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NASA says researchers use Microgravity Environment aboard International Space Station to better understand Fungi

 

Written by Laura Niles
International Space Station Program Science Office and Public Affairs Office

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – You may not recognize it by name, but if you have ever had a child with a diaper rash, that child was likely a host to Candida albicans (C. albicans). This unwelcome “guest” can be hard to control, as it can potentially lead to serious illness in humans with weakened immune systems.

During an investigation dubbed “Microbe,” using the unique microgravity environment aboard space shuttle Atlantis on an International Space Station mission, researchers at the Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe gained a better understanding of these prevalent fungi.

Group Activation Pack cylinders similar to these, pictured within the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, were used to study the fungal pathogen C. albicans aboard space shuttle Atlantis. (NASA)

Group Activation Pack cylinders similar to these, pictured within the Commercial Generic Bioprocessing Apparatus, were used to study the fungal pathogen C. albicans aboard space shuttle Atlantis. (NASA)

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NASA researchers use Fuel Cells to study Origins of Life on Earth

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – How life arose from the toxic and inhospitable environment of our planet billions of years ago remains a deep mystery. Researchers have simulated the conditions of an early Earth in test tubes, even fashioning some of life’s basic ingredients. But how those ingredients assembled into living cells, and how life was first able to generate energy, remain unknown.

A new study led by Laurie Barge of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, demonstrates a unique way to study the origins of life: fuel cells.

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NASA’s set to launch it’s latest Smartphone Satellite

 

NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s preparing to send its fifth in a series of smartphone-controlled small spacecraft into orbit. PhoneSat 2.5 will ride into space as part of the SpaceX-3 commercial cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station.

SpaceX-3 is scheduled to lift off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 4:41am EDT Sunday, March 16th.

NASA's PhoneSat 2.5

NASA’s PhoneSat 2.5

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Over 700 new planets discovered by NASA’s Kepler Mission

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.

Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.

The artist concept depicts "multiple-transiting planet systems," which are stars with more than one planet. (NASA)

The artist concept depicts “multiple-transiting planet systems,” which are stars with more than one planet. (NASA)

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NASA Scientists to hold briefing on using it’s assets to better understand, help with California Drought

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA officials will participate in a media briefing at 9:30am PST Tuesday, February 25th about the agency’s work to use its Earth observation assets to help the state of California better manage its water resources and monitor and respond to its ongoing drought.

The briefing will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, CA.

Audio of the event will be streamed live at: http://www.nasa.gov/newsaudio

California is currently experiencing one of its driest years on record, with 100 percent of the state in drought conditions as of this week. (NASA Earth Observatory)

California is currently experiencing one of its driest years on record, with 100 percent of the state in drought conditions as of this week. (NASA Earth Observatory)

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NASA’s IRIS Telescope sees it’s strongest Solar Flare to date

 

Written by Karen C. Fox
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – On January 28th, 2014, NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, witnessed its strongest solar flare since it launched in the summer of 2013. Solar flares are bursts of x-rays and light that stream out into space, but scientists don’t yet know the fine details of what sets them off.

IRIS peers into a layer of the sun’s lower atmosphere just above the surface, called the chromosphere, with unprecedented resolution. However, IRIS can’t look at the entire sun at the same time, so the team must always make decisions about what region might provide useful observations.

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NASA Scientists use Global Hawk aircraft to track atmosphere changes that affect the climate of Earth

 

Written by Rachel Hoover
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – NASA’s uncrewed Global Hawk research aircraft is in the western Pacific region on a mission to track changes in the upper atmosphere and help researchers understand how these changes affect Earth’s climate.

Deployed from NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA, the Global Hawk landed at Andersen Air Force Base in Guam Thursday at approximately 5:00pm EST and will begin science flights Tuesday, January 21st. Its mission, the Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX), is a multi-year NASA airborne science campaign.

NASA's Global Hawk 872 on a checkout flight from Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, in preparation for the 2014 ATTREX mission over the western Pacific Ocean. (NASA/Tom Miller)

NASA’s Global Hawk 872 on a checkout flight from Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, CA, in preparation for the 2014 ATTREX mission over the western Pacific Ocean. (NASA/Tom Miller)

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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope observations brings new Insight about Planets Kepler’s discovered

 

Written by Michele Johnson
NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – More than three-quarters of the planet candidates discovered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft have sizes ranging from that of Earth to that of Neptune, which is nearly four times as big as Earth. Such planets dominate the galactic census but are not represented in our own solar system. Astronomers don’t know how they form or if they are made of rock, water or gas.

The Kepler team issued a report on four years of ground-based follow-up observations targeting Kepler’s exoplanet systems at the American Astronomical Society meeting in Washington. These observations confirm the numerous Kepler discoveries are indeed planets and yield mass measurements of these enigmatic worlds that vary between Earth and Neptune in size.

Chart of Kepler planet candidates as of January 2014. Image (NASA Ames Research Center)

Chart of Kepler planet candidates as of January 2014. Image (NASA Ames Research Center)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope observations reveal possible Stormy Weather on Brown Dwarfs

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Cool celestial orbs called brown dwarfs may have swirling, stormy clouds present. New observations from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope suggest that most brown dwarfs are roiling with one or more planet-size storms akin to Jupiter’s “Great Red Spot.”

“As the brown dwarfs spin on their axis, the alternation of what we think are cloud-free and cloudy regions produces a periodic brightness variation that we can observe,” said Stanimir Metchev of the University of Western Ontario, Canada. “These are signs of patchiness in the cloud cover.”

This artist's concept shows what the weather might look like on cool star-like bodies known as brown dwarfs. These giant balls of gas start out life like stars, but lack the mass to sustain nuclear fusion at their cores, and instead, fade and cool with time. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Western Ontario/Stony Brook University)

This artist’s concept shows what the weather might look like on cool star-like bodies known as brown dwarfs. These giant balls of gas start out life like stars, but lack the mass to sustain nuclear fusion at their cores, and instead, fade and cool with time. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Western Ontario/Stony Brook University)

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NASA’s Kepler space telescope provides data on distant planets

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – More than three-quarters of the planet candidates discovered by NASA’s Kepler spacecraft have sizes ranging from that of Earth to that of Neptune, which is nearly four times as big as Earth.

Such planets dominate the galactic census but are not represented in our own solar system. Astronomers don’t know how they form or if they are made of rock, water or gas.

Artist's concept of NASA's Kepler space telescope. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s concept of NASA’s Kepler space telescope. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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