Monday October 22, 2018
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Fly your name to Mars aboard NASA’s next mission

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Washington: Mars enthusiasts around the world can send their name to the Red Planet aboard NASA’s in Sight Mars lander which is scheduled to be launched next year. As part of its “fly-your-name” initiative, NASA will adds thousands of names to a silicon microchip headed to the Red Planet. “Our next step in the journey to Mars is another fantastic mission to the surface,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA headquarters in Washington, DC.

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“By participating in this opportunity to send your name aboard in Sight to the Red Planet, you’re showing that you’re part of that journey and the future of space exploration,” he said in a statement. Submissions, available on NASA website, will be accepted till September 8.

The “fly-your-name” opportunity comes with “frequent flier” points to reflect an individual’s personal participation in NASA’s journey to Mars, which will span multiple missions and multiple decades.

The in Sight mission offers the second such opportunity for space exploration fans to collect points by flying their names aboard a NASA mission, with more opportunities to follow. Last December, the names of 1.38 million people flew on a chip aboard the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will carry astronauts to deep space destinations including Mars and an asteroid.

After in Sight, the next opportunity to earn frequent flier points will be NASA’s Exploration Mission 1 the first planned test flight bringing together the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion capsule in preparation for human missions to Mars and beyond. In Sight will be launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, in March 2016 and land on Mars on September 28, 2016. The mission is the first dedicated to the investigation of the deep interior of the planet.

It will place the first seismometer directly on the surface of Mars to measure Martian quakes and use seismic waves to learn about the planet’s interior. It also will deploy a self-hammering heat probe that will burrow deeper into the ground than any previous device on the Red Planet. “These and other in Sight investigations will improve our understanding about the formation and evolution of all rocky planets, including Earth,” the US space agency said.

(IANS)

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New Gamma-Ray Collection Named After Hulk, Godzilla: NASA

Since 2008, Fermi's Large Area Telescope (LAT) has been scanning the entire sky each day, mapping and measuring sources of gamma rays, the highest-energy light in the universe.

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NASA names new gamma-ray constellations after Godzilla, Hulk. Pixabay

NASA has used certain characters from modern myths such as the “Hulk” and “Godzilla” to name its new set of 21 gamma-ray constellations constructed in celebration of its Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope’s 10th year of operations.

Fermi has mapped about 3,000 gamma-ray sources — 10 times the number known before its launch and comparable to the number of bright stars in the traditional constellations.

“For the first time ever, the number of known gamma-ray sources was comparable to the number of bright stars, so we thought a new set of constellations was a great way to illustrate the point,” NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center’s Elizabeth Ferrara who led the constellation project said in a statement.

Gamma-ray constellation
The background shows the gamma-ray sky as mapped by Fermi. The prominent reddish band is the plane of our own galaxy, the Milky Way; brighter colors indicate brighter gamma-ray sources. NASA

 

“Developing these unofficial constellations was a fun way to highlight a decade of Fermi’s accomplishments,” Julie McEnery, the Fermi project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said.

Comic book fans who know the backstory of Hulk, the big, green, angry alter ego of Bruce Banner, whose experiments with gamma rays went terribly wrong, could easily appreciate NASA’s pick in naming one of its constellations.

Gamma rays are the strongest form of light. They pack enough punch to convert into matter under the right circumstances, a transformation both Banner and the Hulk would certainly appreciate.

NASA’s choice of Godzilla constellation is linked to its trademark weapon “heat ray,” a fiery jet. This bears at least a passing resemblance to gamma-ray jets associated with black holes and neutron stars.

Gamma-ray constellation
NASA names new gamma-ray constellations after Godzilla, Hulk

 

Godzilla ranks as one of cinema’s most famous monsters and is among the most recognisable symbols of Japanese popular culture.

In the original 1954 movie, nuclear weapons tests disturb the creature’s deep ocean habitat, and it emerges from the sea to wreak havoc in Japan.

The 21 gamma-ray constellations also include famous landmarks — such as Sweden’s recovered warship, Vasa, the Washington Monument and Mount Fuji in Japan — in countries contributing to Fermi science.

Since 2008, Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT) has been scanning the entire sky each day, mapping and measuring sources of gamma rays, the highest-energy light in the universe.

Also Read: NASA Plans For Science Payloads For Delivery To Moon

The emission may come from pulsars, nova outbursts, the debris of supernova explosions and giant gamma-ray bubbles located in our own galaxy, or supermassive black holes and gamma-ray bursts — the most powerful explosions in the cosmos — in others.

“Fermi is still going strong, and we are now preparing a new all-sky LAT catalog,” said Jean Ballet, a Fermi team member at the French Atomic Energy Commission in Saclay.

“This will add about 2,000 sources, many varying greatly in brightness, further enriching these constellations and enlivening the high-energy sky!” (IANS)