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Topic: D.C. Agle

NASA’s Deep Impact Spacecraft’s mission ends

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – After almost 9 years in space that included an unprecedented July 4th impact and subsequent flyby of a comet, an additional comet flyby, and the return of approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects, NASA’s Deep Impact mission has ended.

The project team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, has reluctantly pronounced the mission at an end after being unable to communicate with the spacecraft for over a month. The last communication with the probe was August 8th. Deep Impact was history’s most traveled comet research mission, going about 4.7 billion miles (7.58 billion kilometers).

Artist's concept of NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Deep Impact spacecraft. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s GRAIL mission spacecrafts crash site on the Moon dedicated to Astronaut Sally Ride

 

Written by D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has named the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Monday in honor of the late astronaut Sally K. Ride, who was America’s first woman in space and a member of the probes’ mission team.

Last Friday, Ebb and Flow, the two spacecraft comprising NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, were commanded to descend into a lower orbit that would result in an impact Monday on a mountain near the moon’s north pole.

The final flight path for NASA's twin GRAIL mission spacecraft to impact the moon on December 17th. GRAIL's MoonKAM is the signature education and public outreach program led by Sally Ride Science-founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space.

The final flight path for NASA’s twin GRAIL mission spacecraft to impact the moon on December 17th. GRAIL’s MoonKAM is the signature education and public outreach program led by Sally Ride Science-founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space.

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NASA’s Ebb and Flow spacecraft on final decent to Moon Impact

 

Written by D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The lunar twins of NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission have each completed a rocket burn that has sealed their fate. The burns modified the orbit of the formation-flying spacecraft.

Over the next three days, this new orbit will carry the twins lower and lower over the moon’s surface. On Monday afternoon, December 17th, at about 2:28pm PST (5:28pm EST), their moon-skimming will conclude when a portion of the lunar surface – an unnamed mountain near the natural satellite’s north pole – rises higher than their orbital altitude.

An artist's depiction of the GRAIL twins (Ebb and Flow) in lunar orbit. During GRAIL's prime mission science phase, the two spacecraft orbited the moon as high as 31 miles (51 kilometers) and as low as 10 miles (16 kilometers). (Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)

An artist’s depiction of the GRAIL twins (Ebb and Flow) in lunar orbit. During GRAIL’s prime mission science phase, the two spacecraft orbited the moon as high as 31 miles (51 kilometers) and as low as 10 miles (16 kilometers). (Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)(Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)(Image credit: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MIT)

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NASA’s GRAIL Lunar Probes to impact the Moon’s Surface December 17th

 

Written by D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Twin lunar-orbiting NASA spacecraft that have allowed scientists to learn more about the internal structure and composition of the moon are being prepared for their controlled descent and impact on a mountain near the moon’s north pole at about 2:28pm PST (5:28pm EST) Monday, December 17th.

Ebb and Flow, the Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission probes, are being sent purposely into the lunar surface because their low orbit and low fuel levels preclude further scientific operations. The duo’s successful prime and extended science missions generated the highest resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. The map will provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved.

Artist concept of GRAIL mission. GRAIL flew twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. (Image credit: NASA/JPL)

Artist concept of GRAIL mission. GRAIL flew twin spacecraft in tandem orbits around the moon to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. (Image credit: NASA/JPL)

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NASA’s Dawn mission images show Sinuous Gullies on the asteroid Vesta

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In a preliminary analysis of images from NASA’s Dawn mission, scientists have spotted intriguing gullies that sculpt the walls of geologically young craters on the giant asteroid Vesta.

Led by Jennifer Scully, a Dawn team member at the University of California, Los Angeles, these scientists have found narrow channels of two types in images from Dawn’s framing camera – some that look like straight chutes and others that carve more sinuous trails and end in lobe-shaped deposits. The mystery, however, is what is creating them?

This image shows examples of long, narrow, sinuous gullies that scientists on NASA's Dawn mission have found on the giant asteroid Vesta. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

This image shows examples of long, narrow, sinuous gullies that scientists on NASA’s Dawn mission have found on the giant asteroid Vesta. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter tracks Dust Storm over the surface of Mars

 

Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A Martian dust storm that NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been tracking since last week has also produced atmospheric changes detectable by rovers on Mars.

