Saturnian Moon Shows Evidence of Ammonia
Data collected during two close flybys of Saturn's moon Enceladus by NASA's Cassini spacecraft add more fuel to the fire about the Saturnian ice world containing sub-surface liquid water. The data collected by Cassini's Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer during Enceladus flybys in July and Oct. 2008, were released in the July 23 issue of the journal Nature.
"When Cassini flew through the plume erupting from Enceladus on October 8 of last year, our spectrometer was able to sniff out many complex chemicals, including organic ones, in the vapor and icy particles," said Hunter Waite, the Cassini Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer Lead Scientist from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas. "One of the chemicals definitively identified was ammonia."
On Earth, the presence of ammonia means the potential for sparkling clean floors and counter tops. In space, the presence of ammonia provides strong evidence for the existence of at least some liquid water.
How could ammonia equate to liquid water inside an ice-covered moon in one of the chillier neighborhoods of our solar system? As many a homeowner interested in keeping their abodes spick and span know, ammonia promptly dissolves in water. But what many people do not realize is that ammonia acts as antifreeze, keeping water liquid at lower temperatures than would otherwise be possible. With the presence of ammonia, water can exist in a liquid state to temperatures as low as 176 degrees Kelvin (-143 degrees Fahrenheit).
"Given that temperatures in excess of 180 Kelvin (-136 degrees Fahrenheit) have been measured near the fractures on Enceladus where the jets emanate, we think we have an excellent argument for a liquid water interior," said Waite.
Cassini discovered water vapor and particles spewing from Enceladus in 2005. Since then, scientists have been trying to determine if the plume originates from a liquid source inside the moon or is due to other causes.
"Ammonia is sort of a holy grail for icy volcanism," said William McKinnon, a scientist from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri. "This is the first time we've found it for sure on an icy satellite of a giant planet. It is probably everywhere in the Saturn system."
Just how much water is contained within Enceladus' icy interior is still up for debate. So far, Cassini has made five flybys of Enceladus, one of the chief targets for Cassini's extended mission. Two close flybys are scheduled for November of this year, and two more close flybys are scheduled for April and May or 2010. Data collected during these future flybys may help settle the debate.
"Where liquid water and organics exist, is there life?" asked Jonathan Lunine a Cassini scientist from the University of Arizona, Tucson. "Such is the case for Earth; what was found on Enceladus bolsters this moon's promise for containing potential habitable environments."
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Cassini orbiter was designed, developed and assembled at JPL. JPL manages the mission for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
More information about the Cassini mission is available at http://www.nasa.gov/cassini or http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov .
The repair by flight controllers, albeit temporary, came as a great relief to NASA.
Even if the carbon dioxide-removal system had remained broken, shuttle Endeavour would not have had to undock early from the international space station, said flight director Brian Smith. But the system needs to work to support six station residents over the long term, he said.
The machine for cleansing the station atmosphere, on the U.S. side of the sprawling outpost, failed Saturday when it got too hot and tripped a circuit breaker.
Flight controllers managed to get the unit up and running again 8 1/2 hours later in manual mode. That means extra people are needed in Mission Control — six each day — to handle the approximately 50 computer commands that need to be sent up every few hours.
Normally, the system runs automatically. Smith said engineers hope to come up with a software solution soon to have the system back in automatic.
An air-cleansing system on the Russian side of the station is working fine. In addition, the station has about three weeks' worth of canisters for removing the carbon dioxide exhaled by six crew members. The astronauts would have relied on those canisters to prevent an early undocking of Endeavour, if the U.S. carbon-dioxide removal machine not been coaxed back into operation.
The shuttle and its crew of seven will depart Tuesday, as originally planned.
Before leaving, the shuttle astronauts have their fifth and final spacewalk to perform.
During Monday's spacewalk, Christopher Cassidy and Thomas Marshburn will rearrange some power cable hookups, fold down a piece of popped-up insulation on a small, dexterous robot arm, and install TV cameras on the brand new porch of Japan's space station lab.
"We're all keenly aware that (spacewalks) carry some risk to them, and so we're going to be very, very deliberate and careful," said shuttle commander Mark Polansky. "In my book, the last one you do is always the one that you have to watch out for the most."
After experiencing elevated carbon dioxide levels on the past two spacewalks, astronaut Christopher Cassidy promises to take it nice and slow Monday. His first spacewalk last week had to be cut short because of the problem.
Mission Control has urged Cassidy to rein himself in, not so easy for a former Navy SEAL.
"Yes, I am taking quite a bit of teasing about this," Cassidy said at a news conference as his crewmates erupted in laughter. "I have a whole lot of confidence in the suit and the system there. ... It's not like you leave them out on the loading dock overnight or anything."
A spare carbon-dioxide removal system for the space station, meanwhile, will be launched at the end of August on the next shuttle flight, a plan put in place long before this weekend's trouble.
NASA has wrapped up extensive testing of the foam insulation on the fuel tank for that mission, and so far everything looks to be in good shape. Engineers wanted to make sure that the insulation was attached properly after considerable foam was lost during Endeavour's July 15 launch. The tests delayed Discovery's mission by a week.
Liftoff is now targeted for Aug. 25 at the earliest.
After suffering a problem with one of their space suits, the astronauts on Wednesday's spacewalk were forced to return to the International Space Station early. CBS News Space Consultant Bill Harwood explains.
Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte is shelling out a reported $35 million for his round-trip ticket aboard a Russian spacecraft. He will rocket into orbit from Kazakhstan at the end of September with a professional astronaut and cosmonaut, and spend more than a week at the space station.
At a news conference in Houston, as 13 people circled overhead on the shuttle-station complex, Laliberte was bombarded with questions from journalists, most of them gathered in his home country of Canada.
"As you know, I'm not a scientist. I'm not a doctor. I'm not an engineer. I'm an artist. I'm a creator, and I'll try to do and accomplish this mission with my creativity and what life has given me as a tool," said the Quebec billionaire, who turns 50 in September.
He described his life as a fairy tale and said watching men land on the moon 40 years ago this week, on a black-and-white television at a campground in the middle of the forest, taught him that all things are possible.
Laliberte assured reporters that he will not play with any fire in space - for obvious reasons. But he hopes to try some acrobatics in weightlessness and may teach his crewmates a card trick or two.
"I don't know how we'll be using stilts up there," he said. "But I think there are a couple little things, hopefully, that I have learned in my career of street entertainer that will try to apply up there."
Laliberte said he's seen pictures of floating bottles and other items at the space station that might make for some interesting tricks. But he noted, "I think I will be more like a kid in a candy store up there, discovering things that those guys know. Because I know what I can do on Earth. But what I'm really interested, is to gain and learning what their world is."
As Laliberte talked up creativity, art and safe water for the world's poor in both English and French, astronauts 220 miles up worked to place science experiments on the new front porch of Japan's $1 billion space station lab.
The combined crews of the space station and shuttle Endeavour installed the porch last week.
Thursday's work involved using the 33-foot robot arm on the lab, Kibo - Japanese for "hope" - to install the experiments. The first to go on was an X-ray telescope for astronomical observations. Up next were a package of communication equipment and a space environment monitor for measuring atomic oxygen, cosmic dust and light particles, and their effects on electronics and other materials.
Japanese astronaut Koichi Wakata was at the controls of the lab's robot arm, being used for the first time to hoist payloads. He's been at the space station since March and will return to Earth next week aboard Endeavour.
Back in Houston at the home of Mission Control, meanwhile, Laliberte promised to announce next month the full details of his "social, poetic mission" to draw attention to the world's dwindling water supply.
The circus performer-turned-manager is at Johnson Space Center this week, along with Soyuz crewmates Jeffrey Williams and Maxim Suraev, for training in emergency procedures and familiarization with `.
Laliberte will become the seventh space tourist, courtesy of Virginia-based Space Adventures, which brokered the deals with Russian officials. The first six were software, technology and business types, making Laliberte the first professional artist set for space.
US astronauts Chris Cassidy and Tom Marshburn on Friday undertook an intense spacewalk to change batteries on a solar panel of the International Space Station (ISS).
During seven hours and 12 minutes of work, the astronauts replaced four batteries that collect and store energy from the station's solar panels. The old batteries are to return to Earth aboard the space shuttle Endeavour.
The spacewalkers had more work to do than originally planned after a spacewalk Wednesday was cut short due to problems with carbon dioxide buildup in Cassidy's spacesuit. A piece of equipment that filters the gas from the air inside the suit was not working properly, but Cassidy was never in imminent danger, NASA said.
The spacesuit has been repaired and the astronauts are trained in what to do in case of an emergency, NASA said.
Wednesday's spacewalk saw Cassidy and astronaut Dave Wolf replace only two batteries instead of the four 170-kg batteries that had been planned. That work was cut short due to the spacesuit problems.
Each solar panel on the station has six batteries, which were designed to be changed after six and a half years. Because they are so large the work must be done while NASA is still operating the space shuttles that are capable of carrying large loads, the space agency said.
A fifth and final spacewalk is planned for Monday, when astronauts will put a video camera on the Japanese Kibo laboratory's new porch, which was installed earlier in the mission allowing experiments to be exposed to the extremities of space.
NASA has captured amazing images of debris from an object that plunged into Jupiter after an amateur Aussie stargazer spotted the impression from his backyard.
Scientists used the Hubble Space Telescope to capture what they call the "sharpest visible-light picture" so far of the expanding gash. The debris possibly came from a comet or asteroid that hit Jupiter.
Amy Simon-Miller of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Centre in Greenbelt, Maryland, told AP the magnitude of the impact is believed to be rare. Mr Simon-Miller estimates the diameter of the object that hit the planet was the size of several football fields.
Computer programmer Anthony Wesley made the rare discovery using a telescope in his backyard at Murrumbateman, north of Canberra.
He told the ABC he immediately realised its significance.
"By two o'clock I'd come back up to the house and was sending alerts to all the people I could think of that should be looking at this and especially the professional astronomers with specialised instrument for measuring this," he said.
"The sooner they could see this the more interesting and more useful science they can get from it."
The only other time in history such a feature has been seen on Jupiter was in 1994 during the collision of fragments from comet Shoemaker-Levy 9.
After their husbands returned after the first mission to land on the Moon, the spouses were unable to make close contact
The Apollo 11 crew arrives at Houston's Ellington Air Force base where they are welcomed by their wives
1. The wives of astronauts Buzz Aldrin, Michael Collins and Neil Armstrong arrived at Ellington Air Force base on July 27, 1969, to find their husbands in a trailer. The Apollo 11 crew spent 21 days in quarantine after returning to Earth. This picture has been reproduced in Moonfire: The Epic Journey of Apollo 11, by Norman Mailer. Only 1,969 copies have been printed at a cost of $1,000.
