Sunday, November 29, 2015

Dark Sand Cascades on Mars

They might look like trees on Mars, but they're not. Groups of dark brown streaks have been photographed by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on melting pinkish sand dunes covered with light frost. The above image was taken in 2008 April near the North Pole of Mars. At that time, dark sand on the interior of Martian sand dunes became more and more visible as the spring Sun melted the lighter carbon dioxide ice. When occurring near the top of a dune, dark sand may cascade down the dune leaving dark surface streaks -- streaks that might appear at first to be trees standing in front of the lighter regions, but cast no shadows. Objects about 25 centimeters across are resolved on this image spanning about one kilometer. Close ups of some parts of this image show billowing plumes indicating that the sand slides were occurring even while the image was being taken.

Monday, November 23, 2015

A 212-Hour Exposure of Orion

The constellation of Orion is much more than three stars in a row. It is a direction in space that is rich with impressive nebulas. To better appreciate this well-known swath of sky, an extremely long exposure was taken over many clear nights in 2013 and 2014. After 212 hours of camera time and an additional year of processing, the featured 1400-exposure collage spanning over 40 times the angular diameter of the Moon emerged. Of the many interesting details that have become visible, one that particularly draws the eye is Barnard's Loop, the bright red circular filament arcing down from the middle. The Rosette Nebula is not the giant red nebula near the top of the image -- that is a larger but lesser known nebula known as Lambda Orionis. The Rosette Nebula is visible, though: it is the red and white nebula on the upper left. The bright orange star just above the frame center is Betelgeuse, while the bright blue star on the lower right is Rigel. Other famous nebulas visible include the Witch Head Nebula, the Flame Nebula, the Fox Fur Nebula, and, if you know just where to look, the comparatively small Horsehead Nebula. About those famous three stars that cross the belt of Orion the Hunter -- in this busy frame they can be hard to locate, but a discerning eye will find them just below and to the right of the image center.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Just some pics and info

Centaurus A 
  That would be Centaurus A, only 11 million light-years distant. Spanning over 60,000 light-years, the peculiar elliptical galaxy is also known as NGC 5128. Forged in a collision of two otherwise normal galaxies, Centaurus A's fantastic jumble of young blue star clusters, pinkish star forming regions, and imposing dark dust lanes are seen here in remarkable detail. The colorful galaxy portrait is a composite of image data from space- and ground-based telescopes large and small. Near the galaxy's center, left over cosmic debris is steadily being consumed by a central black hole with a billion times the mass of the Sun. As in other active galaxies, that process generates the radio, X-ray, and gamma-ray energy radiated by Centaurus A.
 The Pelican Nebula in Gas, Dust, and Stars 
  The Pelican Nebula is slowly being transformed. IC 5070, the official designation, is divided from the larger North America Nebula by a molecular cloud filled with dark dust. The Pelican, however, receives much study because it is a particularly active mix of star formation and evolving gas clouds. The featured picture was produced in three specific colors -- light emitted by sulfur, hydrogen, and oxygen -- that can help us to better understand these interactions. The light from young energetic stars is slowly transforming the cold gas to hot gas, with the advancing boundary between the two, known as an ionization front, visible in bright orange on the right. Particularly dense tentacles of cold gas remain. Millions of years from now this nebula might no longer be known as the Pelican , as the balance and placement of stars and gas will surely leave something that appears completely different.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

 Captured by New Horizons, the scene is found just south of the southern tip Sputnik Planum, the informally named smooth, bright heart region of Pluto. Centered is a feature provisionally known as Wright Mons, a broad, tall mountain, about 150 kilometers across and 4 kilometers high, with a 56 kilometer wide, deep summit depression. Of course, broad mountains with central craters are found elsewhere in the Solar System, like Mauna Loa on planet Earth and Olympus Mons on Mars. In fact, New Horizons scientists announced the striking similarity of Pluto's Wright Mons, and nearby Piccard Mons, to large shield volcanoes strongly suggests the two could be giant cryovolcanoes that once erupted molten ice from the interior of the cold, distant world.
Something I had said on other space out section about volcano being on Pluto before the flyby.Yahoo I was right....

