Tag Archives | NASA

Mars has belts of glaciers consisting of frozen water

Mars distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes – between the blue lines, in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as the surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that there are glaciers composed of frozen water underneath the dust. (Credit: Mars Digital Image Model, NASA/Nanna Karlsson)

Mars distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes – between the blue lines, in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as the surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that there are glaciers composed of frozen water underneath the dust.
(Credit: Mars Digital Image Model, NASA/Nanna Karlsson)

via Niels Bohr Institute:

Mars has distinct polar ice caps, but Mars also has belts of glaciers at its central latitudes in both the southern and northern hemispheres. A thick layer of dust covers the glaciers, so they appear as surface of the ground, but radar measurements show that underneath the dust there are glaciers composed of frozen water. New studies have now calculated the size of the glaciers and thus the amount of water in the glaciers. It is the equivalent of all of Mars being covered by more than one meter of ice.

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The NASA Team Keeping Tabs on Intergalactic Death Rays

Intergalactic death rays are just so sexy deadly… BBC Future reports on the NASA team trying to help us avoid gamma ray bursts:

You do not want to get in the way of a gamma ray burst.

Gamma Decay.svg

Illustration of an emission of a gamma ray (γ) from an atomic nucleus

 

“They’re the most luminous, high energy explosions that have happened since the Big Bang,” says Neil Gehrels, principal investigator at Nasa for the Swift mission. “It’s like a beam of gamma radiation that’s flying through the Universe.”

What would happen if one of these cosmic death rays of high frequency electromagnetic waves hit the Earth?

“For a planet 1000 light years away, it would destroy the ozone layer. If it was just 100 light years away it could blow the atmosphere off,” says Gehrels matter-of-factly.

“The chances of that happening to the Earth is fairly small, about once in a billion years,” he adds.

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Climate change deniers & their dark money sugar daddies

Republished with permission from occupy.com/actout

On this week’s episode, we shine a light on the dark money funded climate change deniers; the bible thumpers and snowball throwers who think their lack of science knowledge excuses them from listening to 97% of scientists! We debunk their shallow bullshit “arguments” and give you the tools to fight these nut bags and save the planet!

Click here for the full episode
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NASA Wants To Give The Moon A Moon

Why on earth would NASA want to give the Moon its own moon? Wired reports:

It sounds almost like a late ’90s sci-fi flick: NASA sends a spacecraft to an asteroid, plucks a boulder off its surface with a robotic claw, and brings it back in orbit around the moon. Then, brave astronaut heroes go and study the space rock up close—and bring samples back to Earth.

Except it’s not a movie: That’s the real-life idea for the Asteroid Redirect Mission, which NASA announced today. Other than simply being an awesome space version of the claw arcade game (you know you really wanted that stuffed Pikachu), the mission will let NASA test technology and practice techniques needed for going to Mars.

The mission, which will cost up to $1.25 billion, is slated to launch in December 2020. It will take about two years to reach the asteroid (the most likely candidate is a quarter-mile-wide rock called 2008 EV5).

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NASA’s Curiosity rover finds fresh signs of ingredients for life on Mars

Curiosity Rover at the John Klein drill site where some of the samples were taken. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Rover at the John Klein drill site where some of the samples were taken. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Amina Khan via Phys.org:

Mars’s life-friendly past just got friendlier. Using samples previously collected by the NASA rover Curiosity, scientists have discovered evidence of nitrates in Martian rock: nitrogen compounds that on Earth are a crucial source of nutrients for living things.

The findings, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, lend further support to the idea that the Red Planet, now barren and dry, could once have hosted habitable environments.

Although planetary scientists have been on the hunt for organic carbon – the type of carbon-containing molecules that could be used and produced by living things – nitrogen also plays an essential role in life as we know it, said lead author Jennifer Stern, a planetary geochemist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

For example, nitrogen is a key component of nucleobases that make up RNA and DNA, and of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins.

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NASA Ames reproduces the building blocks of life in laboratory

Left to right: Ames scientists Michel Nuevo, Christopher Materese and Scott Sandford reproduce uracil, cytosine, and thymine, three key components of our hereditary material, in the laboratory. Credit: NASA/ Dominic Hart

Left to right: Ames scientists Michel Nuevo, Christopher Materese and Scott Sandford reproduce uracil, cytosine, and thymine, three key components of our hereditary material, in the laboratory.