2. Neil Armstrong, to the seemingly eternal chagrin of Buzz Aldrin, was the first man to hop from the lunar module and on to the Moon. Armstrong, left, was a navy pilot before joining Nasa’s space corps and left the Earth twice — once on Gemini 8 in 1966 and once for a stroll on the Moon.
3. Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin, centre, was an engineer and air force pilot who was second on the Moon. “Buzz” stuck after his young sister called him “buzzer” instead of “brother”. He made it his name legally in 1988. He was the pilot of Gemini 12 in 1966 and of the lunar module, Eagle.
4. Michael Collins sat in the command module watching his crewmates as they made history. He had been in space on Gemini 10 in 1966, and is one of only 24 astronauts to have flown to the Moon.
* Armstrong steps cautiously into Mars row
* UK scientist claims he coined Armstrong's quote
5. Pat Collins, left, said to be the prettiest of the three wives, was glued to the television throughout the 12-day mission. The wives had to endure as much publicity as their husbands as they waited nervously on Earth. The Collinses are the only one of the three couples still together.
6. Janet Armstrong, centre, was the “boss” of the three wives. She watched the launch from a boat on the Banana River as close to the launchpad as possible and had her two sons by her side.
7. Joan Aldrin was famously pictured applauding the television as the crew splashed down safely on their return to Earth. Their marriage fell apart under the strain of Aldrin’s depression and heavy drinking. The friendship of the three wives outlasted two of the marriages.
8. The mission was watched live by about 1 billion people around the world. During the Moon walk, one technician joked to Armstrong: “I guess you’re about the only person around who doesn’t have TV coverage of the thing.”
The longest solar eclipse of the 21st century pitched a swath of Asia from India to China into near darkness Wednesday.
turned their eyes skyward Wednesday as dawn suddenly turned to darkness across the continent in the longest total solar eclipse of this century. Millions of others, seeing the rare event as a bad omen, shuttered themselves indoors.
Chinese launched fireworks and danced in Shanghai. On a remote Japanese island, bewildered cattle went to their feeding troughs thinking night had fallen. And in India, a woman was crushed as thousands of viewers crowded the banks of the Ganges for a glimpse.
Starting off in India just after dawn, the eclipse was visible across a wide swath of Asia before moving over southern Japan and then off into the Pacific Ocean.
The eclipse is the longest since July 11, 1991, when a total eclipse lasting 6 minutes, 53 seconds was visible from Hawaii to South America. There will not be a longer eclipse than Wednesday's until 2132.
The celestial event was met by a mixture of awe, excitement and fear.
Cloudy skies and rain damped the show in many areas, but villagers in the town of Varanasi, on the banks of the Ganges in India, got one of the best views.
Thousands of Hindus took to the waters to cleanse their sins. The eclipse was seen there for 3 minutes and 48 seconds.
The gathering was marred when a 65-year-old woman was killed and six people injured in a stampede at one of the river's banks where about 2,500 people had gathered, said police spokesman Surendra Srivastava. He said it is not clear how the stampede started.
Others in India, though, were gripped by fear and refused to come outdoors. In Hindu mythology, an eclipse is caused when a dragon-demon swallows the sun, while another myth is that sun rays during an eclipse can harm unborn children.
"My mother and aunts have called and told me stay in a darkened room with the curtains closed, lie in bed and chant prayers," Krati Jain, 24, who is expecting her first child, said in New Delhi.
Clouds obscured the sun when the eclipse began. But they parted in several Indian cities minutes before the total eclipse took place at 6:24 a.m. (0054 GMT; 8:54 p.m. EDT).
On the tiny Japanese island of Akuseki, where the total eclipse lasted 6 minutes and 25 seconds, more than 200 tourists had to take shelter inside a school gymnasium due to a tornado warning.
But when the sky started to darken, everyone rushed out to the schoolyard, cheering and applauding, said island official Seiichiro Fukumitsu.
"The sky turned dark like in the dead of the night. The air turned cooler and cicadas stopped singing. Everything was so exciting and moving," Fukumitsu said.
Some villagers reported that their cows gathered at a feeding station, apparently mistaking the eclipse as a signal that it was dinner time, he said.
"It was rather mysterious," he said. "It must have been a frightening experience for people hundreds of years ago."
Jubilant eclipse watchers in China set off fireworks near the banks of the Qiantang River in coastal Zheijiang province as skies darkened overhead for about six minutes. Visitors from countries including Britain, Germany and Australia joined curious Chinese onlookers. Heavy clouds blocked the full eclipse but watchers saw a partial one.
The river bank in Yanguan village drew an exceptional number of watchers because it was also the site of the world's largest tidal bore, a phenomenon triggered by the eclipse where a giant tidal wave runs against the river's currents.
In Beijing, a thick blanket of grayish smog blotted out the sky.
In coastal Shanghai, eclipse watchers were disappointed by a light drizzle in the morning. As the sky darkened fully for about five minutes, however, watchers became excited.
Holding a big green umbrella and wearing special glasses, Song Chunyun was prepared to celebrate the occasion in a new white dress.
"Although the rain came, I don't want to screw up the mood. I want to enjoy the special day," she said before dancing and singing in the rain with her two sisters.
