Archives

July 2012


As seen through windows in the Cupola, the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm moves toward the unpiloted Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-3) as it approaches the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, both Expedition 32 flight engineers, used the station's robotic arm to capture and berth the HTV-3 to the Earth-facing port of the station's Harmony node. The attachment was completed at 10:34 a.m. (EDT) on July 27, 2012. ISS032-E-010609 (27 July 2012) --- high res (1.2 M) low res (96 K)

More photos below

As seen through windows in the Cupola, the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm moves toward the unpiloted Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-3) as it approaches the International Space Station. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide, both Expedition 32 flight engineers, used the station's robotic arm to capture and berth the HTV-3 to the Earth-facing port of the station's Harmony node. The attachment was completed at 10:34 a.m. (EDT) on July 27, 2012. ISS032-E-010609 (27 July 2012) --- high res (1.2 M) low res (96 K)

More photos below


A year ago, the largest and most complex scientific instrument on the International Space Station was delivered to the orbital outpost. Searching for antimatter and the origins of our Universe, it is working flawlessly thanks to the continuous support from its own 'mission control'.

A year ago, the largest and most complex scientific instrument on the International Space Station was delivered to the orbital outpost. Searching for antimatter and the origins of our Universe, it is working flawlessly thanks to the continuous support from its own 'mission control'.

A year ago, the largest and most complex scientific instrument on the International Space Station was delivered to the orbital outpost. Searching for antimatter and the origins of our Universe, it is working flawlessly thanks to the continuous support from its own 'mission control'.

On the morning of February 1st, 2011, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, took its last snapshot of the sky. This "last light" image is reminiscent of the "first light" image from WISE, taken only 13 months prior. WISE's final picture shows thousands of stars in a patch of the Milky Way Galaxy, covering an area 3 times the size of the full Moon, in the constellation Perseus. In the upper left corner, a faint wispy cloud can be seen bending around a pulsating variable star called EV Persei.


Hot, toxic, and murky, Venus serves as an extraordinary engineering challenge, according to Jim Garvin. Venus is bizarre. One day on Venus is nearly as long as one year on Earth. It rotates about its axis in the opposite direction of all the other planets in our solar system.

Hot, toxic, and murky, Venus serves as an extraordinary engineering challenge, according to Jim Garvin.

"An interactive version of XKCD 1071: Exoplanets using data from Planetary Habilitability Laboratory (via @ProfAbelMendez) and adapted code from the d3.js Bubble Chart example (by @mbostock). Planets are drawn to scale using radius data. The dataset also includes attributes such as atmosphere type, which is included in the information area on the left. All blue and light brown planets are smaller than Jupiter. Brown represents the planets larger than Jupiter, while red represents the largest of them all. For the color by distance option, the more blue a planet is, the further away it is from the nearest star." Interactive feature at codementum.org

"DigitalGlobe (DGI), a leading global provider of high-resolution earth imagery solutions, today announced an agreement with the Enough Project to continue providing unrivaled imagery and analysis services to monitor evidence of bombings, razed villages and possible threats to civilians in Sudan in an effort called the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP). In addition to the imagery and analysis provided under the terms of this new agreement, DigitalGlobe will also contribute additional in-kind services." More

This diagram illustrates the differences between orbits of a typical near-Earth asteroid (blue) and a potentially hazardous asteroid, or PHA (orange). PHAs are a subset of the near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) and have the closest orbits to Earth's orbit, coming within 5 million miles (about 8 million kilometers). They also are large enough to survive passage through Earth's atmosphere and cause damage on a regional, or greater, scale.


Over fifty years ago, a supernova was discovered in M83, a spiral galaxy about 15 million light-years from Earth. Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to make the first detection of X-rays emitted by the debris from this explosion.

Over fifty years ago, a supernova was discovered in M83, a spiral galaxy about 15 million light-years from Earth. Astronomers have used NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory to make the first detection of X-rays emitted by the debris from this explosion.


The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope offers this delightful view of the crowded stellar encampment called Messier 68, a spherical, star-filled region of space known as a globular cluster.

Saturn's moon Mimas peeps out from behind the larger moon Dione in this view from the Cassini spacecraft.

Mimas (246 miles, or 396 kilometers across) is near the bottom center of the image. Saturn's rings are also visible in the top right. This view looks toward the anti-Saturn side of Dione (698 miles, or 1,123 kilometers across). North on Dione is up and rotated 20 degrees to the right. This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ringplane.

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope offers this delightful view of the crowded stellar encampment called Messier 68, a spherical, star-filled region of space known as a globular cluster.

