Archive for February, 2015

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Best 3D View of Deep Universe Reveals Astonishing Details (Video)

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Astronomers have just released a brand-new, best-ever 3D view of the deep universe, and it’s a doozy.

The amazing new photo, released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) today (Feb. 26) reveals never-before-seen cosmic objects in a relatively small patch of sky. The MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile spent 27 hours staring at the Hubble Space Telescope’s Deep Field South region, helping scientists learn more about far-flung galaxies. You can learn more about the photo in a video about the amazing 3D view of the universe as well.

Scientists are using the new image to gather new information about the distance, speed, composition and other details about the galaxies spotted by MUSE. Astronomers have measured the distances to 189 galaxies with the 3D data, ESO officials said in a statement about the photo released today. [Hubble Space Telescope’s Latest Cosmic Views (Photos)]

MUSE Surpasses Hubble

This new image from the MUSE instrument shows never-before-seen galaxies in stunning 3D. The Hubble Space Telescope also imaged this patch of sky in the 1990s. Image released on Feb. 26, 2015.
Credit: ESO/MUSE Consortium/R. Bacon

“After just a few hours of observations at the telescope, we had a quick look at the data and found many galaxies — it was very encouraging,” Roland Bacon, principal investigator of the MUSE instrument, said in the same statement. “And when we got back to Europe we started exploring the data in more detail. It was like fishing in deep water and each new catch generated a lot of excitement and discussion of the species we were finding.”

Hubble took its first deep-field image in 1995, and since then, it has taken other images of the distant universe, revealing more newfound galaxies along the way.

The Hubble Deep Field South image was captured over the course of 10 days in 1998, giving scientists and the public a new view of galaxies in the deep universe. MUSE has now revealed more than 20 extremely faint objects not seen in the deep-field image, ESO officials said.

“The greatest excitement came when we found very distant galaxies that were not even visible in the deepest Hubble image,” Bacon said. “After so many years of hard work on the instrument, it was a powerful experience for me to see our dreams becoming reality.”

MUSE Stares at Hubble Deep Field South

In this annotated image, triangles represent objects newly discovered by MUSE. White stars represent faint Milky Way stars, and circles are objects seen by the Hubble Space Telescope. Blue objects are relatively nearby, with green and yellow ones more distant. Pink and purple objects represent galaxies seen when the universe was less than 1 billion years old, according to ESO.
Credit: ESO/MUSE consortium/R. Bacon

The galaxy distances measured by MUSE were varied, according to ESO. Some formed relatively recently, while others “were seen when the universe was less than one billion years old,” ESO officials said.

Astronomers are now planning on training the instrument’s gaze on other parts of the sky, originally images captured by Hubble.

“Now that we have demonstrated MUSE’s unique capabilities for exploring the deep universe, we are going to look at other deep fields, such as the Hubble Ultra Deep field,” Bacon said. “We will be able to study thousands of galaxies and to discover new extremely faint and distant galaxies. These small infant galaxies, seen as they were more than 10 billion years in the past, gradually grew up to become galaxies like the Milky Way that we see today.”

Follow Miriam Kramer @mirikramer. Follow us @Spacedotcom, Facebook and Google+. Original article on Space.com.

muse-beyond-hubble-deep-field

Astronomers have just released a brand-new, best-ever 3D view of the deep universe, and it’s a doozy. The amazing new photo, released by the European Southern Observatory (ESO) today (Feb. 26) reveals never-before-seen cosmic objects in a relatively small patch of sky. The MUSE instrument on ESO’s Very Large Telescope in Chile spent 27 hours […]

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NASA Offers Space Tech Grants to Early Career University Faculty

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NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of outstanding early-career faculty members who are beginning independent research careers. The grants will sponsor research in specific high-priority areas of interest to America’s space program.

Aligned with NASA’s Space Technology Roadmaps and priorities identified by the National Research Council, the agency has identified topic areas that lend themselves to the early stage innovative approaches U.S. universities can offer for solving tough space technology challenges.

“These research grants will help NASA in the development of new space technologies needed for future science and exploration while also fueling the intellectual innovation engine of our nation, powering new discoveries for years to come,” said James Reuther, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “Technology drives exploration and these research efforts will help us reach new heights while benefiting Earth right now.”

