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  1. Top | #1
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    Post Astronomical News

    Hello.
    I want to put this post to talk about latest news around astronomy, Its a new astronomical news page......
    I'll appreciate if u help me with this post........


    Thank u All
    ویرایش توسط planetstruck : 04-11-2011 در ساعت 09:36 AM دلیل: Adding words,Correcting Grammar points


  2. Top | #41
    کاربر فعال

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    Jun 2011
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          Shuttle update – ksc

    Chris Ferguson: "Thanks for coming out and greeting the crew for what is the final opportunity to do this, at least in front of a space shuttle and I couldn’t think of a better backdrop."

    The final space shuttle crew spoke with reporters at the Kennedy Space Center's Launch Pad 39A as they completed the Terminal Countdown Demonstration Test for STS-135. The TCDT gives the crew and support personnel time to familiarize themselves with equipment and procedures surrounding an upcoming launch.

    The four veteran astronauts are targeted to lift off aboard Atlantis for the International Space Station on July 8 on what will be the final mission of the space shuttle era.

    Rex Walheim: "The space shuttle program has been amazing what it’s done, all the great accomplishments, and you just don’t want to let that momentum down, and so there is a lot of pressure to do your job right."

    COMINGS AND GOINGS – JSC
    The International Space Station welcomed the Progress 43 unpiloted cargo ship carrying close to three tons of food, fuel and supplies for the six Expedition 28 crewmembers on board.

    That came several days after the unpiloted European Space Agency’s “Johannes Kepler” Automated Transfer Vehicle-2 undocked from the station. ATV-2 had delivered several tons of supplies to the crew in February. A day after its undocking, ATV-2 burned up on reentry over the Pacific Ocean.

    SPACE WEATHER FORUM - HQ
    NASA experts spoke at the annual Space Weather Enterprise Forum held at the National Press Club in Washington. Space weather refers to conditions and events on the sun and near-Earth that can threaten human safety, and hamper national security by impacting critical systems like electric power grids, communications, and satellite positioning and navigation systems.

    John Allen: "Selection of older crew members is a benefit, rather than younger, in terms of how much radiation they can exposed to because of the finite period at which time radiation might express itself."

    Dr. John Allen addressed the increased exposure to radiation faced by astronauts during adverse space weather conditions – and what can be done to prepare them for such events.

    The Space Weather Enterprise brings together researchers, policymakers, forecasters, and others to share information and raise awareness of space weather and its effects on society. Space weather is predicted to increase as the sun reaches its forecasted peak of activity in 2013.

    GLENN LECTURE – HQ

    Moderator: "When you’re training to be astronauts no one had ever had that job description before, so what did astronaut training entail?"

    Scott Carpenter: "Everything; every test you could imagine."

    Fifty years after the first human spaceflights, NASA’s two surviving Mercury 7 astronauts – John Glenn and Scott Carpenter sat down to talk about their experiences at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington.

    John Glenn: "NASA's predecessor, the national advisory committee for aeronautics, was doing some studies on a computer they had down at Langley that were about orbital flight, and wanted someone to come down there and go through some of that and I volunteered for that and that's when we first when I realized that we really were going into this; I realized anyway."

    Scott Carpenter: "The order said: report to Washington at such and such time; do not discuss or speculate with anyone. So, I obeyed, though I did discuss and speculate with my wife, however. I went to a briefing at the Pentagon and that’s how I heard about the NASA project."

    On February 20, 1962, John Glenn piloted his Friendship 7 spacecraft on the United States’ first orbital Mercury mission. At age 77, Glenn flew in space a second time in 1998 aboard Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-95 after representing his native Ohio in the U.S. Senate. Scott Carpenter flew into space on May 24, 1962, aboard Aurora 7, a three-orbit science mission. The fourth American in space, Carpenter also performed important habitability research on the ocean floor.

    BLUMBERG REMEMBERED - ARC
    The Ames Research Center hosted a tribute to Baruch 'Barry' Blumberg, the former NASA scientist who identified, and developed the vaccine for, the Hepatitis B virus.

