samedi 21 mars 2015

CERN - LHCb's new analysis confirms old puzzle












CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

March 21, 2015

Yesterday, at the 50th Moriond Electroweak conference (link is external) (La Thuile, Italy), LHCb physicists presented an analysis, which show deviations from Standard Model calculations.

The Standard Model describes elementary particles and their behaviour. Even though it is currently the best description there is of the subatomic world, it does not explain the complete picture. Some phenomena remain unexplained. That’s why theoreticians have developed models beyond the Standard Model, which would complete the picture. Experiments at the LHC are looking for hints of this “new physics”, which would include yet undiscovered particles.


Graphic above: The LHCb analysis presented at the Moriond Electroweak conference; the black points show the measurements released yesterday.

The LHCb (Large Hadron Collider beauty) experiment searches for new physics by looking for the effects of possible new particles in rare decays of B particles, particles that contain a beauty quark. These "indirect searches" allow them to probe mass scales inaccessible by other techniques.

In this search, LHCb physicists have been studying the angular distribution of the particles coming from one of these rare B particle decays (B → K*μμ), a parameter that is highly sensitive to the effects of new particles. "This decay is a laboratory on its own," said Patrick Koppenburg, LHCb Physics Coordinator. "Many of the particles that CERN experiments search for in their data can be studied in this decay."

In their analysis of the full LHC Run 1 data set, LHCb physicists found a local deviation from Standard Model calculations. The results confirm a previously published analysis using 2011 LHCb data.

These new results are certain to draw the attention of physicists worldwide, as theorists consider the many possible implications. Theoretical predictions of the Standard Model values (in orange on the graph) are also expected to be further improved.

CERN - Large Hadron Collider Beauty Experiment (LHCb) room

LHCb is an experiment set up to explore what happened after the Big Bang that allowed matter to survive and build the Universe we inhabit today.

Fourteen billion years ago, the Universe began with a bang. Crammed within an infinitely small space, energy coalesced to form equal quantities of matter and antimatter. But as the Universe cooled and expanded, its composition changed. Just one second after the Big Bang, antimatter had all but disappeared, leaving matter to form everything that we see around us — from the stars and galaxies, to the Earth and all life that it supports.

Read the full version of this article here: http://home.web.cern.ch/scientists/updates/2015/03/lhcbs-new-analysis-confirms-old-puzzle

Note:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

50th Moriond Electroweak conference: http://moriond.in2p3.fr/

The LHCb (Large Hadron Collider beauty) experiment: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/experiments/lhcb

The Standard Model: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/physics/standard-model

2011 LHCb data: http://lhcb-public.web.cern.ch/lhcb-public/Welcome.html#KstarMuMu3

For more information about the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), visit: http://home.web.cern.ch/

Image, Graphic, Text, Credits: CERN / Katarina Anthony.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

vendredi 20 mars 2015

The next generation of Space Station experiments










ESA - European Astronauts patch.

20 March 2015

From how astronauts perceive time to whether parts of their brains shrink in space, the next round of experiments to be performed on the International Space Station has been chosen from more than 200 proposals.

ESA received more applications than all other Space Station partners combined, showing a high level of European interest in space research.

Sunrise seen from Space Station

Following a call for proposals in February 2014, an independent peer-review process in coordination with NASA looked at each experiment in terms of scientific significance, feasibility and whether the Station is essential to test the hypotheses.

After scientific peer-review the proposals were assessed for practical and financial restraints such as the time and equipment needed to run the experiment. Thirty-one projects have been selected for further study.

Maintaining Biolab on Station

Changing astronauts

Some experiments will continue research that warrants more investigation, such as monitoring lung health. ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti recently performed a first session in the Space Station’s airlock with NASA astronaut Terry Virts. The next step will add helium to the mix to help understand why astronauts in space breathe out more nitric oxide than normal.

Another experiment will look at astronauts’ hippocampi, a part of the brain that processes information for navigation and storing memories. The scientists behind the proposal think the hippocampus will shrink in space and want to run brain scans before and after flight.

Samantha working on Airway Monitoring

The same region in our brain is the first to suffer damage in Alzheimer patients, so the research will be of interest for understanding this disease.

A more subjective experiment will look at how astronauts perceive time. Using existing hardware, including a head-mounted display and headphones, astronauts will be regularly asked to estimate time and will chart any changes during their time in weightlessness.

Biology

In biology, experiments will support research for ESA’s Melissa project on creating a self-sustained ecosystem to provide food and oxygen to astronauts from waste.

ESA will continue its pioneering research into exobiology by putting micro-organisms and chemicals on miniature satellites that will be attached to the Station’s exterior before returning to Earth. These CubeSat experiments will test theories of how life could have developed and spread through the Galaxy and even how they might evolve to adapt to the harsh vacuum of space.

Human endothelial cells

The Station is an ideal platform to research our immune system and many experiments will look at how cells cope on a molecular level with the stress of weightlessness and space radiation.

