суббота, 19 октября 2019 г.

2019 October 19 All Female Spacewalk Repairs Space Station…

2019 October 19

All Female Spacewalk Repairs Space Station
Image Credit: NASA TV, Expedition 61

Explanation: The failed unit was beyond the reach of the robotic Canadarm2. Therefore, this repair of the International Space Station would require humans. The humans on duty were NASA’s Jessica Meir and Christina Koch. This was the fourth spacewalk for Meir, the first for Koch, and the first all-female spacewalk in human history. The first woman to walk in space was Svetlana Savitskaya in 1984. Koch (red stripe) and Weir are pictured hard at work on the P6 Truss, with solar panels and the darkness of space in the background. Working over seven hours, the newly installed Battery Charge / Discharge Unit (BCDU) was successfully replaced and, when powered up, operated normally.

∞ Source: apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap191019.html

Gas ‘Waterfalls’ Reveal Infant Planets around Young Star

Artist impression of gas flowing like a waterfall into a protoplanetary disk gap, which is most likely caused by an infant planet. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello. Hi-Res File Screensize File

Scientists measured the motion of gas (arrows) in a protoplanetary disk in three directions: rotating around the star, towards or away from the star, and up- or downwards in the disk. The insert shows a close-up of where a planet in orbit around the star pushes the gas and dust aside, opening a gap. Credit: NRAO/AUI/NSF, B. Saxton.  Hi-Res File Screensize File

A computer simulation showed that the patterns of gas flows are unique and are most likely caused by planets in three locations in the disk. Planets in orbit around the star push the gas and dust aside, opening gaps. The gas above the gaps collapses into it like a waterfall, causing a rotational flow of gas in the disk.Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Bae; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnell.  Hi-Res File Screensize File

This animation shows the computer simulation of how the gas flows in the disk as a result of three planets in formation. Credit: ALMA (ESO/NAOJ/NRAO), J. Bae; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello. Download Video

Star chart showing the location of the young star HD 163296, in the constellation Sagittarius. HD 163296 is located about 398 light-years away from our Solar System. Credit: IAU; Sky & Telescope magazine; NRAO/AUI/NSF, S. Dagnello. Hi-Res File Screensize File

ALMA witnesses planet formation in action

The birthplaces of planets are disks made out of gas and dust. Astronomers study these so-called protoplanetary disks to understand the processes of planet formation. Beautiful images of disks made with the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) show distinct gaps and ring features in dust, which may be caused by infant planets.

To get more certainty that these gaps are actually caused by planets, and to get a more complete view of planet formation, scientists study the gas in the disks in addition to dust. 99 percent of a protoplanetary disk’s mass is gas, of which carbon monoxide (CO) gas is the brightest component, emitting at a very distinctive millimeter-wavelength light that ALMA can observe.

Last year, two teams of astronomers demonstrated a new planet-hunting technique using this gas. They measured the velocity of CO gas rotating in the disk around the young star HD 163296. Localized disturbances in the movements of the gas revealed three planet-like patterns in the disk.

In this new study, lead author Richard Teague from the University of Michigan and his team used new high-resolution ALMA data from the Disk Substructures at High Angular Resolution Project (DSHARP) to study the gas’s velocity in more detail. “With the high fidelity data from this program, we were able to measure the gas’s velocity in three directions instead of just one,” said Teague. “For the first time, we measured the motion of the gas rotating around the star, towards or away from the star, and up- or downwards in the disk.”

Unique gas flows

Teague and his colleagues saw the gas moving from the upper layers towards the middle of the disk at three different locations. “What most likely happens is that a planet in orbit around the star pushes the gas and dust aside, opening a gap,” Teague explained. “The gas above the gap then collapses into it like a waterfall, causing a rotational flow of gas in the disk.”