    Blumberg died after suffering a heart attack earlier this year at the International Lunar Research Park Exploratory Workshop at Ames, where he was a featured speaker.

    And now, Centerpieces…

    DREAM CHASER - LARC
    A good idea rarely goes out of style – just ask some of the firms developing next generation spacecraft.

    Sierra Nevada, one of four winners of second-round funding from NASA’s Commercial Crew Development program, based its Dream Chaser design on the HL-20 space taxi concept.

    That idea was developed by NASA's Langley Research Center in the 80s and 90s.

    Company and NASA headquarters officials came to the center in Hampton, Va. to recognize those studies and Langley's 50-year history of lifting body research.

    Lori Garver: "We're proud of the work we at NASA did on the HL-20 on the lifting body concept and we’re pleased that it's being utilized today."

    Mark Sirangelo: "We would not be here. I would not be at this podium if it wasn't for the great work you did."

    Langley engineers devised an entire plan for the HL-20.

    They created pilot landing scenarios for flight simulators – some of which are now adapted for newer facilities.

    They tested designs in wind tunnels and even built a full-scale model, with the help of universities, to study crew challenges; that model is at Sierra Nevada.

    Many of the researchers who gave birth to the HL-20 attended the recognition ceremony.

    Bill Piland: "We really appreciate this opportunity to get together again and the recognition you provided us for a job we were excited about. We still are excited about and quite frankly I thought this day would never come."

    Also while in Hampton, NASA's Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and Chief Technologist Bobby Braun got the chance to see a manufacturing technique, developed at Langley that could revolutionize the way aerospace parts are made.

    NEW “GREEN” BUILDING - LaRC
    With a blast of confetti, Center Director Lesa Roe and several elected officials cut the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the new “green” headquarters facility at the Langley Research Center.

    The first new building constructed at Langley in thirty-five years, it covers seventy-nine thousand square feet, and houses more than two hundred and fifty employees from six different center organizations.

    Lesa Roe: "Today's ceremony and the building behind me, dramatically signify a new Langley and the completion of the first element in our revitalization plan."

    The new structure uses some of the newest technology to reduce its impact on the environment. Its roof deflects heat and reduces storm-water runoff, and geothermal wells assist in heating and cooling, all to achieve the highest rating by the U.S. Green Building Council

    Congressman Rob Wittman: "These buildings will stand as an icon in this community for that science, for that technology, for that development, for what NASA does each and every day and for what it stands for going into the future."

    The second element in Langley's revitalization plan -- an integrated services building that will house a new cafeteria, conference center and additional office spaces -- will break ground later this year.

    ROCKET U. – WFF
    The Wallops Flight Facility became Rocket University for seven days in June as more than 120 high school educators and university students and instructors spent a week learning about rocketry and conducting science experiments in space.

    SARAH HARDIN: "We've learned a great deal, there's a lot more to rockets than I ever dreamed of. We’ve gotten to actually build rockets, hands on, make our own, we've got to shoot 'em off."

    SEAN MCCULLOUGH: "A lot of nice people to talk to and learn how they do things at other schools and what their specialties are."

    Flying on this NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket were experiments constructed by the student participants. After launch and payload recovery, the participants conducted preliminary data analysis and discussed their results.

    JENNY JEAN: "You get to do this part, I’ll do the next part later. I mean it was a lot of team work that was involved for something that was so little."

    CHRIS KOEHLER: "It was a great day for a launch, we had perfect weather, you could see everything clearly, great skies, great winds. Lots of people, lots of excitement, one of the best launches I’ve ever seen."

    The annual, week-long workshop is supported by NASA’s Sounding Rocket Program, the Office of Education, and the agency’s National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program in partnership with the Space Grant Consortia of Colorado and Virginia.

    SEAN MICHAEL O’BRADY: "This experience, absolutely incredible!"

    JENNY JEAN: "Heck Yeah I’m coming back next year!"

