Archive

Archive for August 7, 2012

NASA To Hold News Conference On Upcoming Radiation Belt Storm Probes Launch


NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EDT, Thursday, Aug. 9 to discuss the upcoming launch of the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), a mission to study Earth’s radiation belts. The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website.

The two-year RBSP mission will help scientists develop an understanding of Earth’s Van Allen radiation belts and related regions that pose hazards to human and robotic explorers.

RBSP is scheduled to launch no earlier than 4:08 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 23 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The twin probes will lift off on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket.

Full Story: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2012/aug/M12-146_RBSP_Pre-Launch_News_Conf.html

Bruce Willis Couldn’t Save Us From Asteroid Doom


According to the internet hysteria surrounding the ancient Mayan calendar, an asteroid could be on its way to wipe out the world on December 21, 2012.

Obviously this is pretty unlikely – but if an asteroid really is on its way, could we take a cue from the disaster movie Armageddon in order to save the planet?

According to science research carried out by University of Leicester physics students, the answer is definitely “no”.

Full Story: http://www2.le.ac.uk/offices/press/press-releases/2012/august/bruce-willis-couldn2019t-save-us-from-asteroid-doom

Astronomers Crack Mystery Of The “Monster Stars”


Credit: Wikipedia

In 2010 scientists discovered four ‘monster’ sized stars, with the heaviest more than 300 times as massive as our Sun. Despite their incredible luminosity, these exotic objects, located in the giant star cluster R136 in the nearby galaxy the Large Magellanic Cloud; have oddly so far been found nowhere else. Now a group of astronomers at the University of Bonn have a new explanation: the ultramassive stars were created from the merger of lighter stars in tight binary systems. The team present their results in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

The Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), at a distance of 160000 light years, is the third nearest satellite of the Milky Way galaxy we live in and contains around 10 billion stars. The LMC has many star forming regions, with by far the most active being the 1000 light year diameter ‘Tarantula Nebula’ where the four supermassive stars are found.

Full Story: http://www.ras.org.uk/news-and-press/219-news-2012/2158-astronomers-crack-mystery-of-the-monster-starsq

New Mars Rover Beams Back Images Showing Its Descent


Earlier today, just hours after NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars, a select group of images taken by the onboard Mars Descent Imager, or MARDI, were beamed back to Earth. The 297 color, low-resolution images, provide a glimpse of the rover’s descent into Gale Crater. They are a preview of the approximately 1,504 images of descent currently held in the rover’s onboard memory. When put together in highest resolution, the resulting video is expected to depict the rover’s descent from the moment the entry system’s heat shield is released through touchdown.

“The image sequence received so far indicates Curiosity had, as expected, a very exciting ride to the surface,” said Mike Malin, imaging scientist for the Mars Science Lab mission from Malin Space Systems in San Diego. “But as dramatic as they are, there is real other-world importance to obtaining them. These images will help the mission scientists interpret the rover’s surroundings, the rover drivers in planning for future drives across the surface, as well as assist engineers in their design of forthcoming landing systems for Mars or other worlds.”

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.cfm?release=2012-233