Google maps the solar system for armchair space travelers

October 17, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Google has recently added 12 celestial bodies to its Google Maps application. Although armchair space travelers have been able to virtually cruise around the Moon and Mars for years, the list of planets and moons to discover now includes Mercury, Venus, the dwarf planets of Ceres and Pluto, six of Saturn’s moons, and three moons of Jupiter, including Io and Europa. The additional content would not have been possible without Cassini, the recently deceased spacecraft that captured hundreds of thousands of images as it traveled the galaxy over the past two decades. To compile these digital versions of objects in our solar system, the team at Google Maps used images captured by NASA, ESA, and other space agencies and combined them to create a seamless scrollable map, if enough high quality images were available, or a general overview of the planet or moon. Through these maps, earthbound space travelers can explore the mountains , valleys, and wide open plains of planets like Mars or moons like Titan. To reach the outer space section of Google Maps, all you have to do is zoom out far enough from Earth. Related: Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is almost ready to launch into outer space Many of the images used to create the Google Maps of our solar system were gathered through the Cassini-Huygens mission, commonly referred to as Cassini for the Cassini orbiter probe which traveled from Earth to Saturn. Huygens refers to the Huygens lander, which achieved the first landing ever in the outer solar system when it arrived on Saturn’s moon of Titan in 2005. In its 20-year flight,  Cassini  captured countless, invaluable photographs of the solar system and was widely recognized as a “mission of firsts” for the way in which its discoveries revolutionized the way we understand our solar system. Thanks for  Cassini, Google’s Maps are filled with breathtaking images for people to explore from wherever there is Internet access. Via New Atlas and Google Images via Google Maps

More:
Google maps the solar system for armchair space travelers

Scientists witnessed a neutron star mashup for the first time – and it transformed our understanding of the universe

October 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

For the first time, scientists have detected gravitational waves stemming from the crash of two ultra-dense neutron stars – and the event has spawned a new era of astronomy known as “multi-messenger astronomy.” It is believed that cataclysmic events such as these generated at least half of the gold in the Universe. Though astronomers have witnessed ripples in the fabric of space in time before (created by objects moving in the Universe), this is the first time in history the event was detectable by regular light telescopes. As a result, researchers have gained new insight into massive cosmic collisions. A neutron star is the burnt-out core of a massive star that ran out of fuel , blew up and died. Typically 20 kilometers (12 miles) in diameter, a neutron star is radioactive and has a mass slightly more dense than the sun in our solar system. Reportedly, a handful of neutron star material weighs as much as Mount Everest ! When two neutron stars combine, they spiral around each other, growing closer and closer over time. The spinning intensifies until the two objects revolve around each other several times per second. Then, a forceful impact takes place and a gargantuan gravitational wave is emitted into the Universe at the speed of light. On August 18th, astronomers witnessed the remains of a neutron star mash-up, which traveled 130 million light years before it was seen by Earthly detectors. The phenomena resulted in dozens of scientific papers being published in top academic journals. As Phys.org reports, the observation also solved several physics riddles – including how much of the universe’s gold , platinum, mercury and other heavy elements were formed. Related: Einstein’s gravitational wave theory proven by the sound of two black holes colliding Said co-discoverer Benoit Mours of France’s CNRS research institute, “We witnessed history unfolding in front of our eyes: two neutron stars drawing closer, closer… turning faster and faster around each other, then colliding and scattering debris all over the place.” Days before the highly-anticipated event, three different gravitational wave observatories based around the world picked up gravitational waves. Astronomers worked together to locate the area where the merger occurred. After narrowing it down to a very small patch in the southern sky, the US-based Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) mobilized the rest of the astronomy community, reports The Verge. Within hours, thousands of astronomers searched the sky , eventually spotting the explosive leftovers of the neutron star mashup. Telescopes witnessed newly-forged material in the fallout. This confirmed that “maybe half, maybe more, of the heavy elements in the Universe are actually produced by this kind of collision,” said physicist Patrick Sutton, a member of LIGO. “This is a revolution in astronomy, of having thousands of astronomers focus on one source for weeks and having this collaboration unravel in seconds, in hours, then days, and weeks,” said Vicky Kalogera, an astrophysicist at Northwestern University and a LIGO collaborator. “For us, that’s the Holy Grail.” The development comes two years after the first gravitational wave was detected (also by LIGO). For the past century, astronomers have been trying to figure out how to detect the ripples, which were predicted by Albert Einstein in his theory of general relativity . Via Phys , The Verge Images via Robin Dienel/Carnegie Institution for Science , NSF LIGO Sonoma State University / A. Simonnet , Tony Piro, Carnegie Institution for Science

Read more here: 
Scientists witnessed a neutron star mashup for the first time – and it transformed our understanding of the universe

