california institute of technology

Illusions in the Cosmic Clouds: Pareidolia is the psychological phenomenon where people see recognizable shapes in clouds, rock formations, or otherwise unrelated objects or data. There are many examples of this phenomenon on Earth and in space.

When an image from NASAs Chandra X-ray Observatory of PSR B1509-58 a spinning neutron star surrounded by a cloud of energetic particles was released in 2009, it quickly gained attention because many saw a hand-like structure in the X-ray emission.

In a new image of the system, X-rays from Chandra in gold are seen along with infrared data from NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer telescope in red, green and blue. Pareidolia may strike again as some people report seeing a shape of a face in WISEs infrared data. What do you see?

NASAs Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, also took a picture of the neutron star nebula in 2014, using higher-energy X-rays than Chandra.

PSR B1509-58 is about 17,000 light-years from Earth.

JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the WISE mission for NASA. NASAs Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Chandra program for. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory in Cambridge, Massachusetts, controls Chandras science and flight operations.

Image Credit: X-ray: NASA/CXC/SAO; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech

js

NASA SELECTS MISSION TO STUDY THE CHURNING CHAOS IN OUR MILKY WAY & BEYOND

NASA has selected a science mission that will measure emissions from the interstellar medium, which is the cosmic material found between stars. This data will help scientists determine the life cycle of interstellar gas in our Milky Way galaxy, witness the formation and destruction of star-forming clouds, and understand the dynamics and gas flow in the vicinity of the center of our galaxy.

The Galactic/Extragalactic ULDB Spectroscopic Terahertz Observatory (GUSTO) mission, led by principal investigator of the University of Arizona, Christopher Walker, will fly an ultralong-duration balloon (ULDB) carrying a telescope with carbon, oxygen and nitrogen emission line detectors. This unique combination of data will provide the spectral and spatial resolution information needed for Walker and his team to untangle the complexities of the interstellar medium, and map out large sections of the plane of our Milky Way galaxy and the nearby galaxy known as the Large Magellanic Cloud.

“GUSTO will provide the first complete study of all phases of the stellar life cycle, from the formation of molecular clouds, through star birth and evolution, to the formation of gas clouds and the re-initiation of the cycle,” said Paul Hertz, astrophysics division director in the Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “NASA has a great history of launching observatories in the Astrophysics Explorers Program with new and unique observational capabilities. GUSTO continues that tradition.”

The mission is targeted for launch in 2021 from McMurdo, Antarctica, and is expected to stay in the air between 100 to 170 days, depending on weather conditions. It will cost approximately $40 million, including the balloon launch funding and the cost of post-launch operations and data analysis.

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, is providing the mission operations, and the balloon platform where the instruments are mounted, known as the gondola. The University of Arizona in Tucson will provide the GUSTO telescope and instrument, which will incorporate detector technologies from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Arizona State University in Tempe, and SRON Netherlands Institute for Space Research.

NASA’s Astrophysics Explorers Program requested proposals for mission of opportunity investigations in September 2014. A panel of NASA and other scientists and engineers reviewed two mission of opportunity concept studies selected from the eight proposals submitted at that time, and NASA has determined that GUSTO has the best potential for excellent science return with a feasible development plan.



7

G E N E R A T I O N   K I L L   A U   |   T h e   M a r t i a n

         ↳ meet the crew

  • CDR. Nathaniel Fick; Fick graduated with honors from the US Naval Academy. He will be the youngest commander to lead a mission to Mars.
  • Brad Colbert; Colbert graduated high school at sixteen, and won NASA’s largest hackathon at seventeen before moving on to MIT for dual undergraduate degrees in math and computer science. 
  • Ray Person; Person applied to the NASA Astronaut Candidate Program and was selected for his outstanding academic accomplishments, dedication and service to community, and an exemplary record of professional achievements.
  • Walt Hasser; Hasser holds a master’s degree in both chemistry and astrophysics as well as a doctorate in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology. A noted scientist and experience astronaut, he will serve as the navigtor on the Hermes.
  • Antonio Espera; Espera earned a bachelor of science in astronautical engineering at the United States Air Force Academy. He now joins the Ares 3 crew as pilot after eleven decorated years of service in the United States Air Force.
  • DR. Timothy Bryan; Bryan graduated cum laude from the Yale School of Medicine. Since joining NASA, Timothy Bryan has made two trips to SpaceXStation and completed five spacewalks (EVAs.)

