Move across Helix Nebula

Move across Helix Nebula

A counterclockwise zoom and rotation sequence of the Helix Nebula. The Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys image of the Helix Nebula reveals thousands of comet-like filaments embedded along the inner rim of the nebula that point back towards the central star.

Credit: NASA, The Hubble Helix Team and G. Bacon (STScI)

► The animation below comes from a NASA video “Move across Helix Nebula”, that you can watch here>>

http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2003/11/video/c/

Helix Nebula, also known as NGC 7293, located at a distance of about 700 light-years in the constellation Aquarius, is one of the nearest planetary nebulae to Earth.

This bright and large planetary nebula was discovered by Karl Ludwig Harding, probably before 1824.

It is similar in appearance to the Cat’s Eye Nebula and the Ring Nebula, whose size, age, and physical characteristics are similar to the Dumbbell Nebula, varying only in its relative proximity and the appearance from the equatorial viewing angle.

The Helix Nebula has sometimes been referred to as the “Eye of God” in pop culture, as well as the “Eye of Sauron”.

The Helix Nebula is an example of a planetary nebula, or ‘nebula’ formed at the end of a star’s evolution. Gases from the star in the surrounding space appear, from our vantage point, as if we are looking down a helix structure. The remnant central stellar core, known as a planetary nebula nucleus or PNN, is destined to become a white dwarf star. The observed glow of the central star is so energetic that it causes the previously expelled gases to brightly fluoresce.

The Helix Nebula was also the first planetary nebula discovered to contain cometary knots. More than 20,000 of them are estimated to be in this interesting nebula. Their origins are still not well understood.

Further reading and references

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helix_Nebula

http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap080413.html

http://www.noao.edu/jacoby/pn_gallery.html

http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/1996/13/image/a/

Perspective view in Noctis Labyrinthus

Originally shared by Pierre Markuse

Perspective view in Noctis Labyrinthus

In this image taken on 15 July 2015 by the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) aboard ESA’s Mars Express you can see a perspective view in Noctis Labyrinthus on Mars. Visible are details of landslides in the steep-sided walls of the flat-topped graben (https://goo.gl/Rma96b) in the foreground, and in the valley walls in the background. Image resolution is about 16 meters per pixel.

Read more on Noctis Labyrinthus:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noctis_Labyrinthus

http://www.esa.int/spaceinimages/Images/2016/01/Perspective_view_in_Noctis_Labyrinthus

More on the Mars Express orbiter and the High Resolution Stereo Camera:

http://sci.esa.int/mars-express/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mars_Express

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Resolution_Stereo_Camera

Image credit: Title Perspective view in Noctis Labyrinthus ESA/DLR/FU Berlin http://goo.gl/AN7tsu CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO https://goo.gl/YgMSmb

 #mars  #NoctisLabyrinthus      

What Happens When Your Brain Can’t Tell Which Way is Up?

Originally shared by annarita ruberto

What Happens When Your Brain Can’t Tell Which Way is Up?

In space, there is no “up” or “down.” That can mess with the human brain and affect the way people move and think in space. An investigation on the International Space Station seeks to understand how the brain changes in space and ways to deal with those changes.

Previous research and first-hand reports suggest that humans have a harder time controlling physical movement and completing mental tasks in microgravity. Astronauts have experienced problems with balance and perceptual illusions – feeling as if, for example, they are switching back and forth between right-side-up and upside down.

The Spaceflight Effects on Neurocognitive Performance: Extent, Longevity, and Neural Bases (NeuroMapping) study is examining changes in both brain structure and function and determining how long it takes to recover after returning from space.

Researchers are using both behavioral assessments and brain imaging. Astronauts complete timed obstacle courses and tests of their spatial memory, or the ability to mentally picture and manipulate a three-dimensional shape, before and after spaceflight. The spatial memory test also is performed aboard the station, along with sensory motor adaptation tests and computerized exercises requiring them to move and think simultaneously. Astronauts are tested shortly after arriving aboard the station, mid-way through and near the end of a six-month flight.

Structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans of the brain are done pre-flight and post-flight.

Read the whole article for knowing more>>

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/news/neuromapping

Left image explanation: This illustration shows the configuration for conducting neurocognitive assessments for the Neuromapping study aboard the International Space Station.

Credits: NASA

Right image explanation: These slides show changes in volume in certain areas of the brain that occur with long-duration, head-down tilt bed rest. The Neuromapping Flight Study examines whether similar changes occur with spaceflight.

Credits: University of Michigan

#NASA

Heads Up!! Last time to see a Super Blood Moon eclipse until 2033!

Originally shared by Corina Marinescu

Heads Up!! Last time to see a Super Blood Moon eclipse until 2033!

There is a total eclipse of the moon on the night of September 27-28, 2015. It happens to be the closest supermoon of 2015. It’s the Northern Hemisphere’s Harvest Moon, or full moon nearest the September equinox. This September full moon is also called a Blood Moon, because it presents the fourth and final eclipse of a lunar tetrad: four straight total eclipses of the moon, spaced at six lunar months (full moons) apart. 

The total lunar eclipse is visible from the most of North America and all of South America after sunset September 27. From eastern South America and Greenland, the greatest eclipse happens around midnight September 27-28. In Europe, Africa and the Middle East, the total eclipse takes place in the wee hours of the morning, after midnight and before sunrise September 28.

H/t Earthsky; thanks for the nice reading!

Full article: http://earthsky.org/?p=51212

Reference and animations via NASA

https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/Gallery/SupermoonLunarEclipseSeptember2015.html

Animation:

The geometry of the Moon’s orbit in motion from the end of August until the supermoon eclipse on September 27-28, 2015. The inner blue circle shows perigee distance, the outer blue circle shows apogee distance, and the off-center, light gray circle shows the Moon’s orbit.

       

The death of Claudia J. Alexander

 

Originally shared by Unknown

The death of Claudia J. Alexander, a phenomenal woman of science, was totally overlooked by the social media world. WHY IS THAT??!

Well let me educate you just a little bit.

Claudia J. Alexander, a NASA scientist who oversaw the dramatic conclusion of the space agency’s long-lived Galileo mission to Jupiter and managed the United States’ role in the international comet-chasing Rosetta project, died July 11 at Methodist Hospital of Southern California in Arcadia. She was 56.

The cause was breast cancer, said her sister, Suzanne Alexander.

During nearly three decades at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, Alexander was known for her research on subjects including solar wind, Jupiter and its moons, and the evolution and inner workings of comets.

She was the last project manager of Galileo, one of the most successful missions for exploring the distant reaches of the solar system. Alexander was leading the mission when scientists orchestrated its death dive into Jupiter’s dense atmosphere in 2003, when the spacecraft finally ran out of fuel after eight years orbiting the giant planet.

Most recently, she was Rosetta’s U.S. project manager, coordinating with the European Space Agency on the orbiter’s journey to rendezvous with the 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko comet as it circles the sun.

Colleagues said Alexander was particularly keen on”I was a pretty lonely girl. I was the only black girl in pretty much an all-white school and spent a lot of time by myself — with my imagination.”- Claudia Alexander engaging the public in space science.

She spearheaded Rosetta’s efforts to involve amateur astronomers through social media and recognize the value of their ground-level observations of the spacecraft’s path toward deep space. In particular, she spurred the creation of a Facebook group where members of the amateur community post comments on their sightings and interact with her and other scientists.

“Claudia’s vision was to engage and empower the amateur community via various social media… a new wrinkle on the concept” of public engagement in NASA’s missions, said Padma A. Yanamandra-Fisher, a senior research scientist with the Space Science Institute who coordinated the outreach.

“I was a pretty lonely girl. I was the only black girl in pretty much an all-white school and spent a lot of time by myself — with my imagination.”- Claudia Alexander

“I was a pretty lonely girl. I was the only black girl in pretty much an all-white school and spent a lot of time by myself — with my imagination.”- Claudia Alexander

“She had a special understanding of how scientific discovery affects us all, and how our greatest achievements are the result of teamwork, which came easily to her,” JPL director Charles Elachi said in a statement. “Her insight into the scientific process will be sorely missed.”

Alexander was born in Vancouver, Canada, on May 30, 1959. She moved to the Silicon Valley with her family when she was 1 and grew up in Santa Clara. Her father, Harold Alexander, was a social worker and her mother, Gaynelle, was a corporate librarian for chip-maker Intel.

As an African American in a predominantly white community, Alexander felt isolated. Writing became a refuge for her.

“I was a pretty lonely girl,” she recalled in a feature for the University of Michigan’s Engineering Magazine. “I was the only black girl in pretty much an all-white school and spent a lot of time by myself — with my imagination.”

She wanted to study journalism at UC Berkeley, but her parents “would only agree to pay for it if I majored in something ‘useful,’ like engineering,” she said in an interview for the Rosetta website.

During college she became an engineering intern at NASA’s Ames Research Center near San Jose. But she found herself drawn to the space facility and visited it as often as she could. Her supervisor eventually arranged for her to intern in the space science division.

She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in geophysics at UC Berkeley and a master’s in geophysics and space physics at UCLA. At the University of Michigan, she wrote her doctoral thesis on comet thermophysical nuclear modeling and earned a PhD in atmospheric, oceanic and space sciences.

In 1986, she joined JPL as a team member for Galileo, which was still years from launching.

In 2000, she became Rosetta’s U.S. project scientist at the relatively young age of 40.

“She was always looking to improve the project and make things flow better,” said Paul Weissman, an interdisciplinary scientist on Rosetta. “Europeans can be difficult about collaborations. Claudia would get people to open up and work together.”

In 2003, she became Galileo project manager, guiding efforts to destroy the venerable spacecraft to prevent it from accidentally crashing into and contaminating any of Jupiter’s moons.

She had also served as a science coordinator on the Cassini mission to Saturn.

