Thursday, June 13, 2024

Chinese Scientists Ready to Study Far Side Lunar Samples from Chang'e-6 Probe

Chinese Scientists Ready to Study Far Side Lunar Samples from Chang'e-6 Probe

Chinese scientists are fully prepared to study the lunar samples being brought back to Earth by the Chang'e-6 mission at the country's lunar sample lab at the National Astronomical Observatories (NAO), a Beijing-based agency under the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

The ascender of the Chang'e-6 probe lifted off from lunar surface on Tuesday June 4, 2024, carrying samples collected from the Moon's far side south polar region for the first time in human history. It has entered a preset orbit around the Moon in preparation for Moon-to-Earth transfer, according to the China National Space Administration (CNSA).

The probe's returner, carrying the samples, is expected to make its planned touchdown in the Siziwang Banner in north China's Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region around June 25, 2024.

The lunar sample lab allows for the long-term storage of the samples in a high purity nitrogen environment and ensures there is no contamination during the research process.

For example, there is a cabinet, or glove box, filled with nitrogen used for sample unsealing at the lab, where lunar samples collected by the previous Chang'e-5 probe in 2020 were unsealed.

"The glove box is filled with nitrogen with pressure inside which is designed to be a little bit higher than the pressure outside the box, so as to prevent air from getting inside to pollute the samples," said Zhou Qin, deputy chief designer of ground application system of Chang'e-6 mission.

Lunar samples to be brought back by the Chang'e-6 mission will also be unsealed at the cabinet and distributed to scientists for research.

According to the lab, lunar samples brought back by the Chang'e-5 mission were categorized and stored based on the standard of "whether they had been exposed to the air."

"The samples, once exposed to the air, can be further divided into two categories. One are the rock samples that we picked out from the lunar soil which are numbered and stored separately. We have already weighed the weight and taken pictures of the rocks by exposing them to the air. The other are the returned samples that we once released to the public. According to the requirements of China's Lunar Exploration and Space Engineering Center, the samples lent out, as long as there is a surplus, must be returned to us. The returned samples can be re-applied and reused by scientists for further research," said Zhou.

The lunar samples which have not been exposed to the air are kept in a nitrogen-filled, sealed glove box.

"The 10 bottles here are used to store original samples collected with a sampling shovel. They are very fine with an average particle size of about 50 microns, which is similar to the thickness of the flour particle size. We divided about 150 grams of samples into each bottle. As we distributed the samples to institutions for research, some bottles are one third or half filled. There are also some borehole samples stored here on the shelve, which have never been exposed to the air," said Zhou.

"At present, the lunar samples we keep at the lab are available for distribution. According to the initial plan, 10 percent of the samples have been kept for remote and permanent backup storage, which means we have made preparations for reserving and sub-sampling," she said.

The CNSA has completed the distribution of six batches of Chang'e-5 lunar samples to domestic research institutions. International scientists and institutions are permitted to apply for the samples in the seventh batch.


Video Credit: CCTV

Duration: 2 minutes

Release Date: June 4, 2024


#NASA #CNSA #ESA #Space #Astronomy #Science #China #中国 #Moon #Change6 #嫦娥六号 #Geology #LunarSampleReturn #LunarSamples #FarSide #SouthPole #SpaceTechnology #SpaceExploration #SolarSystem #InternationalCooperation #STEM #Education #History #HD #Video

Spiral Galaxy NGC 5775: A Galactic Fountain of Youth in Virgo | Hubble

Spiral Galaxy NGC 5775: A Galactic Fountain of Youth in Virgo | Hubble


This NASA/European Space Agency Hubble Space Telescope image shows the edge-on profile of the slender spiral galaxy NGC 5775. Although the spiral is tilted away from us, with only a thin slither on view, such a perspective can be advantageous for astronomers because the regions above and below the galaxy’s disc can be seen much more clearly.

Distance: 85 million light years

For instance, astronomers have previously used the high inclination of this spiral to study the properties of the halo of hot gas that is visible when the galaxy is observed at X-ray wavelengths. The mechanism behind such haloes is unclear, but they are found around spirals that have a high star formation rate, like NGC 5775. A number of astronomers think that hot gas from the disc is driven into the halo by supernova explosions. This  is then returned to the disc as it cools—like a massive galactic fountain.

Meanwhile, there is further disruption taking place in the disc of NGC 5775, as it is in the early stages of a galactic merger. Astronomers have observed bridges of hydrogen gas connecting this edge-on galaxy with a neighboring face-on spiral (NGC 5774). However, neither galaxy yet features a tidal tail—a disrupted stream of gas and stars that extends into space. These are commonplace in strongly interacting pairs, such as the Antennae Galaxies.

NGC 5775 and 5774 are members of the Virgo Cluster and lie at a distance of about 85 million light-years. This color picture was created from images taken using the Wide Field Channel of Hubble’s Advanced Camera for Surveys. Images through a red filter (F625W) were colored blue and images through a filter that isolates the glow from hydrogen gas (F658N) have been colored red. The exposure times were 2292 s and 6848 s, respectively, and the field of view is 3.2 arcminutes across.


Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA

Release Date: May 9, 2011


#NASA #ESA #Astronomy #Space #Hubble #Galaxies #Galaxy #NGC5775 #SpiralGalaxy #Virgo #Constellation #Cosmos #Universe #SpaceTelescope #GSFC #STScI #UnitedStates #Europe #STEM #Education

Wednesday, June 12, 2024

The Lion Nebula: Sh2-132 in Cepheus

The Lion Nebula: Sh2-132 in Cepheus

Is the Lion Nebula the real ruler of the constellation Cepheus? This powerful feline appearing nebula is powered by two massive stars, each with a mass over 20 times greater than our Sun. Formed from shells of ionized gas that have expanded, the nebula's energetic matter not only glows, but is dense enough to contract gravitationally and form stars. The angular size of the Lion Nebula, officially named Sh2-132, is slightly greater than that of the full moon. The gaseous iconic region resides about 10,000 light years away in a constellation named after the King of Aethopia in Greek mythology.


Image Credit & Copyright: Imran Badr
Caption Text: Natalia Lewandowska (SUNY Oswego)
Release Date: June 10, 2024

#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Nebulae #Nebula #LionNebula #Sh2132 #Cepheus #Constellation #MilkyWayGalaxy #Cosmos #Universe #CitizenScience #Astrophotographer #ImranBadr #SanJose #California #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #APoD

Orbital Sunset | International Space Station

Orbital Sunset | International Space Station

The International Space Station soars into an orbital sunset 258 miles above the Maldives in the Indian Ocean. In the left foreground, is the Russian Soyuz MS-25 crew ship docked to the Prichal docking module.

Follow Expedition 71 Updates: 


Expedition 71 Crew
Station Commander: Oleg Kononenko (Russia)
Roscosmos (Russia): Nikolai Chub, Alexander Grebenkin (Russia)
NASA: Tracy Dyson, Matthew Dominik, Mike Barrett, Jeanette Epps

An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the International Space Station (ISS). The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken.

Image Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC)

Image Date: June 6, 2024


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NASA's "Espacio a Tierra" | Llega Calypso:7 de junio de 2024

NASA's "Espacio a Tierra" | Llega Calypso:7 de junio de 2024


Espacio a Tierra, la versión en español de las cápsulas Space to Ground de la NASA, te informa semanalmente de lo que está sucediendo en la Estación Espacial Internacional.

Ciencia de la NASA: https://ciencia.nasa.gov

Para obtener más información sobre la ciencia de la NASA, suscríbete al boletín semanal: https://www.nasa.gov/suscribete


Video Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC)

Duration: 4 minutes

Release Date: June 12, 2024


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Investigating the Habitability of Exoplanets | NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

Investigating the Habitability of Exoplanets | NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory

Using NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and ESA’s XMM-Newton, astronomers are testing how habitable exoplanets are based on whether they receive lethal radiation from the stars they orbit. This type of research will help guide observations with the next generation of telescopes aiming to make the first images of planets like Earth.

A team of researchers examined stars that are close enough to Earth that telescopes set to begin operating in the next decade or two could take images of planets in their so-called habitable zones, defined as orbits where the planets could have liquid water on their surfaces.

Any images of planets will be single points of light and will not directly show surface features like clouds, continents and oceans. However, their spectra—the amount of light at different wavelengths—will reveal information about the planet’s surface composition and atmosphere.

There are several other factors influencing what could make a planet suitable for life as we know it. One of those factors is the amount of harmful X-rays and ultraviolet light they receive. These can damage or even strip away a planet’s atmosphere.

A team of astronomers began with a list of stars that are close enough to Earth that future ground and space-based telescopes could make images of planets in their habitable zone. These future telescopes include the Habitable Worlds Observatory and ground-based Extremely Large Telescopes.

Based on X-ray observations of stars using data from Chandra and XMM-Newton, the researchers examined what ones could have hospitable conditions on orbiting planets for life to form and prosper.

The team studied how bright the stars are in X-rays, how energetic the X-rays are, and how much and how quickly they change in X-ray output, for example, due to flares. Brighter and more energetic X-rays can cause more damage to the atmospheres of orbiting planets.

They identified stars where the habitable zone’s X-ray radiation environment is similar to or even milder than the one in which Earth evolved. Such conditions may play a key role in sustaining a rich atmosphere like the one found on Earth.

Observing time on the next generation of telescopes will be precious and extremely difficult to obtain. These X-ray data are helping to refine and prioritize the list of targets and may allow the first image of a planet like the Earth to be obtained more quickly.


Video Credit: Cal Poly Pomona/B. Binder

Illustration: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

Duration: 2 minutes, 47 seconds

Release Date: June 12, 2024


#NASA #ESA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Stars #Exoplanets #Planets #PlanetaryScience #Habitability #MilkyWayGalaxy #CXC #NASAChandra #Xray #XMMNewton #SpaceTelescopes #UnitedStates #Europe #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Ed Stone: Former JPL Director & Voyager Project Scientist (1936-2024) | NASA

Ed Stone: Former JPL Director & Voyager Project Scientist (1936-2024) | NASA

Ed Stone, former director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and project scientist for the Voyager mission, died on June 9, 2024. A friend, mentor, and colleague to many, he was known for his straightforward leadership and commitment to communicating with the public. 

Known for his steady leadership, consensus building, and enthusiasm for engaging the public in science, Stone left a deep impact on the space community.

Edward C. Stone was preceded in death by his wife, Alice Stone, whom he met at the University of Chicago. They are survived by their two daughters, Susan and Janet Stone, and two grandsons.

Stone also served as the David Morrisroe professor of physics and vice provost for special projects at Caltech in Pasadena, California, which last year established a new faculty position, the Edward C. Stone Professorship.

Ed Stone, former director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and longtime project scientist of the Voyager mission, passed away on June 9, 2024. He was 88 years old.

“Ed Stone was a trailblazer who dared mighty things in space. He was a dear friend to all who knew him, and a cherished mentor to me personally,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Ed took humanity on a planetary tour of our solar system and beyond, sending NASA where no spacecraft had gone before. His legacy has left a tremendous and profound impact on NASA, the scientific community, and the world. My condolences to his family and everyone who loved him. Thank you, Ed, for everything.”

Stone served on nine NASA missions as either principal investigator or a science instrument lead, and on five others as a co-investigator (a key science instrument team member). These roles primarily involved studying energetic ions from the Sun and cosmic rays from the galaxy. He had the distinction of being one of the few scientists involved with both the mission that has come closest to the Sun (NASA’s Parker Solar Probe) and the one that has traveled farthest from it (Voyager).

“Ed will be remembered as an energetic leader and scientist who expanded our knowledge about the universe—from the Sun to the planets to distant stars—and sparked our collective imaginations about the mysteries and wonders of deep space,” said Laurie Leshin, JPL director and Caltech vice president. “Ed’s discoveries have fueled exploration of previously unseen corners of our solar system and will inspire future generations to reach new frontiers. He will be greatly missed and always remembered by the NASA, JPL, and Caltech communities and beyond.”

At the Helm of Voyager

Stone is best known for his work on NASA’s longest-running mission, Voyager, whose twin spacecraft launched in 1977 and are still exploring deep space today. He served as Voyager’s sole project scientist from 1972 until his retirement in 2022. Under Stone’s leadership, the mission took advantage of a celestial alignment that occurs just once every 176 years to visit Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. During their journeys, the spacecraft revealed the first active volcanoes beyond Earth, on Jupiter’s moon Io, and an atmosphere rich with organic molecules on Saturn’s moon Titan. Voyager 2 remains the only spacecraft to fly by Uranus and Neptune, revealing Uranus’ unusual tipped magnetic poles, and the icy geysers erupting from Neptune’s moon Triton.

Now more than 15 billion miles (24 million kilometers) from Earth, Voyager 1 is the most distant human-made object. Voyager 2, traveling slightly slower and in a different direction, is more than 12 billion miles (20 billion km) from Earth. Both probes are exploring interstellar space—the region outside the heliosphere, which is a protective bubble created by the Sun’s magnetic field and the outward flow of charged particles.