Sunlight truly has come to Saturn’s north pole. The whole northern region is bathed in sunlight in this view from late 2016, feeble though the light may be at Saturn’s distant domain in the solar system.

The hexagon-shaped jet-stream is fully illuminated here. In this image, the planet appears darker in regions where the cloud deck is lower, such the region interior to the hexagon. Mission experts on Saturn’s atmosphere are taking advantage of the season and Cassini’s favorable viewing geometry to study this and other weather patterns as Saturn’s northern hemisphere approaches Summer solstice.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 51 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Sept. 9, 2016 using a spectral filter which preferentially admits wavelengths of near-infrared light centered at 728 nanometers.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 750,000 miles (1.2 million kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 46 miles (74 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute, Cassini

Time And Space

en.wikipedia.org
2016 in science - Wikipedia

A few samples:

7 January: Mathematicians, as part of the Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search, report the discovery of a new prime number: 274,207,281 − 1.

14 January:  Astronomers report that ASASSN-15lh, first observed in June 2015, is likely the brightest supernova ever detected. Twice as luminous as the previous record holder, at peak detonation it was as bright as 570 billion Suns

18 January: Light-activated nanoparticles able to kill over 90% of antibiotic-resistant bacteria are demonstrated at the University of Colorado Boulder.

20 January: Astronomers at the California Institute of Technology present the strongest evidence yet that a ninth planet is present in the Solar System, orbiting the Sun every 15,000 years.

26 January: Researchers at the University of Washington announce a new handheld, pen-sized microscope that could identify cancer cells in doctor’s offices and operating rooms.

27 January: Google announces a breakthrough in artificial intelligence with a program able to beat the European champion of the board game Go.

28 January: Research into the nature of time by Griffith University’s Centre for Quantum Dynamics shows how an asymmetry for time reversal might be responsible for making the universe move forward in time.

11 February: Scientists at the LIGO, Virgo and GEO600 announce the first direct detection of a gravitational wave predicted by the general relativity theory of Albert Einstein.

13 April: A quadriplegic man, Ian Burkhart from Ohio, is able to perform complex functional movements with his fingers after a chip was implanted in his brain.

20 June:  China introduces the Sunway TaihuLight, the world’s fastest supercomputer, capable of 93 petaflops and a peak performance of 125 petaflops.

30 June:The first known death caused by a self-driving car is disclosed by Tesla Motors.

4 July: NASA scientists announce the arrival of the Juno spacecraft at the planet Jupiter.

5 July: China completes construction on the world’s largest radio telescope.

2 May:  A study in PNAS concludes that Earth may be home to 1 trillion species, with 99.999 percent remaining undiscovered.

10 May: NASA’s Kepler mission verifies 1,284 new exoplanets – the single largest finding of planets to date.

18 May: At the I/O developer conference, Google reveals it has been working on a new chip, known as the Tensor Processing Unit (TPU), which delivers “an order of magnitude higher performance per watt than all commercially available GPUs and FPGA.

3 June June: NASA and ESA jointly announce that the Universe is expanding 5% to 9% faster than previously thought, after using the Hubble Space Telescope to measure the distance to stars in 19 galaxies beyond the Milky Way.

27 July:  Neonicotinoids, the world’s most widely used insecticide, are found to reduce bee sperm counts by almost 40%, as well as cutting the lifespan of bee drones by a third.

29 July:The seafloor in the Clarion-Clipperton Zone – an area in the Pacific Ocean being targeted for deep-sea mining – is found to contain an abundance and diversity of life, with more than half of the species collected being new to science.

4 August: A team at the University of Oxford achieves a quantum logic gate with record-breaking 99.9% precision, reaching the benchmark required to build a quantum computer.

5 August: Research by Imperial College London suggests that a new form of light can be created by binding it to a single electron, combining the properties of both.

11 August: The Greenland shark (Somniosus microcephalus) is found to be the longest-lived vertebrate, able to reach a lifespan of nearly 400 years.

10 September:The second largest meteorite ever found is exhumed near Gancedo, Argentina. It weighs 30 tonnes and fell to Earth around 2000 BC.

16 September: The development of 1 terabit-per-second transmission rates over optical fiber is announced by Nokia Bell Labs, Deutsche Telekom T-Labs and the Technical University of Munich.

