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Posts Tagged ‘satellite’

Why Do These Breathtaking Russian Images of Earth Look So Different from NASA’s?

April 1, 2011 Comments off

Gizmodo

While this morning’s orbital image of Mercury is historic, these two images are the ones that have truly left me in complete awe today. Even more so than the most accurate, highest resolution view of Earth to date.

But unlike Blue Marble, these images are not by NASA. In fact, they look a lot different from NASA’s Earth imagery. Much better and crisper, some may say. But are they really better? Are they more accurate? NASA has explained to us why they look so different compared to their own.

The russians are back in the space race

It was taken by a Russian spacecraft, a new weather satellite called Elektro-L. It’s now orbiting Earth on a geostationary orbit 36,000 kilometers above the equator, after being launched on January 20 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, on board a Zenit rocket.

This is the first major spacecraft fully developed in post-Soviet Russia, developed by NPO Lavochkin for the Russian Federal Space Agency. This is a major step in the country’s aerospace industry, after two decades of Read more…

Drought In Amazon Could Lead To Accelerated Global Warming

March 30, 2011 Comments off

ibtimes.com

A new study reveals a drought last year in the Amazon basin caused the forest to lose significant levels of vegetation, which in turn could accelerate the pace of global warming.

The study, conducted by an international team of scientists and funded by NASA, uses specific satellite imaging data provided by the agency to draw its conclusions. The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellites provided more than a decade’s worth of data for scientists who studied the de-vegetation of the Amazon rainforest.

(Photo: NASA/BU) NASA satellite sensors, such as MODIS, showed an average pattern of greenness of vegetation on South America: Amazon forests which have very high leaf area are shown in red and purple colors, the adjacent cerrado (savannas) which have lower leaf area are shown in shades of green, and the coastal deserts are shown in yellow colors.

 

The scientists say changing climates with warmer temperatures and altered rainfall could lead to the rainforests turning into grasslands or woody savannas. This causes carbon stored in the rotting wood to be released into the atmosphere, which would add to the greenhouse gases present.

“The greenness levels of Amazonian vegetation — a measure of its health — decreased dramatically over an area more than three and one-half times the size of Texas and did not recover to normal levels, even after the drought ended in late October 2010,” Liang Xu, the study’s lead author from Boston University, said in a statement.

“The MODIS vegetation greenness data suggest a more widespread, severe and long-lasting impact to Amazonian vegetation than Read more…

Wind and waves growing across globe: study

March 28, 2011 Comments off

physorg.com

Wind and waves growing across globe

Photo by Todd Binger

(PhysOrg.com) — Oceanic wind speeds and wave heights have increased significantly over the last quarter of a century according to a major new study undertaken by ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Young.

Read more…

Between Sudan and Libya, Critics See U.S. Inconsistency

March 15, 2011 Comments off

nationaljournal.com

Why the rush to use force against Qaddafi when Sudan has suffered more?

 

Roberto Schmidt/AFP/Getty Images

Actor George Clooney helped conceive a project along with John Prendergast of the Enough Project that helps track violence in Sudan.

He went on to acknowledge that in a world full of Read more…

Impact of space weather threat examined

March 10, 2011 Comments off

theiet.org

Professor Hapgood examines the linkage between the science of space weather and its impact on technological systems, potential impact of Solar weather on orbital and ground based systems including power, energy and communications – as well as atmospheric physics.
Space weather is concerned with disturbances in Earth’s upper atmosphere and in near-Earth space that can disrupt the advanced technologies on which our society now relies. A proper understanding of space weather requires us to bring together a range of scientific, engineering and economic expertise, emphasizing the role of the electromagnetic force in many of the physical processes that cause space weather.
One example is the crucial role of plasma physics within the sources of space weather on the Sun, in the transmission of energy from the Sun to the Earth via the solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere.
Another is the role of the electric currents that naturally flow with Read more…

Pace of polar ice melt ‘accelerating rapidly’: study

March 10, 2011 Comments off

 

(AFP)

WASHINGTON — The pace at which the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are melting is “accelerating rapidly” and raising the global sea level, according to findings of a study financed by NASA and published Tuesday.

The findings suggest that the ice sheets — more so than ice loss from Earth’s mountain glaciers and ice caps — have become “the dominant contributor to global sea level rise, much sooner than model forecasts have predicted.”

This study, the longest to date examining changes to polar ice sheet mass, combined two decades of monthly satellite measurements with regional atmospheric climate model data to study changes in mass.

“That ice sheets will dominate future sea level rise is not surprising — they hold a lot more ice mass than mountain glaciers,” said lead author Eric Rignot, jointly of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine.

“What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening,” he said.

Under the current trends, he said, sea level is likely to be “significantly higher” than levels projected by Read more…

Scientists warn of ‘dangerous over-reliance’ on GPS

March 9, 2011 Comments off

(AFP)

LONDON — Developed nations have become “dangerously over-reliant” on satellite navigation systems such as GPS, which could break down or be attacked with devastating results, British engineers said Tuesday.

The Royal Academy of Engineering said the application of the technology was now so broad — from car sat-navs to the time stamp on financial transactions — that without adequate backup, any disruption could have a major impact.

It cited a recent European Commission study showing that six Read more…

Secretive X-37B Space Plane Launches on New Mystery Mission

March 7, 2011 1 comment
space.com 

The Air Force

 

The Air Force’s second X-37B robot space plane blasts off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 5, 2011 to begin its secret Orbital Test Vehicle 2 mission.
CREDIT: United Launch Alliance 

After being delayed a day by bad weather, the U.S. Air Force’s second X-37B robotic space plane blasted off from Florida this afternoon (March 5) on a mystery mission shrouded in secrecy.

