1. time-engineer:

    sci-universe:

    Reminder that there are great space agencies out there.

    NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration
    ESA - European Space Agency
    CNSA - China National Space Administration
    JAXA - Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency
    CSA - Canadian Space Agency
    ROSCOSMOS - Russian Federal Space Agency

    And about 1/2 of them look like the Starfleet symbol

    (Source: knowledgethroughscience, via spaceandstuffidk)

     

  2. canadian-space-agency:

    Thanks to this stunning colour movie from the European Space Agency’s Mars Express, you can see what it would be like to glide through part of the largest canyon on Mars, Valles Marineris.

    Watch the movie here: http://ow.ly/n7Y0a

    Credit: ESA Kids

    (Source: esa.int)

     

  3. Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 Approaching Jupiter in 1994 

    This is a composite photo, assembled from separate images of Jupiter and comet Shoemaker-Levy 9, as imaged by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope in 1994.

    Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 was discovered by astronomers Carolyn and Eugene M. Shoemaker and David Levy on March 24, 1993. It was the first comet observed to be orbiting a planet — in this case, Jupiter — rather than the sun. The effect of Jupiter’s tidal forces had already torn the celestial body apart and, eventually, the fragments collided with Jupiter between July 16 and 22, 1994.

    The image of the comet, showing 21 fragments, was taken on May 17, 1994. The image of Jupiter was taken on May 18, 1994. The dark spot on the planet is the shadow of the inner moon lo. The apparent angular size of Jupiter relative to the comet, and its angular separation from the comet when the images were taken, have been modified for illustration purposes.

    Image Credit:NASA, ESA, H. Weaver and E. Smith (STScI) and J. Trauger and R. Evans (NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
    Image Addition Date:2013-04-23

     

  4. ucresearch:

    The GIFs above are from this beautiful video (made with footage shot by NASA and ESA using the Cassini spacecraft).  

    Planetary scientist (and UCLA alum) Dr. Ashwin Vasavada participated with the Cassini mission to Saturn:  he played a major role in science planning for Saturn atmospheric imaging.

    (via itsfullofstars)

     

  5. Still Active Spokes

    The ghostly spokes in Saturn’s B ring continue to put on a show for the Cassini spacecraft cameras in this recent image. The spokes, believed to be a seasonal phenomenon, are expected to disappear as Saturn nears its northern hemisphere summer. Scientists continue to monitor the spokes to better understand their origin and evolution.

    The small moon Atlas also appears here barely visible in between the A ring and the F ring, which is the thin ring located furthest from Saturn, as the fainter dot close to the A ring. Atlas is closer to the bottom of the image. A bright star also appears in the gap between the two rings, and there are six other stars visible (one through the C ring, near the planet).

    This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 49 degrees below the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Dec. 20, 2012.

    The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 840,000 miles (1.4 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 105 degrees. Image scale is 48 miles (77 kilometers) per pixel.

    The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

    For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. The Cassini imaging team homepage is athttp://ciclops.org.

    Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
    Image Addition Date:2013-03-11

     

  6. Colorful Colossuses and Changing Hues 

    A giant of a moon appears before a giant of a planet undergoing seasonal changes in this natural color view of Titan and Saturn from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft.

    Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, measures 3,200 miles, or 5,150 kilometers, across and is larger than the planet Mercury. Cassini scientists have been watching the moon’s south pole since a vortex appeared in its atmosphere in 2012. See PIA14919 and PIA14920 to learn more about this mass of swirling gas around the pole in the atmosphere of the moon.

    This view looks toward the northern, sunlit side of the rings from just above the ring plane.

    This mosaic combines six images — two each of red, green and blue spectral filters — to create this natural color view. The images were obtained with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May 6, 2012, at a distance of approximately 483,000 miles (778,000 kilometers) from Titan. Image scale is 29 miles (46 kilometers) per pixel on Titan.

    Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
    Image Addition Date:2012-08-29

     

  7. Starting 30 minutes after this is posted:

    NASA Black Hole News

    Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 10 a.m. PST (1800 UTC)

    NASA will host a news teleconference to announce black hole observations from its newest X-ray telescope, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), and the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton X-ray telescope.