Scientists locate half of the universe’s missing ordinary matter

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Scientists have discovered the location of the universe’s missing matter, the other half of ordinary matter that could not be previously observed but which scientists knew to exist. Two independent teams of astronomers, one at  the Institute of Space Astrophysics (IAS)  in Orsay, France and the other from the University of Edinburgh, have recently released studies that outline how they may have uncovered this missing matter and where it may be. Spoiler alert: it isn’t between the cushions of your couch. Both teams concluded that the universe’s previously astray ordinary matter can be located in the filaments of hot dispersed gas between galaxies . The teams’ work focused on the universe’s ordinary matter, matter composed of protons, neutrons and electrons, as opposed to mysterious dark matter , which make up most of the known universe. Up until these studies were released, we knew approximately how much ordinary matter existed in the universe, but we did not know where this matter was found. Now that it has been accounted for, scientists can feel more confident in their work. “This goes a long way toward showing that many of our ideas of how galaxies form and how structures form over the history of the universe are pretty much correct,” said Ralph Kraft, a professor at Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Massachusetts . Related: Scientists say ice may fizz and bubble like champagne when floating in outer space Although strands of baryon, the ordinary-matter holding gas linking galaxies, were thought to exist, the phenomenon was not observable through X-ray telescopes . To solve this challenge, both teams incorporated the Sunyaev-Zel’dovich effect, which occurs when enduring light from the Big Bang travels through hot gas. This interaction leaves behind markers of the gas that can be captured and studied. Using data from over 1 million pairs of galaxies, both teams discovered that the baryon gas strands were three to six times denser than normal matter in the universe. This breakthrough confirms what scientists have suspected for decades. “Everybody sort of knows that it has to be there,” said Professor Kraft, “but this is the first time that somebody – two different groups, no less – has come up with a definitive detection.” Via Futurism Images via NASA (1)

Go here to read the rest: 
Scientists locate half of the universe’s missing ordinary matter

Mike Pence says America will send humans back to the moon

October 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Mike Pence says America will send humans back to the moon

Humankind took steps on the moon for the first time in 1969, and now vice president Mike Pence says it’s time to go back. He penned an opinion editorial piece for The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) stating “America will lead in space again,” and also spoke on the topic at the first meeting of the revived National Space Council in Virginia at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center. This isn’t the first time Pence has hinted at a return to the moon. He talked about the idea back in July at the Kennedy Space Center. At the National Space Council meeting, he said, “We will return NASA astronauts to the Moon – not only to leave behind footprints and flags, but to build the foundation, we need to send Americans to Mars and beyond.” Related: Pence vows America will put ‘boots on the face of Mars’ in near future The Verge pointed out this would mark a shift for NASA , which since 2010 has concentrated on sending humans to Mars without a return to the moon. They said the goal of a presence on the moon surface is a return to President George W. Bush’s vision . Pence described the move to go back as a vital strategic goal, saying NASA should refocus on human exploration and discovery. NASA acting administrator Robert Lightfoot said in a statement , “The National Space Council acknowledged the strategic importance of cis-lunar space – the region around the moon – which will serve as a proving ground for missions to Mars and beyond and advance our stepping stone approach to going farther into the solar system .” Pence also said according to the intelligence community, China and Russia are developing antisatellite technology, saying in his article, “We will renew America’s commitment to creating the space technology needed to protect national security.” The vice president did look ahead to the red planet in his WSJ article, saying, “America will be the first nation to bring mankind to Mars.” Via The Verge Images via NASA and Wikimedia Commons

Read more: 
Mike Pence says America will send humans back to the moon

Astronomers discover that exoplanet WASP-12b is "darker than asphalt"

September 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Astronomers discover that exoplanet WASP-12b is "darker than asphalt"

Astronomers recently discovered an exoplanet they’ve been studying since 2008 is pitch black, reflecting almost no light . The new findings could change what the researchers previously hypothesized about WASP-12b’s atmosphere . Taylor Bell, a master’s student at McGill University, described the exoplanet as darker than fresh asphalt . There’s a pitch black planet out there in space . An international group of astronomers utilized the Space Telescope Imaging Spectograph on the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to measure the albedo – or how much light a planet reflects – of WASP-12b. The exoplanet’s albedo is incredibly low, which reportedly surprised the researchers. WASP-12b is two times less reflective than Earth’s Moon . Related: First hints of water detected on Earth-sized TRAPPIST-1 planets Why should we care about an exoplanet’s albedo? It can tell us about the planet’s atmosphere: scientists now think WASP-12b’s atmosphere is comprised of helium and atomic hydrogen. Bell said in a statement, “The low albedo shows we still have a lot to learn about WASP-12b and other similar exoplanets.” WASP-12b is classified as a hot Jupiter, and has a radius almost double Jupiter’s. Its daylight side has a surface temperature of around 2,600 degrees Celsius – and the high temperature may offer an explanation for the low albedo. “There are other hot Jupiters that have been found to be remarkably black, but they are much cooler than WASP-12b,” Bell said. “For those planets, it is suggested that things like clouds and alkali metals are the reason for the absorption of light, but those don’t work for WASP-12b because it is so incredibly hot.” 14 researchers were involved in the work, from institutions in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom. The Astrophysical Journal Letters published the study earlier this month. Via Hubble Space Telescope Images via NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI) ; and NASA & ESA