    NASA ANNIVERSARY: JUNE 27, 1995, FIRST SHUTTLE-MIR DOCKING
    Sixteen years ago, on June 27, 1995, shuttle Atlantis became the 100th U.S. human spaceflight launched from Cape Canaveral, embarking on a mission that would link it with Mir for the first US space shuttle-Russian space station docking. STS-71 would also mark the first on-orbit crew changeout of shuttle crew. Atlantis Commander Hoot Gibson and crew brought with them the members of the new Mir 19 mission, Anatoly Solovyev and Nikolai Budarin, and would return home with the Mir 18 crew of Norm Thagard, Vladimir Dezhurov and Gannady Strekalov. Over a five-day period, astronauts and cosmonauts conducted joint biomedical and scientific investigations. Atlantis undocked on the Fourth of July, and landed back at the Kennedy Space Center on July7th.

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  4. Top | #42
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    عنوان کاربر
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    تاریخ عضویت
    Jun 2011
    شماره عضویت
    915
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    139
    تشکر
    331
    تشکر شده 534 بار در 125 ارسال

          Small Asteroid to Whip Past Earth on June 27, 2011

    Near-Earth asteroid 2011 MD will pass only 12,000 kilometers (7,500 miles) above the Earth's surface on Monday June 27 at about 9:30 EDT. The asteroid was discovered by the LINEAR near-Earth object discovery team observing from Socorro, New Mexico. This small asteroid, only 5-20 meters in diameter, is in a very Earth-like orbit about the Sun, but an orbital analysis indicates there is no chance it will actually strike Earth on Monday. If a rocky asteroid the size of 2011 MD were to enter Earth's atmosphere, it would be expected to burn up high in the atmosphere and cause no damage to Earth's surface. The accompanying diagram gives a view of the asteroid's trajectory from the general direction of the Sun. This view indicates that 2011 MD will reach its closest Earth approach point in extreme southern latitudes (in fact over the southern Atlantic Ocean). The incoming trajectory leg passes several thousand kilometers outside the geosynchronous ring of satellites and the outgoing leg passes well inside the ring. One would expect an object of this size to come this close to Earth about every 6 years on average. For a brief time, it may be bright enough to be seen even with a modest-sized telescope.

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  6. Top | #43
    کاربر ممتاز

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    Feb 2011
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    تشکر
    20,144
    تشکر شده 12,836 بار در 1,573 ارسال

    Thursday, June 30

    Low in the west-northwest during twilight, Mercury finally forms a straight line with fainter Castor and Pollux, as shown here. Look about 45 minutes after sunset.



    All this week, Mercury climbs higher after sunset toward its June 30th lineup with fainter Pollux and Castor.
    Sky & Telescope diagram



    Friday, July 1

    A small telescope shows Saturn's largest moon, Titan, about four ring-lengths east of the planet this evening and tomorrow evening. They're a little less than 3 arcminutes apart. Bright Porrima is about 30 arcminutes to Saturn's northwest. And a little closer to Saturn's northeast is a yellow star of 6th magnitude.


    New Moon (exact at 4:54 a.m. EDT). A slight partial eclipse of the Sun is theoretically visible just above the horizon for a small section of the stormy winter ocean off Antarctica. This is an eclipse that not a single human is likely to see, and probably not even penguins or albatrosses.


    Saturday, July 2

    Mercury is becoming better placed for observers at mid-northern latitudes; look low above the west-northwest horizon as the glow of sunset fades, as shown below. This evening, see if you can spot the very thin crescent Moon below it about 20 or 30 minutes after sunset. Bring binoculars.





    Watch the waxing crescent Moon thicken and advance eastward from day to day as July gets going.
    Sky & Telescope diagram



    From: Sky & Telescope.
    امضای ایشان
    برگ در انتهاي زوال مي افتد و ميوه در ابتداي کمال … بنگر که چگونه مي افتي ؟!

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  8. Top | #44
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    تاریخ عضویت
    Jun 2011
    شماره عضویت
    915
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    139
    تشکر
    331
    تشکر شده 534 بار در 125 ارسال

          NASA Announces Prelaunch Events And Countdown Details For Final Shuttle Flight

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- News conferences, events and operating hours for the news center at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Fla., are set for the final space shuttle launch.