Mutual gravitational attraction among a cluster's hundreds of thousands or even millions of stars keeps stellar members in check, allowing globular clusters to hang together for many billions of years. Astronomers can measure the ages of globular clusters by looking at the light of their constituent stars.

Polar View (Norway) has carried out this GSP study comparing the needs of Arctic stakeholders (as articulated in policies and strategies) with the contribution different types of satellite technologies can make to meet current and future requirements.

Scientists have discovered a one mile deep rift valley hidden beneath the ice in West Antarctica, Experts from the University of Aberdeen and British Antarctic Survey (BAS) made the discovery below Ferrigno Ice Stream, a region visited only once previously, over fifty years ago, in 1961, and one that is remote even by Antarctic standards.

@Astro_Suni: She's back! 47P returned on her own systems tonight. Even though she's filled w trash, it's good to have her back. pic.twitter.com/NuX1sZMA


Opportunity is roving at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. Progress was again impacted by a second safe mode entry by the Mars Odyssey orbiter. With normal Ultra-High Frequency relay with Odyssey restored, Opportunity was able to drive on Sol 3019 (July 21, 2012).

Opportunity is roving at the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater. Progress was again impacted by a second safe mode entry by the Mars Odyssey orbiter. With normal Ultra-High Frequency relay with Odyssey restored, Opportunity was able to drive on Sol 3019 (July 21, 2012).

"The competition judges have awarded Space Ground Amalgam, LLC first place in the 2012 NewSpace Business Plan Competition and the $100,000 prize was presented by competition Project Manager, Tom Olson. Digital Solid State Propulsion, LLC earned second place in the competition, along with a $10,000 prize. In a last minute addition, Honorable Mention is given to Terapio Corporation for providing an unusually commendable technology that will address one of the inherent risks of space settlement. The hosting organization, the Space Frontier Foundation, and judges congratulate the winners and thank all the finalists for their participation. The awards were presented on July 28th at the NewSpace Awards Gala, the culminating event of the NewSpace 2012 Conference." More

Rock on - A charitable foundation is to launch the first private, scientific space mission, Economist

"Budget cuts have hit NASA's science missions hard. NEOCam is not certain to fly, and the foundation worries that, although NASA has already catalogued most of the biggest, civilisation-ending asteroids, thousands of smaller rocks, of similar dimensions to the one that exploded over Siberia, remain undetected. If one were to hit the wrong part of the planet it would cause a catastrophe. Hence the shift in focus from deflection to discovery. Sentinel's mission will be broadly similar to NEOCam's. Both telescopes will have 50cm mirrors. Both will scan the sky in the infra-red spectrum, where dark but comparatively warm asteroids should show up brightly against the cold of deep space. Both will inhabit orbits between Earth and the sun, in order to get the best possible vantage point. The foundation's ambition is to produce an asteroid map that records 90% of near-Earth objects that are more than 140 metres across, and half of those bigger than 50 metres. Armed with data on their orbits and velocities, astronomers should be able to calculate which pose a threat over the coming century or so."

B612 Foundation Announces First Privately Funded Deep Space Mission

Donate to B612 Foundation


The Curiosity rover continues to make its way to Mars and its scheduled landing in Gale Crater on Monday, Aug. 6. Also Mars Yard; New record set; New heat shield test and new mission previewed; Landsat 40 and remembering Sally Ride and more.

The unpiloted Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-3) approaches the International Space Station. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched HTV-3 aboard an H-IIB launch vehicle from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan at 10:06 p.m. EDT July 20 (11:06 a.m. July 21, Japan time). The HTV is bringing 7,000 pounds of cargo including food and clothing for the crew members, an aquatic habitat experiment, a remote-controlled Earth-observation camera for environmental studies, a catalytic reactor for the station's water regeneration system and a Japanese cooling water recirculation pump. The vehicle will remain at the space station until Sept. 6 when, like its predecessors, it will be detached from the Harmony node by Canadarm2 and released for a fiery re-entry over the Pacific Ocean.ISS032-E-009997 (27 July 2012) - high res (1.4 M) low res (34 K)

We're excited to release this footage of Masten's July 25, 2012 Mars landing trajectory test flight on Xombie. The flight reached 476.5 meters in altitude and translated 500 meters downrange. The test was carried out for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)** to test the powered descent and landing trajectory optimization algorithms for future Mars Entry Descent & Landing (EDL) applications. It is the first EDL style trajectory carried out on a terrestrial vertical takeoff and vertical landing testbed. Masten's native Guidance, Navigation & Control system controlled Xombie as it followed the JPL-provided Mars landing trajectory. More