“Becoming Voyager project scientist was the best decision I made in my life,” Stone said in 2018. “It opened a wonderful door of exploration.”

He was particularly proud of the way Voyager quickened the pace of scientific analysis and took advantage of opportunities to engage the public. When Voyager 1 and 2 made their close flybys of the giant planets between 1979 and 1989, Stone was overseeing 11 teams of scientists, all accustomed to releasing their results at a slower pace through peer-reviewed journals.

Stone took the lead in tailoring the peer-review process to the faster pace of the mission’s planetary encounters: In the early afternoon, after data had come down, teams of scientists would decide what they thought their best results were for the day and hold up their conclusions for feedback in front of the whole science steering group.

Based on that discussion, Stone would choose the most interesting results to present to the media and the public the next morning. The scientists would then hone their presentations that evening and even overnight — with Stone often pressing them to come up with analogies that would make the material more approachable for a lay audience—while a graphics team worked on putting together supporting images. After the news conference the following morning, the process would begin anew. This cycle could continue daily through the duration of each planetary encounter.

“It was a very exciting time, and everyone was making discoveries,” said Stamatios “Tom” Krimigis of the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, who has served as the principal investigator of Voyager’s low-energy charged particles instrument since the mission’s launch. “Ed’s approach showed us how much public interest there really was in what Voyager was doing, but it also resulted in better science. You need more than one piece of information to make a picture, and hearing about other scientists’ data helped us interpret our own.”

It was a process that continued to serve the Voyager team well in 2012 and 2013 as they debated whether or not Voyager 1 had exited the heliosphere and entered interstellar space. Some signs pointed to a new environment, but one key marker — the direction of the magnetic field lines around Voyager — hadn’t changed as significantly as scientists expected.

The team remained puzzled for months until Voyager 1’s plasma wave instrument detected a significantly denser plasma environment around the spacecraft — the result of a chance outburst of material from the Sun that set the plasma around Voyager 1 ringing like a bell. Stone gathered the team.

“Nobody could wait to get to interstellar space, but we wanted to get it right,” said Suzanne Dodd, who has served as Voyager project manager, overseeing the engineering team, at JPL since 2010. “We knew there would be people who disagreed. So Ed wanted to understand the full story and the assumptions people were making. He did a good job listening to everybody and letting them participate in the dialogue without anyone monopolizing. Then he made a decision.”

Stone realized that the scientists didn’t need to fixate on the direction of the magnetic field lines. They were a proxy for the plasma environment. The team concluded that the plasma wave science instrument’s detection provided a better analysis of the current plasma environment and was evidence of humankind’s arrival into interstellar space.

Leading JPL

Voyager’s high profile lifted Stone’s profile as well. In 1991, roughly two years after the mission completed its planetary flybys, Stone became director of JPL, serving until 2001. Under his leadership, JPL was responsible for more than two dozen missions and instruments. Highlights for Stone’s tenure included landing NASA’s Pathfinder mission with the first Mars rover, Sojourner, in 1996 and launching the NASA-ESA (European Space Agency) Cassini/Huygens mission in 1997. The first Saturn orbiter, Cassini was a direct outgrowth of the scientific questions that arose from Voyager’s two flybys, and it carried the only probe that has ever landed in the outer solar system (at Titan).

The 1990s were an era of shifting national priorities after the Cold War, with significant cuts in spending in the NASA and defense budgets. Stone restructured several missions so that they could fly under these more stringent cost constraints, including overseeing a redesign of the Spitzer Space Telescope cooling system so that it was more cost effective and could still deliver high-impact science and stunning infrared images of the universe.

Journey to Space

Edward Carroll Stone Jr. was born on Jan. 23, 1936, in Knoxville, Iowa. The eldest of two sons of Edward Carroll Stone Sr. and Ferne Elizabeth Stone, he grew up in the nearby commercial center of Burlington.

Edward Stone Sr. was a construction superintendent who delighted in showing his son how to take things apart and put them back together again — cars, radios, hi-fi stereos. When the younger Stone was in junior high, the principal asked him to learn how to operate the school’s 16 mm movie projector and soon followed up with a request to run the school’s reel-to-reel tape recorder.

“I was always interested in learning about why something is this way and not that way,” Stone said in an interview about this career in 2018. “I wanted to understand and measure and observe.”

His first job was at a J.C. Penney department store, where he worked his way up from stockroom to clerk on the store floor. He also earned money playing French horn in the Burlington Municipal Band.

After high school, Stone enrolled in Burlington Junior College to study physics, and went on to the University of Chicago for graduate school. Shortly after he was accepted, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik and the Space Age began.

“Space was a brand-new field waiting for discovery,” Stone recalled in 2018.

He joined a team at the university that was building science instruments to launch into space. The first he designed rode aboard Discoverer 36, a since-declassified spy satellite that launched in 1961 and took photographs of Earth from space as part of the Corona program. Stone’s instrument, which measured the Sun’s energetic particles, helped scientists figure out why solar radiation was fogging the film and ultimately improved their understanding of the Van Allen belts, energetic particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field.

In 1964, Stone joined Caltech as a postdoctoral fellow, running the university’s Space Radiation Lab together with Robbie Vogt, who had been a colleague at Chicago. They worked closely on a number of NASA satellite missions, studying galactic cosmic rays and solar energetic particles. In 1972, Vogt recommended Stone to JPL leadership for the position of Voyager project scientist, which he held for 50 years.

Among Stone’s many awards, the National Medal of Science from President George H.W. Bush stands out as the most prominent. In 2019 he won the Shaw Prize in Astronomy, with an award of $1.2 million, for his leadership in the Voyager project, which, as the citation noted, “has over the past four decades, transformed our understanding of the four giant planets and the outer solar system, and has now begun to explore interstellar space.” He was also proud to have a middle school named after him in Burlington, Iowa, as an inspiration to young learners.


Credit: NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory-Caltech

Release Date: June 11, 2024


#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #VoyagerSpacecraft #Voyager1 #Voyager2 #Planets #Mars #Jupiter #Saturn #SolarSystem #InterstellarSpace #MilkyWayGalaxy #SpaceExploration #EdStone #EdwardStone #Scientist #Explorer #Leader #JPL #Caltech #History #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

A Tribute to Scientist & Explorer Edward C. Stone (1936-2024) | NASA/JPL

A Tribute to Scientist & Explorer Edward C. Stone (1936-2024) | NASA/JPL

Edward C. Stone, former director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and longtime project scientist of the Voyager mission, passed away on June 9, 2024. He was 88 years old. In this 2018 video, Stone talks about the Voyager 2 spacecraft reaching interstellar space, six years after Voyager 1 reached the same milestone. The twin Voyager spacecraft were launched in 1977 on a five-year mission that is still operating today. Stone served as the mission’s project scientist for 50 years, from 1972 to 2022.

