Tag Archives | NASA

One year and counting: Mars isolation experiment begins

The obsession with colonizing Mars continues in the media, so much so that I’m starting to wonder how much the movie studio releasing The Martian is paying for it. AFP via Yahoo News reports from Hawaii on a year-long lock-in meant to replicate conditions on Mars:

Six people shut themselves inside a dome for a year in Hawaii, in the longest US isolation experiment aimed at helping NASA prepare for a pioneering journey to Mars.

Photo: Univ. of Hawaii

Photo: Univ. of Hawaii

 

The crew includes a French astrobiologist, a German physicist and four Americans — a pilot, an architect, a doctor/journalist and a soil scientist.

They are based on a barren, northern slope of Mauna Loa, living inside a dome that is 36 feet (11 meters) in diameter and 20 feet tall.

In a place with no animals and little vegetation around, they closed themselves in at 3:00 pm Hawaii time (0100 GMT Saturday), marking the official start to the 12-month mission.

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NASA: World ‘Locked Into’ at Least 3 Feet of Sea Level Rise

Photo: NASA/Saskia Madlener

Photo: NASA/Saskia Madlener

This post originally appeared on Common Dreams. See more of Andrea Germanos’ posts here.

New research underway indicates that at least three feet of global sea level rise is near certain, NASA scientists warned Wednesday.

That’s the higher range of the 1 to 3 feet level of rise the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) gave in its 2013 assessment.

Sea levels have already risen 3 inches on average since 1992, with some areas experiencing as much as a 9-inch rise.

“Given what we know now about how the ocean expands as it warms and how ice sheets and glaciers are adding water to the seas, it’s pretty certain we are locked into at least 3 feet of sea level rise, and probably more,” said Steve Nerem of the University of Colorado, Boulder, and lead of NASA’s interdisciplinary Sea Level Change Team. “But we don’t know whether it will happen within a century or somewhat longer.”

The Greenland ice sheet has contributed more greatly to sea level rise, losing an average of 303 gigatons of ice a year over the past decade, while the Antarctic ice sheet has lost an average of 118 gigatons a year.… Read the rest

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NASA: There is No Asteroid Threatening Earth

There’s a panic in certain quarters of the Internet that an asteroid is going to hit Earth next month. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has issued this statement rubbishing the rumors:

Numerous recent blogs and web postings are erroneously claiming that an asteroid will impact Earth, sometime between Sept. 15 and 28, 2015. On one of those dates, as rumors go, there will be an impact — “evidently” near Puerto Rico — causing wanton destruction to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States and Mexico, as well as Central and South America.

This view of Earth comes from NASA's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Terra satellite. Image credit: NASA

This view of Earth comes from NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer aboard the Terra satellite. Image credit: NASA

 

That’s the rumor that has gone viral — now here are the facts.

“There is no scientific basis — not one shred of evidence — that an asteroid or any other celestial object will impact Earth on those dates,” said Paul Chodas, manager of NASA’s Near-Earth Object office at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

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For Pluto ‘Truthers,’ the New Horizons Mission Is Only the Latest Lie

The latest in the ever-expanding cast of “truthers” are Pluto truthers, who apparently think that NASA is hiding something. From Newsweek:

Southwest Research Institute waited for their piano-sized New Horizons space probe to pass by Pluto. It finally reached the dwarf planet last month and beamed photos back to Earth from billions of miles away. The stunning images captivated the scientific community, revealing ice mountains, frozen tundras and other never-before-seen details on Pluto’s surface. Stunning, that is, if the scientists are telling the truth.

There’s a small but vocal group of conspiracists—bloggers have taken to calling them “Pluto Truthers”—who claim the recent images are fake. In fact, they argue, New Horizons is simply the latest bogus galactic mission to deceive the public, perhaps to divert tax money to more secretive or nefarious government projects. That trickery is nothing new, they charge; it goes all the way back to the first moon landing.

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NASA’s ‘Planet X’ Files Leaked: NASA Knows Nibiru Is Coming

Hot off NASA’s great success in photographing Pluto comes “speculation” that Nibiru is next, per the Inquisitr:

There is evidence of an ongoing resurgence of the Planet X (also known as Nibiru) cataclysm conspiracy theory following the publication of new scientific studies in 2014 claiming evidence of a mysterious unnamed planet lurking beyond Pluto. The scientific claims were based on observations of gravitational influences on a group of space bodies termed the “extreme trans-Neptunian objects” (ETNOs) orbiting our Sun beyond the planet Neptune.

