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NASA Developing Technology to Land on other Planets with rough Terrain

 

Written by Andrew Good
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Canyons, craters and cracked ice fields on other worlds might be hiding exciting scientific discoveries. But how do we get spacecraft to land on dangerous, uneven terrain?

A new NASA video explains how cutting-edge technologies could help. A system called the CoOperative Blending of Autonomous Landing Technologies (COBALT) is being developed in the Mojave Desert, with participation from several partners, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

A rocket flying several landing technologies was recently flown in the Mojave Desert. These flight tests, coordinated by NASA, are helping to develop technology for precise landings in uneven terrain. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A rocket flying several landing technologies was recently flown in the Mojave Desert. These flight tests, coordinated by NASA, are helping to develop technology for precise landings in uneven terrain. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA research shows Smoke from Wildfires can Impact Climate more than previously thought

 

Written by Joe Atkinson
NASA Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – The 2017 wildfire season is well underway in the United States with thousands of acres scorched already in Georgia and Florida alone, according to the National Park Service. New research using data collected during NASA airborne science campaigns shows how smoke from this type of wildfire worldwide could impact the atmosphere and climate much more than previously thought.

The study, led by researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology, found brown carbon particles released into the air from burning trees and other organic matter are much more likely than previously thought to travel to the upper levels of the atmosphere, where they can interfere with rays from the sun – sometimes cooling the air and at other times warming it.

Brown carbon particles produced by wildfires such as the ones that have scorched parts of Georgia and Florida this year are more likely than previously thought to travel to the upper levels of the atmosphere and impact climate. (NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC)

Brown carbon particles produced by wildfires such as the ones that have scorched parts of Georgia and Florida this year are more likely than previously thought to travel to the upper levels of the atmosphere and impact climate. (NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz LANCE/EOSDIS MODIS Rapid Response Team, GSFC)

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NASA’s Convective Processes Experiment (CPEX) will try to improve Weather Forecasts

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A NASA-funded field campaign getting underway in Florida on May 25th has a real shot at improving meteorologists’ ability to answer some of the most fundamental questions about weather: Where will it rain? When? How much?

Called the Convective Processes Experiment (CPEX), the campaign is using NASA’s DC-8 airborne laboratory outfitted with five complementary research instruments designed and developed at NASA.

The plane also will carry small sensors called dropsondes that are dropped from the plane and make measurements as they fall.

Convective storm clouds over Fort Lauderdale, Florida, preceding Hurricane Sandy in 2012. (Flickr user John Spade, CC BY 2.0)

Convective storm clouds over Fort Lauderdale, Florida, preceding Hurricane Sandy in 2012. (Flickr user John Spade, CC BY 2.0)

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NASA explores using Nanotechnology for Aerospace Applications

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Mastering the intricacies of controlling matter at the nanoscale level is part of a revolutionary quest to apply nanotechnology to benefit industrial processes. A key element of that technology is the use of carbon nanotubes.

Carbon nanotubes are small hollow tubes with diameters of 0.7 to 50 nanometers and lengths generally in the tens of microns. While ultra-small, carbon nanotubes offer big-time attributes.

For instance, materials can be manufactured that exhibit superior strength but are still extremely lightweight. Think in terms of 200 times the strength and five times the elasticity of steel. For good measure, add in that they offer highly-efficient electrical and thermal conductivity.

A carbon nanotube Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessel (COPV) is to fly this month as part of the SubTec-7 mission using a 56-foot tall Black Brant IX rocket launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Shown here is the SubTec7 payload undergoing final testing and evaluation at Wallops Flight Facility. (NASA/Berit Bland)

A carbon nanotube Composite Overwrap Pressure Vessel (COPV) is to fly this month as part of the SubTec-7 mission using a 56-foot tall Black Brant IX rocket launched from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Shown here is the SubTec7 payload undergoing final testing and evaluation at Wallops Flight Facility. (NASA/Berit Bland)

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NASA to send Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III (SAGE III) to International Space Station

 

Written by Eric Gillard
NASA Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – Brooke Thornton has devoted eight years to a project that aims to check on the atmospheric health of the Earth. Needless to say, when NASA’s Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III on the International Space Station (SAGE III on ISS) launches, she’ll be among the many cheering and working for its success in space.