    Atlantis is scheduled to liftoff at 11:26 a.m. EDT on July 8, to begin the STS-135 mission to the International Space Station.

    A NASA blog will provide countdown updates beginning at 6:30 a.m. on July 8. Originating from Kennedy's Launch Control Center, the blog is the definitive Internet source for information leading up to lift off.

    During the mission, visitors to NASA's shuttle website can read about the crew's progress. As Atlantis' flight concludes, the NASA blog will detail the spacecraft's return to Earth. For NASA's launch blog and continuous mission updates, visit:

    Detailed lists of countdown milestones, news briefing times and participants, and hours of operation for Kennedy's news center and media credentialing office are available at:

    The NASA News Twitter feed will be updated throughout the shuttle launch countdown, mission and landing. To follow, visit:

    Free wireless Internet access is provided at the Kennedy Press Site news center and annex. Instructions for wireless access will be available at the news center. Due to the volume of users, accessibility may be limited. Reporters should bring a backup.

    For NASA TV streaming video, scheduling and downlink information, visit:

    - end -

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  10. Top | #45
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    تاریخ عضویت
    Jun 2011
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    915
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    139
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    331
    تشکر شده 534 بار در 125 ارسال

          NASA Sets Launch Date For Final Space Shuttle Mission

    CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. -- Space shuttle Atlantis' Commander Chris Ferguson and his three crewmates are scheduled to begin a 12-day mission to the International Space Station with a launch at 11:26 a.m. EDT on July 8, from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The STS-135 mission is the final flight of the Space Shuttle Program.

    The launch date was announced Tuesday at the conclusion of a flight readiness review at Kennedy. During the meeting, senior NASA and contractor managers assessed the risks associated with the mission and determined the shuttle and station's equipment, support systems and personnel are ready.

    Atlantis' STS-135 mission will deliver the Raffaello multi-purpose logistics module filled with supplies and spare parts to sustain space station operations after the shuttles are retired.

    The mission also will fly the Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM), an experiment designed to demonstrate and test the tools, technologies and techniques needed to robotically refuel satellites in space - even satellites not designed to be serviced. The crew also will return an ammonia pump that recently failed on the station. Engineers want to understand why the pump failed and improve designs for future spacecraft.

    The crew consists of Commander Ferguson, Pilot Doug Hurley, and Mission Specialists Sandy Magnus and Rex Walheim. They are scheduled to arrive at Kennedy on Monday, July 4, for final launch preparations.
    STS-135 is the 135th shuttle mission, Atlantis' 33rd flight and the 37th shuttle mission to the station.

    For more information about the STS-135 mission, visit:

    For more information about the space station, visit:

    - end -

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  12. Top | #46
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    تاریخ عضویت
    Jun 2011
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    915
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    139
    تشکر
    331
    تشکر شده 534 بار در 125 ارسال

          NASA Online Videos Provide New Approach To Teach Science To Public


    WASHINGTON -- NASA's new video series offers the public a fast and fun way to learn about scientific discoveries and facts about Earth, the solar system and beyond.

    Called "ScienceCasts," the videos are created by an astrophysicist and a team of agency narrators and videographers. The videos are posted online every Thursday afternoon at approximately 4 p.m. EDT. The format is designed to increase understanding of the world of science through simple, clear presentations.

    "If you want entertaining, yet very informative, these videos are for you," said Ruth Netting, manager for communications and public engagement in NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

    Future episodes will focus on citizen science research; the search for new galaxies; how to watch this summer's Perseid meteor shower; and the causes of recent wild weather events in the United States.

    NASA's Science Mission Directorate seeks new knowledge and understanding of Earth, the sun, solar system and the universe. The directorate also constantly looks for inventive ways to reach out to the public via museums, classrooms, science centers and home schools.

    To view the latest science videos online, visit:

    For a complete list of ScienceCast episodes, visit:

    - end -

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  14. Top | #47
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    کاربر فعال
    تاریخ عضویت
    Jun 2011
    شماره عضویت
    915
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    139
    تشکر
    331
    تشکر شده 534 بار در 125 ارسال

          NASA'S Partners Meet Milestones For Developing Future Commercial Spacecraft

    WASHINGTON -- NASA's industry partners have met all their initial milestones in developing commercial crew transportation capabilities to reduce the gap in U.S. human spaceflight capability.

