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Topic: Caltech

NASA’s InSight lander on it’s way to Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander has made its first course correction toward Mars.

InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is the first mission dedicated to exploring the deep interior of Mars.

The lander is currently encapsulated in a protective aeroshell, which launched on top of an Atlas V 401 rocket on May 5th, 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California.

NASA's InSight spacecraft is currently cruising to Mars. Yesterday, it performed its first course correction guiding it to the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s InSight spacecraft is currently cruising to Mars. Yesterday, it performed its first course correction guiding it to the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory gets visit from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A week before NASA launches its next mission to Mars, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence toured on Saturday, April 28th, the birthplace of numerous past, present and future space missions at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The afternoon visit by the Vice President, his wife, Karen, and daughter Charlotte, included a stop in JPL’s Mission Control, where engineers will communicate with NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight).

JPL Director Michael Watkins gave Vice President Mike Pence, right, a plaque during the Vice President's tour of JPL on April 28, 2018. The plaque features a view of NASA's Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

JPL Director Michael Watkins gave Vice President Mike Pence, right, a plaque during the Vice President’s tour of JPL on April 28, 2018. The plaque features a view of NASA’s Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA-funded Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer completes study of dust in “Habitable Zone” around a Star

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Veils of dust wrapped around distant stars could make it difficult for scientists to find potentially habitable planets in those star systems. The Hunt for Observable Signatures of Terrestrial Systems, or HOSTS, survey was tasked with learning more about the effect of dust on the search for new worlds.

The goal is to help guide the design of future planet-hunting missions. In a new paper published in the Astrophysical Journal, HOSTS scientists report on the survey’s initial findings.

This artist's illustration shows what the sky might look like from a planet in a particularly dusty solar system. Dust that orbits a star in the plane of the solar system is called zodiacal dust, and the light reflected and scattered by that dust is called zodiacal light. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s illustration shows what the sky might look like from a planet in a particularly dusty solar system. Dust that orbits a star in the plane of the solar system is called zodiacal dust, and the light reflected and scattered by that dust is called zodiacal light. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) has discovered 788 near-Earth objects and 136 comets

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) mission has released its fourth year of survey data. Since the mission was restarted in December 2013, after a period of hibernation, the asteroid- and comet-hunter has completely scanned the skies nearly eight times and has observed and characterized 29,375 objects in four years of operations. This total includes 788 near-Earth objects and 136 comets since the mission restart.

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are comets and asteroids that have been nudged by the gravitational attraction of the planets in our solar system into orbits that allow them to enter Earth’s neighborhood.

This artist's concept shows NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or NEOWISE spacecraft, in its orbit around Earth. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or NEOWISE spacecraft, in its orbit around Earth. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Insight Lander will give scientists look at Mars below the surface, study Marsquakes

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Starting next year, scientists will get their first look deep below the surface of Mars.

That’s when NASA will send the first robotic lander dedicated to exploring the planet’s subsurface. InSight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, will study marsquakes to learn about the Martian crust, mantle and core.

Doing so could help answer a big question: how are planets born?

Artist's rendition showing the inner structure of Mars. The topmost layer is known as the crust, underneath it is the mantle, which rests on an inner core. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s rendition showing the inner structure of Mars. The topmost layer is known as the crust, underneath it is the mantle, which rests on an inner core. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover has now spent 2,000 Martian Days on Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover just hit a new milestone: its two-thousandth Martian day, or sol, on the Red Planet. An image mosaic taken by the rover in January offers a preview of what comes next.

Looming over the image is Mount Sharp, the mound Curiosity has been climbing since September 2014. In the center of the image is the rover’s next big, scientific target: an area scientists have studied from orbit and have determined contains clay minerals.

