Month: September 2015

Who from Japan wants to go to Mars?

MARSDAILY

NASA Confirms Evidence That Liquid Water Flows on Today’s Mars
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Sep 29, 2015


Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes such as these at Hale Crater are inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on contemporary Mars. The streaks are roughly the length of a football field. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona 

New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.

Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time. They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times.

“Our quest on Mars has been to ‘follow the water,’ in our search for life in the universe, and now we have convincing science that validates what we’ve long suspected,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is a significant development, as it appears to confirm that water – albeit briny – is flowing today on the surface of Mars.”

These downhill flows, known as recurring slope lineae (RSL), often have been described as possibly related to liquid water. The new findings of hydrated salts on the slopes point to what that relationship may be to these dark features.

The hydrated salts would lower the freezing point of a liquid brine, just as salt on roads here on Earth causes ice and snow to melt more rapidly. Scientists say it’s likely a shallow subsurface flow, with enough water wicking to the surface to explain the darkening.

“We found the hydrated salts only when the seasonal features were widest, which suggests that either the dark streaks themselves or a process that forms them is the source of the hydration. In either case, the detection of hydrated salts on these slopes means that water plays a vital role in the formation of these streaks,” said Lujendra Ojha of the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) in Atlanta, lead author of a report on these findings published Sept. 28 by Nature Geoscience.

Ojha first noticed these puzzling features as a University of Arizona undergraduate student in 2010, using images from the MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE). HiRISE observations now have documented RSL at dozens of sites on Mars. The new study pairs HiRISE observations with mineral mapping by MRO’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM).

The spectrometer observations show signatures of hydrated salts at multiple RSL locations, but only when the dark features were relatively wide. When the researchers looked at the same locations and RSL weren’t as extensive, they detected no hydrated salt.

Ojha and his co-authors interpret the spectral signatures as caused by hydrated minerals called perchlorates. The hydrated salts most consistent with the chemical signatures are likely a mixture of magnesium perchlorate, magnesium chlorate and sodium perchlorate.

Some perchlorates have been shown to keep liquids from freezing even when conditions are as cold as minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 70 Celsius). On Earth, naturally produced perchlorates are concentrated in deserts, and some types of perchlorates can be used as rocket propellant.

Perchlorates have previously been seen on Mars. NASA’s Phoenix lander and Curiosity rover both found them in the planet’s soil, and some scientists believe that the Viking missions in the 1970s measured signatures of these salts. However, this study of RSL detected perchlorates, now in hydrated form, in different areas than those explored by the landers. This also is the first time perchlorates have been identified from orbit.

MRO has been examining Mars since 2006 with its six science instruments.
“The ability of MRO to observe for multiple Mars years with a payload able to see the fine detail of these features has enabled findings such as these: first identifying the puzzling seasonal streaks and now making a big step towards explaining what they are,” said Rich Zurek, MRO project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

For Ojha, the new findings are more proof that the mysterious lines he first saw darkening Martian slopes five years ago are, indeed, present-day water.

“When most people talk about water on Mars, they’re usually talking about ancient water or frozen water,” he said. “Now we know there’s more to the story. This is the first spectral detection that unambiguously supports our liquid water-formation hypotheses for RSL.”

The discovery is the latest of many breakthroughs by NASA’s Mars missions.
“It took multiple spacecraft over several years to solve this mystery, and now we know there is liquid water on the surface of this cold, desert planet,” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “It seems that the more we study Mars, the more we learn how life could be supported and where there are resources to support life in the future.”

There are eight co-authors of the Nature Geoscience paper, including Mary Beth Wilhelm at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California and Georgia Tech; CRISM Principal Investigator Scott Murchie of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland; and HiRISE Principal Investigator Alfred McEwen of the University of Arizona Lunar and Planetary Laboratory in Tucson, Arizona. Others are at Georgia Tech, the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, and Laboratoire de Planetologie et Geodynamique in Nantes, France.

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Japan is taking an iPhone to Mars with the Occupy Mars team.

Communication with Mars and Earth

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I am taking my iPhone with me to Mars.

 

The students working on the Occupy Mars Learning Adventures are coming up with creative ways to simulate how we will communicate with each other on Mars. We are experimenting with custom software and the iPhone 6. Bob Barboza has written custom software taking advantage of artificial intelligence.

Our simulated Mars communication software has to include humanoid robots and students located in different countries from around the world. Microsoft is looking at letting on have some Skype telephone here on Earth. We will take full advance of the new iPad Professional. This is only the beginning. We welcome your comments and suggestions.

Suprschool@aol.com

www.KidsTalkRadioLA.com and http://www.KidsTalkRadioWorld.com.

Communications with Earth is relatively straightforward during the half-sol when Earth is above the Martian horizon. NASA and ESA included communications relay equipment in several of the Mars orbiters, so Mars already has communications satellites. While these will eventually wear out, additional orbiters with communication relay capability are likely to be launched before any colonization expeditions are mounted.

The one-way communication delay due to the speed of light ranges from about 3 minutes at closest approach (approximated by perihelion of Mars minus aphelion of Earth) to 22 minutes at the largest possible superior conjunction (approximated by aphelion of Mars plus aphelion of Earth). Real-time communication, such as telephone conversations or Internet Relay Chat, between Earth and Mars would be highly impractical due to the long time lags involved. NASA has found that direct communication can be blocked for about two weeks every synodic period, around the time of superior conjunction when the Sun is directly between Mars and Earth, although the actual duration of the communications blackout varies from mission to mission depending on various factors—such as the amount of link margin designed into the communications system, and the minimum data rate that is acceptable from a mission standpoint. In reality most missions at Mars have had communications blackout periods of the order of a month.

