Written by Guy Webster
Pasadena, CA – Scientists now have a better understanding about a site with the most chemically diverse mineral veins NASA’s Curiosity rover has examined on Mars, thanks in part to a valuable new resource scientists used in analyzing data from the rover.
Curiosity examined bright and dark mineral veins in March 2015 at a site called “Garden City,” where some veins protrude as high as two finger widths above the eroding bedrock in which they formed.
NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft continues hunting asteroids long past its planned lifetime
Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – The NEOWISE mission hunts for near-Earth objects (NEOs) using the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) spacecraft. Funded by NASA’s NEO Observations Program, the NEOWISE mission uses images taken by the spacecraft to look for asteroids and comets, providing a rich source of measurements of solar system objects at infrared wavelengths.
These measurements include wavelengths that are difficult or impossible to detect directly from the ground.
NEOWISE is one of 54 ongoing projects supported by the NEO Observations Program in fiscal year 2015. NASA-funded survey projects have found 98 percent of the known catalogue of more than 13,000 NEOs. NASA-funded surveys are currently finding NEOs at a rate of about 1,500 per year.
Written by Mark Bailey and Apostolos Christou
Northern Ireland – The planet Mercury is being pelted regularly by bits of dust from an ancient comet, a new study has concluded. This has a discernible effect in the planet’s tenuous atmosphere and may lead to a new paradigm on how these airless bodies maintain their ethereal envelopes.
The findings are to be presented at the annual Meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society at National Harbor, Maryland, this week, by Apostolos Christou at the Armagh Observatory in Northern Ireland, Rosemary Killen at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Matthew Burger of Morgan State University in Baltimore, working at Goddard.
Written by Carol Rasmussen
Washington, D.C. – A team of NASA and university scientists has developed a new way to use satellite measurements to track changes in Atlantic Ocean currents, which are a driving force in global climate. The finding opens a path to better monitoring and understanding of how ocean circulation is changing and what the changes may mean for future climate.
In the Atlantic, currents at the ocean surface, such as the Gulf Stream, carry sun-warmed water from the tropics northeastward. As the water moves through colder regions, it sheds its heat. By the time it gets to Greenland, it’s so cold and dense that it sinks a couple of miles down into the ocean depths.
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – Where do predictions for regional weather patterns come from? For one source, look to the ocean. About 70 percent of Earth’s surface is covered in oceans, and changes in ocean winds are good predictors of many weather phenomena on small and large scales.
NASA’s ISS-RapidScat instrument, which last month celebrated its one-year anniversary, helps make these ocean wind measurements to enhance weather forecasting and understanding of climate. The instrument was first activated on the International Space Station on October 1st, 2014.
Written by Preston Dyches
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has begun transmitting its latest images of Saturn’s icy, geologically active moon Enceladus, acquired during the dramatic October 28th flyby in which the probe passed about 30 miles (49 kilometers) above the moon’s south polar region.
The spacecraft will continue transmitting its data from the encounter for the next several days.
Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – The highest-resolution radar images of asteroid 2015 TB145’s safe flyby of Earth have been processed. NASA scientists used giant, Earth-based radio telescopes to bounce radar signals off the asteroid as it flew past Earth on October 31st at 10:00am PDT (1:00pm EDT) at about 1.3 lunar distances (300,000 miles, or 480,000 kilometers) from Earth.
Asteroid 2015 TB145 is spherical in shape and approximately 2,000 feet (600 meters) in diameter.
Science at NASA
Washington, D.C. – When the Space Age began, there was no such thing as a “graphical user interface.” Astronauts interacted with their electronics using only knobs and toggle switches. It was a different time.
Fast forward to 2015.
The knobs and switches of the 1950s have been replaced by a glass cockpit, where the majority of commanding is done through software controls. Old-fashioned twisting and flipping may soon be replaced by a complex combination of taps, swipes, and finger-tip swirls.
Science at NASA
Washington, D.C. – They say you can’t judge a book by its cover. But what about planets?
Take Neptune for example. For many years, especially since 1989 when Voyager 2 flew past Neptune and measured its gravity field, astronomers have known that the blue giant harbors a secret world inside. Hidden deep below the azure cloud tops lies a rocky core not much larger than Earth. Uranus has one, too! These “worlds within worlds” could have exotic properties including scorching hot oceans and diamond rain.
If only researchers could peel back the clouds for a closer look….
Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – The large space rock that will zip past Earth this Halloween is most likely a dead comet that, fittingly, bears an eerie resemblance to a skull.
Scientists observing asteroid 2015 TB145 with NASA’s Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, have determined that the celestial object is more than likely a dead comet that has shed its volatiles after numerous passes around the sun.
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