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NASA adjusts Odyssey spacecraft’s orbit to observe mornings on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Odyssey spacecraft has tweaked its orbit to help scientists make the first systematic observations of how morning fogs, clouds and surface frost develop in different seasons on the Red Planet.

The maneuver took place Tuesday, February 11th. Odyssey team engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver, CO designed the gentle move to accelerate Odyssey’s drift toward a morning-daylight orbit. The desired change will occur gradually until the intended orbit geometry is reached in November 2015 and another maneuver halts the drift.

No NASA Mars orbiter has been in a position to observe morning daylight on Mars since the twin Viking orbiters of the 1970s. (NASA/JPL)

No NASA Mars orbiter has been in a position to observe morning daylight on Mars since the twin Viking orbiters of the 1970s. (NASA/JPL)

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NASA’s Curioisty Rover on the move again on Mars towards the lower slopes of Mount Sharp

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover is continuing its traverse toward enticing science destinations after climbing over a dune spanning a gap in a ridge.

The rover covered 135 feet (41.1 meters) on February 9th, in its first drive since the 23-foot (7-meter) crossing of the dune on February 6th. That put Curiosity’s total odometry since its August 2012 landing at 3.09 miles (4.97 kilometers).

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover used the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on its mast to catch this look-back eastward at wheel tracks from driving through and past "Dingo Gap" inside Gale Crater. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on its mast to catch this look-back eastward at wheel tracks from driving through and past “Dingo Gap” inside Gale Crater. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance, Odyssey orbiters discover Martian Slopes where Water possibly flowed

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars have returned clues for understanding seasonal features that are the strongest indication of possible liquid water that may exist today on the Red Planet.

The features are dark, finger-like markings that advance down some Martian slopes when temperatures rise. The new clues include corresponding seasonal changes in iron minerals on the same slopes and a survey of ground temperatures and other traits at active sites.

This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL)

This image combines a photograph of seasonal dark flows on a Martian slope with a grid of colors based on data collected by a mineral-mapping spectrometer observing the same area. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UA/JHU-APL)

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover captures image of Earth from Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The NASA Mars Rover Curiosity’s view of its original home planet even includes our moon, just below Earth.

The images, taken about 80 minutes after sunset during the rover’s 529th Martian day (January 31st, 2014) are available at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17936 for a broad scene of the evening sky, and at http://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA17935 for a zoomed-in view of Earth and the moon.

The two bodies in this portion of an evening-sky view by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity are Earth and Earth's moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU)

The two bodies in this portion of an evening-sky view by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity are Earth and Earth’s moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/TAMU)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snaps image of new impact Crater on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Space rocks hitting Mars excavate fresh craters at a pace of more than 200 per year, but few new Mars scars pack as much visual punch as one seen in a NASA image released today.

The image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a crater about 100 feet (30 meters) in diameter at the center of a radial burst painting the surface with a pattern of bright and dark tones.

A dramatic, fresh impact crater dominates this image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013.

A dramatic, fresh impact crater dominates this image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on Nov. 19, 2013.

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover looks for route West

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover reached the edge of a dune on January 30th and photographed the valley on the other side, to aid assessment of whether to cross the dune.

Curiosity is on a southwestward traverse of many months from an area where it found evidence of ancient conditions favorable for microbial life to its long-term science destination on the lower slopes of Mount Sharp.

This mosaic of images from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows the terrain to the west from the rover's position on the 528th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Jan. 30, 2014). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This mosaic of images from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows the terrain to the west from the rover’s position on the 528th Martian day, or sol, of the mission (Jan. 30, 2014). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover looks for path to destination with fewer sharp rocks

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The team operating NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is considering a path across a small sand dune to reach a favorable route to science destinations.

A favorable route would skirt some terrain with sharp rocks considered more likely to poke holes in the rover’s aluminum wheels.

While the team has been assessing ways to reduce wear and tear to the wheels, Curiosity has made progress toward a next site for drilling a rock sample and also toward its long-term destination: geological layers exposed on slopes of Mount Sharp.

This scene combines images taken by the left-eye camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover during the midafternoon, local Mars solar time, of the mission's 526th Martian day, or sol (Jan. 28, 2014). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This scene combines images taken by the left-eye camera of the Mast Camera (Mastcam) instrument on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover during the midafternoon, local Mars solar time, of the mission’s 526th Martian day, or sol (Jan. 28, 2014). (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA prepares Spacecraft for Comet Siding Spring’s flyby of Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – This spring, NASA will be paying cautious attention to a comet that could put on a barnstorming show at Mars on October 19th, 2014.

On that date, comet 2013 A1 Siding Spring will buzz Mars about 10 times closer than any identified comet has ever flown past Earth.

Spacecraft at Mars might get a good look at the nucleus of comet Siding Spring as it heads toward the closest approach, roughly 86,000 miles (138,000 kilometers) from the planet, give or take a few percent.

This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars, just 86,000 miles ( 138,000 kilometers) from the planet. Although the nucleus will miss the planet, the comet's coma of dust particles might envelop the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, the comet will have a very close pass at Mars, just 86,000 miles ( 138,000 kilometers) from the planet. Although the nucleus will miss the planet, the comet’s coma of dust particles might envelop the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter captures images of Mars Curiosity Rover’s Tracks in Gale Crater

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and its recent tracks from driving in Gale Crater appear in an image taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on December 11th, 2013.

The tracks show where the rover has zigzagged around obstacles on its route toward the lower slopes of Mount Sharp, its next major destination.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and tracks left by its driving appear in this portion of a Dec. 11, 2013, observation by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and tracks left by its driving appear in this portion of a Dec. 11, 2013, observation by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA’s NEOWISE Spacecraft discovers it’s first new Asteroid since being reactivated

 

Written by DC Agle / Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft has spotted a never-before-seen asteroid — its first such discovery since coming out of hibernation last year.

NEOWISE originally was called the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), which had made the most comprehensive survey to date of asteroids and comets. The spacecraft was shut down in 2011 after its primary mission was completed.

The six red dots in this composite picture indicate the location of the first new near-Earth asteroid seen by NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) since the spacecraft came out of hibernation in December 2013. The asteroid, called 2013 YP139, is the first of hundreds of space-rock discoveries expected during its renewed mission. The inset shows a zoomed-in view of one of the detections of 2013 YP139. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The six red dots in this composite picture indicate the location of the first new near-Earth asteroid seen by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) since the spacecraft came out of hibernation in December 2013. The asteroid, called 2013 YP139, is the first of hundreds of space-rock discoveries expected during its renewed mission. The inset shows a zoomed-in view of one of the detections of 2013 YP139. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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