21 September: Scientists report that, based on human DNA genetic studies, all non-African humans in the world today can be traced to a single population that exited Africa between 50,000 and 80,000 years ago.

11 October: Scientists identify the maximum human lifespan at an average age of 115, with an absolute upper limit of 125 years old.

4 November: Researchers in the UK announce a genetically modified "superwheat” that increases the efficiency of photosynthesis to boost yields by 20 to 40 percent. Field trials are expected in 2017.

8 November: Lab-grown mini lungs, developed from stem cells, are successfully transplanted into mice by researchers at the University of Michigan Health System.

13 November: The University of East Anglia reports that global emissions of CO2 did not grow in 2015 and are projected to rise only slightly in 2016, marking three years of almost no growth.

28 November: Scientists at the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially recognizes names for four new chemical elements: Nihonium, Nh, 113; Moscovium, Mc, 115; Tennessine, Ts, 117 and Oganesson, Og, 118.

15 December: Scientists use a new form of gene therapy to partially reverse aging in mice. After six weeks of treatment, the animals looked younger, had straighter spines and better cardiovascular health, healed quicker when injured, and lived 30% longer.

22 December: A study finds the VSV-EBOV vaccine against the Ebola virus between 70–100% effective, and thus making it the first proven vaccine against the disease. 

and a lot more…

Ava Helen Pauling (1903-1981) was a peace activist involved in numerous causes, particularly concerning the rights of women and minorities, as well as international peace. She introduced her husband, Linus Pauling, to the field of peace studies, for which he received the Nobel Prize in 1962.

She studied home economics and chemistry, and went on to work as a laboratory assistant at the California Institute of Technology. She was a member of multiple women’s rights groups, and helped organize the “Women’s Peace March” in Europe. She also campaigned heavily for nuclear disarmament, which eventually led to the end of above-ground testing of nuclear weapons.

Read the essay of a student who got into all 8 Ivy League schools, Stanford, MIT, and Caltech

(Martin AltenburgMartin Altenburg)
Martin Altenburg, a 17-year-old from Fargo, North Dakota, achieved the impressive feat of gaining acceptance into every single Ivy League college.

He also gained acceptance into Stanford University, The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, The California Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago.

The high-school senior had stellar standardized test scores — a 35 on the ACT — and a demonstrated interest in the sciences, attending a selective program at MIT during the summer of his junior year.

For his Common Application admissions essay, Altenburg, who competes as a three-sport athlete in cross country, track, and swimming, chose to write about the thoughts that race through his head while on a distance run.

He graciously shared his essay with Business Insider. It’s reprinted verbatim below.

“My favorite time to run is at night. 

"This particular run in early August brought a break to the humid, muggy weather I left on the East Coast. I used my body as a human psychrometer, knowing that the cold feeling of evaporating sweat signaled much needed dry air. 

"I cross over the bridge into Minnesota. Out of my three sports, cross country is definitely my worst — but I continue to be hooked on it. Unlike swimming and track, my motivation to run is heavily intrinsic. I live for the long runs I take on by myself. While they rarely happen during our season, we were assigned a long run to complete over our first weekend of cross country. In reality, I was supposed to go six miles, but felt eight gave me more time to explore the home I had just returned to. My mind begins to wander as I once again find my rhythm.

"My train of thought while running is similar to the way one thinks in the minutes before sleep — except one has more control over how these thoughts progress and what tangents they move off of. While special relativity would be the "proper” thing to think about, especially at MITES, I revive the violin repertoire I had turned away from for so long and begin playing it in my head. I’m now at the edge of town in between the cornfields. The streaming floodlights on the open road give me a sense of lonely curiosity, reminiscent of the opening lines of Wieniawski’s first violin concerto. I come up with adaptations of the melody in my head, experimenting with an atonality similar to Stravinsky’s. 

“I turn south onto a highway heading towards downtown. The dark night sky is broken by the oncoming light pollution. While I’ve longed for a road trip across the country, the neon lights from Sunset Lanes will have to do for Las Vegas. Turning west, I see a man and perk up as I try to look more menacing than I really am. But I relinquish. I realize that I did such an act simply because of the color of his skin. I kick myself for reverting to passive racism — something I spent much of the summer trying to overcome. 

