Archives

April 2012


New research in the FASEB Journal suggests that the 5-lipoxygenase enzyme mediates microgravity-induced lymphocyte programmed cell death and its inhibition could help astronauts and the elderly.


Data from NASA's Cassini mission reveal Saturn's moon Phoebe has more planet-like qualities than previously thought.

Phoebe's true nature is revealed in startling clarity in this mosaic of two images taken during Cassini's flyby on June 11, 2004. The image shows evidence for the emerging view that Phoebe may be an ice-rich body coated with a thin layer of dark material. Small bright craters in the image are probably fairly young features. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute Larger image


An extraordinary outburst produced by a black hole in a nearby galaxy has provided direct evidence for a population of old, volatile stellar black holes. The discovery, made by astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, provides new insight into the nature of a mysterious class of black holes that can produce as much energy in X-rays as a million suns radiate at all wavelengths.

An extraordinary outburst produced by a black hole in a nearby galaxy has provided direct evidence for a population of old, volatile stellar black holes. The discovery, made by astronomers using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, provides new insight into the nature of a mysterious class of black holes that can produce as much energy in X-rays as a million suns radiate at all wavelengths.

A team of scientists representing several international institutions, including Texas A&M University, has succeeded in installing the first of three Antarctic Survey Telescopes (AST3-1) at the Chinese Kunlun Station at Dome Argus, the highest point of the Antarctic Plateau.

A team of scientists representing several international institutions, including Texas A&M University, has succeeded in installing the first of three Antarctic Survey Telescopes (AST3-1) at the Chinese Kunlun Station at Dome Argus, the highest point of the Antarctic Plateau.

This view in the International Space Station's Cupola was photographed by an Expedition 30 crew member during the first of three Canadarm2 Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Offset Grapple sessions in the onboard training plan for SpaceX-Demo Dragon capture.

This view in the International Space Station's Cupola was photographed by an Expedition 30 crew member during the first of three Canadarm2 Space Station Remote Manipulator System (SSRMS) Offset Grapple sessions in the onboard training plan for SpaceX-Demo Dragon capture.

Wave clouds near Ile aux Cochons are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 30 crew member on the International Space Station. This photograph illustrates the formation of wave clouds in the wakea" or downwind sidea"of Ile aux Cochons ("Isle of Pigs") located in the Southern Indian Ocean.

NASA astronaut and Expedition 30 Commander Dan Burbank officially transferred the helm of the orbiting outpost to Russian cosmonaut, Oleg Kononenko who, along with NASA astronaut Don Pettit and Andre Kuipers of the European Space Agency, has now begun Expedition 31.

Recent discoveries of planets similar to Earth in size and proximity to the planets' respective suns have sparked scientific and public excitement about the possibility of also finding Earth-like life on those worlds.


While some galaxies are rotund and others are slender disks like our spiral Milky Way, new observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that the Sombrero galaxy is both.

While some galaxies are rotund and others are slender disks like our spiral Milky Way, new observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope show that the Sombrero galaxy is both. The galaxy, which is a round elliptical galaxy with a thin disk embedded inside, is one of the first known to exhibit characteristics of the two different types. The findings will lead to a better understanding of galaxy evolution, a topic still poorly understood.


Space shuttle Enterprise, mounted atop a NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft (SCA), is seen off in the distance behind the Statue of Liberty, Friday, April 27, 2012, in New York. Enterprise was the first shuttle orbiter built for NASA performing test flights in the atmosphere and was incapable of spaceflight.

This image from the Envisat satellite shows the Jurua River snaking through the Amazon rainforest in western Brazil. The Jurua is one of the longest tributaries of the Amazon River, flowing slowly through the half-flooded forest country it traverses in the Amazon Basin.

Along the river's main course are free-standing 'oxbow lakes', formed when a river changes course.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has been on the forefront of research into the lives of stars like our sun. At the ends of their lives, these stars run out of nuclear fuel in a phase that is called the preplanetary or protoplanetary nebula stage. This Hubble image of the Egg Nebula shows one of the best views to date of this brief, but dramatic, phase in a star’s life.

Cloud vortices off the Pacific coast of Mexico's Baja California were captured by one of the six expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station as three of their number ready for their return trip to Earth in a few days. The Gulf of California or Sea of Cortez is completely clear of clouds as are the inland parts of Mexico and California pictured. The Salton Sea is visible at the lower right edge. ISS030-E-254259 (22 April 2012) --- high res (1.1 M) low res (67 K)


Switching out a spacecraft maintenance facility is definitely not an easy task. Besides the obvious requirements to contain toxic fuels and provide enough power, there is also the work of deciding what previous structures will be useful to new contractors.

Three members of the Expedition 30 crew undocked from the International Space Station and safely returned to Earth on Friday, wrapping up a five-and-a-half-month mission in space.

Of Interest: This color image of Mercury's limb captures Debussy, a crater 80 km (50 mi.) in diameter, as well as some if its extensive rays. The crater and its rays appear brighter than the surrounding material because the crater is relatively young and the excavated materials have not been substantially darkened by space weathering.

In the International Space Station's Destiny laboratory, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Expedition 30 flight engineer, conducts the first of three sessions on the ROBoT simulator in preparation for the arrival of the SpaceX Dragon.

In the International Space Station's Destiny laboratory, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, Expedition 30 flight engineer, conducts the first of three sessions on the ROBoT simulator in preparation for the arrival of the SpaceX Dragon.


The star cluster NGC 6604 is shown in this new image taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is often overlooked in favour of its more prominent neighbour, the Eagle Nebula (also known as Messier 16), that lies a mere wingspan away.

The star cluster NGC 6604 is shown in this new image taken by the Wide Field Imager attached to the MPG/ESO 2.2-metre telescope at the La Silla Observatory in Chile. It is often overlooked in favour of its more prominent neighbour, the Eagle Nebula (also known as Messier 16), that lies a mere wingspan away. But the framing of this picture, which places the star cluster in a landscape of surrounding gas and dust clouds, shows what a beautiful object NGC 6604 is in its own right.