Astronomers Detect the Most Massive Neutron Star Yet

Astronomers have discovered the most massive example yet of the dead stars known as neutron stars, one almost too massive to exist, a new study finds.

Neutron stars, like black holes, are corpses of stars that died in catastrophic explosions known as supernovas. When a star goes supernova, the core of its remains collapses under the strength of its own gravitational pull. If this remnant is massive enough, it may form a black hole, which has gravity so powerful that not even light can escape. A less massive core will form a neutron star, so named because its gravity is strong enough to crush protons together with electrons to form neutrons.

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NASA administrator visits UND

The University of North Dakota’s relationship with NASA was brought to the forefront on Wednesday, Sept. 4, with a visit from the agency’s top leader.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, alongside Sen. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., spent time touring UND’s space-related facilities, including its Mars habitat. The two also participated in a town hall discussion with UND students, faculty and staff.

UND has a strong research relationship with NASA. UND is the lead institution for the North Dakota Space Grant Consortium and ND NASA EPSCoR.

UND’s Human Spaceflight Laboratory, which was formed 15 years ago, focuses on the research, design and production of spacesuit and habitat prototypes. UND is the first university with a NASA-funded laboratory dedicated to designing and constructing space-exploration and planetary surface-exploration suits.

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A rocket launched Crosby’s scientific package in January. Three plastic tanks containing different amounts of water were outside of earth’s atmosphere for about four minutes. Space crafts have to tow extra fuel, and that can cost millions of dollars.

“So there was this famous moment on the moon landing,” Crosby said of the July 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. “When the alarms were going off and they had 30 seconds before they were going to run out of fuel — turns out they weren’t going to run out fuel, but it was a very tense and traumatic moment because we don’t have a good way of knowing how much fuel is in the tank.”

In 2010, Crosby and his students applied to design and develop an experiment to test an idea by Kennedy Space Center engineer Rudy Werlink. Werlink hypothesized a spacecraft’s natural vibrations could be used to determine the amount of fuel left in the gas tank.

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Grand Forks middle school girls get call – from space

A group of Grand Forks middle school girls, along with friends and family members, met in Clifford Hall on UND’s campus Monday morning, Aug. 19, for a very special phone call – from astronaut Christina Koch, currently on mission aboard the International Space Station.

The group of about 16 middle school students and their families, as well as a few members of the public, met in a lecture room with presenters Caitlin Nolby, deputy director of The North Dakota Space Grant Consortium, and Coordinator Marissa Saad, who hosted an after-school space camp for 20 middle-school girls in the “SciGirls in Space” project, during the Spring 2019 semester, on the UND campus.

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NASA Activates Deep Space Atomic Clock

An atomic clock that could pave the way for autonomous deep space travel was successfully activated last week and is ready to begin its year-long tech demo, the mission team confirmed on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. Launched in June, NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock is a critical step toward enabling spacecraft to safely navigate themselves in deep space rather than rely on the time-consuming process of receiving directions from Earth.

Developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the clock is the first timekeeper stable enough to map a spacecraft’s trajectory in deep space while being small enough to fly onboard the spacecraft. A more stable clock can operate farther from Earth, where it needs to work well for longer periods than satellites closer to home.

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Scientists Discover 2nd Alien Planet Around Star Beta Pictoris — and It’s Huge

The solar system around a star called Beta Pictoris was already a pretty interesting place, with a large planet scientists have actually seen and a huge amount of rubble flying around. But it just got even more intriguing.

That’s because astronomers now think they’ve picked up on a second planet orbiting the nearby star. The discovery is based on more than 10 years of data about miniscule changes in the star’s orbit caused by the gravitational tug between the star and what scientists now believe to be a planet.

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Marshall selected to lead NASA human lunar lander program

DALLAS — NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center will manage the agency’s efforts to develop a lander needed to achieve the goal of landing astronauts on the moon by 2024, an announcement overshadowed by political wrangling about what center should be responsible.

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, speaking at Marshall and flanked by three House members from Alabama and Tennessee, said that the Huntsville, Alabama, center will have overall responsibility for the Human Landing System program, which will oversee industry development of a human-rated landing system.

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Watch SpaceX Catch a Falling Rocket Fairing

The speedy, net-equipped SpaceX boat plucked a payload fairing out of the sky for the second time ever on Tuesday evening (Aug. 6), during the launch of the Amos-17 communications satellite atop a two-stage Falcon 9 rocket.

“Rocket fairing falls from space & is caught by Ms Tree boat,” SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk said about 75 minutes after liftoff via Twitter, where he posted a 28-second-long video of the fairing half settling into GO Ms. Tree’s net in the Atlantic Ocean, far off the Florida coast.

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NASA is planning to spice up space, literally

Space is about to get spicy. The American space agency, NASA, is planning to blast New Mexico chile pepper plants out of the Earth’s atmosphere in March 2020 and grow the fruiting blooms on the International Space Station. Researchers hope it will lead to improved meals for astronauts, as well as a deeper understanding of how to someday grow food on the moon and Mars.

The “Improved Española” breed of New Mexico chile plants will be the first fruit Americans grow aboard the space station. NASA astronauts in 2015 ate lettuce grown in space for the first time, and a zinnia bloomed on the space station in 2016. But Russians were the first to grow produce on the ISS, beginning with peas in 2003, before Americans began extraterrestrial gardening activities.

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NASA | Meet Curiosity, a Mars Rover

What technology is needed to search for life on Mars? 9th-12 grade students can explore and learn about the Curiosity Mars rover in this interactive lesson from NASA & PBS Teachers.

In this interactive activity adapted from NASA, explore the onboard equipment and technologies that will help Curiosity, the latest Mars rover, meet its primary mission goal: to search for evidence of life. To achieve this, Curiosity will employ high-resolution stereoscopic cameras, spectrometers, chromatographs, environmental monitoring sensors, communications antennas, and a radiation detector, all of which you can explore in this activity.

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