Preparing for future missions

ESA’s Head of Human Research Office, Jennifer Ngo-Anh, comments, “We are very pleased by the scope and quality of the proposals. These experiments will help us prepare for future human long-duration missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond.”

Together with ESA experts, the science teams will now refine their experiments to fulfill Station requirements. A complete list of experiments and the research teams can be found here: http://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/hso/ILSRA_experiments.pdf

Related links:

List of selected experiments: http://esamultimedia.esa.int/docs/hso/ILSRA_experiments.pdf

ILSRA announcement for research in space 2014:
http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Human_Spaceflight_Research_OLD/INTERNATIONAL_RESEARCH_ANNOUNCEMENT_FOR_RESEARCH_IN_SPACE_LIFE_SCIENCES_AT_THE_INTERNATIONAL_SPACE_STATION_ILSRA-2014

ESA BR-300 ELIPS: Research in space for the future: http://www.esa.int/About_Us/ESA_Publications/ESA_Publications_Brochures/ESA_BR-300_ELIPS_Research_in_space_for_the_future

Erasmus Experiment Archive: http://eea.spaceflight.esa.int/

International Space Station Benefits for Humanity: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/International_Space_Station_Benefits_for_Humanity

Erasmus Space Exhibition Centre: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Research/Erasmus_Space_Exhibition_Centre

Images, Text, Credits: ESA/NASA.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

Rosetta makes first detection of molecular nitrogen at a comet












ESA - Rosetta Mission patch.

20 March 2015

ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft has made the first measurement of molecular nitrogen at a comet, providing clues about the temperature environment in which Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko formed.

Rosetta arrived last August, and has since been collecting extensive data on the comet and its environment with its suite of 11 science instruments.

First detection of molecular nitrogen at a comet

The in situ detection of molecular nitrogen has long been sought at a comet. Nitrogen had only previously been detected bound up in other compounds, including hydrogen cyanide and ammonia, for example.

Its detection is particularly important since molecular nitrogen is thought to have been the most common type of nitrogen available when the Solar System was forming. In the colder outer regions, it likely provided the main source of nitrogen that was incorporated into the gas planets. It also dominates the dense atmosphere of Saturn’s moon, Titan, and is present in the atmospheres and surface ices on Pluto and Neptune’s moon Triton.

It is in these cold outer reaches of our Solar System in which the family of comets that includes Rosetta’s comet is believed to have formed.

The new results are based on 138 measurements collected by the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis instrument, ROSINA, during 17–23 October 2014, when Rosetta was about 10 km from the centre of the comet.

“Identifying molecular nitrogen places important constraints on the conditions in which the comet formed, because it requires very low temperatures to become trapped in ice,” says Martin Rubin of the University of Bern, lead author of the paper presenting the results published today in the journal Science.

Comet on 14 March 2015 – NavCam

The trapping of molecular nitrogen in ice in the protosolar nebula is thought to take place at temperatures similar to those required to trap carbon monoxide. So in order to put constraints on comet formation models, the scientists compared the ratio of molecular nitrogen to carbon monoxide measured at the comet to that of the protosolar nebula, as calculated from the measured nitrogen to carbon ratio in Jupiter and the solar wind.

That ratio for Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko turns out to be about 25 times less than that of the expected protosolar value. The scientists think that this depletion may be a consequence of the ice forming at very low temperatures in the protosolar nebula.

One scenario involves temperatures of between roughly –250ºC and perhaps –220ºC, with relatively inefficient trapping of molecular nitrogen in either amorphous water ice or cage-like water ice known as a clathrate, in both cases yielding a low ratio directly.

Alternatively, the molecular nitrogen could have been trapped more efficiently at even lower temperatures of around –253ºC in the same region as Pluto and Triton, resulting in relatively nitrogen-rich ices as seen on them.

Subsequent heating of the comet through the decay of radioactive nuclides, or as Rosetta’s comet moved into orbits closer to the Sun, could have been sufficient to trigger outgassing of the nitrogen and thus a reduction of the ratio over time.

Comet’s orbit

 “This very low-temperature process is similar to how we think Pluto and Triton have developed their nitrogen-rich ice and is consistent with the comet originating from the Kuiper Belt,” says Martin.

The only other body in the Solar System with a nitrogen-dominated atmosphere is Earth. The current best guess at its origin is via plate tectonics, with volcanoes releasing nitrogen locked in silicate rocks in the mantle.

However, the question remains as to the role played by comets in delivering this important ingredient.

“Just as we wanted to learn more about the role of comets in bringing water to Earth, we would also like to place constraints on the delivery of other ingredients, especially those that are needed for the building blocks of life, like nitrogen,” says Kathrin Altwegg, also at the University of Bern, and principal investigator for ROSINA.

To assess the possible contribution of comets like Rosetta’s to the nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere, the scientists assumed that the isotopic ratio of 14N to 15N in the comet is the same as that measured for Jupiter and solar wind, which reflects the composition of the protosolar nebula.