In addition to his work on Voyager, Stone was the director of JPL from 1991 to 2001. Under his leadership, JPL was responsible for 21 missions and instruments and developed six new missions. Highlights during Stone’s tenure included landing NASA’s Pathfinder mission with the first Mars rover, Sojourner, in 1996 and launching the NASA-European Space Agency (ESA) Cassini/Huygens mission in 1997. The first Saturn orbiter, Cassini was a direct outgrowth of the scientific questions that arose from Voyager’s two flybys, and it carried the only probe that has ever landed in the outer solar system (at Titan).

The twin Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft are traveling where no spacecraft—or anything touched by humanity—has gone before. As we prepare to celebrate the 47th anniversary of the Voyager 1 launch later this year, we reflect on the vision and work of people like Ed Stone that supported its achievements and enduring legacy.


Video Credit: NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)

Duration: 2 minutes

Release Date: June 11, 2024


#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #VoyagerSpacecraft #Voyager1 #Voyager2 #Planets #Mars #Jupiter #Saturn #SolarSystem #InterstellarSpace #MilkyWayGalaxy #SpaceExploration #EdStone #EdwardStone #Scientist #Explorer #JPL #Caltech #History #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Expedition 71 & Crew Flight Test Team Portrait | International Space Station

Expedition 71 & Crew Flight Test Team Portrait | International Space Station

The seven Expedition 71 crew members gather with the two Crew Flight Test members for a team portrait aboard the International Space Station. In the front from left are, Suni Williams, Oleg Kononenko (Russia), and Butch Wilmore. Second row from left are, Alexander Grebenkin (Russia), Tracy C. Dyson, and Mike Barratt. In the back are, Nikolai Chub (Russia), Jeanette Epps, and Matthew Dominick.

Boeing's Starliner spacecraft carrying Crew Flight Test (CFT) members and NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams docked with the station on June 6, 2024.

Follow Expedition 71 Updates: 


Expedition 71 Crew
Station Commander: Oleg Kononenko (Russia)
Roscosmos (Russia): Nikolai Chub, Alexander Grebenkin (Russia)
NASA: Tracy Dyson, Matthew Dominik, Mike Barrett, Jeanette Epps

An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the International Space Station (ISS). The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken.

Image Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC)

Image Date: June 6, 2024


#NASA #Space #Earth #ISS #Science #Astronauts #BoeingStarliner #CFTCrew #HumanSpaceflight #SpaceTechnology #SpaceLaboratory #Engineering #UnitedStates #Cosmonauts #Russia #Россия #Roscosmos #Роскосмос #InternationalCooperation #Expedition71 #STEM #Education

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

NASA Analysis Confirms a Year of Monthly Temperature Records | NASA Goddard

NASA Analysis Confirms a Year of Monthly Temperature Records | NASA Goddard


May 2024 was the warmest May on the books, marking a full year of record-high monthly temperatures, NASA scientists found. Average global temperatures for the past 12 months hit record highs for each respective month—an unprecedented streak—according to scientists from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

The run of record temperatures fits within a long-term warming trend driven by human activity—primarily greenhouse gas emissions. The trend has become evident over the past four decades, with the last 10 consecutive years being the warmest 10 since record-keeping began in the late 19th century. Before this streak of 12 straight months of record temperatures, the second longest streak lasted for seven months between 2015 and 2016.

“It’s clear we are facing a climate crisis. Communities across America—like Arizona, California, Nevada—and communities across the globe are feeling first-hand extreme heat in unprecedented numbers.

—NASA Administrator Bill Nelson

“We’re experiencing more hot days, more hot months, more hot years,” said Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor. “We know that these increases in temperature are driven by our greenhouse gas emissions and are impacting people and ecosystems around the world.”

In NASA’s analysis, a temperature baseline is defined by several decades or more—typically 30 years. The average global temperature over the past 12 months was 2.34 degrees Fahrenheit (1.30 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century baseline (1951 to 1980). This is slightly over the 2.69 degree Fahrenheit (1.5 degree Celsius) level with respect to the late 19th century average.

To calculate Earth’s global temperature, NASA scientists gather data from tens of thousands of meteorological stations on land, plus thousands of instruments on ships and buoys on the ocean surface. This raw data is analyzed using methods that account for the varied spacing of temperature stations around the globe and for urban heating effects that could skew the calculations.

El Niño Subsiding, La Niña Arriving?

Phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña, which alternately warm and cool the tropical Pacific Ocean, can contribute a small amount of variability in global temperatures from year to year. The strong El Niño that began in spring 2023 helped stoke last year’s extreme summer and fall heat.

As of May 2024, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center projected a 49% chance of La Niña developing between June and August, and a 69% chance of it developing between July and September. By cooling a large swath of the tropical Pacific, a La Niña event could partially suppress average global temperatures this year.

"It’s hard to know whether 2024 will set another global heat record. Factors like volcanic eruptions and sun-blocking aerosol emissions can affect our climate in any given year. NASA missions are actively studying these influences," said Gavin Schmidt, director of GISS.

“There are open questions that can impact our predictions over the next few years and decades, and we’re in evidence-gathering mode,” Schmidt said. “This year may well end up setting another global temperature record. Right now, it’s in line to be close to 2023.”

Ocean Temperatures and Hurricanes

Scientists are watching to see how ocean temperatures may influence this year’s hurricane season. Temperatures remained high as the 2024 hurricane and typhoon seasons got underway. Across the Northern Hemisphere, ocean temperatures for the January-April period were 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit (1.18 degrees Celsius) above average, according to NOAA. Despite the waning El Niño, temperatures at the sea surface and at deeper depths are still above average in many places, said Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Willis cited rising carbon dioxide emissions as the main driver of ocean warming. As much as 90% of the excess atmospheric heat in recent decades has been absorbed by the ocean, with much of that heat stored near the water surface.  

“The ocean is the flywheel of our climate,” Willis said. “Since the ocean covers more than two-thirds of Earth, whatever sea surface temperatures are, the rest of the planet follows.”  

La Niña years also can contribute to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons. That’s because La Niña conditions weaken westerly winds high in the atmosphere near the Americas, over the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic Ocean. Wind shear—abrupt changes in wind speed and direction—can cut hurricanes down before they grow. La Niña effectively lifts this brake, allowing tropical storms to form and intensify unimpeded.

NASA’s full dataset of global surface temperatures, as well as details of how NASA scientists conducted the analysis, are publicly available from GISS, a NASA laboratory managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. 

