July 28, 2013

Purple Bacteria on Earth Could Survive Alien Light (Source: Space Daily)
Purple bacteria contain pigments that allow them to use sunlight as their source of energy, hence their color. Small as they are, these microbes can teach us a lot about life on Earth, because they have been around longer than most other organisms on the planet. University of Miami (UM) physicist Neil Johnson, who studies purple bacteria, recently found that these organisms can also survive in the presence of extreme alien light.

The findings show that the way in which light is received by the bacteria can dictate the difference between life and death. Johnson, head of the inter-disciplinary research group in complexity in the College of Arts and Sciences at UM and his collaborators share their findings in a paper titled "Extreme alien light allows survival of terrestrial bacteria" published online in Nature's Scientific Reports. The study reveals new possibilities for life on earth and elsewhere in the universe. (7/28)

Parties Involved in Failed Proton-M Launch to be Polygraphed (Source: Space Daily)
Those suspected of violating technological requirements which caused a Proton-M rocket to crash recently will undergo polygraph tests according to Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin. He also said that the government is waiting for the final report from Roscosmos on the Proton-M with three Glonass-M satellites that crashed shortly after it was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome on July 2. (7/29)

Final Frontier Design Unveils New Space Suit on Capitol Hill (Source: Space Daily)
A Brooklyn, NY, based space company Final Frontier Design (FFD) has unveiled their new "3G" space suit at a NASA event on Capitol Hill. FFD was chosen by NASA to represent small businesses at their "Tech Day on the Hill", attended by 16 members of Congress and over 500 staff and guests, including NASA's Administrator, Charlie Bolden.

The 3G suit, a full pressure IVA space suit, was designed expressly for the commercial space industry, both suborbital and orbital, and is safe, comfortable, lightweight, and inexpensive. It is made for operation at +5 PSI, is built for flight certification, and weighs in at less than 15 pounds. The 3G suit includes a host of unique and original features. Click here. (7/28)

Starburst Wind Keeps Galaxies Thin (Source: Space Daily)
with its slightly askew orientation - offers astronomers an excellent view of the star formation clusters near the galaxy's center, clusters that turn out to be the point of departure for material being pushed from the galaxy. Unlike humans, galaxies don't have an obesity problem. In fact there are far fewer galaxies at the most massive end of the galactic scale than expected and scientists have long sought to explain why.

A new, UMD-led study published in the journal Nature suggests that one answer lies in a kind of feast and fast sequence through which large galaxies can keep their mass down. Galaxies become more massive by 'consuming' vast clouds of gas and turning them into new stars. The new study shows in unprecedented detail how a burst of star formation in a galaxy can blow most of the remaining star-building gas out to the edge of the galaxy, resulting in a long period of starvation during which few new stars are produced. (7/28)

NASA Spacecraft Find "Particle Accelerator" in Van Allen Belts (Source: Space Today)
Twin NASA spacecraft launched last year have helped scientists determine that charged particles in the Van Allen belts circling the Earth are accelerated from within the belts. In a paper published in the latest issue of Science, scientists reported on their ability to track charged particles in the belts using the two Van Allen Probes spacecraft in an effort to identify the source of the particles' acceleration.

During one event in October, the probes showed the source of the accelerated particles was in the middle of the belt, extending inward and outward, and not from the outside in. That would be explained by a local source of energy within the belts accelerating the particles, according to scientists. (7/27)

Progress Launches, Docks with ISS (Source: Space Today)
A Progress cargo spacecraft docked with the International Space Station Saturday night less than six hours after its launch from Kazakhstan. A Soyuz rocket carrying the Progress M-20M spacecraft lifted off form the Baikonur Cosmodrome at 4:45 pm EDT Saturday. The spacecraft, flying an accelerated four-orbit approach to the station, docked with the station's Pirs module at 10:26 pm EDT Saturday. The spacecraft carries more than 2.5 metric tons of supplies and equipment for the station, including tools to help repair a spacesuit that suffered a water leak during a spacewalk earlier this month. (7/28)

Progress Delivers Spacesuit Repair Kit to ISS (Source: Space.com)
The cargo ship is loaded with nearly 3 tons of food, fuel, hardware and science experiment equipment for the six-person crew of the station's Expedition 36 mission. Among its cargo is a set of tools intended to help the astronauts investigate and patch up the spacesuit that malfunctioned during a July 16 spacewalk outside the orbiting laboratory. (7/27)

ULA and Ball Aerospace Student Launch Takes STEM to New Heights (Source: ULA)
High-power sport rockets carried payloads thousands of feet above the plains of Pueblo, Colo., today at the United Launch Alliance (ULA) and Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. Student Rocket Launch. The event marked the culmination of an experience designed to simulate a real-life launch campaign and encourage students to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

The launch featured three high-power sport rockets built by interns at ULA, including the Future – the largest rocket to launch in Colorado. Ball interns created the five largest payloads (onboard experiments/instruments), and K-12 students from Colorado and Alabama created 12 additional payloads. (7/27)

New Yorkers Celebrate Space at Intrepid Museum's SpaceFest (Source: Space.com)
The Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum was bustling early Friday (July 26), as hundreds of visitors waited patiently to take part in the second-annual SpaceFest celebration aboard the converted aircraft carrier on the western edge of Manhattan. The Intrepid is hosting the four-day space-themed event to promote science and exploration, and to showcase the museum's most famous artifact: the space shuttle Enterprise. (7/27)

Range's Duties Can Evolve Without Sacrificing Safety (Source: Florida Today)
The Eastern Range’s regulatory authority over scheduling, safety and other aspects of every launch vehicle lifting off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station and Kennedy Space Center has long been pointed at as slowing down advancement and innovation at the spaceport. Smaller, private operators in particular have grumbled that more progress could be made toward modernizing launch vehicles and lowering the cost of space flight if it were not for the over-reaching regulatory arm of “the range.”

Often, “range safety” gets talked about as though they were some mysterious force lording over space flight operations off the east coast. There’s always plenty of debate about whether the range, and the overall bureaucratic process of getting approved to fly out of the Cape, is an awful burden on companies or a necessary safeguard. The truth is, it’s a little of both.

The management of some of the tasks and operation of some of the tracking assets now handled by the range could be overseen by a quasi-private spaceport operator or the individual organizations launching a mission. That kind of modified system is being examined now by the Air Force, FAA and others. But there is a line that needs to be drawn at safety-related decisions and, hopefully, the ongoing discussions about a future version of the range will result in protecting some indepedent authority for those kinds of calls. Click here. (7/28)

No comments: