[Spacetalk] https://spaceflightnow.com; https://www.nasa.gov

Gabe Gabrielle gabe at educatemotivate.com
Mon May 21 12:12:14 UTC 2018


good morning all,

 I am am back in Florida after 4 days of school visits in Missouri… I was with kids from 2nd grade through high school... it has been an amazing week… fantastic…the interface with the kids is always so magical and something that i cherish each and every time…for many of you the school year is winding down…it amazes me how fast time goes…I feel so very fortunate to have these opportunities and always want to thank the teachers: Kelly, Adrian, and Bruce for their support. Today I am going to Mims Elementary, which will be fun, as Danine, the teacher and I have been friends for years…I have visited her schools many times...it is always wonderful when I get asked back or follow teachers around from school to school…there was a launch early this moring to the ISS, I hope you will share it with your students on https://www.nasa.gov  or share tomorrow's launch live on nasa/tv wishing you 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 and have fun… :-) :-)   love ya, Gabe

To see the ISS: www.spotthestation.nasa.gov
To see the Mars Rover Curiosity go to: https://nasasearch.nasa.gov/search?query=curiosity&affiliate=nasa&utf8=✓

NASA Television Updates Coverage of Earth-Observing Satellite Duo Launch
 <https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/pia22431.jpg>
Artist's rendering of the twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
Full image and caption <https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/spaceimages/details.php?id=PIA22431>
Media are invited to cover the prelaunch briefing and launch of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO <https://www.nasa.gov/gracefo>), NASA’s latest Earth-observing satellite mission. The briefing, now scheduled for Monday, May 21, and launch no earlier than Tuesday, May 22, will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website <https://www.nasa.gov/live>. A joint mission with the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), GRACE-FO will provide critical measurements that will be used together with other data to monitor the movement of water masses across the planet and mass changes within Earth itself. Monitoring changes in ice sheets and glaciers, underground water storage, and sea level provides a unique view of Earth’s climate and has far-reaching benefits. The mission is planned to fly at least five years. The prelaunch news briefing will be held at 1:30 p.m. EDT (10:30 a.m. PDT) May 21 at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. Media who wish to participate by phone must contact Elena Mejia at elena.mejia at jpl.nasa.gov <mailto:elena.mejia at jpl.nasa.gov> or 818-354-1712, no later than 1 p.m. May 21. The satellites are targeted to launch on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at 3:47 p.m. EDT May 22 from Space Launch Complex-4E at Vandenberg. GRACE-FO will share its ride to orbit with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites as part of a commercial rideshare agreement. Launch coverage begins at 3:15 p.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website. JPL manages the GRACE-FO mission for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. GFZ contracted GRACE-FO launch services from Iridium, and SpaceX is providing the Falcon 9 launch service.


NASA Sends New Research on Orbital ATK Mission to Space Station
 <https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/41529040424_6d57978aa0_o.jpg>
The Orbital ATK Antares rocket, with the Cygnus spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A, Monday, May 21, 2018 at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Orbital ATK’s ninth contracted cargo resupply mission with NASA to the International Space Station will deliver approximately 7,400 pounds of science and research, crew supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital laboratory and its crew. Photo Credit: (NASA/Aubrey Gemignani)
Credits: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani
Astronauts soon will have new experiments to conduct related to emergency navigation, DNA sequencing and ultra-cold atom research when the research arrives at the International Space Station following the 4:44 a.m. EDT Monday launch of an Orbital  <https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/orbital.html>ATK <https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/structure/launch/orbital.html> Cygnus spacecraft. Cygnus lifted off on an Antares 230 rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Orbital ATK’s ninth cargo mission under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract. The spacecraft is carrying about 7,400 pounds of research equipment, cargo and supplies that will support dozens of the more than 250 investigations underway on the space station. NASA astronauts Scott Tingle and Ricky Arnold will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture Cygnus when it arrives at the station Thursday, May 24. Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will air on NASA Television and the agency’s website <https://www.nasa.gov/live/> beginning at 3:45 a.m. Installation coverage is set to begin at 7:30 a.m. Included in the cargo in the pressurized area of Cygnus is a centuries-old method of celestial navigation. The Sextant  <https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7646>Navigation <https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7646> investigation will explore the use of a hand-held sextant for emergency navigation on missions in deep space as humans look to travel farther from Earth. The ability to sight angles between the Moon or planets and stars offers crews another option to find their way home if communications and main computers are compromised. Monitoring crew health and the biological environment of the space station, and understanding long-term effects of space travel on both, are critical to NASA’s plans for long-duration, deep space exploration. The Biomolecule Extraction and Sequencing Technology (BEST <https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Investigation.html?#id=7687>) study is the agency’s next step toward advancing in-space DNA sequencing technologies that can identify microbial organisms living on the space station and understanding how the DNA of humans, plants and microbes are affected by microgravity.BEST will use a process that sequences DNA directly from a sample, with minimal preparation, rather than using the traditional technique of growing a culture from the sample. In the realm of modern physics, the new Cold Atom Lab (CAL <https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/research/experiments/explorer/Facility.html?#id=7396>) on Cygnus could help answer some big questions. CAL creates a temperature 10 billion times colder than the vacuum of space, then uses lasers and magnetic forces to slow down atoms until they are almost motionless. In the microgravity environment of the space station, CAL can observe these ultra-cold atoms for much longer than possible on Earth. Results of this research could lead to a number of improved technologies, including sensors, quantum computers and atomic clocks used in spacecraft navigation. Cygnus is scheduled to depart the station in July with several tons of trash and burn up during re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere, over the Pacific Ocean. The vehicle is named after James “J.R.” Thompson <https://www.orbitalatk.com/news-room/feature-stories/OA9-Mission-Page/Documents/SS_JR%20Thompson_Bio.pdf>, a leader in the aerospace industry. For more than 17 years, humans have lived and worked continuously aboard the International Space Station, advancing scientific knowledge and demonstrating new technologies, making research breakthroughs not possible on Earth that will enable long-duration human and robotic exploration into deep space. A global endeavor, more than 200 people from 18 countries have visited the unique microgravity laboratory that has hosted more than 2,400 research investigations from researchers in 103 countries. Get breaking news, images and features from the space station on social media at: https://instagram.com/iss <https://instagram.com/iss> and https://www.twitter.com/Space_Station <https://www.twitter.com/Space_Station>
Science Launching to Space Station Looks Forward and Back