Learn more: NASA Analysis Confirms a Year of Monthly Temperature Records


Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)/NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Release Date: June 11, 2024


#NASA #Space #Satellites #Science #Planet #Earth #GlobalTemperatureRecords #Weather #Meteorology #Model #ClimateChange #GlobalHeating #Climate #Environment #InSituMeasurements #GlobalTemperatureMap #GreenhouseGases #GHG #EarthObservation #RemoteSensing #NASAGISS #GISS #GSFC #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

NASA Analysis Confirms a Year of Monthly Temperature Records | NASA Goddard

NASA Analysis Confirms a Year of Monthly Temperature Records | NASA Goddard

This visualization shows monthly global surface temperatures from 1880 to May 2024. The last 12 months (June 2023 through May 2024) hit record highs for each respective month. 

May 2024 was the warmest May on the books, marking a full year of record-high monthly temperatures, NASA scientists found. Average global temperatures for the past 12 months hit record highs for each respective month—an unprecedented streak—according to scientists from NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

The run of record temperatures fits within a long-term warming trend driven by human activity—primarily greenhouse gas emissions. The trend has become evident over the past four decades, with the last 10 consecutive years being the warmest 10 since record-keeping began in the late 19th century. Before this streak of 12 straight months of record temperatures, the second longest streak lasted for seven months between 2015 and 2016.

“It’s clear we are facing a climate crisis. Communities across America—like Arizona, California, Nevada—and communities across the globe are feeling first-hand extreme heat in unprecedented numbers.

—NASA Administrator Bill Nelson

“We’re experiencing more hot days, more hot months, more hot years,” said Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor. “We know that these increases in temperature are driven by our greenhouse gas emissions and are impacting people and ecosystems around the world.”

In NASA’s analysis, a temperature baseline is defined by several decades or more—typically 30 years. The average global temperature over the past 12 months was 2.34 degrees Fahrenheit (1.30 degrees Celsius) above the 20th century baseline (1951 to 1980). This is slightly over the 2.69 degree Fahrenheit (1.5 degree Celsius) level with respect to the late 19th century average.

To calculate Earth’s global temperature, NASA scientists gather data from tens of thousands of meteorological stations on land, plus thousands of instruments on ships and buoys on the ocean surface. This raw data is analyzed using methods that account for the varied spacing of temperature stations around the globe and for urban heating effects that could skew the calculations.

El Niño Subsiding, La Niña Arriving?

Phenomena such as El Niño and La Niña, which alternately warm and cool the tropical Pacific Ocean, can contribute a small amount of variability in global temperatures from year to year. The strong El Niño that began in spring 2023 helped stoke last year’s extreme summer and fall heat.

As of May 2024, scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center projected a 49% chance of La Niña developing between June and August, and a 69% chance of it developing between July and September. By cooling a large swath of the tropical Pacific, a La Niña event could partially suppress average global temperatures this year.

"It’s hard to know whether 2024 will set another global heat record. Factors like volcanic eruptions and sun-blocking aerosol emissions can affect our climate in any given year. NASA missions are actively studying these influences," said Gavin Schmidt, director of GISS.

“There are open questions that can impact our predictions over the next few years and decades, and we’re in evidence-gathering mode,” Schmidt said. “This year may well end up setting another global temperature record. Right now, it’s in line to be close to 2023.”

Ocean Temperatures and Hurricanes

Scientists are watching to see how ocean temperatures may influence this year’s hurricane season. Temperatures remained high as the 2024 hurricane and typhoon seasons got underway. Across the Northern Hemisphere, ocean temperatures for the January-April period were 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit (1.18 degrees Celsius) above average, according to NOAA. Despite the waning El Niño, temperatures at the sea surface and at deeper depths are still above average in many places, said Josh Willis, an oceanographer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

Willis cited rising carbon dioxide emissions as the main driver of ocean warming. As much as 90% of the excess atmospheric heat in recent decades has been absorbed by the ocean, with much of that heat stored near the water surface.  

“The ocean is the flywheel of our climate,” Willis said. “Since the ocean covers more than two-thirds of Earth, whatever sea surface temperatures are, the rest of the planet follows.”  

La Niña years also can contribute to more active Atlantic hurricane seasons. That’s because La Niña conditions weaken westerly winds high in the atmosphere near the Americas, over the Caribbean Sea and tropical Atlantic Ocean. Wind shear—abrupt changes in wind speed and direction—can cut hurricanes down before they grow. La Niña effectively lifts this brake, allowing tropical storms to form and intensify unimpeded.

NASA’s full dataset of global surface temperatures, as well as details of how NASA scientists conducted the analysis, are publicly available from GISS, a NASA laboratory managed by the agency’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. 

Image Description:

Line graph of monthly temperature anomalies for each month of every year from 1880 to May 2024. The X-axis runs from June to May and the Y-axis is anomalies in degrees Celsius from -.5 to 1.5. Each month’s anomaly forms a point on a line for that entire year. As the points appear, the current year’s line is red and fades to yellow then white as newer years are added. Overall, the earlier years in the timespan are much cooler, sometimes dipping even below the -.5 degree Y-axis line. Over time, temperature anomalies increase, as human activities warm the climate, with small variations between individual years. The final 12-month span that runs from June 2023 to May 2024 is a red line running above each of its respective months, representing a full year of record high monthly temperatures. Finally, the graph turns 90 degrees toward the viewer, creating a familiar, annual temperature anomaly line graph. The X-axis changes to years, running from 1880 to 2024, showing overall warming. 

Learn more: NASA Analysis Confirms a Year of Monthly Temperature Records


Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)/NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio

Duration: 30 seconds

Release Date: June 11, 2024


#NASA #Space #Satellites #Science #Planet #Earth #GlobalTemperatureRecords #Weather #Meteorology #Model #ClimateChange #GlobalHeating #Climate #Environment #InSituMeasurements #GlobalTemperatureMap #GreenhouseGases #GHG #EarthObservation #RemoteSensing #NASAGISS #GISS #GSFC #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Planet Earth: A Year of Monthly Temperature Records | NASA Goddard

Planet Earth: A Year of Monthly Temperature Records | NASA Goddard

May 2024 was the warmest May on the books, marking a year of record-breaking monthly temperatures. Globally, average temperatures for the last 12 months hit record highs for each respective month—an unprecedented streak.

Dr. Kate Calvin, NASA's Chief Scientist and Senior Climate Advisor, answers examples of the top questions pertaining to these temperature records and our changing climate.