This is the best evidence to date that there are indeed planets being formed around HD 163296. But astronomers cannot say with one hundred percent certainty that the gas flows are caused by planets. For example, the star’s magnetic field could also cause disturbances in the gas. “Right now, only a direct observation of the planets could rule out the other options. But the patterns of these gas flows are unique and it is very likely that they can only be caused by planets,” said co-author Jaehan Bae of the Carnegie Institution for Science, who tested this theory with a computer simulation of the disk.

The location of the three predicted planets in this study correspond to the results from last year: they are likely located at 87, 140 and 237 AU. (An astronomical unit – AU – is the average distance from the Earth to the Sun.) The closest planet to HD 163296 is calculated to be half the mass of Jupiter, the middle planet is Jupiter-mass, and the farthest planet is twice as massive as Jupiter.

Planet atmospheres

Gas flows from the surface towards the midplane of the protoplanetary disk have been predicted by theoretical models to exist since the late ‘90s, but this is the first time that they have been observed. Not only can they be used to detect infant planets, they also shape our understanding of how gas giant planets obtain their atmospheres.

“Planets form in the middle layer of the disk, the so-called midplane. This is a cold place, shielded from radiation from the star,” Teague explained. “We think that the gaps caused by planets bring in warmer gas from the more chemically active outer layers of the disk, and that this gas will form the atmosphere of the planet.”

Teague and his team did not expect that they would be able to see this phenomenon. “The disk around HD 163296 is the brightest and biggest disk we can see with ALMA,” said Teague. “But it was a big surprise to actually see these gas flows so clearly. The disks appears to be much more dynamic than we thought.”

“This gives us a much more complete picture of planet formation than we ever dreamed,” said co-author Ted Bergin of the University of Michigan. “By characterizing these flows we can determine how planets like Jupiter are born and characterize their chemical composition at birth. We might be able to use this to trace the birth location of these planets, as they can move during formation.”

The National Radio Astronomy Observatory is a facility of the National Science Foundation, operated under cooperative agreement by Associated Universities, Inc.

Iris Nijman
Interim Public Information Officer for ALMA

This research is presented in a paper titled: “Meridional flows in the disk around a young star,” by R. Teague, et al. in Nature. Doi: 10.1038/s41586-019-1642-0The Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA), an international astronomy facility, is a partnership of the European Southern Observatory (ESO), the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the National Institutes of Natural Sciences (NINS) of Japan in cooperation with the Republic of Chile. ALMA is funded by ESO on behalf of its Member States, by NSF in cooperation with the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) in Taiwan and by NINS in cooperation with the Academia Sinica (AS) in Taiwan and the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute (KASI).

ALMA construction and operations are led by ESO on behalf of its Member States; by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), managed by Associated Universities, Inc. (AUI), on behalf of North America; and by the National Astronomical Observatory of Japan (NAOJ) on behalf of East Asia. The Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO) provides the unified leadership and management of the construction, commissioning and operation of ALMA.

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Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Minerals Locality: Bergsig…

Fluorite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Minerals

Locality: Bergsig Farm 167 (Hohenstein), Omaruru District, Erongo Region, Namibia

Size: 10 x 3.8 x 3.8 cm

Photo Copyright © Anton Watzl Minerals

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Rhodochrosite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Minerals Locality: Sweet…

Rhodochrosite | #Geology #GeologyPage #Minerals

Locality: Sweet Home Mine, Mount Bross, Alma District, Park Co., Colorado, USA

Size: 6.4 x 6 x 4.5 cm

Photo Copyright © Anton Watzl Minerals

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Meteor Activity Outlook for October 19-25, 2019

Mikael De Ketelaere had extraordinary timing as this exposure of the observatories at Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, France, also caught an incredibly   bright fireball. This occurred at 21:02 Universal Time on September 23, 2019. ©Mikael De Ketelaere

During this period the moon reaches its last quarter phase on Monday October 21st. At this time the moon will be located 90 degrees west of the sun and will rise near 0200 local daylight saving time (LDST). This weekend the waning gibbous moon will interfere with morning observations. Evening skies will be dark until moonrise near midnight local summer time (LST). Conditions will improve with each passing night as the moon wanes and rise later during the morning hours. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 for those viewing from the southern hemisphere and 4 for those located north of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 15 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S) and 21 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N). The actual rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and motion perception, local weather conditions, alertness and experience in watching meteor activity. Morning rates are reduced during this period due to moonlight. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brightest meteors will be visible from such locations.