    NASA posted its first status report on the agency's Commercial Crew Development 2 (CCDev2) program to its website. The report highlights the progress and accomplishments for the agency's commercial spaceflight development efforts. Designed to be a bi-monthly report, it is targeted toward the interested layperson and other non-technical stakeholders in order to keep them informed of our achievements.

    "We're only 60 days into CCDev 2, and their progress is right on schedule," said Phil McAlister, NASA's acting director, commercial spaceflight development.

    NASA's Commercial Crew Development program is investing financial and technical resources to stimulate efforts within the private sector to develop and demonstrate safe, reliable, and cost-effective space transportation capabilities.

    For the report and more information about CCDev2, visit:

    - end -

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  16. Top | #48
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    عنوان کاربر
    کاربر فعال
    تاریخ عضویت
    Jun 2011
    شماره عضویت
    915
    نوشته ها
    139
    تشکر
    331
    تشکر شده 534 بار در 125 ارسال

    SOFIA Successfully Observes Challenging Pluto Occultation

    [IMG]file:///I:/fateme/11-21_files/562438main_ED11-0173-094-HIPO-on-simulator_226px.jpg[/IMG]
    Visitors are briefed on the operation of the telescope simulator with the High-Speed Imaging Photometer for Occultations, or HIPO, instrument attached during the SOFIA science and education media day on June 8, 2011 at the Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif. (NASA / Tom Tschida) PALMDALE, Calif. - On June 23, NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) observed the dwarf planet Pluto as it passed in front of a distant star. This event, known as an "occultation," allowed scientific analysis of Pluto and its atmosphere by flying SOFIA at the right moment to an exact location where Pluto's shadow fell on Earth.

    "This was the first demonstration in practice of one of SOFIA's major design capabilities," said Bob Meyer, SOFIA's program manager. "Pluto's shadow traveled at 53,000 mph across a mostly empty stretch of the Pacific Ocean. SOFIA flew more than 1,800 miles out over the Pacific Ocean from its base in Southern California to position itself in the center of the shadow's path, and was the only observatory capable of doing so."

    SOFIA is a highly modified Boeing 747SP aircraft that carries a telescope with a 100-inch (2.5-meter) reflecting mirror that conducts astronomy research not possible with ground-based telescopes. By operating in the stratosphere at altitudes up to 45,000 feet, SOFIA can make observations above the water vapor in Earth's lower atmosphere.

    "Occultations give us the ability to measure pressure, density, and temperature profiles of Pluto's atmosphere without leaving the Earth," said Ted Dunham of the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Ariz., who led the team of scientists aboard SOFIA during the Pluto observations. "Because we were able to maneuver SOFIA so close to the center of the occultation we observed an extended, small, but distinct brightening near the middle of the occultation. This change will allow us to probe Pluto's atmosphere at lower altitudes than is usually possible with stellar occultations."

    Dunham is the principal investigator for the High-Speed Imaging Photometer for Occultation (HIPO), essentially an extremely fast and accurate electronic light meter. He was a member of the group that originally discovered Pluto's atmosphere by observing a stellar occultation from SOFIA's predecessor, the Kuiper Airborne Observatory, in 1988. Pluto itself was discovered at Lowell Observatory in 1930.

    A group of SOFIA German scientists and engineers were also aboard to monitor the performance of the German-built telescope and Fast Diagnostic Camera (FDC). That camera has been used on previous flights to measure the stability of SOFIA and its optical systems. On this flight, the FDC provided supplemental observations of the Pluto occultation.

    There were some tense moments for SOFIA's international science team in the minutes leading up to Thursday's occultation. The precise position of Pluto in relation to Earth could not be sufficiently refined until a few hours before the event. That evening, a Lowell astronomer used facilities at the U.S. Naval Observatory in Flagstaff to take multiple photographs of Pluto and the star. Those data were passed to collaborators at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Mass., who refined their prediction of the exact position and timing of Pluto's shadow track.

