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Tue, 24 Apr 2018
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New Lunar Images And Data Available To Public

The seven instruments aboard the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter provide varied and unique datasets. This photo album published in concert with the first major public data release, gives a small taste of each instrument's measurements and highlights some of the notable early achievements of the mission.
The public can follow along with NASA on its journey of lunar discovery. On March 15, the publicly accessible Planetary Data System will release data sets from the seven instruments on board NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.

"The Planetary Data System is a NASA funded program to archive data from past and present planetary missions as well as astronomical observations and laboratory data," said Dr. John Keller, LRO Deputy Project Scientist from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

"The purpose of the Planetary Data System is to make available to the public the fruits of NASA funded research and to allow advanced research on solar system science."

Each of the seven instruments is unique and will provide data in different formats to the Planetary Data System. Much of the data will be in a relatively low level form, not highly processed, which allows researchers to maximize flexibility in working with the data.


Are Venus and Earth in a long-distance relationship?

© Corbis
Turn and face us
The heart of Venus may belong to Earth. Our planet could be tugging on the core of Venus, exerting control over its spin.

Whenever Venus and Earth arrive at the closest point in their orbits, Venus always presents the same face to us. This could mean that Earth's gravity is tugging subtly on Venus, affecting its rotation rate. That idea, raised decades ago, was disregarded when it turned out that Venus is spinning too fast to be in such a gravitational "resonance".

But Earth could still be pulling on Venus by controlling its core, according to calculations by Gérard Caudal of the University of Versailles-Saint Quentin, France.

Caudal made large assumptions about Venus's interior, which we know little about. For his hypothesis to be correct, the planet would, like Earth, need a solid core surrounded by a liquid layer. This could allow the solid core to rotate slower than the rest of the planet. The core would also have to be asymmetric or heterogeneous, so that Earth can exert a variable tug as Venus spins. "For the resonance to be possible, there should be something that the gravity of the Earth could grasp," Caudal says.


Jupiter's spot seen glowing

© ESO/NASA/JPL/ESA/L. Fletcher
New thermal images from ESO's Very Large Telescope (VLT) and other ground-based telescopes show swirls of warmer air and cooler regions never seen before within Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. The images enable scientists to make the first detailed weather map of the inside of the giant storm system. One observation illustrated by this image is the correspondence between a warm core within an otherwise cold storm system and the reddest colour of the Great Red Spot. The image on the left was obtained with the VISIR on the VLT in Chile on May 18, 2008. It was taken in the infrared wavelength range of 10.8 microns, which is sensitive to Jupiter's atmospheric temperatures in the 300 to 600 millibar pressure range. That pressure range is close to the altitude of the white, red and brown aerosols seen in the visible-light image on the right, which was obtained by the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope on May 15, 2008. These images show the interaction of three of Jupiter's largest storms -- the Great Red Spot and two smaller storms nicknamed Oval BA and Little Red Spot.
"This is our first detailed look inside the biggest storm of the Solar System," says Glenn Orton, who led the team of astronomers that made the study. "We once thought the Great Red Spot was a plain old oval without much structure, but these new results show that it is, in fact, extremely complicated."

The observations reveal that the reddest colour of the Great Red Spot corresponds to a warm core within the otherwise cold storm system, and images show dark lanes at the edge of the storm where gases are descending into the deeper regions of the planet. The observations, detailed in a paper appearing in the journal Icarus, give scientists a sense of the circulation patterns within the solar system's best-known storm system.


Western researcher solves 37-year old space mystery

A researcher from The University of Western Ontario has helped solve a 37-year old space mystery using lunar images released yesterday by NASA and maps from his own atlas of the moon.

Phil Stooke, a professor cross appointed to Western's Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Geography, published a major reference book on lunar exploration in 2007 entitled, "The International Atlas of Lunar Exploration."


How Seismographs Work

© Dreamstime
Scientists who weren't in Chile during this morning's aftershocks nevertheless knew the moment the rumbling started, thanks to a global network of quake-detecting instruments called seismographs.