The radiant (the area of the sky where meteors appear to shoot from) positions and rates listed below are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning October 19/20. These positions do not change greatly day to day so the listed coordinates may be used during this entire period. Most star atlases (available at science stores and planetariums) will provide maps with grid lines of the celestial coordinates so that you may find out exactly where these positions are located in the sky. A planisphere or computer planetarium program is also useful in showing the sky at any time of night on any date of the year. Activity from each radiant is best seen when it is positioned highest in the sky, either due north or south along the meridian, depending on your latitude. It must be remembered that meteor activity is rarely seen at the radiant position. Rather they shoot outwards from the radiant so it is best to center your field of view so that the radiant lies at the edge and not the center. Viewing there will allow you to easily trace the path of each meteor back to the radiant (if it is a shower member) or in another direction if it is a sporadic. Meteor activity is not seen from radiants that are located below the horizon. The positions below are listed in a west to east manner in order of right ascension (celestial longitude). The positions listed first are located further west therefore are accessible earlier in the night while those listed further down the list rise later in the night.


Radiant Positions at 20:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 20:00 Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 01:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 01:00 Local Daylight Saving Time

Radiant Positions at 06:00 LDST

Radiant Positions at 06:00 Local Daylight Saving Time

These sources of meteoric activity are expected to be active this week.


The Northern Taurids (NTA) are active from a large radiant located at 02:22 (036) +17. This area of the sky is located in central Aries, 4 degrees southeast of the 2nd magnitude star known as Hamal (alpha Arietis). This position is close to the Southern Taurids so care must be taken in separating these meteors. You should have the two radiants near the center of your field of view to properly differentiate these sources. The maximum is not expected until early November so current rates would be 1 per hour or less. These meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0100 LDST when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. With an entry velocity of 28 km/sec., the average Northern Taurid meteor would be of slow velocity.

The Southern Taurids (STA) are active from a large radiant centered near 02:36 (039) +11. This position lies in southern Aries, 3 degrees northwest of the 4th magnitude star known as mu Ceti. These meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0100 LDST when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. Rates at this time should be near 2 per hour regardless of your location. With an entry velocity of 27 km/sec., the average Southern Taurid meteor would be of slow velocity.

The omicron Eridanids (OER) were discovered by Japanese observers using video data from SonotoCo in 2007-2008. The activity period ranges from October 16 – November 24 with maximum activity occurring on November 5th. This is a weak shower that usually produces rates less than 1 per hour, even at maximum activity. The radiant is currently located at 02:40 (040) -04, which places it on the Cetus/Eridanus border, 6 degrees south of the 3rd magnitude star known as Menkar (alpha Ceti). This location is close to the source of the Southern Taurids so care must be taken to separate these meteors. Like the STA’s these meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0100 LDST when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. With an entry velocity of 29 km/sec., the average omicron Eridanid meteor would be of slow velocity.

The chi Taurids (CTA) were discovered by Dr. Peter Brown during his 7 year survey using the Canadian Meteor Orbit Radar (CMOR). This source is active from October 20 through November 17 with a maximum occurring near November 3rd. Current rates would be less than 1 per hour no matter your location. The radiant is currently located at 03:10 (048) +24, which places it in eastern Aries , 7 degrees west of the famous naked eye open cluster known as the Pleiades. This location is close to the source of the Northern Taurids so care must be taken to separate these meteors. These meteors may be seen all night long but the radiant is best placed near 0200 LDST when it lies on the meridian and is located highest in the sky. With an entry velocity of 41 km/sec., the average chi Taurid meteor would be of medium velocity.

