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

Gabe Gabrielle gabe at educatemotivate.com
Wed Apr 27 06:19:14 CDT 2016


Good morning all,
 It amazes me how fast the time goes…I know so many of you are counting the days to the end of the school year….I think it is funny in some ways as we tend to think most of you love teaching so much, it is always fun…but I know there is so much you have to do behind the scenes in the evenings, on weekends, as well as all the tremendous responsibility you face day in and day out….so for sure, it would seem a break is so deserved as well as needed ….but then many of you teach in the summer too….I admire you all so very much, I always say you have the most difficult and important job in the world…as well as the most rewarding as you impact kids for life…4 weeks ago I shared with you about my swim coach passing out and almost dying on the deck…he would have died had they not had a portable defib to shock his heart into beating…it was such a reminder to appreciate those we care about and let them know as there are no guarantees….Ed, our coach, was back in the pool exactly 4 weeks from the incident….remarkable…a testament to being physically fit, strong, and “healthy” to battle back so quickly….wishing you all a wonderful day...we have to remember to always do our best, enjoy everything we do, live in the present, make each day special, let those we care about most know....smile & have fun, Gabe 
 


Light Echoes Used to Study Protoplanetary Disks
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A new study published in the Astrophysical Journal uses data from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and four ground-based telescopes <http://www.nasa.gov/feature/jpl/light-echoes-give-clues-to-protoplanetary-disk> to determine the distance from a star to the inner rim of its surrounding protoplanetary disk. Researchers used a method called "photo-reverberation," also known as "light echoes." When the central star brightens, some of the light hits the surrounding disk, causing a delayed “echo.” Scientists measured the time it took for light coming directly from the star to reach Earth, then waited for its echo to arrive. The Spitzer study marks the first time the light echo method was used in the context of protoplanetary disks. This illustration shows a star surrounded by a protoplanetary disk. Material from the thick disk flows along the star’s magnetic field lines and is deposited onto the star’s surface. When material hits the star, it lights up brightly.


Development of High-Power Solar Electric Propulsion
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A prototype 13-kilowatt Hall thruster is tested at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. This prototype demonstrated the technology readiness needed for industry to continue the development of high-power solar electric propulsion into a flight-qualified system. On Tuesday, April 19, 2016, NASA awarded a contract to Aerojet Rocketdyne, Inc. <http://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-works-to-improve-solar-electric-propulsion-for-deep-space-exploration/> to design and develop an advanced electric propulsion system that will significantly advance the nation's commercial space capabilities, and enable deep space exploration missions, including the robotic portion of NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) and its journey to Mars. NASA has been refining development of spaceflight electric propulsion technology for more than five decades. The first successful ion electric propulsion thruster was developed at Glenn Research Center in the 1950s. The first operational test of an electric propulsion system in space was Glenn’s Space Electric Rocket Test 1, which flew on July 20, 1964. Since then, NASA has increasingly relied on solar electric propulsion for long-duration, deep-space robotic science and exploration missions. An advanced electric propulsion system could potentially increase spaceflight transportation fuel efficiency by 10 times over current chemical propulsion technology and more than double thrust capability compared to current electric propulsion technology. The next step will be to demonstrate this new electric propulsion system in space. Development of this technology will advance future in-space transportation capability for a variety of deep space human and robotic exploration missions, such as the NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), as well as private commercial space missions.



Preparing the Vehicle Assembly Building for NASA's Next Rocket
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A view from below in High Bay 3 inside the Vehicle Assembly Building at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, shows three work platforms installed for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. The lower platforms are the K-level work platforms. Above them are the J-level work platforms. A crane is lowering the second half of the J-level platforms for installation about 112 feet above the floor, or nearly 11 stories high.

The newly installed platform will complete the second of 10 levels of work platforms that will surround and provide access to the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft for Exploration Mission 1 <http://www.nasa.gov/feature/the-ins-and-outs-of-nasa-s-first-launch-of-sls-and-orion>. The Ground Systems Development and Operations Program is overseeing upgrades and modifications to VAB High Bay 3, including installation of the new work platforms, to prepare for NASA’s journey to Mars <http://www.nasa.gov/topics/journeytomars/index.html>.




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Oct. 7, 2015
 <http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/releases/2015/the-journey-to-mars-bridging-the-technology-gap.html#> <http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/releases/2015/the-journey-to-mars-bridging-the-technology-gap.html#> <http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/releases/2015/the-journey-to-mars-bridging-the-technology-gap.html#> <http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/releases/2015/the-journey-to-mars-bridging-the-technology-gap.html#> <http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/news/releases/2015/the-journey-to-mars-bridging-the-technology-gap.html#>
The Journey to Mars: Bridging the Technology Gap
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An artist's rendering of the Deep Space Atomic Clock.
Credits: NASA/JPL
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An ion propulsion system is test-fired at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.
Credits: NASA/GRC/Christopher J. Lynch
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An artist's rendering of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator in flight.
Credits: NASA/JPL
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As the new movie "The Martian" demonstrates, there's an amazing list of technologies <http://www.nasa.gov/feature/nine-real-nasa-technologies-in-the-martian> required to safely send human beings to the Red Planet and bring them home again. NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center <http://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/home/index.html> in Huntsville, Alabama, is home to the Technology Demonstration Missions <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/main/index.html> program office, which oversees a host of key technology development efforts at NASA and partner facilities around the country, each dedicated to doing just that: advancing and maturing technologies critical to exploration of Mars and other solar-system destinations.


