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Posts Tagged ‘Space’

Attempt to jam Russian satellites carried out from Western Ukraine

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 15, 2014

satellite.si

RT: An attempted radio-electronic attack on Russian television satellites from the territory of Western Ukraine has been recorded by the Ministry of Communications. It comes days after Ukraine blocked Russian TV channels, a move criticized by the OSCE.

The ministry noted that “people who make such decisions” to attack Russian satellites that retransmit TV signals, “should think about the consequences,” Ria reports. The ministry did not share any details of the attack. Read the rest of this entry »

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Stephen Hawking: Space Exploration Is Key To Saving Humanity

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 12, 2013

By ALICIA CHANG  AP

Stephen Hawking, Cambridge, Jason Bye, 19/09/08

LOS ANGELES — Stephen Hawking, who spent his career decoding the universe and even experienced weightlessness, is urging the continuation of space exploration – for humanity’s sake.

The 71-year-old Hawking said he did not think humans would survive another 1,000 years “without escaping beyond our fragile planet.”

The British cosmologist made the remarks Tuesday before an audience of doctors, nurses and employees at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where he toured a stem cell laboratory that’s focused on trying to slow the progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Hawking was diagnosed with the neurological disorder 50 years ago while a student at Cambridge University. He recalled how he became depressed and initially didn’t see a point in finishing his doctorate. But he continued to delve into his studies.

“If you understand how the universe operates, you control it in a way,” he said. Read the rest of this entry »

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Tuning In to the Universe

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 26, 2013

By Honor Harger

Images of space are ubiquitous in our lives. We have been surrounded by stunning portrayals of our own solar system and beyond for generations. But in popular culture, we have no sense of what space sounds like. And indeed, most people associate space with silence.

2013-02-22-harger1.jpg
The spiral galaxy M106. Photo courtesy of NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), R. Gendler (for the Hubble Heritage Team), and G. Bacon (STScI).

There are, of course, perfectly valid scientific reasons for assuming so. Space is a vacuum. But through radio, we can listen to the Sun’s fizzling solar flares, the roaring waves and spitting fire of Jupiter’s stormy interactions with its moon Io, pulsars’ metronomic beats, or the eerie melodic shimmer of a whistler in the magnetosphere.

Radio waves emitted from celestial bodies can be turned into sound by ordinary radio receivers, which contain amplifiers and speakers that convert electrical signals into sound waves. Using this century-old process, the universe becomes soundful.

This is all possible due to the science of radio astronomy. The study of celestial phenomena at radio wavelengths, radio astronomy came into being after the accidental discovery of cosmic radiation by radio engineer, Karl Jansky in 1933. Whilst optical astronomers use telescopes to look at the visible light emitted by stars, radio astronomers use radio telescopes to detect radio waves.

Back in 2001, my artistic group, r a d i o q u a l i a, created Radio Astronomy to allow listeners to encounter different celestial frequencies, hearing planets, stars, nebulae, and the constant hiss of cosmic noise. The intention was to unearth the sonic character of objects in our universe, and in the process, perhaps make these phenomena more tangible and comprehensible. Radio enabled us to hear something which was physically present, but imperceptible to our senses, which as radio artists, appealed to us. Read the rest of this entry »

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Meteorite hits Russian Urals: Fireball explosion wreaks havoc, up to 1,200 injured (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 16, 2013

Friday’s meteorite which struck Chelyabinsk carried a mass of around 40 tonnes, possibly making it the largest recorded object to hit the Earth since Tunguska. It was around 15 meters across when it entered the atmosphere, according to one expert.

“It was a very, very, powerful event,” astronomer at the University of Ontario, Margaret Campbell-Brown, told Nature.com.

But despite its size, it wasn’t the meteorite’s landing that caused the damage.

“The sonic boom was just immense, and it was the boom that caused the destruction – not the actual landing of the meteorite. It was the amazing explosion in the atmosphere as it broke the sound barrier that caused the problem,”Professor of Planetary Science at The Open University, Monica Grady, told RT.

The meteorite – which left more than 1,200 people injured – was undetected until it hit the atmosphere.

“I’m not aware of anyone who saw this coming,” Heiner Klinkrad, head of the European Space Operations Centre in Germany, said.