At a Buddhist temple in the Thai capital Bangkok, dozens of monks led a mass prayer at a Buddhist temple to ward off evil.
"The eclipse is bad omen for the country," said Pinyo Pongjaroen, a prominent astrologer. "We are praying to boost the fortune of the country."
In Myanmar, Buddhists went to Yangon's famed Shwedagon pagoda to offer flowers, fruits and water to ward off misfortune. Some warned their friends and family not to sleep through the eclipse for fear of getting bad luck.
"We all got up early this morning and prayed at home because our abbot told us that the solar eclipse is a bad omen," said a 43-year old school teacher Aye Aye Thein.
Bangladeshis also came out in droves.
"It's a rare moment, I never thought I would see this in my life," said Abdullah Sayeed, a college student who traveled to Panchagarh town from the capital, Dhaka.
He said cars in the town needed to use headlights as "night darkness has fallen suddenly." People hugged each other and some blew whistles when the eclipse began.
Total eclipses are caused when the moon moves directly between the sun and the earth, covering it completely to cast a shadow on earth.
Charlie Bolden likes to talk -- and he's also prone to choking up.
Making his first major staff appearance as NASA administrator, Bolden spoke before agency employees Tuesday at Washington headquarters along with his deputy, Lori Garver. Over the course of 35 minutes of remarks -- which he admitted should have lasted for about five -- Bolden's voice broke and tears welled up at least five times.
Describing his visit on Monday to the White House with Apollo 11 astronauts, he said that Neil Armstrong "represented us so well," then stopped as his voice cracked for the fourth time.
"I cry because my dad cried," he explained. "He taught me how to cry. He was my high school football coach. He expressed to me, and everyone else he coached, to have something you're passionate about." NASA became his passion, he said, even though he admitted, "I never dreamed of being an astronaut. I definitely didn't dream of being administrator."
He also choked up when describing his views on the environment and what the Middle East looked like from Space.
Moving into a more formal tone, Bolden blasted critics of the space agency who have suggested in recent months that the lack of an administrator signaled President Obama's unwillingness to commit to future space exploration.
"I was insulted to hear people who we thought knew better say, 'Well, there's no one to talk to at NASA'" because it lacked a permanent administrator, he said, adding later "we don't need one" because rank-and-file career employees have carried the agency in recent months.
After months of delay in selecting a new administrator, President Obama nominated the Naval Academy graduate and retired Marine Corps major general earlier this year for the top space job. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) -- whose state is home to thousands of NASA employees -- lobbied hard for the nomination since Bolden piloted the shuttle that Nelson traveled on in 1986. His nomination all but assured, Bolden bused dozens of extended family members from his native South Carolina to pack the seats at his confirmation hearing earlier this month.
Bolden, 62, told the AP on Tuesday that he will be "incredibly disappointed" if people do not make it to Mars -- or beyond -- in his lifetime. His comments appeared to signal a shift in space policy that currently plans to get humans back to the moon by 2020 and then to the red planet or beyond.
During Tuesday's meeting, the new administrator also encouraged employees to reach out to reporters and bloggers or to use Twitter to spread bad news or concerns about agency policy.
“But share them with me and Lori and your supervisor too," he said. (Share news tips or concerns in the comments section below, or e-mail them to The Eye here.)
He also urged frustrated employees to consider moving on.
"If you don't wake up wanting to come to work everyday and you don't feel proud about what you do... go in and talk to your boss," he said.
"I can promise you we're going to help you with the transition. Even if you think we can't survive without you, we can."
CosmosCode is now open for internal alpha testing! Please contact us (email below) for more information or to be part of the testing process.
CosmosCode will be a core offering of free and open source space software through an independent project hosting website, and the development and management of a free software community specific to the challenges and opportunities afforded by space. This community will provide a common access point for individuals, academics, companies, and space agencies around the world using, contributing to, or supporting re-usable, modular, extensible, or standards driven space exploration software.
As the NASA lead for IT within the Constellation program, Ames Research Center is incubating the CosmosCode project in recognition of the immense advances of recent years in collaborative and Internet technologies, and the ability of those technologies to support and extend its work.
The goals of CosmosCode are to:
- Explore the cost-benefit of leveraging the free and open source development process for projects that normally costs millions of dollars in development and testing;
- Open a door to our silicon valley neighbors and encourage private industry to create products and services which leverage and extend NASA’s investments, extending their applicability and relevance to the commercial sector;
- Leverage the free and open source community to improve software quality, enhance the functionality of existing software products, and create a virtual center of expertise in the area of space software;
- Improve the effectiveness of existing collaborations with other NASA Centers, space agencies, universities, and contractors;
- Through tutorials, transparency, collaborative planning, and a direct connection to NASA developers, provide an on-ramp for programmers looking to get involved in space, and for space companies looking to get involved in software;
- Distribute NASA's public software to as wide an audience as possible.
CosmosCode will offer:
- Free Project Hosting (source code repository and project tools (Trac): wiki, tickets, subversion browsing)
- Guides and HowTos on developing open source for the space sector, blogs and discussion forums for questions and relationship building
Community building: bridging the divide
- Clarifying and paving the way for NASA projects to participate in the free/open source community; Opening the door for the the same community to support core NASA mission requirements
- Focus on interaction and collaboration
In building this online space, CosmosCode aims to solidify and extend the core competency of skills, knowledge and tools that the space community can draw from, and to create incentive for the community to converge upon common practices and open standards. By leveraging this, a shared platform can emerge upon which markets and commercial enterprise can invest, bootstrapping the advancement of space exploration. By bridging the divide between the free and open source community, and space agencies, CosmosCode aims to make space exploration a truly participatory activity.
