Historic Demonstration Proves Laser Communication Possible

On Oct. 18, 2013, the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD) made history, transmitting data from lunar orbit to Earth at a record-breaking rateof 622 Megabits per second. That download rate is more than six times faster than any other system ever sent to the Moon. LLCD is being flown aboard the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer satellite known as LADEE, currently orbiting the moon. LADEE is a 100-day robotic mission designed, built, tested and operated by a team from NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif. Its primary science mission is to investigate the tenuous and exotic atmosphere that exists around the moon.

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Cook a Comet?

How to Cook a Comet

With the upcoming event of comet ISON, a lot of information about comets is being published all over the internet and the print media.
Here we have a short video by NASA Goddard outlining the process of a comet’s journey through the solar system. This journey is perilous and violent. Before a comet reaches Mars, at some 230 million miles away from the sun, the radiation of the sun begins to cook off the frozen water ice directly into gas. This is called sublimation. It is the first step toward breaking the comet apart. If it survives this, the intense radiation and pressure closer to the sun could destroy it altogether. Animators at,NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. created this short video showing how the sun can cook a comet. Such a journey is currently being made by Comet ISON. It began its trip from the Oort cloud region of our solar system and is now traveling toward the sun. The comet will reach its closest approach to the sun on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 28, 2013, skimming just 730,000 miles above the sun’s surface. If it comes around the sun without breaking up, the comet will be visible in the Northern Hemisphere with the naked eye, and from what we see now, ISON is predicted to be a particularly bright and beautiful comet.
Even if the comet does not survive, tracking its journey will help scientists understand what the comet is made of, how it reacts to its environment, and what this explains about the origins of the solar system. Closer to the sun, watching how the comet and its tail interact with the vast solar atmosphere can teach scientists more about the sun itself.

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Landsat-Maps- Falling Trees

When Trees Fall, Landsat Maps Them
The narrator in this video may not be the most lively ever seen, but is is the subject that grabs the attention. Maybe that was his goal?
Since 1972, the Landsat program has played a critical role in monitoring, understanding and managing the resources needed to sustain human life such as food, water and forests. Landsat 8 launched Feb. 11, 2013, and is jointly managed by NASA and USGS to continue the 40-plus years of Earth observations.
Twelve years of global deforestation, wildfires, windstorms, insect infestations and more are captured in a new set of forest disturbance maps created from billions of pixels acquired by the imager on the NASA-USGS Landsat 7 satellite. The maps are the first to measure forest loss and gain using a consistent method around the globe at high spatial resolution, allowing scientists to compare forest changes in different countries and to monitor annual deforestation. Since each pixel in a Landsat image represents a piece of land about the size of a baseball diamond, researchers can see enough detail to tell local, regional and global stories. Key to the project was collaboration with team members from Google Earth Engine, who reproduced in the Google Cloud the models developed at the University of Maryland for processing and characterizing the Landsat data.

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Let There Be Lightning

Firefly Mission to Study Lightning
This satellite is the size of a loaf of bread,its called Firefly.Al weatherwax of Siena College explains what its all about and the role plyed by students.
Somewhere on Earth, there’s always a lightning flash. The globe experiences lightning some 50 times a second, yet the details of what initiates this common occurrence and what effects it has on the atmosphere – lightning may be linked to incredibly powerful and energetic bursts called terrestrial gamma ray flashes, or TGFs remains a mystery. In mid-November, a football-sized mission called Firefly, which is funded by the National Science Foundation, will launch into space to study lightning and these gamma ray flashes from above. The NSF CubeSat program represents a low cost access to space approach to performing high-quality, highly targeted science on a smaller budget than is typical of more comprehensive satellite projects, which have price tags starting at $100 million. The CubeSat Firefly, by focusing its science goals, will carry out its mission in a much smaller package and at a considerably lower cost.

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