Seismographs are securely mounted to the surface of the Earth, so when the ground starts shaking, the instrument's case moves.

What doesn't move, however, is a suspended mass inside the seismograph, called the seismometer. During an earthquake, the seismometer remains still while the case around it moves with the ground shaking.


NASA Telescope Spots Cosmic Rose in Deep Space

This infrared image from NASA's WISE space telescope shows a cosmic rosebud blossoming with new stars, including the Berkeley 59 cluster and a supernova remnant.
A new snapshot from NASA's latest space telescope has revealed a vast cloud in deep space that is brimming with new stars inside flower-like wisps of interstellar dust.

The spectacular infrared image shows the Berkeley 59 cluster of young stars, each of which is just a few million years old, as blue dots just to the right of the center of a dust cloud awash in red and green hues, leading NASA scientists to liken it to a giant cosmic rose.

The new image was taken by NASA's new Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), a $320 million space observatory built to map the entire sky in unprecedented detail. The infrared space telescope has already recorded stunning images of dark asteroids and comets that were previously unseen because they were hard to spot in the visible light range of the spectrum.


Sudan's land of 'black pharaohs' a trove for archaeologists

French, Swiss and British archaeologists are in a "paradise" of discovery, unearthing the mysteries of a civilisation that once conquered ancient Egypt.

There is not a tourist in sight as the sun sets over sand-swept pyramids at Meroe, but archaeologists say the Nubian Desert of northern Sudan holds mysteries to rival ancient Egypt.

"There is a magic beauty about these sites that is heightened by the privilege of being able to admire them alone, with the pyramids, the dunes and the sun," says Guillemette Andreu, head of antiquities at Paris' Louvre museum.


Teotihuacan Mural Paintings Recover Splendor

© DMC. INAH. M. Marat
Nural painting in Tetitla. Las Águilas
Mexico City - Several Prehispanic mural paintings at Tetitla Palace, in Teotihuacan Archaeological Zone are fully restored after 2 years of work conducted by specialists from the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH).

Among the paintings created between 600 and 700 AD, outstand Las Aguilas (The Eagles), Diosas verdes (Green Goddesses), Caballero Jaguar,(Jaguar Warrior), Jaguares anaranjados (Orange Jaguars), Manos (Hands), Aves con conchas (Birds with Shells) and Los Buzos (The Divers).


Facebook more popular than Google? For one week, it hit first place in the US

Back in January, the online analytics company Compete estimated that Facebook attracted 133 million unique viewers in the US alone, a showing strong enough to boost Facebook over Yahoo in the Great American Traffic Race. Now, there is evidence that for one week in February, Facebook temporarily unseated even Google, long the most popular site in the US.

According to Hitwise, an NYC-based tracking firm, Facebook soaked up 7.07 percent of all US Internet activity for the week ending March 13. By comparison, Google registered 7.03 percent of the market. Hitwise analyst Heather Dougherty wrote in a blog post today that Facebook had previously topped Google on a handful of prior occasions, including last Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.


Time for Change: 11 Wild Watches

There is a whiff of old-school science fiction in this watch, which resembles a wrist-bound communicator to a mother ship. The Tibida lets wearers tell time three different ways. "Minute-centric mode" has the minutes themselves appear scoreboard-style in the lower, two-sided display - if it is 22 minutes past, the lights form two twos; if nine past, then you see a zero-nine. The hour is marked off in the top display that has 12 spots. "Hour-centric mode" just swaps the hours for the bottom and minutes for the top, though this mode only has a minute resolution of five minutes, naturally, and is for when actual minute-to-minute time is unimportant. The third mode displays the time in a binary digit format using only the 12-unit top display. The way this works is that from right to left, the six columns stand for one, two, four, eight, sixteen and thirty-two. The top row is the hour and the bottom row is minutes. So if the second and fourth lights from the right in the top row are lit, it is 10 o'clock (8 + 2).

As with most Tokyoflash watches, telling time on the Tibida is not something the wearer will be doing in no time flat.