Space

The Source of Dunes in Chasma Boreale

HiPOD 14 Jan 2019: The Source of Dunes in Chasma Boreale

This image shows dunes during the summer, when they were free from the seasonal layer of carbon dioxide ice that covers the region for much of the year. These dunes, which are near the head of the largest trough in the North Polar cap (called Chasma Boreale), were formed by strong winds blowing down the canyon toward its mouth.

ID: ESP_018963_2650
Date: 13 August 2010
Altitude: 319 km

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Source: uahirise.org

Here via fuehrer3345’s reblogging of beautifulmars’ lovely post.

Lovely… ooh, I want to go there so badly.

be well

 

Elon Musk‏ @elonmusk Verified account

Following @elonmusk

Starship test flight rocket just finished assembly at the @SpaceX Texas launch site. This is an actual picture, not a rendering.

The SpaceX Starship

Elon Musk‏ @elonmusk Verified account

10:36 PM – 10 Jan 2019

This is for suborbital VTOL tests. Orbital version is taller, has thicker skins (won’t wrinkle) & a smoothly curving nose section.

Now that’s a stylin’ Starship test flight rocket if I ever saw one!

WheeHa!

The future is bright.

be well

 

far side

far side

We’ve seen the far side quite a few times – from orbit…

But…

These are the first ever images taken from the ground on the far side of the Moon.

Captured by the Chinese Lunar Exploration Project (CLEP)’s history-making Chang’e-4 spacecraft.

www.clep.org.cn…

This is simply FanFreakin’tastic!

Such wonderfuil things are coming!

be well

 

Ultima Thule

This image made available by NASA on Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 shows images with separate color and detail information, and a composited image of both, showing Ultima Thule, about 1 billion miles beyond Pluto. The New Horizons spacecraft encountered it on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. (NASA via AP)

Read more at: NASA: Icy object past Pluto looks like reddish snowman

Ultima Thule

A new picture returned from Nasa’s New Horizons spacecraft shows the little world to be two objects joined together – to give a look like a “snowman.” The US probe’s images acquired as it approached Ultima hinted at the possibility of a double body, but the first detailed picture from Tuesday’s close flyby confirms it.
www.bbc.co.uk…

Ultima Thule

Ultima Thule… the most distant object that our current human civilization has ever checked out – at 4.1 billion miles out from Earth.

I think it’s lovely.

Read more at Phys.org’s NASA: Icy object past Pluto looks like reddish snowman.

Images by NASA via AP

Spectacular. Bravo dear Space Cowboys, we love you so!

be well

 

earthrise

Image: NASA / Goddard / Arizona State University

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) recently captured a unique view of Earth from the spacecraft’s vantage point in orbit around the moon.

“The image is simply stunning,” said Noah Petro, Deputy Project Scientist for LRO at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “The image of the Earth evokes the famous ‘Blue Marble’ image taken by Astronaut Harrison Schmitt during Apollo 17, 43 years ago, which also showed Africa prominently in the picture.”

In this composite image we see Earth appear to rise over the lunar horizon from the viewpoint of the spacecraft, with the center of the Earth just off the coast of Liberia (at 4.04 degrees North, 12.44 degrees West). The large tan area in the upper right is the Sahara Desert, and just beyond is Saudi Arabia. The Atlantic and Pacific coasts of South America are visible to the left. On the moon, we get a glimpse of the crater Compton, which is located just beyond the eastern limb of the moon, on the lunar farside.

Read the rest!

So lovely. Space exploration will never fail to astound and inspire.

 

near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220

These three radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 were obtained on Dec. 15-17, by coordinating observations with NASA’s 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 330-foot (100-meter) Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NSF/GBO

More here at JPL.

Looks like a thingy… : /

be well

 

It’s a mile deep!

korolev crater Mars

DETAILS

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  • Title Perspective view of Korolev crater
  • Released 20/12/2018 11:00 am
  • Copyright ESA/DLR/FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO
  • DescriptionThis image from ESA’s Mars Express shows Korolev crater, an 82-kilometre-across feature found in the northern lowlands of Mars.This oblique perspective view was generated using a digital terrain model and Mars Express data gathered over orbits 18042 (captured on 4 April 2018), 5726, 5692, 5654, and 1412. The crater itself is centred at 165° E, 73° N on the martian surface. The image has aresolution of roughly 21 metres per pixel.This image was created using data from the nadir and colour channels of the High Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC). The nadir channel is aligned perpendicular to the surface of Mars, as if looking straight down at the surface.
  • Id 412947

And from our dear gortex at ATS:

The Martian ice rink is located near the northern polar cap , it’s 37 miles in diameter with a depth of just over a mile and stays frozen all year round so perfect for die hard skaters to practice their moves whatever time of year.

For the full view or to download the 2.47 MB TIF image go Here for ultimate coolness.

• Mars Express celebrates it’s 15th anniversary on Christmas day, happy anniversary guys.