Credit: NASA/ Dominic Hart

Via Science Daily:

NASA scientists studying the origin of life have reproduced uracil, cytosine, and thymine, three key components of our hereditary material, in the laboratory. They discovered that an ice sample containing pyrimidine exposed to ultraviolet radiation under space-like conditions produces these essential ingredients of life.

Pyrimidine is a ring-shaped molecule made up of carbon and nitrogen and is the central structure for uracil, cytosine, and thymine, which are all three part of a genetic code found in ribonucleic (RNA) and deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA). RNA and DNA are central to protein synthesis, but also have many other roles.

“We have demonstrated for the first time that we can make uracil, cytosine, and thymine, all three components of RNA and DNA, non-biologically in a laboratory under conditions found in space,” said Michel Nuevo, research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California.

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NASA Live Stream Cuts Out After Alleged Alien UFO Sighting

Well, what do you make of this, skeptics? From the Houston Chronicle via Seattlepi.com:

UFO watchers are looking for anyone who might have been tracking NASA’s live feed of the International Space Station on Jan. 6.

According to Disclose.tv, veteran UFO hunter Toby Lundh spotted what he determined was an unidentified flying object just outside the space station as he was monitoring the live feed on his laptop.

In a text-message conversation with Blake at Disclose.tv, Lundh said he was sending a couple screen shots he took from the live feed before it was interrupted after 10 to 15 seconds.

According to Lundh’s text messages, he has found through persistent viewing that there are “always some UFOs showing up.” Likewise, he said, NASA always cuts the feed when a UFO gets close to the station…

[continues at the Houston Chronicle via Seattlepi.com]

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Fear of a Black Planet 25 Years Later

Fear_of_a_Black_Planet

This year is the 25th anniversary of the release of the Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Planet. The ambitious concept album followed-up on the success of It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back. That album’s socio-political observations found the band comparing that record to Marvin Gaye’s What’s Goin’ On, but the musical ambitions of Planet put the band in mind of making a masterpiece — this was their Sgt. Pepper’s. I’m posting all the music below, but first, here’s the Futuristically Ancient site, explaining the collection’s iconic cover art…

…here is a post about the album cover for Public Enemy’s 1990 album, Fear of a Black Planet. The original album artwork was designed by NASA illustrator, B.E. Johnson, who is still known today for his space art. While the album is a commentary on dangerous results of white supremacy, both the tracks and the apocalyptic cover are a reminder of how fragile our world and all the things in it, including our steadfast beliefs, are.

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NASA’s Travel Posters for Their “Exoplanet Travel Series”

via PlanetQuest:

Via NASA NASA/JPL-Caltech

Via NASA/JPL-Caltech

Relax on Kepler-16b – Where your shadow always has company

December 15, 2014

Like Luke Skywalker’s planet “Tatooine” in Star Wars, Kepler-16b orbits a pair of stars. Depicted here as a terrestrial planet, Kepler-16b might also be a gas giant like Saturn. Prospects for life on this unusual world aren’t good, as it has a temperature similar to that of dry ice. But the discovery indicates that the movie’s iconic double-sunset is anything but science fiction.

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Ted Cruz, Longtime Foe Of NASA And Science, Will Oversee NASA And Science In New Congress

Via The Huffington Post:

Following the ratification of Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) as chair of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committtee last week, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was named chair of the Subcommittee on Space, Science and Competitiveness, where he will oversee NASA and science programs.

Appointed Jan. 8, Cruz is expected to be confirmed to the new role by the end of the month as one of many changes to the new Republican-controlled Congress. But the Republican senator’s words and actions during his time in office have painted him to be a far cry from an advocate for the sciences, leaving many concerned about the future of space and science funding.

Cruz’s infamous hours-long speech in September 2013 led to a 16-day government shutdown barring 97 percent of NASA employees from appearing for work. Interns to the agency were temporarily displaced when the NASA-provided housing was closed during the shutdown, and many have said the agency suffered lasting damage due to the freeze.

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