Thursday, August 20, 2015

New Horizons 2015 + 37 days - Video Demet Ambessa 7.15

Hi passengers !
Demet Ambessa edited this documentary in July 16, 2015 on Youtube. ''Direct from Pluto: The First Encounter'' showcases the very first images of Pluto and first-hand accounts by the NASA scientists who planned the mission to capture them; these images could spark a debate over Pluto’s planetary status.
Watch more documentaries on »»» Youtube Demet Ambessa 
Pluto - New horizons + 37 days.
Flyby Elapsed Time: 37 Days 4 Hours 29 Minutes 2 Seconds. Spacecraft is now at distance from Pluto: 44,290,525 km. Let´s have a look now on data send in August 12, 2015 by the LORRI instrument.
Scientists Study Nitrogen Provision for Pluto’s Atmosphere
The latest data from NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft reveal diverse features on Pluto’s surface and an atmosphere dominated by nitrogen gas. However, Pluto’s small mass allows hundreds of tons of atmospheric nitrogen to escape into space each hour. 
So where does all this nitrogen come from? Kelsi Singer, a postdoctoral researcher at Southwest Research Institute, and her mentor Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator and SwRI associate vice president, outlined likely sources in a paper titled, “On the Provenance of Pluto’s Nitrogen.” The Astrophysical Journal Letters accepted the paper for publication on July 15, just a day after the spacecraft’s closest encounter with the icy dwarf planet. 
“More nitrogen has to come from somewhere to resupply both the nitrogen ice that is moving around Pluto’s surface in seasonal cycles, and the nitrogen that is escaping off the top of the atmosphere as the result of heating by ultraviolet light from the Sun,” said Singer. 
Singer and Stern looked at a number of different ways that nitrogen might be resupplied. They wondered if comets could deliver enough nitrogen to Pluto’s surface to resupply what is escaping its atmosphere. They also looked at whether craters made by the comets hitting the surface could excavate enough nitrogen – but that would require a very deep layer of nitrogen ice at the surface, which is not proven. The team also studied whether craters could expose more surface area, by punching through surface deposits that would likely be built up over time.   
“We found that all of these effects, which are the major ones from cratering, do not seem to supply enough nitrogen to supply the escaping atmosphere over time,” continued Singer. “While it’s possible that the escape rate was not as high in the past as it is now, we think geologic activity is helping out by bringing nitrogen up from Pluto’s interior.” 
And while the data weren’t in before this paper was written, the newest images of Pluto show land forms that suggest heat is rising beneath the surface, with troughs of dark matter either collecting, or bubbling up, between flat segments of crust, which could be related. 
“Our pre-flyby prediction, made when we submitted the paper, is that it’s most likely that Pluto is actively resupplying nitrogen from its interior to its surface, possibly meaning the presence of ongoing geysers or cryovolcanism,” said Stern. “As data from New Horizons comes in, we will be very interested to see if this proves true. 
” New Horizons is part of NASA’s New Frontiers Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Md., designed, built, and operates the New Horizons spacecraft and manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. SwRI leads the science mission, payload operations, and encounter science planning.

Monday, August 17, 2015

NASA's Next Megarocket Could Launch Mission to Europa - Video Space Com 7.15

Hi passengers !
The huge rocket NASA is developing to get astronauts to an asteroid, Mars and other distant destinations should also greatly aid robotic exploration efforts, members of Congress were told Tuesday (July 28). 
The Space Launch System (SLS) megarocket, scheduled to fly for the first time in 2018, will blast unmanned spacecraft toward their targets at incredible speeds, dramatically reducing interplanetary travel times, said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate. 
"My view is that the Space Launch System will be transformative for science," Grunsfeld told members of the U.S. House of Representatives' Science, Space and Technology Committee during a hearing Tuesday entitled "Exploration of the Solar System: From Mercury to Pluto and Beyond."
SLS Megarocket can reach Jupiter´s moon ''Europa'' in three years ! 
As an example, Grunsfeld cited NASA's planned flyby mission to Jupiter's ocean-harboring moon Europa, which the agency aims to launch in the early to mid-2020s. Using SLS instead of currently available rockets would slash the probe's journey to the Jupiter system from about eight years to less than three years, Grunsfeld said. (Mission team members are developing the Europa flyby craft to fit on a variety of different launch vehicles, including SLS.) 
"This is one of those rare cases where time really is money," he said. "In that extra cruise time, you know, we have to maintain an engineering team and a science team and a spacecraft while it's in cruise, even if we hibernate. And that's something that also delays the science. 
" NASA's New Horizons spacecraft, which just two weeks ago performed history's first-ever flyby of Pluto, was launched by a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. New Horizons weighed just 1,050 lbs. (480 kilograms) fully fueled, but its mission still required the most powerful variant of the Atlas V, Grunsfeld said. 
And New Horizons zoomed straight through the Pluto system at high speed for a one-time flyby. Spacecraft that linger around a celestial body — such as the Europa probe, which will perform at least 45 flybys of Europa from Jupiter orbit — cannot travel so light, said New Horizons principal investigator Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. 
For orbiters and surface craft, "you need to carry a lot of fuel, and there's no way to lighten the fuel; you need it so you can come to a stop on that planetary surface or in orbit," Stern told committee members during today's hearing. "SLS is going to really help us enable [such] space missions, including — I hope one day — a return to the Pluto system and the Kuiper Belt." 
SLS could also aid deep-space astronomy, by allowing larger and more powerful space telescopes to be launched, Grunsfeld said. 
The rocket could launch entire space observatories, or perhaps "parts that astronauts could assemble to build a telescope that could search for atmospheres around nearby [alien] worlds," Grunsfeld said. 
In its initial configuration, SLS will stand 321 feet (98 meters) tall and be capable of lofting 77 tons (70,000 kg) to low-Earth orbit. The rocket will provide about 10 percent more thrust than NASA's famous Saturn V rocket, which blasted astronauts toward the moon, agency officials say. 
But NASA also plans an "evolved" 384-foot-tall (117 m) SLS version that can launch 143 tons (130,000 kg) and generate 20 percent more thrust than the Saturn V.
SLS and the Orion capsule, which is also in development, will help get astronauts to a near-Earth asteroid and Mars, NASA officials say. 
The first launch of SLS in 2018 will send an uncrewed Orion on a journey around the moon. The rocket and capsule should fly astronauts together for the first time in 2021 or so. The current plan calls for sending these crewmembers out to rendezvous with a near-Earth asteroid that a robotic probe has dragged into orbit around the moon.


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