However, this isotopic ratio is much higher than measured for other nitrogen-bearing species present in comets, such as hydrogen cyanide and ammonia.

Earth’s 14N/15N ratio lies roughly between these two values, and thus if there was an equal mix of the molecular form on the one hand, and in hydrogen cyanide and ammonia on the other in comets, it would be at least conceivable that Earth’s nitrogen could have come from comets.

“However, the amount of nitrogen found in 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is not an equal mix between molecular nitrogen and the other nitrogen-bearing molecules. Rather, there is 15 times too little molecular nitrogen, and therefore Earth’s 14N/15N ratio cannot be reproduced through delivery of Jupiter family comets like Rosetta’s,” says Martin.

“It’s another piece of the puzzle in terms of the role of Jupiter family comets in the evolution of the Solar System, but the puzzle is by no means finished yet,” says ESA’s Rosetta project scientist, Matt Taylor.

“Rosetta is about five months away from perihelion now, and we’ll be watching how the composition of the gases changes over this period, and trying to decipher what that tells us about the past life of this comet.”

Notes for Editors:

“Molecular nitrogen in comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko indicates a low formation temperature,” by M. Rubin et al is published in the 20 March issue of the journal Science. 10.1126/science.aaa6100

ROSINA is the Rosetta Orbiter Spectrometer for Ion and Neutral Analysis instrument and comprises two mass spectrometers: the Double Focusing Mass Spectrometer (DFMS) and the Reflectron Time of Flight mass spectrometer (RTOF) – and the COmetary Pressure Sensor (COPS). The measurements reported here were conducted with DFMS. The ROSINA team is led by Kathrin Altwegg of the University of Bern, Switzerland.

An average ratio of N2/CO = (5.70 +/- 0.66) x 10–3 was determined for the period 17–23 October 2014. The minimum and maximum values measured were 1.7 x 10–3 and 1.6 x 10–2, respectively. Because the amount and composition of the gases change with comet rotation and position of the spacecraft with respect to the comet’s surface, an average value is used.

The 14N/15N ratio for the N2 in Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is assumed to be 441, the value for the protosolar nebula as measured from Jupiter and the solar wind, while the corresponding value for nitrogen in hydrogen cyanide and ammonia is 130, as measured at other comets. The value for the Earth’s nitrogen is 272.

More about Rosetta:

Rosetta is an ESA mission with contributions from its Member States and NASA. Rosetta’s Philae lander was provided by a consortium led by DLR, MPS, CNES and ASI. Rosetta is the first mission in history to rendezvous with a comet. It is escorting the comet as they orbit the Sun together. Philae landed on the comet on 12 November 2014. Comets are time capsules containing primitive material left over from the epoch when the Sun and its planets formed. By studying the gas, dust and structure of the nucleus and organic materials associated with the comet, via both remote and in situ observations, the Rosetta mission should become the key to unlocking the history and evolution of our Solar System.

For more information about Rosetta mission, visit: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Rosetta

Images. Text, Credits: Spacecraft: ESA/ATG medialab; comet: ESA/Rosetta/NavCam – CC BY-SA IGO 3.0; Data: Rubin et al (2015).

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Europe’s solar eclipse on 20 March 2015

ESA - PROBA-2 Mission logo.

20 March 2015

  Proba-2 view of Europe's solar eclipse

As Europe enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20 March 2015, ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside seat from orbit. Proba-2 used its SWAP imager to capture the Moon passing in front of the Sun in a near-totality. SWAP views the solar disc at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths to capture the turbulent surface of the Sun and its swirling corona.

video
 Europe’s solar eclipse seen from Proba-2

As Europe enjoyed a partial solar eclipse on the morning of Friday 20 March 2015, ESA’s Sun-watching Proba-2 minisatellite had a ringside seat from orbit. Proba-2 used its SWAP imager to capture the Moon passing in front of the Sun. SWAP views the solar disc at extreme ultraviolet wavelengths to capture the turbulent surface of the Sun and its swirling corona.

Eclipsed sunrise from ISS

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took this image of the Sun rising from the International Space Station on 20 March 2015. The Sun was partially eclipsed by the Moon as it rose from Earth's horizon.

Space eclipse

ESA astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti took this image of the Sun eclipsed by the Moon from the International Space Station on 20 March 2015.

Samantha took this picture in between operations for an experiment with the Station's centrifuge.

For more information about Proba-2 Mission, Visit: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/Proba_Missions and http://sci.esa.int/proba2/

Related links:

Futura mission: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Human_Spaceflight/Futura

Connect with Samantha Cristoforetti: http://samanthacristoforetti.esa.int/

Images, Video, Text, Credits: ESA/ROB/NASA.

Cheers, Orbiter.ch

jeudi 19 mars 2015

2015 Arctic Sea Ice Maximum Annual Extent Is Lowest On Record

NSIDC - National Snow and Ice Data Center logo.

