NASA deal may see Australian company build Mars rover – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)

Australian company’s small step may help NASA’s giant leap on Mars

Australian company’s small step may help NASA’s giant leap on Mars

A Gold Coast-based company may help NASA extract water on Mars, after striking an agreement with the space agency that is believed to be an Australian first.

NASA will assist Gilmour Space Technologies to develop and build a Mars rover designed to extract water from the red planet.

As part of the agreement, they will test the rover on a mock Mars environment, built at the NASA’s Kennedy Space Centre in Florida.

The Pimpama-based company said it was the first private enterprise in Australia to sign a Space Act Agreement with NASA.

A spokeswoman from NASA said the lessons Gilmour learnt by testing at the Kennedy Space Centre might help them refine their design, but the space agency was not part of the project.

Gilmour Space Technologies has already created a prototype rover in partnership with university students in Singapore, where the company also has a base.

It uses microwave technology to melt ice that is mixed with Martian soil where the rover then collects the steam and condenses it into water.

“Essentially that is a rover with the intentions of extracting the hydrogen from the Regolith, which is a fancy word for Martian soil to extract water,” Mr Gilmour said.

Source: www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-20/australian-company-may-help-nasa-build-mars-rover/9465716?pfmredir=sm

Australian company’s small step may help NASA’s giant leap on Mars Australian company’s small step may help NASA’s giant leap on Mars A Gold Coast-based company may help NASA extract water on Mars, after striking an agreement with the space agency that is believed to be an Australian first. NASA Continue Reading

Topics – Next Generation of Telescope Equipment Begins Arriving in Hawaii – Subaru Telescope

An instrument that will help astronomers study dark matter and galaxies in detail has begun to be assembled at the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii.

Topics – Next Generation of Telescope Equipment Begins Arriving in Hawaii – Subaru Telescope

The Metrology Camera is the first of several sub-components currently under construction worldwide to be assembled at its final destination in order to create the Prime Focus Spectrograph (PFS). When the PFS is mounted on the telescope, it will be able to measure spectra of up to 2400 celestial objects in the night sky all at once. This is important because it will help astronomers understand how stars and galaxies are distributed, and how they move around us, affected by the presence of dark matter. Studying millions of stars and galaxies across large areas of sky will therefore help create a dark matter map of our Universe.

 

Source: www.subarutelescope.org/Topics/2018/04/25/index.html

An instrument that will help astronomers study dark matter and galaxies in detail has begun to be assembled at the Subaru Telescope in Hawaii. Topics – Next Generation of Telescope Equipment Begins Arriving in Hawaii – Subaru Telescope The Metrology Camera is the first of several sub-components currently under construction Continue Reading

The Milky Way’s supermassive black hole may have a dozen nomadic siblings

The Milky Way’s supermassive black hole may have a dozen nomadic sibl

At the center of the Milky Way sits a dark and dangerous beast: Sagittarius A*. Located about 26,000 light-years from Earth, our galaxy’s only known supermassive black hole is roughly 4 million times as massive as the Sun, and its immense gravitational pull can nonchalantly annihilate any object that strays too close. Fortunately for us, Sagittarius A* is like a troll under a bridge — it does not leave its post. 

This tends to be the case for most supermassive black holes (SMBHs) found throughout the universe. However, sometimes a SMBH can be forced from the center of its host galaxy, particularly if it’s involved in a galactic merger with a bigger counterpart. For example, if a small galaxy merges with a larger one, the smaller galaxy’s SMBH will likely be thrown into a wide orbit around the newly formed galaxy, therefore becoming a ‘wandering’ supermassive black hole. Though astronomers have previously found evidence of these nomadic SMBHs on the outskirts of other galaxies, their overall prevalence is still largely unknown. 

But according to a new study published April 24 in The Astrophysical Journal Letters, wandering supermassive black holes may be quite common (and even observable) within many different types of galaxies — including the Milky Way.

