NASA Wants To Send A Submarine To Explore Seas Of Saturn's Moon Titan

Scientists are investigating the idea of sending a submarine to “explore the liquid methane seas of Saturn’s Moon Titan.” NASA is investigating the idea of sending a submarine to “explore the liquid methane seas of Saturn’s Moon Titan.” The vehicle, which is being developed under the agency’s Innovative Advanced Concepts Program, has been designed to “autonomously carry out detailed scientific investigations under the surface of Kraken Mare.” This body of water is Titan’s largest sea to the north with a span of about 621 miles and a depth of about 984 feet. In a diagram linked to Phase II of the project, the submarine includes features such as a hydrodynamic skin, meteorology sensor, and four thrusters. Meanwhile, a NASA Glenn Research Center video shows a simulation where the vehicle would be able to quickly analyze objects on the seafloor. According to Mental Floss, should the concept become real, the earliest launch would likely be in 2040.

NGC 3576: The Statue of Liberty Nebula

(via APOD; Image Credit & Copyright: S. Mazlin, J. Harvey, R. Gilbert, & D. Verschatse (SSRO/PROMPT/UNC) )

What’s happening in the Statue of Liberty nebula? Bright stars and interesting molecules are forming and being liberated. The complex nebula resides in the star forming region called RCW 57. This image showcases dense knots of dark interstellar dust, bright stars that have formed in the past few million years, fields of glowing hydrogen gas ionized by these stars, and great loops of gas expelled by dying stars. A detailed study of NGC 3576, also known as NGC 3582 and NGC 3584, uncovered at least 33 massive stars in the end stages of formation, and the clear presence of the complex carbon molecules known as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). PAHs are thought to be created in the cooling gas of star forming regions, and their development in the Sun’s formation nebula five billion years ago may have been an important step in the development of life on Earth. The featured image was taken at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory in Chile.

Astronomers discover dizzying spin of the Milky Way Halo

Astronomers at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA) discovered for the first time that the hot gas in the halo of the Milky Way galaxy is spinning in the same direction and at comparable speed as the galaxy’s disk, which contains our stars, planets, gas, and dust. This new knowledge sheds light on how individual atoms have assembled into stars, planets, and galaxies like our own, and what the future holds for these galaxies.

“This flies in the face of expectations,” says Edmund Hodges-Kluck, assistant research scientist. “People just assumed that the disk of the Milky Way spins while this enormous reservoir of hot gas is stationary-but that is wrong. This hot gas reservoir is rotating as well, just not quite as fast as the disk.”

The new NASA-funded research using the archival data obtained by XMM-Newton, a European Space Agency telescope, was recently published in the Astrophysical Journal. The study focuses on our galaxy’s hot gaseous halo, which is several times larger than the Milky Way disk and composed of ionized plasma.

Read more ~ SpaceDaily

Image: Artist’s impression. Our Milky Way galaxy and its small companion galaxies are surrounded by a giant halo of million-degree gas (seen in blue in this artist’s rendition) that is only visible to X-ray telescopes in space. U-M astronomers discovered that this massive hot halo spins in the same direction as the Milky Way disk and at a comparable speed.
   Credit: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss/Ohio State/A. Gupta et al.

The NASA Village

Today in the NASA Village… A Cleanup Lesson

When she is not training astronauts, Mari Forrestel works in Mission Control as an Environmental and Thermal Operating Systems Specialist.

Mari had an early interest in space ever since she was a little girl and her father would tell stories about working in the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico during the time when SETI was being conducted by Carl Sagan in the 70s. She is living out her childhood dreams today.

Today we had a ventilation and clean up lesson. The cleanup part is tricky and happens with the fan similar to the mockup below and a filter after having a combustion or fire event on board station. Obviously, in a confined environment the contaminants from a fire would not be healthy to breath. One of the first automatic software responses resulting after a fire event, is to shut down ventilation systems, so that we do not spread containments throughout the station. But we have to clean up the air using a number of different resources.

On a more routine basis (every Saturday), we wipe down surfaces and vacuum. In space, different from the ground, dust/lint collects on all surfaces, including the walls and even the ceiling!  

Get the inside scoop on cleaning in space from Chris Hadfield.

Ever thought about how much a pain it would be to not have gravity keep things where you put them? One of the side benefits of cleaning, is finding things you lost, or the crew before you lost, or the crew before that. The air flow through the stations results in ventilation ducts serving as the “lost and found” spots, where everything that is lost travels to…eventually.

Next time on the NASA Village… Food in Orbit: Is it Science or Art?

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