NASA and other private space companies like Mars One and SapceX are going to send the first to Mars, the Red Planet.
NASA recently announced the human’s journey to Mars would not be possible without the agency’s contribution.
Charles Bolden, the administrator of NASA, explained during the session with the U.S. House Committee on Science on Thursday, that the space agency is expected to send the first humans on Mars in 2030, and any other private company will not be able to do the same thing before them.
Bolden mentioned, “No commercial company without the support of NASA and government is going to get to Mars.”
NASA has send a rover which is still exploring the Red Planet’s surface and a few spacecrafts which are orbiting Mars, and this knowledge and experience will be of major help in their task of sending humans to the planet.
The gained data of Mars showed that the Red Planet may have been home to more forms of life in the past.
Bolden said before sending a manned mission it is crucial to understand the most detailed aspects of the Red Planet. He also added that NASA researchers have to find out if what happened to Mars could also happen to Earth.
Mars is believed to dispose of large water bodies, even oceans, just like Earth, but the planet lost all the liquid water as the planet slowed the generation of its magnetic field.
Mars One aims at sending humans on Mars and also to set the basis for a human colony on the Red Planet The company announced that they will make possible for humans to go to Mars in 2020s and then start up a human colony by 2027.
A space trip from Earth to Mars would take around 500 days. NASA has sent its astronauts to International Space Station for long periods, such as 12 months, in order to better understand the suitability of sending humans to Mars.
NASA, which is a government agency, announced it has the technology,information, finance, and support from the United States. Private companies would need the help of the agency for sending humans to Mars, the NASA scientists firmly believe.
For an entire month, starting April 29, NASA will organize a challenge for design ideas to keep astronauts safe during deep space missions. More than $30,000 will be given to design projects selected by NASA.
Image Source: Space
The NASA Messenger spacecraft has been orbiting Mercury for four years. After collecting data, the probe is close to running out of fuel. The spacecraft is going to crash on the small planet’s surface at approximately 8,750 miles per hour.
Mission operators at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland, have been performing a number of orbit corrections that will postpone the spacecraft’s inevitable crash.
The final controlled operations will take place next Friday, April 24.
“Following this last maneuver, we will finally declare the spacecraft out of propellant, as this maneuver will deplete nearly all of our remaining helium gas. At that point, the spacecraft will no longer be capable of fighting the downward push of the sun’s gravity,” Daniel O’Shaughnessy, mission systems engineer at APL, said in a press release. “”
The impact is expected to happen on April 30.Scientists are however hoping the new impact crater will offer them new insight into the planet.
“Having an impact crater, even a small one, whose origin date is known, will be an important clue,” said the mission’s principal investigator Sean Solomon, the director of Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in Palisades, New York.
The Messenger spacecraft was launched eleven years ago and was caught by the planet’s orbit on March 18, 2011.
While the probe’s mission may be ending soon, researchers are gathering up all they’ve learned about Mercury with the help pf the spacecraft. The data may even hold some information on the formation of life on Earth.
Mercury is the closest planet to the sun, where temperatures can peak at 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Craters from the tiny planet at the poles and lay permanently in shadow. In 2012, Messenger found evidence of water ice deposits and other chemical material trapped in those polar regions. It also discovered a dark layer on top of the ice, believed to be organic material.
Researchers believe those materials came to the planet much like Messenger will get there: by crashing.
“The water now stored in ice deposits in the permanently shadowed floors of impact craters at Mercury’s poles most likely was delivered to the innermost planet by the impacts of comets and volatile-rich asteroids. “Those same impacts also likely delivered the dark organic material,” Solomon said in a press release.
The evidence discovered by Messenger is supporting the theory that asteroids and comets are delivering ice and organic materials and could have been the source of life on Earth.
Image Source: Huffington Post
The evolution of our galaxy, the Milky Way, has been pieced together from pictures taken by NASA and ESA telescopes, according to a research by Texas A&M students.
Lead author Casey Papovich, said in a press release that by looking at distant galaxies, the researchers managed to observe how they looked when their light left for Earth.
“Because the galaxies are billions of light-years distant, we can see how they looked billions of years in the past”, added Papovich, who, together with postdoctoral researchers Vithal Tilvi and Ryan Quadri and almost 25 astronomers around the world spent a year examining distant galaxies similar in mass to the Milky Way.
