Posted on September 30, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on Landsat 9 Joins a Fleet of Earth Observation Satellites

Landsat 9 Joins a Fleet of Earth Observation Satellites

Earth has a new eye in orbit to monitor our changing planet.   Landsat 9 launched on September 27, 2021 continuing the Landsat family of satellite’s nearly 50-year tradition of making critical observations to help with energy and water management, forest monitoring, human and environmental health, urban planning, disaster recovery and agriculture. The mission launched from Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, on board an Atlas V rocket. The payload and booster reached orbit about 16 minutes after launch, and … Continue reading “Landsat 9 Joins a Fleet of Earth Observation Satellites”

Posted on September 30, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on Even the Quiet Supermassive Black Holes are Blasting out Neutrinos and Gamma Rays

Even the Quiet Supermassive Black Holes are Blasting out Neutrinos and Gamma Rays

Is there anywhere in the Universe where we can escape from radiation? Certainly not here on Earth. And not in space itself, which is filled with diffuse radiation in the form of gamma rays and neutrinos. Scientists have struggled to explain where all those gamma rays and neutrinos come from. A trio of researchers is proposing a source for all that radiation in a new paper: resting black holes. Supermassive Black Holes (SMBH) likely reside in the center of every … Continue reading “Even the Quiet Supermassive Black Holes are Blasting out Neutrinos and Gamma Rays”

Posted on September 30, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on Giant Balls of Mush Made From Ammonia and Water Form in the Atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune

Giant Balls of Mush Made From Ammonia and Water Form in the Atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune

One advantage to planetary science is that insights from one planet could explain phenomena on another.  We understand Venus’ greenhouse gas effect from our own experience on the Earth, and Jupiter and Saturn share some characteristics.  But Jupiter also provides insight into other, farther out systems, such as Uranus and Neptune.  Now, a discovery from a spacecraft orbiting Jupiter might have solved a long-standing mystery about Uranus and Neptune – where has all the ammonia gone? Scientists have long noticed … Continue reading “Giant Balls of Mush Made From Ammonia and Water Form in the Atmospheres of Uranus and Neptune”

Posted on September 30, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on Starlink can be Used as a Navigation System too

Starlink can be Used as a Navigation System too

Starlink keeps growing, and so do its capabilities.  Lately, even people outside of SpaceX have even been developing capabilities for it.  A team of researchers from the Ohio State University (OSU) and the University of California Irvine (UCI) has developed a way to use Starlinks networked satellites as a basic navigation tool. The Global Position System (GPS) has been in use for decades at this point and forms the backbone of everything from car’s automated driving systems to running watches.  … Continue reading “Starlink can be Used as a Navigation System too”

Posted on September 30, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on BepiColombo Meets Mercury for the First Time on October 1

BepiColombo Meets Mercury for the First Time on October 1

BepiColombo made a quick visit to Venus in August and is on to its next rendezvous. On October 1st it’ll perform a flyby of Mercury, the spacecraft’s eventual destination. This visit is just a little flirtation—one of six—ahead of its eventual orbital link-up with Mercury in late 2025. The quick visit will yield some scientific results, though, and they’ll be just a taste of what’s ahead in BepiColumbo’s one-year mission to Mercury. BepiColombo is on a bit of a tour … Continue reading “BepiColombo Meets Mercury for the First Time on October 1”

Posted on September 30, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on Some of the Moon’s Craters are so Dark, it Takes AI to see What’s Inside Them

Some of the Moon’s Craters are so Dark, it Takes AI to see What’s Inside Them

There is no dark side of the Moon.  But there are dark spots on it – specifically at the bottom of craters that are never reached by any sunlight no matter where the Moon is facing.  These areas have intrigued scientists for decades, in no small part because lack of sunlight means a lower temperature, allowing frozen materials to stay frozen. In other words, there may be water in them thar craters.  And water will be the lifeblood of any … Continue reading “Some of the Moon’s Craters are so Dark, it Takes AI to see What’s Inside Them”

Posted on September 29, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on How Much Carbon Dioxide Snow Falls Every Winter on Mars?

How Much Carbon Dioxide Snow Falls Every Winter on Mars?

Like Earth, Mars experiences climatic variations during the course of a year because of the obliquity of its rotational axis. This leads to the annual deposition/sublimation of the CO2 ice/snow, which results in the formation of the seasonal polar caps. Similarly, these variations in temperature result in interaction between the atmosphere and the polar ice caps, which has a seasonal effect on surface features. On Mars, however, things work a little differently. In addition to water ice, a significant percentage … Continue reading “How Much Carbon Dioxide Snow Falls Every Winter on Mars?”

Posted on September 29, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on NASA’s Human Space Exploration Division is Being Split in Two

NASA’s Human Space Exploration Division is Being Split in Two

Large government organizations require lots of people to run them.  NASA is no exception.  America’s space agency has long been under pressure to organizationally support its ongoing Artemis program to return to the moon. Now, it has taken a step in that direction by announcing that its Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate will split into two new ones: the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate and the Space Operations Missions Directorate. The announcement came on September 21st from Bill Nelson, … Continue reading “NASA’s Human Space Exploration Division is Being Split in Two”

Posted on September 29, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on Aging White Dwarfs Become Even More Magnetic

Aging White Dwarfs Become Even More Magnetic

In a few billion years the Sun will end its life as a white dwarf. As the Sun runs out of hydrogen to fuse for energy it will collapse under its own weight. Gravity will compress the Sun until it’s roughly the size of Earth, at which point a bit of quantum physics will kick in. Electrons from the Sun’s atoms will push back against gravity, creating what is known as degeneracy pressure. Once a star reaches this state it … Continue reading “Aging White Dwarfs Become Even More Magnetic”

Posted on September 29, 2021Categories News   Leave a comment on Lunar Landers Could Spray Instant Landing Pads as They Arrive at the Moon

Lunar Landers Could Spray Instant Landing Pads as They Arrive at the Moon

Space exploration requires all kinds of interesting solutions to complex problems.  There is a branch of NASA designed to support the innovators trying to solve those problems – the Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC).  They occasionally hand out grant funding to worthy projects trying to tackle some of these challenges.  The results from one of those grants are now in, and they are intriguing.  A team from Masten Space Systems, supported by Honeybee Robotics, Texas A&M, and the University of … Continue reading “Lunar Landers Could Spray Instant Landing Pads as They Arrive at the Moon”