“After seeing SAGE III mature from concept, to development, to assembly and testing, and preparing for mission ops … I’m excited to see it launch so we get the science we have worked so hard for,” she said.

NASA's Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III (SAGE III) instrument. (NASA)

NASA’s Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment III (SAGE III) instrument. (NASA)

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NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge Finalists develop ideas for Spacecraft Assembly in Orbit

 

Written by Joe Atkinson
NASA’s Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – It’s a complex and daunting thing, dreaming up ways to assemble spacecraft in space.

But don’t tell that to a few whip-smart college students — they’re up for the challenge.

In fact, five university teams will soon get the chance to make the case for their in-space spacecraft assembly concepts as part of the 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace have selected five university teams to develop their concepts for in-space spacecraft assembly. (Analytical Mechanics Associates)

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace have selected five university teams to develop their concepts for in-space spacecraft assembly. (Analytical Mechanics Associates)

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NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) Spacecraft sees Noctilucent Cloud Season begin over Antarctica

 

Written by Lina Tran
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Data from NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere, or AIM, spacecraft shows the sky over Antarctica is glowing electric blue due to the start of noctilucent, or night-shining, cloud season in the Southern Hemisphere – and an early one at that.

Noctilucent clouds are Earth’s highest clouds, sandwiched between Earth and space 50 miles above the ground in a layer of the atmosphere called the mesosphere.

An artist's rendition of the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) spacecraft in orbit above Earth. (NASA)

An artist’s rendition of the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) spacecraft in orbit above Earth. (NASA)

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NASA tests news Air Traffic Management Technology

 

Written by Jim Banke
NASA’s Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – Commercial airline pilots who as children played “Follow the Leader” will have no problem with a new air traffic control innovation NASA and its partners are working on that also will make passengers happier.

It’s called Flight Deck Interval Management, or FIM, and it promises to safely increase the number of airplanes that can land on the same runway at busy airports by more precisely managing the time, or interval, between each aircraft arrival.

At NASA’s Langley Research Center, retired airline pilots test procedures that will be used during upcoming flight tests of a new aircraft spacing tool. The simulator is set up like a 757 jet, similar to one of the aircraft in the ATD-1 flight tests. (NASA Langley / David C. Bowman)

At NASA’s Langley Research Center, retired airline pilots test procedures that will be used during upcoming flight tests of a new aircraft spacing tool. The simulator is set up like a 757 jet, similar to one of the aircraft in the ATD-1 flight tests. (NASA Langley / David C. Bowman)

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NASA’s robot ISAAC to create Composite Materials in Climate-Controlled Clean Room

 

Written by Sam McDonald
NASA Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – The celebrated robot ISAAC now has a hermetically sealed workshop where it’s free to follow its prime directive: discovering bold new ways of making composite materials for the air and space vehicles of tomorrow.

The $750,000 air-tight, temperature- and moisture-controlled enclosure — an unusually capable clean room — was completed in July and now keeps the surrounding air pristine for ISAAC, a multi-million-dollar robot on a mission to build experimental composite structures.

Air inside the ISAAC clean room is fully recirculated every two minutes, according to NASA Langley engineer Brian Stewart. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

Air inside the ISAAC clean room is fully recirculated every two minutes, according to NASA Langley engineer Brian Stewart. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

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NASA’s Game Changing Development Program looks for idea for putting spacecraft together in space

 

Written by Joe Atkinson
NASA’s Langley Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – In the 2017 Breakthrough, Innovative, and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge, NASA is engaging university-level students in its quest to reduce the cost of deep space exploration.

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program (GCD), managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace (NIA) are seeking novel and robust concepts for in-space assembly of spacecraft — particularly tugs, propelled by solar electric propulsion (SEP), that transfer payloads from low earth orbit (LEO) to a lunar distant retrograde orbit (LDRO).

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace are seeking novel and robust concepts for in-space assembly of spacecraft – particularly tugs, propelled by solar electric propulsion, that transfer payloads from low earth orbit to a lunar distant retrograde orbit. (Analytical Mechanics Associates)

NASA’s Game Changing Development Program, managed by the agency’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, and the National Institute of Aerospace are seeking novel and robust concepts for in-space assembly of spacecraft – particularly tugs, propelled by solar electric propulsion, that transfer payloads from low earth orbit to a lunar distant retrograde orbit. (Analytical Mechanics Associates)

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