So lovely, so awesome!

be well

 

Way back in NASA’s Gemini days, we forteans had some excitement on Gemini 10, a mission to dock with two unmanned craft to get practice with, well, docking. A photo was taken that looked odd and naturally it was deemed a UFO as the shape was strange, two dots with a line between them. It had faded from my memory, to be honest.

The other day, a thread caught my eye on ATS as it was titled Gemini 10 UFO Photo: New Color-Manipulatons. Ooh! The member who wrote it and did the work, peacefulpete, did a nice job amping up the colors to get a better view. It’s a nice technique that I have often used. The top two results below are from those labors. And it is pretty neat looking.

Then our dear Phage popped in saying it was just one of the docking targets… and provided hi-res NASA photos which have been available for several years, unbeknownst to pete, (or to me, actually). Phage is such a font of data it’s incredible. One can clearly see in the high res imagery what it is in fact that was being seen. The third and fourth results below are one of the high resolution photos.

As Jim Oberg often points out, things don’t behave in space like they do here on Earth. The UFO was just sunlight catching the lens at just the right angle.

So, pete made a new video with the proper analysis of the incident, which is below.

But…

In re-examining the photos for the new vid, peacefulpete found some brand new anomalies cavorting above the Earth. Personally, I think they are wonderful and I can’t wait to see what he does with these new finds. Images below! I think you’ll agree that they are, in fact, mighty fine.

gemini10ufo

Closeup of the best sunlight reflection enhancement.

gemini10ufo

Photoset of the first (and best) round of sunlight reflection enhancements.

gemini10ufo

A crop of one of the high resolution images. Yep, there it is…

gemini10ufo

An even closer crop.

And now, folks, the new weirdies!

To start, what the heck is this glowing blue apparition?

gemini10ufo

Is this cool, or what?

And this next one I find even cooler…

gemini10ufo

And good gracious, here’s another one…

And it is fabulous!

gemini10ufo

And here is the new video with all of the above evidence.

UFO: High-Res Pics Show It’s from NASA, & NEW UFO’S! (Gemini 10)

James Chessman
Published on Dec 9, 2018

High-resolution scans of the original photos from Gemini 10 (1966), hosted by Arizona State University: http://tothemoon.ser.asu.edu/gallery/…

Fantastic stuff, to be sure.

be well

 

This just in! Received from the boffins…

 

outofhere

NASA’s Voyager 2 Probe Enters Interstellar Space

For the second time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars. NASA’s Voyager 2 probe now has exited the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun.

Members of NASA’s Voyager team will discuss the findings at a news conference at 11 a.m. EST (8 a.m. PST) today at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington. The news conference will stream live on the agency’s website.

Comparing data from different instruments aboard the trailblazing spacecraft, mission scientists determined the probe crossed the outer edge of the heliosphere on Nov. 5. This boundary, called the heliopause, is where the tenuous, hot solar wind meets the cold, dense interstellar medium. Its twin, Voyager 1, crossed this boundary in 2012, but Voyager 2 carries a working instrument that will provide first-of-its-kind observations of the nature of this gateway into interstellar space.

Voyager 2 now is slightly more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from Earth. Mission operators still can communicate with Voyager 2 as it enters this new phase of its journey, but information – moving at the speed of light – takes about 16.5 hours to travel from the spacecraft to Earth. By comparison, light traveling from the Sun takes about eight minutes to reach Earth.

numbers

Artist’s concept of Voyager 2 with 9 facts listed around it. Image Credit: NASA
Larger view

The most compelling evidence of Voyager 2’s exit from the heliosphere came from its onboard Plasma Science Experiment (PLS), an instrument that stopped working on Voyager 1 in 1980, long before that probe crossed the heliopause. Until recently, the space surrounding Voyager 2 was filled predominantly with plasma flowing out from our Sun. This outflow, called the solar wind, creates a bubble – the heliosphere – that envelopes the planets in our solar system. The PLS uses the electrical current of the plasma to detect the speed, density, temperature, pressure and flux of the solar wind. The PLS aboard Voyager 2 observed a steep decline in the speed of the solar wind particles on Nov. 5. Since that date, the plasma instrument has observed no solar wind flow in the environment around Voyager 2, which makes mission scientists confident the probe has left the heliosphere.

readings

Animated gif showing the plasma data. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Larger view

“Working on Voyager makes me feel like an explorer, because everything we’re seeing is new,” said John Richardson, principal investigator for the PLS instrument and a principal research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. “Even though Voyager 1 crossed the heliopause in 2012, it did so at a different place and a different time, and without the PLS data. So we’re still seeing things that no one has seen before.”

In addition to the plasma data, Voyager’s science team members have seen evidence from three other onboard instruments – the cosmic ray subsystem, the low energy charged particle instrument and the magnetometer – that is consistent with the conclusion that Voyager 2 has crossed the heliopause. Voyager’s team members are eager to continue to study the data from these other onboard instruments to get a clearer picture of the environment through which Voyager 2 is traveling.

“There is still a lot to learn about the region of interstellar space immediately beyond the heliopause,” said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist based at Caltech in Pasadena, California.