The Universe’s Fastest-Growing Black Hole Eats Suns like Ours for Breakfast

An artist's illustration depicts a quasar, or supermassive, ultra-luminous black hole, like the one Australian astronomers just discovered roughly 12 billion light-years away.
Credit: NASA/ESA
A newfound black hole is so mighty, it eats suns like ours for breakfast. Well, sort of. According to a new paper published online May 11 in the preprint journal arXiv <https://arxv.org/pdf/1805.04317.pdf>, astronomers have discovered the fastest-growing black hole known in the universe. The supermassive object <https://www.livescience.com/61797-will-supermassive-black-hole-eat-universe.html> is estimated to be more than 12 billion years old, have a mass greater than 20 billion suns and could be growing at a rate of about 1 percent every 1 million years. And, like all growing boys, this supermassive black hole has a hefty appetite. The newly described object consumes roughly the mass of Earth's sun <https://www.livescience.com/62507-what-happens-when-sun-dies.html> every two days, the researchers wrote — and all that guzzling is leaving a mark on the surrounding galaxy. [Stephen Hawking's Most Far-Out Ideas About Black Holes <https://www.livescience.com/62016-stephen-hawking-black-holes.html>]



Aliens May Well Exist in a Parallel Universe,
New Studies Find

Could alien life exist in a parallel universe? Computer simulations from two new studies suggest the idea might not be out of this world.
Credit: Shutterstock
Should the search for alien life in our universe come up empty-handed, it might be worth checking in on a neighboring universe instead. According to a new pair of studies in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, there’s a decent chance that life-fostering planets could exist in a parallel universe — even if that universe were being torn apart by dark energy. The idea that our universe is just one of many, perhaps infinite, other universes is known as the multiverse theory <https://www.livescience.com/25335-multiple-universes-5-theories.html>. Scientists have previously thought that such parallel universes, if they exist, would have to meet an extremely strict set of criteria to allow for the formation of stars, galaxies and life-fostering planets like those seen in our own universe. [5 Reasons We May Live in a Multiverse <https://www.space.com/18811-multiple-universes-5-theories.html>]


Einstein's Theory of General Relativity

Einstein's theory of general relativity predicted that the space-time around Earth would be not only warped but also twisted by the planet's rotation. Gravity Probe B showed this to be correct.
Credit: NASA
In 1905, Albert Einstein determined that the laws of physics are the same for all non-accelerating observers, and that the speed of light in a vacuum was independent of the motion of all observers. This was the theory of special relativity. It introduced a new framework for all of physics and proposed new concepts of space and time. Einstein then spent 10 years trying to include acceleration in the theory and published his theory of general relativity in 1915. In it, he determined that massive objects cause a distortion in space-time, which is felt as gravity.


