Category Archives: SPACE

NASA Releases Photo of Crescent Moon Behind Saturn’s Rings

saturn.jpg

#Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus poses above the gas giant’s icy rings in this Cassini spacecraft image. The dramatic scene was captured on July 29, while #Cassini cruised just below the ring plane, its cameras looking back in a nearly sunward direction about 1 million kilometers from the moon’s bright crescent. At 500 kilometers in diameter, Enceladus is a surprisingly active moon though, its remarkable south polar geysers are visible venting beyond a dark southern limb. In fact, data collected during Cassini’s flybys and years of images have recently revealed the presence of a global ocean of liquid water beneath this moon’s icy crust. Demonstrating the tantalizing liquid layer’s global extent, the careful analysis indicates surface and core are not rigidly connected, with Enceladus rocking slightly back and forth in its orbit.

CubeSat: NASA to Launch Satellite Built by Elementary School Students

CubeSat: NASA to Launch Satellite Built by Elementary School Students
The STMSat-1 was built by students at the St. Thomas More Cathedral School in Arlington, Va., and is to be launched with two other #CubeSats from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

NASA releases new images A Day on Pluto, a Day on Charon

plu.jpg

Pluto’s day is 6.4 Earth days long. The images were taken by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) and the Ralph/Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera as the distance between New Horizons and Pluto decreased from 5 million miles (8 million kilometers) on July 7 to 400,000 miles (about 645,000 kilometers) on July 13. The more distant images contribute to the view at the 3 o’clock position, with the top of the heart-shaped, informally named Tombaugh Regio slipping out of view, giving way to the side of Pluto that was facing away from New Horizons during closest approach on July 14.  The side New Horizons saw in most detail – what the mission team calls the “encounter hemisphere” – is at the 6 o’clock position.

charon

cha.jpg

These images and others like them reveal many details about Pluto, including the differences between the encounter hemisphere and the so-called “far side” hemisphere seen only at lower resolution. Dimples in the bottom (south) edge of Pluto’s disk are artifacts of the way the images were combined to create these composites.

These images and others like them reveal many details about Charon, including how similar looking the encounter hemisphere is to the so-called “far side” hemisphere seen only at low resolution – which is the opposite of the situation at Pluto. Dimples in the bottom (south) edge of Charon’s disk are artifacts of the way the New Horizons images were combined to create these composites.

SOURCE : NASA

 

SpaceX: Space Program Receives 1st Order From NASA to Take Crew to International Space Station

                  Opportunities aboard the International Space Station with its first mission order from Hawthorne, California based-company #SpaceX to launch astronauts from U.S. soil.

This is the second in a series of four guaranteed orders NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability contracts. The Boeing Company of Houston received its first crew mission order in May.

“It’s really exciting to see SpaceX and Boeing with hardware in flow for their first crew rotation missions,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “It is important to have at least two healthy and robust capabilities from U.S. companies to deliver crew and critical scientific experiments from American soil to the space station throughout its lifespan.”

Expedition 46/47 crew members Timothy Kopra of NASA, Yuri Malenchenko of Roscosmos and Timothy Peake of the European Space Agency conducted final qualification training in Star City, Russia Nov. 19 and 20. They are scheduled to launch Dec. 15, Kazakh time, for a six-month mission on the International Space Station.

 
Here is The Exclusive video

NASA Releases Enhanced #Image of Dwarf Planet PLUTO

psychedelic-pluto_pca

pluto new horizons

In order to highlight the many subtle color differences between Pluto’s distinct regions, scientists made this false color image of the dwarf planet. A technique called principal component analysis was used to achieve this effect.

follow us for more space news

Phobos: Mars’ Moon Being Pulled Apart by Tidal Forces, latest story

Phobos’ surface grooves appear to be stress fractures, according to a study presented to the American Astronomical Society. Phobos is expected to collide with Mars in 30 million to 50 million years.

The long, shallow grooves lining the surface of Phobos are likely early signs of the structural failure that will ultimately destroy this moon of Mars.

phobas

Orbiting a mere 3,700 miles (6,000 kilometers) above the surface of Mars, Phobos is closer to its planet than any other moon in the solar system. Mars’ gravity is drawing in Phobos, the larger of its two moons, by about 6.6 feet (2 meters) every hundred years. Scientists expect the moon to be pulled apart in 30 to 50 million years.

We think that Phobos has already started to fail, and the first sign of this failure is the production of these grooves,” said Terry Hurford of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The findings by Hurford and his colleagues are being presented Nov. 10, 2015, at the annual Meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society at National Harbor, Maryland.

Phobos’ grooves were long thought to be fractures caused by the impact that formed Stickney crater. That collision was so powerful, it came close to shattering Phobos. However, scientists eventually determined that the grooves don’t radiate outward from the crater itself but from a focal point nearby.

More recently, researchers have proposed that the grooves may instead be produced by many smaller impacts of material ejected from Mars. But new modeling by Hurford and colleagues supports the view that the grooves are more like “stretch marks” that occur when Phobos gets deformed by tidal forces.

The gravitational pull between Mars and Phobos produces these tidal forces. Earth and our moon pull on each other in the same way, producing tides in the oceans and making both planet and moon slightly egg-shaped rather than perfectly round.

The same explanation was proposed for the grooves decades ago, after the Viking spacecraft sent images of Phobos to Earth. At the time, however, Phobos was thought to be more-or-less solid all the way through. When the tidal forces were calculated, the stresses were too weak to fracture a solid moon of that size.

The recent thinking, however, is that the interior of Phobos could be a rubble pile, barely holding together, surrounded by a layer of powdery regolith about 330 feet (100 meters) thick.

“The funny thing about the result is that it shows Phobos has a kind of mildly cohesive outer fabric,” said Erik Asphaug of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University in Tempe and a co-investigator on the study. “This makes sense when you think about powdery materials in microgravity, but it’s quite non-intuitive.”

An interior like this can distort easily because it has very little strength and forces the outer layer to readjust. The researchers think the outer layer of Phobos behaves elastically and builds stress, but it’s weak enough that these stresses can cause it to fail.

All of this means the tidal forces acting on Phobos can produce more than enough stress to fracture the surface. Stress fractures predicted by this model line up very well with the grooves seen in images of Phobos. This explanation also fits with the observation that some grooves are younger than others, which would be the case if the process that creates them is ongoing.

The same fate may await Neptune’s moon Triton, which is also slowly falling inward and has a similarly fractured surface. The work also has implications for extrasolar planets, according to researchers.

“We can’t image those distant planets to see what’s going on, but this work can help us understand those systems, because any kind of planet falling into its host star could get torn apart in the same way,” said Hurford.

SOURCE :NASA