See the original post here:
Astronomers discover that exoplanet WASP-12b is "darker than asphalt"

Off-grid Lake House escapes the Texan heat with minimal landscape impact

September 21, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Off-grid Lake House escapes the Texan heat with minimal landscape impact

There’s nothing quite like taking a cool dip in a lake on a hot summer’s day. The lucky owners of the Lake House get to escape the brutal Texan heat with laps in Lake Austin thanks to their off-grid boathouse. American studio Andersson-Wise Architects designed the two-story boathouse that operates off the grid and exerts minimal impact on the environment. Created as part of a residential estate, the Lake House in Austin is a boathouse set a half-mile away from the main residence across a deep ravine. The modern building is anchored atop a rock in the lake and elevated on slender steel columns. The steel-framed structure is divided into two sections: a sheltered space for a sculling dock and boat storage below, and living quarters with a grill and operable windows above. “The simple, elegant building rises above the water, resting on the surface like a water skater,” said the architects, according to https://www.dezeen.com/2017/09/19/andersson-wise-off-the-grid-boathouse-lake-austin-texas/ Dezeen . “And like the surface-skimming insect, this off-the-grid domicile exerts a minimal impact on its surroundings.” Related: Dreamy summer retreat built of salvaged materials sends eclectic vibes in Austin A natural materials palette helps blend the Lake House into its forested surroundings. Dark-stained wood clad the structure inside and out. Operable screen windows on the north and east facades swing open to let in cooling winds, natural light , and views of the lake. The screen windows can also be removed so that visitors can dive directly out of the living room into the lake. + Andersson-Wise Architects Via Dezeen Images via Andersson-Wise Architects

Original post:
Off-grid Lake House escapes the Texan heat with minimal landscape impact

How hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands

September 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on How hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands

Hurricane Irma recently hit islands in the Caribbean with the force of a Category 5 storm. And now, NASA satellite images reveal how the devastating storm turned formerly green islands into a dull brown. NASA captured Hurricane Irma’s destruction from space via satellite imagery . They compared images from late August, before the storm, with images snapped in the last couple of days in September. The pictures show how islands once bursting with greenery are now brown. There are a few reasons this might have happened, according to NASA. Hurricane winds could have ripped away vegetation, allowing satellites to capture more bare ground. Or, salt spray from the storm could have dried out leaves while they were still on trees, giving them a brown appearance. Related: NASA researcher says Harvey flooding pushed Houston down two centimeters Over 30 people died in the Caribbean due to Irma, according to Weather.com . ABC News reported 11 people perished from the storm in the United States. Virgin Gorda, pictured above, is one of the islands that now looks mostly brown, although NASA Earth Observatory said the south and west of the island is slightly greener, perhaps because hills in the center shielded those areas from Irma’s winds. In the images of Virgin Gorda, the ocean after Irma looks bright blue in comparison with the ocean color before the storm; NASA said that could be because “rougher surfaces scatter more light, and appear brighter and lighter.” The island of Barbuda, shown above, endured an especially devastating hit from Hurricane Irma; 95 percent of the its structures have been damaged, according to Time . Antigua and Barbuda prime minister Gaston Browne said the destruction was heart-wrenching. Antigua fared a little better – the vegetation on that island seems to be relatively intact in satellite images. NASA Earth Observatory said Irma’s center passed to the north, and Antigua didn’t face as much damage. Via NASA Earth Observatory and The Verge Images via Joshua Stevens/NASA Earth Observatory

Read the original here: 
How hurricane Irma changed the colors of these Caribbean islands

Florence is the largest asteroid to pass Earth in a century

September 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on Florence is the largest asteroid to pass Earth in a century

