NASA’s aircraft soars in PH skies to study weather, climate science

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 28, 2019   •   1799

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has already begun its two-month-long investigation on the impact of smoke from fires and pollution on clouds to improve weather and climate forecasts.

Their P3 billion science aircraft soared into the the Philippine skies on August 25.

“Numerous studies have linked the presence of pollution and smoke from agricultural fires and fires from deforestation to changes in cloud and storm properties, but we lack the observations of the actual mechanisms taking place,” said NRL research meteorologist Jeffrey Reid. 

NASA aims to their intensify studies on weather, and climate science with Philippine agencies including the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) and the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

NASA has also partnered with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) and the Manila Observatory.

NASA has launched the campaign, Cloud, Aerosol, and Monsoon Processes Philippines Experiment (CAMP2Ex) in Southeast Asia to study the relationship between aerosol particles as they interact with surrounding monsoon meteorology, cloud microphysics and the sun’s radiation.

The campaign will also cover Sumatra, Malay Peninsula, Borneo, and Sulawesi.

According to Radiation Sciences Program Manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington Hal Maring, aerosol particles can affect clouds and precipitation, but they still don’t have a quantitative understanding of the said processes.

Aerosol particles include sea salt, dust, air pollutants and biomass-burning smoke particles, and nearly all can act as cloud condensation nuclei (also known as cloud seeds). 

“Our goal is to improve satellite products and numerical models to help scientists better predict weather and climate,” he said.—AAC

NASA presents panorama of southern sky

Aileen Cerrudo   •   November 7, 2019

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has presented a panorama of the southern sky through the observations of its Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

The panorama was completed last July 2019 and is divided into 13 sectors, each of them imaged by a month by spacecraft’s four cameras.

“TESS has imaged a comet in our solar system, followed the progress of numerous stellar explosions called supernovae, and even caught the flare from a star ripped apart by a supermassive black hole,” according to NASA.

NASA’s TESS is on its way north in order to begin a year-long study of the northern sky.—AAC

NASA shows pumpkin sun photo

Aileen Cerrudo   •   October 28, 2019

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shared a photo of our sun showing a spooky glow, resembling a flaming jack-o’-lantern.

The photo was taken on October 8, 2014 by NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO). According to NASA, the brighter areas seen in the photo is due to the higher amount of light and energy emitted.

NASA also said the image blends together two sets of wavelengths at 171 and 193 angstroms, typically colorized in gold and yellow to give that ‘spooky’ appearance.

Here is what the photo would look like in other sets of wavelengths.

The sun as imaged by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on Oct. 8, 2014, in 335 angstrom extreme ultraviolet light.
Credit: NASA/SDO
The sun as imaged by the Solar Dynamics Observatory on Oct. 8, 2014, in 304 angstrom extreme ultraviolet light.

“They [brighter areas of the sun] are markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona,” according to NASA’s website.—AAC

NASA unveils new spacesuits for moon mission

Jeck Deocampo   •   October 17, 2019

NASA unveiled two new spacesuits designed for the space agency’s Artemis moon mission to take Americans back to the moon by 2024.

One of the spacesuits, called Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU for short, will be worn by astronauts while exploring the surface of the moon’s South Pole.

The second spacesuit, the orange-hued Orion Crew Survival System, is designed to be worn during the launch to the moon and then re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere aboard the agency’s Orion spacecraft.

Both suits are designed for improved mobility and comfort.

A decade after NASA sent a rocket crashing into the moon’s south pole, spewing a plume of debris that revealed vast reserves of ice beneath the barren lunar surface, the space agency is racing to pick up where its little-remembered project left off.

Vice President Mike Pence in March 2019 ordered NASA to land humans on the lunar surface by 2024, accelerating a goal to colonize the moon as a staging ground for eventual missions to Mars.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine said the moon holds billions of tons of water ice, although the exact amount and whether it’s present in large chunks of ice or combined with the lunar soil remains unknown.

To find out before astronauts arrive on the moon, NASA is working with a handful of companies to put rovers on the lunar surface by 2022. (REUTERS)

(Production: Greg Savoy, Pavithra George)

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