"The bridge over Main Avenue leads me back into North Dakota and downtown Fargo. My city is on the eve of its annual pride week — the largest in North Dakota. Beyond the rainbow flags lining downtown, I see the Catholic cathedral I attend every Sunday outside of the summer. The juxtaposition brings back memories of trying to come to terms with my own beliefs. The conservatism on my mom’s side of the family often clashes with the more liberal views of my dad’s family. Fargo is known for its "nice” attitude, but the discussion of controversial issues is often set aside in favor of maintaining peace. On the surface this can be good, but it makes change a long and cumbersome process, and has caused me to become very independent in finding my own belief system — something especially difficult when these beliefs may have to do with your future identity. 

“The remaining part of my run is short and uneventful. The fact that the traffic lights have switched to blinking yellow and red means that I have been out later than usual. When I get home, I find that my run took somewhere around an hour — I honestly don’t care about time during my distance runs. Longs runs are often seen as a runner battling the distance rather than time. But for me, long runs are a journey — both physically and mentally. Each time I run a route, I understand my surroundings and city more and more, and couldn’t be more excited and sad to know that I’m leaving this place in a year’s time.”

NOW WATCH: After listening to 74 books on Audible I am convinced it is a better way to ‘read’



More From Business Insider

Like a cosmic bull’s-eye, Enceladus and Tethys line up almost perfectly for Cassini’s cameras.

Since the two moons are not only aligned, but also at relatively similar distances from Cassini, the apparent sizes in this image are a good approximation of the relative sizes of Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) and Tethys (660 miles or 1,062 kilometers across).

This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from 0.34 degrees below the ring plane. The image was taken in red light with the Cassini spacecraft narrow-angle camera on Sept. 24, 2015.

The image was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.3 million miles (2.1 million kilometers) from Enceladus. Image scale on Enceladus is 7 miles (12 kilometers) per pixel. Tethys was at a distance of 1.6 million miles (2.6 million kilometers) with a pixel scale of 10 miles (16 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

Time And Space

Saturn’s icy moon Mimas is dwarfed by the planet’s enormous rings.

Because Mimas (near lower left) appears tiny by comparison, it might seem that the rings would be far more massive, but this is not the case. Scientists think the rings are no more than a few times as massive as Mimas, or perhaps just a fraction of Mimas’ mass. Cassini is expected to determine the mass of Saturn’s rings to within just a few hundredths of Mimas’ mass as the mission winds down by tracking radio signals from the spacecraft as it flies close to the rings.andnbsp;andnbsp;

The rings, which are made of small, icy particles spread over a vast area, are extremely thin ‘“ generally no thicker than the height of a house. Thus, despite their giant proportions, the rings contain a surprisingly small amount of material.

Mimas is 246 miles (396 kilometers) wide.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 6 degrees above the ring plane. The image was taken in red light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on July 21, 2016.

The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 564,000 miles (907,000 kilometers) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 31 degrees. Image scale is 34 miles (54 kilometers) per pixel.

The Cassini mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA (the European Space Agency) and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Cassini

Time And Space

Astronomers are homing in on the whereabouts of a hidden giant planet in our solar system, and could discover the unseen beast in roughly a year.

The hunt is on to find “Planet Nine”—a large undiscovered world, perhaps 10 times as massive as Earth and four times its size—that scientists think could be lurking in the outer solar system. After Konstantin Batygin and Mike Brown, two planetary scientists from the California Institute of Technology, presented evidence for its existence this January, other teams have searched for further proof by analyzing archived images and proposing new observations to find it with the world’s largest telescopes.

Just this month, evidence from the Cassini spacecraft orbiting Saturn helped close in on the missing planet. Many experts suspect that within as little as a year someone will spot the unseen world, which would be a monumental discovery that changes the way we view our solar system and our place in the cosmos. “Evidence is mounting that something unusual is out there.


Read the essay of a student who got into all 8 Ivy League schools, Stanford, MIT, and Caltech

(Martin Altenburg.Martin Altenburg)
Martin Altenburg, a 17-year-old from Fargo, North Dakota, achieved the impressive feat of gaining acceptance into every Ivy League college.

He also gained acceptance into Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the California Institute of Technology, and the University of Chicago.

The high-school senior had stellar standardized-test scores — a 35 on the ACT — and a demonstrated interest in the sciences, attending a selective program at MIT during the summer of his junior year.

For his Common Application admissions essay, Altenburg, who also competes in cross country, track, and swimming, chose to write about the thoughts that race through his head on a distance run.

