Archives

January 2013



Call it a Saturnian version of the Ouroboros, the mythical serpent that bites its own tail.

Call it a Saturnian version of the Ouroboros, the mythical serpent that bites its own tail. In a new paper that provides the most detail yet on the life and death of a monstrous thunder-and-lightning storm on Saturn, scientists from NASA's Cassini mission describe how the storm churned around the planet until it encountered its own tail and sputtered out. It is the first time scientists have observed a storm consume itself like this anywhere in the solar system.


Researchers searching the galaxy for planets that could pass the litmus test of sustaining water-based life must find whether those planets fall in what's known as a habitable zone. New work, led by a team of Penn State researchers, will help scientists in that search.

Researchers searching the galaxy for planets that could pass the litmus test of sustaining water-based life must find whether those planets fall in what's known as a habitable zone. New work, led by a team of Penn State researchers, will help scientists in that search.

The Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured these image of a coronal mass ejection (CME), erupting on the left side of the sun early in the morning of Jan 31, 2013, as it was moving away from the sun into space. These images from SOHO are called coronagraphs, in which the bright light of the sun is blocked in order to make the dimmer structures in the sun's atmosphere, or corona, visible. Credit: ESA&NASA/SOHO

"Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. Industrial partners including renowned architects Foster + Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil. "Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures," said Laurent Pambaguian, heading the project for ESA. "Our industrial team investigated if it could similarly be employed to build a lunar habitat." Foster + Partners devised a weight-bearing 'catenary' dome design with a cellular structured wall to shield against micrometeoroids and space radiation, incorporating a pressurised inflatable to shelter astronauts. A hollow closed-cell structure - reminiscent of bird bones - provides a good combination of strength and weight." More


Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials.

Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. Industrial partners including renowned architects Foster + Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil. "Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures," said Laurent Pambaguian, heading the project for ESA.

Setting up a lunar base could be made much simpler by using a 3D printer to build it from local materials. Industrial partners including renowned architects Foster + Partners have joined with ESA to test the feasibility of 3D printing using lunar soil. "Terrestrial 3D printing technology has produced entire structures," said Laurent Pambaguian, heading the project for ESA.


There are already plenty of stars around Malibu, California, but could the place be actually like the planet Mars? The NASA rover Curiosity is about to find out.

6-12th Grade Students, Building 262, Room 180, March 27-28

Since 1994, NASA Ames has hosted an annual Space Settlement Design Contest for 6-12th grade students. Thousands of students and hundreds of teachers from around the world have involved themselves in space settlement, some devoting months of intense effort. Prize winners now find themselves at Harvard, Stanford, MIT and other top universities and at least one flew a zero-gravity experiment for the European Space Agency (ESA). Contestants work at home and send their entries to Ames each March. Extensive reference materials are supplied on the web. All entries are judged in a two-day period by a panel of NASA and contractor personnel. Judges commit to one hour or more anytime on Wednesday and/or Thursday, March 27-28, between 10:30 a.m. and 7 p.m. Judging will be in Building 262, Room 180. No experience or specific technical expertise are needed and it is a lot of fun (less expert judges can evaluate entries from the younger students). Contest details are at http://settlement.arc.nasa.gov/Contest/

"A new satellite mission designed by university students is entering the advanced stages of development. A new contract appoints ALMASpace, Italy, the prime contractor. The European Student Earth Orbiter (ESEO) is a micro-satellite mission to low Earth orbit. Newly appointed prime contractor ALMASpace, Italy, will now oversee its final development, integration, testing, and in-orbit commissioning by European university students. The mission's primary goal is to provide students with extensive, hands-on experience of a space project. This will equip them with the necessary skills to confidently enter the high-technology workplace of Europe's future. 'With ESEO, ESA's Education and Knowledge Management Office will continue pursuing its objective of offering hands-on activities to university students across Europe. Working on real space projects has a strong inspirational value and offers the best professional preparation for Europe's future engineers and scientists,' says Piero Galeone, ESA's Head of the Tertiary Education Unit." More

A glimpse of NTREES testing in progress in mid-2012, as a non-nuclear fuel element is heated to more than 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit while hydrogen is funneled through it. (MSFC/Emmett Given)

Advanced propulsion researchers at NASA are a step closer to solving the challenge of safely sending human explorers to Mars and other solar system destinations.

A glimpse of NTREES testing in progress in mid-2012, as a non-nuclear fuel element is heated to more than 3,200 degrees Fahrenheit while hydrogen is funneled through it. (MSFC/Emmett Given)

Advanced propulsion researchers at NASA are a step closer to solving the challenge of safely sending human explorers to Mars and other solar system destinations.

@Cmdr_Hadfield - Chris Hadfield - Intricate patchwork fields and a Rolling Stones-esque lake, northern Mexico. pic.twitter.com/qMFc7TAo


A powerful cold front moving from the central United States to the East Coast is wiping out spring-like temperatures and replacing them with winter-time temperatures with powerful storms in between. An image released from NASA using data from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite provides a stunning look at the powerful system that brings a return to winter weather in its wake.

A powerful cold front moving from the central United States to the East Coast is wiping out spring-like temperatures and replacing them with winter-time temperatures with powerful storms in between. An image released from NASA using data from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite provides a stunning look at the powerful system that brings a return to winter weather in its wake.


Using the unique capabilities of ESA's Herschel space observatory, astronomers have accurately 'weighed' a star's disc, finding it still has enough mass to spawn 50 Jupiter-sized planets, several million years after most other stars have already given birth.


NASA successfully launched a Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital rocket at 5:50 p.m. EST this evening from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. During the flight, two red-colored lithium vapor trails were produced. Reports from those viewing the launch or vapor trails came from as far away as the Outer Banks, N.C.; eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

NASA successfully launched a Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital rocket at 5:50 p.m. EST this evening from the Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. During the flight, two red-colored lithium vapor trails were produced. Reports from those viewing the launch or vapor trails came from as far away as the Outer Banks, N.C.; eastern Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has placed its drill onto a series of four locations on a Martian rock and pressed down on it with the rover's arm, in preparation for using the drill in coming days.

The rover carried out this "pre-load" testing on Mars yesterday (Jan. 27). The tests enable engineers to check whether the amount of force applied to the hardware matches predictions for what would result from the commanded motions.


The ring-like swirls of dust filling the Andromeda galaxy stand out colorfully in this new image from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation.


ESA's Venus Express has made unique observations of Venus during a period of reduced solar wind pressure, discovering that the planet's ionosphere balloons out like a comet's tail on its nightside.

ESA's Venus Express has made unique observations of Venus during a period of reduced solar wind pressure, discovering that the planet's ionosphere balloons out like a comet's tail on its nightside.

The ionosphere is a region of weakly electrically charged gas high above the main body of a planet's atmosphere. Its shape and density are partly controlled by the internal magnetic field of the planet.

The ring-like swirls of dust filling the Andromeda galaxy stand out colorfully in this new image from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation. The glow seen here comes from the longer-wavelength, or far, end of the infrared spectrum, giving astronomers the chance to identify the very coldest dust in our galactic neighbor. These light wavelengths span from 250 to 500 microns, which are a quarter to half of a millimeter in size.