March 19, 2015

The sea ice cap of the Arctic appeared to reach its annual maximum winter extent on Feb. 25, according to data from the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado, Boulder. At 5.61 million square miles (14.54 million square kilometers), this year’s maximum extent was the smallest on the satellite record and also one of the earliest.


Image above: Arctic sea ice likely reached its annual maximum winter extent on Feb. 25, barring a late season surge. At 5.61 million square miles (14.54 million square kilometers), this year's winter peak extent is the lowest and one of the earliest on the satellite record that began in 1979. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

Arctic sea ice, frozen seawater floating on top of the Arctic Ocean and its neighboring seas, is in constant change: it grows in the fall and winter, reaching its annual maximum between late February and early April, and then it shrinks in the spring and summer until it hits its annual minimum extent in September. The past decades have seen a downward trend in Arctic sea ice extent during both the growing and melting season, though the decline is steeper in the latter.

This year’s maximum was reached 15 days earlier than the 1981 to 2010 average date of March 12, according to NSIDC. Only in 1996 did it occur earlier, on Feb. 24. However, the sun is just beginning to rise on the Arctic Ocean and a late spurt of ice growth is still possible, though unlikely.

video
Arctic Sea Ice Sets New Record Winter Low

Video above: This short video shows the bulk of the Arctic sea ice freeze cycle from October through this year's apparent winter maximum on Feb. 25. Video Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/J. Beck.

If the maximum were to remain at 5.61 million square miles, it would be about 50,000 square miles below the previous lowest peak wintertime extent, reached in 2011 at 5.66 million square miles — in percentages, that’s less than a 1 percent difference between the two record low maximums. In comparison, the swings between record lows for the Arctic summertime minimum extent have been much wider: the lowest minimum extent on record, in 2012, was 1.31 million square miles, about 300,000 square miles, or 18.6 percent smaller than the previous record low one, which happened in 2007 and clocked at 1.61 million square miles.

A record low sea ice maximum extent does not necessarily lead to a record low summertime minimum extent.

“The winter maximum gives you a head start, but the minimum is so much more dependent on what happens in the summer that it seems to wash out anything that happens in the winter,” said Walt Meier, a sea ice scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “If the summer is cool, the melt rate will slow down. And the opposite is true, too: even if you start from a fairly high point, warm summer conditions make ice melt fast. This was highlighted by 2012, when we had one of the later maximums on record and extent was near-normal early in the melt season, but still the 2012 minimum was by far the lowest minimum we’ve seen.”


Image above: Here the 2015 maximum is compared to the 1979-2014 average maximum shown in yellow. A distance indicator shows the difference between the two in the Sea of Okhotsk north of Japan. Image Credit: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The main player in the wintertime maximum extent is the seasonal ice at the edges of the ice pack. This type of ice is thin and at the mercy of which direction the wind blows: warm winds from the south compact the ice northward and also bring heat that makes the ice melt, while cold winds from the north allow more sea ice to form and spread the ice edge southward.

“Scientifically, the yearly maximum extent is not as interesting as the minimum. It is highly influenced by weather and we’re looking at the loss of thin, seasonal ice that is going to melt anyway in the summer and won’t become part of the permanent ice cover,” Meier said. “With the summertime minimum, when the extent decreases it’s because we’re losing the thick ice component, and that is a better indicator of warming temperatures.”

For more information about National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), visit: http://nsidc.org/

Images (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: ​NASA's Earth Science News Team/Maria-José Viñas.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

NASA’s SOFIA Finds Missing Link Between Supernovae and Planet Formation










NASA / DLR - SOFIA Mission patch.

March 19, 2015

Using NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), an international scientific team discovered that supernovae are capable of producing a substantial amount of the material from which planets like Earth can form.

These findings are published in the March 19 online issue of Science magazine.


Image above: SOFIA data reveal warm dust (white) surviving inside a supernova remnant. The SNR Sgr A East cloud is traced in X-rays (blue). Radio emission (red) shows expanding shock waves colliding with surrounding interstellar clouds (green). Image Credit: NASA/CXO/Herschel/VLA/Lau et al.

"Our observations reveal a particular cloud produced by a supernova explosion 10,000 years ago contains enough dust to make 7,000 Earths," said Ryan Lau of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York.

The research team, headed by Lau, used SOFIA's airborne telescope and the Faint Object InfraRed Camera for the SOFIA Telescope, FORCAST, to take detailed infrared images of an interstellar dust cloud known as Supernova Remnant Sagittarius A East, or SNR Sgr A East.

The team used SOFIA data to estimate the total mass of dust in the cloud from the intensity of its emission. The investigation required measurements at long infrared wavelengths in order to peer through intervening interstellar clouds and detect the radiation emitted by the supernova dust.