Two programs were used to discover the most suitable galaxies, the deep sky surveys of the universe called FourStar Galaxy Evolution Survey (ZFOURGE) and Cosmic Assembly Near-infrared Deep Extragalactic Legacy Survey (CANDELS).
The group studied more than 24,000 galaxies from the combined catalog to identify representative galaxies that had an evolving pattern similar to our Milky Way. In the next step, the scientists made a projection of how those galaxies expanded over time, which could be used just like a “film” of the Milky Way’s life from youth to middle age.
“Most stars today exist in galaxies like the Milky Way, so by studying how galaxies like our own formed, we have come to understand the most typical locations of stars in the universe. We now have the best picture of how galaxies like our own formed their stars,” said Papovich, an associate professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
Papovich mentioned the research data clearly shows that the Milky Way got trough its most rapid phase of growth around 9.2 and 10 billion years ago, producing new stars at an incredible rate, approximately 30 times faster compared to today’s rhythm. In present times, the Milky Way churns out one new star per year, compared to a production of 30 each year 9.5 billion years ago. The study revealed a strong bond between star formation and growth in galaxy size.
Papovich explained that our Sun is one of the more recently formed stars, born around 5 billion years ago, a period when star formation within the Milky Way had toned down to a level that is also found today. The Sun’s late appearance may have been a good thing, allowing the growth of the planets within our solar system.
The study was supported by funding from National Science Foundation and NASA, who allowed the use of its Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes. In order to carry out the research, the scientists also used ground-based telescopes, including the Las Campanas Observatory in Chile and the Magellan Baade Telescope, but also European Space Agency’s Herschel Space Observatory.
Image Source: The Next Web
NASA and the European Space Agency are setting up a project that could save humanity from potential dangerous meteors and asteroids headed for Earth.
The two space agencies have teamed up to clear some of the near Earth objects, by starting a new asteroid targeting mission.
The European Space Agency announced it started the preliminary design work for the Asteroid Impact Mission. According to the scientists, the new project will be a great opportunity to test new technologies which could be then used for future deep space missions, but also for planetary defense methods.
ESA will carry out a mission to Didymos, a deep space binary asteroid system. The mission will focus on the asteroid moon named Didymoon, which is expected to pass-by Earth at a non-risk distance of 11 million kilometers in the year 2022.
The European Space Agency will analyze the asteroid using high resolution photographs and mappings, but will also carry out radar and thermal mapping of Didymoon. After all the research is complete, the space agency will send a lander on the asteroid.
ESA said that its Asteroid Impact Mission will focus on gathering scientific bounty and increasing information which will provide valuable observations and data about the formation of the solar system. This extraordinary mission will also set up humanity for future dangerous asteroids that might head directly to Earth.
NASA will also send a Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) in 2022, along with AIM: This means that the American scientists will deploy a probe that will crash into the surface of Didymoon.
Ian Carnelli, mission manager of ESA, explained that the results of the two missions will give the laboratory impact models to be further used on a larger scale to deeply understand the reactions that are taking place on a real asteroid when it is exposed to this type of energy.
Through the DART mission, NASA also aims to shift Didymoon’s orbit. If successful, it will be the time that any human activity has ever changed the dynamics and trajectory of a solar system object.
NASA’s DART and ESA’s AIM projects will be useful lessons for asteroid defense strategies in the future. The scientists want to achieve insights about what type of force and energy is required in order to change the paths of asteroids, especially of those space objects that are headed for Earth and could destroy life as we know it.
Image Source: Fox News
Deep in the Constellation Carina, are the most luminous and mystifying star system, some 10,000 light years away. The two massive stars are known as Eta Carinae and it has erupted twice in the 19th century and scientists have still not been able to solve the mystery of these eruptions. Scientists are predicting a massive explosion which will lead to the formation of a supernova.
The brighter and the primary star have a mass 90 times our Sun. It also outshines it five million times. The composition and other details of the smaller companion are being hotly debated. Powerful gaseous outflows known as Stellar Winds are produced by the stars and it completely shrouds it making it impossible to directly observe it. However the gas is hot dense to the point that it starts to emit X-rays which are observable.
Both the stars are losing masses at a high rate. However there is still no evidence that either of the two stars will cease to exist.