The Orionids (ORI) reach maximum activity on the morning of October 22nd. Unfortunately the last quarter moon will reduce the number of meteors seen. The is radiant located at 06:15 (094) +16, which places it  in northeastern Orion, 4 degrees west of the 2nd magnitude star known as Alhena (gamma Geminorum). This area of the sky rises between 2200 and 2300 and is best placed during the last dark hour before dawn. Rates at maximum with moonlight, with the radiant high in the sky, should be near 15 per hour as seen from the northern hemisphere an 10 as seen from the southern tropics (S25). With an entry velocity of 67 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be of swift speed.

The nu Eridanids (NUE) were co-discovered by Japanese observers using SonotoCo and Juergen Rendtel and Sirko Molau of the IMO. Activity from this long-period stream stretches from August 23 all the way to November 16. A very shallow maximum occurred near September 24. The radiant currently lies at 06:47 (102) +11, which places it in northeastern Monoceros, 1 degree south of the 3rd magnitude star known as Alzirr (xi Geminorum). This area of the sky is best seen during the last dark hour before dawn when the radiant lies highest in a dark sky. Current rates are expected to be less than 1 per hour during this period no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 67 km/sec., the average meteor from this source would be of swift velocity. Some experts feel that these meteors are early members of the Orionid shower, which peaks on October 22.

The epsilon Geminids (EGE) are active from September 30 through October 25 with maximum activity occurring on October 11. The radiant is currently located at 06:56 (104) +28, which places it in north-central Gemini, 3 degrees northeast of the 3rd magnitude star known as Mebsuta (epsilon Geminorum). This area of the sky is best placed in the sky during the last hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Current rates should be less than 1 no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 70 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be of swift speed.

The lambda Ursae Majorids (LUM) are a recent discovery by Željko Andreić and the Croatian Meteor Network team based on studying SonotaCo and CMN observations (SonotaCo 2007-2011, CMN 2007-2010).  This weak shower is active from October 27-29 maximum activity occurring on the 28th. At maximum the radiant is located at 10:24 (156) +49. This position lies in a sparse area of central Ursa Major, between the 2nd magnitude star Merak (Beta Ursae Majoris) and 3rd magnitude Tania Borealis (Lambda Ursa Majoris). This area of the sky is best placed in the sky during the last hour before dawn, when it lies highest above the horizon in a dark sky. Rates at maximum would be less than 1 no matter your location. With an entry velocity of 61 km/sec., most activity from this radiant would be of swift speed.

The Leonis Minorids (LMI) are active from October 12-Nov 5 with maximum activity occurring on October 22nd. This radiant is currently located at 10:32 (158) +37, which places it in northeastern Leo Minor, 1 degree northeast of the 4th magnitude star known as beta Leonis Minoris. The radiant is best placed just before dawn when it lies highest in a dark sky. This shower is better situated for observers situated in the northern hemisphere where the radiant rises far higher into the sky before the start of morning twilight. Current rates would be near 1 as seen from the northern hemisphere and less than 1 as seen from south of the equator. At 62km/sec., the average Leonis Minorid is swift. From my personal experience this minor shower produces a high proportion of bright meteors.

As seen from the mid-northern hemisphere (45N) one would expect to see approximately 7 sporadic meteors per hour during the last hour before dawn as seen from rural observing sites. Evening rates would be near 3 per hour. As seen from the tropical southern latitudes (25S), morning rates would be near 5 per hour as seen from rural observing sites and 2 per hour during the evening hours. Locations between these two extremes would see activity between the listed figures. Rates are reduced during this period due to moonlight.

The list below offers the information from above in tabular form. Rates and positions are exact for Saturday night/Sunday morning except where noted in the shower descriptions.

