Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – Astronomers were watching when comet P/2016 BA14 flew past Earth on March 22nd. At the time of its closest approach, the comet was about 2.2 million miles (3.5 million kilometers) away, making it the third closest comet flyby in recorded history (see “A ‘Tail’ of Two Comets”). Radar images from the flyby indicate that the comet is about 3,000 feet (1 kilometer) in diameter.
The scientists used the Goldstone Solar System Radar in California’s Mojave Desert to track the comet.
Clarksville, TN – The path that Marnie Mueller would forge during her career was, in many ways, foreshadowed by the circumstances that led to the first moments of her life.
Born to Caucasian American parents during World War II, Mueller nonetheless was born behind the barbed wire fences of a Northern California segregation camp designed to keep Japanese Americans contained during the war effort.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – The tropical Pacific Ocean isn’t flat like a pond. Instead, it regularly has a high side and a low side. Natural cycles such as El Niño and La Niña events cause this sea level seesaw to tip back and forth, with the ocean near Asia on one end and the ocean near the Americas on the other.
But over the last 30 years, the seesaw’s wobbles have been more extreme, causing variations in sea levels up to three times higher than those observed in the previous 30 years. Why might this be?
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – One year ago, on March 6th, 2015, NASA’s Dawn spacecraft slid gently into orbit around Ceres, the largest body in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Since then, the spacecraft has delivered a wealth of images and other data that open an exciting new window to the previously unexplored dwarf planet.
“Ceres has defied our expectations and surprised us in many ways, thanks to a year’s worth of data from Dawn. We are hard at work on the mysteries the spacecraft has presented to us,” said Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator for the mission, based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – A new study by NASA and several partners has found that in California’s Sierra Nevada, atmospheric river storms are two-and-a-half times more likely than other types of winter storms to result in destructive “rain-on-snow” events, where rain falls on existing snowpack, causing it to melt. Those events increase flood risks in winter and reduce water availability the following summer.
The study, based on NASA satellite and ground-based data from 1998 through 2014, is the first to establish a climatological connection between atmospheric river storms and rain-on-snow events. Partnering with NASA on the study were UCLA; Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego; and the Earth System Research Laboratory, Boulder, Colorado.
Written by Sasha Ellis
Hampton, VA – Engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, are preparing for a series of water-impact tests to evaluate the Orion spacecraft and crew safety when they return from deep-space missions and touch down on Earth’s surface.
After venturing thousands of miles beyond Earth, Orion will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California. At Langley, engineers are preparing to mimic various mission finale scenarios this year by dropping a mockup of Orion, coupled with the heat shield from the spacecraft’s first flight, into Langley’s 20-foot-deep Hydro Impact Basin.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – Monitoring the quality of freshwater supplies is a global concern, especially in thirsty California, where the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and its watershed serve as a major freshwater source.
Now scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, and the U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park and Sacramento, California, have successfully demonstrated how a NASA-developed airborne environmental monitoring instrument can be applied to help water managers monitor water quality not only in San Francisco Bay, but potentially in other inland and coastal water bodies around the world.
Clarksville, TN – Clarksville’s First Thursday Art Walk is produced by the Downtown Clarksville Association and is a free, self-guided tour spanning a 5-block radius that combines visual art, live music, engaging events and more in the heart of Downtown Clarksville.
With 10+ venues, bars and businesses participating each month, the First Thursday Art Walk in Clarksville is the ultimate opportunity to savor and support local creative talent.
Tennessee Representative Curtis Johnson
Nashville, TN – The 2016 session of the 109th General Assembly reconvened on Capitol Hill this week to begin work on a number of important issues facing Tennessee. I was pleased to officially be named as Chairman of the House Finance, Ways and Means Subcommittee.
On Monday, the Brig. Gen. Wendell H. Gilbert Tennessee State Veterans Home was officially opened with a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Governor Bill Haslam. This project was years in the making, and I am pleased that it is finally opened to serve our veterans.
Written by Steve Cole
Washington, D.C. – Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue U.S.-European satellite measurements of the topography of the ocean surfaces, is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, January 17th.
Liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4 East is targeted for 10:42:18am PST (12:42:18pm CST) at the opening of a 30-second launch window. If needed, a backup launch opportunity is available on the Western Range on January 18th at 10:31:04am PST (12:31:04pm CST).
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