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Sure, you've seen Pluto. But have you seen Pluto ... on principal component analysis?
That's the statistical technique used by NASA to highlight differences in the color of the dwarf planet's surface that might not be obvious to the naked eye. Think of it like turning the contrast way up, but scientifically. The image was taken from about 22,000 miles away on July 14 by the New Horizons probe, which is now well on its way to the rocky Kuiper Belt.
 By making these slight differences in color extra-obvious (even more than the enhanced color photo), patterns emerge that otherwise may seem to be just noise or random features. Compare the colorful version above with the true-color version below and see how patterns jump out at you.
 New Horizons may be millions of miles past Pluto, but it's still beaming information to scientists at NASA, where planetologists and astronomers are busy picking it apart for juicy new insights. Expect more interesting imagery and discoveries to keep showing up for quite a while

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Icy Volcanoes May Erupt on Pluto

Humm maybe I was right,I posted some thought about Pluto and one of these is that Pluto would have volcano to shot out water and ice..I might had been right!
A possible ice volcano on Pluto (visible at center) is seen in this NASA image, captured by the New Horizons spacecraft, released on Nov. 9, 2015. The feature, called Wright Mons, is a strange feature 100 miles wide and 13,000 feet high with a summit depression at its center. New Horizons scientists suspect Wright Mons and another mountain may be signs of cryovolcanic eruptions on Pluto.  
Images from NASA's New Horizons spacecraft have identified two peaks that tower nearly 4 miles (6 kilometers) high over the surface of the dwarf planet, and scientists say the peaks' physical features suggest they might be volcanoes.

 A tiny, icy world at the edge of the solar system, Pluto remained largely invisible to scientists until July 2015, when the New Horizons space probe flew past it, giving humanity its first good look at the dwarf planet's surface. Before the New Horizons flyby, most scientists thought Pluto would prove to be too small to maintain the internal heat needed to power geological processes such as glacier flows and volcanism, according to scientists at the news conference. But the fast-moving spacecraft revealed a far younger surface than scientists had expected, suggesting that geological processes are taking place on Pluto, and that something must be keeping things warm beneath the surface. 
Two enormous mountains, spanning hundreds of miles across, sit at the southern edge of the heart-shaped region on the surface of Pluto. The mountains have been informally named Wright Mons and Picard Mons, and at their crests, each peak hosts a central crater, reminiscent of peaks called "shield volcanoes" on Earth.
"Whatever they are, they're definitely weird" — 'volcanoes' is the least weird hypothesis at the moment," White said at the news conference.
Although the features bear a strong similarity to volcanoes, New Horizons researcher Jeff Moore, of NASA Ames Research Field, said in an earlier session that they were not yet ready to conclusively pronounce that there is evidence for cryovolcanism on Pluto.
"These look suspicious, and we're looking very closely," Moore said.
Scientists don't yet know what could be generating the heat inside Pluto necessary to create a volcano on the surface. One possibility, also presented at the conference, is that an ammonia-water slurry mantle lies beneath the surface, according to a statement from AAS. The research, performed by graduate student Alex Trowbridge and professor Jay Melosh, of Purdue University in Indiana, suggests that, as cooler material sinks through the subsurface layers, hot material might rise, leading to geological activity that could include cryovolcanism.
Another possibility, which White focused on, has to do with a gradually cooling rocky core, originally heated during the dwarf planet's formation. The heat required to melt ices would be significantly lower than those required to release rock, allowing the gradual mobilization of material that could, in theory, erupt through a volcano.