Source: www.astronomy.com/news/2018/04/the-milky-ways-supermassive-black-hole-has-siblings

The Milky Way’s supermassive black hole may have a dozen nomadic sibl At the center of the Milky Way sits a dark and dangerous beast: Sagittarius A*. Located about 26,000 light-years from Earth, our galaxy’s only known supermassive black hole is roughly 4 million times as massive as the Sun, Continue Reading

How to build a telescope – Crayford Focuser – 10″ Dobsonian

How to build a telescope – Crayford Focuser – 10″ Dobsonian

Years ago just after we had the Internet installed in our house (haha that’s right, years ago! Believe it or not, once upon a time there was no Internet!), I was getting the hang of surfing around the web and stumbled on a link about designing and building a telescope!  Looking at the link, it reminded me of this guy I once knew from years back who made his own telescope.  I remember thinking at the time that it must have been very complicated.  I meant to have a closer look but for one reason or another missed the opportunity.  So seeing this link sparked my curiosity once again. What really surprised me was how basic the design was and how easy I thought it would be to make one of my own.  The scope was huge!!  I thought you’d be able to see to the end of the universe with that thing!  It actually looked more like a cannon than a telescope!  It was an 8” Dobsonian.  One click and I was transported into the world of telescope building and have never looked back since!

Here is the original link, just to give a shout out to the guy who got me into this crazy world of telescope building.

http://www.raycash.us/sfsidewalk/eightin.htm

I need to tell you that some of the links on this page may be affiliate links where I may make a small amount of money from any purchases you make after clicking one of those links.  You won’t be paying any extra for any purchases you make as the prices all stay the same.  This is only to earn a few pennies to help go towards the fees to keep this site up and running.

Source: www.astronomyblogger.com/homemade-stuff/how-to-build-a-telescope/

How to build a telescope – Crayford Focuser – 10″ Dobsonian Years ago just after we had the Internet installed in our house (haha that’s right, years ago! Believe it or not, once upon a time there was no Internet!), I was getting the hang of surfing around the web Continue Reading

Gaia creates richest star map of our Galaxy – and beyond

ESA’s Gaia mission has produced the richest star catalogue to date, including high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars and revealing previously unseen details of our home Galaxy.

A multitude of discoveries are on the horizon after this much awaited release, which is based on 22 months of charting the sky. The new data includes positions, distance indicators and motions of more than one billion stars, along with high-precision measurements of asteroids within our Solar System and stars beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy.

Preliminary analysis of this phenomenal data reveals fine details about the make-up of the Milky Way’s stellar population and about how stars move, essential information for investigating the formation and evolution of our home Galaxy.

“The observations collected by Gaia are redefining the foundations of astronomy,” says Günther Hasinger, ESA Director of Science.

Source: www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Gaia/Gaia_creates_richest_star_map_of_our_Galaxy_and_beyond

ESA’s Gaia mission has produced the richest star catalogue to date, including high-precision measurements of nearly 1.7 billion stars and revealing previously unseen details of our home Galaxy. A multitude of discoveries are on the horizon after this much awaited release, which is based on 22 months of charting the Continue Reading

What is Gaia? The ESA’s Data Dump Could Change Astronomy Forever | Inverse

The Gaia countdown is on! This Spacecraft is About to Drop a Ton of Data and Change Astronomy Forever!!

This Spacecraft is About to Drop a Ton of Data and Change Astronomy Forever

Amid a series of setbacks with NASA’s James Webb Telescope, the astronomycommunity is understandably bummed. This much-hyped ‘scope could allow scientists to peer into the atmospheres of exoplanets like the ones found in TRAPPIST-1 with unprecedented detail. The problem is, the mission is having a really hard time getting off the ground, literally and figuratively.

But the second data release from a European Space Agency project — aptly named Gaia, after the ancient Greek goddess of Mother Earth — could be the astronomy revolution no one saw coming, save for a few, including the American Museum of Natural History’s Jackie Faherty.

Faherty, an astrophysicist, tells Inverse on episode four of I Need My Space(available now on Apple Podcasts), that this massive data dump — which drops Wednesday morning at 6 a.m. Eastern — could be even more extensive than JWST. It just hasn’t gotten much publicity in the states.

