Archive for the ‘space’ category: Page 2

Aug 11, 2019

Sorry, Astronomy Fans, The Hubble Constant Isn’t A Constant At All

Posted by in category: space

Our observable Universe is an enormous place, with some two trillion galaxies strewn across the abyss of space for tens of billions of light-years in all directions. Ever since the 1920s, when we first unambiguously demonstrated that those galaxies were well beyond the extent of the Milky Way by accurately measuring the distances to them, one fact leaped out at us: the farther away a galaxy is, on average, the more severely shifted towards the red, long-wavelength part of the spectrum its light will be.

This relationship, between redshift and distance, looks like a straight line when we first plot it out: the farther away you look, the greater the distant object’s redshift is, in direct proportion to one another. If you measure the slope of that line, you get a value, colloquially known as the Hubble constant. But it isn’t actually a constant at all, as it changes over time. Here’s the science behind why.

In our Universe, light doesn’t simply propagate through a fixed and unchanging space, arriving at its destination with the same properties it possessed when it was emitted by the source. Instead, it must contend with an additional factor: the expansion of the Universe. This expansion of space, as you can see, above, affects the properties of the light itself. In particular, as the Universe expands, the wavelength of the light passing through that space gets stretched.

Aug 11, 2019

Something Just Smacked Jupiter and Here’s the Photo to Prove It

Posted by in category: space

A photograph captured by amateur astronomer Ethan Chappel appears to show an asteroid slamming into the gas giant Jupiter on Wednesday (Aug. 7). So far, astronomers are still waiting to see whether anyone else spotted the sudden flash, which was located over the planet’s South Equatorial Belt.

Aug 10, 2019

Jupiter, Saturn and the moon to line up in night sky this week

Posted by in category: space

The night skies in August are full of celestial wonders, including bright planets and a meteor shower.

Venus and Mars are currently blocked from our view by the sun, but this week is a great chance to catch Jupiter and Saturn in conjunction with the moon.

The nearly full moon will appear very close to Jupiter on the night of August 9. Jupiter, the next brightest planet in our sky after Venus, will be visible in the sky beginning at dusk and well until the early hours of the morning around the world, according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Aug 9, 2019

Volcano forecasts could soon be a reality, thanks to AI

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

Of the 1,500 active volcanoes worldwide, about 6 percent of them erupt each year, or 50 to 85. Less than half of all volcanoes have sensors, and even fewer are considered well-monitored, the result of high costs and difficulty in maintaining equipment in such unforgiving environments. Volcanoes that are considered dormant rarely have any monitoring, despite surprises like the 2008 eruption of the Chaitén volcano in Chile after 8,000 years of inactivity.

Now, volcanologists are turning to satellite imagery and artificial intelligence to keep a closer eye on more volcanoes and, eventually, forecast eruptions. MOUNTS (Monitoring Unrest from Space), currently tracks 18 volcanoes, including Mount Fuego in Guatemala and Mount Etna in Italy.

With 800 million people living within 62 miles of an active volcano, there are plenty of reasons to increase monitoring.

Aug 9, 2019

NASA ‘Optometrists’ Verify Mars 2020 Rover’s 20/20 Vision

Posted by in category: space

No glasses needed! 🤓After a visit from our rover ‘optometrist’, #Mars2020 checks out with 20/20 vision. Equipped with several high definition cameras, our new red planet rover will acquire panoramic 3D image data, examine soil for life and more! Check it out:

Equipped with visionary science instruments, the Mars 2020 rover underwent an “eye” exam after several cameras were installed on it. The rover contains an armada of imaging capabilities, from wide-angle landscape cameras to narrow-angle high-resolution zoom lens cameras.

Photo of close-up of the head of Mars 2020's remote sensing mast.

Continue reading “NASA ‘Optometrists’ Verify Mars 2020 Rover’s 20/20 Vision” »

Aug 8, 2019

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Posted by in categories: mapping, space

July 20, 2019 marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. Navy Veteran Neil Armstrong, and Air Force Veterans Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins manned the mission.

The National Air and Space Museum displayed full-motion projection-mapping artwork on the Washington Monument. The 17 minute long show, “Apollo 50: Go for the Moon”, included a true-to-scale 363 foot Saturn V lift off, various stages of the rocket separation, the lunar landing, the first step on the moon, re-entry, and splash down back to earth.

To read more about the Apollo 11 crew, visit

Aug 8, 2019

A Meteor Just Exploded On Jupiter, And A Photographer Actually Caught It On Video

Posted by in category: space

With Jupiter currently gracing the northern sky at night, it’s a great time to be pointing a telescope at our Solar System’s colossus. But one astrophotographer got the sight of a lifetime — what appears to be the flash of an impact, as something exploded in the planet’s thick upper atmosphere.

On 7 August 2019, at 4:07 UTC, Ethan Chappel in Texas caught the incredibly rare sight on camera.

“Imaged Jupiter tonight,” he wrote on Twitter. “Looks awfully like an impact flash in the [southern equatorial belt].”

Aug 8, 2019

Tentacled microbe could be missing link between simple cells and complex life

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, space

Patience proved the key ingredient to what researchers are saying may be an important discovery about how complex life evolved. After 12 years of trying, a team in Japan has grown an organism from mud on the seabed that they say could explain how simple microbes evolved into more sophisticated eukaryotes. Eukaryotes are the group that includes humans, other animals, plants, and many single-celled organisms. The microbe can produce branched appendages, which may have helped it corral and envelop bacteria that helped it—and, eventually, all eukaryotes—thrive in a world full of oxygen.

“This is the work that many people in the field have been waiting for,” says Thijs Ettema, an evolutionary microbiologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands. The finding has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal, but on Twitter, other scientists reviewing a preprint on it have already hailed it as the “paper of the year” and the “moon landing for microbial ecology.”

The tree of life has three major branches—bacteria and archaea make up two, both of which are microbes that lack nuclei and mitochondria, distinct membrane-bound compartments to store DNA or generate energy, respectively. Those components, or organelles, characterize cells of the third branch, the eukaryotes. The prevailing thinking is that roughly 2 billion years ago, a microbe belonging to a group called the Asgard archaea absorbed a bacterium called an alphaproteobacterium, which settled inside and became mitochondria, producing power for its host by consuming oxygen as fuel. But isolating and growing Asgard archaea has proved a challenge, as they tend to live in inhospitable environments such as deep-sea mud. They also grow very slowly, so they are hard to detect. Most evidence of their existence so far has been fragments of DNA with distinctive sequences.

Aug 8, 2019

Earth: We haven’t seen a photo of our home planet that we didn’t like!

Posted by in categories: habitats, space

😍 While living and working 250 miles above Earth, crew members aboard the International Space Station captured these mesmerizing images of the place we call home. Take a look at more images like this:

Aug 7, 2019

Space Settlements Could End Up Being Company Towns

Posted by in category: space

You load 16 tons of moon rock, what do you get?

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