SDO – Solar Dynamics Observatory

Predictions of Space Weather are reported by NOAA\’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC). The intensities of solar and geomagnetic storms are reported using the SWPC\’s Space Weather Scales. One use of these scales would be to not fly polar routes if the Space Weather Scale for Radio Blackouts was R 3 or higher. We also try to predict the space weather next month and next year, but that effort is only beginning.

Data and models from Living With a Star research will allow us to build accurate, data-assimilation models of the Earth’s radiation belts, thermosphere and ionosphere. Users of space weather data would like a picture of today\’s particle environment and ionosphere to allow them to anticipate radiation doses, radio outages and GPS navigation errors. Data from the Radiation Belt Storm Probes, due to be launched in 2012, will provide the data to make predictive models of the radiation belts that affect many satellites. The I TSP mission will study the effects of space weather in the mid-latitude thermosphere and ionosphere.

Physicists can predict these events by monitoring the conditions in the solar wind from satellites such as ACE. Conditions that are likely to lead to a magnetic storm are a high solar wind speeds (> 500 km/s) and a southward oriented interplanetary magnetic field (Bz~ –10 nT). (The interplanetary magnetic field comes from the Sun and is carried out through the solar system by the solar wind.)

via SDO – Solar Dynamics Observatory.



Earth Right Now | NASA

With the launch of five Earth-observing missions in 2014 — more Earth-focused launches in a single year in more than a decade — NASA will be able to deliver even more crucial data to scientists trying to understand our changing planet. Since the agency\’s inception in 1958, NASA has established itself as a world leader in Earth science and climate studies.

via Earth Right Now | NASA.

HubbleSite – Movie Theater Videos

A series of short videos illuminate Hubble’s activities, discoveries and science.


See all videos via HubbleSite – Movie Theater.


Amateur Astonomers See Comet ISON Approaching the Sun

Asteroid dust could be used to fight climate change on Earth

A group of scientists from Scotland have suggested a unique approach to fighting global warming here on earth. The scientists believe that the answer to global warming on Earth is a giant dust cloud blasted from an asteroid to act as a sunshade for Earth. According to the scientists, a project that reduced the amount of solar radiation the Earth receives by only 1.7% could offset the effects of the global increase in temperature of 3.6°F.

One of the researchers, named Russell Bewick from the University of Strathclyde in Scotland, says that a 1.7% reduction is very small would hardly be noticeable on earth. There are alternatives to using a giant cloud of dust blasted from an asteroid to shield the Earth. Another proposal would place giant mirrors in space, but this plan would be very expensive and require construction in outer space.

Via Asteroid Shield

France, Russia talk of Mars mission

The European Space Agency says it will team up with Russia’s space agency with the goal of launching the first manned mission to Mars.


ESA Director General Jean-Jacques Dordain said his agency and Roskosmos will “carry out the first flight to Mars together,” Britain’s Daily Mail reported Friday.

Dordain made the remarks while attending an air show at Zhukovsky, near Moscow. No timetable was announced and no details were given of whose spacecraft the proposed mission would utilize.

The announcement came as cosmonauts of the Mars500 project complete 442 days of a�virtual journey to the red planet — actually going nowhere as they remain in isolation in a Russian facility meant to simulate the cramped quarters of an actual Mars mission.

The Mars500 simulated mission is scheduled to end in 78 days.

Roskosmos and the ESA will face competition, as NASA is expected to go ahead with building a new generation of spacecraft capable of deep space missions, with flights into low Earth orbit outsourced to private firms following the shutdown of the U.S. space shuttle program.

Via�Space Based Solar Power Group News | LinkedIn.

Current strategies towards air-breathing space launch vehicles

In 1988 I wrote an article “Airbreathers To Orbit: The Best Way To Go!”, which presented a host of arguments in favor of air-breathing launchers, most of which are still valid. In 1988, an air-breathing launcher was conceived of by many as a large supersonic airplane that would drop the orbiting part of the vehicle off, just like the White Knight Two drops the SpaceShipTwo during a test flight. Today, no true air-breathing spaceplanes or reusable boosters yet exist, but there is now renewed interest in air-breathing technology. At the same time, remarkable launch cost reductions in more conventional boosters are imminent due to the efforts of SpaceX and other firms. It is beneficial to everyone to explore alternate technological paths, since no one can predict which paths will pan out and produce an economical and reliable vehicle. In addition, the impending launch cost competition will stimulate new ways of thinking in the industry worldwide. What is happening now in the air-breathing launcher field and what strategies should companies and countries pursue in the face of these diverging space launch paths?

Skylon illustration

National Space Society Group News | LinkedIn.