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NASA uses CubeSat Class to encourage STEM Education in Tennessee

 

Written by Shannon Ridinger
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – NASA is on a mission to inspire young minds to become the next generation of critical thinkers. By engaging students in space exploration at the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, NASA encourages learning in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in a way that fosters hands-on learning and discovery.

“As more states incorporate STEM-focused education into their standards, we assist teachers by developing curriculum support materials that help them meet the standards while making learning fun for their students,” said Susan Currie, education specialist at Marshall.

Students at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, design a 1U CubeSat as part of an elective course developed by Robertsville Middle School teachers and NASA's Educator Professional Development Collaborative. (NASA/Oak Ridge City Schools)

Students at Robertsville Middle School in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, design a 1U CubeSat as part of an elective course developed by Robertsville Middle School teachers and NASA’s Educator Professional Development Collaborative. (NASA/Oak Ridge City Schools)

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NASA continues research into discovering nature of Dark Matter

 

Written by Molly Porter
NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – An innovative interpretation of X-ray data from a cluster of galaxies could help scientists fulfill a quest they have been on for decades: determining the nature of dark matter.

The finding involves a new explanation for a set of results made with NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESA’s XMM-Newton and Hitomi, a Japanese-led X-ray telescope. If confirmed with future observations, this may represent a major step forward in understanding the nature of the mysterious, invisible substance that makes up about 85% of matter in the universe.

Composite image of the Perseus galaxy cluster using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESA’s XMM-Newton and Hitomi, a Japanese-led X-ray telescope. (X-ray: NASA/CXO/Fabian et al.; Radio: Gendron-Marsolais et al.; NRAO/AUI/NSF Optical: NASA, SDSS)

Composite image of the Perseus galaxy cluster using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, ESA’s XMM-Newton and Hitomi, a Japanese-led X-ray telescope. (X-ray: NASA/CXO/Fabian et al.; Radio: Gendron-Marsolais et al.; NRAO/AUI/NSF Optical: NASA, SDSS)

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A Look Back at NASA’s efforts to send Astronauts into Deep Space from 2017

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Below are the top images from 2017 that tell the story of building and testing the systems that will send astronauts to deep space destinations including the Moon, Mars and beyond.

Construction Completed for Stand to Test SLS’s Largest Fuel Tank

Major construction is complete on NASA’s structural test stand that will ensure SLS’s liquid hydrogen tank can withstand the extreme forces of launch and ascent. Together, the SLS liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen tanks will feed 733,000 gallons (nearly 3 million liters) of super-cooled propellant to four RS-25 engines, producing a total of 2 million pounds of thrust at the base of the core stage.

The 215-foot-tall structural test stand for NASA's Space Launch System is seen Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The 215-foot-tall structural test stand for NASA’s Space Launch System is seen Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017, at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA Engineers successfully use 3-D Printed Part on RS-25 Rocket Engine

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Engineers successfully hot-fire tested an RS-25 rocket engine with a large 3-D printed part for the first time on December 13th, marking a key step toward reducing costs for future engines that power NASA’s new heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System.

During flight, a rocket may experience powerful up-and-down vibrations mainly due to the engines and propellant in the feed lines. This is called the pogo effect and is similar to the up-and-down motion of bouncing on a pogo stick. The 3-D printed part tested, called the pogo accumulator, is a beachball-sized piece of hardware that acts as a shock absorber by regulating liquid oxygen movement in the engine to prevent the vibrations that can destabilize a rocket’s flight.

The successful hot-fire test of an RS-25 development engine at NASA's Stennis Space Center on Dec. 13 included NASA's largest 3-D printed rocket engine component to date, the pogo accumulator assembly. The test was the first of 50 for NASA's restart of RS-25 engine production. (NASA/Stennis)

The successful hot-fire test of an RS-25 development engine at NASA’s Stennis Space Center on Dec. 13 included NASA’s largest 3-D printed rocket engine component to date, the pogo accumulator assembly. The test was the first of 50 for NASA’s restart of RS-25 engine production. (NASA/Stennis)

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NASA looks to fund concepts for missions to Saturn’s Moon Titan and a Comet

 

Written by Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected two finalist concepts for a robotic mission planned to launch in the mid-2020s: a comet sample return mission and a drone-like rotorcraft that would explore potential landing sites on Saturn’s largest moon, Titan.

The agency announced the concepts Wednesday, following an extensive and competitive peer review process. The concepts were chosen from 12 proposals submitted in April under a New Frontiers program announcement of opportunity.

