flying objects

Uploaded on Sep 22, 2008 The AirTraffic team presents the global air traffic (simulation over 24 hours). http://radar.zhaw.ch/ Uploaded on Feb 19, 2010 Courtesy NASA FACET is a simulation tool for exploring advanced air traffic management concepts. An efficient and effective air traffic management system is vital to the U.S. transportation infrastructure. Since 1978, when […]

Uploaded on Sep 22, 2008

The AirTraffic team presents the global air traffic (simulation over 24 hours).
http://radar.zhaw.ch/


Uploaded on Feb 19, 2010

Courtesy NASA

FACET is a simulation tool for exploring advanced air traffic management concepts.
An efficient and effective air traffic management system is vital to the U.S. transportation infrastructure. Since 1978, when the airline industry was deregulated, the inflation adjusted gross domestic product (GDP) has increased by 62 percent. In this same time period, total output of scheduled passenger air transportation (as measured by Revenue Passenger Miles) has increased by 190 percent and total airfreight ton miles have increased by 289 percent. Since 1997, flight delays have skyrocketed – doubling in only four years. These trends are expected to continue. In 1998, airline delays in the U.S. cost industry and passengers $4.5 billion — the equivalent of a 7 percent tax on every dollar collected by all the domestic airlines combined.


Uploaded on Oct 26, 2010

Simulation of Space Debris orbiting Earth. Created by the Institute of Aerospace Systems of the Technische Universität Braunschweig and shown at the 3rd Braunschweig Lichtparcours from June 19th to September 30th, 2010. Also available as an interactive screen saver for windows and Linux athttp://www.days-in-space.de.
More information about our research at http://www.space-debris.de.
Color Key:
Red: Satellites (operational or defunct)
Yellow: Rocket bodies
Green: Mission Related Objects (bolts, lens caps, etc.)
Blue: Solid rocket motor slag
White: Fragments from explosion events

Isometry

Isometry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the mechanical engineering and architecture usage, see isometric projection. For isometry in differential geometry, seeisometry (Riemannian geometry).

In mathematics, an isometry is a distance-preserving map between metric spaces. Geometric figures which can be related by an isometry are called congruent.

Isometries are often used in

Isometry

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

For the mechanical engineering and architecture usage, see isometric projection. For isometry in differential geometry, seeisometry (Riemannian geometry).

In mathematics, an isometry is a distance-preserving map between metric spaces. Geometric figures which can be related by an isometry are called congruent.

Isometries are often used in

New Microbe Found in Two Distant Clean Rooms

November 06, 2013 A rare, recently discovered microbe that survives on very little to eat has been found in two places on Earth: spacecraft clean rooms in Florida and South America. Microbiologists often do thorough surveys of bacteria and other microbes in spacecraft clean rooms. Fewer microbes live there than in almost any other environment […]

November 06, 2013

A rare, recently discovered microbe that survives on very little to eat has been found in two places on Earth: spacecraft clean rooms in Florida and South America.

Microbiologists often do thorough surveys of bacteria and other microbes in spacecraft clean rooms. Fewer microbes live there than in almost any other environment on Earth, but the surveys are important for knowing what might hitch a ride into space. If extraterrestrial life is ever found, it would be readily checked against the census of a few hundred types of microbes detected in spacecraft clean rooms.

The work to keep clean rooms extremely clean knocks total microbe numbers way down. It also can select for microbes that withstand stresses such as drying, chemical cleaning, ultraviolet treatments and lack of nutrients. Perversely, microbes that withstand these stressors often also show elevated resistance to spacecraft sterilization methodologies such as heating and peroxide treatment.

“We want to have a better understanding of these bugs, because the capabilities that adapt them for surviving in clean rooms might also let them survive on a spacecraft,” said microbiologist Parag Vaishampayan of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., lead author of the 2013 paper about the microbe. “This particular bug survives with almost no nutrients.”

This population of berry-shaped bacteria is so different from any other known bacteria, it has been classified as not only a new species, but also a new genus, the next level of classifying the diversity of life. Its discoverers named it Tersicoccus phoenicis. Tersi is from Latin for clean, like the room. Coccus, from Greek for berry, describes the bacterium’s shape. The phoenicis part is for NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, the spacecraft being prepared for launch in 2007 when the bacterium was first collected by test-swabbing the floor in the Florida clean room.

Some other microbes have been discovered in a spacecraft clean room and found nowhere else, but none previously had been found in two different clean rooms and nowhere else. Home grounds of the new one are about 2,500 miles (4,000 kilometers) apart, in a NASA facility at Kennedy Space Center and a European Space Agency facility in Kourou, French Guiana.

A bacterial DNA database shared by microbiologists worldwide led Vaishampayan to find the match. The South American detection had been listed on the database by a former JPL colleague, Christine Moissl-Eichinger, now with the University of Regensburg in Germany. She is first co-author of the paper published this year in the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology identifying the new genus.

The same global database showed no other location where this strain of bacteria has been detected. That did not surprise Vaishampayan. He said, “We find a lot of bugs in clean rooms because we are looking so hard to find them there. The same bug might be in the soil outside the clean room but we wouldn’t necessarily identify it there because it would be hidden by the overwhelming numbers of other bugs.”