Though the term "cryovolcanism" has been applied to other objects in the solar system, White stressed that the features on Pluto are unique. Saturn's frozen moon Enceladus is known for spewing material from its southern pole, but the source comes from fissures in the ground rather than mountainous features. And while cryovolcanism has been hypothesized to exist on Titan, another Saturn moon, White pointed out that those cryovolcanoes were identified by radar and are still under debate. Pluto's features, by contrast, are clearly visible and bear stark similarities to Earth's volcanoes.
"This is the first time where we see what seem to be tall volcanic edifices," White said.
The two slopes are lightly cratered, White told, which suggests that they are younger than the northern terrains of Pluto, though not nearly as young as the "heart" of Pluto, Sputnik Planum. Scientists aren't certain of the mountains' composition, though White suggested it could be nitrogen ice. The thin atmosphere would likely allow for the fluidization of the material across the surface.
The two mountains lay along the day-night line of Pluto when they were imaged by New Horizons. Picard Mons, the larger of the two features, lies in the twilight region, so it may not be possible to understand its composition with current data. But White expressed hope that upcoming data may reveal secrets about the composition of the more brightly lit Wright Mons.
Even more exciting is the possibility that the two might be part of a larger field of volcanoes. White said that the close proximity of the two features might indicate that even more cryovolcanoes exist beyond the spacecraft's field of view. However, there is no way to spot them using data from the New Horizons flyby.
"We'll have to go back in a hundred years and see," White said.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Pluto's Geology Is Unlike Any Other
Take a pinch of Mars, a sprinkle of Saturn’s moon Iapetus and a dash of Neptune’s moon Triton—and the recipe will yield something like Pluto.
The first published scientific findings from NASA’s New Horizons mission, which flew past Pluto in July, confirm that the dwarf planet does not resemble any other single world in the Solar System. Instead, its wildly varying terrain is a crazy quilt of geological patterns and textures—copied, pasted and tweaked from other planets and moons.
Like Mars, Pluto has volatile compounds that cycle between freezing onto the ground and sublimating back into the atmosphere. Like Iapetus, it has stunningly bright terrain juxtaposed with dark areas. And like Triton, it seems to have streaks made by wind marring its icy surface.
Pluto’s geological activity is driven both by heat leaking from radioactive elements in its interior—a remnant of its birth more than 4 billion years ago—and by the volatile compounds that flit between its surface and its atmosphere. As Pluto moves away from the Sun in its 248-year elliptical orbit, temperatures plummet and these compounds freeze out of the atmosphere and fall onto the surface as frost. When Pluto warms up again, methane, nitrogen, carbon monoxide and other chemicals transform directly from ice on the surface into atmospheric gases.But I also think something else is going on to generate the heat from below because some had suggested that Pluto inner core would have run out radioactive compounds long ago!!
High-resolution pictures from New Horizons’ cameras show the effects of this seasonal process. The broad, bright plains known as Sputnik Planum seem to be covered by nitrogen glaciers; these flow gloppily, and quickly erase craters made by crashing asteroids. “Punching a hole in jello springs to mind,”. “Everything suggests this ice is exceptionally soft”—making it unique in the Solar System.
Next to the light-coloured Sputnik Planum lies the dark, cratered, ancient-looking Cthulhu region. The craters may be up to 4 billion years old, from a time when asteroids were heavily bombarding the early Solar System.
The dark coating may be methane that has gone through chemical processing in the atmosphere, says Jeff Moore, a team member and planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California. Winds could transport it towards the equator, where it would settle out, much as dusty winds blowing across Mars deposit sand seas.
Other areas on Pluto seem to be a mishmash of material that is neither bright like Sputnik Planum nor dark like Cthulhu. “There’s a lot of stuff on Pluto that doesn’t look a whole lot like anything else we’ve ever seen,”. That includes ‘snakeskin’ terrain that may have been sharpened into bladelike ridges over time as material froze and then sublimated away.
Many of the general themes of Pluto discoveries have already been revealed in New Horizons press briefings, but today’s paper, published in Science, is the first formal record of the mission’s scientific results. It includes details as seemingly mundane as Pluto’s size—2,374 kilometres across, plus or minus 8 kilometres—that other scientists can use to refine their understanding of properties such as heat flow within the dwarf planet.
Mission scientists also found that Pluto is as close to perfectly spherical as New Horizons’ instruments could possibly measure. This suggests that during its early development, the dwarf planet was warm, squishy and mouldable enough to avoid locking into a deformed shape.

Although much of the data from New Horizons still remains to be radioed back, “everything is coming together”,. “We have a much better set of hypotheses for many places on Pluto than we had two months ago.”
Pluto like said above is going into wintertime this when the "air" will freeze on to its surface.I would have love to see Pluto during its summertime.Maybe one day they will have a probe ready to orbit it during this summertime!

Planetary scientists have suspected for months the presence of water on Pluto in the form of towering ice mountains.
But it wasn't until recently that they had solid proof, and the discovery is raising intriguing questions about the color and location of the water ice.
The latest images of Pluto, released on Thursday, are the first to reveal patches of frozen water on its surface. And adding to the growing list of Pluto mysteries, neither the color nor location of water ice on Pluto is what the scientists were expecting.
The most recent photo, shown below, offers an especially intriguing view of both the oldest and newest surfaces on Pluto: To the left of the close-up shot is the most heavily cratered region on Pluto, which scientists suspect is extremely old.

