OrbitalHub

The place where space exploration, science, and engineering meet

August 30, 2015

HTV -5 Berthing

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NASA dixit:

“The Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) “Kounotori” H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV-5) arrived at the International Space Station Aug. 24 to deliver almost five tons of supplies and scientific experiments to the Expedition 44 crew. The cargo vehicle was launched atop a Japanese H-IIB rocket Aug. 19 from the Tanegashima Space Center in southern Japan.”

Video credit: NASA

 

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August 15, 2015

1999 JD6 a.k.a. 85989

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Wikipedia dixit:

“(85989) 1999 JD6 is an Aten asteroid, near-Earth object, and potentially hazardous object in the inner Solar System that makes frequent close approaches to Earth and Venus. […] Although 1999 JD6 in its current orbit never passes closer than 0.047 AU to Earth, it is listed as a potentially hazardous object because it is large and might pose a threat in the future. The asteroid is well-observed, having been observed over 1,500 times over a length of over 25 years, and was assigned a numeric designation in August 2004.”

NASA JPL:

“Radar data of asteroid 1999 JD6 revealed the object is a contact binary consisting of two lobes. The data was collected over seven and a half hours on July 25, 2015, when the asteroid was about 4.5 million miles (7.2 million kilometers) from Earth.”

Video credit: NASA JPL

 

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August 12, 2015

Ceres 3D Tour

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Wikipedia dixit:

“Ceres is the largest object in the asteroid belt, which lies between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Its diameter is approximately 945 kilometers (587 miles), making it the largest of the minor planets within the orbit of Neptune. The thirty-third largest known body in the Solar System, it is the only one within the orbit of Neptune that is designated a dwarf planet by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). Composed of rock and ice, Ceres is estimated to comprise approximately one third of the mass of the entire asteroid belt. Ceres is the only object in the asteroid belt known to be unambiguously rounded by its own gravity. From Earth, the apparent magnitude of Ceres ranges from 6.7 to 9.3, and hence even at its brightest, it is too dim to be seen with the naked eye, except under extremely dark skies.

Ceres was the first asteroid discovered, by Giuseppe Piazzi at Palermo on 1 January 1801. It was originally considered a planet, but was reclassified as an asteroid in the 1850s when many other objects in similar orbits were discovered.

Ceres appears to be differentiated into a rocky core and icy mantle, and may harbor a remnant internal ocean of liquid water under the layer of ice. The surface is probably a mixture of water ice and various hydrated minerals such as carbonates and clay. In January 2014, emissions of water vapor were detected from several regions of Ceres. This was unexpected, because large bodies in the asteroid belt do not typically emit vapor, a hallmark of comets.

The robotic NASA spacecraft Dawn entered orbit around Ceres on 6 March 2015. Pictures with a resolution previously unattained were taken during imaging sessions starting in January 2015 as Dawn approached Ceres, showing a cratered surface. Two distinct bright spots (or high-albedo features) inside a crater, incorrectly reported as observed in earlier Hubble images, were seen in a 19 February 2015 image, leading to speculation about a possible cryovolcanic origin or outgassing. On 3 March 2015, a NASA spokesperson said the spots are consistent with highly reflective materials containing ice or salts, but that cryovolcanism is unlikely. On 11 May 2015, NASA released a higher resolution image showing that, instead of one or two spots, there are actually several.”

Video credit: NASA JPL

 

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August 3, 2015

Flight over Atlantis Chaos

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ESA dixit:

“Explore the Atlantis Chaos region of Mars, in the Red Planet’s southern hemisphere. The video showcases a myriad of features that reflect a rich geological history. The tour takes in rugged cliffs and impact craters, alongside parts of ancient shallow, eroded basins. See smooth plains scarred with wrinkled ridges, scarps and fracture lines that point to influence from tectonic activity. Marvel at ‘chaotic’ terrain – hundreds of small peaks and flat-topped hills that are thought to result from the slow erosion of a once-continuous solid plateau. This entire region may once have played host to vast volumes of water – look out for the evidence in the form of channels carved into steep-sided walls.”

Credit: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (CC BY-SA 3.0 IGA)

 

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August 1, 2015

Mars’ Ancient Ocean

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NASA dixit:

“Mars bears ample evidence of a wet past, but scientists debate just how much water the planet has lost over time. Now, isotopic measurements by researchers at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center reveal that an ocean covered approximately twenty percent of early Mars.”

Credit: NASA Goddard

 

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July 25, 2015

Soyuz TMA-17M Launch and Docking

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NASA dixit:

“Expedition 44 Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos), NASA Flight Engineer Kjell Lindgren and Flight Engineer Kimiya Yui of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched on the Russian Soyuz TMA-17M spacecraft on July 23, Kazakh time from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan to begin a six-hour journey to the International Space Station and the start of a five-month mission. They docked their craft to the Rassvet module on the Russian segment of the complex.”

Credit: Roscosmos/NASA

 

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