Archive for the ‘NASA’ Tag

Global Martian Dust Storm   12 comments

The View from Insight! 🙂

It’s pretty packed here on the Mars Insight Probe and there’s nothing much to see outside right now… so we’ve been watching live streams of the dust storm taking over Mars to pass the time…Not very impressed with the view there right now either! 😉

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The Martian dust storm that has been engulfing the red planet for the last two weeks or so has now ballooned into full-blown global dust event magnitudes (officially known as a “planet-encircling” dust event.) as of 20th June. The atmospheric dust-haze now surrounding Mars and blocking out the sunlight as it covers the sky, is in the region of six to eight times greater than its seasonally normal density. In the absence of sunlight dusty red Mars has taken on a weirdly spooky-shadowless appearance.

Mars 2Poor little “Oppy” (NASA’s Opportunity rover) has been somewhat swamped, being in the wrong place at the wrong time and the Martian dust storm has diminished the sunlight it relies on for power, to such an extent (like completely obliterated it) that “Oppy” has been compelled to postpone all of its science activities until further notice. Without enough available power from its solar panels Oppy could not even “call home,” and NASA and Oppy lost contact altogether on 12th June 2018.

Mars 3Over on a different part of the planet at the infamous Gale Crater, Curiosity (NASA’s Curiosity rover), which has been hard at work studying the Martian soil in the region, has fared considerably better and it isn’t anticipated to be unduly bothered by the dust. Despite the antics of the Martian dust storm diminishing both sunlight and visibility in Gale Crater, Curiosity, who arrived on Mars five years after the last Martian dust storm of this nature, in 2007, has the edge over “Oppy” because it sports a nuclear-powered battery running 24/7 and doesn’t therefore have power issues to sweat over, unlike “Oppy”.

MarsThe offending dusty haze floating around the Martian atmosphere, resulting from the storm which is blocking out the sunlight, is known as “tau.” This tau level is at an all-time high rising tau level 8.0 at Curiosity’s location in Gale Crater. No higher tau has ever been recorded by the mission. The area close to Oppy’s location last measured a tau of almost level 11, and at such a high dust intensity it rendered impossible the job of Oppy – the longest working Mars rover, to provide any kind of precise measurements.  

Of course we experience dust storms of our own here on Earth. They occur  in the desert regions of, for example, the Middle East, North Africa and some southwest regions of the USA . However, thanks to our thicker atmosphere and its structural design along with the stronger gravity of Earth than on Mars, the dust is compelled to settle rather than floating around the atmosphere, as on Mars.  Our planet also benefits from the presence of land-growing vegetation.

Mars 4Usually dust storms occurring on Mars are confined locally.  This current storm is distinctive in that it covers an area the equivalent of the combination of Earth’s N America and Russia.  On a positive note it is a great opportunity to gain a more advanced knowledge of the way in which these Martian storms occur, progress and ultimately influence the red planet.

In the meantime Wolfie is passing the time chomping through stray pieces of liver cake floating past, posing for selfies and eyeing up the strange Manor-like building drifting randomly past the windows…. 🙂

Sources:

www.nasa.gov

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

www.space.com

www.astronomy.com

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InSight is GO!!   12 comments

InSight launched successfully and Wolfie is GO for Mars! 🚀🛰😀

Join IceWolf’s Holiday in the Sun!   4 comments

😃Send Your Name to the Sun 😃🛰🚀

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So! That’s Icewolf’s summer holiday sorted! And a sun tan the like of which has never been seen before!! 

Launch Site: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center:  July 31 – Aug 19, 2018

Join the Mission – Send Your Name to the Sun

Follow the Mission at Facebook: NASASunScience

Follow the Mission at Twitter: NASASun

Additional Information about the Parker Solar Probe Mission

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Happy Easter from Europa :)   13 comments

 

 

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New evidence from NASA indicates that the most likely places to find life beyond Earth are Jupiter’s moon Europa or Saturn’s moon Enceladus. They, like Earth, are both ocean worlds and in both therein are some of the key ingredients for life.

