Archive for the ‘space’ category: Page 4

Nov 13, 2023

Scorching, Seven-Planet system revealed by New Kepler Exoplanet list

Posted by in category: space

A system of seven sweltering planets has been revealed by continued study of data from NASA’s retired Kepler space telescope: Each one is bathed in more radiant heat from their host star per area than any planet in our solar system. Also unlike any of our immediate neighbors, all seven planets in this system, named Kepler-385, are larger than Earth but smaller than Neptune.

It is one of only a few planetary systems known to contain more than six verified planets or planet candidates. The Kepler-385 system is among the highlights of a new Kepler catalog that contains almost 4,400 planet candidates, including more than 700 multi-planet systems.

“We’ve assembled the most accurate list of Kepler planet candidates and their properties to date,” said Jack Lissauer, a research scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and lead author on the paper presenting the new catalog. “NASA’s Kepler mission has discovered the majority of known exoplanets, and this new catalog will enable astronomers to learn more about their characteristics.”

Nov 13, 2023

Mason scientists to work with the U.S. Navy to avert ‘internet apocalypse’

Posted by in categories: energy, internet, military, space

A team of George Mason University scientists has received a federal grant of more than $13 million to work with the Department of the Navy to study and better understand increased solar activity that could potentially cause an “internet apocalypse” disrupting all electronic communications on Earth, including satellite communications.

Research from the grant, which will total $13.6 million in expenditures over five years, will be done in collaboration with the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and will include state-of-the-art data mining, analysis, and scientific modeling, among other endeavors, led by Mason faculty, students and staff. Under the terms of the contract, Mason provides scientific support for a broad range of astronomy-related activities that are of interest to the U.S. Navy and the nation at large.

“The main focus is on solar activity and the way it can impact systems on Earth,” said principal investigator Peter A. Becker, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy within the College of Science. “This is especially important to the Navy—and more broadly the Department of Defense—because high-energy outbursts from the sun can have a strong negative impact on earthly radio and internet communications. And they can also have a detrimental effect on navigation systems and energy grids on Earth.”

Nov 13, 2023

NASA’s Webb Findings Support Long-Proposed Process of Planet Formation

Posted by in categories: innovation, space

Scientists using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope just made a breakthrough discovery in revealing how planets are made. By observing water vapor in protoplanetary disks, Webb confirmed a physical process involving the drifting of ice-coated solids from the outer regions of the disk into the rocky-planet zone.

Theories have long proposed that icy pebbles forming in the cold, outer regions of protoplanetary disks — the same area where comets originate in our solar system — should be the fundamental seeds of planet formation. The main requirement of these theories is that pebbles should drift inward toward the star due to friction in the gaseous disk, delivering both solids and water to planets.

A fundamental prediction of this theory is that as icy pebbles enter into the warmer region within the “snowline” — where ice transitions to vapor — they should release large amounts of cold water vapor. This is exactly what Webb observed.

Nov 13, 2023

NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft Discovers 2nd Asteroid During Dinkinesh Flyby

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, space

“Dinkinesh really did live up to its name; this is marvelous,” said Hal Levison, referring to the meaning of Dinkinesh in the Amharic language, “marvelous.” Levison is principal investigator for Lucy from the Boulder, Colorado, branch of the San-Antonio-based Southwest Research Institute. “When Lucy was originally selected for flight, we planned to fly by seven asteroids. With the addition of Dinkinesh, two Trojan moons, and now this satellite, we’ve turned it up to 11.”

In the weeks prior to the spacecraft’s encounter with Dinkinesh, the Lucy team had wondered if Dinkinesh might be a binary system, given how Lucy’s instruments were seeing the asteroid’s brightness changing with time. The first images from the encounter removed all doubt. Dinkinesh is a close binary. From a preliminary analysis of the first available images, the team estimates that the larger body is approximately 0.5 miles (790 m) at its widest, while the smaller is about 0.15 miles (220 m) in size.

This encounter primarily served as an in-flight test of the spacecraft, specifically focusing on testing the system that allows Lucy to autonomously track an asteroid as it flies past at 10,000 mph, referred to as the terminal tracking system.

Nov 13, 2023

NASA’s Lucy Surprises Again, Observes 1st-ever Contact Binary Orbiting Asteroid

Posted by in category: space

NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft took images of asteroid Dinkinesh, discovering that the asteroid has the first-ever contact binary pair orbiting the asteroid.

Nov 13, 2023

Transient Treasures: Scientists Unearth Gold’s Remarkable Origin Story

Posted by in category: space

New research offers a theory on how gold, platinum, and other precious metals found their way to shallow pockets within Earth’s mantle.

Scientists at Yale and the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) say they’ve hit the jackpot with some valuable new information about the story of gold.

It’s a story that begins with violent collisions of large objects in space, continues in a half-melted region of Earth’s mantle, and ends with precious metals finding an unlikely resting spot much closer to the planet’s surface than scientists would have predicted.

Nov 13, 2023

The Ammonia Trail: Unlocking Cosmic Mysteries of Distant Worlds With Webb

Posted by in category: space

The detection of ammonia isotopologues in a brown dwarf by the James Webb Space Telescope.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST or Webb) is an orbiting infrared observatory that will complement and extend the discoveries of the Hubble Space Telescope. It covers longer wavelengths of light, with greatly improved sensitivity, allowing it to see inside dust clouds where stars and planetary systems are forming today as well as looking further back in time to observe the first galaxies that formed in the early universe.

Nov 13, 2023

The New Building Blocks of Quantum Tech: Quantum Dots and Twisted Light

Posted by in categories: quantum physics, space

Generation of nearly deterministic OAM-based entangled states offers a bridge between photonic technologies for quantum advancements.

Quantum technology’s future rests on the exploitation of fascinating quantum mechanics concepts — such as high-dimensional quantum states. Think of these as states basic ingredients of quantum information science and quantum tech. To manipulate these states, scientists have turned to light, specifically a property called orbital angular momentum (OAM), which deals with how light twists and turns in space. Here’s a catch: making super bright single photons with OAM in a deterministic fashion has been a tough nut to crack.

Quantum Dots: Bridging Technologies

Nov 13, 2023

What exposure to radiation does to glass on the moon over billions of years

Posted by in categories: materials, space

A team of materials scientists at Songshan Lake Materials Laboratory, working with colleagues from the China Academy of Space Technology and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, all in China, has found that billions of years of exposure to radiation has made glass on the moon harder.

In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, the group describes how they tested samples of lunar regolith brought to Earth by China’s Chang’e-5 lunar lander and then treated the samples to rejuvenate them for comparison purposes.

Humans have been making glass for approximately 4,000 years; nature, on the other hand, has been doing it for billions of years. In this new effort, the research team studied glass that has been made naturally on the moon by meteoroids striking, and melting —some of it billions of years old.

Nov 12, 2023

Huge breakthrough in plan to live on the Moon, scientists say

Posted by in categories: innovation, space

Researchers grew tobacco in soil samples taken from the Moon in a major breakthrough.

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