Blue Orange Moon – January 31st

#calendars #space #moon #celestial #eclipse #lunarevent #skygazing

The moon will turn orange on January 31st to share the sight of a rare celestial spectacle!

Being the second full moon of the month, hence called Blue Moon, and the first eclipse in the new year, this will be quite a view.

The lunar event on January 31st will occur for the first time in 150 years, thereby giving sky-gazers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to view it.

The duration of the total phase is 77 minutes, with the moon tracking through the southern part of the Earth’s shadow.

NASA’s Deep Space Lunar Gateway

#NASA #Space #Moon #DeepSpaceGateway #astronauts #Mars #science

NASA aims to have a Deep space Gateway up and running in the 2020s. The gateway will be located on Moon and have a crew habitat, a propulsion module and an airlock. However, the gateway will be occupied intermittently, rather than continuously like the ISS.

The gateway will enable a variety of missions in Earth-Moon space, and will even help get dirt and rocks from other planets. The basis will be that, there will be a system that will let astronauts go from the Earth to the Moon gateway. From there, the crew can go anywhere with the existing capabilities. However, there is no concrete plan regarding the gateway at present.

NASA has quite a few missions lined up for the 2020s, such as the launching of SLS and completing it’s flight tests with crew onboard, the NASA OSIRIS-REx mission that is aimed at returning a sample of space rock from the asteroid Bennu, the development of new Space suits for the astronauts to be used in Mars and many more.

Read the full article here

This is amazing. Exploration, especially in Space, has no bounds and is worth taking note of, considering that most of the population might be living outside Earth in the next century or so. And it is always filled with unique findings, and who knows, someday we might be able to make contact with friendly-Aliens.

Moon orbiting the dwarf planet 2007 OR10

#moon #dwarfplanet #kuiperbelt #2007OR10 #HubbleTelescope #space

Scientists have discovered a new moon orbiting the dwarf planet 2007 OR10 in the Kuiper Belt using three space observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope. Most of the dwarf planets are larger than 965 kilometers in the Kuiper belt.

Kepler showed that the orbit of 2007 OR10 was 45 hours which was slower than most other rotations in the Kuiper belt, which were less than 24 hours. Scientists believed that this slow movement was caused due to a gravitational tug of a moon.

The astronomers spotted the moon in two separate Hubble observations spaced a year apart. The moon is between 240 to 400 kilometers in diameter, where as the dwarf planet is about 1,528 kilometers in diameter.

Read the full article here

As the technology is becoming more efficient and enhanced, our chances of observing even the smallest space objects are improving. May be someday we will observe an alien or a perfect exoplanet.

ISRO to help India mine energy from Moon

#ISRO #India #energy #space #Moon #LunarDust #Helium3 #Nuclear

After setting a world record of launching 104 satellites in a go, ISRO is taking on another mission for India. ISRO is working on mining lunar dust, which is rich in Helium-3, and transport the material back to India.

According to statistics, the lunar dust on the Moon can supply energy to not only India, but the whole Earth. The lunar dust, which is rich in Helium-3, can be used as Nuclear fuel to provide energy.

This will not only help cut oil imports for the country, but it also wouldn’t release any harmful carbon emissions or radioactive products, thus managing the Carbon dioxide, which we significantly need to, in the air.

Read the full article here

This is amazing. I wish I am able to contribute to ISRO’s program a little by then.

A Saturn moon with life

#Saturn #Cassini #moon #planet #Enceladus #extraterrestrialLife #space

Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus is suspected of having a habitable environment for microbes or other alien life. On earth at least, hydrothermal vents trhive with microbial life, offering up the potential that icy moons far away from Earth could be habitable.

Cassini, a spacecraft in its final months after 13 years of exploring Saturn and its moons, found that levels of Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen and Methane measured in the Enceladus plume were out of equilibrium, an imbalance that could provide an energy source that organisms could tap into for food. Since the atmosphere has Hydrogen in adequate quantities, it would have been released when the water molecules (two Hydrogen atoms and an Oxygen atom makes a water molecule) are broken down. Hence, the probability of microbial life is high.

Although the moon has an icy exterior, with the ice sheet going beneath the surface for up to 5 kms, the substance below it is liquid water. The tidal forces of Saturn pulling and squeezing Enceladus generates enough heat to melt the ice beneath. Enceladus is believed to have a global ocean.

Read the full article here

Glad to know that there is a possibility of life somewhere other than Earth, although life at Enceladus does seem to be at the very initial steps.


How does a Moon-orbiting spaceport sound?