Astronomers already had evidence that a supernova’s outward-moving shock wave can produce significant amounts of dust. Until now, a key question was whether the new soot- and sand-like dust particles would survive the subsequent inward “rebound” shock wave generated when the first, outward-moving shock wave collides with surrounding interstellar gas and dust.

"The dust survived the later onslaught of shock waves from the supernova explosion, and is now flowing into the interstellar medium where it can become part of the 'seed material' for new stars and planets," Lau explained.


Image above: Supernova remnant dust detected by SOFIA (yellow) survives away from the hottest X-ray gas (purple). The red ellipse outlines the supernova shock wave. The inset shows a magnified image of the dust (orange) and gas emission (cyan). Image Credit: NASA/CXO/Lau et al.

These results also reveal the possibility that the vast amount of dust observed in distant young galaxies may have been made by supernova explosions of early massive stars, as no other known mechanism could have produced nearly as much dust.

"This discovery is a special feather in the cap for SOFIA, demonstrating how observations made within our own Milky Way galaxy can bear directly on our understanding of the evolution of galaxies billions of light years away," said Pamela Marcum, a SOFIA project scientist at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

SOFIA Observatory Boeing 747 Special Performance jetliner carrying a telescope. Image Credit: NASA

SOFIA is a heavily modified Boeing 747 Special Performance jetliner that carries a telescope with an effective diameter of 100 inches (2.5 meters) at altitudes of 39,000 to 45,000 feet (12 to 14 km). SOFIA is a joint project of NASA and the German Aerospace Center. The aircraft observatory is based at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center facility in Palmdale, California. The agency’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, is home to the SOFIA Science Center, which is managed by NASA in cooperation with the Universities Space Research Association in Columbia, Maryland, and the German SOFIA Institute at the University of Stuttgart.

For more information about SOFIA, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/sofia or http://www.dlr.de/en/sofia

For information about SOFIA's science mission and scientific instruments, visit: http://www.sofia.usra.edu or http://www.dsi.uni-stuttgart.de/index.en.html

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Felicia Chou/SOFIA Science Center/Nicholas Veronico/Armstrong Flight Research Center/Kate K. Squires.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

Solar Impulse succeeded his fourth step











SolarImpulse - Around the World patch.

March 19, 2015

Solar plane landed Thursday in Mandalay, Burma, 7:51 p.m. (2:21 p.m. in Switzerland), after thirteen hours and thirty minutes of flight.


Image Above: Solar Impulse 2 finished the fourth stage of his world tour. Solar plane landed Thursday in Mandalay, Burma, 7:51 p.m. (2:21 p.m. in Switzerland), after thirteen hours and thirty minutes of flight. The unit led by Bertrand Piccard had flown from Varanasi in northern India.

2 Solar Impulse has completed the fourth stage of his world tour. Solar plane landed Thursday in Mandalay, Burma, 7:51 p.m. (2:21 p.m. in Switzerland), after thirteen hours and thirty minutes of flight. The unit led by Bertrand Piccard had flown from Varanasi in northern India. Solar plane piloted by Bertrand Piccard had flown from Varanasi in northern India. During his journey, he reached a maximum altitude of 27,000 feet (8230 meters).

Shortly before landing, the Vaudois received a warm welcome by the president, Thein Sein, said the Solar Impulse press service. The team plans to stay at least three days in Mandalay. She will participate in various activities with 800 university students. The aircraft should then continue its journey towards China.


Image Above: Solar Impulse Thursday took the road to Burma after a stopover in Varanasi, India, beginning the fourth leg of his world tour without fuel. Bertrand Piccard sat in the cockpit before taking off for a flight of 1,400 miles and twenty hours.

By performing a world tour in twelve steps, the two Swiss Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg want to show that clean and renewable energy technologies can perform feats far considered as "impossible". In addition to scientific achievement, the two Swiss seek to convey a political message. Party Abu Dhabi on March 9, Solar Impulse 2 has to travel 35,000 kilometers in total solar energy alone flying over the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. This convolution take five months, including 25 days of actual flight before returning to Abu Dhabi late July / early August.

For more information about Solar Impulse 2 Flight Around the World and follow it live: http://www.solarimpulse.com/rtw

Images, Text, Credits: SolarImpulse / ATS / Orbiter.ch Aerospace.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

Correction of the International Space Station orbit












ISS - International Space Station logo.

19.03.2015

The International Space Station

Today, March 19, at 02 hours 45 minutes Moscow time held orbital corrections of the International Space Station to form a working orbit for the previous docking of Soyuz TMA-16M with the station.

The changing of the orbit and trajectory was performed by TGC Progress M-26M engines. Flight altitude or the stations increased by 1 km and an average value was 401.08 km, and the orbital speed of the ISS increased by 0.58 m / s.

- Average speed of ISS in orbit: 7.66 km / s.
- Maximum orbital speed: 27 600 km / h.

ISS reboost by Progress-M cargo spacecraft

It is necessary to reboost ISS regularly because over time it slowed down and redessent by gravity effects. If these reboost operations were not carried out regularly time (every 30 days), the space station end by falling on Earth like the script of the "Gravity" movie.

