Tag Archives: NASA

Babylon 5 solar system bears striking resemblance to our own


The number of planetary systems discovered seems to grow on a daily basis, but most of them are wildly different to our own solar system. Now a team of University of Arizona researchers led by Kate Su have used NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) flying observatory to take a closer look at a system 10.5 light years away and discovered it has a familiar general structure.


The star in question is Epsilon Eridani (ε Eri) in the southern hemisphere of the constellation of Eridanus. Its previous claims to fame were as the setting for the sci fi television series Babylon 5 and the disputed location of Star Trek‘s planet Vulcan. It’s also been the subject of several early studies seeking extrasolar planets and was even monitored in the 1960s by Project Ozma as a possible source of extraterrestrial intelligence.

Much of the previous work on Epsilon Eridani involved the Spitzer Space Telescope, but SOFIA is over twice the size of Spitzer, has three times the resolution, and can operate in the infrared at wavelengths between 25 and 40 microns. What this meant was that SOFIA could discern much smaller details, especially from warm materials, than before, which suggested an alternative model to the one provided by Spitzer’s data.


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NASA astronaut: Space toilet inspires ‘sheer terror’

Forget motion sickness and adjusting to microgravity. Astronaut Jack Fischer is most worried about facing the space station’s intimidating bathroom facilities.

On Thursday, NASA astronaut Jack Fischer is scheduled to embark on his first voyage to the International Space Station. He’s excited to be working on a variety of experiments, including ones dealing with plant growth and bone growth, but he’s less than thrilled about the prospect of using the loo in microgravity.

In a NASA Q&A, Fischer reveals what he expects his greatest challenge will be. He says it’s the toilet. “It’s all about suction, it’s really difficult, and I’m a bit terrified,” Fischer says.

In case you think Fischer is exaggerating his toilet trepidation, here’s NASA description of how the commode functions: “The toilet basically works like a vacuum cleaner with fans that suck air and waste into the commode.” It also requires the use of leg restraints.

“Unlike most things, you just can’t train for that on the ground,” Fischer says, “so I approach my space-toilet activities with respect, preparation and a healthy dose of sheer terror.”


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Stunning Space Station photo of glowing auroras

Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) photographed brightly glowing auroras from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station on March 27, 2017. (ESA/NASA)
Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency (ESA) photographed brightly glowing auroras from his vantage point aboard the International Space Station on March 27, 2017. (ESA/NASA)

NASA has released an amazing photo show by Expedition 50 Flight Engineer Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency, who photographed bright auroras from the International Space Station on March 27, 2017.

“The view at night recently has been simply magnificent: few clouds, intense auroras. I can’t look away from the windows,” Pesquet wrote in a tweet that included the image.

Here’s what NASA wrote about the image:

“The dancing lights of the aurora provide stunning views, but also capture the imagination of scientists who study incoming energy and particles from the sun. Aurora are one effect of such energetic particles, which can speed out from the sun both in a steady stream called the solar wind and due to giant eruptions known as coronal mass ejections or CMEs.’

Check out more images from NASA’s Aurora Image Gallery

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You decide – The Best Technical Training for You!



You can make a difference. Applied Technology Institute is scheduling new courses for September 2016 through July 2017. Please let us know which courses you would like to see on our schedule or brought to your facility.

·         If you have a group of 3 or more people, ATI can schedule an open enrollment course in your geographic area.

·         If you have a group of 8 or more, ATI can schedule a course on-site at your facility.

On-site training brings our experts to you — on your schedule, at your location. It also allows us to plan your training in advance and tailor classes directly to your needs.

You can help identify courses to suit your training needs and bring the best short courses to you! ATI courses can help you stay up-to-date with today’s rapidly changing technology.

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ATI courses by technical area:

Satellites & Space-Related courses

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Engineering & Data Analysis courses

Radar, Missiles and Combat Systems courses

Project Management and Systems Engineering courses


Contact us: ATI@ATIcourses.com or (410) 956-8805

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Bounce House For The Astronauts!

Applied Technology Institute offers a variety of course on Space, Satellite & Aerospace Engineering.

When Elon Musk’s SpaceX Dragon cargo ship lifts off from Cape Canaveral on April 8, there’ll be a little treat for the astronauts on the International Space Station nestled among all the supplies and consumables: a whole new room for the ISS! How’d NASA fit an entire room onto a space craft with only as much cargo room as a small U-Haul? The same way you squeeze a camping mattress into the trunk of your car: make it inflatable.

The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module, or BEAM, is about 8 feet in diameter in its compacted state. Once it reaches the ISS and is attached to the wing known as the Tranquility Node, it’ll be filled with air until the aluminum-and-fabric structure swells to 565 cubic feet. It will then spend the next two years attached to the ISS, before being jettisoned and left to burn up in the atmosphere. As NASA says it has no plans to store equipment inside the module, astronauts will presumably use it as a tiny, zero-g bounce house.

