Written by Gay Hill
Pasadena, CA – Ten years ago, we knew Titan as a fuzzy orange ball about the size of Mercury. We knew it had a nitrogen atmosphere — the only known world with a thick nitrogen atmosphere besides Earth. But what might lie beneath the hazy air was still just a guess.
On March 6th, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will swoop down within 933 miles (1,500 kilometers) of Titan to conduct its 100th flyby of the Saturn moon. Each flyby gives us a little more knowledge of Titan and its striking similarities to our world.
Written by Carol Rasmussen
Pasadena, CA – Vigorous mixing in the air above large cracks in Arctic sea ice that expose seawater to cold polar air pumps atmospheric mercury down to the surface, finds a NASA field campaign. This process can lead to more of the toxic pollutant entering the food chain, where it can negatively affect the health of fish and animals who eat them, including humans.
Scientists measured increased concentrations of mercury near ground level after sea ice off the coast of Barrow, Alaska, cracked, creating open seawater channels called leads. The researchers were in the Arctic for the NASA-led Bromine, Ozone, and Mercury Experiment (BROMEX) in 2012.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD – Chang’e 3 landed on the Moon at Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) just east of a 450 m diameter impact crater on December 14th, 2013.
Soon after landing, a small rover named Yutu (or Jade Rabbit in English) was deployed and took its first tentative drive onto the airless regolith. At the time of the landing LRO’s orbit was far from the landing site so images of the landing were not possible.
Written by David Israel
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Deep Space Network, the world’s largest and most powerful communications system for “talking to” spacecraft, will reach a milestone on December 24th: the 50th anniversary of its official creation.
Over the past 50 years, antennas of the Deep Space Network (DSN) have communicated with just about every mission that has gone to the moon or beyond. The historic communiqués include “That’s one small step for man. One giant leap for mankind”; numerous encounters with the outer planets of our solar system; images taken by rovers exploring Mars; and the data confirming that NASA’s Voyager spacecraft had finally entered interstellar space.
Dallas, TX – Children’s congenital heart defects may be associated with their mothers’ exposure to specific mixtures of environmental toxins during pregnancy, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2013.
Congenital heart defects occur when the heart or blood vessels near the heart don’t develop normally before birth. Defects may be caused by chromosomal abnormalities, but the cause is unknown in most cases. «Read the rest of this article»
Washington, D.C. – Color and black-and-white images of Earth taken by two NASA interplanetary spacecraft on July 19th show our planet and its moon as bright beacons from millions of miles away in space.
NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captured the color images of Earth and the moon from its perch in the Saturn system nearly 900 million miles (1.5 billion kilometers) away. MESSENGER, the first probe to orbit Mercury, took a black-and-white image from a distance of 61 million miles (98 million kilometers) as part of a campaign to search for natural satellites of the planet.
Pasadena, CA – The origin of massive invisible regions that make the moon’s gravity uneven, a phenomenon that affects the operations of lunar-orbiting spacecraft has been uncovered by NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission.
Because of GRAIL’s findings, future spacecraft on missions to other celestial bodies can navigate with greater precision.
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Among the hundreds of new planets discovered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft are a class of exotic worlds known as “hot Jupiters.” Unlike the giant planets of our own solar system, which remain at a safe distance from the sun, these worlds are reckless visitors to their parent stars.
They speed around in orbits a fraction the size of Mercury’s, blasted on just one-side by starlight hundreds of times more intense than the gentle heating experienced by Jupiter here at home.”
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Sunset is a special time of day. Low-hanging clouds glow vivid red and orange as the background sky turns cobalt blue. The first stars pop out in the heavenly dome overhead, eliciting wishes from backyard sky watchers.
The sunset of May 26th will be extra special. On that date, Venus, Jupiter and Mercury will gather in the fading twilight to form a bright triangle only three degrees wide.
This year’s competition will be held at Kentucky Lake, with registration and boat launching from Paris Landing State Park in Buchanan Tennessee. Last season’s tourney drew more than 250 boats.
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