RA (RA in Deg.) DEC Km/Sec Local Daylight Saving Time North-South
Northern Taurids (NTA) Nov 03 02:22 (036) +17 28 01:00 1 – <1 II
Southern Taurids (STA) Oct 10 02:36 (039) +11 27 01:00 2 – 2 II
omicron Eridanids (OER) Nov 05 02:40 (040) -04 29 01:00 <1 – <1 IV
chi Taurids (CTA) Nov 03 03:10 (048) +24 41 02:00 <1 – <1 IV
Orionids (ORI) Oct 22 06:15 (094) +16 67 05:00 10 – 7 I
nu Eridanids (NUE) Sep 24 06:47 (102) +11 67 06:00 <1 – <1 IV
epsilon Geminids (ORI) Oct 11 06:56 (104) +28 70 06:00 <1 – <1 II
lambda Ursae Majorids (LUM) Oct 28 10:24 (156) +49 61 09:00 <1 – <1 IV
Leonis Minorids (LMI) Oct 22 10:32 (158) +37 62 09:00 1 – <1 II

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The Tycho Supernova: Death of a Star

NASA — Chandra X-ray Observatory patch.

Oct. 18, 2019

In 1572, Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was among those who noticed a new bright object in the constellation Cassiopeia. Adding fuel to the intellectual fire that Copernicus started, Tycho showed this “new star” was far beyond the Moon, and that it was possible for the universe beyond the Sun and planets to change.

Astronomers now know that Tycho’s new star was not new at all. Rather it signaled the death of a star in a supernova, an explosion so bright that it can outshine the light from an entire galaxy. This particular supernova was a Type Ia, which occurs when a white dwarf star pulls material from, or merges with, a nearby companion star until a violent explosion is triggered. The white dwarf star is obliterated, sending its debris hurtling into space.

In its two decades of operation, NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has captured unparalleled X-ray images of many supernova remnants.

Chandra reveals an intriguing pattern of bright clumps and fainter areas in Tycho. What caused this thicket of knots in the aftermath of this explosion? Did the explosion itself cause this clumpiness, or was it something that happened afterward?

Chandra X-ray Observatory

This latest image of Tycho from Chandra is providing clues. To emphasize the clumps in the image and the three-dimensional nature of Tycho, scientists selected two narrow ranges of X-ray energies to isolate material (silicon, colored red) moving away from Earth, and moving towards us (also silicon, colored blue). The other colors in the image (yellow, green, blue-green, orange and purple) show a broad range of different energies and elements, and a mixture of directions of motion. In this new composite image, Chandra’s X-ray data have been combined with an optical image of the stars in the same field of view from the Digitized Sky Survey.

Chandra X-ray Observatory: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/main/index.html

Images, Animation, Text, Credits: X-ray: NASA/Yvette Smith/CXC/RIKEN & GSFC/T. Sato et al; Optical: DSS.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

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Astronauts Christina Koch, Jessica Meir Complete First All-Woman Spacewalk

ISS — Expedition 61 Mission patch / EVA — Extra Vehicular Activities patch.

October 18, 2019

Image above: NASA spacewalkers Christina Koch (foreground, suit with red stripe) and Jessica Meir (suit with no stripes) replaced a failed battery charge-discharge unit with a new one during a 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA TV.

At 2:55 p.m. EDT, Expedition 61 Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir of NASA concluded their spacewalk, the first with only women. During the 7-hour, 17-minute spacewalk, the two NASA astronauts completed the replacement a failed power charging component, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. Mission control activated the newly installed BCDU and reported it is operating properly.

The astronauts were also able to accomplish some get-ahead tasks including installation of a stanchion on the Columbus module for support of a new external ESA (European Space Agency) payload platform called Bartolomeo scheduled for launch to the station in 2020.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir begin spacewalk

Commander Luca Parmitano of ESA and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan assisted the spacewalkers. Parmitano operated the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan provided airlock and spacesuit support.

It was the eighth spacewalk outside the station this year. Space station crew members have now conducted 221 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory. Spacewalkers have spent a total of 57 days, 20 hours, and 29 minutes working outside the station.

