science & space

Felix Baumgartner Jump from Space GoPro Footage

Newly released first person footage of Felix Baumgartner’s Jump from Space GoPro. “Sometimes you have to go very high in order to realize how small you really are.” -Felix Baumgartner In October 2012 we watched Felix Baumgartner, an Austrian daredevil, achieve and endeavor a…

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Astronaut Uses 3D Printer to Make Socket Wrench


Astronaut Uses 3D Printer to Make Socket Wrench

This article titled “ISS astronaut uses 3D printer to make socket wrench in space” was written by Guardian staff, for on Saturday 20th December 2014 03.03 UTC

Astronauts on the International Space Station have used a zero-gravity 3D printer to produce a working socket wrench complete with ratchet action – using digital plans that were emailed to the station by Nasa mission control on Earth.

Engineers at Made in Space, which built the experimental printer, overheard space station astronaut Barry “Butch” Wilmore mention on the radio that he needed a socket wrench. The company used computer-aided design (CAD) to draw up plans, produced an earthbound version of the spanner for safety certification by Nasa, then had the plans relayed to the ISS, where it took four hours to print out the finished product.

“The socket wrench we just manufactured is the first object we designed on the ground and sent digitally to space, on the fly,” said Made In Space founder Mike Chen.

“We designed one in CAD and sent it up to him faster than a rocket ever could have.

“It also marks the end of our first experiment – a sequence of 21 prints that together make up the first tools and objects ever manufactured off the surface of the Earth.”

The 3D printer was delivered to the ISS two months ago and the first thing it made was a sample component for itself. The space agency hopes to one day use the technology to make parts for broken equipment in space.

The company plans to replace the orbiting demo machine with a bigger commercial printer next year. The European Space Agency plans to fly its own 3D printer in 2015. Meanwhile the ratchet and other items made by the ISS printer will be returned to Earth for detailed comparison with corresponding parts produced on the ground. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Featured Free Book: The Atomic Sea: An Epic of Fantasy and Science Fiction by Jack Conner

Featured Free Book: The Atomic Sea: An Epic of Fantasy and Science Fiction by Jack Conner

Featured Free Book: Book is free from 12/14/2014 until 12/16/2014 If the dates are the same, book is free one day only.

About the Book
Epic adventure in a strange world by bestselling author Jack Conner.

A thousand years ago, the sea began to change, and the change spread. Now the boiling, toxic, lightning-wreathed Atomic Sea has encompassed every ocean on the planet, and the creatures that live…

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Station Experiment May Hold Key to Alzheimer's Cause.

An experiment housed in a 4-inch cube destined for launch to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX CRS-5 cargo resupply mission could become a key step in the progress toward understanding Alzheimer’s disease and similar conditions and ultimately figuring out a way to stop…

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Curiosity rover's discovery of methane ‘spikes’ on Mars


Curiosity rover’s discovery of methane ‘spikes’ on Mars

This article titled “Curiosity rover’s discovery of methane ‘spikes’ fuels speculation of life on Mars” was written by Ian Sample and agencies, for The Guardian on Wednesday 17th December 2014 08.35 UTC

Nasa’s robotic rover, Curiosity, has detected fluctuating wafts of methane on Mars, fuelling speculation that the gas may be coming from a form of life on the red planet.

An instrument on the six-wheeled robot measured mysterious spikes of methane that cannot easily be explained by geology or organic material transported to the planet by comets or asteroids.

“That we detect methane in the atmosphere on Mars is not an argument that we have found evidence of life on Mars, but it’s one of the few hypotheses that we can propose that we must consider,” John Grotzinger, a scientist on the Curiosity team, told the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco. “Large organic molecules present in ancient rocks on Mars is also not an argument that there was once life on ancient Mars, but it is the kind of material you’d look for if life had ever originated on Mars.”

The instrument recorded a 10-fold increase in methane in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in powdered rock collected by the rover’s drill, the first definitive detection of organics in surface materials of Mars. These organics could either have formed on Mars or landed on Mars via meteorites.

“This temporary increase in methane, sharply up and then back down, tells us there must be some relatively localised source,” said Sushil Atreya, of the Curiosity science team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.”

Mars satellites have detected plumes of methane from the surface before, but none as extraordinary as the sudden venting of the gas measured at Gale Crater, where evidence suggests water once flowed billions of years ago.

Curiosity, one of Nasa’s two Mars exploration rovers, landed in the 96-mile-wide crater in August 2012 and has been exploring the region since. Last year the US space agency reported that Gale contained the remains of an ancient freshwater lake that may have been a hospitable environment for life in the distant past.

A computer-generated image of the Curiosity rover. Photograph: Nasa/PA

The latest discovery, reported in the journal Science, followed studies of gas samples by Curiosity’s tunable laser spectrometer (TAS), which uses intense light to carry out chemical analysis. It revealed a low background level of methane which spiked over 60 Martian days.

