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Mysteries of Gravitational Waves Star in New LIGO Documentary (Film Trailer)

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A new movie premiering April 15 documents the science and people behind an amazing astronomical tool designed to catch sight of violent cosmic events trillions of miles from Earth.

The new documentary by filmmaker Kai Staats, called “LIGO, A Passion for Understanding,” follows scientists working with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories, or LIGO for short. The observatories use 2.5-mile (4 kilometers) laser beams to hunt for gravitational waves — ripples in space-time created by cataclysmic events in the cosmos.

LIGO’s enhanced run ended in 2010, but the Advanced LIGO project featuring newly upgraded instruments is set to begin its run sometime in 2014. Advanced LIGO will probe deeper into the universe in search of gravitational waves. You can watch the trailer for “LIGO, A Passion for Understanding” on Space.com or directly from filmmaker Kai Staats here.

“We’re literally creating a new branch of astrophysics right now,” one of the scientists interviewed for the film said in the trailer. “Gravitational waves are the sounds of the universe. Up until now, we’ve been deaf to what’s happening in the universe, and we’re about to turn on our ears.”

“LIGO, A Passion for Understanding,” will premiere live on April 15 on Space.com. The documentary project is funded by the California Institute of Technology. The LIGO Scientific Collaboration is funded the National Science Foundation, and overseen by Caltech and MIT. The LSC is an international collaboration with more than 900 members in 16 different countries.

Scientists think that gravitational waves can be produced by the collisions of two dense objects like a neutron star and a black hole. In theory, the violent clash between the two cosmic bodies actually causes the fabric of space to warp, sending out ripples in space-time throughout the universe.

In March, scientists working with an instrument in the South Pole announced that they detected primordial gravitational waves created a fraction of a fraction of a second after the universe began during a period of rapid growth known as inflation. 

For more on “LIGO, a Passion for Understanding,” visit: http://www.kaistaats.com/film/ligo/

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

A new movie premiering April 15 documents the science and people behind an amazing astronomical tool designed to catch sight of violent cosmic events trillions of miles from Earth. The new documentary by filmmaker Kai Staats, called “LIGO, A Passion for Understanding,” follows scientists working with the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatories, or LIGO for short. […]

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Wind Tunnel Testing a Full-Sized Aircraft Tail

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NASA recently tested a full-sized tail from a 757 commercial aircraft that was modified and equipped with tiny jets called “sweeping jet actuators” to blow air across the rudder surfaces.
The test vertical tail is an actual 757 tail that came out of an aircraft bone yard in Arizona and was refurbished into a wind tunnel model.
The tunnel hosted the 26-foot 757 tail for a series of tests of an innovative Active Flow Control system that one day might allow airplane builders to design smaller tails, which would reduce weight and drag, and help improve fuel efficiency. The “flow control” comes from the actuators, which are devices that essentially blow air in a sweeping motion along the span of the tail and manipulate that flow of air.
The image was taken inside the National Full-Scale Aerodynamic Complex, a massive wind tunnel located at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett, Ca. In the image, an engineer braces himself against the strong winds in the tunnel as he holds a wand emitting a stream of smoke that’s used to visualize “in flight” air flow across the tail.
Actuator technology will be installed for flight tests on the tail of Boeing’s ecoDemonstrator program 757 flight test aircraft in early 2015 as part of an agreement with NASA.
> Read more: NASA Aces Delicate Operation with Aircraft Tail
Image Credit: NASA/Dominic Hart

NASA recently tested a full-sized tail from a 757 commercial aircraft that was modified and equipped with tiny jets called “sweeping jet actuators” to blow air across the rudder surfaces. The test vertical tail is an actual 757 tail that came out of an aircraft bone yard in Arizona and was refurbished into a wind […]

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Conspiracy Peddlers and Conspiracy Hype

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paranoia-792

CONSPIRACY PEDDLERS.  NOT conspiracy theorists.  Chem trails… moon landing hoaxes… Illuminati/ reptilian shadow governments… etc etc ad nauseum.  These aren’t theories.  They are mere ideas – rife with paranoid hyperbole.   CONSPIRACY PEDDLERS or simply CP’s – and CONSPIRACY HYPE, CH.  New, accurate definitions are in order and long over due.

