archive-edu.com » EDU » U » USRA.EDU

Total: 1151

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Planet “Reared” by Four Parent Stars
    136 light years away in the constellation Aries The system s gaseous planet is enormous with 10 times the mass of Jupiter and it orbits its primary star every 335 days The primary star has a relatively close partner star which the planet does not orbit This pair in turn is locked in a long distance orbit with another pair of stars about 1670 astronomical units AU away an astronomical unit is the distance between Earth and the Sun Astronomers think it s highly unlikely that this planet or any moons that might circle it could sustain life Were it possible to see the skies from this world the four parent stars would look like one small sun and two very bright stars that would be visible in daylight One of those stars if viewed with a large enough telescope would be revealed to be a binary system or two stars orbiting each other In recent years dozens of planets with two or three parent stars have been found including those with Tatooine sunsets reminiscent of the Star Wars movies Finding planets with multiple parents isn t too much of a surprise considering that binary stars are more common in our galaxy than single stars Star systems come in myriad forms There can be single stars binary stars triple stars even quintuple star systems said Lewis Roberts of JPL lead author of the new findings appearing in the Astronomical Journal It s amazing the way nature puts these things together Roberts and his colleagues want to understand the effects that multiple parent stars can have on their developing youthful planets Evidence suggests that stellar companions can influence the fate of planets by changing the planets orbits and even triggering some to grow more massive For example the hot Jupiters planets

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/030515/30_Ari/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive


  • Single Site on Mars Advanced for 2016 NASA Lander
    the others would be imaged and could be selected The favored site is centered at about 4 N latitude and 136 E longitude This is wondrous terrain exactly what we want to land on because it is smooth flat with very few rocks in the highest resolution images said InSight s site selection leader Matt Golombek of NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL Mars orbiters have provided detailed information about the candidate sites which are mapped as landing ellipses about 130 kilometers 81 miles west to east by about 27 kilometers 17 miles north to south An ellipse covers the area within which InSight has odds of about 99 of landing if targeted for the ellipse center Several types of terrain such as cratered etched and smooth were mapped in each ellipse The one chosen for final evaluations has highest proportion in the smooth category After InSight reaches Mars on September 28 2016 the mission will assess properties of the planet s crust mantle and core The interior of Mars has not been churned as much as Earth s because Mars lacks the tectonic activity that recycles Earth s crustal plates back into the mantle Thus Mars offers an opportunity to find clues no longer present on Earth about how rocky planets such as Earth Mars Venus and Mercury formed and evolved InSight s primary science will study the planet s interior not surface features Besides safety for the landing the main site selection criterion is for the ground within reach of the lander s robotic arm to be penetrable for a heat flow probe designed to hammer itself into the soil to a depth three to five meters yards Evidence that the ground will be suitable for the probe rather than rock solid comes from assessment by the Thermal

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/030515/InSight/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • LPI Announces Career Development Award Winners
    Approximately 2000 participants from all over the world are expected to gather for the annual meeting which has gained the reputation of being the premiere gathering place for lunar and planetary scientists The meeting provides an invaluable opportunity for students not only to present their own research but also to hear and see firsthand the latest breaking results from other researchers in their field Opportunities are also provided for students

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/020615/cda/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • New Horizons Spacecraft Begins First Stages of Pluto Encounter
    82 billion kilometers 3 billion miles and will soon pass close to Pluto inside the orbits of its five known moons In preparation for the close encounter the mission s science engineering and spacecraft operations teams configured the piano sized probe for distant observations of the Pluto system that start on Sunday January 25 with a long range photo shoot The images captured by New Horizons telescopic Long Range Reconnaissance Imager LORRI will give mission scientists a continually improving look at the dynamics of Pluto s moons The images will also play a critical role in navigating the spacecraft as it covers the remaining 220 million kilometers 135 million miles to Pluto We ve completed the longest journey any spacecraft has flown from Earth to reach its primary target and we are ready to begin exploring said Alan Stern New Horizons principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder Colorado LORRI will take hundreds of pictures of Pluto over the next few months to refine current estimates of the distance between the spacecraft and the dwarf planet Although the Pluto system will resemble little more than bright dots in the camera s view until May mission navigators will use the data to design course correction maneuvers to aim the spacecraft toward its target point this summer The first such maneuver could occur as early as March We need to refine our knowledge of where Pluto will be when New Horizons flies past it said Mark Holdridge New Horizons encounter mission manager at Johns Hopkins University s Applied Physics Laboratory APL in Laurel Maryland The flyby timing also has to be exact because the computer commands that will orient the spacecraft and point the science instruments are based on precisely knowing the time we pass Pluto which these images will