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Forty years ago, men from Earth began for the first time to leave our home planet and journey to the moon.
› Apollo 40th Features
From 1968 to 1972, NASA's Apollo astronauts tested out new spacecraft and journeyed to uncharted destinations.
It all started on May 25, 1961, when President John F. Kennedy announced the goal of sending astronauts to the moon before the end of the decade. Coming just three weeks after Mercury astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space, Kennedy's bold challenge set the nation on a journey unlike any before in human history.
Eight years of hard work by thousands of Americans came to fruition on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong stepped out of the lunar module and took "one small step" in the Sea of Tranquility, calling it "a giant leap for mankind."
Six of the missions -- Apollos 11, 12, 14, 15, 16 and 17 -- went on to land on the moon, studying soil mechanics, meteoroids, seismic, heat flow, lunar ranging, magnetic fields and solar wind. Apollos 7 and 9 tested spacecraft in Earth orbit; Apollo 10 orbited the moon as the dress rehearsal for the first landing. An oxygen tank explosion forced Apollo 13 to scrub its landing, but the "can-do" problem solving of the crew and mission control turned the mission into a "successful failure."
› Text and Audio Versions of President Kennedy's Speech
› The Apollo Program--A List of Resources
› View Key Apollo Source Documents
› History of Human Space Flight
› Apollo-Soyuz Test Project
Of course, the most important muscle in the body is the heart.
While doctors are well aware of this weakening of the heart in space -- known as cardiac atrophy -- a new study aboard the International Space Station seeks to find out exactly how much the heart muscle decreases in size over a standard six-month station tour and how quickly it occurs.
In addition to evaluating cardiac health in space, the Integrated Cardiovascular investigation also will determine how effective the astronauts' current exercise program is at protecting the heart from getting smaller or weaker.
"This study also will help us determine if there is a risk of abnormal heart rhythms and how significant the risk is in order to develop appropriate countermeasures," said Dr. Deborah Harm, international project scientist for the International Space Station Medical Program at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston.
According to Harm, many crew members experience a brief period of lightheadedness and a drop in blood pressure when standing still after coming home to Earth from long-duration missions. Fainting can occur when the heart cannot generate enough force to pump the necessary blood to the brain and the rest of body -- either because the muscle is too small or weak, or because there is an abnormal heart rhythm.
"At this time it is unknown if heart muscle weakening continues throughout a mission or if it levels off at some point. That's what we want to find out," Harm said.
Crew members on Expedition 20, which began in May and will continue through October, are the first to participate. Before, during and after flight, they are measuring their heart rates, heart rhythms and blood pressure for 24- to 48-hours before and after exercise sessions. They're also performing on-orbit cardiac ultrasound scans on each other before and after exercise to look at how effectively the heart fills with blood and pumps it to the rest of the body.
"MRI scans will be done on crewmembers' hearts before and after flight to measure exactly how much heart muscle is present and will be compared to the cardiac ultrasound information to better understand how changes in heart muscle are related to cardiac function," said Dr. Michael Bungo of the investigator team.
"Such an extensive and sophisticated study of the cardiovascular system was virtually impossible before we had six crewmembers onboard the station," Harm added. "There simply was not enough crew time available to complete all the procedures required for this experiment."
Catherine (Cady) Coleman is performing a remotely guided echocardiogram on a test subject utilizing the Integrated Cardiovascular protocols, while Betty Chen, a training coordinator observes. Image Credit: NASA/JSC While in space, crewmembers will wear four devices: a portable Holter monitor that measures heart rate continuously for extended periods; a Cardiopres that measures blood pressure with every heart beat; and two Actiwatches -- one on an ankle and one on a wrist -- to monitor and record body movements.
The data collected is being beamed down to the Payload Operations Center at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., and delivered to the investigator’s team for analysis.
This study shows the breadth of international cooperation and collaboration that occurs on the space station. Three international partner agencies are working together to get the best science for everyone. The European Space Agency (ESA) is providing the Cardiopres device for monitoring blood pressure, and the investigators will be sharing the Holter data with teams for two Canadian-sponsored experiments. One of these experiments also includes ESA investigators.
All of these investigator teams are studying different aspects of the cardiovascular system. Sharing this data among scientists greatly enhances the overall science return. That, in turn, allows us to more efficiently and quickly understand the full range of cardiovascular changes than any one investigation could, Harm said.
"As we move toward exploration missions where astronauts could be in space for longer periods of time, it is very important that we know to what degree they could experience cardiovascular risks, and prepare countermeasures to protect them," said Dr. Julie Robinson, International Space Station program scientist at the Johnson Space Center. "We are eager to see the results from this study."
Knowledge gained in the Integrated Cardiovascular study may help doctors treat patients on Earth who have been confined or on bed rest for long periods. Patients with heart diseases that change their normal cardiac function may also benefit.
For more information, visit:
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center
The planet Jupiter shows evidence of having being hit by a large object, either a comet or asteroid.
A dark mark has appeared in its atmosphere towards the southern pole.
It was first seen by Australian amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley on 19 July, and was then quickly followed up by others including the US space agency.