Launch of the Soyuz TMA-16M is scheduled for March 27, 2015. Crew of the Soyuz TMA-16M will be made by Roscosmos cosmonaut Gennady Padalka and Mikhail Kornienko and NASA astronaut Scott Kelly. Mikhail Kornienko and Scott Kelly will remain at the ISS about a year.

Roscosmos Press Release: http://www.federalspace.ru/21377/

Images, Text, Credits: Press Service of the Russian Federal Space Agency/ROSCOSMOS/NASA/Orbiter.ch Aerospace.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch

Protecting Earth from space weather



NASA / ESA - SOHO Mission patch / ESA - SWARM Mission logo / ESA - Proba-2 Mission logo.

19 March 2015

This week's spectacular glowing auroras in the night sky further south than usual highlighted the effect that 'space weather' can have on Earth.

A strong solar flare was detected on the Sun last Sunday, an event generally associated with strong mass ejections and solar radiation storms. The stream of particles pouring out from our nearest star - the solar wind - was detected by satellite to be speeding up.

Solar mass ejection

Ground-based sensors recorded a magnetic impulse at the moment the shockwave from the Sun swept past our planet. That triggered a geomagnetic storm, generating a spectacular Aurora seen by thousands down to the southernmost parts of Scandinavia and in Wales.

A similar event on 10 September 2014 sparked media interest in how space weather affects Earth. On that day, a strong solar flare was detected by ESA’s Proba-2 satellite and a relatively fast mass ejection was found by the SOHO satellite soon afterwards.

Aurora on 17 March

Numerous terrestrial sectors are potentially affected by space weather in Europe’s economy today. The energy sector is potentially a major customer of the space weather service being developed by ESA’s Space Situational Awareness programme.

Effects on the ground can include damage and disruption to power distribution networks, increased pipeline corrosion, and degradation of radio communications.

Coronal mass ejections sometimes reach out in the direction of Earth

For the oil industry, for example, it is important to have geomagnetic data for directional drilling because Earth’s magnetic field may vary considerably even on a normal day and much more during a geomagnetic storm.

A consequence of space weather is the appearance of a ground electric field and induced currents that may flow in long conducting structures such as power lines and long pipelines. A famous example is the collapse of the Hydro-Québec power network in March 1989.

Damaged power transformer

There is a risk that an exceptionally large geomagnetic storm could cause serious damage to power grids in Nordic countries and Great Britain, with effects felt as far south as northern Spain and Italy.

Information on the solar wind and other space weather is continually being returned by spacecraft and ground systems. Staring at the Sun, SOHO’s studies have ranged from our star’s interior, its visible surface and stormy atmosphere, to where the solar wind blows to distant regions of our Solar System.

Many of SOHO’s observations are used on a daily basis for space weather monitoring and forecasting.

Recently, Proba-2 began complementing these observations to improve space weather monitoring. Science missions like Cluster have provided years of data about how the solar wind affects our planet in three dimensions, affording information on the interaction between the charged particles of the solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere. The Swarm trio of identical satellites is studying our ionosphere and magnetic field.

Proba-2 view of Sun

The information from the science missions is yielding a better understanding of space weather and will help to improve forecasting of the near-Earth electromagnetic environment and the impact that solar wind has on Earth.

The first European Space Weather Helpdesk is provided by the Space Weather Coordination Centre at the Space Pole in Brussels, Belgium.

The Centre’s operators are available to answer questions about the precursor service network and space weather conditions in general.

The helpdesk coordinates the space weather capabilities of the federated space weather Expert Service Centres in ESA Member States and at the Space Weather Data Centre at ESA’s Redu station in Belgium.

In this way, ESA is building a network that will integrate and build on the existing European infrastructure for better space weather services.

ESA related links:

Space Situational Awareness-Space Weather: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Operations/Space_Situational_Awareness/Space_Weather_-_SWE_Segment

Space Weather Service Network: http://swe.ssa.esa.int/

Proba-2: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Engineering_Technology/Proba_Missions/About_Proba-2

Earth's magnetic field: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Cluster/Earth_s_magnetic_field_provides_vital_protection

What are solar flares?: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/What_are_solar_flares

Tracking the Sun's effect on Earth: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Navigation/Global_network_to_track_Sun_s_effect_on_Earth

Solar activity muddles Earth's magnetic field: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Watching_solar_activity_muddle_Earth_s_magnetic_field

SOHO-Overview: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/SOHO_overview2

SWARM: http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Observing_the_Earth/The_Living_Planet_Programme/Earth_Explorers/Swarm

Related links:

Space Weather: http://spaceweather.com/

NOAA Space Weather Now: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SWN/

Images, Text, Credits: ESA/MASA/SOHO/LASCO/EIT/Crey – CC BY 2.0/ROB.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

mercredi 18 mars 2015

LHC experiments join forces to zoom in on the Higgs boson












CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

March 18, 2015

Yesterday during the 50th session of “Rencontres de Moriond” in La Thuile Italy, the ATLAS and CMS experiments presented for the first time a combination of their results on the mass of the Higgs boson.