Together, the two Voyagers provide a detailed glimpse of how our heliosphere interacts with the constant interstellar wind flowing from beyond. Their observations complement data from NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), a mission that is remotely sensing that boundary. NASA also is preparing an additional mission – the upcoming Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP), due to launch in 2024 – to capitalize on the Voyagers’ observations.

“Voyager has a very special place for us in our heliophysics fleet,” said Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters. “Our studies start at the Sun and extend out to everything the solar wind touches. To have the Voyagers sending back information about the edge of the Sun’s influence gives us an unprecedented glimpse of truly uncharted territory.”

While the probes have left the heliosphere, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have not yet left the solar system, and won’t be leaving anytime soon. The boundary of the solar system is considered to be beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, a collection of small objects that are still under the influence of the Sun’s gravity. The width of the Oort Cloud is not known precisely, but it is estimated to begin at about 1,000 astronomical units (AU) from the Sun and to extend to about 100,000 AU. One AU is the distance from the Sun to Earth. It will take about 300 years for Voyager 2 to reach the inner edge of the Oort Cloud and possibly 30,000 years to fly beyond it.

The Voyager probes are powered using heat from the decay of radioactive material, contained in a device called a radioisotope thermal generator (RTG). The power output of the RTGs diminishes by about four watts per year, which means that various parts of the Voyagers, including the cameras on both spacecraft, have been turned off over time to manage power.

“I think we’re all happy and relieved that the Voyager probes have both operated long enough to make it past this milestone,” said Suzanne Dodd, Voyager project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “This is what we’ve all been waiting for. Now we’re looking forward to what we’ll be able to learn from having both probes outside the heliopause.”

Voyager 2 launched in 1977, 16 days before Voyager 1, and both have traveled well beyond their original destinations. The spacecraft were built to last five years and conduct close-up studies of Jupiter and Saturn. However, as the mission continued, additional flybys of the two outermost giant planets, Uranus and Neptune, proved possible. As the spacecraft flew across the solar system, remote-control reprogramming was used to endow the Voyagers with greater capabilities than they possessed when they left Earth. Their two-planet mission became a four-planet mission. Their five-year lifespans have stretched to 41 years, making Voyager 2 NASA’s longest running mission.

The Voyager story has impacted not only generations of current and future scientists and engineers, but also Earth’s culture, including film, art and music. Each spacecraft carries a Golden Record of Earth sounds, pictures and messages. Since the spacecraft could last billions of years, these circular time capsules could one day be the only traces of human civilization.

Voyager’s mission controllers communicate with the probes using NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN), a global system for communicating with interplanetary spacecraft. The DSN consists of three clusters of antennas inGoldstone, California; Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia.

The Voyager Interstellar Mission is a part of NASA’s Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. JPL built and operates the twin Voyager spacecraft. NASA’s DSN, managed by JPL, is an international network of antennas that supports interplanetary spacecraft missions and radio and radar astronomy observations for the exploration of the solar system and the universe. The network also supports selected Earth-orbiting missions. The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia’s national science agency, operates both the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, part of the DSN, and the Parkes Observatory, which NASA has been using to downlink data from Voyager 2 since Nov. 8.

For more information about the Voyager mission, visit:

www.nasa.gov/voyager

More information about NASA’s Heliophysics missions is available online at:

www.nasa.gov/sunearth

Hahaha, Vger has left the building! Now they’re both out there.

This is so cool, this is seriously exciting to me.

Now we’ll be able to clearly see the real makeup of space and be free of the noise of the heliosphere. There will be revelations and discoveries and wondrous new surprises. I have learned in my decades that the farther out you go, the weirder it gets.

Of this there is no doubt and for this we are grateful.

be well

 

Raw Sounds from InSight’s Seismometer on Mars

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Uploaded on Dec 7, 2018

Listen to raw, unprocessed data from the seismometer on NASA’s InSight spacecraft of vibrations caused by wind moving over the solar panels on Mars. A subwoofer or earphones are needed to hear this clip. The sounds were recorded by two of the three short-period sensors on the seismometer (SEIS). The audio is available for download at NASA.gov/sounds. JPL manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. France’s national space agency, Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), Paris, leads the consortium that provided SEIS. The principal investigator for SEIS is Philippe Lognonné of the Institute of Earth Physics of Paris (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, or IPGP). Imperial College, London, and Oxford University made the short-period sensors.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CNES/UKSA/Imperial College London/Oxford/ETH

For years I have anxiously awaited audio from Mars. And I am smitten… regardless of the fact that this is from a seismometer and not a microphone.

I seem to recall being told a good while back that there’s a mic on Curiosity, but I am not sure, now, as we’ve certainly not heard a peep from it if it exists.

The .wav files below are from Insight Mars Wind.

