[Spacetalk] https://www.nasa.gov/index.html

Gabe Gabrielle gabe at educatemotivate.com
Fri Nov 6 03:01:26 CST 2015

Good morning all,
 I can’t believe how fast time is going as another week evaporates in what seems like a blink…., in two weeks I leave for Norway and Denmark but also have numerous presentations here in Florida over that period. But not to get ahead, we always want to enjoy the day we are in, one day at a time. There is so much going on with Mars, allot of focus on the reality of sending astronauts there, I think the movie The Martian, I recommend you see it, was very good….and I am usually skeptical as to how “real” it will be…..but with recent discoveries of water on the surface and now theorizing that possibly solar winds destroyed what was once a very life friendly atmosphere the desire to explore is getting allot of attention. Also NASA is recruiting applicants to become astronauts….here’s your chance….check out the qualifications below, you never know….wishing you all a wonderful weekend, of course…one day at a time...we have to remember to live in the present, always do our best, enjoy everything we do, be appreciative of the good in our lives, let those we care about most knowm smile & have fun! Gabe

NASA Mission Reveals Speed of Solar Wind Stripping Martian Atmosphere 
Artist’s rendering of a solar storm hitting Mars and stripping ions from the planet's upper atmosphere.
Credits: NASA/GSFC
NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today.

MAVEN data have enabled researchers to determine the rate at which the Martian atmosphere currently is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind. The findings reveal that the erosion of Mars’ atmosphere increases significantly during solar storms. The scientific results from the mission appear in the Nov. 5 issues of the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters.

“Mars appears to have had a thick atmosphere warm enough to support liquid water which is a key ingredient and medium for life as we currently know it,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Understanding what happened to the Mars atmosphere will inform our knowledge of the dynamics and evolution of any planetary atmosphere. Learning what can cause changes to a planet’s environment from one that could host microbes at the surface to one that doesn’t is important to know, and is a key question that is being addressed in NASA’s journey to Mars.”
MAVEN measurements indicate that the solar wind strips away gas at a rate of about 100 grams (equivalent to roughly 1/4 pound) every second. "Like the theft of a few coins from a cash register every day, the loss becomes significant over time," said Bruce Jakosky, MAVEN principal investigator at the University of Colorado, Boulder. "We've seen that the atmospheric erosion increases significantly during solar storms, so we think the loss rate was much higher billions of years ago when the sun was young and more active.”
In addition, a series of dramatic solar storms hit Mars’ atmosphere in March 2015, and MAVEN found that the loss was accelerated. The combination of greater loss rates and increased solar storms in the past suggests that loss of atmosphere to space was likely a major process in changing the Martian climate.
The solar wind is a stream of particles, mainly protons and electrons, flowing from the sun's atmosphere at a speed of about one million miles per hour. The magnetic field carried by the solar wind as it flows past Mars can generate an electric field, much as a turbine on Earth can be used to generate electricity. This electric field accelerates electrically charged gas atoms, called ions, in Mars’ upper atmosphere and shoots them into space.
MAVEN has been examining how solar wind and ultraviolet light strip gas from of the top of the planet's atmosphere. New results indicate that the loss is experienced in three different regions of the Red Planet: down the "tail," where the solar wind flows behind Mars, above the Martian poles in a "polar plume," and from an extended cloud of gas surrounding Mars. The science team determined that almost 75 percent of the escaping ions come from the tail region, and nearly 25 percent are from the plume region, with just a minor contribution from the extended clou

Created using data from NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, this visualization shows how the solar wind strips ions from the Mars' upper atmosphere into space.
Credits: NASA-GSFC/CU Boulder LASP/University of Iowa
Ancient regions on Mars bear signs of abundant water – such as features resembling valleys carved by rivers and mineral deposits that only form in the presence of liquid water. These features have led scientists to think that billions of years ago, the atmosphere of Mars was much denser and warm enough to form rivers, lakes and perhaps even oceans of liquid water.
Recently, researchers using NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observed the seasonal appearance of hydrated salts indicating briny liquid water on Mars. <https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-confirms-evidence-that-liquid-water-flows-on-today-s-mars> However, the current Martian atmosphere is far too cold and thin to support long-lived or extensive amounts of liquid water on the planet's surface.
"Solar-wind erosion is an important mechanism for atmospheric loss, and was important enough to account for significant change in the Martian climate,” said Joe Grebowsky, MAVEN project scientist from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “MAVEN also is studying other loss processes -- such as loss due to impact of ions or escape of hydrogen atoms -- and these will only increase the importance of atmospheric escape.”
The goal of NASA's MAVEN mission, launched to Mars in November 2013, is to determine how much of the planet's atmosphere and water have been lost to space. It is the first such mission devoted to understanding how the sun might have influenced atmospheric changes on the Red Planet. MAVEN has been operating at Mars for just over a year and will complete its primary science mission on Nov. 16.
To view an animation simulating the loss of atmosphere and water on Mars: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4370 <http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4370> 
For more information and images on Mars’ lost atmosphere, visit: http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4393 <http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4393>
For more information about NASA’s MAVEN mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/maven <http://www.nasa.gov/maven>