Image above: NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir conduct the first all-women spacewalk. Image Credit: NASA.

It was the first spacewalk for Meir and the fourth for Koch, who now has spent a total of 27 hours and 48 minutes spacewalking. It is the first spaceflight for both women, who were selected in the 2013 astronaut class that had equal numbers of women and men. Koch arrived to the orbiting laboratory in March 2019 and will remain in space for an extended duration mission of 11 months to provide researchers the opportunity to observe effects of long-duration spaceflight on a woman to prepare for human missions to the Moon and Mars.

Meir became the 15th woman to spacewalk, and the 14th U.S. woman. It was the 43rd spacewalk to include a woman. Women have been performing spacewalks since 1984, when Russian cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya spacewalked in July and NASA astronaut Kathryn Sullivan spacewalked in October.

Astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir end spacewalk

The faulty BCDU is due to return to Earth on the next SpaceX Dragon resupply ship for inspection. Station managers will reschedule the three battery replacement spacewalks for a future date. In the meantime, the five planned spacewalks to repair a cosmic particle detector, the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, are still on the calendar for November and December.

Spacewalk Preps Today amid Cancer, Robotics and Agriculture Research

Science experiments continue aboard the International Space Station as two NASA astronauts prepare for their first spacewalk together, which is set to take place Friday. The Expedition 61 crew researched a variety of space phenomena today and reviewed procedures for tomorrow’s excursion.

Flight Engineers Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture out into the vacuum of space on Friday to replace a failed power controller, also known as a battery charge-discharge unit (BCDU). The BCDU regulates the charge to the batteries that collect and distribute solar power to the orbiting lab’s systems. They will set their spacesuits to battery power around 7:50 a.m. EDT and exit the Quest airlock for the 5.5-hour repair job on the Port 6 truss structure. NASA TV begins its live coverage at 6:30 a.m.

Image above: NASA astronaut Christina Koch (right) poses for a portrait with fellow Expedition 61 Flight Engineer Jessica Meir of NASA who is inside a U.S. spacesuit for a fit check. Image Credit: NASA.

Commander Luca Parmitano of the European Space Agency (ESA) and NASA Flight Engineer Andrew Morgan will assist the spacewalkers. Parmitano will control the Canadarm2 robotics arm and Morgan will provide airlock and spacesuit support. All four astronauts gathered together today for a final procedures review.

In the midst of the spacewalk preparations, the crew continued ongoing microgravity science. The astronauts had time set aside today for researching cancer therapies, DNA sequencing, planetary robotics and space agriculture.

Morgan set up protein crystals critical to tumor growth and survival in a microscope for observation and photography. Koch continued exploring the viability of sequencing microbial DNA in microgravity.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Parmitano is readying hardware that will enable an astronaut on the station to control a robot on the Earth’s surface. Future astronauts could use the robotic technology to explore a planetary surface such as the Moon or Mars while orbiting in a spacecraft.

The crew is also in the second week of growing a crop of Mizuna mustard greens. Meir watered the Mizuna plants today for the ongoing space agriculture study to learn how to provide fresh food to space crews.

Cosmonauts Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Skripochka had their own slate of human research to conduct today. The duo studied cardiac output changes and blood flow regulation including the effects of space on enzymes.

Related links:

Expedition 61: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/expeditions/expedition61/index.html

Truss structure: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/truss-structure

Canadarm2 robotics arm: https://cms.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/elements/mobile-servicing-system.html

Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS): https://www.nasa.gov/feature/extending-science-in-the-search-for-the-origin-of-the-cosmos

Tumor growth and survival: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7977

Sequencing microbial DNA: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7687

Explore a planetary surface: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=1863

Space agriculture study: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7895

Cardiac output changes: https://www.energia.ru/en/iss/researches/human/10.html

Blood flow regulation: https://www.energia.ru/en/iss/researches/human/12.html

Enzymes: https://www.energia.ru/en/iss/researches/biology/24.html

Space Station Research and Technology: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/index.html

International Space Station (ISS): https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/main/index.html

Images (mentioned), Videos, Text, Credits: NASA/Mark Garcia/SciNews/NASA TV.