Image above: Candidate Higgs boson event from collisions between protons in the CMS detector on the LHC. From the collision at the centre, the particle decays into two photons (dashed yellow lines and green towers) (Image Credits:: CMS/CERN).

The combined mass of the Higgs boson is mH = 125.09 ± 0.24 (0.21 stat. ± 0.11 syst.) GeV, which corresponds to a measurement precision of better than 0.2%. The Higgs boson is an essential ingredient of the Standard Model of particle physics, the theory that describes all known elementary particles and their interactions. The Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism, through which the existence of the Higgs boson was predicted, is believed to give mass to all elementary particles. Today’s result is the most precise measurement of the Higgs boson mass yet and among the most precise measurements performed at the LHC to date.

“Collaboration is really part of our organization’s DNA,” says CERN Director General Rolf Heuer. “I’m delighted to see so many brilliant physicists from ATLAS and CMS joining forces for the very first time to obtain this important measurement at the LHC”.

The Higgs boson decays into various different particles. For this measurement, results on the two decay channels that best reveal the mass of the Higgs boson have been combined. These two decay channels are: the Higgs boson decaying to two photons; and the Higgs boson decaying to four leptons – where the leptons are an electron or muon.


Image above: Candidate Higgs boson event from collisions between protons in the ATLAS detector on the LHC. From the collision at the centre, the particle decays into four muons (red tracks). (Image Credits:ATLAS/CERN).

Each experiment has found a few hundred events in the Higgs to photons channel and a few tens of events in the Higgs to leptons channel. The analysis uses the data collected from about 4000 trillion proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) in 2011 and 2012 at centre-of-mass energies of 7 and 8 TeV.

“The Higgs Boson was discovered at the LHC in 2012 and the study of its properties has just begun. By sharing efforts between ATLAS and CMS, we are going to understand this fascinating particle in more detail and study its behaviour,” says CMS spokesperson Tiziano Camporesi.

The Standard Model does not predict the mass of the Higgs boson itself, so it must be measured experimentally. But once supplied with a Higgs mass, the Standard Model does make predictions for all the other properties of the Higgs boson, which can then be tested by the experiments. This mass combination is the first step towards a combination of other measurements of the Higgs boson’s properties, which will include its other decays.

"While we are just getting ready to restart the LHC, it is admirable to notice the precision already achieved by the two experiments and the compatibility of their results,” says CERN Director of Research Sergio Bertolucci. “This is very promising for LHC Run 2.”

The Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Image Credit: CERN

Up to now, increasingly precise measurements from the two experiments have established that all observed properties of the Higgs boson, including its spin, parity and interactions with other particles are consistent with the Standard Model Higgs boson.  With the upcoming combination of other Run 1 Higgs results from the two experiments and with higher energy and more collisions to come during LHC Run 2, physicists expect to increase the precision of the Higgs boson mass even more and to explore in more detail the particle’s properties. During Run 2, they will be able to combine their results promptly and thus increase the LHC’s sensitivity to effects that could hint at new physics beyond the Standard Model.

For a longer version of this article, see the CERN press release: http://press.web.cern.ch/press-releases/2015/03/lhc-experiments-join-forces-zoom-higgs-boson

Note:

CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC): http://home.web.cern.ch/topics/large-hadron-collider

ATLAS experiments: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/experiments/atlas

CMS experiments: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/experiments/cms

Standard Model of particle physics: http://home.web.cern.ch/about/physics/standard-model

The Brout-Englert-Higgs mechanism: http://home.web.cern.ch/topics/higgs-boson/origins-brout-englert-higgs-mechanism

More like this:

CERN - The LHC: A stronger machine: http://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.ch/2015/03/cern-lhc-stronger-machine.html

CERN - Injection tests make a splash: http://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.ch/2015/03/cern-injection-tests-make-splash.html

CERN - LHC injector tests to begin: http://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.ch/2015/03/cern-lhc-injector-tests-to-begin.html

Timelapse: LHC experiments prepare for restart: http://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.ch/2015/02/timelapse-lhc-experiments-prepare-for.html

CERN's two-year shutdown drawing to a close: http://orbiterchspacenews.blogspot.ch/2015/02/cerns-two-year-shutdown-drawing-to-close.html

For more information about the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), visit: http://home.web.cern.ch/

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Cian O'Luanaigh.

Cheers, Orbiter.ch

Solar Impulse 2 land and take off from Varanasi











SolarImpulse - Around the World patch.

March 18, 2015

The solar plane has completed the third phase of its Indian world tour. After taking off Wednesday morning from Ahmedabad, the aircraft landed in the holy city of the north in the evening March 18, 2015.