And the question of whether anyone has the ability to do so still remains unclear.  Read the rest of this entry »

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UFO Sightings At International Space Station On The Rise (And You Can Help Find Them) (VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 14, 2013

By Lee Speigel

As 2012 ended and 2013 began, numerous UFOs were reported around the country — nothing earthshattering there — but what about alleged unidentified objects seen in space near the International Space Station (or ISS), a couple of hundred miles above Earth?

Videos have cropped up on YouTube showing images taken by NASA cameras of objects of different shapes, some moving very slowly, others rapidly hurtling through space.

What, exactly, are we looking at here? Alien spacecraft dropping by for a visit with the ISS? Reflections from ISS windows? Meteors? Or various types of orbiting or fast moving spacecraft-generated debris?

On Christmas Day, YouTube poster Streetcap1 recorded video of a silvery object, moving slowly near the curvature of Earth. At :46 into the following video, the object can be seen in faraway perspective.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=XkCl-LXA900 Read the rest of this entry »

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Space alert: Hazardous asteroid nears Earth

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 10, 2013

alert-hazardous-nears-asteroid.nAll eyes are set at the skies as a big hazardous asteroid is nearing Earth. According to scientists there is an actual possibility that the 300-meter-wide Apophis will eventually strike our planet, but the catastrophe is not imminent.

On Wednesday the dangerous space traveler is passing Earth at 14 million km – the distance which raises no concerns. Apophis near approach, which may have been observed around 00:00 GMT, was traced by Slooh Space Camera.

The asteroid is planning a series of come backs of which the one in 2036 is said to be most threatening.

Named after the Ancient Egyptian evil demon, Apophis was discovered in 2004. The initial estimations indicated the probability that in 2029 the asteroid would strike Earth. However, additional calculations lessened this possibility and postponed it till 2036.

According to NASA scientists in 2029 Apophis may pass through a gravitational keyhole which would change his orbit causing imminent collision with Earth in 2036.

Russian scientists are planning to plant the asteroid with a radio beacon to trace its orbit and the risks Apophis pose to our planet. But the mission will only take place after 2020. Read the rest of this entry »

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Satellite Wars: China unveils ‘cheaper’ answer to GPS

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 28, 2012

navigation-photo-beidou-facebookcom.nChina’s rapidly-expanding rival to GPS, called BeiDou, has become available to customers across Asia-Pacific for the first time. It aims to claim a fifth of the satellite services market in the region in just three years.

Previously, the satellite constellation was only used by the country’s military and government services. Now, it is being commercialized.

“The services now available include positioning, navigation, timing and short messages for China and surrounding areas. We hope BeiDou conquers 15 to 20 percent of the satellite services market in the Asia Pacific by 2015,”BeiDou spokesman Ran Chengqi announced at a press conference in Beijing, reported by Xinhua news agency.

China says that as it expands worldwide, the state-funded navigation system will bring in revenues of more than $60 billion a year.

At the moment, a user receiving BeiDou’s signal can determine their position to within ten meters. Most civilian GPS users are given positional data that is out by no more than 2 meters, but BeiDou’s makers say their services will be much cheaper than those of the US-government owned GPS.

BeiDou, which is the Chinese term for the Big Dipper star, is also expanding at an impressive rate, meaning it will soon be able to bridge the performance gap. Read the rest of this entry »

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Reaching for the stars or false dawn? Russia says next-gen spacecraft design ready

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 27, 2012

russianspacewebcom-user-zak-image.nRussia’s halting attempts to build a next generation spacecraft have received a boost after a leading constructor announced that it has completed the design of a new prototype. But seasoned space watchers await specifics before popping their corks.

“We have finished the design of the new spaceship. We took into consideration that the new craft has to be able to travel not only to the International Space Station (ISS), but also to the moon,” said Vitaly Lopota, the chief of RSC Energia, the Russian space industry’s primary spacecraft builder.

The proposed spacecraft is commonly known as PPTS (or Prospective Piloted Transport System) and RSC Energia won the tender to build it in 2009. Initially, 2015 was named as the date of the first test flight, but that was then shifted to 2018. Now, Lopota has brought the test date forward again.

“We are currently working on the first full-size model. The first test flights should take place in 2017,” he announced during a press conference in Moscow.

Currently, Roscosmos, Russia’s space agency, uses a modernized Soyuz spacecraft, a basic design that flew its first mission in 1967, to deliver cosmonauts to the ISS.