BEAM, which was developed in conjunction with Bigelow Aerospace, isn’t going into orbit simply so the astronauts can have a place to let loose their inner child. The module’s main purpose is to serve as a test bed for inflatable space habitats. Astronauts will measure how much radiation is entering the chamber, how much heat is leaking out, and how well it holds air, among other factors.

If the BEAM proves successful at holding its shape and deflecting nasty radiation and micrometeoroids, the basic concept could be a huge breakthrough for future deep-space missions. As anyone who’s read “The Martian” knows, inflatable habitats would be ideal for the lunar or Martian surface; they could be transported and air-dropped in compact form, then blown up to create living space.

NASA has released a quick video showing the basics of how the BEAM will be installed. Don’t worry about pausing that playlist for it, though; there’s no sound. In space, no one can hear you inflate your bounce house.

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Astronauts & Their Pets: How To Care For Your Pet From Space

Applied Technology Institute (ATI Courses) offers a variety of courses on Satellites & Space-Related courses.

We thought this could be of interest to our readers.

Space: the final frontier, the dark expanse, the great unknown. It’s a place only a few brave humans have traveled, and one that mystifies most others. For the astronauts who spend time among the stars, outer space is a realm that offers them amazing and unique experiences.

Full of unknowns, space also offers its fair share of distinct problems. Science Channel’s new showSecret Space Escapes features some of the bizarre and terrifying issues that can occur when you leave Earth. But not all of the struggles of space are this extreme; some are as simple as home sickness or missing your furry best friends.

Three astronauts featured on Secret Space Escapes about how they dealt with being committed spacemen and pet owners.

Image above: Mission Specialist Clayton Anderson made his first shuttle flight on STS-117. Anderson served as a flight engineer on Expeditions 15 and 16.










Clayton Anderson

He was a mission specialist on the STS-117 mission aboard Atlantis.  He stayed on the ISS for five months before returning to earth with the crew of STS-120.

Clayton has two dogs: Cosmo (a mini dachshund) and Lizzy (a dachshund/Yorkie combo).

His main means of communication with his furry friends were video chats.

Astronaut and medical doctor Scott Parazynski was a crewmember on STS-86, the seventh shuttle mission to dock with Mir.









Scott Parazynski

Scott was also on mission STS120.

He is a proud owner or Mare ( a planetary scientist dog). Mare’s name generates from the maria on the moon, the black parts on the moon that you can see with the naked eye.

Scott mainly communicated with Mare via phone calls.

Daniel Toni

Daniel has a total of 132 days in space about ISS.

He has an 18 year old cat named Koshka (Russian for cat) and a dog named Tayto (after the Irish brand of chips).

He doesn’t have a memory of seeing them in a video conference, but he is sure they were around. Like many things, the meowing and barking just go in the background.


All of them would have loved to have their pets in space, but are afraid that potty functions and dog breath could be an issue…





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Unidentified Space Object Will Fall to Earth Nov. 13

An unidentified space object will fall to Earth on Friday Nov. 13, but don’t be alarmed; it poses very little risk.

The unidentified object was first spotted in 2013 by astronomers in Arizona and it was appropriately dubbed WT1190F. It is believed to only be a couple feet in diameter and not very dense, which could mean it’s a leftover piece of a rocket.

The European Space Agency said the object has been orbiting Earth every three weeks in a “highly eccentric, non-circular orbit.”

Both ESA and NASA are excited to see the object reenter Earth’s atmosphere because it’ll help with research. ESA said the event will provide an opportunity to gather data and improve space agencies’ knowledge of how objects interact with Earth’s atmosphere.

“The first goal will be to better understand the reentry of satellites and debris from highly eccentric orbits,” Marco Micheli, astronomer at ESA’s NEO Coordination Centre, said in a statement. “Second, it provides an ideal opportunity to test our readiness for any possible future atmospheric entry events involving an asteroid, since the components of this scenario, from discovery to impact, are all very similar.”

WT1190F is expected to reenter Earth’s atmosphere around 6 p.m. (Sri Lanka time) and fall into the Indian Ocean about 62 miles off the southern coast of Sri Lanka.

Astronomers said the object will put on a spectacular show to those nearby as it turns into a bright strike against the mid-day sky.

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FIGURE CAPTION: More than 20,000 space debris fragments are now orbiting the Earth and presenting serious collision hazards to their companions in space. In 1978 a NASA researcher, Donald Kessler, concluded that, if too many large objects were placed in low altitude orbits around the Earth, successive collisions between them could create a "chain reaction" that would, in turn, create so many additional objects, safe space launches could become impossible for future generations.