A satellite at the L4 or L5 Earth–Sun Lagrangian point could serve as a relay during this period to solve the problem; even a constellation of communications satellites would be a minor expense in the context of a full colonization program. However, the size and power of the equipment needed for these distances make the L4 and L5 locations unrealistic for relay stations, and the inherent stability of these regions, although beneficial in terms of station-keeping, also attracts dust and asteroids, which could pose a risk. Despite that concern, the STEREO probes passed through the L4 and L5 regions without damage in late 2009.

Recent work by the University of Strathclyde‘s Advanced Space Concepts Laboratory, in collaboration with the European Space Agency, has suggested an alternative relay architecture based on highly non-Keplerian orbits. These are a special kind of orbit produced when continuous low-thrust propulsion, such as that produced from an ion engine or solar sail, modifies the natural trajectory of a spacecraft. Such an orbit would enable continuous communications during solar conjunction by allowing a relay spacecraft to “hover” above Mars, out of the orbital plane of the two planets. Such a relay avoids the problems of satellites stationed at either L4 or L5 by being significantly closer to the surface of Mars while still maintaining continuous communication between the two planets.

Talking About Mars

Astronaut Scott Kelly's Body (A)

NASA, the American space agency, has released an informative infographic, detailing what will happen to astronaut Scott Kelly’s body while he spends a record 12 months in space.

Kelly, along with Russian astronaut Mikhail Kornienko, reached the halfway point of their mission this week, prompting NASA to release the graphic in celebration of his milestone. The two men are to spend a total of 342 days on the International Space Station in order to explore the effects on a human body of spending an extended time in space.

As part of the “Year in Space” program, Kelly’s twin brother, retired astronaut Mike Kelly who has stayed firmly on the earth, is being tested alongside samples periodically gathered from Scott. One of the long-term aims of the experiment is to determine if humans would be able to travel to Mars, which would take approximately 260 days when Earth is at it’s closest approach to the Red Planet. The round trip would take around two and a half years because of the need to wait for the right orbital window for the return journey.

U.S. President Barack Obama has called on the space agency to step up its efforts to reach Earth’s neighbour. “By the mid-2030s, I believe we can send humans to orbit Mars and return them safely to Earth,” Obama said during a 2010 speech at the Kennedy Space Center. “And a landing on Mars will follow. And I expect to be around to see it.”

Among some of the more notable effects and events that Kelly will experience during his year in space include seeing almost 11,000 sunrises and sunsets—compared to the 684 we’ll see on Earth, and that as his discarded feces enter the atmosphere they’ll burn up and look like shooting stars.

Related Articles

Watch: NASA Captures Earth and Moon Moving Across Sun Together for First Time

International Space Station evacuated due to Russian debris

NASA Infographic Reveals Effects of a Year in Space

Calling Teachers and Students you are invited to our NASA Project Star Party

Kids Talk Radio STEM STAR Party

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Our NASA STEM Classroom at 49,000 Feet

Bob Barboza and Kids Talk Radio Science is Hosting A NASA SOFIA STEM STAR Party

 

Tuesday, September 15 6:30 p.m. in the Los Altos United Methodist Church Lounge

Astronomer Jerry Larsen and space science and robotic’s educator Bob Barboza will co-host a live teleconversation with two unique astronauts riding NASA’s 747 jumbo jet to the edge of space. On board will be Star Trek’s Nichelle Nichols and Traveling Space Museum’s Ivor Dawson, peering through NASA’s stratospheric observatory for infrared astronomy (SOFIA). Once we connect with them, we will be able to see into areas of the cosmos where new stars are being born. Astronauts of all ages, as well as curious onlookers are encouraged to attend. For more information visit Bob Barboza websites:

www.KidsTalkRadioLA.com

www.OccupyMars.WordPress.com

www.SuperSchoolSoftware.com

Bring your laptops and connect to our NASA 747.  We have free WiFi at the church.

http://www.Nichelle@Starpower.com

Password: SOFIAParty2015

Location:

Los Altos Methodist Church

5950 East Willow Street

Long Beach, CA 90815

Time: 6:30 PM. to 8:00 PM.

 

Agenda:

  • NASA SOFIA: Photo Essay
  • Space Robots and the Occupy Mars Learning Adventures
  • International Dot Day
  • Astronomy in the Community
  • Hands On Space Telescope Workshop

* STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics)

** STEAM++ (science, technology, engineering, visual and performing arts, mathematics, computer languages and foreign languages).

Why did Japan deliver whiskey to the International Space Station?

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Japan delivers whiskey to space station–for science Updated: Mon, Aug 24 2015, 10:17
Student Assignment:  Do some investigative reporting and get the news about what is going on with this whiskey in space story.
Japan is playing a big roll in the future development of the International Space Station.   They are making contributions to the research and development of the international space program and will play a role in our ability to one day Occupy Mars.
We invite stories from Japan and we have new opportunities for student writers and artists.  Please contact us by writing to Suprschool@aol.com and visiting http://www.OccupyMars.WordPress.com and http://www.KidsTalkRadioWorld.WordPress.com.

Science Fiction Writers from Japan Needed: Write for the Kids Talk Radio Science Show

Wanted Science Fiction Writers

Science Fiction Writiner Wanted

The Kids Talk Radio show in the USA is looking to hire science fiction writers from around the world.   We are working on ten original stories centered around ten aliens that we have created for our new visual jazz opera called, “The Occupy Mars Learning Adventures.” This opportunity is open to students and adults. Students in grades 5 though 12 are welcome.  This project is open to other with a creative mind for science fiction story writing.

Please visit: http://www.OccupyMars.WordPress.com

Send your biography and a one page-writing sample to Suprschool@aol.com. We are happy to answer your e-mail questions.