NASA is using its Earth-observing satellites to help Nepal recover from the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that hit April 25.
The satellite data will be used to compile maps of ground surface deformation and to create risk models. NASA and its partners are also contributing to assessments of damage to infrastructure. They are tracking remote areas that may be a challenge for relief workers to reach, as well as areas that could be at risk for landslides, river damming, floods and avalanches…
NASA technology that can locate people trapped beneath collapsed buildings is being deployed to Nepal. A remote-sensing radar technology called FINDER (Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response), developed by JPL in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Science and Technology Directorate, can locate individuals buried as deep as 30 feet (9.1 meters) in crushed materials, hidden behind 20 feet (6 meters) of solid concrete, and from a distance of 100 feet (30.5 meters) in open spaces. This technology, licensed by the private entity R4 Incorporated of Edgewood, Maryland, has been taken to Nepal to assist with recovery efforts.
The folks here at Marshall are also compressing needed data to make up for the limited bandwidth available in Nepal.
The MESSENGER spacecraft lithobraked into Mercury sometime yesterday. The primary mission was to orbit Mercury for a year and send back data. It lasted just over 4 years in an intense thermal and radiation environment and only took the dive when it ran out of fuel. NASA Science News covered some of MESSENGER’s discoveries, such as ice at the poles, tectonic landforms, an active magnetic field, and an exosphere.
Photo from Astronomy Picture of the Day.
Mariner 10 is the only other spacecraft to visit Mercury, and that was a flyby mission. That spacecraft also ran out of nitrogen for maneuvering and went quiet in 1975.
A Russian Progress resupply ship launched on April 28 failed to reach the International Space Station and is expected to burn up during reentry. The current rumor is that the third stage engine failed to shut down and bumped the spacecraft into a spin.
So no one here is complaining that SpaceX didn’t get the first stage landing like they wanted. The Dragon successfully docked with ISS on April 17, delivering food, water, and experiments.
Speaking of experiments, the X-37B mini-shuttle will be launching soon. One experiment that they mentioned is a Hall thruster propulsion experiment. I helped with some ground testing of Hall thrusters a decade or so ago, so it’s nice to see it actually fly. There’s another experiment, but the press release isn’t out yet, so that will have to wait for the next Roamy roundup. 🙂