A slew of messages and YouTube videos currently being circulated in the conspiracy theory blogosphere claims that a NASA study published in 1988 revealed details about the mysterious Planet X/Nibiru with an estimated orbital period of more than 1,000 years.

The study, according to conspiracy theorists, demonstrates that NASA and the U.S. government have been aware for decades that the rogue Planet X is coming with catastrophic consequences for humanity.

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Welcome to the family, Pluto

Welcome to the family. Ben Gross/twitter, CC BY-SA

Welcome to the family. Ben Gross/twitter, CC BY-SA

What an amazing time for space exploration. The picture of the solar system from my childhood is now complete, as seen in this great family portrait produced by Ben Gross, a research fellow at the Chemical Heritage Foundation, and distributed via twitter.

I love this image because it shows each world in close-up, using some of the latest pictures from space exploration. As we celebrate seeing Pluto for the first time, it’s remarkable to think that this completes a 50 year task.

It has been NASA that has provided the first close-up views of all these worlds. Here’s the rundown:

  • Mercury: Mariner 10 (1973)
  • Venus: Mariner 2 (1962)
  • Mars: Mariner 4 (1965)
  • Jupiter: Pioneer 10 (1973)
  • Saturn: Pioneer 11 (1979)
  • Uranus: Voyager 2 (1985)
  • Neptune: Voyager 2 (1989) and
  • Pluto: New Horizons (2015)

But science never stays still. When New Horizons left Earth in January 2006, Pluto was a planet.… Read the rest

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Video allegedly shows UFOs blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere before NASA cuts live feed

Is NASA intentionally tweaking UFOlogists? The claim is that NASA keeps cutting off live video feeds of UFOs, per International Business Times:

UFO seekers are riled up over another alleged instance of NASA cutting their live transmission to keep the “existence of aliens a secret” which has surfaced online via a video claiming to show UFOs blasting out of Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA ISS feed

According to Sunday Express, the live transmission was coming from the International Space Station when three UFOs slowly come into view (blurred, of course) and then fly out of the Earth’s atmosphere.

The lights leave Earth seconds before the live video feed is allegedly cut by NASA due to a reported “loss of signal”.

Clapway reports that the three UFOs gradually move in what appears to be an ascending path. Then two of the UFOs disappear and when NASA cuts the live feed, the third UFO is still in view.

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NASA and NNSA May Use Nuclear Weapons Against Asteroids

Chelyabinsk meteor trail. Photo: Nikita Plekhanov (CC)

Chelyabinsk meteor trail. Photo: Nikita Plekhanov (CC)

 

Shooting nukes into space on rockets: what could possibly go wrong? The geniuses at NASA and the National Nuclear Security Administration (NNSA) have apparently overcome any reservations they may have had and are combining forces to think of ways to nuke any comet or asteroid that comes too close to Earth, per the New York Times:

In grappling with the threat of doomsday rocks from outer space, Hollywood has always been far ahead of the federal government, cranking out thrillers full of swashbuckling heroes, rockets and nuclear blasts that save the planet.

Now Washington is catching up.

On Wednesday, the nation’s agencies that build civilian rockets and nuclear arms sealed an agreement to start working together on planetary defense. The goal is to learn how to better deflect comets and asteroids that might endanger cities and, in the case of very large intruders, the planet as a whole.

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NASA Finds Three-Mile-High Pyramid on ‘Missing’ Planet

What do you make of this then? I’d guess that the pyramid is going to lead to even more conspiracy theories than the face on Mars… Metro has the story of NASA’s controversial photos:

A NASA probe orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres has sighted a weird, three-mile-high ‘pyramid’ on the surface – just hours after a similar structure on Mars came to light.

This image, taken by NASA's Dawn spacecraft on June 14, 2015, shows an intriguing mountain on dwarf planet Ceres protruding from a relatively smooth area. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

This image, taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft on June 14, 2015, shows an intriguing mountain on dwarf planet Ceres protruding from a relatively smooth area. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

 

The discovery has – naturally – sparked completely unfounded speculation that the structure on the dwarf planet has been made by extraterrestrials.

Note: the fact that Ceres is a dwarf planet does NOT mean there are any dwarves there.

Instead, it’s believed that the strange object is a three-mile-high mountain, roughly the size of Mont Blanc.

The Dawn spacecraft, driven by a Star Trek-style ion drive, is orbiting Ceres for the first time and sending back the first-ever clear images of its surface.

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