Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Tag Archives: space

Mysterious radiation belt found circling Earth

A strange third band of radiation has been discovered circling the Earth, according to NASA, upending a long-standing scientific theory about how charged particles interact with our planet. The band, discovered in September 2012, is no longer present, although NASA says scientists spent the better part of two months observing the radiation band before it disappeared. The discovery was largely the result of a pair of NASA probes launched in 2012 to collect data on Earth’s Van Allen Belts. According to the space agency, the pair of probes discovered the strange third band of radiation just four days into the mission. Scientists say the pair of probes transmitted back data that seemed to reveal a third belt of high-energy particles between the planet’s inner and outer radiation bands. By the end of 2012, however, the band seemed to disappear. Now, NASA says it has data that seems to indicate the band was “annihilated” by a …

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Air Force’s Secret Space Plane Prepped for New Launch

The Air Force’s mysterious X-37B space plane is now readying for its third space mission, slated to begin in October. And perhaps not surprising for the hush-hush orbital drone, the third time into space remains as secretive as the first two. Next month, the X-37B will blast off again aboard an Atlas 5 rocket from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The exact timing of the October launch is unknown and subject to change due to weather conditions, and there’s no telling how long the drone will stay in orbit. ”Preparations for launch at Cape Canaveral have begun,” Major Tracy Bunko, an Air Force spokesperson, told Space.com. While it’ll be the third flight for the robotic space plane program as a whole, it’s only the second for this particular craft. Four months ago, X-37B’s second of two planes returned from its first flight and a record-breaking 469 days in orbit – more than double …

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Dark Energy is the Biggest Mystery in the Universe

Twice a day, seven days a week, from February to November for the past four years, two researchers have layered themselves with thermal underwear and outerwear, with fleece, flannel, double gloves, double socks, padded overalls and puffy red parkas, mummifying themselves until they look like twin Michelin Men. Then they step outside, trading the warmth and modern conveniences of a science station (foosball, fitness center, 24-hour cafeteria) for a minus-100-degree Fahrenheit featureless landscape, flatter than Kansas and one of the coldest places on the planet. They trudge in darkness nearly a mile, across a plateau of snow and ice, until they discern, against the backdrop of more stars than any hands-in-pocket backyard observer has ever seen, the silhouette of the giant disk of the South Pole Telescope, where they join a global effort to solve possibly the greatest riddle in the universe: what most of it is made of. For …

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