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NASA InSights marsquake detector is ready to listen to Mars heartbeat

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first_img NASA turns 60: The space agency has taken humanity farther than anyone else, and it has plans to go further.Taking It to Extremes: Mix insane situations — erupting volcanoes, nuclear meltdowns, 30-foot waves — with everyday tech. Here’s what happens. Whew – winding down after a long day, but I’ve done it: I’ve placed my seismometer on the surface of Mars! With SEIS, I’ll be able to listen in for marsquakes and help reveal the heartbeat of #Mars. https://t.co/GYNO4txPPi pic.twitter.com/18eQHXOfiO— NASA InSight (@NASAInSight) December 20, 2018 Now playing: Watch this: “Seismometer deployment is as important as landing InSight on Mars,” said InSight Principal Investigator Bruce Banerdt. “The seismometer is the highest-priority instrument on InSight: We need it in order to complete about three-quarters of our science objectives.”Because this isn’t NASA’s first rodeo, a team of scientists has been practising the deployment of instruments with an exact replica of the lander (known as ForeSight) on a fake Mars set back here on Earth. (Fun fact: the fake Martian dust is made from crushed up garnet stones). And the practice has paid off. “InSight’s timetable of activities on Mars has gone better than we hoped,” said InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman. “Getting the seismometer safely on the ground is an awesome Christmas present.” Sci-Tech Share your voice NASA Space NASA’s InSight lander has perfectly deployed its seismometer on the surface of Mars, ready to listen for marsquakes. NASA/JPL-Caltech NASA’s InSight mission is going from strength to strength with news that the Mars lander has successfully positioned its seismometer, ready to listen for marsquakes. NASA announced the news late on Wednesday, tweeting out a GIF of the instrument being placed on the red dust of Mars. According to the space agency, it’s the first time a scientific instrument has ever been placed on the surface of another planet. The InSight lander touched down on Mars in late November, ready for a seven-year mission that will see the spacecraft drill deeper into the planet than ever before. It will measure how the planet wobbles on its axis as it orbits the sun and ultimately study the composition of Mars’ core. Alongside all that science, InSight will also study seismic activity on Mars — just like Earth gets earthquakes, NASA is looking for ground motion, or “marsquakes,” beneath the Martian surface. But to do all that, NASA had to position InSight’s seismometer just right, which is no easy feat when you’re remotely operating a spacecraft on another planet with an eight-minute communications delay.  0 NASA’s InSight landing and the crazy odds behind getting… 5:54 Tags Post a commentlast_img read more

NASA citizen scientist discovers first ancient dead star with peculiar rings

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first_img Comment Share your voice Sci-Tech Today’s NASA Mars weather report: It’s freakin’ cold Trump’s Space Force is coming, but not as originally planned Yes, this is a real view of the ISS transiting the moon 17 Photos Tags Intriguingly, the fate of this planetary system may foreshadow what’s to come for the Earth. Eventually, our sun will expand into a “red giant,” swallowing Mercury and Venus (maybe even Earth) whole like The Blob rolling across small-town America. That event would tidy up the inner solar system like a cosmic Marie Kondo, and then see the star collapse into a white dwarf, its gravity dissipate and the planets at the edge of the system drift away.NASA and collaborating science and educational institutions launched Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 in February 2017 as a citizen scientist project that uses data from WISE to search for the supposed planet hiding at the edge of our solar system. Over 150,000 participants eyeball thousands of images generated by WISE to look for any anomalies that might pop up. The project has already reaped many rewards, with a brown dwarf, a type of “failed star,” discovered only six days after the project began and over a thousand similar objects discovered since. center_img More from space NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center/Scott Wiessinger A citizen scientist working with NASA has detected an old, cold dying star that may provide a window into the fate of our own solar system billions of years from now.Melina Thévenot, a citizen scientist from Germany, detected an anomaly while searching through data collected by the European Space Agency’s Gaia spacecraft. At first, she believed it was bad data, but when she looked at the source in the images from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission, she decided the data might be valuable and handed it over to the team working on the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 citizen scientist project.The leads on that project decided to follow up on the finding, re-positioning the Keck II telescope in Hawaii to take a deeper look. With their new set of eyes focused on the tiny spot in the sky, Keck II confirmed the blip wasn’t bad data — it was the oldest, coldest white dwarf we’ve ever spotted — and it is circled by a peculiar set of dusty rings. The discovery appears Tuesday in The Astrophysical Journal Letters.  “This white dwarf is so old that whatever process is feeding material into its rings must operate on billion-year timescales,” said John Debes, an astronomer and lead author on the study. “This star is really challenging our assumptions of how planetary systems evolve.” Dubbed J0207 (or LSPM J0207+3331 for the purists), the newly discovered dead star is about the size of the Earth and located around 145 light-years from our home planet. The team believes the dead star has two disks of dusty material, the first known white dwarf to host such a weird phenomenon. Generally, dusty disks form around these bodies when asteroids or comets are flung into the gravitational pull of a the star. As they approach, the dead star’s gravity begins to tear them apart, breaking them up into pieces that constantly orbit the body. Weirdly, white dwarfs this old generally don’t maintain their dusty disks — all the material slowly falls into the star. That’s puzzled researchers, but follow-up missions may resolve the conundrum.”What makes this new white dwarf so interesting is that it’s much older than the typical dusty white dwarf,” said Debes. “That is hard to explain with our current models of how asteroids get kicked into inner white dwarf systems, but somehow Nature knows how to do it.”    1 NASA NASA Opportunity rover witnessed the wild side of Marslast_img read more