Call a spade a spade, and don’t give these people spreading their paranoid misinformation bullshit any credit by referring to them as “theories” or “theorists.”  More on this later…

CONSPIRACY PEDDLERS.  NOT conspiracy theorists.  Chem trails… moon landing hoaxes… Illuminati/ reptilian shadow governments… etc etc ad nauseum.  These aren’t theories.  They are mere ideas – rife with paranoid hyperbole.   CONSPIRACY PEDDLERS or simply CP’s – and CONSPIRACY HYPE, CH.  New, accurate definitions are in order and long over due. Call a spade a […]

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Could NASA’s 2015 budget leave Mars rover Opportunity high and dry? – latimes.com

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Could NASA's 2015 budget leave Mars rover Opportunity high and dry? - latimes.comHUGE mistake IMO.  Here we have a perfectly good, functioning rover on Mars, and we’re going to simply “turn it off” because of lack of funding??  So sick of watching NASA’s budget (which is about a half a penny for every dollar of the federal budget) get cut thinner and thinner every year.  There is still science left to be done here, and as costly as these missions are to build and launch, they should keep driving this rover till it’s wheels fall off.  If they can’t get the funding, perhaps another international space agency like ESA or even China will take the reigns?  Not what I want to see – foreigners taking over an American space probe, but if it’s that, or Opportunity goes “dark,” I’ll take it.

-PB

NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity recently passed its 10th anniversary exploring the Red Planet and embarked on what scientists called a brand new mission, but the trusty little rover’s funding has been thrust onto uncertain terrain.

In the $17.5-billion 2015 budget proposal, NASA’s core budget includes funding for several long-standing missions. But two were excluded from the lineup: Opportunity, the surviving half of the Mars Exploration Rover mission, as well as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2009.

Instead, the two missions would be funded within a $35-million “Planetary Science Extended Mission Funding” line inside the White House’s larger $52-billion “Opportunity, Growth and Security Initiative,” a separate funding source that includes funding for a wide range of programs, including preschool, job training and climate change research. But House Republicans have not reacted favorably to the larger initiative, which puts NASA’s smaller slice of the initiative pie — and with it, Opportunity and LRO’s funding — onto  shaky footing.

“The idea of allowing it to die a lonely death out there in space is appalling, particularly when it continues to do good science,” Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-Burbank) said of Opportunity. Schiff’s district includes NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which manages the Mars rover program.

Since landing on the Red Planet in 2004, Opportunity has discovered signs of past water on now-dry terrain and lived roughly 40 times longer than its 90-day warranty. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter set out to map the moon in detail and look for potential safe landing sites for future manned missions (though those long-term efforts have been effectively scrapped for now).

Schiff worried that keeping Opportunity and LRO out of the main funding supply for extended missions and leaving them in a potentially contentious funding initiative would put two highly effective missions at risk of being shut down.

“Sometimes NASA will do things like this because they know the programs enjoy strong congressional support and they expect Congress to find the money to support the funding,” pointing to Opportunity’s popularity with the public. “But that’s not a very prudent way to budget or to plan.”

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden answered questions about the 2015 budget request in front of the House of Representatives’ Subcommittee on Space on Thursday. It includes testy moments about a proposed mission to capture and redirect an asteroid, which you can watch here.

via Could NASA’s 2015 budget leave Mars rover Opportunity high and dry? – latimes.com.

HUGE mistake IMO.  Here we have a perfectly good, functioning rover on Mars, and we’re going to simply “turn it off” because of lack of funding??  So sick of watching NASA’s budget (which is about a half a penny for every dollar of the federal budget) get cut thinner and thinner every year.  There is […]

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Shadow Portrait of NASA Rover Opportunity on Martian Slope

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NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity caught its own silhouette in this late-afternoon image taken by the rover’s rear hazard avoidance camera. This camera is mounted low on the rover and has a wide-angle lens.
The image was taken looking eastward shortly before sunset on the 3,609th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity’s work on Mars (March 20, 2014). The rover’s shadow falls across a slope called the McClure-Beverlin Escarpment on the western rim of Endeavour Crater, where Opportunity is investigating rock layers for evidence about ancient environments.  The scene includes a glimpse into the distance across the 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) crater.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity caught its own silhouette in this late-afternoon image taken by the rover’s rear hazard avoidance camera. This camera is mounted low on the rover and has a wide-angle lens. The image was taken looking eastward shortly before sunset on the 3,609th Martian day, or sol, of Opportunity’s work on Mars […]

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NASA’s Super Guppy Makes a Special Delivery