00:20

More Audible Sounds from InSight’s Seismometer on Mars

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Uploaded on Dec 7, 2018

More Audible Sounds from InSight’s Seismometer on Mars Listen to data from the seismometer on NASA’s InSight spacecraft of vibrations caused by Martian wind moving over the lander’s solar panels. In this version, the data have been processed to raise the frequencies by two octaves to make them more audible. Both the processed and unprocessed audio are available for download at nasa.gov/sounds.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CNES/UKSA/Imperial College London/Oxford/ETH

better bass:

00:20

Sounds from InSight’s Pressure Sensor on Mars

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Uploaded on Dec 7, 2018

Listen to data from the air pressure sensor on NASA’s InSight lander, indicating wind blowing by on Mars. The data were sped up by a factor of 100, shortening the duration of the recording and shifting it up in frequency 100 times (a little more than six octaves).

For more information on the InSight mission, visit https://mars.nasa.gov/insight

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CNES/Cornell

02:27

be well

 

shinyrok

rhinyshok

shinyrok

rinyshok

shinyrok

The Mars Rover has found a strange shiny object on the Mars Surface.

image credits: NASA / JPL / CalTech

NASA think they may have an idea what it could be, but they are prepared to be surprised.

Nasa has spotted a strange, shiny object lying on the Martian surface. The planet is largely red, dusty and bland, meaning that anything unusual stands out.

The latest discovery is one such object: a shiny lump that is visible on the surface. Now the team behind the Curiosity rover intends to have a proper look at the object, in the hope of finding out what it is.

Though they have their suspicions, they are ready to be surprised.

www.independent.co.uk…

They are actually going to drive over there and check it out. That’s yuge.

They’ve already shot it thrice with a laser for chemical analysis. Currently the main thought is meteorite, but the lab’s still hummin,’ so who knows, eh.

This is a nice thing.

Especially the level of interest. Seems this has been trending in a positive direction for a while now and trust me, it is a great sign (and omen, even) for the future.

be well

 

Progress launch timelapse seen from space

European Space Agency, ESA
Published on Nov 22, 2018

Timelapse of the Russian Progress MS-10 cargo spacecraft launched on 16 November 2018 at
18:14 GMT from Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, taken by ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst from the International Space Station. The spacecraft was launched atop a Soyuz rocket with 2564 kg of cargo and supplies. Flying at 28 800 km/h, 400 km high, the International Space Station requires regular supplies from Earth such as this Progress launch. Spacecraft are launched after the Space Station flies overhead so they catch up with the orbital outpost to dock, in this case two days later on 18 November 2018. The images were taken from the European-built Cupola module with a camera set to take pictures at regular intervals. The pictures are then played quickly after each other at 8 to 16 times normal speed. The video shows around 15 minutes of the launch at normal speed. The Progress spacecraft delivered food, fuel and supplies, including about 750 kg of propellant, 75 kg of oxygen and air and 440 l of water.

Some notable moments in this video are:
00:07 Soyuz-FG rocket booster separation.

00:19 Core stage separation.

00:34:05 Core stage starts burning in the atmosphere as it returns to Earth after having spent all its fuel.

00:34:19 Progress spacecraft separates from rocket and enters orbit to catch up with the International Space Station.

Download the video: bit.ly/ProgressLaunchTimelapse…

Follow Alexander and the Horizons mission on social media via bit.ly/AlexanderGerstESA and on bit.ly/HorizonsBlogESA.

Credits: ESA/NASA. ★ Subscribe: bit.ly/ESAsubscribe Check out our full video catalog: bit.ly/SpaceInVideos Follow ESA on Twitter: bit.ly/ESAonTwitter On Facebook: bit.ly/ESAonFacebook On Instagram: bit.ly/ESAonInstagram On Flickr: bit.ly/ESAonFlickr

ESA is Europe’s gateway to space. Our mission is to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space continues to deliver benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. Check out www.esa.int/ESA to get up to speed on everything space related. Copyright information about our videos is available here: www.esa.int/spaceinvideos/Term…

My eyes have difficulties nowadays with this sort of thing, but it looks spectacular, just the same!

be well

 

jpl

Sol 0: Instrument Context Camera (ICC)

NASA’s InSight Mars lander acquired this image of the area in front of the lander using its lander-mounted, Instrument Context Camera (ICC).

This image was acquired on November 26, 2018, Sol 0 of the InSight mission where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 13:34:21. Each ICC image has a field of view of 124 x 124 degrees.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Oh my yes, more please!

Bravo NASA teams!

wo

NASA InSight Lander Arrives on Martian Surface

Mars has just received its newest robotic resident. NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet after an almost seven-month, 300-million-mile (458-million-kilometer) journey from Earth.

InSight’s two-year mission will be to study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

InSight launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California May 5. The lander touched down Monday, Nov. 26, near Mars’ equator on the western side of a flat, smooth expanse of lava called Elysium Planitia, with a signal affirming a completed landing sequence at 11:52:59 a.m. PST (2:52:59 p.m. EST).

“Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “InSight will study the interior of Mars and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners, and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team. The best of NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon.”

The landing signal was relayed to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, via NASA’s two small experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, which launched on the same rocket as InSight and followed the lander to Mars. They are the first CubeSats sent into deep space. After successfully carrying out a number of communications and in-flight navigation experiments, the twin MarCOs were set in position to receive transmissions during InSight’s entry, descent and landing.

