Astrobiology Magazine 9 Jun 2009, 07:01 UTC It is almost impossible to get a spacecraft completely clean before launch. Because of this, one of the biggest difficulties in searching for life on planets like Mars is not contaminating the research site with microbes from Earth. Now, scientists have developed a new cleaning protocol that could help alleviate the problem.
Lunar Networks 9 Jun 2009, 06:50 UTC Ranger 8 Impact Trajectory Overlay on LOII-070-HOutstanding! From Moonviews tonight comes news waiting four decades to be uncovered, another timely enhancement of near-forgotten data, performed by the Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) in Colorado."The Lunar Orbiter II-070-H image (Frame 70, High resolution) has a unique feature that is relevant to the LCROSS mission. This image shows the impact site of the Ranger 8 mission. This location was identified decades ago and is discussed in the NASA SP-168 online address. This location was also photographed during the Apollo 16 mission (NASA SP-315 page 29-46) but at a lower resolution of 3-5 meters. The image was taken from an altitude of 45.81 km. The resolution is about 0.4 meters per pixel. The crater from the Ranger impact is not well defined in the existing film database, especially as it appears at the boundary between two framelets." Scan the latest from LOIRP (Moonviews) HERE.
Lunar Networks 9 Jun 2009, 06:24 UTC Hat Tip to Svetoslav Alexandrov alerting us (a second time) of new publicly released images from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) lunar orbiter Chandrayaan-1, this time showing off some remarkable images from poorly photographed parts of the Moon's polar regions.This time ISRO shows off images taken using "indigenously engineered" experiments, Chandrayaan's Terrain Mapping stereo Camera (TMC), in the panchromatic band with a 5 meter spatial resolution in 20 kilometer-wide swaths and the Hyper Spectral Imaging camera (HySI) operating in 400-950 nm bands with a spectral resolution better than 15 nm, a spatial resolution of 80 meters also taken up in 20 kilometer swaths.With anticipation building (and perhaps a lot riding) ahead of the June 17 launch of LRO & LCROSS, and tomorrow morning's anticipated impact of Japan's famed Kaguya, ISRO is reminding anyone who might be listening that India will soon, however briefly, be the only nation with a working presense in the Moon's vicinity.(More, ISRO... send us MORE!)
Universe Today 9 Jun 2009, 00:31 UTC Astronomers have developed a new technique to accurately determine the ages of millisecond pulsars, the fastest-spinning stars in the universe. The standard method for estimating pulsar ages is known to yield unreliable results, especially for the fast-spinning millisecond pulsars, said Bülent Kiziltan, a graduate student in astronomy and astrophysics at University of California Sant a Cruz. “An accurate determination of pulsar ages is of fundamental importance, because it has ramifications for understanding the formation and evolution of pulsars, the physics of neutron stars, and other areas,” he said.(...)Read the rest of New Technique Reveals Ages of Millisecond Pulsars (400 words) © nancy for Universe Today, 2009. |Permalink |No comment |Add todel.icio.us Post tags: Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh
Universe Today 8 Jun 2009, 22:48 UTC Using a rare type of giant Cepheid variable stars as cosmic milemarkers, astronomers have found a way to measure distances to objects three times farther away in space than previously possible. Classical Cepheids are stars that pulse in brightness and have long been used as reference points for measuring distances in the nearby Universe. But astronomers have found a way to use “ultra long period” (ULP) Cepheid variables as beacons to measure distances up to 300 million light years and beyond.(...)Read the rest of Astronomers Find New Way to Measure Cosmic Distances (862 words) © nancy for Universe Today, 2009. |Permalink |No comment |Add todel.icio.us Post tags: Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh
Tom's Astronomy Blog 8 Jun 2009, 20:48 UTC I love these launches! I’d like to be on a launch crew someday. Oh it’s no walk in the park, but boy-oh-boy it would be a great experience to be sure.This launch was from the Esrage Space center run by the Sweedish Space Corporation. Rather than listen to me go on and [...] Launch of Sunrise. Click for larger. Credit: SSC I love these launches! I’d like to be on a launch crew someday. Oh it’s no walk in the park, but boy-oh-boy it would be a great experience to be sure.This launch was from the Esrage Space center run by the Sweedish Space Corporation. Rather than listen to me go on and on, probably best if you just read the press release (get a load of the statistics for this set up).From the Swedish Space Corporation:The giant telescope SUNRISE was launched from Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden. At 08.05 (local time) this morning, the largest balloon born telescope ever took off from Swedish Space Corporation’s (SSC) launch facility at Esrange Space Center in northern Sweden. The balloon, the technical equipment and the gondola weigh around 6 ton all together and this is by far the heaviest payload ever ...
Universe Today 8 Jun 2009, 18:26 UTC Thanks to the Swift satellite and several ground based optical telescopes, astronomers are learning more about so-called “dark” gamma-ray bursts, which are bright in gamma- and X-ray emissions but with little or no visible light. These dark bursts are also providing astronomers with insights on finding areas of star formation that are hidden by dust. “Our study provides compelling evidence that a large fraction of star formation in the universe is hidden by dust in galaxies that do not appear otherwise dusty,” said Joshua Bloom, associate professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley and senior author of the study, who presented his findings at the American Astronomical Society meeting in California.(...)Read the rest of “Dark” Gamma-Ray Bursts Shed Light on Star Formation (659 words) © nancy for Universe Today, 2009. |Permalink |No comment |Add todel.icio.us Post tags: Feed enhanced by Better Feed from Ozh
The Planetary Society Blog 8 Jun 2009, 17:49 UTC by John Spencer John Spencer is a staff scientist at Southwest Research Institute's Department of Space Studies in Boulder, Colorado and is a member of the New Horizons and Cassini science teams. His research interests include the moons of the outer planets, particularly the Galilean satellites of Jupiter and the icy moons of Saturn. His favorite moons are the active ones, Io and Enceladus. When he's not staring at a computer screen, he enjoys ....
Professor Astronomy 8 Jun 2009, 14:30 UTC Discover Magazine and Celestron are sponsoring Capture the Universe, an astrophotography contest; Phil Plait, a.k.a. the Bad Astronomer, is the judge of this venture. The main rules: your images must be taken on Celestron equipment, and the due date is June 30 (of course there are more). Prizes include new telescopes, and Eyepieces