Tuesday, May 21

NASA

NASA — Do You Love the Color of the Sun?
NASA

NASA — Do You Love the Color of the Sun?

In between the planets, stars and other bits of rock and dust, space seems pretty much empty. But the super-spread out matter that is there follows a different set of rules than what we know here on Earth. For the most part, what we think of as empty space is filled with plasma. Plasma is ionized gas, where electrons have split off from positive ions, creating a sea of charged particles. In most of space, this plasma is so thin and spread out that space is still about a thousand times emptier than the vacuums we can create on Earth. Even still, plasma is often the only thing out there in vast swaths of space — and its unique characteristics mean that it interacts with electric and magnetic fields in complicated ways that we are just beginning to understand. Five years ago, we launched a qu...
Astrobotic eyes military customers for reusable Xogdor suborbital rocket
NASA

Astrobotic eyes military customers for reusable Xogdor suborbital rocket

WASHINGTON — Astrobotic, a company that develops vehicles for space exploration missions, is making a strategic move into the defense sector with its Xogdor reusable rocket, designed to test payloads at the edge of space. Masten Space Systems, a company acquired by Astrobotic in 2022, started developing the suborbital Xogdor vehicle in 2021. The rocket, expected to debut in 2025, is funded by a NASA contract, “but we are also looking at applications to support the Department of Defense,” Sean Bedford, Astrobotic’s director of business development for propulsion systems, said in an interview last week at the Space Symposium in Colorado Springs. Astrobotic’s existing Xodiac and Xombie suborbital rockets fly from Mojave, California, and the company is in discussions wit...
Space Center Houston Unveils Extraterrestrial Treasure from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission: Bennu Asteroid Sample 
NASA

Space Center Houston Unveils Extraterrestrial Treasure from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission: Bennu Asteroid Sample 

Space Center Houston’s Director of Collections and Curator, Paul Spana installs asteroid “Bennu” at the center’s OSIRIS-REx exhibition on Friday, March 1, 2024. NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, and Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft was a successful seven-year-long mission to the near-earth asteroid collecting particles of Bennu that will help tell scientists how the planets were formed and improve our understanding of asteroids that could impact Earth. (Photo Courtesy, Aaron Rodriguez). HOUSTON, TX (March 1, 2024) – Space Center Houston, the official visitor center to NASA Johnson Space Center, is now home to an extraordinary piece of cosmic history – a pristine sample from asteroid Bennu brought back by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx missio...
Fireball lights up the sky over Salt Lake City – NASA Blogs
NASA

Fireball lights up the sky over Salt Lake City – NASA Blogs

A bright meteor flew through the skies over northern Utah on Saturday morning, later raining down meteorites over the Great Salt Lake. Residents of the Salt Lake City area were startled by loud booms at 8:30 a.m. MDT on Saturday, Aug. 13, 2022. Eyewitnesses saw a fireball in the sky, 16 times brighter than the full Moon. GOES 17 Geostationary Lightning Mapper detection of the Aug. 13, 2022, fireball over northern Utah. Credits: NOAA Approximately 22,000 miles out in space, NOAA’s Geostationary Lightning Mappers (GLM) onboard the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellites (GOES) 17 and 18 detected the meteor, which was first seen 50 miles over West Valley City. However, it is difficult to pinpoint its exact trajectory. “Daytime fireballs are very tough to analyze,” said Bill Cook...
NASA — Follow, follow the Sun / And which way the wind…
NASA

NASA — Follow, follow the Sun / And which way the wind…

Along with the Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute, or KASI, we’re getting ready to test a new way to see the Sun, high over the New Mexico desert. A balloon — which looks a translucent white pumpkin, but large enough to hug a football field — will soon take flight, carrying a solar scope called BITSE. BITSE is a coronagraph, a special kind of telescope that blocks the bright face of the Sun to reveal its dimmer atmosphere, called the corona. BITSE stands for Balloon-borne Investigation of Temperature and Speed of Electrons in the corona. Its goal? Explaining how the Sun spits out the solar wind, the stream of charged particles that blows constantly from the Sun. Scientists generally know it forms in the corona, but exactly how it does so is a mystery. The solar wind is important b...