вторник, 6 августа 2019 г.

Say hello to the Jewel Box Cluster 👋This Hubble Space Telescope…


Say hello to the Jewel Box Cluster 👋


This Hubble Space Telescope image shows a young, open star cluster known as NGC 4755 or the Jewel Box. Just like old school friends that drift apart after graduation, the stars in open clusters only remain together for a limited time. They disperse into space over the course of a few hundred million years, pulled away by the gravitational tugs of other passing clusters and clouds of gas.


The Jewel Box is a spartan collection of just over 100 stars. The cluster is about 6,500 light-years away from Earth, which means that the light we see from it today was emitted before the Great Pyramids in Egypt were built.


Head outside and you can see it for yourself! The Jewel Box is visible to the naked eye, but will masquerade as a single star. Grab a pair of binoculars if you want to see more of the cluster’s sparkling stellar population. It is located in the southern constellation of the cross (Crux).


Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.


2019 August 6 The Local Void in the Nearby Universe Image…


2019 August 6


The Local Void in the Nearby Universe
Image Credit: R. Brent Tully (U. Hawaii) et al.


Explanation: What does our region of the Universe look like? Since galaxies are so spread out over the sky, and since our Milky Way Galaxy blocks part of the distant sky, it has been hard to tell. A new map has been made, however, using large-scale galaxy motions to infer what massive objects must be gravitating in the nearby universe. The featured map, spanning over 600 million light years on a side, shows that our Milky Way Galaxy is on the edge of the Virgo Cluster of Galaxies, which is connected to the Great Attractor – an even larger grouping of galaxies. Also nearby are the massive Coma Cluster and the extensive Perseus-Pisces Supercluster. Conversely, we are also on the edge of huge region nearly empty of galaxies known as the Local Void. The repulsive push by the Local Void combined with the gravitational pull toward the elevated galaxy density on the other side of the sky explains part of the mysteriously high speed our Galaxy has relative to the cosmic microwave background – but not all. To explore the local universe yourself, as determined by Cosmicflows-3, you are invited to zoom in and spin around this interactive 3D visualization.


∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap190806.html


Russia’s Ministry of Defence satellite launched


ROSCOSMOS logo.


August 6, 2019



Proton-M launch (Archive)

Proton-M heavy-class carrier rocket launched at 21:56 UTC on August 5, 2019 successfully put Russia’s Ministry of Defence spacecraft into the intended orbit.


The launch of the carrier rocket and injection of the satellite into orbit using the Briz-M booster went as planned. The spacecraft was taken under control by the Titov Main Test and Space Systems Control Centre of the Russian Space Forces.



Blagovest 1, 2, 3, 4 (14F149)

Russian government Proton rocket and Breeze M upper launches the Blagovest No. 14L communications satellite to cover Russian territory and provide high-speed Internet, television and radio broadcast, and voice and video conferencing services for Russian domestic and military users.


Roscosmos Press Release: http://en.roscosmos.ru/20853/


Images, Text, Credits: Roscosmos/Günter Space Page/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.


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Silver Spitfire Flying Around the World


Silver Spitfire — The Longest Flight logo.


August 5, 2019



Silver Spitfire around the World. Image Credits: John Dibbs/Simon Smith

Over the course of its long and storied military service, there isn’t a lot the Supermarine Spitfire hasn’t achieved. Designed by RJ Mitchell in the 1930s, it became perhaps the most famous combat aircraft in history, and was produced in greater numbers than any other during World War Two, with more than 20,000 churned out in less than a decade.


During the Battle of Britain (which marks its 78th anniversary today), the Spitfire – aided by the bulkier Hurricane –helped down 1,887 German planes in little more than three months. It became the envy of the enemy and the pride of the nation, and was flown all over the world, both by British and Allied forces, before, during and after the war.


Today, a diaspora of airworthy Spitfires continues to exist, faithfully maintained by enthusiasts around the globe. Yet there remains one challenge the aircraft has never quite managed: a complete circumnavigation of the globe.


But that may be about to change.



Silver Spitfire sets off for round-the-world flight

At the tail end of next summer, two British aviation enthusiasts, Matt Jones and Steve Brooks, intend to take off in a polished silver Spitfire Mark IX from southern England, head north-west, and return to Blighty by Christmas having pushed the aircraft to new limits.


When they touch back down, they will have made more than 150 stops in over 30 countries, soaring over many airspaces the Spitfire has never before entered, and flying over territories, such as the Far East and North Africa, where it hasn’t been seen since the war ended.



Image above:  The Silver Spitfire will attempt the aircraft’s first ever circumnavigation of the globe. Image Credits: John Dibbs/Simon Smith.


“It’s an ambitious adventure, but we’re on track and we’ll be ready,” says Brooks, 57. “The Spitfire is a real icon. The shape of its wings, the sound of its engine. It means so many things to so many people around the world, and we want to take it to as many of them as possible.”