He graciously shared his essay with Business Insider. It’s reprinted verbatim below.

My favorite time to run is at night.

This particular run in early August brought a break to the humid, muggy weather I left on the East Coast. I used my body as a human psychrometer, knowing that the cold feeling of evaporating sweat signaled much needed dry air.

I cross over the bridge into Minnesota. Out of my three sports, cross country is definitely my worst — but I continue to be hooked on it. Unlike swimming and track, my motivation to run is heavily intrinsic. I live for the long runs I take on by myself. While they rarely happen during our season, we were assigned a long run to complete over our first weekend of cross country. In reality, I was supposed to go six miles, but felt eight gave me more time to explore the home I had just returned to. My mind begins to wander as I once again find my rhythm.

My train of thought while running is similar to the way one thinks in the minutes before sleep — except one has more control over how these thoughts progress and what tangents they move off of. While special relativity would be the “proper” thing to think about, especially at MITES, I revive the violin repertoire I had turned away from for so long and begin playing it in my head. I’m now at the edge of town in between the cornfields. The streaming floodlights on the open road give me a sense of lonely curiosity, reminiscent of the opening lines of Wieniawski’s first violin concerto. I come up with adaptations of the melody in my head, experimenting with an atonality similar to Stravinsky’s.

I turn south onto a highway heading towards downtown. The dark night sky is broken by the oncoming light pollution. While I’ve longed for a road trip across the country, the neon lights from Sunset Lanes will have to do for Las Vegas. Turning west, I see a man and perk up as I try to look more menacing than I really am. But I relinquish. I realize that I did such an act simply because of the color of his skin. I kick myself for reverting to passive racism — something I spent much of the summer trying to overcome.

The bridge over Main Avenue leads me back into North Dakota and downtown Fargo. My city is on the eve of its annual pride week — the largest in North Dakota. Beyond the rainbow flags lining downtown, I see the Catholic cathedral I attend every Sunday outside of the summer. The juxtaposition brings back memories of trying to come to terms with my own beliefs. The conservatism on my mom’s side of the family often clashes with the more liberal views of my dad’s family. Fargo is known for its “nice” attitude, but the discussion of controversial issues is often set aside in favor of maintaining peace. On the surface this can be good, but it makes change a long and cumbersome process, and has caused me to become very independent in finding my own belief system — something especially difficult when these beliefs may have to do with your future identity.

The remaining part of my run is short and uneventful. The fact that the traffic lights have switched to blinking yellow and red means that I have been out later than usual. When I get home, I find that my run took somewhere around an hour — I honestly don’t care about time during my distance runs. Longs runs are often seen as a runner battling the distance rather than time. But for me, long runs are a journey — both physically and mentally. Each time I run a route, I understand my surroundings and city more and more, and couldn’t be more excited and sad to know that I’m leaving this place in a year’s time.

NOW WATCH: How to relieve back pain if you’re sitting all day at work



More From Business Insider
4

So we’ve all seen the first two photos: Hiro has obviously GROWN from the time Tadashi is alive to the time when the plot gets moving and Hiro moves out of his depressive state… but the question is, how long was our baby child in a state of depression?

A little research helped this along for me (simple google searches etc) and here’s what I found:

Going off of Caltech (California Institute of Technology, which I assumed would have basically the same frame as SFIT would) : Application Process is done by January 3, the Spring Semester begins on March 30. The fall semester begins mid September.

K, great to know! But I was confused. If Hiro applied in January and got accepted, why were there trees in full bloom with Tadashi (picture 3) and cherry blossom trees in full bloom after his depressive state (picture 4)? I live in Ontario Canada, and January is cold and snow, so was this in the summer? But then there’s the cherry blossoms, which come in spring… not fall, when school usually starts. Excuse my ignorance, but I had to consult the interweb some more.

So, google search helped me know weather in San Francisco:

Weather: Cherry blossoms bloom in spring- April to May. January still has trees in full bloom in San Francisco and is a very wet month.

