Scientists Perplexed By Deep-Space Explosions

Iinternational astronomers have detected four interstellar explosions, known as Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), above the plane of our Milky Way Galaxy. They last only a few thousandths of a second and send powerful signals billions of light years.

Principal investigator Dan Thornton of the University of Manchester in England said, “These bursts gave off more energy in a millisecond than the sun does in 300,000 years,”

Using the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope in Australia the team spotted 4 new sources across the sky. Ranging up to 10 billion light-years away. To put that in perspective, the universe is only 13.8 billion years old, so some of these bursts have taken nearly the entire history of the universe to get to our planet.

Check out the full article with a bunch more info at space.com

Mars Opportunity Rover – 10 years and going strong

On July 7th, the Mars Opportunity Rover celebrated the 10 year anniversary of it’s launch from Earth along with it’s sister rover Spirit, which sadly died on Mars in 2010.

Originally expected to operate for only 3 months, Opportunity is well past this mark and shows no signs of letting up.

The little rover that could is on it’s way to a new crater, a 1.2 mile (2 kilometer) trek from the area it’s been studying for the past 22 months. It’s mission clock is at 9 years and counting, it will celebrate it’s 10 year mark on it’s mission timer in January 2014 (having landed January 2004).

Opportunity has traveled over 22 miles currently, and is well on it’s way to breaking the worldwide extraterrestrial driving record set by the Soviet robotic moon rover Lunokhod 2 in 1973 of 26 miles.

As stated right here on Nerditronics previously, it was believed that Lunokhod 2 traveled 23 miles, however new data shows that it traveled about 3 miles further than previously thought.

Not too bad for a little rover that was supposed to go offline over 9 years ago.

Original article on space.com

Mars pebbles prove water history

BBC News has an article stating that scientists now have definitive proof that many of the landscapes seen on Mars were indeed cut by flowing water.

Researchers have found rounded pebbles in the Gale Crater on Mars.

“Big deal they found rounded rocks!” you might be saying. Well these pebbles’ smooth appearance is identical to pebbles found in rivers here on Earth. Now when rock fragments roll on the bottom of of a stream of water will have their edges knocked off, thus rounding them. Eventually they will come to a rest in a characteristic overlapping pattern.

The Curiosity rover has photographic proof of rocks with these exact characteristics; thus proving that flowing water had a part in shaping the martian landscape.

Check the full article here.

Mars Trip Radiation Threat

According to Alicia Chang from the Associated Press astronauts traveling to Mars will get about as much radiation as a person getting a full body CT scan about one a week for a full year. Round trip that’s about 662 millisieverts.

To put this in perspective, NASA’s lifetime limit for a male, who has never smoked, aged 30 – 60 is at max 1200 millisieverts. While on Earth the average person gets about 3 millisieverts a year.

Check the full article here.

 

 

NASA’s MAVEN mission to pave way to Terraforming Mars?

Later this year, as forbes.com reports, NASA will launch the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission. MAVEN will be dedicated to testing the upper atmosphere and the processes that turned it into the hunk of dusty rock we know today.

This will hopefully show us if and how we can someday turn Mars into a humanly habitable planet.

Check out the article here to see more about the $671 million mission.

Kepler Repeat

As I stated on Facebook the other day, Time and ABC News is finally catching up to the awesome investigative reporting found right here at Nerditronics and reporting on the troubles with the amazing Kepler space telescope.

I won’t rehash everything that’s going on with Kepler as the article before goes over it all and it’s just a few posts down. But short version is it needs 4 wheels to work, one died before and another is failing.

Time.com Article

ABCNews.com Article

Month of freedom comes to an end for Curiosity Rover

Due to the position of the planets the Curiosity rover was pretty much left on it’s own for a month, space.com reports. This happens once every couple years and generally lasts for a few weeks to a month.

The main worry is that if they try to send a command to the rovers while this Mars Conjunction is going on it may not get all the data, and think it needs to blow itself up or become self aware or something. OK so maybe nothing that bad would happen, but it could cause the rovers to fall off a cliff or something.

Check out the article here, which has a pretty cool short video that explains what’s going on.

NASA Captures Monster Hurricane from Space

ABC News has an article that shows a pretty sweet picture of a giant Hurricane from Space!

The Cassini spacecraft took the picture of a storm on Saturn. This thing is huge, the eye of the storm is roughly the distance from Dallas, Texas to Washington, DC.

ABC News/GMA Yahoo has a bit more information on the storm here.

Blood Hurricane?