Named Silver Spitfire – The Longest Flight, the concept is the brainchild of not only Jones and Brooks but a small and dedicated team of enthusiasts, among them Lachlan Monro, the project director, and Gerry Jones, the group’s chief engineer – both of whom will be following the aircraft around the world in a small PC-12 support plane. When we meet in a hangar on the site of the Imperial War Museum, Duxford, the four of them are as excited as schoolboys.


“I suppose it came about nine years ago, when Matt and I bought an old two-seater Spitfire at auction and decided we ought to do something special,” Brooks says. The pair the aeroplane to set up Boultbee Flying Academy – the world’s only training school for Spitfire pilots – in 2010 and began offering flights and courses for enthusiasts. Keen to do something extraordinary to celebrate an aircraft they both adore, Brooks thought about taking one to Africa. Jones had bigger ideas.



The Silver Spitfire route. Image Credit: The Telegraph

“I thought, well, OK then,” Brooks laughs. A property developer and adventurer, he was both the first person to drive across the ice of the Bering Straits from America to Russia, and the first to fly from pole to pole by helicopter. So he’s up for a challenge, though he’s currently still learning how to fly a Spitfire.


“It’s very, very different from a helicopter,” he says. “I think of the difference like that of driving a car and a motorbike. In a car you can think about other things and maintain control; but on a bike, or a Spitfire, you have to be totally concentrating on every little detail at all times.”


The 44-year-old Jones, on the other hand, is an experienced pilot of aircraft of all sizes and eras, and knows the Spitfire inside out. The pair will share the flying on the circumnavigation. “There is no feeling like it,” Jones says. “Spitfire pilots in the war used to talk about the aeroplane’s wings becoming their own, and that’s what it’s like. You feel so exposed, and unlike a modern fighter, you know exactly how fast you’re going. It feels that quick.”


When the pair hatched the plan, they needed somebody to organise it, and as luck would have it, Monro – whose father was a career pilot and who specialises in organising things – was thinking about arranging a «Cool Britannia-style» Spitfire project himself. The wheels, or rather the propeller, was suddenly in motion.


«At this time in Britain, with Brexit and a lot of people forgetting how great we are, what better way is there for us to show the world what we have done, and what we can do, than something extraordinary that showcases our engineering?» Munro, 42, says. «Really it’s not a case of ‘why’, it’s a case of ‘why not?'»



 Silver Spitfire take off (Spitfire MK.IX, 1943). Image Credits: John Dibbs/Simon Smith

The Mark IX (there were 24 iterations in total) that will fly around the world was another bought at auction, this time  two years ago, having spent decades as a static exhibit at various European museums. It is one of only a few hundred Spitfires left in the world, and an even smaller number are airworthy. To make sure it is up to scratch, then, the aircraft is being entirely taken apart and put back together again in a painstaking refit at Duxford – including a new engine and slight modifications that will make it more suited to longer distances, such as extra fuel tanks, no weaponry, improved avionics and some modern safety gear.


“A Spitfire isn’t meant for this, I can tell you that,” says Gerry Jones, 39 (no relation), an aeronautical engineer of more than 20 years. “They can do a maximum of around 400 nautical miles in one go, and once the engine’s started, they can’t sit on a runway. It won’t be easy – we predict that something will need doing to it every 25 hours.”


Assuming a few tricky permissions are granted, the intended route will see Jones and Brooks fly the Silver Spitfire first in the direction of Iceland, then over Greenland, into Canada and the USA, before crossing the Bering Straits, over Japan, China, and Burma, into the Middle East, North Africa and finally Europe, from where it will head home.


If you happen to catch it in the skies during the trip, you will see a Spitfire like no other. Avoiding the militaristic connotations of its traditional camoflauge, the livery will be bare: just sleek, polished silver, with a small Union flag on the side and the logo of IWC, the Swiss watch manufacturer that is helping to sponsor the trip. There is backing from the top, too. The government’s GREAT campaign has come aboard to support the group’s mission to tell the story of a British engineering icon to people around the world in the 21st century.



Image above:  An artist’s impression of the Silver Spitfire. Image Credit: Romain Hugault.


“The Spitfire is an iconic symbol of world-class aerospace engineering, and I’m delighted to see this unique piece of British history brought to a global audience,” International Trade secretary, Dr Liam Fox, says. “Extraordinary projects such as this are what the GREAT campaign is there to promote – showcasing the best of Britain to the world.”


If all goes to plan, the Silver Spitfire will be finished early next year, ready for test flights. Then, come August, it’ll be ready to take off for its longest mission yet. Eight decades on, the Spitfire’s captivating story continues.


Download (for free) the Silver Spitfire Flying Around the World for FSX: https://simulators.jimdo.com/



Reproduce the progress of the flight around the World on your Flight Simulator X (CD version).


Related links:


Principal Sponsort: IWC: https://www.iwc.com/en/company/partnerships/silver-spitfire.html


Silver Spitfire Flying Around the World: https://www.silverspitfire.com/


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thesilverspitfire/


Images (mentioned), Video, Text, Credits: The Telegraph/ Guy Kelly/Jon Jones.


Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link


Earth is special. 🌎 It’s the only place in the universe…


Earth is special. 🌎 


It’s the only place in the universe that we know contains life. Celebrate its beauty by taking a look at these breathtaking images of our home planet. 


Swirling white clouds, deep blue oceans, and multicolored landscapes come to life on the pages of our new photo essay “Earth,” a collection of dramatic images captured by satellites. 

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space: http://nasa.tumblr.com.


CubeSats Dance: One Water-Powered NASA Spacecraft Commands Another in Orbit


NASA logo.


Aug. 5, 2019



On June 21, 2019, NASA demonstrated the first coordinated maneuver between two CubeSats in low-Earth orbit as part of NASA’s Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration mission.


The twin spacecraft, each approximately the size of a tissue box, were orbiting Earth about 5.5 miles apart when they established a radio frequency communications cross-link to “talk” with each other. One spacecraft issued a command to the second to activate its thruster and close the gap between the two. The fuel tanks on both spacecraft are filled with water. During this propulsive maneuver, the water was converted to steam by the thrusters to propel the spacecraft.


«Demonstrations such as this will help advance technologies that will allow for greater and more extended use of small spacecraft in and beyond Earth-orbit,» said Roger Hunter, program manager of the Small Spacecraft Technology program. 



One Water-Powered NASA Spacecraft Commands Another in Orbit

Video above: This unnarrated animation depicts NASA’s first coordinated maneuver between two CubeSats in low-Earth orbit as part of NASA’s Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration mission. Video Credit: NASA.


The demonstration was designed with a series of safeguards to ensure that only a pre-planned and authorized maneuver could take place. While it was choreographed by human operators on the ground, the demonstration shows it is possible for a series of propulsive maneuvers to be planned with onboard processing and executed cooperatively by a group of small spacecraft.


«The OCSD team is very pleased to continue demonstrating new technical capabilities as part of this extended mission, over 1.5 years after deployment,» said Darren Rowen, director of the Small Satellite Department at The Aerospace Corporation. «It is exciting to think about the possibilities enabled with respect to deep space, autonomously organizing swarms of small spacecraft.»


Three OCSD spacecraft were developed and are operated for NASA by The Aerospace Corporation. The first OCSD was a risk-reduction mission that launched in 2015 to calibrate and refine tools to support this current flight of the OCSD-B and OCSD-C spacecraft. OCSD is funded by NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program within the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program is managed by NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.


Related article:


NASA Demos CubeSat Laser Communications Capability
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com/2019/04/nasa-demos-cubesat-laser-communications.html


Related links:


Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration (OCSD): https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/small_spacecraft/ocsd_project.html


CubeSats: http://www.nasa.gov/cubesats/


Small Satellite Missions: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/smallsats


For more information on NASA space technology, please visit: https://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/home/index.html


Image, Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Rick Chen.


Greetings, Orbiter.chArchive link


An asteroid the size of a skyscraper should pass near the Earth on August 10th


Asteroid Watch logo.


August 5, 2019



Near Earth Asteroid

An asteroid 570 meters in diameter is expected to approach 8 million kilometers from our planet on August 10. The situation is of no concern to NASA specialists, who stress the large number of similar celestial objects that are spotted each year near the Earth. The space agency says it fears more those who are not listed.



Artist’s impression of 2006 QQ23 asteroid

According to NASA, an asteroid the size of a skyscraper will pass near the Earth on Saturday, August 10. Called «2006 QQ23», the celestial object is approximately 570 meters in diameter and its trajectory will place it at a distance of 8 million kilometers from our planet, closer to home, says CNN. A «more or less benign» situation for experts from the American Space Agency.


This asteroid is of a «moderate size»


Lindley Johnson of NASA’s Global Coordinating Office for Defense says the asteroid is «of moderate size» and explains that half a dozen similar-sized aerolites are approaching each year. Not to mention that the solar system includes nearly 900 of a volume greater than that which advances towards the Earth. The specialists are therefore reassuring.



2006 QQ23 orbit

They explain having already studied the movements of «2006 QQ23» since the year 1901 and until 2200. Because a possible impact between the Earth and a foreign body of this size would cause significant damage over a large area . Even if this scenario occurred, NASA would then be able to launch a space mission to deflect the celestial object. When it comes to asteroids, «it’s the ones we do not know about that worry us,» says Kelly Fast, also a member of the Coordination Office.


