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NASA’s GRACE Follow-On Spacecraft launched Tuesday with mission to track Earth’s Water Changes

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. –  A joint U.S./German space mission to track the continuous movement of water and other changes in Earth’s mass on and beneath the planet’s surface successfully launched at 12:47pm PDT (2:47pm CDT) Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018 from the California coast.

The twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), a joint NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) mission, lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, sharing their ride into space with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites.

The NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow-On spacecraft launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will measure changes in how mass is redistributed within and among Earth's atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets, as well as within Earth itself. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow-On spacecraft launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will measure changes in how mass is redistributed within and among Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets, as well as within Earth itself. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope used to create High-Resolution Ultraviolet-Light survey of nearby Galaxies

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Capitalizing on the unparalleled sharpness and spectral range of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers is releasing the most comprehensive, high-resolution ultraviolet-light survey of nearby star-forming galaxies.

The researchers combined new Hubble observations with archival Hubble images for 50 star-forming spiral and dwarf galaxies in the local universe, offering a large and extensive resource for understanding the complexities of star formation and galaxy evolution.

The project, called the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), has amassed star catalogs for each of the LEGUS galaxies and cluster catalogs for 30 of the galaxies, as well as images of the galaxies themselves.

These six images represent the variety of star-forming regions in nearby galaxies. The galaxies are part of the Hubble Space Telescope's Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), the sharpest, most comprehensive ultraviolet-light survey of star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. (NASA/ESA/LEGUS team)

These six images represent the variety of star-forming regions in nearby galaxies. The galaxies are part of the Hubble Space Telescope’s Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), the sharpest, most comprehensive ultraviolet-light survey of star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. (NASA/ESA/LEGUS team)

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NASA lists Five Things you may not know about GRACE Follow-On Mission launching May 22nd

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Scheduled to launch no earlier than May 22nd, 2018 the twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, a collaboration between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), will continue the work of monitoring changes in the world’s water cycle and surface mass, which was so well performed by the original GRACE mission.

There are far more than five things to say about this amazing new-old mission; but here are a few favorite facts.

Artist's illustration of the GRACE-FO satellites in orbit. (NASA)

Artist’s illustration of the GRACE-FO satellites in orbit. (NASA)

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NASA to launch three CubeSat satellites on next International Space Station resupply mission

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – This weekend, when the next cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station lifts off from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, it will be carrying among its supplies and experiments three cereal box-sized satellites that will be used to test and demonstrate the next generation of Earth-observing technology.

NASA has been increasing its use of CubeSats — small satellites based on several configurations of approximately 4 x 4 x 4-inch cubes — to put new technologies in orbit where they can be tested in the harsh environment of space before being used as part of larger satellite missions or constellations of spacecraft.

The RainCube 6U CubeSat with fully-deployed antenna. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The RainCube 6U CubeSat with fully-deployed antenna. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA satellite observations reveal Freshwater locations changing around the Earth

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists have combined an array of NASA satellite observations of Earth with data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe and why.

The study, published today in the journal Nature, finds that Earth’s wet land areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier due to a variety of factors, including human water management, climate change and natural cycles.

A team led by Matt Rodell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, used 14 years of observations from the U.S./German-led Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) spacecraft mission to track global trends in freshwater in 34 regions around the world.

Artist's illustration of the twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission. GRACE Follow-On will soon continue the work of the original GRACE mission, providing valuable data that will help manage Earth's critical water resources. (NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio)

Artist’s illustration of the twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission. GRACE Follow-On will soon continue the work of the original GRACE mission, providing valuable data that will help manage Earth’s critical water resources. (NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio)

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NASA looks to use Carbon Nanotube Technology for Spaceflight Applications

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – An ultra-dark coating comprised of nearly invisible shag rug-like strands made of pure carbon is proving to be highly versatile for all types of spaceflight applications.

In the most recent application of the carbon-nanotube coating, optical engineer John Hagopian, a contractor at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Goddard scientist Lucy Lim are growing an array of miniscule, button-shaped bumps of multi-walled nanotubes on a silicon wafer.