We're excited to release this footage of Masten's July 25, 2012 Mars landing trajectory test flight on Xombie. The flight reached 476.5 meters in altitude and translated 500 meters downrange. The test was carried out for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)** to test the powered descent and landing trajectory optimization algorithms for future Mars Entry Descent & Landing (EDL) applications. It is the first EDL style trajectory carried out on a terrestrial vertical takeoff and vertical landing testbed. Masten's native Guidance, Navigation & Control system controlled Xombie as it followed the JPL-provided Mars landing trajectory. More

The Flame Nebula sits on the eastern hip of Orion the Hunter, a constellation most easily visible in the northern hemisphere during winter evenings. This view of the nebula was taken by WISE, NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer.

Expedition 32 Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide used the International Space Station's Canadarm2 robotic arm to install the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) H-II Transfer Vehicle, or HTV-3, to its docking port on the Earth-facing side of the Harmony node at 10:34 a.m. EDT Friday.


Researchers from Western University have discovered further evidence linking subsurface volatiles, such as water or ice, to previously recognized (but thought to be rare) pits, which commonly arise on the floors of Martian impact craters.

Investigating extremely detailed images of Mars produced by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera (http://hirise.lpl.arizona.edu/) - the largest ever carried on a deep space mission - researchers from Western University have discovered further evidence linking subsurface volatiles, such as water or ice, to previously recognized (but thought to be rare) pits, which commonly arise on the floors of Martian impact craters.


On the same night Curiosity lands on Mars, a "Martian Triangle" will appear in sunset skies of Earth. The first-magnitude apparition on August 5th gives space fans something to do while they wait for news from the Red Planet.


The three members of the Expedition 33/34 crew, NASA astronaut Kevin Ford and cosmonauts Evgeny Tarelkin and Oleg Novitski, talk about their upcoming mission to the International Space Station at a news briefing held July 26 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The trio is scheduled to launch to the orbiting laboratory in September.


After a journey of 245 days across 352 million miles, the moment of truth for the Mars Science Laboratory begins late in the evening of August 5 when the spacecraft roars into the Martian atmosphere, traveling at 13,200 miles an hour.


The Newseum in Washington, DC hosted a look back and ahead at the contributions of the Landsat program to our understanding of the Earth on the 40th anniversary of the Landsat on July 23.

Today, July 25, 2012, Felix Baumgartner completed the final milestone remaining before he attempts to achieve his dream of becoming the first person to break the speed of sound in freefall. According to preliminary data, his test jump from a 5.3 million cubic-foot / 150,079 cubic-meter balloon achieved an altitude of over 96,640 feet / 29,455 meters, seeing Baumgartner execute a 3 minute, 48 second freefall jump reaching speeds of 536 mph / 862 kmh.

Researchers analyzing meteorite fragments that fell on a frozen lake in Canada have developed an explanation for the origin of life's handedness - why living things only use molecules with specific orientations.

SpaceRef Interactive Inc. and the Secure World Foundation have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the purpose of disseminating original multimedia content from Secure World Foundation events.

CERN today marked the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer's first year in space with a visit from the crew of the shuttle mission, STS-134, that successfully delivered AMS to the International Space Station just over a year ago.

"Team Phoenicia announced today they have teamed up with Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems LLC and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly) to work on lunar and interplanetary small satellite and CubeSat launch opportunities. This teaming arrangement covers collaboration on the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE; collaboration on future interplanetary and lunar nanosat Launches; and tapping into each other's knowledge bases for both the competition flights and beyond.

The Google Lunar X PRIZE, the largest incentivized competition offered to date, challenges space professionals and engineers from across the globe to build and launch to the moon a privately funded spacecraft capable of completing a series of exploration and transmission tasks. The Google Lunar X PRIZE is one of three active competitions from the X PRIZE Foundation, the leading nonprofit organization for creating and managing large-scale, global incentivized competitions."

More


On-orbit servicing (OOS) and active debris removal (ADR) are part of an emerging category of future on-orbit activities that are critical for taking the next leap in our use of Earth orbit.

NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has successfully adjusted its orbital location to be in a better position to provide prompt confirmation of the August landing of the Curiosity rover.

Pulsars are superlative cosmic beacons. These compact neutron stars rotate about their axes many times per second, emitting radio waves and gamma radiation into space. Using ingenious data analysis methods, researchers from the Max Planck Institutes for Gravitational Physics (MPG) and for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR), in an international collaboration, dug a very special gamma-ray pulsar out of data from the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope. The pulsar J1838-0537 is radio-quiet, very young, and, during the observation period, experienced the strongest rotation glitch ever observed for a gamma-ray-only pulsar.