Related article:


Asteroid’s surprise close approach illustrates need for more eyes on the sky
https://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.com/2019/08/asteroids-surprise-close-approach.html


Additional information:


Asteroid Watch: For more information about asteroids and near-Earth objects, visit: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch and http://www.nasa.gov/asteroid . Updates about near-Earth objects are also available by following AsteroidWatch on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/asteroidwatch .


Near-Earth Object Program Office: http://neo.jpl.nasa.gov/


Images, Text, Credits: AFP/NASA/ESA/Orbiter.ch Aerospace/Roland Berga.


Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link


New Finds for Mars Rover, Seven Years After Landing


NASA — Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) logo.


Aug. 5, 2019



Image above: This panorama of a location called «Teal Ridge» was captured on Mars by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA’s Curiosity rover on June 18, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.


NASA’s Curiosity rover has come a long way since touching down on Mars seven years ago. It has traveled a total of 13 miles (21 kilometers) and ascended 1,207 feet (368 meters) to its current location. Along the way, Curiosity discovered Mars had the conditions to support microbial life in the ancient past, among other things.


And the rover is far from done, having just drilled its 22nd sample from the Martian surface. It has a few more years before its nuclear power system degrades enough to significantly limit operations. After that, careful budgeting of its power will allow the rover to keep studying the Red Planet.




Image above: NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took this selfie on May 12, 2019 (the 2,405th Martian day, or sol, of the mission). To the lower-left of the rover are its two recent drill holes, at targets called «Aberlady» and «Kilmarie.» Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.


Curiosity is now halfway through a region scientists call the «clay-bearing unit» on the side of Mount Sharp, inside of Gale Crater. Billions of years ago, there were streams and lakes within the crater. Water altered the sediment deposited within the lakes, leaving behind lots of clay minerals in the region. That clay signal was first detected from space by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) a few years before Curiosity launched.


«This area is one of the reasons we came to Gale Crater,» said Kristen Bennett of the U.S. Geological Survey, one of the co-leads for Curiosity’s clay-unit campaign. «We’ve been studying orbiter images of this area for 10 years, and we’re finally able to take a look up close.»



NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover Explores Teal Ridge (360 View)

Video above: Curiosity captured this 360-degree panorama of a location on Mars called “Teal Ridge” on June 18, 2019. This location is part of a larger region the rover has been exploring called the “clay-bearing unit” on the side of Mount Sharp, which is inside Gale Crater. Video Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.


Rock samples that the rover has drilled here have revealed the highest amounts of clay minerals found during the mission. But Curiosity has detected similarly high amounts of clay on other parts of Mount Sharp, including in areas where MRO didn’t detect clay. That’s led scientists to wonder what is causing the findings from orbit and the surface to differ.


The science team is thinking through possible reasons as to why the clay minerals here stood out to MRO. The rover encountered a «parking lot full of gravel and pebbles» when it first entered the area, said the campaign’s other co-lead, Valerie Fox of Caltech. One idea is that the pebbles are the key: Although the individual pebbles are too small for MRO to see, they may collectively appear to the orbiter as a single clay signal scattered across the area. Dust also settles more readily over flat rocks than it does over the pebbles; that same dust can obscure the signals seen from space. The pebbles were too small for Curiosity to drill into, so the science team is looking for other clues to solve this puzzle.



Image above: This mosaic of images shows layers of sediment on a boulder-sized rock called «Strathdon,» as seen by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera carried by NASA’s Curiosity rover. The images were taken on July 10, 2019, the 2,462nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.


Curiosity exited the pebble parking lot back in June and started to encounter more complex geologic features. It stopped to take a 360-degree panorama at an outcrop called «Teal Ridge.» More recently, it took detailed images of «Strathdon,» a rock made of dozens of sediment layers that have hardened into a brittle, wavy heap. Unlike the thin, flat layers associated with lake sediments Curiosity has studied, the wavy layers in these features suggest a more dynamic environment. Wind, flowing water or both could have shaped this area.


Both Teal Ridge and Strathdon represent changes in the landscape. «We’re seeing an evolution in the ancient lake environment recorded in these rocks,» said Fox. «It wasn’t just a static lake. It’s helping us move from a simplistic view of Mars going from wet to dry. Instead of a linear process, the history of water was more complicated.»



Image above: This mosaic of images shows a boulder-sized rock called «Strathdon,» which is made up of many complex layers. NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover took these images using its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on July 9, 2019, the 2,461st Martian sol, or day, of the mission. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.


Curiosity is discovering a richer, more complex story behind the water on Mount Sharp — a process Fox likened to finally being able to read the paragraphs in a book — a dense book, with pages torn out, but a fascinating tale to piece together.


NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, leads the Mars Science Laboratory mission that includes Curiosity.


For more about NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover mission, visit:


https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/


https://nasa.gov/msl


Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Jon Nelson/Alana Johnson/JPL/Andrew Good.


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