Best regards, Orbiter.chArchive link

Mars InSight’s ‘Mole’ Is Moving Again

NASA — InSight Mission patch.

October 18, 2019

NASA’s InSight spacecraft has used its robotic arm to help its heat probe, known as «the mole,» dig nearly 2 centimeters (3/4 of an inch) over the past week. While modest, the movement is significant: Designed to dig as much as 16 feet (5 meters) underground to gauge the heat escaping from the planet’s interior, the mole has only managed to partially bury itself since it started hammering in February 2019.

Animation above: This GIF shows NASA InSight’s heat probe, or «mole,» digging about a centimeter (half an inch) below the surface last week. Using a technique called «pinning,» InSight recently pressed the scoop on its robotic arm against the self-hammering mole in order to help it dig. Animation Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

The recent movement is the result of a new strategy, arrived at after extensive testing on Earth, which found that unexpectedly strong soil is holding up the mole’s progress. The mole needs friction from surrounding soil in order to move: Without it, recoil from its self-hammering action will cause it to simply bounce in place. Pressing the scoop on InSight’s robotic arm against the mole, a new technique called «pinning,» appears to provide the probe with the friction it needs to continue digging.

Since Oct. 8, 2019, the mole has hammered 220 times over three separate occasions. Images sent down from the spacecraft’s cameras have shown the mole gradually progressing into the ground. It will take more time — and hammering — for the team to see how far the mole can go.

The mole is part of an instrument called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, or HP3, which was provided by the German Aerospace Center (DLR).

«Seeing the mole’s progress seems to indicate that there’s no rock blocking our path,» said HP3 Principal Investigator Tilman Spohn of DLR. «That’s great news! We’re rooting for our mole to keep going.»

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, leads the InSight mission. JPL has tested the robotic arm’s movement using full-scale replicas of InSight and the mole. Engineers continue to test what would happen if the mole were to sink beneath the reach of the robotic arm. If it stops making progress, they might scrape soil on top of the mole, adding mass to resist the mole’s recoil.

InSight on Mars. Image Credits: NASA/JPL

If no other options exist, they would consider pressing the scoop down directly on the top of the mole while trying to avoid the sensitive tether there; the tether provides power to and relays data from the instrument.

«The mole still has a way to go, but we’re all thrilled to see it digging again,» said Troy Hudson of JPL, an engineer and scientist who has led the mole recovery effort. «When we first encountered this problem, it was crushing. But I thought, ‘Maybe there’s a chance; let’s keep pressing on.’ And right now, I’m feeling giddy.»

About InSight

JPL manages InSight for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.

A number of European partners, including France’s Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. CNES provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument to NASA, with the principal investigator at IPGP (Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris). Significant contributions for SEIS came from IPGP; the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany; the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH Zurich) in Switzerland; Imperial College London and Oxford University in the United Kingdom; and JPL. DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Spain’s Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) supplied the temperature and wind sensors.

Related article:
NASA’s Push to Save the Mars InSight Lander’s Heat Probe

More about InSight:



Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS): https://mars.nasa.gov/insight/mission/instruments/seis/

Animation (mentioned), Image (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Alana Johnson/JPL/Andrew Good.

