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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft discovers deep canyons on Saturn’s moon Titan filled with Hydrocarbons

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has found deep, steep-sided canyons on Saturn’s moon Titan that are flooded with liquid hydrocarbons. The finding represents the first direct evidence of the presence of liquid-filled channels on Titan, as well as the first observation of canyons hundreds of meters deep.

A new paper in the journal Geophysical Research Letters describes how scientists analyzed Cassini data from a close pass the spacecraft made over Titan in May 2013. During the flyby, Cassini’s radar instrument focused on channels that branch out from the large, northern sea Ligeia Mare.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft pinged the surface of Titan with microwaves, finding that some channels are deep, steep-sided canyons filled with liquid hydrocarbons. One such feature is Vid Flumina, the branching network of narrow lines in the upper-left quadrant of the image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI)

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft pinged the surface of Titan with microwaves, finding that some channels are deep, steep-sided canyons filled with liquid hydrocarbons. One such feature is Vid Flumina, the branching network of narrow lines in the upper-left quadrant of the image. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI)

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NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity finishes work at Marathon Valley on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – “Marathon Valley,” slicing through a large crater’s rim on Mars, has provided fruitful research targets for NASA’s Opportunity rover since July 2015, but the rover may soon move on.

Opportunity recently collected a sweeping panorama from near the western end of this east-west valley. The vista shows an area where the mission investigated evidence about how water altered the ancient rocks and, beyond that, the wide floor of Endeavour Crater and the crater’s eastern rim about 14 miles (22 kilometers) away.

"Marathon Valley" on Mars opens to a view across Endeavour Crater in this scene from the Pancam of NASA's Mars rover Opportunity. The scene merges many exposures taken during April and May 2016. The view spans from north (left) to west-southwest. Its foreground shows the valley's fractured texture. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

“Marathon Valley” on Mars opens to a view across Endeavour Crater in this scene from the Pancam of NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity. The scene merges many exposures taken during April and May 2016. The view spans from north (left) to west-southwest. Its foreground shows the valley’s fractured texture. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

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Clarksville’s First Thursday Artwalk to be held March 3rd, 2016

 

First Thursday Art WalkClarksville, TN – Produced by The Downtown Clarksville Association, First Thursday Art Walk 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.

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Clarksville’s Customs House Museum March 2016 Exhibits and Activities

 

The Customs House Museum and Cultural CenterClarksville, TN – The Customs House Museum and Cultural Center is located in historic downtown Clarksville, Tennessee. Come explore an entire city block featuring large gallery spaces filled with fine art, science and history.

Some of the events in March at the Museum are: A Woman’s Touch: Celebrating Tennessee Crafts, James Alexander: Sculptural Thinkings, School Days: From the Collection and For Adults: Picture Book Art: Stories from Around the World.

Marmalade Sky by Elizabeth LaPenna

Marmalade Sky by Elizabeth LaPenna

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NASA’s Mars Opportunity Rover travels up steep slope on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s senior Mars rover, Opportunity, is working adeptly in some of the most challenging terrain of the vehicle’s 12 years on Mars, on a slope of about 30 degrees.

Researchers are using Opportunity this month to examine rocks that may have been chemically altered by water billions of years ago. The mission’s current targets of investigation are from ruddy-tinted swaths the researchers call “red zones,” in contrast to tan bedrock around these zones.

The targets lie on “Knudsen Ridge,” atop the southern flank of “Marathon Valley,” which slices through the western rim of Endeavour Crater.

This scene from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity looks upward at "Knudsen Ridge" from the valley below. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

This scene from NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity looks upward at “Knudsen Ridge” from the valley below. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./Arizona State Univ.)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft data used to weigh Saturn’s biggest ring

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – It seems intuitive that an opaque material should contain more stuff than a more translucent substance. For example, muddier water has more suspended particles of dirt in it than clearer water. Likewise, you might think that, in the rings of Saturn, more opaque areas contain a greater concentration of material than places where the rings seem more transparent.

But this intuition does not always apply, according to a recent study of the rings using data from NASA’s Cassini mission. In their analysis, scientists found surprisingly little correlation between how dense a ring might appear to be — in terms of its opacity and reflectiveness — and the amount of material it contains.

The B ring is the brightest of Saturn's rings when viewed in reflected sunlight. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

The B ring is the brightest of Saturn’s rings when viewed in reflected sunlight. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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Austin Peay State University professor Minoa Uffelman connects Students with Scholars using Skype

 

Austin Peay State University - APSU - logoClarksville, TN – When Austin Peay State University history major Rick Casteel raises his hand in his “The South To 1861” course, he knows that it’s important that he say the right thing.

But that’s not because Casteel is worried about answering incorrectly, or impressing his teacher, APSU associate professor of history, Dr. Minoa Uffelman.

APSU professor Minoa Uffelman

APSU professor Minoa Uffelman

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft takes photos of Saturn’s Moon Enceladus’ northern extremes

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has begun returning its best-ever views of the northern extremes of Saturn’s icy, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus.

The spacecraft obtained the images during its October 14th flyby, passing 1,142 miles (1,839 kilometers) above the moon’s surface. Mission controllers say the spacecraft will continue transmitting images and other data from the encounter for the next several days.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft zoomed by Saturn's icy moon Enceladus on Oct. 14, 2015, capturing this stunning image of the moon's north pole. A companion view from the wide-angle camera (PIA20010) shows a zoomed out view of the same region for context. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft zoomed by Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus on Oct. 14, 2015, capturing this stunning image of the moon’s north pole. A companion view from the wide-angle camera (PIA20010) shows a zoomed out view of the same region for context. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft to make close up flybys of Saturn’s Moon Eceladus

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will wrap up its time in the region of Saturn’s large, icy moons with a series of three close encounters with Enceladus starting Wednesday, October 14th. Images are expected to begin arriving one to two days after the flyby, which will provide the first opportunity for a close-up look at the north polar region of Enceladus.

Wednesday’s flyby is considered a moderately close approach for Cassini, which will pass at an altitude of 1,142 miles (1,839 kilometers) above the moon’s surface. Closest approach to Enceladus will occur at 3:41am PDT (6:41am EDT). The spacecraft’s final two approaches will take place in late October and mid-December.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft will get its best-ever look at the northernmost reaches of the Saturnian moon Enceladus on October 14th. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will get its best-ever look at the northernmost reaches of the Saturnian moon Enceladus on October 14th. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft discovers Saturn’s Moon Enceladus has a global ocean under it’s icy surface

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A global ocean lies beneath the icy crust of Saturn’s geologically active moon Enceladus, according to new research using data from NASA’s Cassini mission.

Researchers found the magnitude of the moon’s very slight wobble, as it orbits Saturn, can only be accounted for if its outer ice shell is not frozen solid to its interior, meaning a global ocean must be present.

The finding implies the fine spray of water vapor, icy particles and simple organic molecules Cassini has observed coming from fractures near the moon’s south pole is being fed by this vast liquid water reservoir. The research is presented in a paper published online this week in the journal Icarus.

Illustration of the interior of Saturn's moon Enceladus showing a global liquid water ocean between its rocky core and icy crust. Thickness of layers shown here is not to scale. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Illustration of the interior of Saturn’s moon Enceladus showing a global liquid water ocean between its rocky core and icy crust. Thickness of layers shown here is not to scale. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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