Mars Helicopter to Fly on NASA’s Next Red Planet Rover Mission
 <https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/marshelo.jpg>
NASA's Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency's Mars 2020 rover, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
 <applewebdata://467F67EE-ED8E-4825-8220-37723056B84A>
NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars.


The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 <https://www.nasa.gov/mars2020> rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet


“NASA has a proud history of firsts,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling. The Mars Helicopter holds much promise for our future science, discovery, and exploration missions to Mars.”


U.S. Rep. John Culberson of Texas echoed Bridenstine’s appreciation of the impact of American firsts on the future of exploration and discovery.


“It’s fitting that the United States of America is the first nation in history to fly the first heavier-than-air craft on another world,” Culberson said. “This exciting and visionary achievement will inspire young people all over the United States to become scientists and engineers, paving the way for even greater discoveries in the future.”


 <https://www.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/thumbnails/image/mars_helicopter_animation_with_2020_rover.gif>
Animation of Mars helicopter and Mars 2020 rover.
Credits: NASA/JPL-CalTech
Started in August 2013 as a technology development project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), the Mars Helicopter had to prove that big things could come in small packages. The result of the team’s four years of design, testing and redesign weighs in at little under four pounds (1.8 kilograms). Its fuselage is about the size of a softball, and its twin, counter-rotating blades will bite into the thin Martian atmosphere at almost 3,000 rpm – about 10 times the rate of a helicopter on Earth.


“Exploring the Red Planet with NASA’s Mars Helicopter exemplifies a successful marriage of science and technology innovation and is a unique opportunity to advance Mars exploration for the future,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency headquarters in Washington. “After the Wright Brothers proved 117 years ago that powered, sustained, and controlled flight was possible here on Earth, another group of American pioneers may prove the same can be done on another world.”



The Mars Helicopter is a technology demonstration that will travel to the Red Planet with the Mars 2020 rover. It will attempt controlled flight in Mars' thin atmosphere, which may enable more ambitious missions in the future.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The helicopter also contains built-in capabilities needed for operation at Mars, including solar cells to charge its lithium-ion batteries, and a heating mechanism to keep it warm through the cold Martian nights. But before the helicopter can fly at Mars it has to get there. It will do so attached to the belly pan of the Mars 2020 rover.


“The altitude record for a helicopter flying here on Earth is about 40,000 feet. The atmosphere of Mars is only one percent that of Earth, so when our helicopter is on the Martian surface, it’s already at the Earth equivalent of 100,000 feet up,” said Mimi Aung, Mars Helicopter project manager at JPL. “To make it fly at that low atmospheric density, we had to scrutinize everything, make it as light as possible while being as strong and as powerful as it can possibly be.”


Once the rover is on the planet’s surface, a suitable location will be found to deploy the helicopter down from the vehicle and place it onto the ground. The rover then will be driven away from the helicopter to a safe distance from which it will relay commands. After its batteries are charged and a myriad of tests are performed, controllers on Earth will command the Mars Helicopter to take its first autonomous flight into history.


“We don’t have a pilot and Earth will be several light minutes away, so there is no way to joystick this mission in real time,” said Aung. “Instead, we have an autonomous capability that will be able to receive and interpret commands from the ground, and then fly the mission on its own.”


The full 30-day flight test campaign will include up to five flights of incrementally farther flight distances, up to a few hundred meters, and longer durations as long as 90 seconds, over a period. On its first flight, the helicopter will make a short vertical climb to 10 feet (3 meters), where it will hover for about 30 seconds.


As a technology demonstration, the Mars Helicopter is considered a high-risk, high-reward project. If it does not work, the Mars 2020 mission will not be impacted. If it does work, helicopters may have a real future as low-flying scouts and aerial vehicles to access locations not reachable by ground travel.


“The ability to see clearly what lies beyond the next hill is crucial for future explorers,” said Zurbuchen. “We already have great views of Mars from the surface as well as from orbit. With the added dimension of a bird’s-eye view from a ‘marscopter,’ we can only imagine what future missions will achieve.”


Mars 2020 will launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, and is expected to reach Mars in February 2021.


The rover will conduct geological assessments of its landing site on Mars, determine the habitability of the environment, search for signs of ancient Martian life, and assess natural resources and hazards for future human explorers. Scientists will use the instruments aboard the rover to identify and collect samples of rock and soil, encase them in sealed tubes, and leave them on the planet’s surface for potential return to Earth on a future Mars mission.


The Mars 2020 Project at JPL in Pasadena, California, manages rover development for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, is responsible for launch management.


For more information about NASA’s Mars missions, go to:


https://www.nasa.gov/mars <https://www.nasa.gov/mars>

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