From Fast to Slow

“We hit the Martian atmosphere at 12,300 mph (19,800 kilometers per hour), and the whole sequence to touching down on the surface took only six-and-a-half minutes,” said InSight project manager Tom Hoffman at JPL. “During that short span of time, InSight had to autonomously perform dozens of operations and do them flawlessly – and by all indications that is exactly what our spacecraft did.”

Confirmation of a successful touchdown is not the end of the challenges of landing on the Red Planet. InSight’s surface-operations phase began a minute after touchdown. One of its first tasks is to deploy its two decagonal solar arrays, which will provide power. That process begins 16 minutes after landing and takes another 16 minutes to complete.

The InSight team expects a confirmation later Monday that the spacecraft’s solar panels successfully deployed. Verification will come from NASA’s Odyssey spacecraft, currently orbiting Mars. That signal is expected to reach InSight’s mission control at JPL about five-and-a-half hours after landing.

“We are solar powered, so getting the arrays out and operating is a big deal,” said Tom Hoffman at JPL. “With the arrays providing the energy we need to start the cool science operations, we are well on our way to thoroughly investigate what’s inside of Mars for the very first time.”

InSight will begin to collect science data within the first week after landing, though the teams will focus mainly on preparing to set InSight’s instruments on the Martian ground. At least two days after touchdown, the engineering team will begin to deploy InSight’s 5.9-foot-long (1.8-meter-long) robotic arm so that it can take images of the landscape.

“Landing was thrilling, but I’m looking forward to the drilling,” said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt of JPL. “When the first images come down, our engineering and science teams will hit the ground running, beginning to plan where to deploy our science instruments. Within two or three months, the arm will deploy the mission’s main science instruments, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) and Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instruments.”

InSight will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until Nov. 24, 2020. The mission objectives of the two small MarCOs which relayed InSight’s telemetry was completed after their Martian flyby.

“That’s one giant leap for our intrepid, briefcase-sized robotic explorers,” said Joel Krajewski, MarCO project manager at JPL. “I think CubeSats have a big future beyond Earth’s orbit, and the MarCO team is happy to trailblaze the way.”

With InSight’s landing at Elysium Planitia, NASA has successfully soft-landed a vehicle on the Red Planet eight times.

“Every Mars landing is daunting, but now with InSight safely on the surface we get to do a unique kind of science on Mars,” said JPL director Michael Watkins. “The experimental MarCO CubeSats have also opened a new door to smaller planetary spacecraft. The success of these two unique missions is a tribute to the hundreds of talented engineers and scientists who put their genius and labor into making this a great day.”

JPL manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The MarCO CubeSats were built and managed by JPL. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.

A number of European partners, including France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. CNES, and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), provided the SEIS instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland, Imperial College and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and JPL. DLR provided the HP3 instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Spain’s Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) supplied the wind sensors.

For more information about InSight, visit:

www.nasa.gov/insight/

For more information about MarCO, visit:

www.jpl.nasa.gov/cubesat/missions/marco.php

For more information about NASA’s Mars missions, go to:

www.nasa.gov/mars

Wa hey we’re on the way!

be well

 

jd

The Juno spacecraft, owned by NASA and operated by JPL-Caltech, SwRI and MSSS, captured this stupendous image of Jupiter whilst under the control of Gerald Eichstädt and Seán Doran.

Its been going viral as the clods at this moment are a hotbed of pareidolian heaven. Some see a reclining lady, some see a squid and others… see other patterns.

Whatever you see, it is undeniable that the beauty is breathtaking, to say the least.

be well

 

poc

These towering tendrils of cosmic dust and gas sit at the heart of M16, or the Eagle Nebula. The aptly named Pillars of Creation, featured in this stunning Hubble image, are part of an active star-forming region within the nebula and hide newborn stars in their wispy columns.

Although this is not Hubble’s first image of this iconic feature of the Eagle Nebula, it is the most detailed. The blue colors in the image represent oxygen, red is sulfur, and green represents both nitrogen and hydrogen. The pillars are bathed in the scorching ultraviolet light from a cluster of young stars located just outside the frame. The winds from these stars are slowly eroding the towers of gas and dust.

Stretching roughly 4 to 5 light-years, the Pillars of Creation are a fascinating but relatively small feature of the entire Eagle Nebula, which spans 70 by 55 light-years. The nebula, discovered in 1745 by the Swiss astronomer Jean-Philippe Loys de Chéseaux, is located 7,000 light-years from Earth in the constellation Serpens. With an apparent magnitude of 6, the Eagle Nebula can be spotted through a small telescope and is best viewed during July. A large telescope and optimal viewing conditions are necessary to resolve the Pillars of Creation.

Credits: NASA, ESA and the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA)

Such power to astound, doth Mother Nature have.

I want to go there.

Really.

be well

 

1

2

3

Created using still images taken by the Cassini spacecraft during it’s flyby of Jupiter and while at Saturn. Shown is Io and Europa over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/CICLOPS/Kevin M. Gill

Fabulous! Thanks, Kevin!