On paper, PPTS sounds like a significant upgrade, although all design information is preliminary and has not been finalized by the designers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lost in Space: A Starless Planet Floats Alone

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 15, 2012

By 

SSPL / GETTY IMAGES This artist's concept shows a brown dwarf surrounded by a swirling disk of planet-building dust. NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope spotted such a disk around a surprisingly low-mass brown dwarf, or "failed star."

SSPL / GETTY IMAGES This artist’s concept shows a brown dwarf surrounded by a swirling disk of planet-building dust. NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope spotted such a disk around a surprisingly low-mass brown dwarf, or “failed star.”

Just 20 years ago, astronomers imagined that planets beyond the Solar System would be more or less like the ones we know: small, rocky worlds like Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars orbiting relatively close to their stars, and big, gassy ones like Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, farther away. (Even then, Pluto was recognized as an oddball, though it hadn’t been demoted yet.) Then the first actual exoplanet was discovered, and it turned out to be a big, gaseous world orbiting ridiculously close to its star. Dozens of others very much like it soon turned up, and the astronomers’ preconceptions were abruptly laid to rest.

(PhotosWindow on Infinity: Pictures from Space)

But at least these so-called “hot Jupiters” actually orbited a star. Not so for a new planet just reported in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics. The object, known only as CFBDSIR2149, appears to be a planet from four to seven times as massive as Jupiter, floating along with a cluster of stars known as the AB Doradus Moving Group — but tethered to no one star in particular.

That’s the only reason the planet was spotted at all, in fact. If it were orbiting a star, the parent sun’s bright glare would make even a huge planet tough to discern. It would be like trying to see a candle sitting next to a  searchlight. The team of French and Canadian astronomers who made the discovery weren’t looking for planets in any case. They were looking for brown dwarfs, objects too big to be classified as planets, but too small to ignite the nuclear reactions that would qualify them as full-blown stars.

(MoreThe Very First Stars)

But when CFBDSIR2149 showed up in the Canada-France-Hawaii telescope on Mauna Kea, says co-discoverer Etienne Artigau, of the University of Montreal, “we saw that it was very red compared with the typical brown dwarf.” That meant it was relatively cool. It could still be a brown dwarf, but it would have to be billions of years old to have lost so much of its internal heat. If the object were very young, its temperature ruled it out as a brown dwarf at all. In general, says Artigau, “it would not be a trivial thing to distinguish an old, massive object from a young, small one.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Newfound ‘super-Earth’ could support life

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on November 9, 2012

Astronomers have discovered another potentially habitable planet – and it’s at least seven times the mass of Earth. Dwarf star HD 40307g hosts a system of six planets, and one of those is believed have the potential to support human life.

The newfound exoplanet was discovered by a team of astronomers from the University of Hertfordshire and the University of Goettingen.

It’s located a mere 44 light-years from Earth. And although that may seem like a far distance, it’s actually just around the corner – cosmically speaking. It’s so close that researchers say telescopes on Earth may be able to image it directly.

The alien planet has been classified as a super-Earth, meaning it’s larger than Earth but smaller than gas planets such as Neptune.

It orbits at a distance of 55.8 million miles from the sun, which puts it in its host star’s habitable zone – the region where liquid water can exist on a planet’s surface.

But it’s not just the possibility of water that has astronomers thinking the newfound planet could be habitable.  Read the rest of this entry »

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What’s Next for NASA? 10 Wild, Newly Funded Projects

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 14, 2012

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program

NASA / JPL-Caltech

NASA / JPL-CALTECH

What’s next for NASA now that Curiosity has touched down on Mars? For a sneak peek into what the space agency has in store, take a look at the 28 proposals for the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program, which gives out awards of $100,000 and $500,000 for concepts that have the potential to “transform future aerospace missions.” Here are 10 of the most fantastic projects that NASA hopes will be inspiring people long after Curiosity has finished exploring Mars.

NIAC 2012 Phase I & Phase II Awards Announcement

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program is proud to announce its 2012 awards. NIAC has selected eighteen new NIAC Phase I awards, and ten new Phase II awards based on earlier Phase I studies. These proposals have been selected based on the potential of their concepts to transform future aerospace missions, enable new capabilities, or significantly alter and improve current approaches.

Each Phase I study will receive approximately $100,000 for one year, and each Phase II study will receive approximately $500,000 for two years. These studies will advance numerous innovative aerospace concepts, and help NASA achieve future goals.