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Viewing the Orionids in 2019

The Orionids

The Orionids, like all meteor showers, are named after the constellation in which they appear to come from, which in this case is Orion. Remnants from this shower come from Halley’s Comet, officially designated 1P/Halley. Halley’s Comet is the only known short-period comet that is clearly visible to the naked eye from Earth. This comet swings by the sun every 76 years. Halley last appeared in the inner parts of the Solar System in 1986 and will next appear in mid-2061. The current orbit of Halley’s Comet does not intersect the Earth so the Orionid meteors we see today were left behind by the comet many years ago. Meteoroids (meteors orbiting in space) are subject to perturbations when they pass close to the planets. This makes it difficult to predict just how densely populated the meteoroids are when then intersect the Earth. Therefore it is also difficult to predict just how active the Orionids will be year to year. The latest research believes that the Orionids are in a 12 year cycle with a particle resonance with Jupiter, independent of the much longer orbit of Halley’s Comet. The last cycle peaked in 2006, when Orionid activity matched the normally stronger Perseids. Rates have been low during the first half of the 2010’s so the hope is that activity will be on the increase the next few years. Recent zenith hourly rates have been near 30 in 2017 and 22 (full moon) in 2018. We look for a substantial increase this year!

“Halley’s Comet &copy ESA

Where? When? How many?

Orionid rates should be currently near 5 per hour during the last few hours before dawn. This should increase to 15-20 meteors per hours near maximum activity, which occurs on October 22. This outlook is a bit muted due to a 40% illuminated moon which will be present on the night of maximum activity. Unlike most major annual showers, the Orionids have a flat maximum where strong rates occur over several nights centered on October 22. Therefore, if you are clouded out on the morning of October 22, don’t despair as good rates will continue for a few more nights. Good rates can be see equally well before the maximum too, but the moon will be closer to full prior to maximum.

If you watch the same place in the sky all Orionid meteors will have the same characteristics. They will move in parallel paths and will possess the same velocity. These paths will lead back to the radiant in Orion. These characteristics change if you look somewhere else. In general, Orionid meteors will appear to be swift unless you see them near the radiant or near the horizon. Also the paths will appear shorter near the radiant and near the horizon. Therefore it is advisable to have the Orionid radiant near the edge of your field of view so that you will see longer meteors. There are also minor radiants active in Gemini, Leo Minor, and Aries this time of year. These meteors will have various speeds and will produce much less activity than the Orionids.

The radiant, located on the Orion-Gemini border, rises near 2200 (10pm) local daylight saving time (LDST). This is not the best time to see them though as some of the activity will shoot downward beyond your line of sight. I would be better to wait until after midnight when this area of the sky has risen higher into the sky. At that time Orionid meteors can be seen shooting in all directions. As is standard for most meteor showers, the best time to watch this shower will be between the hours of midnight and dawn – regardless of your time zone. With the radiant lying just north of the celestial equator, this allows the Orionids to be seen all over the Earth except from Antarctica, where daylight/twilight persists for 24 hours.

This year, the waning crescent moon rises near 0100 LDST on October 22, just a couple of hours after the radiant rises. An observer can look toward the south prior to moonrise. But once the moon has risen you need to keep it out of your field of view to maintain your night vision.

The bright constellation of Orion lies above Sirius and the Orionid radiant lies just to the upper left of the main part of Orion.”Halley’s Comet &copy ESA”

Meteor Shower?

Most meteor showers have their origins with comets. Each time a comet swings by the sun, it produces copious amounts of meteoroid sized particles which will eventually spread out along the entire orbit of the comet to form a meteoroid “stream”. If the Earth’s orbit and the comet’s orbit intersect at some point, then the Earth will pass through this stream for a few days at roughly the same time each year, producing a meteor shower.

Because meteor shower particles are all traveling in parallel paths, at the same velocity, they will all appear to radiate from a single point in the sky to an observer below. This radiant point is caused by the effect of perspective, similar to railroad tracks converging at a single vanishing point on the horizon when viewed from the middle of the tracks.

As stated previously, the current orbit of Halley’s Comet does not intersect the Earth. Each pass through the inner solar system produces its own unique path and luckily many of those old trails still pass close to the Earth. This is why the illustration above appears as a thick cloud of particles, consisting of all previous orbits, rather than a single line. It should also be noted that many of the smaller particles are held in a shorter orbit than the comet and do not follow the comet out past the orbit of Uranus. This explains the material seen in between the two main paths.

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