God, Mother Nature is majestic beyond words…

be well

 

buzz

photos-of-space

49 years ago today Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin became the first men to set foot on another heavenly body. In honor of that I thought I’d post an iconic image of Buzz standing at the base of the Lunar Lander “Eagle” photographed by Neil.

via o-blivia’s reblogging of space-pics’ post.

Love Buzz. Love Neil. Love, love, love.

be well

 

This is thrilling!

Gotta be some nifty critters over there, eh?! Bit of a hike, though.

We could get there if the world prioritizes nicely.

Like that’s gonna happen.

I’m sure it will someday.

For now, this short little clip spanning quite a few yarn will serve nicely in the Soul boosting division.

be well

 

This is a blast from my past… the blog is What’s All This, Then and it was May 3, 2009.

Those were heady days and I was even worse than I sometimes am today!

Apollo anomalies were all the rage and there were some really good ones.

Here goes.

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This is a crop of the somewhat notorious Apollo 17 image AS17-137-20925HR. Why notorious? It’s that green thing. Some have been so bold as to suggest it’s some sort of lifeform. Since this is the moon, I’m not too sure about that conjecture… Although it has been shown that the moon has an atmosphere and water ice, there doesn’t appear to be a heck of a lot of water around this locale. Be that as it may… there this thing is. Note that it is not at all required to do any enhancing to the original photo in order to see our green friend. Nope, it stands right out… in a pretty deep shadow no less. As if it’s actually self-luminous. High strangeness, indeed.

An unknown form of living thing is a bit more likely than some sort of alien device doing who knows what…

For the image here, I started with a version with enhanced gamma, although I don’t remember where I got it. (I have such a backlog of these things to write about… sheesh.). I elevated the brightness and contrast by 30 each to get the lighting up to snuff and approach daylight a bit. [No pixels were harmed in the making of this picture.]

Nice purple mineral it’s sitting on, by the way. Food, maybe? Like the NY Lottery ads say, “Hey, you never know.” Life out there doesn’t necessarily have to follow our dogma. If you said 50 years ago that there were creatures on Earth that live 2 miles down and eat rocks, you know what would’ve happened, right? Right.

It would be so sad if the anomaly is a film defect, but of course it could be, can’t leave that out no matter how doubtful the scenario, the film being custom made expressly for the lunar program. Nothing remotely like it has appeared before or since.

So… being the romantic nut that I am, I vote for… High Strangeness.

Update 5/20/09: added image below. For this version, only brightness was applied to the original hi-res image as released to the public. This is to better show you the very interesting colors at the tip of this object and what may well be projections in the tip area.
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And that ended the post.

I wanted to add the original photo from the mission and I wanted to use the latest Photoshop Camera Raw plug in to enhance it again, just to see. This plug in adjusts pixel levels to increase or decrease the exposure and adjust the highlights, shadows, contrast and such. What is there is there, what is not is not. Do note that the anomaly is actually visible in the raw, unaltered image in the original photograph.

credit NASA

Original, untouched. 300dpi. (Thanks NASA!)

credit NASA

Camera Raw to see in that hole.

credit NASA

My crop and I increased dpi to 1200.

And how about them apples?

What, I still ask, in the name of God is that?

Ponder it, eh?

be well

 

15 frames from Ryugu.

Hope we get some without the Sun trying the cameras exposure systems.

MINERVA-II1 rovers send images from asteroid Ryugu

SciNews
Published on Sep 27, 2018

JAXA’s Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2” deployed the MINERVA-II1 rovers to explore the surface of asteroid Ryugu on 21 September 2018. The MINERVA-II1 consists of two rovers, Rover-1A and Rover-1B, both landed on the surface of asteroid Ryugu and sent back images and a short movie. Credit : JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, Aizu University, AIST

So nice… so very, very nice. =D

be well

 

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The one above has been corrected for angle and another parameter I can’t think of right now by Jason Major for JAXA.

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All images by JAXA.

These are the first set of images taken of the surface of an asteroid … from the surface of the asteroid!

Asteroid Ryugu, to be precise, an oddly cube-shaped rock. There are two rovers… see my previous post.

I am excited to say the least.

I hope you are, too!

be well

 

cf

spaceforeurope

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin

Recent tectonics on Mars

The prominent trenches that can be seen in this Mars Express image of the Cerberus Fossae system in the Elysium Planitia region, were formed by faults that pulled the planet’s surface apart less than 10 million years ago.

Read more.

Source: esa.int

I love Mars. I’d rather be there than here. Humans are an unpleasant lifeform.

be well

 

sor

GREETINGS FROM RYUGU One of the MINERVA-II1 rovers snapped this picture while hopping across the surface of asteroid Ryugu on September 21. The gray material is the asteroid, and the bright spot is sunlight.

The first rovers to explore the surface of an asteroid have landed. After touching down September 21, the vehicles took pictures of asteroid Ryugu and at least one hopped around.

Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft, which arrived at the near-Earth asteroid on June 27 after a journey of more than three years, released the MINERVA-II1 container from a height of about 60 meters (SN Online: 6/27/18). The container then released two 18-centimeter-wide, cylindrical rovers. Because Ryugu’s gravity is so weak, the rovers can hop using rotating motors that generate a torque and send them airborne for about 15 minutes.

Japan’s Aerospace Exploration Agency released the first blurry, otherworldly pictures from the rovers on September 22. One image appears to have been taken midhop.

Japan sent its first MINERVA rover with the original Hayabusa mission, which reached asteroid Itokawa in 2005, but that rover missed the asteroid and was lost in space. “I was so moved to see these small rovers successfully explore an asteroid surface because we could not achieve this at the time of Hayabusa 13 years ago,” wrote Hayabusa2’s project mission manager, Makoto Yoshikawa, on the mission’s webpage.

A German and French rover, also aboard Hayabusa2, is set to deploy to Ryugu on October 4. MASCOT will join the MINERVA-II1 rovers in measuring the asteroid’s composition, temperature and magnetic properties. A third MINERVA-II rover is scheduled to land sometime in 2019.

Later in October, the Hayabusa2 spacecraft is scheduled to touch down at a spot near the asteroid’s equator to gather a sample of dust, before returning to orbit. Depending on how that sample collection goes, the craft may try to collect two more samples from different parts of the asteroid. If successful, the spacecraft will send the asteroid dust back to Earth, to arrive in 2020.

2rr

TWO OF A KIND The twin MINERVA-II1 rovers, called Rover-1A (back) and Rover-1B (foreground), are shown exploring Ryugu in this illustration.

Hayabusa2 Project.

L. Grossman. Here’s where the Hayabusa2 spacecraft will land on the asteroid Ryugu. Science News Online, August 23, 2018.

M. Temming. Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft arrives at the asteroid Ryugu. Science News Online, June 27, 2018.

Ooh I am loving this! The exploration of space has been entrenched in my core and Soul since I was a very young boy and it is never going to stop thrilling my bones.

Space!

be well

 

o

NASA’s Opportunity rover appears as a blip in the center of this square. This image taken by HiRISE, a high-resolution camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows the dust storm over Perseverance Valley has substantially cleared. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona
› Full image and caption

NASA still hasn’t heard from the Opportunity rover, but at least we can see it again.

A new image produced by HiRISE, a high-resolution camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), shows a small object on the slopes of the Red Planet’s Perseverance Valley. That object is Opportunity, which was descending into the Martian valley when a dust storm swept over the region a little more than 100 days ago.

The storm was one of several that stirred up enough dust to enshroud most of the Red Planet and block sunlight from reaching the surface. The lack of sunlight caused the solar-powered Opportunity to go into hibernation.

The rover’s team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, hasn’t heard from it since. On Sept. 11, JPL began increasing the frequency of commands it beams to the 14-year-old rover.

The tau — a measurement of how much sunlight reaches the surface — over Opportunity was estimated to be a little higher than 10 during some points during the dust storm. The tau has steadily fallen in the last several months. On Thursday, Sept. 20, when this image was taken, tau was estimated to be about 1.3 by MRO’s Mars Color Imager camera.

This image was produced from about 166 miles (267 kilometers) above the Martian surface. The white box marks a 154-foot-wide (47-meter-wide) area centered on the rover.

The University of Arizona in Tucson operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., in Boulder, Colorado. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more, visit:
https://www.uahirise.org/ESP_056955_1775

Updates about Opportunity can be found here:
https://mars.nasa.gov/mer/mission/status.html

News Media Contact

Andrew Good
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
818-393-2433
[email protected]

2018-224

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Oh, man, I do hope my lil buddy comes back to life!

Fabulous news! And it’s going to return samples!

Here’s a little quickie for ya…

Japanese Probe Deploys Robots to Land on Asteroid Ryugu

VideoFromSpace
Published on Sep 21, 2018

JAXA’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft deployed two little “rovers” called MINERVA-II1A and MINERVA-II1B to land on the surface of asteroid Ryugu on Sept. 21, 2018. — Full Story: https://www.space.com/41898-hayabusa2… Credit: Space.com / footage coutesy: JAXA / produced and edited by Steve Spaleta

This one’s got a lot more mission details and a timeline of events:

JAPAN LANDS 2 MINI ROVERS ON ASTEROID RYUGU

R U Ready?
Published on Sep 20, 2018

The Hayabusa2 spacecraft dropped two mini rovers onto the asteroid Ryugu this week. The Hayabusa2 team began prepping seriously for the epic maneuver last week. The current schedule calls for the mother ship to descend toward Ryugu and for the two little disk-shaped robots, known as MINERVA-II1A and MINERVA-II1B, to deploy. sources: space.com global.jaxa.jp nasa.gov music: Long Note Two by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/…) Source: http://incompetech.com/music/royalty-… Artist: http://incompetech.com/

Ooh, this is gonna be good … and it also gives me reason to stay amongst the living. Because space!

be well

 

Life on Mars, Curiosity Rover

Martian Archaeology
Published on Sep 11, 2018

NASA has found life on Mars they just won’t confirm it until they can return a sample to Earth. pds-imaging.jpl.nasa.gov/data… mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl-raw-ima…

This is actually a pretty nice video. Only real anomalies, nicely presented with no sensationalist fanfare.