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NASA’s Super Guppy, a wide-bodied cargo aircraft, landed at the Redstone Army Airfield near Huntsville, Ala. on March 26 with a special delivery: an innovative composite rocket fuel tank. The tank was manufactured at the Boeing Developmental Center in Tukwila, Wash. The tank will be unloaded from the Super Guppy, which has a hinged nose that opens and allows large cargos like the tank to be easily unloaded. After the tank is removed from the Super Guppy, it will be inspected and prepared for testing at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. The composite tank project is part of the Game Changing Development Program and NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given
› Alternate view #1
› Alternate view #2
› Flickr: Super Guppy and Cryotank

NASA’s Super Guppy, a wide-bodied cargo aircraft, landed at the Redstone Army Airfield near Huntsville, Ala. on March 26 with a special delivery: an innovative composite rocket fuel tank. The tank was manufactured at the Boeing Developmental Center in Tukwila, Wash. The tank will be unloaded from the Super Guppy, which has a hinged nose […]

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Asteroid Found with Rings! First-of-Its-Kind Discovery Stuns Astronomers Video, Images | Space.com

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Asteroid Found with Rings! First-of-Its-Kind Discovery Stuns Astronomers Video, ImagesBy Nola Taylor Redd, Space.com Contributor   |   March 26, 2014 02:02pm ET4 0 3Submit0Reddit Scientists have made a stunning discovery in the outer realm of the solar system — an asteroid with its own set of rings that orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. The space rock is the first non-planetary object ever found to have its own ring system, researchers say.The pair of space rock rings encircle the asteroid Chariklo. They were most likely formed after a collision scattered debris around the asteroid, according to a new study unveiled today March 27. The asteroid rings also suggests the presence of a still-undiscovered moon around Chariklo that’s keeping them stable, researchers said.”We weren’t looking for a ring and didn’t think small bodies like Chariklo had them at all, so the discovery — and the amazing amount of detail we saw in the system — came as a complete surprise!” study leader Felipe Braga-Ribas, of the National Observatory in Brazil said in a statement today. [Asteroid with Rings: Artist Views of Space Rock Chariklo Photos]

via Asteroid Found with Rings! First-of-Its-Kind Discovery Stuns Astronomers Video, Images | Space.com.

Asteroid Found with Rings! First-of-Its-Kind Discovery Stuns Astronomers Video, ImagesBy Nola Taylor Redd, Space.com Contributor   |   March 26, 2014 02:02pm ET4 0 3Submit0Reddit Scientists have made a stunning discovery in the outer realm of the solar system — an asteroid with its own set of rings that orbits the sun between Saturn and Uranus. The space rock […]

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Landslide and Barrier Lake Near Oso, Washington

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On March 22, 2014, a rainfall-triggered landslide near Oso, Washington sent muddy debris spilling across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. The slide left an earthen dam that blocked the river, causing a barrier lake to form. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired this image of landslide debris and the barrier lake on March 23, 2014.
> Read more and view annotated image
Image Credit: NASA Earth Observatory image by Jesse Allen, using Landsat data from the U.S. Geological Survey
Caption: Adam Voiland

On March 22, 2014, a rainfall-triggered landslide near Oso, Washington sent muddy debris spilling across the North Fork of the Stillaguamish River. The slide left an earthen dam that blocked the river, causing a barrier lake to form. The Operational Land Imager (OLI) on the Landsat 8 satellite acquired this image of landslide debris and […]

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Expedition 39 Crew Launches Aboard the Soyuz TMA-12M Rocket

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The Soyuz TMA-12M rocket launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on  Wednesday, March 26, 2014 carrying Expedition 39 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Steven Swanson of NASA, and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos to the International Space Station.
Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The Soyuz TMA-12M rocket launches from Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on  Wednesday, March 26, 2014 carrying Expedition 39 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Steven Swanson of NASA, and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos to the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

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Expedition 39 Prepares for Today’s Launch

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The gantry arms begin to close around the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft to secure the rocket at the launch pad on Sunday, March 23, 2014, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for 5:17 p.m. EDT, March 25 and will send Expedition 39 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian Federal Space Agency, Roscosmos, Flight Engineer Steven Swanson of NASA, and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev of Roscosmos on a six-month mission aboard the International Space Station.
Image Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

The gantry arms begin to close around the Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft to secure the rocket at the launch pad on Sunday, March 23, 2014, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for 5:17 p.m. EDT, March 25 and will send Expedition 39 Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov of the Russian […]

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