Nasa used its Infrared Telescope Facility on top of the Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii to obtain detailed pictures of the disturbance.
The agency's scientists say the observations reveal a bright upwelling of particles in the upper atmosphere, and a warming of the upper troposphere with possible extra emission from ammonia gas detected at mid-infrared wavelengths.
It is 15 years since Jupiter was famously hit by Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9. It broke up into several pieces as it plunged on to the gas giant.
Scientists had plenty of warning of that impact but this latest event came out of the blue.
Researchers say that if the mark really was caused by a comet or asteroid, it should spread out in the coming days in a predictable way with jet streams .
NASA cannot continue on its present path, which includes staffing the International Space Station and returning astronauts to the moon by 2020, and fulfill its ultimate goal of getting people to Mars, the U.S. space agency's new chief said Tuesday.
NASA is trying to finish construction of the $100-billion (U.S.) space station and retire the shuttle fleet next year. It also is developing two new rockets and a capsule-style craft that can ferry crews to the moon and other destinations in addition to the station, which orbits 360 kilometres above Earth.
“We cannot continue to survive on the path that we're on right now,” Charlie Bolden, a retired Marine Corps general and four-time shuttle astronaut, said in a speech to NASA employees.
Mr. Bolden said he believes the space program's long-term objective is sending people to Mars.
“The challenge for us in the next few months is to figure out what the single most efficient, most cost-effective path is to get there,” he said.
Mr. Bolden was appointed NASA administrator by President Barack Obama's administration in May, about five years after Mr. Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, set a goal for the agency to retire the shuttle fleet by 2010, resume sending humans to the moon by 2020 and then push on to Mars.
Returning astronauts to the moon was estimated in 2005 to cost about $110-billion, but that figure has since been cut by about $40-billion. NASA spends about half of its $18-billion annual budget on human spaceflight.
A presidential panel is reviewing options for the U.S. human space program and is expected to issue its report next month. Mr. Bolden told workers the review is “nothing to be afraid of.”
Concurrently, a second review that encompasses all areas of space - military, commercial, civil and scientific - is under way by the national security adviser, James Jones, a retired four-star Marine general, Mr. Bolden said.
“There needs to be a coherent policy and so President Obama has asked General Jones to put together a group to take a look at the national space policy,” Mr. Bolden said. “That's already under way to a limited extent but we hope to be participating in that as a full member.”
Apollo 11 Moon Landing: British scientist claims to have coined Neil Armstrong's 'one small step' line
Gary Peach, 73, who was working at a Nasa space tracking facility in Australia in July 1969, says that he coined the phrase because he feared that the landmark moment would pass without a suitably dramatic opening line.
He said that he worried that astronauts would mark mankind’s arrival on the moon with a mundane observation about dust.
After toying with variations on the theme of taking steps, he says that he came up with the phrase: “That’s one small step for a man; one giant leap for mankind”.
After suggesting it to his director, the next he heard of it was when Neil Armstrong famously fluffed the line, failing to pronounce the “a” audibly as he set foot on the moon.
Mr Armstrong says that he came up with the phrase himself as he stepped off the lunar module but has spoken in the past about drawing on thoughts which were there “subliminally or in the background”.
Mr Peach, a grandfather of four who trained as an engineer during national service with the RAF in the 1950s, described the fact that he has never hitherto been credited with coming up with one of the most quoted phrases in history as a minor “annoyance”.
He claims that he only spoke openly about it after being drawn into discussion about the moon landing in an internet forum.
It was during final preparations at the Tidbinbilla tracking station near Canberra for the moon mission in July 1969 that he hit on the term, he maintains.
“It was already a topic had been among the boys anyway,” he said.
“I was thinking, what is he going to say when he steps down on the moon for the first time? It is going to be in the history books forever – it will probably be something like ‘Holy **** look at all that dust’.
“First of all I crafted it as ‘it’s a small step for a man, it’s a big step for mankind’ and then I thought I have too ‘steps’ in there so I changed it to a leap.”
A few days later he passed his idea to the director of the station in a chance conversation as he made some late night checks as the mission was due to get under way.
“He asked me have you any other concerns and I said: ‘Yes, what they are going to say’,” he recalled.
Mr Peach believes that the director then passed on his suggestion to mission control and the next he heard was as Mr Armstrong stepped onto the moon.
Even when the astronaut garbled the line, he says that he was not displeased.
“I was busy working, it didn’t really matter, I didn’t really give it a second thought,” he said.
Speaking in 2001, Mr Armstrong said that he came up with the phrase as he waited in the Eagle landing craft before finally walking on the moon.
“I thought about it after landing,” he told a Nasa history project.
“Because we had a lot of other things to do, it was not something that I really concentrated on but just something that was kind of passing around subliminally or in the background.”
Image above: Seated are Commander Rick Sturckow (right) and Pilot Kevin Ford. From the left (standing) are mission specialists José Hernández, John "Danny" Olivas, Nicole Stott, European Space Agency's Christer Fuglesang and Patrick Forrester. Stott is scheduled to join Expedition 20 as flight engineer after launching to the International Space Station on STS-128.
Commander Rick Sturckow will lead the STS-128 mission to the International Space Station aboard space shuttle Discovery with Kevin Ford serving as pilot. Also serving aboard Discovery are mission specialists Patrick Forrester, José Hernández, John "Danny" Olivas, Christer Fuglesang and Nicole Stott.