The Great Lakes in sunglint are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 31 crew member on the International Space Station. From the vantage point of the space station, crew members observe many spectacular phenomena including aurora, noctilucent clouds, airglow, and sunglint on Earth's water bodies. Sunglint is light reflected off of a water surface towards the observer such that it creates the appearance of a mirror-like surface.

@Astro_Suni" 47P, Agat and the ISS fly over Hawaii!!!! Larger image

This artist's conception illustrates a storm of comets around a star near our own, called Eta Corvi. Evidence for this barrage comes from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, whose infrared detectors picked up indications that comets were recently torn to shreds after colliding with a rocky body. In this artist's conception, one such giant comet is shown smashing into a rocky planet, flinging ice- and carbon-rich dust into space, while also smashing water and organics into the surface of the planet.


For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its 2-mile-thick (3.2-kilometer) center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.

Actor Wil Wheaton, "The Next Generation's" Wesley Crusher, hosts this look at the Mars Science Laboratory mission and its rover, Curiosity.


Sally Ride died peacefully today surrounded by family at the age of 61 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Sally Ride was the first American woman to fly in space on June 18, 1983 as part of the crew of the Space Shuttle Challenger. She flew twice in space before leaving NASA and pursuing a career as an educator.


NASA and the Interior Department Monday marked the 40th anniversary of the Landsat program, the world's longest-running Earth-observing satellite program. The first Landsat satellite was launched July 23, 1972, from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.


A large inflatable heat shield developed by NASA's Space Technology Program has successfully survived a trip through Earth's atmosphere while travelling at hypersonic speeds up to 7,600 mph.

"Every frame in this video is a photograph taken from the International Space Station. All credit goes to the crews on board the ISS. I removed noise and edited some shots in photoshop. Compiled and arranged in Sony Vegas. Music by John Murphy - Sunshine (Adagio In D Minor)." More.

"Every frame in this video is a photograph taken from the International Space Station. All credit goes to the crews on board the ISS. I removed noise and edited some shots in photoshop. Compiled and arranged in Sony Vegas. Music by John Murphy - Sunshine (Adagio In D Minor)." More.


The Japanese HTV-3 known as KOUNOTORI 3 resupply spacecraft is on its way to the International Space Station following its successful launch from the Tanegashima Space Center in Japan.


The most advanced robot ever sent to another world is nearing its destination, and NASA scientists and managers at a Headquarters news briefing called the Curiosity Rover mission the hardest one attempted in the history of robotic planetary exploration. Curiosity is scheduled to land on Mars in the early morning hours of August 6, Eastern. Also, J-2X Test; 'Chutes Assured; New Digs for Space Trio; Science Supporters; Space Sojourn; Enterprise Unveiled; Remembering Apollo 11; and more.

"Imagine a fully-instrumented satellite the size of a half-gallon milk carton. Then imagine that milk carton whirling in space, catching never-before-seen glimpses of processes thought to be linked to lightning. The little satellite that could is a CubeSat called Firefly, and it's on a countdown to launch next year. CubeSats, named for the roughly four-inch-cubed dimensions of their basic building elements, are stacked with modern, smartphone-like electronics and tiny scientific instruments. Built mainly by students and hitching rides into orbit on NASA and U.S. Department of Defense launch vehicles, the small, low-cost satellites recently have been making history. Many herald their successes as a space revolution."

More

"Discovered by Lincoln Near Earth Asteroid Research (LINEAR), NEA (near-Earth asteroid) 2002 AM31, an asteroid the size of a city block, will make its close approach to Earth Sunday evening (July 22) -- just 39 days after newly discovered asteroid 2012 LZ1 paid an unexpected visit to Earth. Slooh Space Camera will cover its near-approach live on http://www.slooh.com, free to the public, starting at 4:30 p.m. PDT / 7:30 p.m. EDT / 23:30 UTC -- accompanied by real-time discussions by Slooh's Patrick Paolucci and Astronomy magazine columnist Bob Berman."

More

The Caribbean country of Cuba is pictured in this image from the Envisat satellite. Cuba is an archipelago of islands in the northern Caribbean Sea at the confluence with the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. In the southeast, the dark coastal area is home to the Sierra Maestra mountains. It is the highest mountain range on the island, with Pico Turquino reaching nearly 2000 m. The area is also rich in minerals, like copper and iron.