A teaspoon of typical soil would have thousands more types of microbes and billions more total microbes than an entire cleanroom. More than 99 percent of bacterial strains, as identified from DNA sequences, have never been cultivated in laboratories, a necessary step for the various types of characterization required to identify a strain as a new species.

Microbes that are tolerant of harsh conditions become more evident in clean room environments that remove the rest of the crowd.

“Tersicoccus phoenicis might be found in some natural environment with extremely low nutrient levels, such as a cave or desert,” Vaishampayan speculated. This is the case for another species of bacterium (Paenibacillus phoenicis) identified by JPL researchers and currently found in only two places on Earth: a spacecraft clean room in Florida and a bore hole more than 1.3 miles (2.1 kilometers) deep at a Colorado molybdenum mine.

Ongoing research with Tersicoccus phoenicis is aimed at understanding possible ways to control it in spacecraft clean rooms and fully sequencing its DNA. Students from California State University, Los Angeles, have participated in the research to characterize the newly discovered species.

The California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, operates JPL for NASA.

Guy Webster 818-354-6278
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
guy.webster@jpl.nasa.gov

In Defense of Vulcan

The votes are in, and Vulcan won the naming contest for Pluto’s P4 moon. Pluto’s two newest moons, currently named P4 and P5, were discovered in 2011 and 2012 by a team led by SETI chief scientist Dr. Mark Showalter. Such discoverers have the right to recommend names to the International Astronomical Union, who then […]

Pluto and its moons, July 2012

Pluto and its moons, July 2012

The votes are in, and Vulcan won the naming contest for Pluto’s P4 moon. Pluto’s two newest moons, currently named P4 and P5, were discovered in 2011 and 2012 by a team led by SETI chief scientist Dr. Mark Showalter. Such discoverers have the right to recommend names to the International Astronomical Union, who then has final authority on the naming. Showalter and SETI thought it would be fun to solicit votes from the public from a list of 21 names, and the names Vulcan and Cerberus won. The IAU does not reuse names, and since there is already an asteroid named Cerberus, the SETI team plans to submit the Greek spelling of Kerberos instead.

This blog post is a serious pitch to the P4/P5 discovery team and the International Astronomical Union to not assign the name Vulcan to P4, but rather, to save it for the exoplanet Gliese 581 c.

It should be stated up front that the IAU does not currently name exoplanets. But since exoplanets are the fastest-growing field in astronomy, and arguably among those that best capture the public’s imagination, they’re going to have to start doing so very soon. In fact, Dr. Franck Marchis at SETI (@allplanets) says “I think this entire [Vulcan] story should be used to motivate the IAU to finally name exoplanets.”

Reason why P4 deserves the name Vulcan

Some say that in mythology Vulcan was a son of Pluto, so it makes a certain amount of sense for one of Pluto’s moons. But not all that much sense: First, Vulcan was a son of Jupiter and Juno (Zeus and Hera in Greek), not of Pluto; and anyway, none of Pluto’s three already-named moons (Charon, Nix, and Hydra) were children of Pluto either.

Reasons why Gliese 581 c deserves the name Vulcan

Every other reason. Star Trek has, for better or for worse, become an integral influence for today’s astronomy and space programs. People love it. It is broadly beloved internationally. We named the first Space Shuttle after Star Trek’s USS Enterprise (though it never fulfilled its original plan to be converted into a real launchable shuttle). It’s entirely appropriate that we name a real planet after Star Trek’s most famous fictional planet.

Gliese 581 c is an exoplanet orbiting the red dwarf star Gliese 581, discovered in 2010. It shares more characteristics with the fictional Vulcan than any other exoplanet known:

 Vulcan

 P4/P5

 Gliese 581 c

 Hot  Cold X  Hot ?
 High gravity  Low gravity (Barely any) X  High gravity (1.6x Earth) ?
 Outside the solar system  Inside the solar system X  Outside the solar system ?
 In the habitable zone  Outside the habitable zone X  Inside the habitable zone* ?
 Has no moon  Is a moon X  Has no known moon ?

* Though the planet itself is unlikely to be habitable due to a probable runaway greenhouse effect, similar to Venus. Some early estimates gave it a surface temperature range comparable to Earth, with a possibility of liquid water.

P4 is not even a planet, it’s a moon; moreover, it’s not even a planet’s moon. Pluto is a dwarf planet. Pluto is in our solar system; Vulcan was far away.

We don’t have any sharp images of P4, but it’s almost certainly not round; rather it’s probably just random asteroid shaped. We don’t even know its size for sure; somewhere between 13-34 km diameter. If you were to view it from your comfortable spaceship,  you’d say “Wow, that’s a pretty poor excuse for Vulcan.”

Gliese 581 c is a proper, full-fledged planet. It’s rocky, so you can walk around on it. Its gravity is similar to that depicted on the fictional Vulcan, and it has hot temperatures like Vulcan (maybe too hot, but maybe not). In any case, there’s no known better match for Vulcan out there.