#NASA #space #Moon #spaceport #lunarorbit #SolarSystem #SLS #Orion

Yes. This is real. NASA is planning to establish a crewed spaceport near the Moon that could serve as a gateway to the lunar surface and deep space destinations including Mars.

The first mission of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft will begin the period of exploration in the vicinity of the Moon. The agency will then build a crew tended spaceport in lunar orbit within the first few missions. This would serve as a gateway to deep space and the lunar surface.

The spaceport is expected to have a power bus, small habitat to extend crew time, docking capability, airlock and logistic modules to enable research. There will be the of high power electric propulsion for station keeping.

For missions into the solar system, NASA envisions a deep space transport spacecraft. This will be a reusable aircraft that uses electric and chemical propulsion and would take crew out to their destination, return them back to the gateway for service and reuse.

Read the full article here.

Oh, NASA. You are always thinking and doing so much. It’s so fascinating.

NASA finds ‘lost’ Chandrayaan-1

#NASA #Chandrayaan1 #LunarMission #moon #space #InterplanetaryRadar #satellite

India’s first lunar mission – Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, which was generally considered lost – is still orbiting the Moon, NASA scientists have found with new technological application of their interplanetary radar.

Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) had lost communication with Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft on August 29, 2009, not even a year after it was launched (October 22, 2008).

NASA determined the 1.5 m cube satellite was still orbiting the moon at a distance of 200 kms from the surface. NASA mentioned that optical telescopes are unable to search for small objects hidden in the bright glare of the moon, however with the interplanetary radar, NASA was able to spot the spacecraft.

Initially the researchers weren’t certain that the interplanetary radar would be able to detect the spacecraft because of its small size and its distance from Earth, but Chandrayaan-1 proved the perfect target for demonstrating the capability of the radar.

Read the full article here.

Search for alien life on moon Europa

#NASA #Jupiter #Europa #space #moon #water #life

NASA announced that it will be sending a rover to the Jupiter’s moon Europa. The mission will take place in 2020s, and will take around 6-7 years to reach the destination. NASA aims to search life on the icy moon, since scientists believe that Europa holds liquid water beneath its icy crust and oceans on Europa are twice larger than on Earth.

The rover, named Europa Clipper, will determine if Europa is habitable by checking the necessary ingredients required to live: liquid water, chemical ingredients and energy sources sufficient to enable biology.

After reaching the surface of the moon, the rover is supposed to dig 10 centimeters into the surface, and look for possibility of life, and bring at least 10 samples back to the Earth for testing and record environmental factors suitable for the next rover.

Read the full article here.

I am so excited about the numerous missions to Mars, the Sun and now Europa. It just hows how much science is growing in our current world, and how people are so curious about things around us.

Getting humans to the Moon

#space #Technology #NASA #Moon #MannedMission #Apollo

According to the agency, the White House is prompting NASA to ass astronauts to the Moon Exploration Mission-1 next year.

The last time we traveled to the Moon, the world was very different. Astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt spent three days on our trusty satellite, collecting moon rocks, taking pictures with a then high-tech grainy color camera, and repairing their lunar rover with old-fashioned duct tape. On December 14, they blasted off the surface of the Moon in their disposable command module and returned to become the last humans to ever leave low-Earth orbit.

However as the U.S. economy contracted from oil crisis and recession, the spending on the Apollo program became unpalatable to politicians and future moon landings were abandoned.

In fact, today the devices in our pockets are much more powerful than the Apollo astronauts had. Hence the powerful technology will allow more space for crew on a craft that is smaller and lighter than the original Apollo spacecraft.

Read the full article here. (This is an amazingly written article. Do read it!)

TeamIndus to share ride with Japanese space startup

The Bengaluru-based startup TeamIndus plans to land their 600 kg rover on the moon by the end of next year. The rover will be launched with the help of ISRO PSLV to lift the rover and will also carry additional 4 kg Japanese robotic rover.

TeamIndus rover will land on the moon and travel at least 500 m on the lunar surface and beam back high-definition video and images back to the Earth. This mission will lay the path for the bigger Chandrayaan-2 mission. That is, if the mission is successful, the ISRO scientists will use the technology and develop the Chandrayaan-2 lander for exploration of Moon. This will be ISRO’s second mission to the moon after the success of Chandrayaan-1 mission in 2008.

The private moon mission is being completed by TeamIndus and the mission will cost around $60 million. So far, the team has been able to raise $15 million and they aim to raise remaining funds by September-October next year.

TeamIndus is also looking forward to win the Google’s Lunar XPRIZE of $25 million, so as to add to their $60 million goal. Read the full article here.