Written by Whitney Clavin
Pasadena, CA – Our Milky Way galaxy is littered with the still-sizzling remains of exploded stars.
When the most massive stars explode as supernovas, they don’t fade into the night, but sometimes glow ferociously with high-energy gamma rays. What powers these energetic stellar remains?
NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array, or NuSTAR, is helping to untangle the mystery. The observatory’s high-energy X-ray eyes were able to peer into a particular site of powerful gamma rays and confirm the source: A spinning, dead star called a pulsar.
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – The Dawn spacecraft has resumed normal ion thrusting after the thrusting unexpectedly stopped and the spacecraft entered safe mode on September 11th. That anomaly occurred shortly before a planned communication with NASA’s Deep Space Network that morning. The spacecraft was not performing any special activities at the time.
Engineers immediately began working to restore the spacecraft to its normal operational state. The team determined the source of the problems, corrected them, and then resumed normal ion thrusting on Monday night, September 15th.
Written by DC Agle and Dwayne Brown
Pasadena, CA – The European Space Agency’s Rosetta’s lander, Philae, will target Site J, an intriguing region on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko that offers unique scientific potential, with hints of activity nearby, and minimum risk to the lander compared to the other candidate sites.
The 220-pound (100-kilogram) lander is scheduled to reach the surface on November 11th, where it will perform in-depth measurements to characterize the nucleus. Rosetta is an international mission spearheaded by the European Space Agency with support and instruments provided by NASA.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – The fourth SpaceX cargo mission to the International Space Station (ISS) under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services contract, carrying the ISS-RapidScat scatterometer instrument designed and built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is scheduled to launch Saturday, September 20th, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The one-day adjustment in the launch date was made to accommodate preparations of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and was coordinated with the station’s partners and managers.
Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – Scientists have found that the surface of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko — the target of study for the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission — can be divided into several regions, each characterized by different classes of features. High-resolution images of the comet reveal a unique, multifaceted world.
ESA’s Rosetta spacecraft arrived at its destination about a month ago and is currently accompanying the comet as it progresses on its route toward the inner solar system.
Written by Guy Webster / DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has reached the Red Planet’s Mount Sharp, a Mount-Rainier-size mountain at the center of the vast Gale Crater and the rover mission’s long-term prime destination.
“Curiosity now will begin a new chapter from an already outstanding introduction to the world,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “After a historic and innovative landing along with its successful science discoveries, the scientific sequel is upon us.”
Written by Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Fire is inanimate, yet anyone staring into a flame could be excused for thinking otherwise: Fire dances and swirls. It reproduces, consumes matter, and produces waste. It adapts to its environment. It needs oxygen to survive.
In short, fire is uncannily lifelike.
Nowhere is this more true than onboard a spaceship.
Unlike flames on Earth, which have a tear-drop shape caused by buoyant air rising in a gravitational field, flames in space curl themselves into tiny balls.
Written by Whitney Clavin
Pasadena, CA – A new survey of galaxies by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope is taking a plunge into the deep and uncharted waters of our cosmos.
In one of the longest surveys the telescope will have ever performed, astronomers have begun a three-month expedition trawling for faint galaxies billions of light-years away.
The results are already yielding surprises.
Written by Preston Dyches
Pasadena, CA – Compared to the age of the solar system — about four-and-a-half billion years — a couple of decades are next to nothing. Some planetary locales change little over many millions of years, so for scientists who study the planets, any object that evolves on such a short interval makes for a tempting target for study. And so it is with the ever-changing rings of Saturn.
Case in point: Saturn’s narrow, chaotic and clumpy F ring. A recent NASA-funded study compared the F ring’s appearance in six years of observations by the Cassini mission to its appearance during the Saturn flybys of NASA’s Voyager mission, 30 years earlier.
NASA’s Galileo spacecraft images give scientists evidence of plate tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa
Written by Preston Dyches
Pasadena, CA – Scientists have found evidence of plate tectonics on Jupiter’s moon Europa. This indicates the first sign of this type of surface-shifting geological activity on a world other than Earth.
Researchers have clear visual evidence of Europa’s icy crust expanding. However, they could not find areas where the old crust was destroyed to make room for the new.
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