To the far right, however, you can see the dividing outline of Pluto's iconic heart-shaped region, informally named Tombaugh Regio — the water ice is identified in falsely colored blue:
The false colors in the image above help scientists differentiate between the water ice on Pluto and the other ices, such as nitrogen, methane, and carbon-dioxide ice.
In reality, the water ice on Pluto is red, not blue like in the photo or clear like it is here on Earth. And scientists are dumbfounded as to why.
They don't yet understand the relationship between water ice and the reddish tholin colorants on Pluto's surface.The "tholin colorants" that Protopapa is referring to are a type of molecule that are generally red in color and form when organic compounds — which have nothing to do with life in this case — are blasted with ultraviolet light from the sun. Pluto's atmosphere is rich with tholins, but whether the red-tinted water ice on Pluto's surface contains any of them remains an unanswered question.
Another mystery concerning water ice on Pluto is its location.

When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew by Pluto on July 14, it focused on this intriguing part of the dwarf planet that has since mystified scientists as to how geologically diverse it is — with four mountain ranges, a vast expanse of craters, and smooth plateaus, Pluto is one of the most geologically diverse places in the solar system. Which is amazing when you conside Pluto small size!!
When scientists first saw the mountains on Pluto, their immediate conclusion was that the mountains must be made of water ice because that's the only kind of ice strong enough to support mountains over 10,000 feet tall.

Now, they can give themselves a pat on the back because this latest image reveals a large amount of water ice in one of the mountain.

There appears to be a vast expanse of ice in the mysterious crack featured on the far left and in the heavily cratered patch, called Viking Terra, to the north.

"Large expanses of Pluto don't show exposed water ice, because it's apparently masked by other, more volatile ices across most of the planet.
Since its closest approach to Pluto, the New Horizons spacecraft has traveled an additional 500 million miles and is now 3.1 billion miles from Earth.
NASA Eyeing Venus, Asteroids for Next Low-Cost Robotic Mission
NASA is zeroing in on Venus and asteroids as potential targets for its next low-cost robotic exploration mission or missions, which will launch by the end of 2021.

The space agency has chosen five finalists for the next launch opportunity in its Discovery Program, which funds highly focused missions to destinations throughout the solar system. Two of the selected concepts would visit Venus, while asteroids are the objects of interest for the other three.

"The selected investigations have the potential to reveal much about the formation of our solar system and its dynamic processes," former astronaut John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington, said in a statement Wednesday (Sept. 30)

Dynamic and exciting missions like these hold promise to unravel the mysteries of our solar system and inspire future generations of explorers," Grunsfeld added. "It's an incredible time for science, and NASA is leading the way."

The teams behind the five proposals will receive $3 million each to perform design studies and analyses over the next year. NASA will then make its final selection in September 2016, choosing one or two of the concepts to proceed to launch in 2020 or 2021.

Any mission that is ultimately selected will cost about $500 million, not including launch costs or the costs of post-launch operations, NASA officials said.

The five finalists are:
VERITAS (Venus Emissivity, Radio Science, InSAR, Topography, and Spectroscopy)
This orbiter would return high-resolution topographic data and photos of the entire surface of Venus, allowing mission team members to generate maps of the planet's deformation and surface composition. The principal investigator (PI) is Suzanne Smrekar of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California; JPL would manage the mission.
DAVINCI (Deep Atmosphere Venus Investigation of Noble gases, Chemistry, and Imaging)
DAVINCI is an atmospheric probe that would study the composition of Venus' thick air during an hourlong descent. DAVINCI would help scientists determine if Venus possesses active volcanoes and shed light on how the planet's surface and atmosphere interact, NASA officials said. Lori Glaze of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is the PI; Goddard would manage the mission. No pic for this one!

This mission would send a spacecraft out to the asteroid belt to study the metallic asteroid Psyche, one of the strangest objects in the solar system. Scientists think the 155-mile-wide (250 km) Psyche is the core of a protoplanet that was exposed after a violent hit-and-run collision in the ancient past. Linda Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State is the PI of the mission, which would be managed by JPL.

NEOCam (Near Earth Object Camera)
Photo to big for the site!
NEOCam is an infrared space telescope that would launch to the Earth-sun Lagrange Point 1 — a gravitationally stable spot about 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) from Earth — to hunt for potentially hazardous asteroids.