Conclusion? If we go off of a regular school’s calendar as well as San Francisco weather patterns, it can be assumed that the Showcase was in January. In San Francisco and along the warm south-east cost, trees still have full foliage in the winter months. January is also a very wet month in San Francisco; hence rain at Tadashi’s funeral. Hiro was alone and depressed from January to May, when the Spring semester starts. His friends are all super smart so they would have assumedly all been at school for the spring semester too. Also, we see many cherry blossom trees in bloom. Cherry blossom trees bloom April- May. Now why Hiro was accepted into the Spring and not Fall semester is up for debate, but it he probably got some kind of early acceptance. Callaghan recognized his uniquely genius mind and probably used his superiority to get Hiro in ASAP. Maybe he even recognized that Hiro would want to be with Tadashi at school most of the time anyways so he put him right in. That may also be another reason a school like SFIT would call a few times to say that Hiro is still welcome. On average, if a regular college/ university student doesn’t show up for classes, they get an email, if that. See, if they’ve already paid it’s there loss, not the school’s if they don’t show up. This leads to wondering why SFIT actually called Hiro more than once to say he’s still welcome to come!  So Hiro got some kind of special acceptance and personal loss is understood in schools as reason for absence, but SFIT probably wanted Hiro to know that the offer still stands. They wanted him in their school. They could see that he’s an extremely valuable student to have.  

All that jubberjabber asside, here’s the real thing to take away: Hiro grew over five months of being alone in a state of depression. Our baby child was depressed for FIVE MONTHS people! This is NOT okay!!

This false-color view from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft shows clouds in Saturn’s northern hemisphere. The view was produced by space imaging enthusiast Kevin M. Gill, who also happens to be an engineer at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The view was made using images taken by Cassini’s wide-angle camera on July 20, 2016, using a combination of spectral filters sensitive to infrared light at 750, 727 and 619 nanometers.

Filters like these, which are sensitive to absorption and scattering of sunlight by methane in Saturn’s atmosphere, have been useful throughout Cassini’s mission for determining the structure and depth of cloud features in the atmosphere.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colorado.

Object Names:Infrared Saturn Clouds

Image Type:  Astronomical

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/Kevin M. Gill/Cassini

Time And Space

SKY REPORTER: Mars Fever!

I recently read: “NASA to Announce Mars Mystery Solved” and it made my heart beat faster. Had proof of Martian life been found? If not living, breathing, and pumping out methane, at least some solid evidentiary trace from eons ago—that could be the greatest scientific discovery ever. However, the heralded news conference September 28, led by James L. Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, revealed no such evidence. Nevertheless, details were revealed about a place on the red planet where water recently flowed—not the ultimate revelation but perhaps a step in that direction.

For years it’s been known Mars’s atmosphere contains traces of water vapor, and during a five month period in 2008 water ice was found by the Phoenix Laboratory after gently setting down at northern Martian latitude 68.22°. It’s an icy place, whimsically dubbed Green Valley indicating a relatively safe landing site as opposed to a rock strewn, dangerous area for a spacecraft.

Phoenix discovered a frozen water layer five to eighteen centimeters beneath the surface after digging with the laboratory’s robotic arm. Minerals and salts amounting to several percent of the soil’s weight that only could have been formed in water were also identified. At the end of that Martian summer, snow and ice began covering the site and subsequently destroyed the lander’s ability to communicate with Earth.

Despite previous knowledge about water on Mars, recognition of recently flowing water was a big step in our quest for evidence of possible extraterrestrial life. Streaks about 100 yards long, described as “recurring slope lineae, or RSL” are visible on images of Horowitz Crater at 32.04° S 219.36° W. The crater was named after Norman Horowitz, a geneticist at the California Institute of Technology, who designed Pyrolytic Release experiments aboard Viking lander craft that reached Mars in 1976. That mission initiated the first direct analysis of Martian surface properties and specifically looked for biosignatures of microbial life. Initial reports of positive results spurred enduring debate, general denial, and motivation for more direct experimentation.

Read more from the SKY REPORTER

GIF: NASA/JPL

anonymous asked:

Hello! I have to sit for a History test at Architecture college and Alvar Aalto and the new empirism is what I chose to be my subject of study. Can you give me some advice on what building/s should I study? Would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance!

I could only find one good article on the subject: The New Empiricism-Bay Region-Axis: Kay Fisker and Postwar Debates on Fuctionalism, Regionalism, and Monumentality by Stanford Anderson. In brief: Danish architect Kay Fisker is presented as a representative figure in the post-World War II architectural debates on functionalism, regionalism, and monumentality. Fisker participated in a trans-atlantic exchange on these matters that linked Scandinavia, the English conception of “new empiricism,” and the teaching and architectural practice associated with two noted American schools at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California at Berkeley.

