For my students/former students. I hate and love you all.
Posts tagged "NASA"
The sky is falling! (sort of) Cloud tops are dropping closer to Earth, according to new research from University of Auckland and NASA. It has dropped about 1% in the last 10 years. Clouds that are lower in the atmosphere would allow Earth to cool more efficiently, potentially offsetting some of the warming caused by greenhouse gases. We have no idea~!
This is Lake Fitri in Tchad, taken from the International Space Station. Lake Fitri is an endorheic, or terminal lake in a desert basin in the southern Sahara Desert. As NASA scientists point out, the lake was once many times larger than its present surface area, as shown by numerous sweeping curves of ancient beaches which are now situated many kilometers from the present shoreline.
Space garbage is becoming a huge problem. The bigger chunks could hit something and break into smaller chunks, thus multiplying the chances of further collisions. National Research Council (a non-profit group that gives advice on scientific matters) concluded that the problem of extraterrestrial clutter had reached a point where, if nothing was done, a cascade of collisions would eventually make low-Earth orbit unusable.
Researcher from the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, are designing CleanSpace One, a cleaner-upper satellite that will be able to navigate close to a satellite and grab it with a big claw. I just want to note that, the Swiss have only two satellites in orbit, each smaller than a breadbox, but they are concerned about what to do with them when they stop operating in a few years.
Check out this cool picture of the Noachis Terra on Mars. Sand dunes and ripples demonstrate the universality of physical processes. That is why, if you ever take a planetary science class, you will often find yourself studying the geology on Earth.
This frame is about 1km across and taken by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
The NOAA-operated GOES-15 spacecraft captured this X-ray image of a massive solar storm on Jan. 23, 2012. This is the largest solar storm in 7 years and is expected to hit Earth tomorrow morning (Jan. 24th, morning, PST). Weee! I can’t wait! Maybe my cell phone won’t work.
Spaceweather.com announced, “A preliminary inspection of SOHO/STEREO imagery suggests that the CME will deliver a strong glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field on Jan. 24-25 as it sails mostly north of our planet.”
I wish I was in Iceland to see the aurora from this one.
This is Hillary Livingston, a model maker, and she is touching up a future lunar base featured in “Beyond Planet Earth”, a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. NASA chemists have even recreated the smell of lunar dust for those interested in smelling it. The AMNH is pretty famous for its tiny dioramas, and I just love that they are finally doing space ones.
This is Jack Parsons. He was a freak genius who co-founded the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, guided the US through WWII and ushered in the Space Age. He is probably best known for helping to develop solid fuel. He had no formal education after dropping out of college, but was immediately recognized for his scientific aptitude, especially chemistry. He was also into super weird occultist baloney, would sing hymns to the god Pan before rocket launches, and was known as a superstitious “bad boy”. Tragically yet appropriately dramatic, Parsons blew himself up during a lab experiment at his home in 1952 at the age of 37. There is a crater on the far side of the Moon that is named after him.
Asteroid 2005 YU55 passed by the Earth yesterday. It was about 400 meters across and passed just inside of the moon’s orbit. Objects like these are not rare at all, but they are small and move super fast, making them kind of hard to detect. This one wasn’t detected until 2005, so there may be more lurking out there. If it hit Earth, it would have cause a magnitude 7 earthquake, or if it hit the ocean it would have caused a huge tsunami.
I get asked a lot what would happen if a person were suddenly exposed to the vacuum of space. According to a study published in 1968 in The Journal of Applied Physiology, death is not instantaneous. No, we won’t explode unless we hold our breath! In fact, you can even be resuscitated with oxygen after being exposed for awhile (210 seconds).
An accidental experiment on a human occurred in 1965 at what is now Johnson Space Center when a spacesuit leaked in a vacuum chamber. Repressurization began within 15 seconds, and the subject survived. According to a NASA account of the incident, “the subject later reported that he could feel and hear the air leaking out, and his last conscious memory was of the water on his tongue beginning to boil.”
A NASA crew “lands” on an “asteroid” to test anchoring equipment. In actuality, it is an underwater lab in the Florida Keys Marine Sanctuary. They have been using the site to train future astronauts for the zero gravity environment, and now they are testing anchoring equipment in order to land on an asteroid in the future (which would probably be zero-G, considering their small mass). They also have this cool net thing that might drape over the asteroid so that they can climb around on it.