Just as it should be.

I do feel — strongly — that many of the things we have seen up there are indeed fossils.

I have no truck with NASA, though, unlike many. Science  requires them to be sure, they cannot “youtube” us, for that would ruin everything. That said I have been rather upset with them in the past, when they had some sort of agenda, probably forced upon them by libular slimeworms.

They’ve been doing great since that all ended.

Exciting times lie ahead!

be well

 

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A wonderful old Martian favorite. It is intriguing, don’tcha think?

Is it? Or is it not? I really want to know. Really.

And I am more confident than ever that someday we will know.

Hopefully I’ll be around to get the update.

I love Mars. It’s just so full of wonder, how could one not?

be well

 

kj

kj

flyingthroughspaceforever

Happy 100th birthday to Katherine Johnson!

Johnson is an black American mathematician who’s work with orbital mechanics proved critical to the success of early NASA missions.  Her work included calculating trajectories, launch windows, and emergency return paths for Project Mercury, the rendezvous paths for the Apollo Command and Lunar Module on it’s trip to the Moon, and her work was pivotal during the development of the Space Shuttle program.

She was initially hired on at the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) as a human computer, but her knowledge of analytic geometry helped her move up to an aerospace technologist.  Once NACA was folded into NASA in 1958, Johnson worked in the Spacecraft Controls Branch, and she was often called by management to verify electronic computations.

In 2015, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama for her instrumental work with NASA.  In 2016, a brand new building at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, was named after her.  The Katherine G. Johnson Computational Research Facility began operations in 2017.

This lovely genius taught von Braun’s boffins how to fly! LOLOLOL — How cool is that?

I salute you, dear Lady!

be well

 

mwdm

The blue spots are areas of water ice on the surface of the moon. Image credit NASA/JPL.

Pleased as punch to see that there are quite a few of them… and that bodes well for manned exploration and base stations in the future.

The image shows the distribution of surface ice at the Moon’s south pole (left) and north pole (right), detected by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument. Blue represents the ice locations, plotted over an image of the lunar surface, where the gray scale corresponds to surface temperature (darker representing colder areas and lighter shades indicating warmer zones). The ice is concentrated at the darkest and coldest locations, in the shadows of craters. This is the first time scientists have directly observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface.

This post is basically the article at JPL, which is linked below.

NEWS | AUGUST 20, 2018

Ice Confirmed at the Moon’s Poles

In the darkest and coldest parts of its polar regions, a team of scientists has directly observed definitive evidence of water ice on the Moon’s surface. These ice deposits are patchily distributed and could possibly be ancient. At the southern pole, most of the ice is concentrated at lunar craters, while the northern pole’s ice is more widely, but sparsely spread.

A team of scientists, led by Shuai Li of the University of Hawaii and Brown University and including Richard Elphic from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, used data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument to identify three specific signatures that definitively prove there is water ice at the surface of the Moon.

M3, aboard the Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, launched in 2008 by the Indian Space Research Organization, was uniquely equipped to confirm the presence of solid ice on the Moon. It collected data that not only picked up the reflective properties we’d expect from ice, but was able to directly measure the distinctive way its molecules absorb infrared light, so it can differentiate between liquid water or vapor and solid ice.

Most of the newfound water ice lies in the shadows of craters near the poles, where the warmest temperatures never reach above minus 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Because of the very small tilt of the Moon’s rotation axis, sunlight never reaches these regions.

Previous observations indirectly found possible signs of surface ice at the lunar south pole, but these could have been explained by other phenomena, such as unusually reflective lunar soil.

With enough ice sitting at the surface — within the top few millimeters — water would possibly be accessible as a resource for future expeditions to explore and even stay on the Moon, and potentially easier to access than the water detected beneath the Moon’s surface.

Learning more about this ice, how it got there, and how it interacts with the larger lunar environment will be a key mission focus for NASA and commercial partners, as we endeavor to return to and explore our closest neighbor, the Moon.

The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on August 20, 2018.

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, designed and built the moon mineralogy mapper instrument and was home to its project manager.

This is excellent news!

Sorry I am a couple of days late in posting.

Forgive me, you know I ain’t right in the head…

be well

 

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Possible critter remnant? Or critter byproduct remnant? Credit NASA/JPL

Tiny “terlet,” maybe? J/K. Sort of.

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The latest. Good enough for them to take a second look! Only happened once before. Credit NASA/JPL All pics here.

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Unfortunately… a false alarm… just a rock. Albeit the gol dang coolest rock we’ve seen in a long, long time!

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Nice hole, eh? Credit NASA/JPL

We need boots on the ground.

be well