    About two hours before the occultation, the MIT group contacted SOFIA in-flight with the news that the center of the shadow would cross 125 miles north of the position on which the airborne observatory's flight plan had been based. After recalculating and filing a revised flight plan, SOFIA's flight crew and science team had to wait an anxious 20 minutes before receiving permission from air traffic control to alter the flight path accordingly.

    "We have already shown that SOFIA is a first-rank international facility for infrared astronomy research. This successful occultation observation adds substantially to SOFIA's ability to serve the world's scientific community," said Pamela Marcum, SOFIA project scientist.

    SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), and is based and managed at NASA's Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale, Calif., for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C. NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., manages the SOFIA science and mission operations in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association headquartered in Columbia, Md., and the German SOFIA Institute (DSI) at the University of Stuttgart.

    For more information about SOFIA, visit:
    http://www.nasa.gov/sofia

    For information about SOFIA's science mission, visit:
    http://www.sofia.usra.edu and http://www.dlr.de/en/sofia

    For more about NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, visit:
    http://www.nasa.gov/centers/dryden


    - end -

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  18. Top | #49
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    عنوان کاربر
    کاربر فعال
    تاریخ عضویت
    Jun 2011
    شماره عضویت
    915
    نوشته ها
    139
    تشکر
    331
    تشکر شده 534 بار در 125 ارسال

          NASA, NSF Collaborate to Develop Advanced Robotics


    WASHINGTON -- The National Science Foundation (NSF) will take the lead with NASA and two other federal agencies to support the administration's National Robotics Initiative.

    The initiative complements the administrations' Advanced Manufacturing Initiative and technology transfer efforts and supports the development and use of robots in the United States that work beside, or cooperatively, with people and that enhance individual human capabilities, performance and safety.

    "To help everyone from factory workers to astronauts carry out more complicated tasks, NASA and other agencies will support research into next-generation robotics," President Obama said during a speech Friday at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.

    Over the past five years, tremendous advancements in robotics technology have enabled a new generation of assistive systems and devices in industries as diverse as manufacturing, logistics, medicine, health care, military, agriculture, and consumer products.

    "NASA has been focused on human-robotic interaction for more than a decade, leading to flight of our newest crew member on the International Space Station, Robonaut2," said NASA's Chief Technologist Bobby Braun. "Our challenge today is to develop robotics technology that can increase the effectiveness and safety of humans in space and deliver cutting-edge science. Through our participation in the National Robotics Initiative, NASA will create the new knowledge, technology and capabilities needed for our future space missions while benefiting life here on Earth, today."

    It is becoming increasingly evident that these early, next generation products are a harbinger of numerous, large-scale, global, robotics technology markets likely to develop in the coming decade. The robotics initiative, which pays particular attention to fundamental research and education by academia and industry, seeks to engage our next generation of scientists and engineers in fields essential in the new global technology economy.

    "It's exciting to be on the forefront of creating new knowledge and to play a catalytic role in the development of smart technology that enhances America's productivity and ultimately the quality of life of Americans," said NSF Director Subra Suresh. "It's also an opportunity to harness the expertise of our colleagues in several government agencies to tackle a major challenge and to bolster creative science and the U.S. economy. NSF is proud to lead this effort."

    The purpose of the initiative is to encourage innovative collaborative research that combines computer and systems science with mechanical, electrical and materials engineering and social, behavioral and economic sciences to tackle the most important and challenging problems in producing this class of human-assisting co-robotics.

    Investments in the initiative from NASA, NIH, NSF and United States Department of Agriculture may reach $40 to $50 million in the first year, with anticipated growth in funding as other agencies and industry partners engage.

    NIH has used robotics for the rapid screening of potential drugs and the subsequent discovery of new drugs. NIH anticipates robotics will play an important role in rehabilitation, home health care, and advanced robotic surgery in the near future.