In her spare time, Alexander wrote two books on science for children and mentored young people, especially African American girls. “She wanted children of color to see themselves as scientists,” her sister Suzanne said.

A fan of the steampunk movement in science fiction, Alexander wrote and published short stories in the genre. She wore the Victorian-style clothing associated with steampunk fashion when she taped a TED talk on how to engage youths in math and science. Her lecture will be released later this year.

Alexander was never married and had no children. Besides her mother and sister, she is survived by a brother, David Alexander.

 

 

Via Tania Scott on Facebook

On March 22, 2010, communication with NASA’s Mars rover Spirit was lost.

Originally shared by Penny4NASA

On March 22, 2010, communication with NASA’s Mars rover Spirit was lost.

Originally designed for a 90 Sol mission (a Sol, one Martian day, is slightly longer than one Earth day) few would have expected Mars Exploration Rover Spirit to operate as long as 2210 Sols – that’s 24.5 times the planned mission duration!

“It’s an incredible testimony to engineering that this plucky little craft survived 3 winters, when it wasn’t designed to survive any such weather conditions at all,” said Neil Mottinger, a navigation engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Landing on the opposite side of Mars from its twin, the still operating Opportunity rover, Spirit was part of an effort to answer important questions surrounding the history of the Martian environment and its suitability for the formation of life. Understandably, one central element of these questions was to better understand the history of water on the planet – from its current status to what early Martian topography may have looked like.

One of many discoveries that Spirit made included finding supportive evidence suggesting rocks from the plains of Gusev had been slightly altered by tiny amounts of water. As the rover had observed, outside coatings and cracks within these samples had suggested water deposited minerals.

While Spirit delivered troves of valuable data home during its activity, it became irrecoverably obstructed in soft soil on Sol 1892 (May 1st, 2009), an incident that would spell the end for the rover. Attempts to free the rover ended on Sol 2155 (January 26, 2010), when NASA reclassified the mission as a stationary research platform. It continued performing science operations from its current location until communication with Spirit was lost on Sol 2210 (March 22, 2010). Attempts to reestablish communication with the rover have been unsuccessful.

Watch this short video, “The Legacy of Mars Rover Spirit”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T_G3qUoCWtA

To read more about Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and its findings:

http://goo.gl/qaryNF

http://goo.gl/GNgPJ7

http://goo.gl/tC0ILR

http://goo.gl/sNbz3I

Celebrate the accomplishments of Mars Exploration Rover Spirit by writing to Congress to let them know you support doubling funding for NASA: http://www.penny4nasa.org/take-action/

 

Twas the night before launch…

Originally shared by NASA

Twas the night before launch…

At a Launch Readiness Review Saturday, managers for Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Virginia, and NASA gave a “go” to proceed toward the Sunday, July 13, launch of the Orb-2 cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Orbital is targeting a 12:52 p.m. EDT launch from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport Pad 0A at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. NASA Television coverage of the launch will begin at noon EDT online at http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv.

There is a 90-percent chance of favorable weather at the time of launch.

Seen here is the full Moon setting in the fog behind the Orbital Sciences Corporation Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, Saturday, July 12, 2014, launch Pad-0A, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The Antares will launch Sunday, July 13 at 12:52 p.m. EDT with the Cygnus spacecraft filled with over 3,000 pounds of supplies for the International Space Station, including science experiments, experiment hardware, spare parts, and crew provisions. The Orbital-2 mission is Orbital Sciences’ second contracted cargo delivery flight to the space station for NASA. 

Photo Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

#Orb2

Farewell Lutetia | European Space Agency

Originally shared by Friends of NASA

Farewell Lutetia | European Space Agency

This ethereal image shows a stunning sliver of large main-belt asteroid Lutetia from the viewpoint of ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft, taken as Rosetta passed by on its 10-year voyage towards comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko.

This week marks four years since Rosetta flew by this ancient rocky body, on July 10, 2010. As the spacecraft swung past Lutetia it snapped hundreds of high-resolution photographs with its Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) as well as obtaining valuable spectra, and maps of the surface temperature using other instruments.

This image was taken as Rosetta had passed its closest approach, at just under 3170 km from Lutetia’s surface, and was beginning its journey away from the asteroid.

As a result of this flyby, astronomers have been able to characterise Lutetia, viewing the wide range of craters and geological features scarring the asteroid’s surface and gauging its mass and volume–and thus density and composition. These measurements showed that Lutetia is primordial, likely having formed just under 4 billion years ago during the very early phases of the Solar System.

This asteroid is one of just two that Rosetta has closely flown past, the other being asteroid Steins in 2008.

Rosetta was launched in 2004 and, after 10 years in space, will finally rendezvous with its target comet in August. It will study the comet’s surface, dust and gases in unprecedented detail, deploy a lander onto its surface, and follow the comet for over a year as it orbits around the Sun.

Credit: ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA

Release Date: 07/07/2014 

European Space Agency, ESA 

 #Space   #Asteroid