Learn more: NASA Analysis Confirms a Year of Monthly Temperature Records


Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC)

Katie Jepson (KBR Wyle Services, LLC): Producer, Editor

Katherine Calvin (NASA HQ): Lead Scientist, Interviewee

Mark SubbaRao (NASA/GSFC): Visualizer

Kathleen Gaeta (Advocates in Manpower Management, Inc): Producer

Grace Weikert (KBR Wyle Services, LLC): Producer

Katy Mersmann (NASA GSFC): Producer, Social 

Sofie Bates (KBR Wyle Services, LLC): Producer, Social

Rob Andreoli (Advocates in Manpower Management, Inc.): Videographer

John D. Philyaw (Advocates in Manpower Management, Inc.): Videographer

Duration: 3 minutes

Release Date: June 11, 2024


#NASA #Space #Satellites #Science #Planet #Earth #GlobalTemperatureRecords #Weather #Meteorology #Model #ClimateChange #GlobalHeating #Climate #Environment #InSituMeasurements #GlobalTemperatureMap #GreenhouseGases #GHG #EarthObservation #RemoteSensing #NASAGISS #GISS #GSFC #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Advancing Plant Science with Space Gardens | International Space Station

Advancing Plant Science with Space Gardens | International Space Station

Gardens growing on the International Space Station are leading to groundbreaking research and offering astronauts a taste of home. 

Learn more about eXposed Root On-Orbit Test System (XROOTS) Tech Demo

https://science.nasa.gov/biological-physical/investigations/xroots

The Vegetable Production System, or “Veggie":

https://www.nasa.gov/missions/station/ways-the-international-space-station-helps-us-study-plant-growth-in-space/

Follow Expedition 71 Updates: 


Expedition 71 Crew
Station Commander: Oleg Kononenko (Russia)
Roscosmos (Russia): Nikolai Chub, Alexander Grebenkin (Russia)
NASA: Tracy Dyson, Matthew Dominik, Mike Barrett, Jeanette Epps

An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the International Space Station (ISS). The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken.

Video Credit: National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Duration: 2 minutes, 37 seconds

Release Date: June 11, 2024


#NASA #Space #Earth #ISS #Science #Botany #Gardening #XROOTS #Veggie #PlantHabitat #FreshFood #Vegetables #Astronauts #HumanSpaceflight #SpaceTechnology #SpaceLaboratory #Engineering #UnitedStates #Cosmonauts #Russia #Россия #Roscosmos #Роскосмос #InternationalCooperation #Expedition71 #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Mars Images: June 2024 | NASA Mars Curiosity & Perseverance Rovers

Mars Images: June 2024 | NASA Mars Curiosity & Perseverance Rovers

MSL - sol 4206
MSL - sol 4207
MSL - sol 4207
MSL - sol 4207
MSL - sol 4505
Mars 2020 - sol 1171
MSL - sol 4210 (Note: slight image misalignment)
MSL - sol 4209

Celebrating 11+ Years on Mars (2012-2024)
Mission Name: Mars Science Laboratory (MSL)
Rover Name: Curiosity
Main Job: To determine if Mars was ever habitable to microbial life. 
Launch: Nov. 6, 2011
Landing Date: Aug. 5, 2012, Gale Crater, Mars

Celebrating 3+ Years on Mars
Mission Name: Mars 2020
Rover Name: Perseverance
Main Job: Seek signs of ancient life and collect samples of rock and regolith (broken rock and soil) for return to Earth.
Launch: July 30, 2020    
Landing: Feb. 18, 2021, Jezero Crater, Mars

For more information on NASA's Mars missions, visit: mars.nasa.gov

Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS
Processing: Kevin M. Gill
Image Release Dates: June 6-11, 2024

#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Mars #RedPlanet #Planet #Astrobiology #Geology #CuriosityRover #MSL #MountSharp #GaleCrater #PerseveranceRover #Mars2020 #JezeroCrater #Robotics #SpaceTechnology #SpaceEngineering #JPL #Caltech #UnitedStates #CitizenScience #KevinGill #STEM #Education

Boeing's Starliner Crew Spacecraft Approaches the International Space Station

Boeing's Starliner Crew Spacecraft Approaches the International Space Station


This view from a window on the cupola overlooks Japan's Kibo laboratory module as Boeing's Starliner spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams approaches the International Space Station prior to autonomous docking on June 6, 2024. Starliner launched on June 5, with NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams aboard, as part of NASA's Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT). This first crewed flight of Starliner aims to certify the spacecraft for rotational missions to the space station.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program works with the American aerospace industry to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the orbital outpost on American-made rockets and spacecraft launching from American soil.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at: 

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


Image Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC)

Image Date: June 6, 2024


#NASA #Space #Earth #ISS #KiboLaboratory #Japan #日本 #JAXA #Boeing #Starliner #CST100 #CommercialCrewProgram #CFT #Astronauts #SuniWilliams #BarryWilmore #HumanSpaceflight #SpaceTechnology #Engineering #LaunchAmerica #CommercialSpace #UnitedStates #STEM #Education

NASA Astronaut Suni Williams Answers Student Questions | International Space Station

NASA Astronaut Suni Williams Answers Student Questions | International Space Station

NASA astronaut Suni Williams discussed living and working in space as part of the Crewed Flight Test (CFT) of the Boeing Starliner spacecraft during an in-flight interview with the Sunita L. Williams Elementary School in Needham, Massachusetts on June 10, 2024. 

Williams is an alumnus of the school and is the midst of completing a test flight to check out Starliner’s systems ahead of spacecraft certification. Williams will remain at the space station for about a week to complete a series of test objectives before departing the complex for a landing in the southwestern United States alongside NASA astronaut Butch Wilmore. 

For more info on CFT and Starliner, visit: boeing.com/starliner

Follow Expedition 71 Updates: 


Expedition 71 Crew
Station Commander: Oleg Kononenko (Russia)
Roscosmos (Russia): Nikolai Chub, Alexander Grebenkin (Russia)
NASA: Tracy Dyson, Matthew Dominik, Mike Barrett, Jeanette Epps

An international partnership of space agencies provides and operates the elements of the International Space Station (ISS). The principals are the space agencies of the United States, Russia, Europe, Japan, and Canada. The ISS has been the most politically complex space exploration program ever undertaken.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program works with the American aerospace industry to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the orbital outpost on American-made rockets and spacecraft launching from American soil.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at: 

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


Video Credit: NASA's Johnson Space Center (JSC)

Duration: 25 minutes

Release Date: June 10, 2024


#NASA #Space #Earth #ISS #Boeing #Starliner #CST100 #CommercialCrewProgram #CFT #Astronauts #SuniWilliams #BarryWilmore #Cosmonauts #Russia #Россия #Roscosmos #HumanSpaceflight #SpaceTechnology #Engineering #Students #Massachusetts #UnitedStates #InternationalCooperation #STEM #Education #HD #Video

Astronauts Selected for China's Crewed Moon Missions: Chief Designer

Astronauts Selected for China's Crewed Moon Missions: Chief Designer

China has selected a new batch of astronauts to prepare for its crewed lunar exploration programs, said Huang Weifen, chief designer of the manned space program's astronaut system.