NASA expects to award approximately six to eight grants this fall. Grants will be funded up to $200,000 each per year, for as many as three years, based on the merit of proposals and availability of funds. Funded research will investigate unique, disruptive or transformational space technologies in areas such as dynamic tensegrity technologies for space science and exploration, high-temperature solar cells, fundamental aerothermodynamic model development and synthetic biology technologies for space exploration.

Dynamic tensegrity-based technologies have the potential to enable more capable and affordable space missions through large, reconfigurable space structures and lightweight, volume efficient landers. Tensegrity, or “tensional integrity,” uses tension and compression in skeleton structures for efficient and economic machine design. The first solicitation topic seeks dynamic tensegrity technologies for in-space, landing and surface operations applications.

Generation of power in a space environment is a challenge for all space missions. Research focused on high-temperature solar cells lead to smaller, more efficient and lower-cost solar cell size. The second topic seeks novel solar cell material combinations, cell laydown concepts, and heat rejection methods that allow solar arrays to function at reasonable levels of efficiency at higher operational temperatures.

NASA missions rely on computational simulations to predict conditions a spacecraft may experience during atmospheric entry on other planets — calculations that help experts decide the type and thickness of materials used to make thermal protection systems for spacecraft. Investment in basic aerothermal physical models and numerical methods is needed to generate revolutionary improvements to the current state of the art and enable NASA’s journey to Mars. This topic seeks innovative physical models for high speed non-equilibrium flows, novel approaches to obtain experimental validation data and improved numerical methods for the simulation of such flows.

NASA also is interested in innovative biological approaches to provide functions that traditional technologies cannot perform for future long-duration missions. Specifically, the fourth topic seeks novel synthetic biology-based approaches that can substantially improve  functionality, reliability, and efficiency in food production, biomedical applications, and in situ resource utilization.

Notices of intent to submit proposals to the Early Career Faculty Appendix of NASA’s Research Announcement “Space Technology Research, Development, Demonstration, and Infusion 2015 (SpaceTech-REDDI-2015)” are due March 20. The deadline for submitting final proposals is April 17.

For information on the solicitation, including specific technology areas of interest and how to submit notices of intent and proposals, visit:

http://go.nasa.gov/1vwtqZz

This solicitation is issued by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, which is responsible for innovating, developing, testing, and flying hardware for use in future missions. For more information about the directorate and Space Technology Research Grants Program, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/spacetech

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Prototype tensegrity robot crawling forward

Tensegrity research is able to simulate multiple forms of locomotion. In this image, a prototype tensegrity robot reproduces forward crawling motion.

Image Credit: 

NASA/Brian Tietz

Image Token: 

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[image-36] NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate is seeking proposals from accredited U.S. universities on behalf of outstanding early-career faculty members who are beginning independent research careers. The grants will sponsor research in specific high-priority areas of interest to America’s space program. Aligned with NASA’s Space Technology Roadmaps and priorities identified by the National Research Council, […]

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Chicago in Winter

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Chicago in Winter

From the International Space Station (ISS), European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took this photograph of Chicago and posted it to social media on Feb. 19, 2015. She wrote, “How do you like #Chicago dressed for winter?”

Crewmembers on the space station photograph the Earth from their unique point of view located 200 miles above the surface as part of the Crew Earth Observations program. Photographs record how the planet is changing over time, from human-caused changes like urban growth and reservoir construction, to natural dynamic events such as hurricanes, floods and volcanic eruptions. Astronauts have used hand-held cameras to photograph the Earth for more than 40 years, beginning with the Mercury missions in the early 1960s. The ISS maintains an altitude between 220 – 286 miles (354 – 460 km) above the Earth, and an orbital inclination of 51.6˚, providing an excellent stage for observing most populated areas of the world.

Image Credit: NASA/ESA/Samantha Cristoforetti

Page Last Updated: February 25th, 2015
Page Editor: Sarah Loff

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Chicago in Winter From the International Space Station (ISS), European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took this photograph of Chicago and posted it to social media on Feb. 19, 2015. She wrote, “How do you like #Chicago dressed for winter?” Crewmembers on the space station photograph the Earth from their unique point of view located […]

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