Image above: The solar plane has completed the third phase of its Indian world tour. After taking off Wednesday morning Ahmedabad (photo), the aircraft landed in the holy city of the north in the evening.

Solar Impulse landed Wednesday evening in Varanasi in northern India after more than fourteen hour flight and a thousand kilometers, according to images broadcast on its YouTube channel.

The unit led by the Vaudois André Borschberg took off Wednesday at 7:18 (2:48 hours in Switzerland) Ahmedabad northwest India. After a nine-hour stop in Indian holy city, he will leave Thursday morning for Mandalay, Burma, before continuing his run to China.

Solar Impulse 2 Asia run

The fog had prevented Solar Impulse take off from Ahmedabad Tuesday as planned. The revolutionary device was initially even start Sunday, but had been prevented by bad weather.

Indian bureaucracy criticized

Bertrand Piccard had complained earlier Wednesday slowness of the Indian bureaucracy. The driver explained that the take-off of the unit of Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat, was delayed because of red tape.

"The delay is due to the administration, papers, pads," he said. "I'm not here to accuse anyone. I'm just saying that in the last five days, we tried to gather the necessary buffers and every day, we were told 'tomorrow'. " "For five days we try to have buffers and we are still missing", stressed Bertrand Piccard.

By performing a world tour in twelve steps, the two Swiss Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg want to show that clean and renewable energy technologies can perform feats far considered as "impossible".

Bertrand Piccard the pilot of the fourth step around the world

Solar Impulse took off for its fourth flight from Varanasi (Lal Bahadur Shastri Airport, VNS/VIBN) in the Republic of India, to Mandalay (Mandalay International Airport, MDL/VYMD) in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar at 23:52 UTC.

Solar Impulse 2 ready for take off from Varanasi

The pilot is flying the zero-fuel airplane on about 1408km (760NM) for an estimated time of 20 hours. South of the Himalayas, the meeting of the jet streams can cause difficult crosswind for Si2.

 Solar Impulse 2 actually in flight on this morning March 19, 2015


The pit-stop is the opportunity for pilots Bertrand Piccard and Andre Borschberg to share the symbol of Solar Impulse with the people of Varanasi.

For more information about Solar Impulse 2 Flight Around the World and follow it live: http://www.solarimpulse.com/rtw

Images, Text, Credits: SolarImpulse/ATS/Orbiter.ch Aerospace.

Greetings, Orbiter.ch

50th Anniversary of the first human spacewalk










ROSCOSMOS - Voskhod 2 Mission patch.

March 18, 2015

In 1965 Leonov was the first man who performs e.v.a. Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov, Soviet/Russian cosmonaut who, on 18 March 1965, became the first human to walk in space for a 12 minutes spacewalk. The craft was the Voskhod 2 spacecraft.

Cosmonaut Alexey Arkhipovich Leonov

Voskhod 2 Mission:

Launch date: March 18, 1965
Landing site: Near Perm in the Ural mountains in heavy forest
Mass: 5,682 Kg

Voskhod 2 spacecraft description

The mission consisted of two cosmonauts: Pilot Pavel Belyayev and co-Pilot Alexei Leonov. This mission had many problems.

The first ever spacewalk was performed by Alexei Leonov. The space walk lasted about 20 minutes. Alexei had problems in re-entering the spacecraft because his space suit had enlarged slightly. He had to let air leak out of his space suit in order to squeeze back inside.

video
First human spacewalk

They landed off their target near Perm in the Ural mountains in heavy forest. The crew spent the night in the woods surrounded by wolves before being located. When the ground crew finally located them, it took a day to chop through the forest and recover them on skis.

Leonov was one of the 20 Soviet Air Force pilots selected to be part of the first cosmonaut group in 1960. Like all the Soviet cosmonauts, Leonov was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. His walk in space was originally to have taken place on the Vostok 11 mission, but this was cancelled, and the historic event happened on the Voskhod 2 flight instead. He was outside the spacecraft for 12 minutes and nine seconds on 18 March 1965, connected to the craft by a 5.35-meter tether.

Pilot Pavel Belyayev and co-Pilot Alexei Leonov

At the end of the spacewalk, Leonov's spacesuit had inflated in the vacuum of space to the point where he could not re-enter the airlock. He opened a valve to allow some of the suit's pressure to bleed off and was barely able to get back inside the capsule. Leonov had spent eighteen months undergoing intensive weightlessness training for the mission.

As of today, Leonov is the last survivor of the five cosmonauts in the Voskhod programme.

Roscosmos Celebration Press Release (in Russian):

ЦПК: торжественные мероприятия, посвященные 50-летию первого выхода человека в открытый космос: http://www.federalspace.ru/21369/

Звёздный городок отмечает 50-летие со дня первого выхода человека в открытый космос: http://www.federalspace.ru/21378/

Images, Video, Text, Credits: ROSCOSMOS / Wikipedia / Orbiter.ch Aerospace.

Best regards, Orbiter.ch