    The USDA encourages automated systems and improved robotics for inspection, sorting, processing or handling of animal or plant products, as well as multi-modal and rapid sensing systems for detecting defects, ripeness, physical damage, microbial contamination, size shape and other quality attributes of such products.

    NSF will manage the solicitation and peer review selection process. All participating federal agencies will work with partners to foster the exchange of ideas and technologies that will directly benefit American today and well into the future. For more information about the National Science Foundation, visit:


    For more information about NASA, visit:


    - end -

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  20. Top | #50
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    عنوان کاربر
    کاربر فعال
    تاریخ عضویت
    Jun 2011
    شماره عضویت
    915
    نوشته ها
    139
    تشکر
    331
    تشکر شده 534 بار در 125 ارسال

          NASA Cassini Spacecraft Captures Ocean-Like Spray At Saturn Moon

    Astronomical News         
    WASHINGTON -- NASA's Cassini spacecraft has discovered the best evidence yet for a large-scale saltwater reservoir beneath the icy crust of Saturn's moon Enceladus. The data came from the spacecraft's direct analysis of salt-rich ice grains close to the jets ejected from the moon.

    Data from Cassini's cosmic dust analyzer show the grains expelled from fissures, known as tiger stripes, are relatively small and usually low in salt far away from the moon. But closer to the moon's surface, Cassini found that relatively large grains rich with sodium and potassium dominate the plumes. The salt-rich particles have an "ocean-like" composition and indicate that most, if not all, of the expelled ice and water vapor comes from the evaporation of liquid salt-water. The findings appear in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

    "There currently is no plausible way to produce a steady outflow of salt-rich grains from solid ice across all the tiger stripes other than salt water under Enceladus's icy surface," said Frank Postberg, a Cassini team scientist at the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and the lead author on the paper. When water freezes, the salt is squeezed out, leaving pure water ice behind. If the plumes emanated from ice, they should have very little salt in them.

    The Cassini mission discovered Enceladus' water-vapor and ice jets in 2005. In 2009, scientists working with the cosmic dust analyzer examined some sodium salts found in ice grains of Saturn's E ring, the outermost ring that gets its material primarily from Enceladean jets. But the link to subsurface salt water was not definitive.

    The new paper analyzes three Enceladus flybys in 2008 and 2009 with the same instrument, focusing on the composition of freshly ejected plume grains. The icy particles hit the detector target at speeds between 15,000 and 39,000 mph (23,000 and 63,000 kilometers per hour), vaporizing instantly. Electrical fields inside the cosmic dust analyzer separated the various constituents of the impact cloud.

    The data suggest a layer of water between the moon's rocky core and its icy mantle, possibly as deep as about 50 miles (80 kilometers) beneath the surface. As this water washes against the rocks, it dissolves salt compounds and rises through fractures in the overlying ice to form reserves nearer the surface. If the outermost layer cracks open, the decrease in pressure from these reserves to space causes a plume to shoot out. Roughly 400 pounds (200 kilograms) of water vapor is lost every second in the plumes, with smaller amounts being lost as ice grains. The team calculates the water reserves must have large evaporating surfaces, or they would freeze easily and stop the plumes.

    "This finding is a crucial new piece of evidence showing that environmental conditions favorable to the emergence of life can be sustained on icy bodies orbiting gas giant planets," said Nicolas Altobelli, the European Space Agency's project scientist for Cassini.

    Cassini's ultraviolet imaging spectrograph also recently obtained complementary results that support the presence of a subsurface ocean. A team of Cassini researchers led by Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Ariz., measured gas shooting out of distinct jets originating in the moon's south polar region at five to eight times the speed of sound, several times faster than previously measured. These observations of distinct jets, from a 2010 flyby, are consistent with results showing a difference in composition of ice grains close to the moon's surface and those that made it out to the E ring. The paper was published in the June 9 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

    "Without an orbiter like Cassini to fly close to Saturn and its moons -- to taste salt and feel the bombardment of ice grains -- scientists would never have known how interesting these outer solar system worlds are," said Linda Spilker, NASA's Cassini project scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

    The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The mission is managed by JPL for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

    For more information about Cassini, visit:



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