Though the American eclipse may have come and gone, the skies above Earth never cease to amaze with new interstellar events. Early this morning, according to NASA, Florence became the largest asteroid to approach our planet in over a century. The asteroid measures 2.7 miles (4.4 km) in diameter and passed by from the relative proximity of 4.4 million miles (7 million km) away from Earth, roughly 18 times the average distance between the Earth and the Moon. Although other asteroids have traveled closer to Earth in the past, none were as massive as Florence, the largest near-Earth asteroid ever tracked by NASA. Florence, like all asteroids in our solar system , formed out of the debris left behind after the formation of the planets and the sun . It was originally discovered by Schelte “Bobby” Bus at Siding Spring Observatory in Australia in 1981 and named after Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing and pioneering statistician and social reformer. Florence’s trip near Earth, its closest since 1890, provided scientists with a unique opportunity to study the ancient asteroid. Related: Astrophysicist warns asteroid strike is not a matter of if, but when NASA researchers used deep space radar to study the size, shape, rotation, surface features, and determine the precise path of the asteroid. Amateur astronomers also observed the asteroid, which was relatively easy to spot since it reflects 20 percent of sunlight that reaches its surface, in contrast to only 12 percent reflection from the Moon . Scientists project that Florence will not come this close to Earth again until 2500. Via BBC Images via NASA (1) , (2)

Here is the original post:
Florence is the largest asteroid to pass Earth in a century

First hints of water detected on Earth-sized TRAPPIST-1 planets

September 1, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on First hints of water detected on Earth-sized TRAPPIST-1 planets

Water could be present on some of the Earth-sized planets orbiting the dwarf star TRAPPIST-1, according to work from an international group of astronomers. They utilized the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to estimate substantial amounts of water could be present in the outer planets, including three in the habitable zone. This boosts the possibility those planets are livable. Astronomer Vincent Bourrier of the Observatoire de l’Université de Genève led an international team that included scientists from NASA and MIT to attempt to determine if there’s water 40 light-years away on the seven Earth-sized planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, a system which claims the biggest number of Earth-sized planets we’ve found to date. These researchers used the Space Telescope Imaging Spectograph on Hubble to scrutinize how much ultraviolet radiation the TRAPPIST-1 planets receive. Related: NASA discovers 7 Earth-sized planets outside our solar system Bourrier said ultraviolet starlight can break water vapor into oxygen and hydrogen . And those elements can escape as ultraviolet rays with more energy to heat a planet’s upper atmosphere. It’s possible for Hubble to detect escaped hydrogen gas, which can act as a “possible indicator of atmospheric water vapor,” according to the statement on the research. Some of the outer planets, including e, f, and g, could have water on their surfaces. During the last eight billion years, the inner planets of the TRAPPIST-1 system “could have lost more than 20 Earth-oceans-worth of water,” according to the statement. But the outer planets might have not lost that much, suggesting they could have retained water. While the hints are exciting, the scientists say we can’t draw any final conclusions quite yet. Bourrier said in the statement, “While our results suggest that the outer planets are the best candidates to search for water with the upcoming James Webb Space Telescope, they also highlight the need for theoretical studies and complementary observations at all wavelengths to determine the nature of the TRAPPIST-1 planets and their potential habitability.” Via Hubble Space Telescope Images via ESO/N.Bartmann/spaceengine.org and NASA/R. Hurt/T.Pyle

View original here: 
First hints of water detected on Earth-sized TRAPPIST-1 planets

NASA unveils plan to make oxygen on Mars

August 24, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

Comments Off on NASA unveils plan to make oxygen on Mars

Future Mars colonists are going to need oxygen , and NASA has a plan to make it. Their Mars 2020 Rover will be equipped with a Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment device, nicknamed MOXIE, which will attempt to make oxygen via electrolysis . The oxygen could be used not only for breathing, but also for rocket fuel. NASA Acting Chief Administrator Robert Lightfoot, Jr. told Futurism , “The next lander that is going to Mars, Mars 2020, has an experiment where we are going to try and actually generate oxygen out of the atmosphere on Mars, clearly that’s for human capability down the road.” Michael Hecht of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has been the principal investigator for MOXIE. Oxygen is only present in trace amounts in the red planet’s atmosphere, but carbon dioxide (CO2) is pretty abundant; 95.32 percent of Mars’ atmosphere is comprised of CO2. A laser could ‘slice off’ the carbon atom in CO2 to leave O2 behind. But NASA’s going with another method: electrolysis, or using a fuel cell to split up the oxygen and carbon atoms. Related: NASA unveils inflatable greenhouse for sustainable farming on Mars It should take MOXIE around two hours to produce oxygen from carbon dioxide in Mars’ atmosphere. It operates at a temperature of 1,472 degrees Fahrenheit, and its production rate is around 0.022 pounds an hour. The device is 9.4 by 9.4 by 12.2 inches big, and will hitch a ride to the fourth planet from the sun aboard the 2020 Rover. If the experiment is successful, NASA might one day send an instrument that is 100 times larger than MOXIE, so astronauts can breathe when they get to Mars. Via IFLScience and Futurism Images via NASA

Here is the original:
NASA unveils plan to make oxygen on Mars

Next Page »

Bad Behavior has blocked 1306 access attempts in the last 7 days.