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/012215/new_horizons/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Dawn Delivers New Image of Ceres
    taken for navigation purposes during the approach to Ceres Over the next several weeks Dawn will deliver increasingly better and better images of the dwarf planet leading up to the spacecraft s capture into orbit around Ceres on March 6 The images will continue to improve as the spacecraft spirals closer to the surface during its 16 month study of the dwarf planet We know so much about the solar system and yet so little about dwarf planet Ceres Now Dawn is ready to change that said Marc Rayman Dawn s chief engineer and mission director based at NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory JPL in Pasadena California The best images of Ceres so far were taken by NASA s Hubble Space Telescope in 2003 and 2004 The most recent images from Dawn taken January 13 2015 at about 80 of Hubble resolution are not quite as sharp But Dawn s images will surpass Hubble s resolution at the next imaging opportunity which will be at the end of January Already the latest images hint at first surface structures such as craters said Andreas Nathues lead investigator for the framing camera team at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research Gottingen Germany Ceres is the largest body in the main asteroid belt which lies between Mars and Jupiter It has an average diameter of 950 kilometers 590 miles and is thought to contain a large amount of ice Some scientists think it s possible that the surface conceals an ocean Dawn s arrival at Ceres will mark the first time a spacecraft has ever visited a dwarf planet The team is very excited to examine the surface of Ceres in never before seen detail said Chris Russell principal investigator for the Dawn mission based at the University of California Los

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/012215/dawn/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • NASA, Microsoft Collaboration Will Allow Scientists to “Work on Mars”
    mission at NASA Headquarters in Washington It fundamentally changes our perception of Mars and how we understand the Mars environment surrounding the rover OnSight will use real rover data and extend the Curiosity mission s existing planning tools by creating a three dimensional 3 D simulation of the martian environment where scientists around the world can meet Program scientists will be able to examine the rover s worksite from a first person perspective plan new activities and preview the results of their work firsthand We believe OnSight will enhance the ways in which we explore Mars and share that journey of exploration with the world said Jeff Norris JPL s OnSight project manager Until now rover operations required scientists to examine Mars imagery on a computer screen and make inferences about what they are seeing But images even 3 D stereo views lack a natural sense of depth that human vision employs to understand spatial relationships The OnSight system uses holographic computing to overlay visual information and rover data into the user s field of view Holographic computing blends a view of the physical world with computer generated imagery to create a hybrid of real and virtual To view this holographic realm members of the Curiosity mission team don a Microsoft HoloLens device which surrounds them with images from the rover s martian field site They then can stroll around the rocky surface or crouch down to examine rocky outcrops from different angles The tool provides access to scientists and engineers looking to interact with Mars in a more natural human way Previously our Mars explorers have been stuck on one side of a computer screen This tool gives them the ability to explore the rover s surroundings much as an Earth geologist would do field work here on our

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/012215/onSight/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • NASA, Planetary Scientists Find Meteoritic Evidence of Mars Water Reservoir
    Tokyo Institute of Technology in Japan lead author of the paper and a former NASA Lunar and Planetary Institute postdoctoral fellow Until this study there was no direct evidence for this surface reservoir or interaction of it with rocks that have landed on Earth from the surface of Mars Researchers from the Tokyo Institute of Technology the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington and NASA s Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science Division located at the agency s Johnson Space Center in Houston studied three martian meteorites The samples revealed water composed of hydrogen atoms that have a ratio of isotopes distinct from that found in water in the Red Planet s mantle and current atmosphere Isotopes are atoms of the same element with differing numbers of neutrons While recent orbiter missions have confirmed the presence of subsurface ice and melting ground ice is believed to have formed some geomorphologic features on Mars this study used meteorites of different ages to show that significant groundwater ice may have existed relatively intact over time Researchers emphasize that the distinct hydrogen isotopic signature of the water reservoir must be of sufficient size that it has not reached isotopic equilibrium with the atmosphere The hydrogen isotopic composition of the current atmosphere could be fixed by a quasi steady state process that involves rapid loss of hydrogen to space and the sublimation from a widespread ice layer said co author John Jones a JSC experimental petrologist and member of NASA s Mars Curiosity rover team Curiosity s observations in a lake bed in an area called Mount Sharp indicate Mars lost its water in a gradual process over a significant period of time In the absence of returned samples from Mars this study emphasizes the importance of finding

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/122414/mars/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Signs of Europa Plumes Remain Elusive in Search of Cassini Data
    been overestimating the density of Europa s atmosphere by quite a bit said Don Shemansky a Cassini UVIS team member with Space Environment Technologies in Pasadena California who led the study The team found that the moon s tenuous atmosphere which was already thought to be millions of times thinner than Earth s atmosphere is actually about 100 times less dense than those previous estimates A downward revision in the amount of oxygen Europa pumps into the environment around Jupiter would make it less likely that the moon is regularly venting plumes of water vapor high into orbit especially at the time the data was acquired Scientists would expect that ongoing plume activity at Europa as Cassini has observed at Saturn s moon Enceladus would inject large amounts of water vapor into the area around Europa s orbit if the plumes were large enough but that is not what UVIS observed We found no evidence for water near Europa even though we have readily detected it as it erupts in the plumes of Enceladus said Larry Esposito UVIS team lead at the University of Colorado at Boulder It is certainly still possible that plume activity occurs but that it is infrequent or the plumes are smaller than we see at Enceladus said Amanda Hendrix a Cassini UVIS team member with the Planetary Science Institute in Pasadena who co authored the new study If eruptive activity was occurring at the time of Cassini s flyby it was at a level too low to be detectable by UVIS Indications of possible plume activity were reported in 2013 by researchers using NASA s Hubble Space Telescope launching a wave of interest in searching for additional signs including this effort by the UVIS team Cassini s 2001 Jupiter flyby provided UVIS the opportunity to

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/122414/europa/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive



  •