Astronaut check list, Veritas and a mystery of missing exoplanet water

astronaut-outer-space-moon-nasa-astronauts-free-208100NASA accepting applications for new astronauts to help with Mars efforts

If you’ve ever dreamed of being an astronaut, today’s the day! NASA just posted the coolest job listing ever, and anyone with the right qualifications can apply to be an Astronaut Candidate. Awesome.

Those qualifications are pretty strict. In order to apply, you have to:

  • Be a US citizen
  • Have at least a Bachelors’ degree in “engineering, biological science, physical science, computer science, or mathematics” (nursing, many social sciences, and some psychology degrees don’t make the cut)
  • Have 3 years of professional experience in your field (teaching is ok), or have 1,000 hours of “pilot in command” time on a jet
  • Be able to see in 20/20, or have glasses that let you see in 20/20
  • Be between 5 feet 2 inches and 6 feet 3 inches tall, so you can fit into the space suit

NASA is hiring more astronauts because they’re planning a lot of missions in the coming years, including trips that will pave the way to landing a person on Mars, NASA’s current long-term goal for crewed missions.

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VERITAS detect powerful gamma rays from a far away galaxy

VERITAS or the Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System has detected gamma rays of very high energy emitted about halfway across the universe. Consequently, it has placed new bounds on the amount of background light in the universe giving astrophysicists clue on where and how such gamma rays are produced.

Scientists analyzing the event stated that they were not expecting these gamma rays with such very high energy since they had a major chance of annihilation at one point or the other across the 7.6 billion years they have been traveling towards the Earth. When such high energy gamma rays and lower energy photons collide with each other, they annihilate leading to the creation of a pair of electron-positron. The gamma rays from the galaxy PKS 1441+25 had to avoid a close net of photons that surrounded the periphery of the black hole and a looser net of photons before they could reach the telescopes on Earth.

Mystery of missing exoplanet water solved using NASA space telescopes

collection_of_exoplanets_1200x732Of the nearly 2,000 planets confirmed to be orbiting other stars, a subset are gaseous planets with characteristics similar to those of Jupiter but that orbit very close to their stars, making them blistering hot.

Their close proximity to the star makes them difficult to observe in the glare of starlight. Due to this difficulty, Hubble has only explored a handful of hot Jupiters in the past. These initial studies have found several planets to hold less water than predicted by atmospheric models.

“Our results suggest it’s simply clouds hiding the water from prying eyes, and therefore rule out dry hot Jupiters,” explained co-author Jonathan Fortney of the University of California, Santa Cruz. “The alternative theory to this is that planets form in an environment deprived of water, but this would require us to completely rethink our current theories of how planets are born.”

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A job opening for a Geospatial Intelligence Analyst, Sierra Nevada CorporationSNC has an opening for a Systems Engineer/Orbit Analyst, with an emphasis on interpreting capabilities of Remote Sensing and open source collection, to provide systems engineering and technical advisory services to a variety of DoD and IC customers. More information

Build up your space resume by participating in the project Planet FOUR: scientists need your help to find and mark ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ on the Martian surface. They believe that these features indicate wind direction and speed. By tracking ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ over the course of several Martian years to see how they form, evolve, disappear and reform, we can help planetary scientists better understand Mars’ climate. More information



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