I would start by reading the article and probably researching the following projects: At MIT alone, Anderson’s Swimming Pool, Aalto’s Baker House (above), and Eero Saarinen’s Chapel (below) posed alternatives without risking denigration as “cottage style.”

This image, acquired on Nov. 24, 2015 by theHigh Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows the western side of an elongated pit depression in the eastern Noctis Labyrinthus region of Mars. Along the pit’s upper wall is a light-toned layered deposit. Noctis Labyrinthus is a huge region of tectonically controlled valleys located at the western end of the Valles Marineris canyon system.

Spectra extracted from the light-toned deposit by the spacecraft’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) instrument are consistent with the mineral jarosite, which is a potassium and iron hydrous sulfate. On Earth, jarosite can form in ore deposits or from alteration near volcanic vents, and indicates an oxidizing and acidic environment. The Opportunity rover discovered jarosite at the Meridiani Planum landing site, and jarosite has been found at several other locations on Mars, indicating that it is a common mineral on the Red Planet.

The jarosite-bearing deposit observed here could indicate acidic aqueous conditions within a volcanic system in Noctis Labyrinthus. Above the light-toned jarosite deposit is a mantle of finely layered darker-toned material. CRISM spectra do not indicate this upper darker-toned mantle is hydrated. The deposit appears to drape over the pre-existing topography, suggesting it represents an airfall deposit from either atmospheric dust or volcanic ash.

The University of Arizona, Tucson, operates HiRISE, which was built by Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., Boulder, Colo. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona/ Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Caption: Cathy Weitz

Time And Space

anonymous asked:

Wait what!! Can you explain the string theory

Here is an explanation by John H. Schwarz, California Institute of Technology:

String theory proposes that the fundamental constituents of the universe are one-dimensional “strings” rather than point-like particles. What we perceive as particles are actually vibrations in loops of string, each with its own characteristic frequency.

String theory originated as an attempt to describe the interactions of particles such as protons. It has since developed into something much more ambitious: an approach to the construction of a complete unified theory of all fundamental particles and forces.

Previous attempts to unify physics have had trouble incorporating gravity with the other forces. String theory not only embraces gravity but requires it. String theory also requires six or seven extra dimensions of space, and it contains ways of relating large extra dimensions to small ones. The study of string theory has also led to the concept of supersymmetry, which would double the number of elementary particles.

Practitioners are optimistic that string theory will eventually make predictions that can be experimentally tested. String theory has already had a big impact on pure mathematics, cosmology (the study of the universe), and the way particle physicists interpret experiments, by suggesting new approaches and possibilities to explore.

Supermassive Black Hole Has Major Flare

Nothing  escapes a Black Hole, not even light itself, right? Well…

New observations from NASA’s two space telescopes Swift and the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) caught a supermassive black hole in the midst of a giant eruption of X-ray light, helping astronomers address an ongoing puzzle: How do supermassive black holes flare?

The results suggest that supermassive black holes send out beams of X-rays when their surrounding coronas – sources of extremely energetic particles – shoot, or launch, away from the black holes.

“This is the first time we have been able to link the launching of the corona to a flare,” said Dan Wilkins of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Canada, lead author of a new paper on the results appearing in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. “This will help us understand how supermassive black holes power some of the brightest objects in the universe.”

Supermassive black holes don’t give off any light themselves, but they are often encircled by disks of hot, glowing material. The gravity of a black hole pulls swirling gas into it, heating this material and causing it to shine with different types of light. Another source of radiation near a black hole is the corona. Coronas are made up of highly energetic particles that generate X-ray light, but details about their appearance, and how they form, are unclear.