Shatner and Nimoy both came out on Twitter in favor of naming P4 Vulcan, and that was fun; but it was probably simply a reaction to Vulcan having been in the running. I doubt either of them, given a choice of heavenly bodies out there, would have agreed that the name Vulcan was best used for a cold, unremarkable, not-even-round rock orbiting a dark dwarf planet.

In a Google Hangout, Dr. Showalter responded to this exact request. “I agree with you, I think Romulus and Vulcan would be great names for exoplanets, and so would all kinds of names out of  Star Wars mythology and every other tradition that you can imagine, but I just don’t know if saving a name for an exoplanet is practical when we may never get around to using names for exoplanets.” I argue then, Dr. Showalter, that this is your chance to make a statement. The IAU is well aware that the public really wants the name Vulcan to be used. Don’t submit it for P4.

In my mind, Dr. Marchis treads on a thin rocky crust when he allows for the possibility of re-use. “When we start [naming exoplanets] I don’t think it will be an issue to have a planet named Vulcan and a moon of Pluto named Vulcan as well. The official name of the moon will be ‘(134340) Pluto IV Vulcan’ (or V) if it is accepted by IAU. When we finally have a nomenclature for exoplanet naming, it may be possible to name  Gl581c exoplanet: ’Gl 581 Vulcan c’ or something similar to that.” Hoping for a name re-use is a poor strategy. I don’t envision the IAU naming an exoplanet Jupiter, Titan, Io, Earth, or any other name that’s currently already in use inside the solar system. They may eventually re-use names, but solar system names will be lowest priority for exoplanets; most especially the name Vulcan, arguably the name with the highest public recognition.

So please, Dr. Showalter and friends, and esteemed International Astronomical Union, do not do this rash thing. We will always regret it. Do what’s best for the galaxy: save the name Vulcan for a deserving planet.

NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft at the far reaches of our solar system

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region at the far reaches of our solar system that scientists feel is the final area the spacecraft has to cross before reaching interstellar space. Scientists refer to this … Continue reading

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region at the far reaches of our solar system that scientists feel is the final area the spacecraft has to cross before reaching interstellar space.

Scientists refer to this new region as a magnetic highway for charged particles because our sun’s magnetic field lines are connected to interstellar magnetic field lines. This connection allows lower-energy charged particles that originate from inside our heliosphere — or the bubble of charged particles the sun blows around itself — to zoom out and allows higher-energy particles from outside to stream in. Before entering this region, the charged particles bounced around in all directions, as if trapped on local roads inside the heliosphere.

The Voyager team infers this region is still inside our solar bubble because the direction of the magnetic field lines has not changed. The direction of these magnetic field lines is predicted to change when Voyager breaks through to interstellar space. The new results were described at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco on Monday.

“Although Voyager 1 still is inside the sun’s environment, we now can taste what it’s like on the outside because the particles are zipping in and out on this magnetic highway,” said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena. “We believe this is the last leg of our journey to interstellar space. Our best guess is it’s likely just a few months to a couple years away. The new region isn’t what we expected, but we’ve come to expect the unexpected from Voyager.”

Since December 2004, when Voyager 1 crossed a point in space called the termination shock, the spacecraft has been exploring the heliosphere’s outer layer, called the heliosheath. In this region, the stream of charged particles from the sun, known as the solar wind, abruptly slowed down from supersonic speeds and became turbulent. Voyager 1′s environment was consistent for about five and a half years. The spacecraft then detected that the outward speed of the solar wind slowed to zero.

The intensity of the magnetic field also began to increase at that time.

Voyager data from two onboard instruments that measure charged particles showed the spacecraft first entered this magnetic highway region on July 28, 2012. The region ebbed away and flowed toward Voyager 1 several times. The spacecraft entered the region again Aug. 25 and the environment has been stable since.

“If we were judging by the charged particle data alone, I would have thought we were outside the heliosphere,” said Stamatios Krimigis, principal investigator of the low-energy charged particle instrument, based at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Md. “But we need to look at what all the instruments are telling us and only time will tell whether our interpretations about this frontier are correct.”

Spacecraft data revealed the magnetic field became stronger each time Voyager entered the highway region; however, the direction of the magnetic field lines did not change.

“We are in a magnetic region unlike any we’ve been in before — about 10 times more intense than before the termination shock — but the magnetic field data show no indication we’re in interstellar space,” said Leonard Burlaga, a Voyager magnetometer team member based at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. “The magnetic field data turned out to be the key to pinpointing when we crossed the termination shock. And we expect these data will tell us when we first reach interstellar space.”

Voyager 1 and 2 were launched 16 days apart in 1977. At least one of the spacecraft has visited Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. Voyager 1 is the most distant human-made object, about 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) away from the sun. The signal from Voyager 1 takes approximately 17 hours to travel to Earth. Voyager 2, the longest continuously operated spacecraft, is about 9 billion miles (15 billion kilometers) away from our sun. While Voyager 2 has seen changes similar to those seen by Voyager 1, the changes are much more gradual. Scientists do not think Voyager 2 has reached the magnetic highway.

The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The Voyager missions are a part of NASA’s Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

For more information about the Voyager spacecraft, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/voyager and http://voyager.jpl.nasa.gov .