Nov. 4, 2015
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Be an Astronaut: NASA Seeks Explorers for Future Space Missions
In anticipation of returning human spaceflight launches to American soil, and in preparation for the agency’s journey to Mars, NASA announced it will soon begin accepting applications for the next class of astronaut candidates. With more human spacecraft in development in the United States today than at any other time in history, future astronauts will launch once again from the Space Coast of Florida on American-made commercial spacecraft, and carry out deep-space exploration missions that will advance a future human mission to Mars.
The agency will accept applications from Dec. 14 through mid-February and expects to announce candidates selected in mid-2017. Applications for consideration as a NASA Astronaut will be accepted at: http://www.usajobs.gov <http://www.usajobs.gov/>
The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. vessels during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew <https://www.nasa.gov/exploration/commercial/crew/index.html> spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion <http://www.nasa.gov/orion> deep-space exploration vehicle.
From pilots and engineers, to scientists and medical doctors, NASA selects qualified astronaut candidates from a diverse pool of U.S. citizens with a wide variety of backgrounds. 
“This next group of American space explorers will inspire the Mars generation to reach for new heights, and help us realize the goal of putting boot prints on the Red Planet,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden <https://twitter.com/NASA_Astronauts/status/661905751191912449>. “Those selected for this service will fly on U.S. made spacecraft from American soil, advance critical science and research aboard the International Space Station, and help push the boundaries of technology in the proving ground of deep space.”
The space agency is guiding an unprecedented transition to commercial spacecraft for crew and cargo transport to the space station. Flights in Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon will facilitate adding a seventh crew member to each station mission, effectively doubling the amount of time astronauts will be able to devote to research in space.Future station crew members will continue the vital work advanced during the last 15 years of continuous human habitation aboard the orbiting laboratory, expanding scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies. This work will include building on the regular six-month missions and this year's one-year mission <https://www.nasa.gov/content/one-year-crew>, currently underway aboard the station, which is striving for research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space.In addition, NASA’s Space Launch System <http://www.nasa.gov/sls> rocket and Orion spacecraft, now in development, will launch astronauts on missions to the proving ground of lunar orbit where NASA will learn to conduct complex operations in a deep space environment before moving on to longer duration missions on its journey to Mars.“This is an exciting time to be a part of America’s human space flight program,” said Brian Kelly, director of Flight Operations at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “NASA has taken the next step in the evolution of our nation’s human spaceflight program – and our U.S. astronauts will be at the forefront of these new and challenging space flight missions. We encourage all qualified applicants to learn more about the opportunities for astronauts at NASA and apply to join our flight operations team.”To date, NASA has selected more than 300 astronauts to fly on its increasingly challenging missions to explore space and benefit life on Earth. There are 47 astronauts in the active astronaut corps, and more will be needed to crew future missions to the space station and destinations in deep space.Astronaut candidates must have earned a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. An advanced degree is desirable. Candidates also must have at least three years of related, progressively responsible professional experience, or at least 1,000 hours of pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft. Astronaut candidates must pass the NASA long-duration spaceflight physical. For more information about a career as a NASA astronaut, and application requirements, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts <http://www.nasa.gov/astronauts>
Robotic Eyes to Assist Satellite Repairs in Orbit
NASA is developing and demonstrating technologies <http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/back-to-the-future-serviceable-spacecraft-make-a-comeback> to service and repair satellites in distant orbits. Robotic spacecraft — likely operated with joysticks by technicians on the ground — would carry out the hands-on maneuvers, not human beings using robotic and other specialized tools, as was the case for spacecraft like the low-Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope.

This photograph looks closely at one of the tools that could be used for satellite servicing in the future: the Visual Inspection Poseable Invertebrate Robot (VIPIR), a robotic, articulating borescope equipped with a second motorized, zoom-lens camera that would help mission operators who need robotic eyes to troubleshoot anomalies, investigate micrometeoroid strikes, and carry out teleoperated satellite-repair jobs. NASA successfully demonstrated VIPIR’s capabilities earlier this year.

VIPIR would be used in NASA’s Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), now in the second phase of its on-orbit demonstration aboard the International Space Station. RRM is using the Canadian Space Agency’s two-armed robotic handyman, Dextre, to show how future robots could service and refuel satellites in space. During RRM’s third phase, the Satellite Servicing Capabilities Office team at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center plans to demonstrate the transfer of xenon, a colorless, dense noble gas potentially useful for powering ion engines.

 Chaos at the Heart of Orion
NASA's Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes teamed up to expose the chaos that baby stars are creating 1,500 light years away in a cosmic cloud called the Orion nebula. This striking composite indicates that four monstrously massive stars, collectively called the "Trapezium," at the center of the cloud may be the main culprits in the Orion constellation, a familiar sight in the fall and winter night sky in the northern hemisphere. Their community can be identified as the yellow smudge near the center of the image. 
Swirls of green in Hubble's ultraviolet and visible-light view reveal hydrogen and sulfur gas that have been heated and ionized by intense ultraviolet radiation from the Trapezium's stars. Meanwhile, Spitzer's infrared view exposes carbon-rich molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the cloud. These organic molecules have been illuminated by the Trapezium's stars, and are shown in the composite as wisps of red and orange. On Earth, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons are found on burnt toast and in automobile exhaust. 
Stellar winds from clusters of newborn stars scattered throughout the cloud etched all of the well-defined ridges and cavities in Orion. The large cavity near the right of the image was most likely carved by winds from the Trapezium's stars. Located 1,500 light-years away from Earth, the Orion nebula is the brightest spot in the sword of the Orion, or the "Hunter" constellation. The cosmic cloud is also our closest massive star-formation factory, and astronomers believe it contains more than 1,000 young stars.

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