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Topic: earth

NASA explains why it’s important to study Space Rocks

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the entire history of human existence is a tiny blip in our solar system’s 4.5-billion-year history. No one was around to see planets forming and undergoing dramatic changes before settling in their present configuration. In order to understand what came before us — before life on Earth and before Earth itself — scientists need to hunt for clues to that mysterious distant past.

Those clues come in the form of asteroids, comets and other small objects. Like detectives sifting through forensic evidence, scientists carefully examine these small bodies for insights about our origins.

The small worlds of our solar system help us trace its history and evolution, including comets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD)

The small worlds of our solar system help us trace its history and evolution, including comets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UMD)

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NASA’s Orion Spacecraft’s Service Module arrives from Europe

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The powerhouse that will help NASA’s Orion spacecraft venture beyond the Moon is stateside. The European-built service module that will propel, power and cool during Orion flight to the Moon on Exploration Mission-1 arrived from Germany at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Tuesday to begin final outfitting, integration and testing with the crew module and other Orion elements.

The service module is integral to human missions to the Moon and Mars. After Orion launches on top of the agency’s Space Launch System rocket, the service module will be responsible for in-space maneuvering throughout the mission, including course corrections.

The European Service Module for NASA's Orion spacecraft is loaded on an Antonov airplane in Bremen, Germany, on Nov. 5, 2018, for transport to NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For the first time, NASA will use a European-built system as a critical element to power an American spacecraft, extending the international cooperation of the International Space Station into deep space. Credits: NASA/Rad Sinyak

The European Service Module for NASA’s Orion spacecraft is loaded on an Antonov airplane in Bremen, Germany, on Nov. 5, 2018, for transport to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For the first time, NASA will use a European-built system as a critical element to power an American spacecraft, extending the international cooperation of the International Space Station into deep space. Credits: NASA/Rad Sinyak

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe now holds record for Closest Spacecraft to Sun

 

Written by Sarah Frazier
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The NASA Parker Solar Probe now holds the record for closest approach to the Sun by a human-made object. The spacecraft passed the current record of 26.55 million miles from the Sun’s surface on October 29th, 2018, at about 12:04pm CEDT, as calculated by the Parker Solar Probe team.

The previous record for closest solar approach was set by the German-American Helios 2 spacecraft in April 1976. As the NASA Parker Solar Probe mission progresses, the spacecraft will repeatedly break its own records, with a final close approach of 3.83 million miles from the Sun’s surface expected in 2024.

NASA's Parker Solar Probe became the closest-ever spacecraft to the Sun on October 29th, 2018, when it passed within 26.55 million miles of the Sun’s surface. (NASA/JHUAPL)

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe became the closest-ever spacecraft to the Sun on October 29th, 2018, when it passed within 26.55 million miles of the Sun’s surface. (NASA/JHUAPL)

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NASA’s GRACE-FO mission switches to backup system, resumes collecting data

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission has resumed collecting science-quality data and planned in-orbit checks after successfully completing a switchover to a backup system in the microwave instrument (MWI) on one of the mission’s twin spacecraft.

The in-orbit checks include calibrations and other system tests, and are expected to continue until January, when GRACE-FO will enter the science phase of its mission.

Illustration of the twin GRACE Follow-On Satellites. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Illustration of the twin GRACE Follow-On Satellites. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft runs out of fun, mission ends

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has gone silent, ending a historic mission that studied time capsules from the solar system’s earliest chapter.

Dawn missed scheduled communications sessions with NASA’s Deep Space Network on Wednesday, October 31st, and Thursday, November 1st, 2018. After the flight team eliminated other possible causes for the missed communications, mission managers concluded that the spacecraft finally ran out of hydrazine, the fuel that enables the spacecraft to control its pointing.

This photo of Ceres and the bright regions of Occator Crater was one of the last views NASA's Dawn spacecraft transmitted before it completed its mission. This view, which faces south, was captured on Sept. 1 at an altitude of 2,340 miles (3,370 kilometers) as the spacecraft was ascending in its elliptical orbit. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

This photo of Ceres and the bright regions of Occator Crater was one of the last views NASA’s Dawn spacecraft transmitted before it completed its mission. This view, which faces south, was captured on Sept. 1 at an altitude of 2,340 miles (3,370 kilometers) as the spacecraft was ascending in its elliptical orbit. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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NASA lists Five Things you should know about InSight’s Mars Landing

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that every Mars landing is a knuckle-whitening feat of engineering. But each attempt has its own quirks based on where a spacecraft is going and what kind of science the mission intends to gather.