The China Manned Space Agency (CMSA) announced Tuesday, June 11, 2024, that 10 candidates, including eight space pilots and two payload specialists, have been selected as the country's fourth batch of astronauts.

Of the two payload specialists, one is from the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the other is from the Macao Special Administrative Region, said the CMSA.

It added that this is first time it has selected payload specialists from the Hong Kong and Macao regions, a move that has garnered strong support and enthusiastic responses from these communities.

"The payload specialists from Hong Kong and Macao have undergone a rigorous selection process, from initial screenings to the secondary selection, with comprehensive medical examinations, physiological function tests, endurance tests for space environment adaptability, various psychological assessments, and evaluations of professional qualities. And we also conducted inspection visits and interviews for the final decision. They have met our criteria for selection," said Huang.

The CMSA announced in late May 2024 that China plans to realize manned lunar landing by 2030. Huang said the building of a astronaut team, from the selection of astronauts to the training programs, has been designed to support both the space station missions and future lunar missions.

"For the training of our existing second and third batches of astronauts, as well as the upcoming fourth batch, we have opened fundamental courses related to geology. We have also arranged for the astronauts relevant training, including field studies and geological surveys. When the development of training simulators for crewed lunar missions is completed, we will be able to unfold more substantive training tasks. Currently, we are making preliminary preparations and involving both our existing astronauts and the newly selected astronauts in engineering development work to allow them to study in the frontline of scientific research and to make the technical reserve for future missions," said Huang.


Video Credit: China Central Television (CCTV) Video News Agency

Duration: 2 minutes

Release Date: June 11, 2024


#NASA #CNSA #CMSA #Space #Astronomy #Science #China #中国 #Moon #Astronauts #Taikonauts #Training #Geology #HongKong #Macao #HumanSpaceflight #CLEP #SpaceTechnology #SpaceExploration #SolarSystem #STEM #Education #History #HD #Video

Comet Pons-Brooks Develops Opposing Tails

Comet Pons-Brooks Develops Opposing Tails

Why does Comet Pons-Brooks now have tails pointing in opposite directions? The most spectacular tail is the blue-glowing ion tail that is visible flowing down the image. The ion tail is pushed directly out from the Sun by the solar wind. On the upper right is the glowing central coma of Comet 12P/Pons–Brooks. Fanning out from the coma, mostly to the left, is the comet's dust tail. Pushed out and slowed down by the pressure of sunlight, the dust tail tends to trail the comet along its orbit. It can appear opposite to the ion tail at certain angles. 

The distant, bright star Alpha Leporis is seen at the bottom of this featured image captured last week from Namibia. On June 2, 2024, the comet passed its closest to the Earth and is now best visible from southern skies as it dims and glides back to the outer Solar System.


Image Credit & Copyright: Rolando Ligustri & Lukas Demetz

Rolando's Instagram Page:

https://www.instagram.com/rolandoligustri/

Release Date: June 6, 2024


#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Sun #Earth #Comets #Comet #Comet12PPonsBrooks #SolarSystem #Star #AlphaLeporis #Astrophotography #RolandoLigustri #LukasDemetz #Astrophotographers #CitizenScience #Namibia #Africa #STEM #Education #APoD

Monday, June 10, 2024

Virgin Galactic #07 Spaceflight Recap: Final VSS Unity Mission

Virgin Galactic #07 Spaceflight Recap: Final VSS Unity Mission

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity spaceplane conducted its final commercial mission June 8, 2024, taking a Turkish researcher and three private astronauts on a suborbital spaceflight. VSS Unity, attached to its VMS Eve mothership aircraft, took off from Spaceport America in southern New Mexico at 10:31 a.m. Eastern. Unity released from Eve at 11:26 a.m. Eastern, flying its typical suborbital trajectory to an altitude of 87.5 kilometers before gliding to a landing back at the spaceport at 11:41 a.m. Eastern.

Galactic 07 featured a Turkish research astronaut, Tuva Atasever. His flight was arranged through Axiom Space, which flew another Turkish astronaut, Alper Gezeravcı, on the Ax-3 private astronaut mission to the International Space Station in January. Atasever was the backup for that mission.

Atasever planned to conduct seven experiments during the suborbital flight. “The experimental side of the flight was a huge success,” he said at a press conference after the flight. Those experiments included sensors to monitor brain activity, radiation dosimeters and insulin pens designed to operate in microgravity. The brain activity experiment, he noted, included tests to try and capture any changes in brain activity linked to the perspective-altering “Overview Effect” caused by seeing the Earth from space.

He said that testing of the insulin pens, an experiment developed by Axiom Space, during tests in the week leading up to the flight revealed they were not working as expected. “We iterated, we changed a couple of things, and this time around worked perfectly in microgravity.”

The vehicle also carried a rack with automated payloads from Purdue University to study propellant slosh in microgravity and from the University of California Berkeley to test 3D printing. Those payloads were flown through NASA’s Flight Opportunities program.

The other three customers were private astronauts, whose identities were disclosed by Virgin Galactic only after the vehicle landed. They were:

Andy Sadhwani, a principal propulsion engineer at SpaceX who previously did research at NASA and Stanford University;

Irving Pergament, a New York real estate developer and private pilot; and

Giorgio Manenti, an Italian investment manager living in London.

Unity was commanded by Nicola Pecile, making his fourth flight, with Jameel Janjua, on his first spaceflight, as pilot.

This was the seventh commercial flight for VSS Unity and the 12th flight overall. It will also be the last for VSS Unity, the second SpaceShipTwo vehicle built for Virgin Galactic, as the company shifts its focus to completing work on the new Delta series of vehicles.

