The Artemis Accords–NASA’s Proposed Framework for Moon Exploration and Exploitation

NASA has released the Artemis Accords, which it is billing as a framework that outlines how the Moon will be explored and exploited consistent with the 1967 Outer Space Treaty.

The accords call for economic exploitation of the Moon and the establishment of Safety Zones that would appear to be pseudo-national territories that nations would agree to respect and not interfere with.

Avoiding harmful interference is an important principle of the Outer Space Treaty, which is implemented by the Artemis Accords.

Specifically, via the Artemis Accords, NASA and partner nations will provide public information regarding the location and general nature of operations which will inform the scale and scope of ‘Safety Zones’.

Notification and coordination between partner nations to respect such safety zones will prevent harmful interference, implementing Article IX of the Outer Space Treaty and reinforcing the principle of due regard.

Swan Nebula

The Swan Nebula (also known as the Omega Nebula) is 5,000 to 6,000 light years away and is one of the largest star-forming areas in our galaxy. NASA recently released this image of the nebula obtained from the SOFIA Telescope.

Uncovering the nebula’s secrets is no simple task. It’s located more than 5,000 light years away in the constellation Sagittarius. Its center is filled with more than 100 of the galaxy’s most massive young stars. These stars may be many times the size of our Sun, but the youngest generations are forming deep in cocoons of dust and gas, where they are very difficult to see, even with space telescopes. Because the central region glows very brightly, the detectors on space telescopes were saturated at the wavelengths SOFIA studied, similar to an over-exposed photo. SOFIA’s infrared camera called FORCAST, the Faint Object Infrared Camera for the SOFIA Telescope, however, can pierce through these cocoons.

Swan Nebula
Swan Nebula

Jupiter Abyss

Jupiter Abyss is an image generated by NASA’s Juno spacecraft.

NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this view of an area within a Jovian jet stream showing a vortex that has an intensely dark center. Nearby, other features display bright, high altitude clouds that have puffed up into the sunlight.

The color-enhanced image was taken at 12:55 a.m. PDT (3:55 a.m. EDT) on May 29, 2019, as the spacecraft performed its 20th science flyby of Jupiter. At the time, Juno was about 9,200 miles (14,800 kilometers) from the planet’s cloud tops, above approximately 52 degrees north latitude.

Jupiter Abyss
Jupiter Abyss

NASA Releases Images of Bering Sea Fireball

This is both awesome and scary as hell,

On Dec. 18, 2018, a large “fireball” — the term used for exceptionally bright meteors that are visible over a wide area — exploded about 16 miles (26 kilometers) above the Bering Sea. The explosion unleashed an estimated 173 kilotons of energy, or more than 10 times the energy of the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima during World War II.

Two NASA instruments aboard the Terra satellite captured images of the remnants of the large meteor. The image sequence shows views from five of nine cameras on the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) instrument taken at 23:55 Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), a few minutes after the event. The shadow of the meteor’s trail through Earth’s atmosphere, cast on the cloud tops and elongated by the low sun angle, is to the northwest. The orange-tinted cloud that the fireball left behind by super-heating the air it passed through can be seen below and to the right of the GIF’s center.

December 18, 2018 Meteor Fireball
December 18, 2018 Meteor Fireball

The Godzilla Constellation

In October 2018, NASA announced an “unofficial” constellation named after the King of Kaiju, Godzilla.

This is a gamma-ray constellation discovered by the Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope, and is one of 88 constellations described by the Fermi Telescope.

According to a NASA press release,

“By 2015, the number of different sources mapped by Fermi’s LAT had expanded to about 3,000 — 10 times the number known before the mission,” said Goddard’s Elizabeth Ferrara, who led the constellation project. “For the first time ever, the number of known gamma-ray sources was comparable to the number of bright stars, so we thought a new set of constellations was a great way to illustrate the point.”    

The Godzilla Constellation
The Godzilla Constellation
The Godzilla Constellation
The Godzilla Constellation

The Grace of Saturn (Cassini Image)

This is an incredibly beautiful image generated by NASA/JPL based on Cassini’s flyby of Saturn.

This view looks toward the sunlit side of the rings from about 19 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in green light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Aug. 12, 2017. Pandora was brightened by a factor of 2 to increase its visibility.

The view was obtained at a distance to Saturn of approximately 581,000 miles (935,000 kilometers) from Saturn. Image scale is 35 miles (56 kilometers) per pixel. The distance to Pandora was 691,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) for a scale of 41 miles (66 kilometers) per pixel.

The Grace of Saturn (Cassini Image)
The Grace of Saturn (Cassini Image)