A wealth of hydrogen molecules in water plumes soaring from the ruptures in Enceladus’s icy surface, have been detected by the Cassini spacecraft. The vital chemical methane, could also be establishing itself in the ocean beneath the ice.

The elusive presence of a water plume erupting on the warmest part of Europa’s icy surface, which has a salty liquid ocean beneath it was shown by the Hubble Space Telescope. The ocean itself contains double the amount of water found in the oceans of Earth.

 

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Europa could be the pick of the bunch for life-bearing within our own solar system outside of our homeworld. will launch In the 2020’s the Europa Clipper will be launched, and should arrive at Europa a few years later. It will be the first to explore an alien ocean and will also fly through the plume to collect data.

It will definitely be a first to discover Intergalactic Liver Cake – staple diet of Icewolves, and indeed most domestic canines Earth! The structure of the Liver Cake may differ slightly from much-loved Earthly treat, but the Europan version is just as mouthwatering and tasty to both lupine and canine alike 🙂 And what better time than Easter, the time of ressurection and new life, to discover tantsalising new life hopes on worlds not so very far from home?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Icewolf of course, did not go hunting any down without telling Clowie, the Pyrenean Mountain Dog…she would never dream of such indiscretion 😉 …. Never!

Image: Europa’s Icewolf 2017_ Europa’s Icewolf: Jupiter, seen from Europa.

 

Christmas Full Moon 2015   25 comments

 

Christmas Full Moon 2015

The rare Christmas Day Full Moon was the first lunar event of its kind to occur in 38 years and the last Full Moon of 2015. Known as the Cold Full Moon due to its early winter occurrence the last Christmas Full Moon to rise in the skies of Earth was in 1977 and according to NASA’s Goddard Centre we will not see another such event until 2034.

For those who completely missed the whole event due to bad weather it looked like this!

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Christmas Full Moon, 2015.

Credits: Google Images_Public Domain

‘As you gaze up at the Christmas moon, take note that Nasa has a spacecraft currently orbiting Earth’s moon.’

– Nasa’s Nancy Neal Jones, from the Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland

‘As we look at the moon on such an occasion, it’s worth remembering that the moon is more than just a celestial neighbour.

– NASA’s John Keller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Well it would be if anyone had actually been able to see it! And as to the NASA spacecraft… not much hope of spotting that if no-one could see a great big shiny globe like the Moon in the oh so painfully cloudy-couldn’t-see-a-nuclear bomb-if-it-was-on-a-collision-course-with-Earth skies! But if you could have seen a tiny little speck of spacecraft toddling past us this is what it would have looked like….

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Credits: Wikipedia Public Domain Image

The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), which has been studying the moon’s mountains and craters since 2009, giving us some truly priceless input into our knowledge of the moon.

(LRO is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.)

It has to be admitted however, albeit rather grudgingly since most of us were afflicted with too much cloud cover to see anything at all, 2015 has been a pretty unbelievable year as regards events of the lunar variety… okay most of us won’t be able to name any since we never actually got to see any but we probably all heard the odd news flash about the last one – the extra rare one back in September when we treated to the awesome – not, if like the rest of us you saw absolutely nothing but grey, cloudy skies – Supermoon Lunar Eclipse. Very pretty…if you could actually see the thing!!

Credits: dailymail.co.uk

nasa.gov

The Mansionoid Meteorite Showers (3)   17 comments

 

The Mansionoid meteorite Showers(3)

New Horizons_Image Credit: Google ImagesCindy, the intrepid traveller and highly skilled, photographer was hitching a ride aboard NASA’s New Horizons probe, busy capturing extraordinary images of Pluto and beyond for NASA although she didn’t actually realise that this was the case, and was instead happily engrossed with preparing a series of exotic intergalactic blog posts for her WordPress blog!