From groundbreaking deep-space navigational tools to revolutionary propulsion systems and vehicle braking and planetary descent technologies, Marshall and its TDM partners, working under the leadership of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate <http://www.nasa.gov/directorates/spacetech/home/index.html> in Washington, are pursuing high-value technology projects with the potential to transform how we deliver robotic and human explorers to Earth's nearest planetary neighbor.


The Deep Space Atomic Clock <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/clock/index.html> project led by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory <http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/> in Pasadena, California, seeks to validate in flight a miniaturized, ultra-precise, mercury-ion atomic clock that could dramatically change the way we conduct deep-space radio navigation, reducing mission operations costs and safely delivering more science data -- and more spacefaring scientists -- to their destination. The project could further improve autonomous, or self-directed, navigational functions for critical flight events such as orbital insertion around the planet Mars or even landing on its surface. NASA anticipates the project will launch a prototype to Earth orbit via a commercial launch vehicle in 2016, where the payload will be operated for at least a year to demonstrate its navigational capabilities.


Delivering to Mars the volume of cargo needed to support long-term human expeditions there and shipping back all the samples and data sure to be produced by such missions means NASA needs an innovative, "ferry" approach to propelling future automated spacecraft, laying the groundwork for and helping reap the rewards of complex future science expeditions to the Red Planet.


NASA's Solar Electric Propulsion <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/sep/index.html> project, led by NASA's Glenn Research Center <http://www.nasa.gov/glenn/> in Cleveland, is developing these critical technologies. Energized by the electric power from on-board solar arrays, the system will use 10 times less propellant than a comparable chemically powered system -- such as those used to power the space shuttles to orbit. That reduced fuel mass could propel robotic exploration spacecraft to distant destinations or, most usefully in the coming decades, ferry cargo to and from Mars, laying the groundwork for new missions and resupplying those already underway. Current technologies now being tested have proven durable enough to operate for long periods in Earth orbit or passing through the punishing space environment, including the Van Allen radiation belts -- meaning round trips to Mars should prove equally sustainable. NASA's Solar Electric Propulsion project is preparing a system-level flight demonstration for launch later this decade.


Finally, landing safely on another world remains a key challenge as NASA lays the groundwork for complex science expeditions to Mars. Such missions will require rockets to carry greater amounts of payload mass, making deceleration and descent through Mars' thin atmosphere even more challenging. Currently, NASA uses deceleration technology dating back to its Viking Program <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/viking/>, which put two landers on Mars in 1976, and the same basic parachute design delivered the Curiosity rover <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/index.html>to Mars in 2012. Now, however, NASA's Low Density Supersonic Decelerators <http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/tdm/ldsd/index.html> project, led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, is testing critical atmospheric drag devices, including the largest parachute ever flown and a pair of large, durable, balloon-like pressure vessels that inflate around the entry vehicle to safely land crew and cargo. If used in future Mars landing vehicles, these devices -- test-flown in 2014 and 2015 -- could dramatically increase payload delivery to the surface and permit more precise landing operations.


These technologies and more -- now being developed at NASA field centers and partner facilities around the country, overseen by the TDM Program Office at Marshall -- could revolutionize space travel, and make voyages to the Red Planet not just a cinematic experience, but a reality in our lifetimes.




SDO Captures Stunning View of April 17 Solar Flare
On April 17, 2016, an active region on the sun’s right side released a mid-level solar flare, which can be seen in this movie as a bright flash of light.  The movie shows imagery from NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory, which observes the sun constantly to help scientists understand what causes eruptions like these. Solar flares are powerful bursts of radiation. Harmful radiation from a flare cannot pass through Earth's atmosphere to physically affect humans on the ground, however -- when intense enough -- they can disturb the atmosphere in the layer where GPS and communications signals travel.


Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO/Genna Duberstein
Download this video in HD formats from NASA Goddard's Scientific Visualization Studio <http://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12224>

The flare shown here was of moderate strength and only caused brief radio blackouts, according to NOAA's Space Weather Prediction Center <http://spaceweather.gov/>. This video was captured in several wavelengths of extreme ultraviolet light, a type of light that is typically invisible to our eyes, but is color-coded in SDO images for easy viewing.

Related Link


More about the April 17, 2016, solar flare <http://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/2016/nasas-sdo-captures-images-of-a-mid-level-solar-flare>


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