Tag Archives: Space

Closing the “free will” loophole

By Jennifer Chu – In 1964, physicist John Bell took on this seeming disparity between classical physics and quantum mechanics, stating that if the universe is based on classical physics, the measurement of one entangled particle should not affect the measurement of the other—a theory, known as locality, in which there is a limit to how correlated two particles can be. Bell devised a mathematical formula for locality, and presented scenarios that violated this formula, instead following predictions of quantum mechanics.

However, scientists have also identified several major loopholes in Bell’s theorem. These suggest that while the outcomes of such experiments may appear to support the predictions of quantum mechanics, they may actually reflect unknown “hidden variables” that give the illusion of a quantum outcome, but can still be explained in classical terms. more> http://tinyurl.com/nxe7ge2

NASA Memory Lane (33)

Jan 2014.

NASA Center Renamed in Honor of Neil A. Armstrong

NASA – This photograph shows Neil Armstrong next to the X-15 rocket-powered aircraft after a research flight.

President Barack Obama has signed HR 667, the congressional resolution that redesignates NASA’s Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center as the Neil A. Armstrong Flight Research Center, into law. The resolution also names Dryden’s Western Aeronautical Test Range as the Hugh L. Dryden Aeronautical Test Range.

Both Hugh Dryden and Neil Armstrong are aerospace pioneers whose contributions are historic to NASA and the nation as a whole. NASA is developing a timeline to implement the name change.

Neil A. Armstrong was born Aug. 5, 1930, in Wapakoneta, Ohio. He earned an aeronautical engineering degree from Purdue University and a master’s in aerospace engineering from the University of Southern California. He was a naval aviator from 1949 to 1952. During the Korean War he flew 78 combat missions. In 1955 he joined the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), NASA’s predecessor, as a research pilot at Lewis Laboratory in Cleveland.

Armstrong later transferred to NACA’s High Speed Flight Research Station at Edwards AFB, Calif., later named NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center. As a research project test pilot over the course of seven years at the center from 1955 through 1962, he was in the forefront of the development of many high-speed aircraft. He was one of only 12 pilots to fly the hypersonic X-15 as well as the first of 12 men to later walk on the moon. In all, he flew more than 200 different types of aircraft.


Space Launch System (16)


Pathfinding Operations for Orion Spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center

NASA – At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Orion ground test vehicle has been lifted high in the air by crane in the transfer aisle of the Vehicle Assembly Building. The ground test vehicle is being used for pathfinding operations, including simulated manufacturing, assembly and stacking procedures.

Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. The first unpiloted test flight of Orion, Exploration Flight Test (EFT)-1 is scheduled to launch in 2014. EFT-1 will be Orion’s first mission, which will send an uncrewed spacecraft 3,600 miles into Earth’s orbit. As part of the test flight, Orion will return to Earth at a speed of approximately 20,000 mph for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean.

For more information, visit www.nasa.gov/orion.

Image Credit: NASA/Dimitri Gerondidakis

California Vies For New Space Industry

By Mihir Zaveri – As several new private ventures to take people on trips to space come closer to becoming reality, California lawmakers are racing other states to woo the new space companies with cushy incentives.

They are debating a bill now in Sacramento that would insulate manufacturers of spaceships and parts suppliers from liability should travelers get injured or killed on a voyage, except in cases such as gross negligence or intentional wrongdoing. Last year, the state enacted a law that shields space tourism companies such as Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic from similar lawsuits.

“We’re still in the fledgling part of space flight and space travel, and we need people to be able to take a risk,” said California Republican Sen. Steve Knight, who introduced both state bills. more> http://tinyurl.com/myxh3n6


NASA technology (64)

Feeling the Heat

NASA – Super heated exhaust is a byproduct of engine testing in the Engine Research Building (ERB) at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. Generally, the tests involve burning fuel or using heated air in engine test cells. The exhaust from the tests can approach 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

To protect the building systems and for the safety of the occupants, water is sprayed into the hot exhaust to cool the air quickly. The water is then sent to cooling towers to recirculate for the duration of the tests. The buildings in the ERB complex are some of the first buildings constructed at NASA Glenn. This building contains the electrical switchgear that operates support systems for engine testing and other facilities at Lewis Field. Image Credit: NASA Marvin G. Smith (Wyle Information Systems, LLC)

Space Launch System (15)


Orion Spacecraft Stationary Recovery Test at Norfolk Naval Base in Virginia

NASA – On August 15, 2013, at the Naval Station Norfolk near NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia, NASA and the U.S. Navy conducted a stationary recovery test on the Orion boilerplate test article in the water near a U.S. Navy ship. NASA and the U.S. Navy are conducting tests to prepare for recovery of the Orion crew module and forward bay cover on its return from a deep space mission. The stationary recovery tests allow the teams to demonstrate and evaluate the recovery processes, the hardware and the test personnel in a controlled environment. During the test, the U.S Navy Dive Team checked the capsule for hazards while sailors from the USS Arlington approached the capsule in inflatable boats, and towed it back to the ship’s flooded well deck. A second test will be conducted next year in the open waters of the Pacific Ocean. Orion is the exploration spacecraft designed to carry astronauts to destinations not yet explored by humans, including an asteroid and Mars. It will have emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during space travel and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities. The first unpiloted test flight of the Orion is scheduled to launch in 2014 atop a Delta IV rocket and in 2017 on NASA’s Space Launch System rocket.

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Galactic Views (95)


X-rays From A Young Supernova Remnant

NASA – More than fifty years ago, a supernova was discovered in M83, a spiral galaxy about 15 million light years from Earth. Astronomers have used NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory to make the first detection of X-rays emitted by the debris from this explosion.

Named SN 1957D because it was the fourth supernova to be discovered in the year 1957, it is one of only a few located outside of the Milky Way galaxy that is detectable, in both radio and optical wavelengths, decades after its explosion was observed. In 1981, astronomers saw the remnant of the exploded star in radio waves, and then in 1987 they detected the remnant at optical wavelengths, years after the light from the explosion itself became undetectable.

A relatively short observation – about 14 hours long – from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2000 and 2001 did not detect any X-rays from the remnant of SN 1957D. However, a much longer observation obtained in 2010 and 2011, totaling nearly 8 and 1/2 days of Chandra time, did reveal the presence of X-ray emission. The X-ray brightness in 2000 and 2001 was about the same as or lower than in this deep image.

This new Chandra image of M83 is one of the deepest X-ray observations ever made of a spiral galaxy beyond our own. This full-field view of the spiral galaxy shows the low, medium, and high-energy X-rays observed by Chandra in red, green, and blue respectively.

The new X-ray data from the remnant of SN 1957D provide important information about the nature of this explosion that astronomers think happened when a massive star ran out of fuel and collapsed. The distribution of X-rays with energy suggests that SN 1957D contains a neutron star, a rapidly spinning, dense star formed when the core of pre-supernova star collapsed. This neutron star, or pulsar, may be producing a cocoon of charged particles moving at close to the speed of light known as a pulsar wind nebula.

If this interpretation is confirmed, the pulsar in SN 1957D is observed at an age of 55 years, one of the youngest pulsars ever seen. The remnant of SN 1979C in the galaxy M100 contains another candidate for the youngest pulsar, but astronomers are still unsure whether there is a black hole or a pulsar at the center of SN 1979C.

Image Credits: X-ray: NASA/CXC/STScI/K.Long et al., Optical: NASA/STScI