Source: http://www.nasa.gov/ & https://www.youtube.com
Orion's journey to the pad for its first flight test began about two years ago, when the vehicle first arrived at the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building high bay at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Inside this building, the Orion team of NASA and Lockheed Martin engineers and technicians spent countless hours and days building up the spacecraft, putting it through a series of tests, installing the heat shield, stacking it atop the service module, fueling it and installing the Launch Abort System. Then it made the trek to the Space Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.
Source: http://www.nasa.gov/ & https://www.youtube.com
In the cold depths of Russia's northeastern Chukotka region, Magadan-based photographer Ivan Kislov captures colorful signs of life in the snow through his breathtaking images of foxes in the wild. Kislov, who enjoys hiking to distant spots and photographing wildlife in between his long shifts as a mining engineer, presents a stunning look at the foxes who live and hunt in the icy region.
Set against the vast, empty landscape, Kislov's furry subjects display a wonderful personality and spirit, simultaneously playful, mischievous, affectionate, and fierce. Although Kislov photographs all sorts of wild animals, from reindeer to bears to wolves, he says that foxes make for some very willing models, thanks to their curiosity and bold nature. He tells Bored Panda, "Foxes are curious and can come very close, and I shoot with wide angle and telephoto lenses."
An international team of paleontologists headed by Marco Marzola from the New University of Lisbon, Portugal, has discovered nearly 70 fossilized tracks of dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals and crocodiles in the large diamond mine Catoca in northeast Angola.
All the tracks were found in a small sedimentary basin that formed in the crater of a kimberlite pipe, dated at about 118 million years ago (Early Cretaceous).
The most important of these finds are those whose morphology is attributable to a large mammalian trackmaker, the size of a modern raccoon. There is no evidence from bones or teeth of such a large Early Cretaceous mammal from Africa or elsewhere in the world.
“The track sizes, proportions, digit lengths and divarications are similar to the Late Triassic to Middle Jurassic ichnogenus Ameghinichnus; however, the average length of 2.7 cm and width of 3.2 cm suggest the track-maker was as big as a modern raccoon,” Marco Marzola and his colleagues reported in a presentation at the 74th Annual Meeting of the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology.
“Exceptionally large for its time, it is comparable in size to Repenomamus, the largest known Cretaceous mammal body-fossil, with a total length up to 68 cm.”
“The tracks are much too large to have been produced by Early Cretaceous Abelodon from Cameroon, or the gondwanathere reported from Tanzania.”
Another trackway was attributed to an ancient crocodile and has a unique laterally rotated handprint.
In addition, 18 dinosaur tracks were found nearby, one of which preserves a skin impression. These are the first dinosaur tracks found in Angola.
For almost 8 months, the Catoca mine stopped mining the sector, in order to make the study possible.
On 26 September 2005, NASA/ESA Cassini spacecraft received the equivalent of a 200-volt electric shock from Hyperion’s electrostatically charged surface, even though the objects were over 2,000 km apart, says a team of scientists led by Tom Nordheim of University College London, UK. The finding represents the first confirmed detection of a charged surface on an object other than our Moon, although it is predicted to occur on many different bodies, including asteroids and comets.
Hyperion is an irregularly shaped outer moon of Saturn, with dimensions of 180 × 133 × 103 km and a mean radius of 133 km. It has a bizarre, sponge-like appearance owing to its unusually porous interior.
The only close flyby of Hyperion by the Cassini spacecraft occurred on 26 September 2005, when the spacecraft passed within 520 km of the moon’s surface.
Approximately 6 minutes before the closest approach, the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer on board the spacecraft detected a beam of electrons coming from the moon’s surface.
At the same time, Cassini’s Radio and Plasma Wave instrument detected intense plasma wave fluctuations caused by the electron beam.
The Cassini project team at the time realized that something odd was happening, but the evidence of Hyperion’s charging only became clear when Tom Nordheim and his colleagues revisited data from past flybys whilst studying the interaction between Saturn’s magnetosphere and its many icy moons.
Their study, published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, reports that Cassini was briefly magnetically connected to the surface of Hyperion, allowing it to be caught by a beam of negatively charged particles coming from the moon’s electrostatically charged surface.
Left: predicted surface potential versus solar zenith angle for Hyperion (red), and for Tethys, Dione, and Rhea, for comparison. Right: Cassini orbiter remotely detected a strongly negative surface potential (minus 200 volts) on Hyperion, consistent with the predicted electrostatic charge in regions near the moon’s terminator – the day-night boundary. Image credit: T. A. Nordheim et al.
Static electricity is known to play an important role on Earth’s airless, dusty Moon, but evidence of surface charging on other objects in the Solar System has been elusive until now.
“The surface of Hyperion becomes charged when exposed to ultraviolet light from the Sun and plasma, which contains charged particles, in Saturn’s magnetosphere – the invisible, movable bubble generated by the planet’s internal magnetic field,” Tom Nordheim explained.
“The large difference in potential between the surface and the spacecraft resulted in a flow of electrons being accelerated from Hyperion toward Cassini,” he added.
“It was rather like Cassini receiving a 200-volt electric shock from Hyperion, even though they were over 2,000 km apart at the time. The alignment between the two was just right for us to be able to detect this fairly rare event. If Cassini had been in a different location during the flyby, the electron beam would not have been detected.”
Although Cassini mission controllers have detected no signs that the Hyperion electron beam caused damage to the spacecraft, strong electric charging effects could prove to be a hazard to future robotic and human explorers at planetary objects without atmospheres, where they could create the potential for powerful electrostatic discharges.
Researchers reveal the nova was about 14,800 light years from the sun, meaning the explosion witnessed in August last year happened 15,000 years ago.
A team of astronomers have captured the first images of a thermonuclear fireball from a nova star, allowing them to track the explosion as it expanded.
The nova was detected last year in the constellation Delphinus by the Chara Array infrared telescope in the US.
Researchers from 17 institutions around the world, including the University of Sydney and the Australian National University, analysed the resulting data.
It revealed with “unprecedented clarity” how the fireball evolves as the gas fuelling it expands and cools, Professor Peter Tuthill, a co-author on the study, said.
“We haven’t had the ability to witness such exquisite magnification or high resolution of images until very recently, when we started building these powerful Array telescopes,” Tuthill, from the University of Sydney’s Institute for Astronomy, said.
“These explosions are quite unusual events caused by a white dwarf star, which is a burned-out remnant of a star made of very dense material – a teaspoon full of this stuff weighs tonnes.
“The white dwarf star is like a mosquito that buzzes around the companion star, slowly sucking hydrogen from its companion through a little gravitational straw.”
This created an “ocean” of hydrogen on its surface a few hundred metres thick, Tuthill said, with the pressure at bottom of the ocean eventually reaching critical mass and triggering a thermonuclear explosion called a nova.
“You get a fireball, like a massive hydrogen bomb that propagates outwards,” he said.
Despite the massive detonation, the white dwarf escapes relatively unscathed and continues to circle around its host accumulating more matter so the cycle can repeat again.
Measuring the expansion allowed researchers to establish the nova was about 14,800 light years away from the sun, meaning that the explosion witnessed in August 2013 actually took place nearly 15,000 years ago.
When last measured 43 days after the detonation, the nova had expanded nearly 20-fold, at a velocity of more than 600km per second, the research led by astronomer Gail Schaefer from Georgia State University, found.
The findings were published in the prestigious international journal Nature on Monday.