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Tag: space

Nasa carbon space observatory 'watches Earth breathe'

Nasa carbon space observatory 'watches Earth breathe'

Science
Media playback is unsupported on your deviceA Nasa satellite has provided remarkable new insights on how CO2 is moved through the Earth's atmosphere. The Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) tracked the behaviour of the gas in 2015/2016 - a period when the planet experienced a major El Niño event. This climate phenomenon boosts the amount of CO2 in the air. The US space agency's OCO satellite was able to show how that increase was controlled by the response of tropical forests to heat and drought. The forests' ability to draw down carbon dioxide, some of it produced by human activity, was severely curtailed. The science has significant implications because the kind of conditions associated with El Niños are expected to become much more common under global warming. "If future climate is more l
Scientists propose space shield to protect Earth from solar storms

Scientists propose space shield to protect Earth from solar storms

Science
Oct. 6 (UPI) -- If governments and their space agencies are serious about protecting Earth from solar storms, one team of researchers argues a giant space shield is the most logical solution.Much attention is paid to the threat of comets and asteroids. In the past, violent collisions have triggered mass extinctions. Solar storms -- intense waves of high energy particles flung into space during coronal mass ejection -- aren't so much a threat to life. But they could seriously damage satellites, electric grids, communications systems and a variety of modern technologies.When a massive geomagnetic solar storm struck Earth in 1859, the only observable effect was a spate of vibrant auroras. If a similarly powerful storm hit Earth today, the global economy could suffer losses totaling in the tri...
NASA pushes back launch date for James Webb Space Telescope, again

NASA pushes back launch date for James Webb Space Telescope, again

Science
Sept. 29 (UPI) -- NASA's new target window for the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope is between March and June 2019. The world's most powerful space telescope was previously scheduled to launch in October 2018."The change in launch timing is not indicative of hardware or technical performance concerns," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate at the agency's D.C. headquarters, announced in a news release this week. "Rather, the integration of the various spacecraft elements is taking longer than expected."An international agreement with the European Space Agency required NASA to analyze the telescope's launch preparedness one year prior to the launch date. The assessment forced officials to reconsider their plans, and ultimately inspired NASA...
NASA's asteroid chaser swings by Earth on way to space rock

NASA's asteroid chaser swings by Earth on way to space rock

Technology
NASA's asteroid-chasing spacecraft is swinging by Earth on Friday on its way to a space rock. Launched a year ago, Osiris-Rex was on track to pass within about 11,000 miles (17,700 kilometers) of the home planet Friday afternoon — above Antarctica. It needs Earth's gravity as a slingshot to put it on a path toward the asteroid Bennu. Osiris-Rex should reach the small, roundish asteroid next year and, in 2020, collect some of its gravel for return to Earth. If all goes well, scientists should get the samples in 2023. Friday's flyby is a quick hello: The spacecraft will zoom by at about 19,000 mph (31,000 kph). NASA has taken precautions to ensure Osiris-Rex — about the size of an SUV — does not slam into any satellites. "Everything looks great! Thanks for the well wishes," the University o
'Shape-shifting' bacteria spotted in space

'Shape-shifting' bacteria spotted in space

Technology
Bacterial cells treated with a common antibiotic have been spotted changing shape to survive while aboard the International Space Station (ISS).The way bacteria act in near-zero gravity environments could pose a serious problem for treating astronauts with infections.The "clever shape-shifting" was detected in bacteria being experimented on in the near-weightlessness of space, and is believed to help the bacteria survive.An experiment on the common E coli bacteria subjected it to different concentrations of the antibiotic gentamicin sulfate, a drug which kills the bug on Earth.However, in comparison to a control group on Earth, the space bacteria showed a 13-fold increase in cell numbers and a 73% reduction in cell column size."We knew bacteria behave differently in space and that it takes...