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NASA Probe Pluto : Probe Reaches Pluto, After nearly a decade, a remarkable journey through space is about to finally reach its destination. An unmanned space probe is approaching Pluto and giving mankind the closest view it’s ever had of our solar system’s most distant planet.
After travelling about five billion kilometers to the very edge of the solar system, the space probe called New Horizons will fly-by within 10,000 kilometers of the dwarf planet on Tuesday. The space probe is a marvel, designed to travel through space for years and years while its sensitive cameras and scientific instruments were hibernating and covered up to protect them.
It started taking photos of the distant, icy planet in April. As the probe approaches Pluto, the image are expected to be hundreds of times more detailed.
“It’s got guidance systems and communication systems and propulsion systems and seven scientific instruments on board,” said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern. “It’s actually pretty high tech. It’s the most sophisticated space craft ever sent on a first reconnaissance mission, and I think the pictures of Pluto and its moons are going to knock people’s socks off.”
New Horizons will continue to gather data after it goes by Pluto. Its power source allows it to operate in space for another 20 years.
“We can’t predict what the discoveries will be and that’s the best part,” Stern said. “This is real exploration and nothing’s been done, anything like this really, since the 1980s and the Voyager program. It’s been a long time.”
Comments Off on Anyone can look at Mars: NASA Crater View
Anyone can look at Mars: NASA Crater View, From Mars’ highest volcano to its deepest canyon, the spectacular geography of the red planet can now be explored in incredible detail.
Nasa has released an online tool known as ‘Mars Trek,’ which aims to provide Google Earth-like experience so that users can explore the red planet’s terrain.
The zoomable map provides detailed views of landmarks such as Olympus Mons, the largest-known volcano in the solar system, measuring more than 15 miles (24 km) above its surrounding surface.
Other notable features on the map include Valles Marineris, a canyon that runs across one fourth of Mars’ surface and measures about 90 miles (150km) wide.
Across the map, gigantic rift valleys fracture the surface over vast distances. Huge outflow channels tell the stories of floods in Mars’ distant past, when water flowed across its surface.
Studying these landforms reveals how Mars’ environment has gone through tremendous changes over time, and understand how life might possibly have survived there to the present.
The tool also provides users with the option of using a 3D view, which rotates the red planet to reveal its north and south poles.
There is an option that shows the positions of different Mars orbiters alongside a tool that shows the planet through the eyes of a thermal emission camera.
Evidence of water on Mars dates back to the Mariner 9 mission, which arrived in 1971. It revealed clues of water erosion in river beds and canyons.
Viking orbiters that followed caused a revolution in ideas about water on Mars by showing how floods carved deep valleys.
Mars is currently in the middle of an ice age, so liquid water cannot exist on its surface at the present time. However, the planet seems to have been warmer and wetter in the past.
In June last year, Curiosity found Powerful evidence that water good enough to drink once flowed on Mars.
In September, the first scoop of soil analysed by Curiosity revealed that fine materials on the surface of the planet contain two per cent water by weight.
And, if you have a 3D printer to hand, the map provides details of how to print out various features on the red planet.
Last month, scientists revealed that water on Mars was flowing on the planet much more recently than first thought – and experts believe it is likely to appear again relatively soon.
Observing gullies on the surface, researchers found that melting snow and ice could cause brief flows to move across the planet.
This was due to a favourable tilt of Mars just 500,000 years ago, and a similar tilt will occur again in 140,000 years.
The research was led by PhD candidate Tjalling de Haas from Utretch University in the Netherlands. It focused specifically on a Martian crater called Istok, which is thought to have formed about one million years ago.
Halfway through this crater’s life, the scientists think that muddy ice water, several inches deep, flowed down its walls.
Interestingly, this requires ten times more liquid water to have existed on Mars than previously thought.
The Martian surface has been the subject of scientific observation since the 1600s, first by Earth-based telescopes, and later by fly-by missions and orbiting spacecraft.
The Mariner 9 and Viking Orbiter missions produced the first planet-wide views of Mars’ surface, enabling publication of the first global Mars geologic maps in 1978 and 1986-87.
The latest map follows the creation of a similar tool by Mapbox, a custom online map service used by companies including Pinterest and Uber, made using data from Nasa and Esa spacecraft.
Like Nasa’s interactive map, the whole surface of Mars is then rendered in high-resolution, with landing sites and geological features on the surface highlighted.
Supermassive Black Holes uncovered, Five monster black holes that were previously hidden by dust and gas have been uncovered by astronomers.
The British-led discovery suggests there may be millions more ‘supermassive’ black holes in the universe than were previously thought.
Supermassive black holes are powerful cosmic ‘drains’ sucking material into a point of infinite density, which are formed from the compressed mass of hundreds of thousands to billions of suns.
High energy X-rays emitted from around the newly identified black holes revealed their presence at the centre of five galaxies.
They were detected by the American space agency NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) orbiting observatory, which was launched in 2012.
The space telescope is designed to pick up extremely high energy X-rays from distant objects.
‘For a long time we have known about supermassive black holes that are not obscured by dust and gas, but we suspected that many more were hidden from our view,’lead scientist George Lansbury, from the Centre for Extragalactic Astronomy at the University of Durham said.