Dang the rules for naming Jupiters new moons are super strict

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first_img Hey @JupiterLunacy, you should name the newly discovered moon S/2018 J1 Pheraea. Pheraea was involved with Zeus, and their daughter was found and saved by a shepherd, or should I say Sheppard.  #NameJupitersMoons— Carnegie Science (@carnegiescience) February 21, 2019 13 Photos Post a comment But wait. There’s more. Each individual moon has more specific needs. Three of the moons are retrograde (they orbit in an opposite direction to Jupiter’s rotation) and must have names ending in “e,” while the other two must end in “a.”Carnegie wants the public to offers suggestions on Twitter by tweeting to @JupiterLunacy with the hashtag #NameJupitersMoons.Some of the suggestions so far don’t fit the brief, but one viable idea comes from Carnegie Science itself: Pheraea, one of Zeus’ lovers. I was ready to suggest Persephone, but there’s already an asteroid with that name. NASA view of Jupiter looks like an infamous South Park character NASA captures cosmic ‘dolphin’ swimming in Jupiter’s clouds Space Sci-Tech 0center_img Share your voice While the rules seem strict, there are some good reasons for them. The International Astronomical Union, which governs the names of space objects, already has a stringent list of requirements. The moon rules will also keep the new names on theme for Jupiter. Jupiter has 79 known moons, including famous satellites Europa and Io and the likes of Adrastea (Zeus’s foster mom) and Callisto (one of Zeus’s lovers).     We’re lucky there are so many characters in Roman and Greek mythology. As it turns out, sometimes a good name is hard to find. Jupiter swirls Tags Jaw-dropping Jupiter: NASA’s Juno mission eyes the gas giant Jupiter as seen by Hubble. Space Telescope Science Institute Polyphonte, this may be your time to shine.The Carnegie Institution for Science put out a call Thursday asking for the public’s help naming some recently discovered moons found orbiting Jupiter. But don’t get carried away. There are rules. Carnegie announced the 12 moons in mid-2018, and we get a say in draping monikers on five of them. Some of the ground rules are pretty straightforward: 16 characters or less, nothing offensive, nothing too similar to existing moon or asteroid names. You also can’t name them after a living person.Now the tunnel starts to narrow. The moons must be named after characters in Roman or Greek mythology who were either descendants of or lovers of Jupiter (Roman) or Zeus (Greek).  OK, maybe we can still work with that, even though that rules out calling any of them Elon, Moony McMoonFace or Buzz. last_img read more

Looting ravages Venezuela unrest death toll hits 36

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first_imgView of damages in a supermarket in Valencia, Carabobo State, on Friday, the day after anti-government protesters looted stores, set fire to cars and clashed with police, leaving at least five people injured, and one dead after being hit in the head by a projectile. Photo: AFPA young man died Friday after he was injured in violence as looting broke out in impoverished Venezuelan cities, an official said, bringing the toll from unrest in more than a month of anti-government protests to at least 36.Hecder Lugo Perez, 22, died after he was hit in the head by a projectile in the northwestern city of Valencia, sources at the Valles de San Diego medical clinic said. City Mayor Enzo Scarano confirmed his death.Mass protests erupted on April 1 by demonstrators demanding elections to remove President Nicolas Maduro. They blame him for an economic crisis that has caused shortages of food, medicine and other basics.Anger boiled over Friday in the western municipality of Rosario de Perija, where young protesters burned, pulled down and then smashed a statue of former president Hugo Chavez, Maduro’s late predecessor and mentor, according to video posted on social media showing the incident in a public square.Looting broke out this week in cities such as Valencia, which looked like a disaster zone with bars on shop windows bent and windows broken.“There was a crowd of them. They broke through the walls and took everything. They destroyed everything” before police came and fired tear gas to disperse the looters, said Nuvia Torrealba, 42, who worked in a bakery.“My bosses have lost their home and we are out of a job. It was horrible.”Residents were stockpiling food, water and fuel. At least 70 stores have been raided since Tuesday, the Valencia chamber of commerce said.“They are taking advantage of the protests to go out and rob,” said Magaly Oliveros, a 64-year-old housewife in Valencia.“Today we are hungry, and tomorrow we will be hungrier still because there is nothing.”Army allegationsMaduro is resisting opposition demands for elections.Each side accuses the other of using armed groups to sow violence in the demonstrations.Maduro has the public backing of the military high command, which analysts say is key to resisting the protests.However, senior opposition leader Henrique Capriles said on Friday that 85 mid-ranking army officers have been detained for opposing moves to crack down on protesters.He cited information he said was given by the officers’ families.Weekend protestsMaduro’s opponents called for women to march on Saturday dressed in white, a traditional show of defiance against what they brand a repressive government.“The regime is falling,” said Lilian Tintori, wife of jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez, outside the prison near Caracas where she was demanding to see her husband.“It has no strength and is showing its worst side, using weapons because it is does not have right on its side.”The president has launched moves to reform the constitution, further angering the opposition, which says he is trying to dodge elections.He says the economic crisis is a US-backed conspiracy to topple him and install a right-wing government.“We will not let a fascist regime be set up here,” said Elias Jaua, the official appointed to lead a presidential commission on the constitutional reforms.Capriles said the opposition will take no part in the constitutional discussions.The celebrity Venezuelan conductor Gustavo Dudamel, director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, added his voice to calls for an end to the violence on Thursday.He called for Maduro to “listen to the voice of the Venezuelan people”, in a message posted on Facebook.last_img read more