For many years, Titan's thick, methane- and nitrogen-rich atmosphere kept astronomers from seeing what lies beneath. Saturn's largest moon appeared through telescopes as a hazy orange orb, in contrast to other heavily cratered moons in the solar system.


For many years, Titan's thick, methane- and nitrogen-rich atmosphere kept astronomers from seeing what lies beneath. Saturn's largest moon appeared through telescopes as a hazy orange orb, in contrast to other heavily cratered moons in the solar system.

A stunning image showing Aurora Australis - the Southern Lights - glowing over Concordia station in the Antarctic, one of the remotest places on Earth, on 18 July 2012. It was taken by ESA-sponsored scientist Alexander Kumar and his colleague Erick Bondoux from about 1 km from the station, located in the Antarctic at 75*S latitude.

U.S. Naval Research Laboratory scientists from the Radio Astrophysics and Sensing Section of the Remote Sensing Division in conjunction with radio astronomers and engineers from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Socorro, N.M., achieve "First Light" image, May 1, 2012, at frequencies below 1-gigahertz (GHz) on the Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA).


U.S. Naval Research Laboratory scientists from the Radio Astrophysics and Sensing Section of the Remote Sensing Division in conjunction with radio astronomers and engineers from the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), Socorro, N.M., achieve "First Light" image, May 1, 2012, at frequencies below 1-gigahertz (GHz) on the Jansky Very Large Array (JVLA).


Editor's note: As of yesterday SpaceRef is now using a new provider, MailChimp, for our mailing lists. With the change we'll better able to respond to the needs of our readers. The upgrade includes a switch from our text based newsletter to an HTML based newsletter although you can opt to receive text only. We'll use a basic design for now, but will upgrade and enhance the newsletter as we go forward.

A telescope launched July 11 aboard a NASA sounding rocket has captured the highest-resolution images ever taken of the sun's million-degree atmosphere called the corona. The clarity of the images can help scientists better understand the behavior of the solar atmosphere and its impacts on Earth's space environment.

The European Space Agency (ESA) Lunar Lander is a robotic explorer that will demonstrate key European technologies and conduct science experiments. The mission is a forerunner to future human and robotic exploration of the Moon and Mars. It will establish European expertise to allow strong international partnerships in exploration.

Some of of the challenges of exploring Mars is not only finding a safe landing spot for a future rover, but a place that is scientifically compelling as well.

HiRISE has taken scores of observations for other missions like Phoenix and the Mars Science Laboratory to help those science teams better understand possible terrain hazards. In this observation, we are trying to explore for the presence of minerals called quartz and feldspar, which are even more common on Earth than Mars.


The Expedition 32 crew onboard the International Space Station, flying an altitude of approximately 240 miles, recorded a series of images of Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights, on July 15.

The Expedition 32 crew onboard the International Space Station, flying an altitude of approximately 240 miles, recorded a series of images of Aurora Australis, also known as the Southern Lights, on July 15. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba, flight engineer, recorded the series of images from the Tranquility node. The Canadarm2 robot arm is in the foreground. ISS032-E-007896 (15 July 2012) --- high res (1.2 M) low res (61 K)"

This image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on July 19, 2012 of an M7.7 class solar flare. The image represents light in the 131 Angstrom wavelength, which is particularly good for seeing flares, and which is typically colorized in teal. Credit: NASA/SDO Larger image


This image was captured by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) on July 19, 2012 of an M7.7 class solar flare.


According to NASA it's pure science and not art. But when Nicholeen Viall, a solar scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center created a new data visualization technique, the resulting solar images were reminiscent of a Van Gogh painting.

"Engineers and student interns at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., are gearing up to support and witness what may be the most thrilling ride a nanosatellite has ever taken. This October, for the first time, a small cubesat - a satellite weighing less than two pounds, housed in a 10 cm cube - will be one of five to jettison into orbit around Earth from the International Space Station.

The pioneering satellite, dubbed TechEdSat, is a collaboration among Ames; San Jose State University; the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) via AAC Microtec, Uppsala, Sweden; and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). TechEdSat is set to launch to the space station along with other experiments and essential supplies in the "Kounotori 3" H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-3) at 7:06 p.m. PDT Friday, July 20, 2012, from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan."

More

These three Cassini images show a propeller-shaped structure created by an unseen moon in Saturn's A ring. Propellers and other details of Saturn's rings are greeting scientists for the first time in two years, as Cassini's orbit took the spacecraft out of Saturn's equatorial plane in the spring of 2012, making face-on views of the rings possible again.