‘Although we have only detected five of these hidden supermassive black holes, when we extrapolate our results across the whole universe then the predicted numbers are huge and in agreement with what we would expect to see.’
The scientists presented their findings at the Royal Astronomical Society’s National Astronomy Meeting, in Llandudno Wales.
‘High-energy X-rays are more penetrating than low-energy X-rays, so we can see deeper into the gas burying the black holes,’ Dr Daniel Stern, NuSTAR project scientist at NASA, said.
New arms race?: Hypersonic Missiles, Russia is test-launching a new hypersonic attack aircraft that can carry nuclear warheads and penetrate missile defense systems, US media said citing a report by Jane’s Information Group.
The development of the Yu-71 vehicle took several years, and Russia reportedly conducted the most recent test flight on February 26, with an SS-19 missile trying to deliver the Yu-71 to space. The new hypersonic aircraft is part of Moscow’s plans to modernize its Strategic Missile Forces.
Yu-71, a secret missile program codenamed “Project 4202”, has probable speed of up to 11,200 kmh (7,000 mph) and is extremely maneuverable, which makes it an incredibly dangerous and a hardly targetable weapon.
Thanks to its speed and unpredictable trajectory, Yu-71 can evade an enemy’s missile defense systems.
“This would give Russia the ability to deliver a guaranteed small-scale strike against a target of choice; if coupled with an ability to penetrate missile defenses, Moscow would also retain the option of launching a successful single-missile attack.”
The report’s authors assume that Russia may put into service up to 24 nuclear-capable Yu-71 aircraft between 2020 and 2025. Moreover, by that time Russia may have developed the Sarmat – a new ICBM that will carry the new hypersonic device.
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SpaceX craft explodes: Spacex Explodes, An unmanned SpaceX rocket carrying supplies to the International Space Station erupted while in flight just a couple of minutes after a successful liftoff in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 10:21 a.m. EDT on Sunday.
Pieces of the Falcon 9 rocket could be seen falling into the Atlantic, The Associated Press reported. NASA officials said that they have deployed vehicles to recover debris.
Among the more than 4,000 pounds of payload in the rocket’s Dragon cargo ship were important research equipment, student experiments that were lost in a previous Orbital rocket explosion, and a docking adapter, or parking place, for future commercial crew capsules.
About an hour after the accident, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk revealed in a Twitter post that overpressurization in the rocket may have been related to the explosion.
That’s all we can say with confidence right now. Will have more to say following a thorough fault tree analysis.
– Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 28, 2015
This isn’t the first time that an attempt to ship cargo to the International Space Station has failed. In April, a Russian cargo ship malfunctioned on its way to resupply the station.
“We are disappointed in the loss of the latest SpaceX cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. However, the astronauts are safe aboard the station and have sufficient supplies for the next several months,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said in a statement following the explosion. “We will work with and support SpaceX to assess what happened, understand the specifics of the failure and correct it to move forward.”
He added that while the failed launch is a reminder of the challenges of spaceflight, it will not deter any future launches or plans for the agency’s spaceflight program.
Comments Off on Ancient man’s DNA test: Kennewick Man DNA Results
Ancient man’s DNA test: Kennewick Man DNA Results, In July 1996, two college students were wading in the shallows of the Columbia River near the town of Kennewick, Wash., when they stumbled across a human skull.
At first the police treated the case as a possible murder. But once a nearly complete skeleton emerged from the riverbed and was examined, it became clear that the bones were extremely old – 8,500 years old, it would later turn out.
The skeleton, which came to be known as Kennewick Man or the Ancient One, is one of the oldest and perhaps the most important – and controversial – ever found in North America. Native American tribes said that the bones were the remains of an ancestor and moved to reclaim them in order to provide a ritual burial.
But a group of scientists filed a lawsuit to stop them, arguing that Kennewick Man could not be linked to living Native Americans. Adding to the controversy was the claim from some scientists that Kennewick Man’s skull had unusual “Caucasoid” features. Speculation flew that Kennewick Man was European.
A California pagan group went so far as to file a lawsuit seeking to bury the skeleton in a pre-Christian Norse ceremony.
On Thursday, Danish scientists published an analysis of DNA obtained from the skeleton. Kennewick Man’s genome clearly does not belong to a European, the scientists said.
“It’s very clear that Kennewick Man is most closely related to contemporary Native Americans,” said Eske Willerslev, a geneticist at the University of Copenhagen and lead author of the study, which was published in the journal Nature. “In my view, it’s bone-solid.”
Kennewick Man’s genome also sheds new light on how people first spread throughout the New World, experts said. There was no mysterious intrusion of Europeans thousands of years ago. Instead, several waves spread across the New World, with distinct branches reaching South America, Northern North America, and the Arctic.
“It’s probably a lot more complicated than we had initially envisioned,” said Jennifer A. Raff, a research fellow at the University of Texas, who was not involved in the study.
But the new study has not extinguished the debate over what to do with Kennewick Man.
Dr. Willerslev and his colleagues found that the Colville, one of the tribes that claims Kennewick Man as their own, is closely related to him. But the researchers acknowledge that they can’t say whether he is in fact an ancestor of the tribe.