NASA Press Release

2012 Phase I Fellows Read the rest of this entry »

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NASA ‘Morpheus’ Craft Crashes During Test Flight, Explodes At Kennedy Space Center (VIDEO)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 11, 2012

 

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Russian Rocket Fails To Reach Target Orbit

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 9, 2012

By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV

Russian Rocket Fails
Russia’s Proton-M rocket, pictured in 2011.

MOSCOW — Russia’s space pride suffered another blow Tuesday when a booster rocket failed to place two communications satellites into target orbits, a mishap that came a day after NASA successfully landed a robotic vehicle on Mars.

Russia’s Roscosmos space agency said the Proton-M rocket was launched just before midnight Monday from the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The booster’s first stages worked fine, but the upper stage intended to give the final push to the satellites switched off prematurely.

The agency said that the engine’s malfunction stranded the Russian Express MD-2 and Indonesia’s Telkom-3 satellites in a low orbit where they can’t be recovered.

“The satellites can be considered lost,” Roscosmos spokeswoman Anna Vedishcheva said on Rossiya television.

The failure comes a day after NASA managed to land a roving laboratory the size of a compact car on Mars after an eight-month, 352-million-mile (566-million-kilometer) journey. Read the rest of this entry »

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NASA seeing red: $2.5 billion Mars rover to dig for proof of life

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 8, 2012

An artist's conception of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. (AFP Photo / NASA)

An artist’s conception of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover. (AFP Photo / NASA)

NASA’s make-or-break Mars mission has entered its landing phase on Monday morning. While the Curiosity rover attempts to land using a never-attempted sky crane, engineers back on Earth have no control over the pre-programmed sequence.

The touchdown is scheduled for 5:31 GMT.

NASA engineers will have to wait at least 14 minutes before learning the fate of Curiosity. That is if the Odyssey orbiter circling Mars is at the right spot in the sky to catch the rover’s signal. If not, it could take up to eight hours to get the final answer on the rover’s fate.

The $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory “could arguably be the most important event in the history of planetary exploration,” said Doug McCuistion, director of Mars exploration at NASA’s headquarters in Washington, DC.

The trickiest part of the mission, currently on its 8 months since launching in 2011, is the landing. Not only does it involve delivering the NASA’s largest-ever one-ton payload safely to the Martian surface, it will also attempt a new kind of landing sequence involving a guided entry, a supersonic 16-meter parachute, firing eight rocket thrusters during the descent and, finally, the sky crane.

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Lead Flight Director David Oh speaks to members of the media in the Mission Control room ahead of the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity. (AFP Photo / Robyn Beck)
Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Lead Flight Director David Oh speaks to members of the media in the Mission Control room ahead of the landing of the Mars rover Curiosity. (AFP Photo / Robyn Beck)

A crane hovering some seven meters in the sky after touchdown will lower Curiosity to the surface of Mars. The approach was chosen over a traditional lander or inflatable cushioning due to the size of the rover. The sky crane trick avoids risks like tilting the platform, or mechanical damage from the clouds of dust and debris kicked up by rocket engines. But the sky crane technology couldn’t be fully field-tested on Earth, since it was designed for the atmosphere and gravity of Mars. Read the rest of this entry »

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Future covered: NASA developing space-bound submarines and printable spacecraft

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on August 8, 2012

This composite "family portrait" from NASA's website shows Jupiter with two of its four largest moons: Io, on the top, and Europa (Photo from http://www.nasa.gov/)

This composite “family portrait” from NASA’s website shows Jupiter with two of its four largest moons: Io, on the top, and Europa (Photo from http://www.nasa.gov/)

As Curiosity takes its first steps on the surface of Mars, NASA has already decided what comes next after the rover, namely a submarine to explore Jupiter’s ice-covered moon, Europa, and a robot to land-sail across Venus.

These are among 28 futuristic projects selected by NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program. The ambitious projects are split into the categories of Phase I, which has gathered brand new ideas to be developed from scratch, and Phase II, the survivors of 2011’s program.

The 18 winners of Phase I have been awarded $100,000 each to develop their ideas for one year. This category boasts the boldest projects including a Venus-bound craft which would “sail” the planet using electromagnetic fields.

As NIAC studies all aspects of space exploration, a certain number of its projects cover hazards of planetary missions, such as the abnormal radiation that spacemen may encounter at an on-ground station. Thus, “Water Walls”, another ambition under NIAC’s Phase I, is a concept where undesirable material like urine or fecal matter is removed from a station’s waste water and processed to act as a radiation shield.  Read the rest of this entry »

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