For the past 58 years, starting in 1957, mankind has been launching
enormous swarms of satellites and useless space debris in the
vicinity of planet Earth. Many of these fragments swoop around our
home planet at 17,000 miles per hour. When they collide at such high
speeds, huge numbers of space debris fragments are instantly
created many of which continue to circle around the Earth with the
possibility of further collisions.
In the 1978 Donald Kessler, a talented researcher at NASA Houston,
realized that successive collisions could create ever larger swarms of
debris fragments that could, in turn, engage in further collisions to
create even more dangerous fragments. Soon the space around the
Earth would be swarming with dangerous, high-speed metallic
shrapnel. This phenomenon has, in the meantime, then called the
“Kessler Syndrome”. It is similar in concept to the nuclear chain
reactions that make atomic bombs possible. Donald Kessler made
careful estimates of the total tonnage of large objects in Earth orbit
that could end up imprisoning us on our beautiful, blue planet. Flying
space missions through swarms of high-speed debris could become
much too dangerous for anyone to advocate.
Separate studies have indicated that a highly energetic collision at a
speed of about five miles per second (typical for low-altitude impacts)
could create as many as 20 objects per pound of mass involved in
the collision.
What can be done to minimize the probability of a runaway “Kessler
Syndrome” that could, theoretically, imprison all of us on planet
1. We could impose more stringent rules on the launching
satellites and the debris fragments that typically result from such a
launch. Some rules have already been established in conjunction
with space exploration. These could be made more stringent. And
they could be accompanied by fines or other penalties for those who
fail to comply.
2. We could remove existing debris fragments from space to
minimize the hazard of collisions. Some experts envision roving
capture devices (e. g., spaceborne drones) that would rendezvous
with — and remove — useless debris fragments from their orbits and
hurl them back to Earth into remote oceans areas for safe disposal.
3. Ground-based lasers could illuminate selected debris
fragments to push them out of orbit. Serious studies of this approach
have been conducted at NASA headquarters, at NASA Houston, and
at the Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
4. Large debris fragments could be tracked with precision with
ground-based and space-based sensors to pin down their trajectories
to a high degree of accuracy. Probable collisions could then be
predicted and spaceborne devices could be launched to nudge one
or both of the objects onto safe collision-free trajectories. Among
other approaches, puffs of air have been proposed to accomplish
this goal.
In 1978 Donald Kessler managed to develop a highly imaginative
concept now called the Kessler Syndrome. His analysis indicated
that, if we continue on our present path, we could all become
prisoners on planet Earth unable to engage in the safe exploration of
outer space. Fortunately, techniques are available to help mitigate
this worrisome hazard.
Tom Logsdon, who penned this account, tells the story of the space
debris fragments now enveloping planet Earth in his special short
course: “ORBITAL AND LAUNCH MECHANICS” which is being
sponsored by the Applied Technology Institute on January 25 – 28,
2016, in Albuquerque, New Mexico and on March 1 – 4, 2016, in
Columbia, Maryland
These courses, which are lavishly illustrated with 400 full-color
visuals, also include detailed explanations of the counterintuitive
nature of powered flight maneuvers together with explanations of the
new “Superhighways in Space”, and the contrasting philosophies of
Russian and American booster rocket design.
The illustrative calculations included in the course all employ realworld
data values gleaned from the instructor’s professional
experiences in the aerospace industry. Each student will receive a
full-color version of every chart that appears on the screen, several
pamphlets and written explanations of the concepts under review,
and autographed copies of two of Logsdon’s published books.
A few slots are still available in those two classes. Register early to assure your acceptance.


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Halloween asteroid 2015 TB145 will fly by Oct. 31 at 12 p.m. CST

Plenty of people are getting spooked by the news giant asteroid 2015 TB145 is set to buzz by Earth on Halloween night, Oct. 31. There’s no reason to worry about the space happenings on the bewitching night, according to NASA, who is keeping an eye on the space rock they’ve dubbed “The Great Pumpkin.”

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California said they are tracking 2015 TB145 through several optical observatories as well as by radar. The asteroid will fly by the Earth at a safe distance slightly farther than the moon’s orbit on Oct. 31 at around 12:05 p.m. CST. The asteroid, which was only discovered Oct. 10 by the University of Hawaii’s Pan-STARRS-1 system, has a width of about 1,300 feet.

Scientists are excited about the asteroid’s Earth close buzz since it’s the closest currently known approach by an object this large until asteroid 1999 AN10 makes its debut in August 2027. That asteroid is about 2,600 feet wide.

Size aside, the Halloween space rock poses no danger to the Earth, according to NASA.

“The trajectory of 2015 TB145 is well understood,” said Paul Chodas, manager of the Center for Near Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.. “At the point of closest approach, it will be no closer than about 300,000 miles — 480,000 kilometers or 1.3 lunar distances. Even though that is relatively close by celestial standards, it is expected to be fairly faint, so night-sky Earth observers would need at least a small telescope to view it.”

Scientists said the asteroid should have no “detectable effect” on the moon on anything on Earth, including the  tides or tectonic plates.

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