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Topic: Atmosphere

NASA Insight Lander sets up Weather Station on Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – No matter how cold your winter has been, it’s probably not as chilly as Mars. Check for yourself: Starting today, the public can get a daily weather report from NASA’s InSight lander.

This public tool includes stats on temperature, wind and air pressure recorded by InSight. Sunday’s weather was typical for the lander’s location during late northern winter: a high of 2 degrees Fahrenheit (-17 degrees Celsius) and low of -138 degrees Fahrenheit (-95 degrees Celsius), with a top wind speed of 37.8 mph (16.9 m/s) in a southwest direction.

The white east- and west-facing booms - called Temperature and Wind for InSight, or TWINS - on the deck of NASA's InSight lander belong to its suite of weather sensors. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The white east- and west-facing booms – called Temperature and Wind for InSight, or TWINS – on the deck of NASA’s InSight lander belong to its suite of weather sensors. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft to reduce Orbit around Mars

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s 4-year-old atmosphere-sniffing Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission is embarking on a new campaign today to tighten its orbit around Mars.

The operation will reduce the highest point of the MAVEN spacecraft’s elliptical orbit from 3,850 to 2,800 miles (6,200 to 4,500 kilometers) above the surface and prepare it to take on additional responsibility as a data-relay satellite for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, which launches next year.

“The MAVEN spacecraft has done a phenomenal job teaching us how Mars lost its atmosphere and providing other important scientific insights on the evolution of the Martian climate,” said Jim Watzin, director of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. “Now we’re recruiting it to help NASA communicate with our forthcoming Mars rover and its successors.”

Aerobraking plan for MAVEN. (left) Current MAVEN orbit around Mars: 6,200 kilometers (~3,850 miles) at highest altitude, and an orbit period of about 4.5 hours. (center) Aerobraking process: MAVEN performs a series of "deep dip" orbits approaching to within about 125 kilometers (~78 miles) of Mars at lowest altitude, causing drag from the atmosphere to slow down the spacecraft. (NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio/Kel Elkins and Dan Gallagher)

Aerobraking plan for MAVEN. (left) Current MAVEN orbit around Mars: 6,200 kilometers (~3,850 miles) at highest altitude, and an orbit period of about 4.5 hours. (center) Aerobraking process: MAVEN performs a series of “deep dip” orbits approaching to within about 125 kilometers (~78 miles) of Mars at lowest altitude, causing drag from the atmosphere to slow down the spacecraft. (NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio/Kel Elkins and Dan Gallagher)

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NASA, NOAA say 2018 Fourth Warmest Year since 1880

 

NASA Headquarters 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2018 were the fourth warmest since 1880, according to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Global temperatures in 2018 were 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit (0.83 degrees Celsius) warmer than the 1951 to 1980 mean, according to scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York. Globally, 2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015. The past five years are, collectively, the warmest years in the modern record.

This line plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2018, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, the Berkeley Earth research group, and the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK). (NASA’s Earth Observatory)

This line plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2018, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Japan Meteorological Agency, the Berkeley Earth research group, and the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK). (NASA’s Earth Observatory)

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NASA study shows Warming Oceans could increase Frequency of Extreme Rain Storms

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new NASA study shows that warming of the tropical oceans due to climate change could lead to a substantial increase in the frequency of extreme rain storms by the end of the century.

The study team, led by Hartmut Aumann of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, combed through 15 years of data acquired by NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument over the tropical oceans to determine the relationship between the average sea surface temperature and the onset of severe storms.

An "anvil" storm cloud in the Midwestern United States. (UCAR)

An “anvil” storm cloud in the Midwestern United States. (UCAR)

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NASA’s Langley Research Center studies interaction between the Sun and Earth’s upper atmosphere

 

NASA Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – Chill out. That’s the current message from the Sun to Earth’s upper atmosphere says NASA.

To be more precise, as the Sun settles into a cyclical, natural lull in activity, the upper atmosphere, or thermosphere — far above our own climate system — is responding in kind by cooling and contracting.

Could that have implications for folks down here on the surface? Absolutely not. Unless, that is, you’re someone with a vested interest in tracking an orbiting satellite or space debris.

The Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, or SABER, instrument on the Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics, or TIMED, satellite looks at the interaction between the Sun and Earth's upper atmosphere. (NASA/JHU/APL)

The Sounding of the Atmosphere using Broadband Emission Radiometry, or SABER, instrument on the Thermosphere, Ionosphere, Mesosphere Energetics and Dynamics, or TIMED, satellite looks at the interaction between the Sun and Earth’s upper atmosphere. (NASA/JHU/APL)

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NASA explored Venus for the first time, 40 years ago

 

NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – Slightly smaller than Earth, Venus is our closest planetary neighbor. Despite its proximity, relatively little was known about the planet in the late 1970s, especially its lower atmosphere. All that changed, though, when the most comprehensive study of the Venusian atmosphere began 40 years ago with the NASA Pioneer Venus project. 

NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley managed the project, consisting of two spacecraft built by the Hughes Aircraft Company in El Segundo, California.

Left: Pioneer Venus Orbiter during assembly. Middle: Pioneer Venus Multiprobe undergoing final assembly and checkout. Right: Model of the Venera 11 and 12 lander (left) and entire spacecraft (right). (NASA)

Left: Pioneer Venus Orbiter during assembly. Middle: Pioneer Venus Multiprobe undergoing final assembly and checkout.
Right: Model of the Venera 11 and 12 lander (left) and entire spacecraft (right). (NASA)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers hot Neptune losing its Atmosphere

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Fishermen would be puzzled if they netted only big and little fish, but few medium-sized fish. Astronomers likewise have been perplexed in conducting a census of star-hugging extrasolar planets. They have found hot Jupiter-sized planets and hot super-Earths (planets no more than 1.5 times Earth’s diameter).

These planets are scorching hot because they orbit very close to their star. But so-called “hot Neptunes,” whose atmospheres are heated to more than 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, have been much harder to find. In fact, only about a handful of hot Neptunes have been found so far.

This artist's illustration shows a giant cloud of hydrogen streaming off a warm, Neptune-sized planet just 97 light-years from Earth. The exoplanet is tiny compared to its star, a red dwarf named GJ 3470. The star's intense radiation is heating the hydrogen in the planet's upper atmosphere to a point where it escapes into space. (NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI))

This artist’s illustration shows a giant cloud of hydrogen streaming off a warm, Neptune-sized planet just 97 light-years from Earth. The exoplanet is tiny compared to its star, a red dwarf named GJ 3470. The star’s intense radiation is heating the hydrogen in the planet’s upper atmosphere to a point where it escapes into space. (NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI))

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NASA’s Juno spacecraft reaches halfway point in Jupiter mission

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On December 21st, at 8:49:48am PST (10:49:48am CST) NASA’s Juno spacecraft will be 3,140 miles (5,053 kilometers) above Jupiter’s cloud tops and hurtling by at a healthy clip of 128,802 mph (207,287 kilometers per hour). This will be the 16th science pass of the gas giant and will mark the solar-powered spacecraft’s halfway point in data collection during its prime mission.

Juno is in a highly-elliptical 53-day orbit around Jupiter. Each orbit includes a close passage over the planet’s cloud deck, where it flies a ground track that extends from Jupiter’s north pole to its south pole.

A south tropical disturbance has just passed Jupiter's iconic Great Red Spot, and is captured stealing threads of orange haze from the Great Red Spot in this series of color-enhanced images from NASA's Juno spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran)

A south tropical disturbance has just passed Jupiter’s iconic Great Red Spot, and is captured stealing threads of orange haze from the Great Red Spot in this series of color-enhanced images from NASA’s Juno spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Sean Doran)

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NASA study discovers Greenhouse Gas ‘Detergent’ Recycles Itself in Atmosphere

 

NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A simple molecule in the atmosphere that acts as a “detergent” to breakdown methane and other greenhouse gases has been found to recycle itself to maintain a steady global presence in the face of rising emissions, according to new NASA research.

Understanding its role in the atmosphere is critical for determining the lifetime of methane, a powerful contributor to climate change.

The hydroxyl (OH) radical, a molecule made up of one hydrogen atom, one oxygen atom with a free (or unpaired) electron is one of the most reactive gases in the atmosphere and regularly breaks down other gases, effectively ending their lifetimes.

Clouds over American Samoa from NASA’s Atmospheric Tomography mission in 2016.

Clouds over American Samoa from NASA’s Atmospheric Tomography mission in 2016.

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NASA MarCo CubeSats communicate with Earth, sends image of Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  NASA’s MarCO mission was built to see whether two experimental, briefcase-sized spacecraft could survive the trip to deep space, and the two CubeSats proved more than able. After cruising along behind NASA’s InSight for seven months, they successfully relayed data back down to Earth from the lander during its descent to the Martian surface on Monday, November 26th, 2018.

Nicknamed “EVE” and “WALL-E” after the stars of the 2008 Pixar film, MarCO-A and MarCO-B used experimental radios and antennas, providing an alternate way for engineers to monitor the landing.

MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometers) away during its flyby of the Red Planet on Nov. 26, 2018. MarCO-B was flying by Mars with its twin, MarCO-A, to attempt to serve as communications relays for NASA's InSight spacecraft as it landed on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometers) away during its flyby of the Red Planet on Nov. 26, 2018. MarCO-B was flying by Mars with its twin, MarCO-A, to attempt to serve as communications relays for NASA’s InSight spacecraft as it landed on Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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