Source: www.inverse.com/article/44092-what-is-gaia-second-data-release-2018

The Gaia countdown is on! This Spacecraft is About to Drop a Ton of Data and Change Astronomy Forever!! This Spacecraft is About to Drop a Ton of Data and Change Astronomy Forever Amid a series of setbacks with NASA’s James Webb Telescope, the astronomycommunity is understandably bummed. This much-hyped ‘scope could Continue Reading

How Juno’s Breathtaking Jupiter Images Are Made

How Juno’s Breathtaking Jupiter Images Are Made

Jupiter’s sandy swirls and blue-hued poles are visible even from Earth. But the Juno spacecraft’s crisp and colourful images begin as warped and dull raw files. The fantastic finished visuals are the result of enthusiastic amateur astronomers, software developers, and artists communicating over message boards. They work together to turn the raw images into accurate art for the space-loving public.

“Image processing is a creative process,” visual artist Seán Doran, who has made a number of the most familiar Jovian images, told Gizmodo. “Every Juno picture is unique and demands a slightly modified approach for each.”

The Juno spacecraft is a basketball court-sized, turbine-shaped probe that left Earth in 2011, flew by again in 2013 for a gravitational assist, and arrived at Jupiter in 2016. Its many instruments have demonstrated that Jupiter is far stranger than astronomers ever could have imagined. But one of its instruments, JunoCam, isn’t really intended for scientists. It’s for amateurs like us.

More: gizmodo.com/how-junos-breathtaking-jupiter-images-are-made-1825369932

How Juno’s Breathtaking Jupiter Images Are Made Jupiter’s sandy swirls and blue-hued poles are visible even from Earth. But the Juno spacecraft’s crisp and colourful images begin as warped and dull raw files. The fantastic finished visuals are the result of enthusiastic amateur astronomers, software developers, and artists communicating over Continue Reading

Europe’s Mars rover takes shape – BBC News

Europe’s Mars rover takes shape

So, here it is. Europe’s Mars rover. Or rather, a copy of it.

This is what they call the Structural Thermal Model, or STM. It is one of three rovers that will be built as part of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2020 mission to search for life on the Red Planet. And, no, we’re not sending all three to the Red Planet.

The STM is used to prove the design. It will go through a tough testing regime to check the rover that does launch to Mars – the “flight model” – will be able to cope with whatever is thrown at it.

What’s the third robot for? It stays on Earth and is used to troubleshoot any problems. If mission control needs to re-write a piece of software to overcome some glitch on the flight rover, the patch will be trialled first on the “engineering model” before being sent up to the Red Plane

More here: www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43832868

Europe’s Mars rover takes shape So, here it is. Europe’s Mars rover. Or rather, a copy of it. This is what they call the Structural Thermal Model, or STM. It is one of three rovers that will be built as part of the European Space Agency’s ExoMars 2020 mission to Continue Reading

Newly Released Images of Mars by NASA Will Change the Way You See the Planet

Newly Released Images of Mars by NASA Will Change the Way You See the Planet

If it’s quiet solitude and beauty you seek, there is no better place than the surface of Mars. Mars has earned its moniker as the red planet, but the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) can transform the subtle differences of soils into a rainbow of colours.

Source: www.thescinewsreporter.com/2018/03/newly-released-mars-images-by-nasa-will.html

Newly Released Images of Mars by NASA Will Change the Way You See the Planet If it’s quiet solitude and beauty you seek, there is no better place than the surface of Mars. Mars has earned its moniker as the red planet, but the HiRISE camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Continue Reading

340,000 stars’ DNA interrogated in search for Sun’s lost siblings | Australian Astronomical Observatory

 

Using the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), an Australian-led group of astronomers working with European collaborators has revealed the “DNA” of more than 340,000 stars in the Milky Way, which should help them find the siblings of the Sun, now scattered across the sky.

This is a major announcement from an ambitious Galactic Archaeology survey, called GALAH, launched in late 2013 as part of a quest to uncover the formulation and evolution of galaxies. When complete, GALAH will investigate more than a million stars.

