With renewed interest in space travel and satellite launches ..
"Despite the crude and primitive image of the country presented to the
world in “Borat,” Kazakhstan has long had an honored place in the space
community as home of the Baikonur spaceport from which Sputnik, the
first manmade satellite, was launched in 1957, igniting the space race."
"Today it remains the launch site for manned travel to the International
Space Station, including the travel of private citizens who can afford
the modest fee of fifty million dollars for a space adventure."
"Half of all light in the universe is in millimeter-wavelength light
between the far infrared and radio waves. ALMA can detect this light,
which is emitted by cool objects and distant objects. It's possible
thanks to the telescope's location at 16,400 feet in the driest desert
on Earth, and because of the incredible precision of its 66 antennas.
All telescopes are limited in their angular resolution by the ratio
of their aperture to the wavelength they observe, explained Michael
Thornburn, head of the ALMA department of engineering. ALMA is an
aperture synthesis telescope.
"We cannot make a single aperture 15 kilometers across, so we do it
in pieces," he said. "The signals from individual dishes are combined to
build up the image from a single large aperture."
Radio signals from distant cosmic sources arrive at each dish at
ever-so-slightly different times, and these are combined with the
signals from every other antenna. This technique, interferometry, allows
ALMA to operate like a single huge dish with an adaptable radius.
In a carefully choreographed ballet, each dish moves in unison with
the others to change the telescope's observing area. Along with moving
in place, giant transporter trucks, specially designed for the dishes,
can pick them up and cart them across the Chajnantor Plateau to one of
192 concrete pads. At their greatest distance apart--16
kilometers--ALMA's angular resolution will be equivalent to the Hubble
Space Telescope, Peck said."
Courtesy of Oliver Marks I saw this spectacular compilation of images from the International Space Station. While the whole video is awesome, the Milky Way at 2.36 and the auroras at 4.51 are particularly impressive.
New information provided by a worldwide network of sensors has allowed scientists to refine their estimates for the size of the object that entered that atmosphere and disintegrated in the skies over Chelyabinsk, Russia, at 7:20:26 p.m. PST, or 10:20:26 p.m. EST on Feb. 14 (3:20:26 UTC on Feb. 15).
The estimated size of the object, prior to entering Earth's atmosphere, has been revised upward from 49 feet (15 meters) to 55 feet (17 meters), and its estimated mass has increased from 7,000 to 10,000 tons. Also, the estimate for energy released during the event has increased by 30 kilotons to nearly 500 kilotons of energy released. These new estimates were generated using new data that had been collected by five additional infrasound stations located around the world – the first recording of the event being in Alaska, over 6,500 kilometers away from Chelyabinsk. The infrasound data indicates that the event, from atmospheric entry to the meteor's airborne disintegration took 32.5 seconds. The calculations using the infrasound data were performed by Peter Brown at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.
The trajectory of the Russia meteor was significantly different than the trajectory of the asteroid 2012 DA14, which hours later made its flyby of Earth, making it a completely unrelated object. The Russia meteor is the largest reported since 1908, when a meteor hit Tunguska, Siberia.
“NASA is partnering with a commercial space company in a bid to swap out the cumbersome "metal cans" that now serve as astronauts' homes in space for inflatable bounce-house-like habitats that can be deployed on the cheap.
A $17.8 million test project will send an inflatable room that can be compressed for delivery into a 7-foot tube to the International Space Station, officials said Wednesday during a news conference at North Las Vegas-based Bigelow Aerospace.”
“Founder and President Robert Bigelow, who made his fortune in the hotel industry before getting into the space business in 1999, framed the gambit as an out-of-this-world real estate venture. He hopes to sell his spare tire habitats to scientific companies and wealthy adventurers looking for space hotels.”
“Demonstrations (in video) include flight-capable robotic arm manipulation with simulated space contact dynamics, tool development for the robotic arm with unique gripping and adhesion capabilities, autonomous robotic control software and hyperdexterous conformable robot modules in operation, among others.
“Today, satellites are not built to be modified or repaired in space,” said Dave Barnhart, DARPA program manager. “Therefore, to enable an architecture that can re-use or re-purpose on-orbit components requires us to create new technologies and new capabilities. This progress report gives the community a better sense of how we are doing on the challenges we may face and the technologies needed to help us meet our goals.””
This new global view and animation of Earth’s city lights is a composite
assembled from data acquired by the Suomi NPP satellite. The data was
acquired over nine days in April 2012 and 13 days in October 2012. It
took 312 orbits to get a clear shot of every parcel of Earth's land
surface and islands. This new data was then mapped over existing Blue
Marble imagery of Earth to provide a realistic view of the planet.
Spectacular NASA pictures of the Alluvial Fan in China below and many other aspects of Earth’s beauty available as a free PDF or an iPad app (with enhanced features) or for purchase in print ($ 44 in US)
"Earth as Art" features images from the Landsat 5 and 7, Terra, Aqua, and Earth Observing-1 (EO-1) satellites. All are among a fleet of U.S. environmental satellites used for scientific research and applied purposes. Instruments on these satellites measure light outside of the visible range. The images produced from these data reveal features and patterns not always visible to the naked eye. The Terra, Aqua, and EO-1 satellites are managed by NASA. Landsat satellites are managed by the U.S. Geological Survey.
The iPad version of "Earth as Art" allows users to zoom into the book's 75 satellite images and access additional information on selected features and the satellites used.”