On November 26th, 2018 NASA will try to safely set a new spacecraft on Mars. InSight is a lander dedicated to studying the deep interior of the planet – the first mission ever to do so.

This is an illustration showing a simulated view of NASA's InSight lander about to land on the surface of Mars. This view shows the underside of the spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This is an illustration showing a simulated view of NASA’s InSight lander about to land on the surface of Mars. This view shows the underside of the spacecraft. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope runs out of fuel

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – After nine years in deep space collecting data that indicate our sky to be filled with billions of hidden planets – more planets even than stars – NASA’s Kepler space telescope has run out of fuel needed for further science operations.

NASA has decided to retire the spacecraft within its current, safe orbit, away from Earth. Kepler leaves a legacy of more than 2,600 planet discoveries from outside our solar system, many of which could be promising places for life.

NASA's Kepler space telescope, shown in this artist's concept, revealed that there are more planets than stars in the Milky Way galaxy. (NASA)

NASA’s Kepler space telescope, shown in this artist’s concept, revealed that there are more planets than stars in the Milky Way galaxy. (NASA)

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NASA begins “On a Mission” podcast series that follows Insight Lander’s flight to Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has a new mission to Mars, and it’s taking podcast listeners along for the ride.

Launched Monday, October 29th, 2018 the eight-episode series “On a Mission” follows the InSight lander as it travels hundreds of millions of miles and attempts to land on Mars on November 26th.

“On a Mission” will be the first JPL podcast to track a mission during flight, through interviews with the InSight team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

'On a Mission' is a new eight-episode podcast series from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory that follows the InSight mission as the robotic explorer journeys to Mars for a November 26th landing. The first two episodes are available on October 29th for download. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

‘On a Mission’ is a new eight-episode podcast series from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory that follows the InSight mission as the robotic explorer journeys to Mars for a November 26th landing. The first two episodes are available on October 29th for download. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA sizes up Planets Discovered in Milky Way Galaxy

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The planets so far discovered across the Milky Way are a motley, teeming multitude: hot Jupiters, gas giants, small, rocky worlds and mysterious planets larger than Earth and smaller than Neptune. As we prepare to add many thousands more to the thousands found already, the search goes on for evidence of life – and for a world something like our own.

And as our space telescopes and other instruments grow ever more sensitive, we’re beginning to zero in.

Artist’s concept of how rocky, potentially habitable worlds elsewhere in our galaxy might appear. Data gathered by telescopes in space and on the ground suggest that small, rocky planets are common. (Placing them so close together in a line is for illustrative purposes only.) (NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech))

Artist’s concept of how rocky, potentially habitable worlds elsewhere in our galaxy might appear. Data gathered by telescopes in space and on the ground suggest that small, rocky planets are common. (Placing them so close together in a line is for illustrative purposes only.) (NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (SSC-Caltech))

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NASA tests Parachute for Mars 2020 Rover

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In the early hours of September 7th, 2018 NASA broke a world record.

Less than 2 minutes after the launch of a 58-foot-tall (17.7-meter) Black Brant IX sounding rocket, a payload separated and began its dive back through Earth’s atmosphere. When onboard sensors determined the payload had reached the appropriate height and Mach number (38 kilometers altitude, Mach 1.8), the payload deployed a parachute.

Within four-tenths of a second, the 180-pound parachute billowed out from being a solid cylinder to being fully inflated.

This high-definition image was taken on September 7th, 2018, during the third and final test flight of the ASPIRE payload. It was the fastest inflation of this size parachute in history and created a peak load of almost 70,000 pounds of force. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This high-definition image was taken on September 7th, 2018, during the third and final test flight of the ASPIRE payload. It was the fastest inflation of this size parachute in history and created a peak load of almost 70,000 pounds of force. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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