The unmanned X-37B mini-shuttle — known as Orbital Test Vehicle 2 (OTV-2) — took to the skies from Cape Canaveral at 5:46 p.m. EST (2246 GMT) today, tucked away in the nose cone atop a huge Atlas 5 rocket.

“Liftoff of the Atlas 5 rocket and the second experimental X-37B, America’s miniature military space shuttle,” the Air Force Space Command wrote in a Twitter post as the Atlas 5 streaked into the Florida skies.

The space plane was originally scheduled to launch yesterday, but cloudy, windy conditions scrubbed two attempts. And a technical glitch caused the X-37B to miss a launch window earlier this afternoon; a faulty valve had to be replaced in a last-minute repair.

The X-37B’s mission is classified, but Air Force officials have said the vehicle will be used to test out new spacecraft technologies. Shortly after launch, the mission went into a scheduled media blackout, with no further public updates.

Today’s launch marks the start of the X-37B program’s second space mission. The Air Force’s other X-37B plane, known as OTV-1, returned to Earth in December 2010 after a similarly mysterious seven-month maiden mission. [Photos: First Flight of the X-37B Space Plane]

Air Force's Mystery X-37B Robot Spaceship to Launch Today 

The U.S. Air Force’s X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is shown inside its payload fairing during encapsulation at the Astrotech facility in Titusville, Fla., ahead of a planned April 2010 launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
CREDIT: USAF 

Mysterious mini-shuttle

The X-37B spacecraft looks a bit like NASA’s space shuttles, only much smaller. The vehicle is about 29 feet long by 15 feet wide (8.8 by 4.5 meters), with a payload bay about the size of a pickup truck bed. By comparison, two entire X-37Bs could fit inside the payload bay of a space shuttle.

The space plane, built by Boeing for the U.S. military, can fly long, extended missions because of its solar array power system, which allows it to stay in orbit for up to nine months, Air Force officials have said. [Infographic: The X-37B Space Plane]

What exactly the vehicle does while circling the Earth for so long is a mystery, since the craft’s payloads and missions are classified. Partly as a result of the secrecy, some concern has been raised — particularly by Russia and China — that the X-37B is a space weapon of some sort.

But the Air Force has repeatedly denied that charge, claiming that the X-37B’s chief task is testing out new hardware for future satellites — instruments like sensors and guidance, control and navigation systems. And that’s likely to be the case, experts say.

“It gives the Air Force the ability to test-fly some of this hardware,” said Brian Weeden, a former Air Force orbital analyst who works as a technical adviser for the nonprofit Secure World Foundation.

Weeden suspects the X-37B is testing gear for the National Reconnaissance Office, the intelligence agency that builds and operates the U.S.’s spy satellites. That would explain all the secrecy, he said.

The x-37B Orbital Test Vehicle is an unmanned space test vehicle for the USAF.  

CREDIT: Karl Tate, SPACE.com 

Second mission for the X-37B

The Air Force’s other X-37B, known as OTV-1, launched last April and returned in December after spending 224 days in space. While its mission was also classified, technology-testing was OTV-1’s primary job, too, Air Force officials have said.

The Air Force's second X-37B space plane soars toward space atop an Atlas 5 rocket after launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 5, 2011.   

The Air Force’s second X-37B space plane soars toward space atop an Atlas 5 rocket after launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on March 5, 2011.
CREDIT: United Launch Alliance

 

And things presumably went well, experts say, or the Air Force wouldn’t be launching the craft’s twin a few short months later.

While the X-37B is likely trying out new hardware, the vehicle itself is experimental — hence the “X” designation — so these flights should also help the Air Force assess the space plane as well as its payload.

“Part of its mission is to test out reusable technologies and to see how quickly they can turn around these vehicles and launch them again,” Weeden said.

Boeing’s Space and Intelligence Systems division builds the X-37B for the Air Force. Originally, NASA used the space plane as an experimental test bed until funding for the project ran out in 2004.

The vehicle then passed to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and was ultimately turned over to the Air Force in 2006.


“Future War with China”?: New US Bomber Aimed at China?

February 25, 2011 Comments off

globalresearch.ca

-[General Gary North, commander of the US Pacific Air Force] has hinted at one of the roles the new bombers might play in any future war with China. He said the key to defeating the new J-20 fighter would be to prevent it ever taking off from its mainland bases. Bombers might be used to attack Chinese airfields in the early hours of a conflict.

$3.7 billion. That’s how much the US Air Force proposes to spend over the next five years developing a new, stealthy, long-range, manned bomber likely specifically intended to penetrate Chinese air defences. The plan, included in the Obama administration’ s 2012 budget, could lead to the production of around 100 new bombers by the mid-2020s — and could significantly tip the Pacific balance of power.

Last week’s bomber announcement marked the continued escalation of the arms race between the United States and China. Since early 2010, China has debuted a new stealth fighter prototype (the Chengdu J-20), brought ballistic anti-ship missiles into service and at least temporarily matched the US in Read more…

4 nuclear sites found in Syria

February 25, 2011 Comments off

www.ynetnews.com

Satellite images show Damascus established four facilities to accompany reactor bombed in 2007
Yitzhak Benhorin

WASHINGTON – Syria established four additional nuclear facilities aside from the one bombed by Israel in 2007, the US Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) reported late Wednesday.

The report, which was published alongside a report by the German daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, explains that Syria’s nuclear program was far more advanced than previously believed and included, in addition to the reactor destroyed at al-Kibar, a uranium conversion facility and three storage sites.

The conversion facility at Marj as-Sultan, according to the report, was apparently intended for processing uranium yellowcake into uranium tetrafluoride (UF4) for the al-Kibar reactor.

The facility’s current use is unknown, but the ISIS suspects that after the latter was bombed Syria attempted to disguise its operations. The institute cites commercial satellite images as proof of this. Read more…