Keep reading

2

NASA’S CURIOSITY ROVER TEAM CONFIRMS ANCIENT LAKES ON MARS A new study from the team behind NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity has confirmed that Mars was once, billions of years ago, capable of storing water in lakes over an extended period of time. Using data from the Curiosity rover, the team has determined that, long ago, water helped deposit sediment into Gale Crater, where the rover landed more than three years ago. The sediment deposited as layers that formed the foundation for Mount Sharp, the mountain found in the middle of the crater today. “Observations from the rover suggest that a series of long-lived streams and lakes existed at some point between about 3.8 to 3.3 billion years ago, delivering sediment that slowly built up the lower layers of Mount Sharp,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and co-author of the new Science article to be published Friday, Oct. 9. The findings build upon previous work that suggested there were ancient lakes on Mars, and add to the unfolding story of a wet Mars, both past and present. Last month, NASA scientists confirmed current water flows on Mars. “What we thought we knew about water on Mars is constantly being put to the test,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It’s clear that the Mars of billions of years ago more closely resembled Earth than it does today. Our challenge is to figure out how this more clement Mars was even possible, and what happened to that wetter Mars.” Before Curiosity landed on Mars in 2012, scientists proposed that Gale Crater had filled with layers of sediments. Some hypotheses were “dry,” suggesting that sediment accumulated from wind-blown dust and sand. Others focused on the possibility that sediment layers were deposited in ancient lakes. The latest results from Curiosity indicate that these wetter scenarios were correct for the lower portions of Mount Sharp. Based on the new analysis, the filling of at least the bottom layers of the mountain occurred mostly by ancient rivers and lakes over a period of less than 500 million years. “During the traverse of Gale, we have noticed patterns in the geology where we saw evidence of ancient fast-moving streams with coarser gravel, as well as places where streams appear to have emptied out into bodies of standing water,” Vasavada said. “The prediction was that we should start seeing water-deposited, fine-grained rocks closer to Mount Sharp. Now that we’ve arrived, we’re seeing finely laminated mudstones in abundance that look like lake deposits.” The mudstone indicates the presence of bodies of standing water in the form of lakes that remained for long periods of time, possibly repeatedly expanding and contracting during hundreds to millions of years. These lakes deposited the sediment that eventually formed the lower portion of the mountain. “Paradoxically, where there is a mountain today there was once a basin, and it was sometimes filled with water,” said John Grotzinger, the former project scientist for Mars Science Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, and lead author of the new report. “We see evidence of about 250 feet (75 meters) of sedimentary fill, and based on mapping data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and images from Curiosity’s camera, it appears that the water-transported sedimentary deposition could have extended at least 500 to 650 feet (150 to 200) meters above the crater floor.” Furthermore, the total thickness of sedimentary deposits in Gale Crater that indicate interaction with water could extend higher still, perhaps up to one-half mile (800 meters) above the crater floor. Above 800 meters, Mount Sharp shows no evidence of hydrated strata, and that is the bulk of what forms Mount Sharp. Grotzinger suggests that perhaps this later segment of the crater’s history may have been dominated by dry, wind-driven deposits, as was once imagined for the lower part explored by Curiosity. A lingering question surrounds the original source of the water that carried sediment into the crater. For flowing water to have existed on the surface, Mars must have had a thicker atmosphere and warmer climate than has been theorized for the ancient era when Gale Crater experienced the intense geological activity. However, current models of this paleoclimate have, literally, come up dry. At least some of the water may have been supplied to the lakes by snowfall and rain in the highlands of the Gale Crater rim. Some have made the argument that there was an ocean in the plains north of the crater, but that does not explain how the water managed to exist as a liquid for extended periods of time on the surface. “We have tended to think of Mars as being simple,” Grotzinger mused. “We once thought of the Earth as being simple too. But the more you look into it, questions come up because you’re beginning to fathom the real complexity of what we see on Mars. This is a good time to go back to reevaluate all our assumptions. Something is missing somewhere.” TOP IMAGE….Strata at Base of Mount Sharp A view from the “Kimberley” formation on Mars taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover. The strata in the foreground dip towards the base of Mount Sharp, indicating flow of water toward a basin that existed before the larger bulk of the mountain formed. The colors are adjusted so that rocks look approximately as they would if they were on Earth, to help geologists interpret the rocks. This “white balancing” to adjust for the lighting on Mars overly compensates for the absence of blue on Mars, making the sky appear light blue and sometimes giving dark, black rocks a blue cast. This image was taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Curiosity on the 580th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. LOWER IMAGE….Secrets of ‘Hidden Valley’ on Mars An image taken at the “Hidden Valley” site, en-route to Mount Sharp, by NASA’s Curiosity rover. A variety of mudstone strata in the area indicate a lakebed deposit, with river- and stream-related deposits nearby. Decoding the history of how these sedimentary rocks were formed, and during what period of time, was a key component in the confirming of the role of water and sedimentation in the formation of the floor of Gale Crater and Mount Sharp. This image was taken by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Curiosity on the 703rd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, built and operates Curiosity’s Mastcam. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, built the rover and manages the project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, Washington.