As reported earlier today by astronauts on the International Space Station, “small white flakes” were observed floating away from the station and into near space. It turns out that those white flakes are ammonia, and the levels that are being expelled are increasing. Not good, but the crew is in no danger, thankfully.
In order to understand how this happens, it takes some background knowledge: the ISS uses chilled liquid ammonia to cool the space station’s power channels on its large eight solar array panels, while each array has its own independent cooling loop. It’s being taken very seriously, as mentioned by NASA to SPACE:
If they lose the ability to cool that particular solar array, it won’t be able to generate power for the station. In fact, the leak has worsened to the point that Mission Control expects that particular loop to shut down within the next 24 hours.
In order to combat this error, NASA plans to reroute power on the station to isolate the issue.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft took some stellar photos of Saturn’s 1,250 mile-wide polar hurricane. The result were black and white photos when normally developed, however with some post-production, NASA has been able to refine the photos. The Cassini spacecraft uses spectral filters that can detect the subtleties of wavelengths of near-infrared light. All NASA had to do then was false-color the vortex based on those tiny changes, invisible to the human eye. The end product? Deep reds represent lower clouds, and the greens are ones that sit a bit higher than that.
Interestingly enough, we wouldn’t go into an instant ice age. In fact, as Vsauce walks us through an excellent dictation of how earth’s natural systems would slowly fail, but over the course of weeks and even years, not merely seconds. The cold would eventually ruin humanity, but extremophiles that live in deep sea volcanoes and thermal vents could survive for billions of years thereafter. The more you know, right?
A memory glitch forced the Mars Curiosity Rover to halt its expedition of Mars and enter safe mode on a backup computer, causing gasps and “oh nos” everywhere. Don’t worry, NASA is reporting that they’ve successfully brought the Curiosity rover out of safe mode and filling out the needed tests to make sure the system can withstand all the perils that come form traveling on Mars. Once that’s over with, the Curiosity rover will continue its adventure in the next few days.
The always creative Minutephysics has uploaded another video discussing a new subject related to match, science, or life. In this case, “what is the universe, what will it be, is it unique?” and more. Plus, does mathematics exist outside of the universe? All this and more will give you a headache — unless you’re up for it, of course.
Only 10 countries on Earth have successfully launched rockets into space then deploy a satellite. Turns out, South Korea is now at 11, with the launch of a self-developed, two-stage Naro rocket while putting the vehicle’s Science and Technology Satellite-2C payload into orbit. After this, the Korea Aerospace Research Institute is working with contractors to build completely in-house rocket stages by 2016, and reach 300 tons of amazing thrust as soon as 2018 knocks on the doors of science.
As Randall Monroe from xkcd so accurately describes and explains using his drawings and tests inside of X-Plane (a flight simulator used by pilots with 20 years of engineering behind it) it’s rather difficult to fly a plane in on a planet with no environment. Not to mention temperature and pressure changes, along with gravitational pull. But the intriguing thing is that on Titan, a moon of Saturn, is better to fly in than on Earth: you could technically use a human glider, except that it’s really cold, at about 72 degrees Kelvin (-330.07 Fahrenheit). That’s really cold.
It may be dry, but it once contained water. That’s the general consensus with the recent discovery. In a ”striking upper part of the Reull Vallis region of Mars,” which reveal a 932-mile-long (1500 kilometer) river running from the Promethei Terra Highlands to the vast Hellas basin, once existed a riverbed that was 4.3 miles (7 kilometers) wide and 984 feet (300 meters) deep. It turns out that Mars very much was like our planet Earth (in this regard).
ESA Mars Express team says that the river was flowing with abundant water about 3.5 to 1.8 billion years ago, during the Hesperian period. After the Amazonian Era, the Reull Vallis was invaded by a glacier, which carved out the path. Some time after that, craters impacted the surface.
What can we take from this? There’s a lot more we have to examine about Mars. That is certain.
In short, here’s what’s going on: an international team of scientists have come across the largest structure in the universe; it would take 4 billion years to get across. It’s a large quasar group — supermassive black holes that form one massive structure..Consisting of seventy-three quasars, it is over four billion light-years across at its widest point. That’s 1,600 times larger than the distance between our galaxy, the Milky Way, and its nearest neighbor, the Andromeda Galaxy.
As Dr Clowes (one of the researchers on the team) explains:
“While it is difficult to fathom the scale of this large quasar group, we can say quite definitely it is the largest structure ever seen in the entire universe. This is hugely exciting – not least because it runs counter to our current understanding of the scale of the universe.
“Even traveling at the speed of light, it would take 4 billion years to cross. This is significant not just because of its size but also because it challenges the Cosmological Principle.”
Einstien’s Cosmological Theory states that “‘viewed on a sufficiently large scale, the properties of the Universe are the same for all observers”, could be under threat as one of the principle rules of astronomy.
Space pioneers are wanted by a Netherlands-based Mars One is seeking a legion of applicants; basically anyone who fits the basic requirements is wanted. The idea is that it’ll begin the selection process in the first half of this year, with contestants potential astronauts whittled down into at least six teams of four, through a combination of votes from ‘a global televised program’ and a team of experts. The catch? The trip is one-way and will take years — if you were 18 when you left Earth, you’d be 28 when you reach Mars. There’s also eight years of training before you embark into space.
In the meantime, Mars One will start sending equipment, supplies, and rovers to Mars in 2016. Looks serious, but we’ll see, no?