Super Pressure Balloon launched by NASA

#NASA #space #EUSO #SuperPressureBalloon #cosmicRays #Atmosphere #UVfluorescence

NASA on it’s third attempt, successfully launched its super pressure balloon from New Zealand as the weather conditions were appropriate. The balloon is almost the size of a football stadium, having a volume of 532,000 cubic-meters, and carries a suspended payload of 2,495 kgs.

The mission that will run for 100 days or more, will help detect cosmic rays from beyond our galaxy as they penetrate the Earth’s atmosphere. Flying at an altitude of 33.5 km in the Southern Hemisphere, the balloon will observe the Earth’s atmosphere to detect UV fluorescence that are created when high-energy cosmic rays interact with the nitrogen molecules in the air.

Once the mission is completed successfully, the main objective of EUSO project, Extreme Universe Space Observatory, is to fly from an even higher altitude on the International Space Station to observe a greater atmospheric area for detecting high-energy cosmic rays.

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Such scientific studies are the initial steps towards discovery and innovation.

Atmosphere around Earth-like planet.

#Atmosphere #planet #Earth #habitable #star #GJ1132b #life #space

A planet 1.4 times the size of Earth known as GJ 1132b, is 39 light years away. It was observed that this planet is cloaked in a thick layer of gases which can be either water or methane or a mixture of both. However, the surface temperature of this planet is 370 degree Celsius, which makes it unlikely to sustain any life.

The planet lies in the Vela constellation in the southern hemisphere, and the star that this planet orbits is much smaller and cooler than our sun. Considering the high surface temperature, the distance between the star and this planet must be really small.

Researchers believe that even though life might not seem possible on GJ 1132b, they have been able to conclude that planets around low mass stars can have atmospheres, and because of the large possibility of such stars, there can be as many opportunities of finding a habitable planet or one with extra-terrestrial life forms.

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This makes it a step closer for finding a suitable location for humans to survive!

Solar wind turned Mars into what it is today

#Mars #space #MAVEN #exploration #atmosphere #planet

Mars also had a dense atmosphere, similar to Earth’s, about 4 billion years ago. This atmosphere kept the planet warm and wet, but somehow the Mars atmosphere became vulnerable to the solar wind (probably because of the loss of the planet’s magnetic field), which resulted energized particles in the solar wind to strip off Mars’ atmosphere.

The atmosphere in Mars is still believed to be shrinking, considering that it has already lost 66 percent of the Argon in its atmosphere from the amount it had 4 billion years ago. Mar’s atmosphere was and is dominated by carbon dioxide.

The above information was collected by the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft, which is one of the eight satellites/rovers currently operating around/in Mars.

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Japan launches junk collector in space for Trial

The space has been accumulating cosmic junk caused by over half a century of space exploration. Around more than 500,000 pieces of “space junk” are being tracked by NASA currently. This “space junk” includes millions of tiny fragments of old satellites and spent rocket stages. Not only that, but many of these fragments travel at speeds up to 17,500 mph, which can cause a great deal of damage on a satellite or even the ISS.

Due to the potential problem of a collision of space junk, many space agencies are trying to figure out a solution. Japan’s space agency (JAXA) launched Kounotori 6 on Friday, that will deliver a magnetic tether. The tether is made of stainless steel and aluminum. The true purpose of the tether is to generate enough slowing effect to influence the trajectory of space debris, and let it redirect it towards Earth’s atmosphere. After travelling close to Earth’s atmosphere, the space debris will burn up.

Currently the length of the tether is 700 meters only. If the trial is successful then the length will eventually increase to 5,000 or 10,000 meters said Nitto Seimo’s engineer Katsuya Suzuki.

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