NASA selects two mission concepts for further exploration of our solar system. (NASA)

NASA selects two mission concepts for further exploration of our solar system. (NASA)

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NASA reports Genes in Space-3 identifies Microbes aboard International Space Station

 

Written by Jenny Howard
NASA’s Johnson Space Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHouston, TX – Being able to identify microbes in real time aboard the International Space Station, without having to send them back to Earth for identification first, would be revolutionary for the world of microbiology and space exploration. The Genes in Space-3 team turned that possibility into a reality this year, when it completed the first-ever sample-to-sequence process entirely aboard the space station.

The ability to identify microbes in space could aid in the ability to diagnose and treat astronaut ailments in real time, as well as assisting in the identification of DNA-based life on other planets. It could also benefit other experiments aboard the orbiting laboratory.

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson performed the Genes in Space-3 investigation aboard the space station using the miniPCR and MinION, developed for previously flown investigations. (NASA)

NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson performed the Genes in Space-3 investigation aboard the space station using the miniPCR and MinION, developed for previously flown investigations. (NASA)

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U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command brings together Army aviators to build readiness across enterprise

 

Written by Kari Hawkins
U.S. Army Aviation & Missile Command

U.S. Army Aviation & Missile CommandHuntsville, AL – Speaking to more than 200 aviation leaders and Soldiers at the Aviation and Missile Command’s 101 for Aviation on December 13th, 2017 AMCOM commander Maj. Gen. Doug Gabram said the annual meeting is a one-of-a-kind event that other Army branches are trying to emulate.

“We are one team, one fight,” Gabram told the aviators, who travelled from units around the world to attend the two-day AMCOM 101 for Aviation at Redstone Arsenal. “No other branch has this kind of event. It’s something that benefits the aviation branch and the Army.”

AMCOM 101 for Aviation brings together aviators from across the Army aviation enterprise to learn about the sustainment capabilities of AMCOM, and to discuss aviation challenges and solutions.

Brig Gen. Todd Royar, deputy commander for support of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, KY, encourages aviators attending the Aviation and Missile Command's AMCOM 101 for Aviation to ensure readiness of their units by providing concerns to their higher command. Royar served as AMCOM's chief of staff prior to his promotion and assignment to the 101st in the spring of 2017. (Traci Boutwell)

Brig Gen. Todd Royar, deputy commander for support of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) at Fort Campbell, KY, encourages aviators attending the Aviation and Missile Command’s AMCOM 101 for Aviation to ensure readiness of their units by providing concerns to their higher command. Royar served as AMCOM’s chief of staff prior to his promotion and assignment to the 101st in the spring of 2017. (Traci Boutwell)

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NASA says Dwarf Planet Ceres is still evolving

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – If you could fly aboard NASA’s Dawn spacecraft, the surface of dwarf planet Ceres would generally look quite dark, but with notable exceptions.

These exceptions are the hundreds of bright areas that stand out in images Dawn has returned.

Now, scientists have a better sense of how these reflective areas formed and changed over time — processes indicative of an active, evolving world.

The bright areas of Occator Crater -- Cerealia Facula in the center and Vinalia Faculae to the side -- are examples of bright material found on crater floors on Ceres. This is a simulated perspective view. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI)

The bright areas of Occator Crater — Cerealia Facula in the center and Vinalia Faculae to the side — are examples of bright material found on crater floors on Ceres. This is a simulated perspective view. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PSI)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft data reveals deepness of Great Red Spot on Jupiter

 

Written by Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Data collected by NASA’s Juno spacecraft during its first pass over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot in July 2017 indicate that this iconic feature penetrates well below the clouds. Other revelations from the mission include that Jupiter has two previously uncharted radiation zones. The findings were announced Monday at the annual American Geophysical Union meeting in New Orleans.

“One of the most basic questions about Jupiter’s Great Red Spot is: how deep are the roots?” said Scott Bolton, Juno’s principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio.

This photo shows the motion of clouds in Jupiter's Great Red Spot. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Justin Cowart)

This photo shows the motion of clouds in Jupiter’s Great Red Spot. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstadt/Justin Cowart)

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NASA reports Geminid Meteor Shower to peak December 13th and 14th

 

Written by Molly Porter
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – Maybe you’ve already seen a bright meteor streak across the December sky? The annual Geminid meteor shower has arrived. It’s a good time to bundle up, go outside and let the universe blow your mind!

“With August’s Perseids obscured by bright moonlight, the Geminids will be the best shower this year,” said Bill Cooke with NASA’s Meteoroid Environment Office. “The thin, waning crescent Moon won’t spoil the show.”

A Geminid meteor. (Image credit: Jimmy Westlake)

A Geminid meteor. (Image credit: Jimmy Westlake)

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