    The briefing participants are: 

    • Fiona Harrison, NuSTAR principal investigator, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
    • Guido Risaliti, astronomer, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass.
    • Arvind Parmar, head of Astrophysics and Fundamental Physics Missions Division, European Space Agency
     

  8. Bleriot Recaptured

    The propeller-shaped white dashes near the bottom of this Cassini spacecraft image reveal the location of a small moonlet embedded in Saturn’s A ring. The gravity of this tiny moonlet affects the orbits of nearby ring particles and creates the propeller feature, nicknamed Bleriot by imaging scientists, that Cassini sees.

    Researchers hope to understand more about the migration of planets during their formation by studying how the orbits of Bleriot and other propeller features observed by Cassini change over time. For more views of Bleriot, see PIA12789 and PIA12792.

    This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 38 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Nov. 11, 2012.

    The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 349,000 miles (561,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 41 degrees. Image scale is 2 miles (3 kilometers) per pixel.

    The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.

    For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. The Cassini imaging team homepage is athttp://ciclops.org.

    Image Credit:NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
    Image Addition Date:2013-02-25

     

  9. F Ring Zoo

    The F ring shows off a rich variety of phenomena in this image from the Cassini spacecraft. Near the lower-right of the F ring are two “fans” of material radiating out of the main strand (or “core”) of the ring. Kinks are apparent all along the core, and dark “channels” cut into the main strand can be seen in places, the result of a recent interaction with the shepherd moon Prometheus (which cannot be seen in this image).

    Scientists believe that many of the F ring’s diverse features are the result of interactions between ring material and either the shepherd moons or clumps of material within the ring.

    This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about six degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Dec. 25, 2012.

    The view was acquired at a distance of approximately 680,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 17 degrees. Image scale is 4 miles (6 kilometers) per pixel.

     

  10. Cassini at Saturn’s Bow Shock (Artist Concept)

    This artist’s impression by the European Space Agency shows NASA’s Cassini spacecraft exploring the magnetic environment of Saturn. The image is not to scale. Saturn’s magnetosphere is depicted in grey, while the complex bow shock region — the shock wave in the solar wind that surrounds the magnetosphere — is shown in blue.

    While crossing the bow shock on Feb. 3, 2007, Cassini recorded a particularly strong shock in a “quasi-parallel” orientation, where the magnetic field and the direction of the front of the shock’s movement are almost aligned. Under these conditions, significant particle acceleration was detected for the first time. The findings provide insight into particle acceleration at the shocks surrounding the remnants of stellar explosions.

    The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. JPL manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. JPL is a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena.

    For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission, visit http://www.nasa.gov/cassini and http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/.

    Image Credit: ESA

     

  11.  Andromeda’s Colorful Rings

    The ring-like swirls of dust filling the Andromeda galaxy stand out colorfully in this new image from the Herschel Space Observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA participation.

    The glow seen here comes from the longer-wavelength, or far, end of the infrared spectrum, giving astronomers the chance to identify the very coldest dust in our galactic neighbor. These light wavelengths span from 250 to 500 microns, which are a quarter to half of a millimeter in size. Herschel’s ability to detect the light allows astronomers to see clouds of dust at temperatures of only a few tens of degrees above absolute zero. These clouds are dark and opaque at shorter wavelengths. The Herschel view also highlights spokes of dust between the concentric rings.

    The colors in this image have been enhanced to make them easier to see, but they do reflect real variations in the data. The very coldest clouds are brightest in the longest wavelengths, and colored red here, while the warmer ones take on a bluish tinge.

    More information is online at:http://www.herschel.caltech.eduhttp://www.nasa.gov/herschel, and http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Herschel/index.html.

    Image Credit:ESA/NASA/JPL-Caltech/NHSC

     

  12. ArsTechnica:

    NASA to help build telescope that will study Universe’s dark past

    NASA has joined ESA’s mission to photograph two billion galaxies.

    NASA is joining forces with the European Space Agency to launch a telescope into space with the goal of mapping and measuring around two billion galaxies, the administration announced Thursday. The information the telescope collects will help scientists map dark matter in the Universe and understand how dark energy has affected the Universe’s evolution over time.

