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NASA’s GRACE-FO Satellite to Switch to Backup Instrument Processing Unit

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission team plans to switch to a backup system in the Microwave Instrument (MWI) on one of the twin spacecraft this month. Following the switch-over, GRACE-FO is expected to quickly resume science data collection.

A month after launching this past May, GRACE-FO produced its first preliminary gravity field map. The mission has not acquired science data since mid-July due to an anomaly with a component of the Microwave Instrument on one of the GRACE-FO spacecraft. The mission team is completing its investigation into the cause of the anomaly.

Artist's illustration of the NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, which will track changes in the distribution of Earth's mass, providing insights into climate, Earth system processes and the impacts of some human activities. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s illustration of the NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, which will track changes in the distribution of Earth’s mass, providing insights into climate, Earth system processes and the impacts of some human activities. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s AIRS Instrument on Aqua Satellite takes image of Hurricane Florence

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – All eyes were on Hurricane Florence Wednesday as the Category 3 storm barreled toward the U.S. East Coast. NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument was watching, too, and captured new imagery of the storm’s approach.

AIRS, in conjunction with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth to provide a three-dimensional look at weather and climate. It acquired infrared and visible light images at 12:30pm CDT Wednesday.

This image shows Hurricane Florence in infrared light, and was taken at 12:35pm CT on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on board NASA's Aqua satellite. Florence underwent rapid intensification from Category 2 to Category 4 yesterday and was a Category 3 storm as of Wednesday evening. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image shows Hurricane Florence in infrared light, and was taken at 12:35pm CT on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 by the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) on board NASA’s Aqua satellite. Florence underwent rapid intensification from Category 2 to Category 4 yesterday and was a Category 3 storm as of Wednesday evening. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft nears Mission’s End

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn mission is drawing to a close after 11 years of breaking new ground in planetary science, gathering breathtaking imagery, and performing unprecedented feats of spacecraft engineering.

Dawn’s mission was extended several times, outperforming scientists’ expectations in its exploration of two planet-like bodies, Ceres and Vesta, that make up 45 percent of the mass of the main asteroid belt. Now the spacecraft is about to run out of a key fuel, hydrazine. When that happens, most likely between mid-September and mid-October, Dawn will lose its ability to communicate with Earth. It will remain in a silent orbit around Ceres for decades.

Artist's concept of NASA's Dawn spacecraft orbiting dwarf planet Ceres. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Dawn spacecraft orbiting dwarf planet Ceres. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover takes panorama view from Verea Rubin Ridge

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – After snagging a new rock sample on August 9th, 2018 NASA’s Curiosity rover surveyed its surroundings on Mars, producing a 360-degree panorama of its current location on Vera Rubin Ridge.

The panorama includes umber skies, darkened by a fading global dust storm. It also includes a rare view by the Mast Camera of the rover itself, revealing a thin layer of dust on Curiosity’s deck. In the foreground is the rover’s most recent drill target, named “Stoer” after a town in Scotland near where important discoveries about early life on Earth were made in lakebed sediments.

This 360-degree panorama was taken on Aug. 9 by NASA's Curiosity rover at its location on Vera Rubin Ridge. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This 360-degree panorama was taken on Aug. 9 by NASA’s Curiosity rover at its location on Vera Rubin Ridge. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft data shows vortex “The Hexagon” at Saturn’s northern pole

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new long-term study using data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has revealed a surprising feature emerging at Saturn’s northern pole as it nears summertime: a warming, high-altitude vortex with a hexagonal shape, akin to the famous hexagon seen deeper down in Saturn’s clouds.

The finding, published September 3rd, 2018 in Nature Communications, is intriguing, because it suggests that the lower-altitude hexagon may influence what happens above, and that it could be a towering structure hundreds of miles in height.

This colorful view from NASA's Cassini mission is the highest-resolution view of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn's north pole known as "the hexagon." (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University)

This colorful view from NASA’s Cassini mission is the highest-resolution view of the unique six-sided jet stream at Saturn’s north pole known as “the hexagon.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI/Hampton University)

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft begins study of Asteroid Bennu

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – After an almost two-year journey, NASA’s asteroid sampling spacecraft, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx), caught its first glimpse of asteroid Bennu last week and began the final approach toward its target.