This mosaic taken by NASA's Mars Curiosity rover looks uphill at Mount Sharp, which Curiosity has been climbing since 2014. Highlighted in white is an area with clay-bearing rocks that scientists are eager to explore; it could shed additional light on the role of water in creating Mount Sharp. The mosaic was assembled from dozens of images taken by Curiosity's Mast Camera (Mastcam). It was taken on Sol 1931 back in January. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This mosaic taken by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover looks uphill at Mount Sharp, which Curiosity has been climbing since 2014. Highlighted in white is an area with clay-bearing rocks that scientists are eager to explore; it could shed additional light on the role of water in creating Mount Sharp. The mosaic was assembled from dozens of images taken by Curiosity’s Mast Camera (Mastcam). It was taken on Sol 1931 back in January. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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Virtual 3-D models of NASA’s Robotic Space Explorers in new “AR” Mobile App

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Media Relations Office

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA spacecraft travel to far-off destinations in space, but a new mobile app produced by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, brings spacecraft to users. The new app, called Spacecraft AR, uses the latest augmented reality (AR) technology to put virtual 3-D models of NASA’s robotic space explorers into any environment with a flat surface.

You can download the new app here.

JPL developed the Spacecraft AR app in collaboration with Google. The app uses Google’s ARCore technology to bring 3-D spacecraft into users’ devices using native mobile augmented reality. (“Native mobile” AR uses the built-in capabilities of a mobile device to interact with 3-D environments and objects.)

The free Spacecraft AR app uses Google ARCore technology to put virtual 3-D models of NASA robotic spacecraft, such as the Curiosity Mars rover seen here, into any environment with a flat surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The free Spacecraft AR app uses Google ARCore technology to put virtual 3-D models of NASA robotic spacecraft, such as the Curiosity Mars rover seen here, into any environment with a flat surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer Space Telescopes discover Exoplanet with large amount of Water Vapor

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Much like detectives who study fingerprints to identify the culprit, scientists used NASA’s Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes to find the “fingerprints” of water in the atmosphere of a hot, bloated, Saturn-mass exoplanet some 700 light-years away. And, they found a lot of water. In fact, the planet, known as WASP-39b, has three times as much water as Saturn does.

Though no planet like this resides in our solar system, WASP-39b can provide new insights into how and where planets form around a star, say researchers. This exoplanet is so unique, it underscores the fact that the more astronomers learn about the complexity of other worlds, the more there is to learn about their origins. This latest observation is a significant step toward characterizing these worlds.

Using Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, scientists studied the "hot Saturn" called WASP-39b - a hot, bloated, Saturn-mass exoplanet located about 700 light-years from Earth. By dissecting starlight filtering through the planet's atmosphere into its component colors, the team found clear evidence for a large amount of water vapor. (NASA, ESA, G. Bacon and A. Feild (STScI), and H. Wakeford (STScI/Univ. of Exeter))

Using Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes, scientists studied the “hot Saturn” called WASP-39b – a hot, bloated, Saturn-mass exoplanet located about 700 light-years from Earth. By dissecting starlight filtering through the planet’s atmosphere into its component colors, the team found clear evidence for a large amount of water vapor. (NASA, ESA, G. Bacon and A. Feild (STScI), and H. Wakeford (STScI/Univ. of Exeter))

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter puts itself into Standby Mode

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Status Report

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), at Mars since 2006, put itself into a precautionary standby mode on February 15th in response to sensing an unexpectedly low battery voltage.

The orbiter is solar-powered but relies on a pair of nickel-hydrogen batteries during periods when it is in the shadow of Mars for a portion of each orbit. The two are used together, maintaining almost identical charge during normal operations.

Artist concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL)

Artist concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL)

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NASA looks to develop 3-D Printable Tools to examine Biological Samples in Space

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – If humans are destined for deep space, they need to understand the space environment changes health, including aging and antibiotic resistance.

A new NASA project could help. It aims to develop technology used to study “omics” — fields of microbiology that are important to human health. Omics includes research into genomes, microbiomes and proteomes.

The Omics in Space project is being led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The project was recently funded by NASA’s Translational Research Institute for Space Health four years of study.

In this 2016 photo, Matthias Maurer of ESA inserts samples into the MinION DNA sequencer while at NASA's Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO), an underwater research facility. The MinION device will also be used as part of the Omics in Space project, which will develop new tools for studying microbiology in space. (NASA)

In this 2016 photo, Matthias Maurer of ESA inserts samples into the MinION DNA sequencer while at NASA’s Extreme Environment Mission Operations (NEEMO), an underwater research facility. The MinION device will also be used as part of the Omics in Space project, which will develop new tools for studying microbiology in space. (NASA)

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