    The mission, named Euclid, is set to begin in 2020 and last for six years. NASA and the ESA will put the Euclid telescope into orbit at the Earth and Sun’s Lagrange point L2. That’s the area where the gravitational pull from both bodies balances enough so Euclid can remain stationary behind Earth, as seen from the Sun.

    Throughout those six years, Euclid will map galaxies spread across approximately one third of the sky. Based on the relative positions and ages of various galaxies, scientists can determine how the Universe has expanded since its beginning. The apparent acceleration relative to the state of the galaxies will allow them to more precisely understand the effects of dark matter and energy.

    NASA will contribute 16 infrared detectors to the mission, as well as four more detectors for one of Euclid’s planned science instruments. NASA nominated three teams of scientists totaling 40 people to work for the Euclid Consortium; a group of 1,000 members led by the ESA are working on the mission.

     

  13. discoverynews:

    sagansense:

    New Look and New Animation for Orion’s 2017 Flight to the Moon and Back

    The Orion spacecraft has gotten a new look for its first launch atop the inaugural flight of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) booster on the Exploration Mission-1 flight around the Moon in 2017 as seen in this new animation.

    The vehicles service module will be built by the European Space Agency (ESA), as a result of a new bilateral agreement between NASA and ESA. Orion is designed to carry humans back to the Moon and to deep space destinations like Asteroids and Mars.

    The service module will fuel and propel the capsule on its uncrewed journey to the Moon and back on EM-1 in 2017.

    Read my follow-up report for details about the new NASA/ESA agreement. See my earlier story here, about preparations for the first Orion launch in September 2014 on the upcoming Exploration Flight Test-1 in 2014 atop a Delta IV Heavy. An unmanned Orion will fly on a two orbit test flight to an altitude of 3,600 miles above Earth’s surface, farther than a human spacecraft has gone in 40 years, and then plunge back to Earth to test the spacecrafts systems and heat shield.

    NASA is also simultaneously fostering the development of commercial ‘space taxis’ to fly astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS) as part of a dual track approach to restore America’s human space launch capability. The 1st commercial crew vehicle might fly as early as 2015 – details here.

    imageimage caption: Orion EFT-1 crew cabin construction ongoing at the Kennedy Space Center which is due to blastoff in September 2014 atop a Delta 4 Heavy rocket. Credit: Ken Kremer

    Epic!

     

  14. Titan: Complex ‘Anti-greenhouse’

    This natural color image shows Titan’s upper atmosphere — an active place where methane molecules are being broken apart by solar ultraviolet light and the byproducts combine to form compounds like ethane and acetylene. The haze preferentially scatters blue and ultraviolet wavelengths of light, making its complex layered structure more easily visible at the shorter wavelengths used in this image.

    A movie sequence of images, taken around the same time as this color view, shows movement of the haze layers over the course of a few hours (see PIA06223).

    Lower down in the atmosphere, the haze turns into a globe-enshrouding smog of complex organic molecules. This thick, orange-colored haze absorbs visible sunlight, allowing only perhaps 10 percent of the light to reach the surface. The thick haze is also inefficient at holding in and then re-radiating infrared (thermal) energy back down to the surface. Thus, despite the fact that Titan has a thicker atmosphere than Earth, the thick global haze causes the greenhouse effect there to be somewhat weaker than it is on Earth.

    Images taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were obtained at a distance of approximately 9,500 kilometers (5,900 miles) from Titan on March 31, 2005. The image scale is approximately 400 meters (1,300 feet) per pixel.

    The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging team is based at the Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colo.

    For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit http://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov. For additional images visit the Cassini imaging team homepage http://ciclops.org.

    Image Credit:NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute
    Image Addition Date:2005-05-02

     

  15. Eight years ago today, the Huygens probe touched down on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.

    Named after the Dutch discoverer of Titan, Christiaan Huygens, the probe was the first landing in the outer solar system and remains the most distant landing from Earth. Titan is the only known satellite to contain a dense atmosphere and the only object, other than Earth, with stable bodies of surface liquid.

    Its launch vehicle, Cassini, remains in orbit around Saturn, providing incredible photos and information about the ringed planet.