Stott will remain on the station as an Expedition 20 flight engineer replacing Timothy Kopra. Kopra will return home aboard Discovery as a mission specialist.
Discovery is carrying the Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module containing life support racks and science racks. The Lightweight Multi-Purpose Experiment Support Structure Carrier will also be launched in Discovery's payload bay.
This is Discovery's 37th mission to space and the 30th mission of a space shuttle dedicated to the assembly and maintenance of the International Space Station.
+ Read the July 16, 2008, press release
Christiaan Huygens, (HY guhnz), (1629-1695), was a Dutch physicist, astronomer, and mathematician. In 1678, Huygens proposed that light consists of series of waves. He used this theory in investigating the refraction (bending) of light.
Huygens's wave theory competed for many years with the corpuscular theory of the English scientist Isaac Newton. Newton maintained that light is made up of particles. Today, scientists believe that light behaves as both a particle and a wave.
Huygens was born on April 14, 1629, in The Hague, the Netherlands. He studied mathematics and law at the University of Leiden and the College of Orange at Breda. Huygens worked with his brother Constantijn to develop skill in grinding and polishing spherical lenses. With these lenses, they built the most powerful telescopes of their time. Huygens also discovered Saturn's moon Titan and asserted that what astronomers called "Saturn's arms" was a ring. In mathematics, he refined the value of pi . In the 1650's, Huygens invented a clock with a freely suspended pendulum. He died on July 8, 1695.
The European Space Agency honored Huygens's discovery of Titan by naming a space probe after him. The Huygens probe, designed to drop through Titan's atmosphere, was launched aboard the Cassini spacecraft in 1997. Contributor: Ronald S. Calinger, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Catholic University of America. How to cite this article: To cite this article, World Book recommends the following format: Calinger, Ronald S. "Huygens, Christiaan." World Book Online Reference Center. 2004. World Book, Inc. http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar268300.
Contributor: Ronald S. Calinger, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, Catholic University of America.
How to cite this article: To cite this article, World Book recommends the following format: Calinger, Ronald S. "Huygens, Christiaan." World Book Online Reference Center. 2004. World Book, Inc. http://www.worldbookonline.com/wb/Article?id=ar268300.
As we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission, we're also looking forward to the flight of our next spacecraft that will replace the shuttle after it retires in 2010. The Constellation Program is in the works to replace the Space Shuttle Program. NASA Education's new DIY Podcast module, Rocket Evolution, looks at past, present and future NASA rockets. Students can use Apollo and space shuttle video and audio clips along with animation of future spacecraft to show how rockets include technology built on what's already been learned.
Student podcasts created with this module will support National Science Education Standards, including:
• Abilities of technological design
• Understanding about science and technology
• Science technology and society
Student podcasts built using the Rocket Evolution module will also support the International Technology Education Association educational standard: Students will develop an understanding of the relationships among technologies and the connections between technology and other fields of study.
In addition to audio and video clips, the Rocket Evolution module features information to help students write a podcast script, along with links to related resources and images.
Wolf and Marshburn completed most of their planned tasks, deferring a video camera setup to a future spacewalk. Wolf removed three hardware spares – a Ku-Band Space-to-Ground Antenna, a Pump Module and a Linear Drive Unit, from the Integrated Cargo Carrier – Vertical Light Deployable (ICC-VLD). With each spare in hand, Wolf rode the space station robotic arm from the ICC to the Port 3 external stowage platform (ESP-3), where he and Marshburn attached them for long-term storage. Julie Payette and Doug Hurley operated the robotic arm. Marshburn mounted a grapple bar onto an ammonia tank assembly so that the STS-128 space shuttle mission in August can move the tank by robotic arm. Marshburn also attached two insulation sleeves for the Station to Shuttle Power Transfer System.
This was the second of five STS-127 spacewalks, the 127th in support of International Space Station assembly and maintenance, totaling 792 hours, 31 minutes. It was the 215th American spacewalk in history. It was Wolf’s sixth spacewalk, totaling 38 hours, 44 minutes and placing him 19th on the all-time list. It was Marshburn’s first excursion.
NASA Television airs a Mission Status briefing at 8:30 p.m. with STS-127 Lead Flight Director Holly Ridings and STS-127 Lead Extravehicular Activity Officer Kieth Johnson.
With NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, astronomers now are getting their best look at those whirling stellar cinders known as pulsars. In two studies published in the July 2 edition of Science Express, international teams have analyzed gamma-rays from two dozen pulsars, including 16 discovered by Fermi. Fermi is the first spacecraft able to identify pulsars by their gamma-ray emission alone.
A pulsar is the rapidly spinning and highly magnetized core left behind when a massive star explodes. Most of the 1,800 cataloged pulsars were found through their periodic radio emissions. Astronomers believe these pulses are caused by narrow, lighthouse-like radio beams emanating from the pulsar's magnetic poles.
"Fermi has truly unprecedented power for discovering and studying gamma-ray pulsars," said Paul Ray of the Naval Research Laboratory in Washington. "Since the demise of the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory a decade ago, we've wondered about the nature of unidentified gamma-ray sources it detected in our galaxy. These studies from Fermi lift the veil on many of them."
The Vela pulsar, which spins 11 times a second, is the brightest persistent source of gamma rays in the sky. Yet gamma rays -- the most energetic form of light -- are few and far between. Even Fermi's Large Area Telescope sees only about one gamma-ray photon from Vela every two minutes.