She couldn’t help but notice that The Holler appeared to be accompanying her… a strange phenomenon she noted absently, smiling as she added a caption to her latest photo, but presumably nothing to be overly concerned about – after all NASA knew what they were doing…didn’t they?

 

Black Hole_ Image Credit: Google Images

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She was a little surprised the next time she pointed the camera lens into the depths of intergalactic space to be confronted with the extraordinary sight of the Cameraoid meteorite shower and a very large black hole swirling towards her…great photography! She thought unfazed by the situation.

With the natural expertise of a born-photographer she aligned the complex photographic apparel of the New Horizon’s probe with the fast-approaching vortex and took a closer look at the tiny speck of starlight twinkling away cheerfully in the distant heart of it… Tom’s Mansion!! Cindy was delighted to find such a photographic gem availing her vision and further magnification proved the “starlight” to be the lights from the the Cameraoid meteorite shower glinting and sparkling off the bright new windows the Mansion had recently fitted for itself without Tom’s knowledge… and it was snowing! How wonderful! Cindy beamed to herself, admiring the architectural enhancements highlighted by glittering snow flakes against the backdrop of galactic space…it all looked rather warped however, she noted frowning slightly…must be something to do with the effects of the temporal shift occurring within the vortex New Horizons reported after completing a tentative probe into the subject. She should probably check out his blog page…he’d probably got a post up about that by now!

Tom most definitely had not posted anything on his blog page! In fact he wasn’t even thinking about it at that point, for a change. Instead he was busy fielding a particularly large and dangerous key that was burning it’s way towards the Mansion which itself seemed to be indulging in some serious shake rattle and roll techniques. He eyed up his reflection in the Mansion’s rather impressive new wiTom's Mansion took many forms! Image Credit: Google Imagesndows, impressed by the level of wildness his hair had reached whilst he dived and rolled in tune with the Mansion’s shake rattle and roll dance moves…possibly the perfect time for a selfie…well…possibly not right now…

 

 

 

A bone rattling shudder rumbled through the Mansion as it’s pace through the vortex – or at least Tom hoped it was travelling through…this would imply there was a way out…hopefully….eventually…. – increased rapidly surpassing the speed of light…the effects of which were…different!

Tom gurgled and somewhere in the part of his brain that was still vaguely rational and not, unlike the rest of him suddenly flattened and distorted like a lump of play-dough accidently trodden on and flattened into…. Curious shapes….warp speed he presumed giving up temporarily on the hope of recapturing normality again anytime soon. Oddly, and presumably as a consequence of having passed light speed and careered cheerfully onto into warp speed Tom’s eyeballs sprouted extraordinarily long stems and popped out of his currently flattened skull to wave around enthusiastically like two magnificent water lilies…there was no shortage of “interesting” things to feast the popped out of the head eyeballs on…..Tom just wasn’t sure whether his brain cells were at this moment working well enough to register what he was seeing….Quite possibly not he decided, taking note of what his inner physicist was working over time to explain to him.

In a concerted effort to prove his inner Physicist wrong the popping eyeballs sprouted a sudden growth burst – distorted reality his inner physicist whispered in his head reassuringly…not, and the view down the telescope that was a prime feature in the Mansion’s official Observatory presented itself to the flattened Tom in dramatic scenes of ….

The Mansion underwent a certain amount of distortion... Image Credit: Google Images

TO BE CONTINUED!

Read more about Tom and his awesome Multi-Dimensional Mansion Here! (Beyond the Sphere) https://wellheregoes.wordpress.com/

Read more about Tom’s fantastic new blog Here! (Splodge and Splatter)  https://tlmerriman.wordpress.com

Read more about Cindy the extraordinary photographer Here! (cindyknoke.com)  http://cindyknoke.com

It’s Rocket Science!   28 comments

 

It’s Rocket Science! From Space Exploration to 3-D Printing

London Science Museum 2014 (South Kensington)

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(All photos: Copyright: Europa’s Icewolf 2014)