The GALAH survey used the HERMES spectrograph at the Australian Astronomical Observatory’s (AAO) 3.9-metre Anglo-Australian Telescope near Coonabarabran, NSW, to collect spectra for the 340,000 stars.

Full release and more details here: 

  Using the Anglo-Australian Telescope (AAT), an Australian-led group of astronomers working with European collaborators has revealed the “DNA” of more than 340,000 stars in the Milky Way, which should help them find the siblings of the Sun, now scattered across the sky. This is a major announcement from an Continue Reading

Sharper Focus -Part 1- The Why and How of Adaptive Optics

 

Sharper Focus -Part 1- The Why and How of Adaptive Optics

The Atmospheric Lens TMT’s unprecedented ability to peer into the depths of the Universe means it will have a phenomenal impact on many areas of astronomy. But in this age of space-based telescopes, you may have wondered how a ground-based observatory like TMT (or some of the other next-generation large terrestrial telescopes) will get past the challenges of being on the ground instead of up in orbit. One of the major challenges is contending with the way Earth’s atmosphere changes the appearance of light that reaches us from objects in the sky.

Every level of the Earth’s atmosphere has winds that constantly shift, churn, and gust.  Even high on a mountaintop, where many ground-based telescopes are already or will be located (including TMT), and the air is relatively thin, those winds are still present, and they interfere with the light we see.  In fact, atmospheric winds are one reason why stars twinkle: as the winds toss about, they create small distortions that change moment by moment, and as the light traverses those distortions, it gets slightly distorted too. When ground-based telescopes look at a celestial object, what they see has to come through those small distortions, so ground-based telescopes see the twinkling just as we do. But however charming a twinkling point of light may be to our eyes, as an image for study, it’s slightly blurred or unstable and therefore not ideal. To be able to study an object, we have to be able to see it without distortion.

Source: www.tmt.org/blog/tmt20180411

  Sharper Focus -Part 1- The Why and How of Adaptive Optics The Atmospheric Lens TMT’s unprecedented ability to peer into the depths of the Universe means it will have a phenomenal impact on many areas of astronomy. But in this age of space-based telescopes, you may have wondered how Continue Reading

CCD versus CMOS: Which is Better?

Great explanation – make sure you click through the link and read the entire article!

CCD versus CMOS: Which is Better? – Diffraction Limited

We’re often asked whether CMOS or CCD sensors are better.  The simple answer is, “it depends.”

Both types of sensors detect light the exact same way.  An incoming photon hits an atom of silicon, which is a semiconductor.  When this happens one of the electrons in the atom is boosted to a higher energy level (orbital), referred to as the conduction band.  Silicon normally behaves like an insulator, so its electrons can’t move around.  But once an electron is boosted up to the conduction band, it is freed to move around to other adjacent atoms, as if the silicon was a metal.  What was an insulator becomes a conductor – this is why silicon is called a semiconductor.  In optical sensors these now-mobile electrons are referred to as photoelectrons.

Both types of sensors use pixels.  Pixels are simply a tiny square region of silicon, which collect and hold these photoelectrons.  The usual analogy is an array of rain buckets in a field, each collecting rain water.  If you want to know how much it rained in any part of the field, you just have to measure how full each bucket is.  So far everything is the same for CCD and CMOS; it’s the measuring process where things are very different.

More diffractionlimited.com/ccd-versus-cmos-better/

Great explanation – make sure you click through the link and read the entire article! CCD versus CMOS: Which is Better? – Diffraction Limited We’re often asked whether CMOS or CCD sensors are better.  The simple answer is, “it depends.” Both types of sensors detect light the exact same way.  Continue Reading

With the launch of TESS, NASA will boost its search for exoplanets | Science News

With the launch of TESS, NASA will boost its search for exoplanets

The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will set the stage for the next chapter of exoplanet exploration.

Source: www.sciencenews.org/article/launch-tess-nasa-boost-search-exoplanets

With the launch of TESS, NASA will boost its search for exoplanets The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite will set the stage for the next chapter of exoplanet exploration. Source: www.sciencenews.org/article/launch-tess-nasa-boost-search-exoplanets