The mission would discover about 10 times more near-Earth objects than have been found to date, NASA officials said. Amy Mainzer of JPL is the PI, and JPL would manage the mission.

This mission would study Trojan asteroids, which circle the sun on the same path as Jupiter. These space rocks were likely captured into their current orbits long ago, during the planet-formation period, and could therefore hold clues about the solar system's early days, NASA officials said. Harold Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado is the PI; NASA Goddard would manage the mission.
The Discovery Program asked researchers to submit proposals in November 2014 for the next launch opportunity, and 27 teams threw their hats into the ring. The submissions that didn't make it to the final round include a life-hunting mission to Saturn's ocean-harboring moon Enceladus, a mission to Jupiter's volcanic moon Io, and several projects that would have explored Mars' two tiny moons, Phobos and Deimos.

The Discovery Program, which was created in 1992, has developed a dozen missions to date, including the MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) probe and Dawn, which is currently orbiting the dwarf planet Ceres.

Mars InSIGHT (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) will be the next Discovery mission to reach space; the lander is scheduled to launch in September 2016, on a mission to probe the Red Planet's interior.
I find a pic enlarge it when you open it

Addition info about VERITAS (spacecraft)
The primary mission goals, accomplished by seven objectives, require two instruments and a gravity science investigation over a 2-year orbital mission.

VEM (Venus Emissivity Mapper) maps surface emissivity using six spectral bands in five atmospheric windows that see through the clouds. It would be provided by the German Aerospace Center (DLR)[

VISAR (Venus Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) generates a DEM (digital elevation model) with an accuracy of 250 m horizontal by 5 m height.

Gravity science is carried out using the spacecraft's telecom system. The mission design also enables the opportunity to send a nanosat probe into the atmosphere of Venus, carrying a mass spectrometer to sample the noble gases and their isotopes.
NASA is look at a space probe to Uranus or Neptune-Flyby or Orbiter,each one has its good and bad point.A flyby will be the cheaper and fastest way to get to the planet and than after flyby Neptune it could be redirect to a number of KBO object. They pick Neptune because of it has a Pluto size moon with air Triton(more Pluto like) plus the planet itself is very active.
The orbiter would take lots of time to get there maybe 8 years this is because of weight plus a probe to land on Triton with a probe.The interest in going to the these 2 planets is the fact Kepler discover a great number of the exo planet system,plus they are more ice and rock than Jupiter and Saturn are made out of gas.But one thing is stop this cash! Until they get other mission done there is no cash to do this plus the launch rocket isn't done let.Plus the james webb telescope space telescope is take money from other program this is because Congress try to short hand NASA by not giving them the right amount of cash to do it right the first time.One time they did give NASA the cash but they cancel a few mission by not giving the money for the projects,One was a project between the USA and ESA,this left the ESA to regroup and find fund todo it.
Maybe after they get the JWT and the Mars Rover done with.
I would pick a orbiter because the other orbiter has made some great discovery for Jupiter,Saturn,Mars,the moon,asteroid. Cassini spend 11 years around Saturn making discovery after discovery.A orbiter can just stay and pick up details that a flyby miss.
They decide to pick Uranus but to save cash they will used model from past mission,in this case it may look like New Horizon(flyby Pluto). Maybe if approve and funded so far it just study between ESA and NASA.

Or they might do a space probe design just for this mission

This depend on One Thing Cash.This is just for info,no funding.
New Horizon is all set up to make another flyby of a KBO called 2014 MU69, which lies more than 1 billion miles beyond Pluto.

A artist Viewpoint!
The probe will study 2014 MU69 up close in January 2019, if NASA approves an extended mission.They had to set the flyby up before asking for funding.The New Horizons team plans to submit a mission-extension application to NASA early next year. If the agency gives the go-ahead, New Horizons will zoom by 2014 MU69 on Jan. 1, 2019, coming even closer to that body than the probe got to Pluto (7,750 miles,) this past July 14. Both objects lie in the Kuiper Belt, the ring of icy bodies beyond Neptune's orbit.
New Horizons is healthy and now on course to make the first exploration of a building block of small planets like Pluto, and we're excited to propose its exploration to NASA,"

New Horizons is currently about 3.2 billion miles (5.1 billion km) from Earth and 895 million miles (1.44 billion km) from 2014 MU69, NASA officials said. The spacecraft continues to beam home data from the Pluto flyby. All of this information should be on the ground by next September or so, mission team members have said.