Learn more at: https://www.virgingalactic.com


Video Credit: Virgin Galactic

Caption Credit: SpaceNews/Jeff Foust

Duration: 2 minutes, 21 seconds

Release Date: Jan. 28, 2024


#NASA #Space #Earth #CommercialSpaceflight #VirginGalactic #SpaceShipTwoVehicle #Galactic07 #VSSUnity #SuborbitalFlight #Astronauts #TuvaAtasever #Türkiye #AndySadhwani #IrvingPergament #GiorgioManenti #HumanSpaceflight #SpaceportAmerica #SpaceTourism #NewMexico #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

NASA’s Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test: ULA Atlas V Launch Rocket Camera

NASA’s Boeing Starliner Crew Flight Test: ULA Atlas V Launch Rocket Camera


NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Suni Williams launched atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket on the Boeing Starliner spacecraft to the International Space Station June 5, 2024, from Cape Canaveral in Florida. Starliner successfully docked with the space station at 1:34 p.m. ET on June 6, 2024.

NASA’s Commercial Crew Program works with the American aerospace industry to provide safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the orbital outpost on American-made rockets and spacecraft launching from American soil.

Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program at: 

https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew


ULA Atlas V Rocket info:

https://www.ulalaunch.com/rockets/atlas-v


Video Credit: United Launch Alliance (ULA)

Duration: 6 minutes

Release Date: June 10, 2024


#NASA #Space #Earth #ISS #Boeing #Starliner #CST100 #AtlasVRocket #RocketCam #CommercialCrewProgram #CFT #Astronauts #SuniWilliams #BarryWilmore #HumanSpaceflight #SpaceTechnology #Engineering #LaunchAmerica #NASAKennedy #ULA #SLC41 #CapeCanaveral #Florida #UnitedStates #STEM #Education #HD #Video

James Webb Space Telescope Finds 10 times More Supernovae in Early Universe

James Webb Space Telescope Finds 10 times More Supernovae in Early Universe


NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope is proving to be a fine supernova hunter! With its extreme infrared sensitivity, Webb is finding far-off supernovae almost everywhere it looks. Webb is ideal for identifying extremely distant supernovae because of a phenomenon called cosmological redshift, where light traveling across the universe is stretched into longer wavelengths. Visible light from ancient supernovae is stretched so much that it ends up in the infrared. Webb’s instruments are tuned to see infrared light, making it ideal for finding these distant supernovae. Using data from a deep Webb survey of the early universe, a team has identified 10 times more far-off supernovae than were previously known. This study is the first significant step toward more extensive surveys of ancient supernovae with Webb.

Image Description: JADES Transient Survey (NIRCam Image) | This James Webb Space telescope image showing hundreds of objects of different colors, shapes, and sizes scattered across the black background of space with about 80 objects (many are supernovae) circled in green.

Prior to this survey, only a handful of supernovae had been found above a redshift of 2, corresponding to when the universe was only 3.3 billion years old—just 25% of its current age. This JADES (JWST Advanced Deep Extragalactic Survey) program sample contains many supernovae that exploded even further in the past, when the universe was less than 2 billion years old. It includes the farthest one ever spectroscopically confirmed, at a redshift of 3.6. Its progenitor star exploded when the universe was only 1.8 billion years old.

"Webb is a supernova discovery machine," said Christa DeCoursey, a third-year graduate student at the Steward Observatory and the University of Arizona in Tucson. “The sheer number of detections plus the great distances to these supernovae are the two most exciting outcomes from our survey.”

Previously, researchers used NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to view supernovae from when the universe was in the "young adult" stage. With JADES, scientists are seeing supernovae when the universe was in its “teens” or “pre-teens.” In the future, they hope to look back to the “toddler” or “infant” phase of the universe.

To discover the supernovae, the team compared multiple images taken up to one year apart and looked for sources that disappeared or appeared in those images. These objects that vary in observed brightness over time are called transients, and supernovae are a type of transient. In all, the JADES Transient Survey Sample team uncovered about 80 supernovae in a patch of sky only about the thickness of a grain of rice held at arm’s length. 

“This is really our first sample of what the high-redshift universe looks like for transient science,” said teammate Justin Pierel, a NASA Einstein Fellow at the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland. “We are trying to identify whether distant supernovae are fundamentally different from or very much like what we see in the nearby universe.”

Pierel and other STScI researchers provided expert analysis to determine what transients were actually supernovae and which were not, because often they looked very similar.

The team identified a number of high-redshift supernovae, including the farthest one ever spectroscopically confirmed, at a redshift of 3.6. Its progenitor star exploded when the universe was only 1.8 billion years old. It is a so-called core-collapse supernova, an explosion of a massive star.  

Uncovering Distant Type Ia Supernovae

Of particular interest to astrophysicists are Type Ia supernovae. These exploding stars are so predictably bright that they are used to measure far-off cosmic distances and help scientists to calculate the universe's expansion rate. The team identified at least one Type Ia supernova at a redshift of 2.9. The light from this explosion began traveling to us 11.5 billion years ago when the universe was just 2.3 billion years old. The previous distance record for a spectroscopically confirmed Type Ia supernova was a redshift of 1.95, when the universe was 3.4 billion years old.

Scientists are eager to analyze Type Ia supernovae at high redshifts to see if they all have the same intrinsic brightness, regardless of distance. This is critically important, because if their brightness varies with redshift, they would not be reliable markers for measuring the expansion rate of the universe.

Pierel analyzed this Type Ia supernova found at redshift 2.9 to determine if its intrinsic brightness was different than expected. While this is just the first such object, the results indicate no evidence that Type Ia brightness changes with redshift. More data is needed, but for now, Type Ia supernova-based theories about the universe’s expansion rate and its ultimate fate remain intact. Pierel also presented his findings at the 244th meeting of the American Astronomical Society.  

Looking Toward the Future

The early universe was a very different place with extreme environments. Scientists expect to see ancient supernovae that come from stars that contain far fewer heavy chemical elements than stars like our Sun. Comparing these supernovae with those in the local universe will help astrophysicists understand star formation and supernova explosion mechanisms at these early times.

“We’re essentially opening a new window on the transient universe,” said STScI Fellow Matthew Siebert, who is leading the spectroscopic analysis of the JADES supernovae. “Historically, whenever we've done that, we've found extremely exciting things—things that we didn't expect.”

“Because Webb is so sensitive, it's finding supernovae and other transients almost everywhere it’s pointed,” said JADES team member Eiichi Egami, a research professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “This is the first significant step toward more extensive surveys of supernovae with Webb.”

The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, European Space Agency (ESA) and Canadian Space Agency (CSA).   


Image Credit: NASA, European Space Agency (ESA), Canadian Space Agency (CSA), Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI), JADES Collaboration

Release Date: June 10, 2024


#NASA #Astronomy #Space #Science #Stars #Galaxies #Supernovae #Cosmos #EarlyUniverse #Universe #JamesWebb #SpaceTelescope #JWST #Infrared #UnfoldTheUniverse #JADESCollaboration #ESA #CSA #GSFC #STSc #UnitedStates #STEM #Education