John Hagopian (left) collaborated with instrument scientist Lucy Lim to develop a new instrument that relies on carbon nanotubes to provide the electrons needed to excite minerals contained in an extraterrestrial sample. Larry Hess (right) patterns all the leads and patches where the catalyst for growing nanotubes is deposited. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk)

John Hagopian (left) collaborated with instrument scientist Lucy Lim to develop a new instrument that relies on carbon nanotubes to provide the electrons needed to excite minerals contained in an extraterrestrial sample. Larry Hess (right) patterns all the leads and patches where the catalyst for growing nanotubes is deposited. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk)

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NASA discovers X-ray Pulsar with fastest Orbit ever recorded

 

Written by Jeanette Kazmierczak
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Scientists analyzing the first data from the Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) mission have found two stars that revolve around each other every 38 minutes — about the time it takes to stream a TV drama.

One of the stars in the system, called IGR J17062–6143 (J17062 for short), is a rapidly spinning, superdense star called a pulsar. The discovery bestows the stellar pair with the record for the shortest-known orbital period for a certain class of pulsar binary system.

The data from NICER also show J17062’s stars are only about 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) apart, less than the distance between Earth and the Moon.

The stars of IGR J17062–6143, illustrated here, circle each other every 38 minutes, the fastest-known orbit for a binary system containing an accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar. As they revolve, a superdense pulsar pulls gas from a lightweight white dwarf. The two stars are so close they would fit between Earth and the Moon. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

The stars of IGR J17062–6143, illustrated here, circle each other every 38 minutes, the fastest-known orbit for a binary system containing an accreting millisecond X-ray pulsar. As they revolve, a superdense pulsar pulls gas from a lightweight white dwarf. The two stars are so close they would fit between Earth and the Moon. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale Spacecraft finds new Magnetic Event in near Earth Environment

 

Written by Mara Johnson-Groh
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Though close to home, the space immediately around Earth is full of hidden secrets and invisible processes. In a new discovery reported in the journal Nature, scientists working with NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale spacecraft — MMS — have uncovered a new type of magnetic event in our near-Earth environment by using an innovative technique to squeeze extra information out of the data.

Magnetic reconnection is one of the most important processes in the space — filled with charged particles known as plasma — around Earth.

In a turbulent magnetic environment, magnetic field lines become scrambled. As the field lines cross, intense electric currents (shown here as bright regions) form and eventually trigger magnetic reconnection (indicated by a flash), which is an explosive event that releases magnetic energy accumulated in the current layers and ejects high-speed bi-directional jets of electrons.(NASA Goddard’s Conceptual Image Lab/Lisa Poje; Simulations by: University of Chicago/Colby Haggerty; University of Delaware/Tulasi Parashar)

In a turbulent magnetic environment, magnetic field lines become scrambled. As the field lines cross, intense electric currents (shown here as bright regions) form and eventually trigger magnetic reconnection (indicated by a flash), which is an explosive event that releases magnetic energy accumulated in the current layers and ejects high-speed bi-directional jets of electrons.(NASA Goddard’s Conceptual Image Lab/Lisa Poje; Simulations by: University of Chicago/Colby Haggerty; University of Delaware/Tulasi Parashar)

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NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched Wednesday

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched on the first-of-its-kind mission to find worlds beyond our solar system, including some that could support life.

TESS, which is expected to find thousands of new exoplanets orbiting nearby stars, lifted off at 5:51pm CDT Wednesday on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. At 6:53pm, the twin solar arrays that will power the spacecraft successfully deployed.

NASA’s next planet-hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on April 18, 2018. TESS will search for new worlds outside our solar system for further study. (NASA Television)

NASA’s next planet-hunter, the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), successfully launched on a SpaceX Falcon 9 on April 18, 2018. TESS will search for new worlds outside our solar system for further study. (NASA Television)

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NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement satellite monitors Eastern United States Storms, Tornadoes

 

Written by Stephen Lang / Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – On Sunday April 15th, 2018 a line of strong storms at one point stretched from the Florida Straits below the Florida Keys all the way up the East Coast and into Ohio. The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite analyzed the severe storms as it passed overhead. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, JAXA.

Many of the storms were strong with wide spread reports of wind damage from north Florida up through the Carolinas and into central Virginia.

GPM captured an image of the advancing line of storms on April 16 at 00:17 UTC (8:17 pm EDT, April 15). GPM showed a narrow leading line of thunderstorms producing heavy rain rates (orange and red areas), followed by a much broader area of light to moderate rain (blue and lighter green areas). (NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce)

GPM captured an image of the advancing line of storms on April 16 at 00:17 UTC (8:17 pm EDT, April 15). GPM showed a narrow leading line of thunderstorms producing heavy rain rates (orange and red areas), followed by a much broader area of light to moderate rain (blue and lighter green areas). (NASA/JAXA, Hal Pierce)

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