Using the orbiter’s Mars Color Imager, Bruce Cantor of Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, began observing the storm on November 10th, and subsequently reported it to the team operating NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

The storm came no closer than about 837 miles (1,347 kilometers) from Opportunity, resulting in only a slight drop in atmospheric clarity over that rover, which does not have a weather station.

This nearly global mosaic of observations made by the Mars Color Imager on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 18, 2012, shows a dust storm in Mars' southern hemisphere. Small white arrows outline the area where dust from the storm is apparent in the atmosphere. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This nearly global mosaic of observations made by the Mars Color Imager on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 18, 2012, shows a dust storm in Mars’ southern hemisphere. Small white arrows outline the area where dust from the storm is apparent in the atmosphere. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity to look for possible rock targets for Hammering Drill during Thanksgiving

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity completed a touch-and-go inspection of one rock on Sunday, November 18th, then pivoted and, on the same day, drove toward a Thanksgiving overlook location.

Last week, Curiosity drove for the first time after spending several weeks in soil-scooping activities at one location. On Friday, November 16th, the rover drove 6.2 feet (1.9 meters) to get within arm’s reach of a rock called “Rocknest 3.”

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity drove 83 feet eastward during the 102nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Nov. 18th, 2012), and used its left navigation camera to record this view ahead at the end of the drive. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity drove 83 feet eastward during the 102nd Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Nov. 18th, 2012), and used its left navigation camera to record this view ahead at the end of the drive. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover completes first analysis of Martian Soil

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has completed initial experiments showing the mineralogy of Martian soil is similar to weathered basaltic soils of volcanic origin in Hawaii.

The minerals were identified in the first sample of Martian soil ingested recently by the rover. Curiosity used its Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument (CheMin) to obtain the results, which are filling gaps and adding confidence to earlier estimates of the mineralogical makeup of the dust and fine soil widespread on the Red Planet.

This graphic shows results of the first analysis of Martian soil by the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) experiment on NASA's Curiosity rover. The image reveals the presence of crystalline feldspar, pyroxenes and olivine mixed with some amorphous (non-crystalline) material. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ames)

This graphic shows results of the first analysis of Martian soil by the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) experiment on NASA’s Curiosity rover. The image reveals the presence of crystalline feldspar, pyroxenes and olivine mixed with some amorphous (non-crystalline) material. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ames)

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Martian Rock “Jake Matijevic” analysed by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover reveals Surprises

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The first Martian rock NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached out to touch presents a more varied composition than expected from previous missions. The rock also resembles some unusual rocks from Earth’s interior.

The rover team used two instruments on Curiosity to study the chemical makeup of the football-size rock called “Jake Matijevic” (matt-EE-oh-vick) The results support some surprising recent measurements and provide an example of why identifying rocks’ composition is such a major emphasis of the mission. Rock compositions tell stories about unseen environments and planetary processes.

This image shows where NASA's Curiosity rover aimed two different instruments to study a rock known as "Jake Matijevic." (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This image shows where NASA’s Curiosity rover aimed two different instruments to study a rock known as “Jake Matijevic.” (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover to preceed with using First Scoop of Martian Soil Sample

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The team operating NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover decided on October 9th, 2012, to proceed with using the rover’s first scoop of Martian material.

Plans for Sol 64 (October 10th) call for shifting the scoopful of sand and dust into the mechanism for sieving and portioning samples, and vibrating it vigorously to clean internal surfaces of the mechanism. This first scooped sample, and the second one, will be discarded after use, since they are only being used for the cleaning process.

This pairing illustrates the first time that NASA's Mars rover Curiosity collected a scoop of soil on Mars. It combines two raw images taken on the mission's 61st Martian day, or sol (October 7th, 2012) by the right camera of the rover's two-camera Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument. The right Mastcam, or Mastcam-100, has a telephoto, 100-millimeter-focal-length lens. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This pairing illustrates the first time that NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity collected a scoop of soil on Mars. It combines two raw images taken on the mission’s 61st Martian day, or sol (October 7th, 2012) by the right camera of the rover’s two-camera Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument. The right Mastcam, or Mastcam-100, has a telephoto, 100-millimeter-focal-length lens. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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