"That's about one photon for every thousand Vela rotations," said Marcus Ziegler, a member of the team reporting on the new pulsars at the University of California, Santa Cruz. "From the faintest pulsar we studied, we see only two gamma-ray photons a day."
Radio telescopes on Earth can detect a pulsar easily only if one of the narrow radio beams happens to swing our way. If not, the pulsar can remain hidden.
A pulsar's radio beams represent only a few parts per million of its total power, whereas its gamma rays account for 10 percent or more. Somehow, pulsars are able to accelerate particles to speeds near that of light. These particles emit a broad beam of gamma rays as they arc along curved magnetic field lines.
This all-sky map shows the positions and names of 16 new pulsars (yellow) and eight millisecond pulsars (magenta) studied using Fermi's LAT. The famous Vela, Crab, and Geminga pulsars (right) are the brightest ones Fermi sees. The pulsars Taz, Eel, and Rabbit have taken the nicknames of nebulae they are now known to power. The Gamma Cygni pulsar resides within a supernova remnant of the same name.
Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration
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"Before launch, some predicted Fermi might uncover a handful of new pulsars during its mission," Ziegler added. "To discover 16 in its first five months of operation is really beyond our wildest dreams."
Like spinning tops, pulsars slow down as they lose energy. Eventually, they spin too slowly to power their characteristic emissions and become undetectable.
But pair a slowed dormant pulsar with a normal star, and a stream of stellar matter from the companion can spill onto the pulsar and increase its spin. At rotation periods between 100 and 1,000 times a second, ancient pulsars can resume the activity of their youth. In the second study, Fermi scientists examined gamma rays from eight of these "born-again" pulsars, all of which were previously discovered at radio wavelengths.
"Before Fermi launched, it wasn't clear that pulsars with millisecond periods could emit gamma rays at all," said Lucas Guillemot at the Center for Nuclear Studies in Gradignan, near Bordeaux, France. "Now we know they do. It's also clear that, despite their differences, both normal and millisecond pulsars share similar mechanisms for emitting gamma rays."
NASA's Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope is an astrophysics and particle physics partnership, developed in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Energy, along with important contributions from academic institutions and partners in France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Sweden, and the U.S.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
One of the two bathrooms on the International Space Station is broken. Engineers at the Johnson Space Center are working around the clock to troubleshoot the problem, but it could take days to fix.
Astronaut Hal Getzelman radioed up the bad news to the crew on the space station. "When you get a second, if you could put an out-of-service note on the WHC [NASA's term for a toilet] and advise the crew members that station crew members will have to use the Russian toilet and shuttle crew members on the shuttle until further notice."
European Space Agency astronaut Frank De Winne is the guy tasked with putting his plumbing skills to work on short notice. He asked if engineers had an estimate on how long it might take to get the toilet back in operation.
"No, we don't have a good estimate," Getzelman said. "What happened, the pre-treat (chemical), we think, flooded the pump separator and we may have got some fluid where we didn't want it and it'll take us a while to work through a procedure to recover."
In 1972 the last Apollo astronauts came home from the moon, and that was that. The budget was tight, and they'd only found rocks. So for a quarter of a century at NASA, the moon was a dead issue.
No longer. In 1994 a military space probe called Clementine, sent to map the moon as a way of testing sensors for possible Defense Department use, found evidence of ice in the shadowed corners of craters near the moon's south pole. In 1998 a NASA probe called Lunar Prospector was sent to confirm Clementine's findings, and as it orbited the moon it found evidence of large amounts of ice in the lunar soil.
Neither ship completely settled the issue; Clementine relied on radar data, and Lunar Prospector did indirect chemical measurements. But ice on the moon? Lunar Prospector's readings, in particular, suggested there may be hundreds of billions of gallons of it. Engineers on Earth almost salivate at the thought.
STS-126, STS-124, STS-123, STS-122
STS-120, STS-118, STS-117
STS-116, STS-115, STS-121
STS-113, STS-112, STS-111, STS-110, STS-109
STS-108, STS-105, STS-104, STS-100, STS-102, STS-98
|Shuttle Missions - 2000|
STS-97, STS-92, STS-106, STS-101, STS-99
STS-103, STS-93, STS-96
STS-88, STS-95, STS-91, STS-90, STS-89
STS-87, STS-86, STS-85, STS-94, STS-84, STS-83, STS-82, STS-81
STS-80, STS-79, STS-78, STS-77, STS-76, STS-75, STS-72
STS-74, STS-73, STS-69, STS-70, STS-71, STS-67, STS-63
STS-66, STS-68, STS-64, STS-65, STS-59, STS-62, STS-60
STS-61, STS-58, STS-51, STS-57, STS-55, STS-56, STS-54
STS-53, STS-52, STS-47, STS-46, STS-50, STS-49, STS-45, STS-42
STS-44, STS-48, STS-43, STS-40, STS-39, STS-37
STS-35, STS-38, STS-41, STS-31, STS-36, STS-32
STS-33, STS-34, STS-28, STS-30, STS-29
STS-61B, STS-61A, STS-51J, STS-51I, STS-51F, STS-51G, STS-51B, STS-51D, STS-51C
STS-51A, STS-41G, STS-41D, STS-41C, STS-41B
STS-9, STS-8, STS-7, STS-6
STS-5, STS-4, STS-3