct Probe of Dark Energy Interactions with a Solar System Laboratory, Nan Yu, JPL
"The 2017 NIAC Phase I competition has resulted in an excellent set of studies. All of the final candidates were outstanding," said Jason Derleth, NIAC program executive. "We look forward to seeing how each new study will expand how we explore the universe."
Phase II studies allow awardees time to refine their designs and explore aspects of implementing the new technology. This year's Phase II portfolio addresses a range of leading-edge concepts, including: a Venus probe using in-situ power and propulsion to study the Venusian atmosphere, and novel orbital imaging data derived from stellar echo techniques -- measurement of the variation in a star's light caused by reflections off of distant worlds -- to detect exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.
Awards under Phase II of the NIAC program can be worth as much as $500,000, for two-year studies, and allow proposers to further develop Phase I concepts that successfully demonstrated initial feasibility and benefit.
The selected 2017 Phase II proposals are:
• Venus Interior Probe Using In-situ Power and Propulsion, Ratnakumar Bugga, JPL
• Remote Laser Evaporative Molecular Absorption Spectroscopy Sensor System, Gary Hughes, California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo
• Brane Craft Phase II, Siegfried Janson, The Aerospace Corporation in El Segundo, California
• Stellar Echo Imaging of Exoplanets, Chris Mann, Nanohmics, Inc., Austin, Texas
• Automaton Rover for Extreme Environments, Jonathan Sauder, JPL
• Optical Mining of Asteroids, Moons, and Planets to Enable Sustainable Human Exploration and Space Industrialization, Joel Sercel, TransAstra Corp.
• Fusion-Enabled Pluto Orbiter and Lander, Stephanie Thomas, Princeton Satellite Systems, Inc., Plainsboro, New Jersey
"Phase II studies can accomplish a great deal in their two years with NIAC. It is always wonderful to see how our Fellows plan to excel," said Derleth. "The 2017 NIAC Phase II studies are exciting, and it is wonderful to be able to welcome these innovators back in to the program. Hopefully, they will all go on to do what NIAC does best -- change the possible."
NASA selected these projects through a peer-review process that evaluated innovativeness and technical viability. All projects are still in the early stages of development, most requiring 10 or more years of concept maturation and technology development before use on a NASA mission.
NIAC partners with forward-thinking scientists, engineers, and citizen inventors from across the nation to help maintain America's leadership in air and space. NIAC is funded by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for developing the cross-cutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions
quinta-feira, 30 de março de 2017
Search for stellar survivor of a supernova explosion
sábado, 25 de março de 2017
sexta-feira, 24 de março de 2017
domingo, 12 de março de 2017
sexta-feira, 10 de março de 2017
terça-feira, 28 de fevereiro de 2017
Mid-infrared Of Saturn's Rings Shows Bright Cassini Division
©NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF NATURAL SCIENCES
Saturn View in The Mid-infrared
A team of researchers has succeeded in measuring the brightnesses and temperatures of Saturn's rings using the mid-infrared images taken by the Subaru Telescope in 2008.
The images are the highest resolution ground-based views ever made. They reveal that, at that time, the Cassini Division and the C ring were brighter than the other rings in the mid-infrared light and that the brightness contrast appeared to be the inverse of that seen in the visible light (Figure 1). The data give important insights into the nature of Saturn's rings.
The beautiful appearance of Saturn and its rings has always fascinated people. The rings consist of countless numbers of ice particles orbiting above Saturn's equator. However, their detailed origin and nature remain unknown. Spacecraft- and ground-based telescopes have tackled that mystery with many observations at various wavelengths and methods. The international Cassini mission led by NASA has been observing Saturn and its rings for more than 10 years, and has released a huge number of beautiful images.
Subaru Views Saturn
The Subaru Telescope also has observed Saturn several times over the years. Dr. Hideaki Fujiwara, Subaru Public Information Officer/Scientist, analyzed data taken in January 2008 using the Cooled Mid-Infrared Camera and Spectrometer (COMICS) on the telescope to produce a beautiful image of Saturn for public information purposes. During the analysis, he noticed that the appearance of Saturn's rings in the mid-infrared part of the spectrum was totally different from what is seen in the visible light
Saturn's main rings consist of the C, B, and A rings, each with different populations of particles. The Cassini Division separates the B and A rings. The 2008 image shows that the Cassini Division and the C ring are brighter in the mid-infrared wavelengths than the B and A rings appear to be (Figure 1). This brightness contrast is the inverse of how they appear in the visible light, where the B and A rings are always brighter than the Cassini Division and the C ring (Figure 2).
"Thermal emission" from ring particles is observed in the mid-infrared, where warmer particles are brighter. The team measured the temperatures of the rings from the images, which revealed that the Cassini Division and the C ring are warmer than the B and A rings. The team concluded that this was because the particles in the Cassini Division and C ring are more easily heated by solar light due to their sparser populations and darker surfaces.
On the other hand, in the visible light, observers see sunlight being reflected by the ring particles. Therefore, the B and A rings, with their dense populations of particles, always seem bright in the visible wavelengths, while the Cassini Division and the C ring appear faint. The difference in the emission process explains the inverse brightnesses of Saturn's rings between the mid-infrared and the visible-light views.
Changing Angles Change the Brightnesses
It turns out that the Cassini Division and the C ring are not always brighter than the B and A rings, even in the mid-infrared. The team investigated images of Saturn's rings taken in April 2005 with COMICS, and found that the Cassini Division and the C ring were fainter than the B and A rings at that time, which is the same contrast to what was seen in the visible light (Figure 3).
The team concluded that the "inversion" of the brightness of Saturn's rings between 2005 and 2008 was caused by the seasonal change in the ring opening angle to the Sun and Earth. Since the rotation axis of Saturn inclines compared to its orbital plane around the Sun, the ring opening angle to the Sun changes over a 15-year cycle. This makes a seasonal variation in the solar heating of the ring particles. The change in the opening angle viewed from the Earth affects the apparent filling factor of the particles in the rings. These two variations - the temperature and the observed filling factor of the particles - led to the change in the mid-infrared appearance of Saturn's rings.
The data taken with the Subaru Telescope revealed that the Cassini Division and the C ring are sometimes bright in the mid-infrared though they are always faint in visible light. "I am so happy that the public information activities of the Subaru Telescope, of which I am in charge, led to this scientific finding," said Dr. Fujiwara. "We are going to observe Saturn again in May 2017 and hope to investigate the nature of Saturn's rings further by taking advantages of observations with space missions and ground-based telescopes."