In four sequential measurements, Curiosity showed the methane level soaring from about 0.69 parts per billion by volume (ppbv) to 7.2 ppbv. The spikes occurred within 200 to 300 metres of each other and less than a kilometre from where the lower readings were detected.

By the time Curiosity had travelled a further kilometre, the higher methane levels had disappeared. Researchers led by Chris Webster at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, wrote: “The persistence of the high methane values over 60 sols (Martian days) and their sudden drop 47 sols later is not consistent with a well-mixed event, but rather with a local production or venting that, once terminated, disperses quickly.”

The wind direction indicated a source to the north of the rover.

Life is the chief producer of methane on Earth, but many non-biological processes can generate the gas.

The low background level of methane detected by Curiosity could be explained by the Sun’s rays degrading organic material possibly deposited by meteors, the Nasa scientists said. But the spikes of methane required an additional source, which was unlikely to be a recent impact by a comet or asteroid. Such an object would have had to measure several metres across and would have left a large crater, no sign of which was visible.

The short timescale of the methane spikes did not suggest the gas was released from volcanic deposits trapped in ice, called clathrates. Nor did it appear to come from the release of gaseous methane that had become bound to the soil.

The Nasa authors were cautious about jumping to conclusions, but concluded that “methanogenesis” – the formation of methane by microbial bugs known as methanogens – may be one answer to the riddle.

“Our measurements spanning a full Mars year indicate that trace quantities of methane are being generated on Mars by more than one mechanism or a combination of proposed mechanisms – including methanogenesis either today or released from past reservoirs, or both.”

Monica Grady, a planetary scientist at Open University, said: “They have repeated their measurements over an extended period of time, and performed careful calibrations, so I’m sure the data are good.

“They consider several different origins, including destruction by UV radiation of in-falling organic material from interplanetary dust and meteorites, release from clathrates and even methane-generating bugs. Without additional data, such as knowing the carbon and hydrogen isotopic composition of the gas, it is difficult to assign a specific source. My own preference, based on nothing other than instinct, would be to go for clathrates rather than bugs.”

Gale Crater

Gale Crater, on the Martian equator, was created when a large meteor struck the planet 3.5bn to 3.8bn years ago. At its centre is a high mountain, named Mount Sharp, that rises 18,000ft above the crater floor. Flowing water appears to have carved channels in the sides of the mountain and the crater walls.

Another major discovery by Curiosity was that of water bound in the fine-grained soil within the crater. Each cubic foot of Martian soil was found to contain around two pints of water, not freely accessible but attached to minerals.

The rover has reached the base of Mount Sharp and over the coming months will begin a slow ascent. Scientists are keen to explore the mountain because its sedimentary layers provide snapshots of Martian history.

The question of whether there is, or was, life on Mars may finally be answered by the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission, which will land a 300kg rover there in 2019. It will be equipped with a two-metre drill and the ability to detect biomarkers of life. It will not be heading for Gale Crater, however. Because it will land with less precision than Curiosity, the crater and its mountain are considered too potentially hazardous. © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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Watch iOS 6 Morph Into iOS 7 in one GIF

issues are going to change once iOS 7 hits your iPhone next week. does not matter if you’re buying the brand new iPhone 5C or 5S or no longer, all those icons you will have gotten used to will morph into brighter, flatter and larger variations of what . best possible part about this GIF though? Scott Forstall’s creepy smile morphing into Jony Ive’s stone cold staredown. you’re going to LIKE IOS 7. 

things are going to vary once iOS 7 hits your iPhone next week. would not matter if you are shopping for the brand new iPhone 5C or 5S or now not, all these icons you’ve got gotten used to will morph into brighter, flatter and larger versions of what you realize. easiest section about this GIF although? Scott Forstall’s creepy smile morphing into Jony Ive’s stone chilly staredown. you’ll LIKE IOS 7.

Microgravity Helping Us Understand Immune System’s Tiny Warriors.

Scary threats to human health dominate the news these days. Space travel may help scientists strengthen our bodies’ ability to fight such threats. Two upcoming studies on leukocytes—human defense cells—seek to understand how these tiny warriors mount their defense. Immune system cells after oxyg…

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Space travel is a bit safer than expected.

Analysis of data from the MATROSHKA experiment, the first comprehensive measurements of long-term exposure of astronauts to cosmic radiation, has now been completed. This experiment, carried out on board and outside of the International Space Station, showed that the cosmos may be less hostile…

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At Earth & Space Science Laboratory FPMIPA UPI

🌆🌙⭐ – at Earth & Space Science Laboratory FPMIPA UPI with Fauzan, Dhea, Muhamad, SitiNuraisah, Fitria Dwi, Adan, Naufal, Ardi, Akurr, and Gisela – See on Path.