Kicking off the mission’s asteroid operations campaign on August 17th, 2018 the spacecraft’s PolyCam camera obtained the image from a distance of 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km).

On Aug. 17, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft obtained the first images of its target asteroid Bennu from a distance of 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km), or almost six times the distance between the Earth and Moon. This cropped set of five images was obtained by the PolyCam camera over the course of an hour for calibration purposes and in order to assist the mission’s navigation team with optical navigation efforts. Bennu is visible as a moving object against the stars in the constellation Serpens. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

On Aug. 17, the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft obtained the first images of its target asteroid Bennu from a distance of 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km), or almost six times the distance between the Earth and Moon. This cropped set of five images was obtained by the PolyCam camera over the course of an hour for calibration purposes and in order to assist the mission’s navigation team with optical navigation efforts. Bennu is visible as a moving object against the stars in the constellation Serpens. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

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NASA uses several Instruments to watch Hurricane Lane

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Instruments on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites were watching as Hurricane Lane — a category 2 storm as of Friday, August 24th — made its way toward Hawaii.

NASA’s Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer (MISR) captured images of Lane on just before noon local time on August 24th. MISR, flying onboard NASA’s Terra satellite, carries nine cameras that observe Earth at different angles. It takes approximately seven minutes for all the cameras to observe the same location, and the motion of the clouds during that time is used to compute the wind speed at the cloudtops.

Image of Hurricane Lane. (NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech)

Image of Hurricane Lane. (NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) set to launch in September

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Next month, NASA will launch into space the most advanced laser instrument of its kind, beginning a mission to measure – in unprecedented detail – changes in the heights of Earth’s polar ice.

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) will measure the average annual elevation change of land ice covering Greenland and Antarctica to within the width of a pencil, capturing 60,000 measurements every second.

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) spacecraft arrives at the Astrotech Space Operations facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California ahead of its scheduled launch on Sept. 15, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Vanessa Valentine)

NASA’s Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) spacecraft arrives at the Astrotech Space Operations facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California ahead of its scheduled launch on Sept. 15, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Vanessa Valentine)

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NASA looks to Manage Trash in Space

 

NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – Dealing with trash is a challenge wherever people work and live, and space is no exception. Astronauts produce a couple of pounds of trash per crew member per day.

To better manage this, NASA is developing a new trash processing system to demonstrate on the International Space Station. This work is critical for potential future missions traveling farther from Earth, to the Moon and Mars, and for longer periods of time.

A potential trash management system for future, long-duration space missions, the current version of the Heat Melt Compactor, seen here in its ground configuration, has been tested extensively at NASA's Ames Research Center. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Dominic Hart)

A potential trash management system for future, long-duration space missions, the current version of the Heat Melt Compactor, seen here in its ground configuration, has been tested extensively at NASA’s Ames Research Center. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Dominic Hart)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope captures Ultraviolet Panoramic View of the Universe

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Astronomers using the ultraviolet vision of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have captured one of the largest panoramic views of the fire and fury of star birth in the distant universe.

The field features approximately 15,000 galaxies, about 12,000 of which are forming stars. Hubble’s ultraviolet vision opens a new window on the evolving universe, tracking the birth of stars over the last 11 billion years back to the cosmos’ busiest star-forming period, which happened about 3 billion years after the big bang.

Astronomers have just assembled one of the most comprehensive portraits yet of the universe’s evolutionary history, based on a broad spectrum of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and other space and ground-based telescopes. (NASA, ESA, P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and M. Montes (University of New South Wales))

Astronomers have just assembled one of the most comprehensive portraits yet of the universe’s evolutionary history, based on a broad spectrum of observations by the Hubble Space Telescope and other space and ground-based telescopes. (NASA, ESA, P. Oesch (University of Geneva), and M. Montes (University of New South Wales))

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