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Topic: NASA Headquarters

NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory produces coldest temperatures known

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA asks what’s the coldest place you can think of? Temperatures on a winter day in Antarctica dip as low as -120ºF (-85ºC). On the dark side of the Moon, they hit -280ºF (-173ºC). But inside NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory on the International Space Station, scientists are creating something even colder.

The Cold Atom Lab (CAL) is the first facility in orbit to produce clouds of “ultracold” atoms, which can reach a fraction of a degree above absolute zero: -459ºF (-273ºC), the absolute coldest temperature that matter can reach.

The International Space Station, shown here in 2018, is home to many scientific experiments, including NASA's Cold Atom Laboratory. (NASA)

The International Space Station, shown here in 2018, is home to many scientific experiments, including NASA’s Cold Atom Laboratory. (NASA)

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NASA establishes groundwork for exploration of the Moon, Mars in 2018

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA welcomed a new administrator, Jim Bridenstine, deputy administrator, Jim Morhard, and chief financial officer, Jeff DeWit, in 2018. Their focus is on firmly establishing the groundwork to send Americans back to the Moon sustainably, with plans to use the agency’s lunar experience to prepare to send astronauts to Mars. 

“Our agency’s accomplishments in 2018 are breathtaking. We’ve inspired the world and created incredible new capabilities for our nation,” Bridenstine said. “This year, we landed on Mars for the seventh time, and America remains the only country to have landed on Mars successfully.”

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, and Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen, right, join with representatives of nine U.S. companies that are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, left, and Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate Thomas Zurbuchen, right, join with representatives of nine U.S. companies that are eligible to bid on NASA delivery services to the lunar surface through Commercial Lunar Payload Services contracts Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers hot Neptune losing its Atmosphere

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Fishermen would be puzzled if they netted only big and little fish, but few medium-sized fish. Astronomers likewise have been perplexed in conducting a census of star-hugging extrasolar planets. They have found hot Jupiter-sized planets and hot super-Earths (planets no more than 1.5 times Earth’s diameter).

These planets are scorching hot because they orbit very close to their star. But so-called “hot Neptunes,” whose atmospheres are heated to more than 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit, have been much harder to find. In fact, only about a handful of hot Neptunes have been found so far.

This artist's illustration shows a giant cloud of hydrogen streaming off a warm, Neptune-sized planet just 97 light-years from Earth. The exoplanet is tiny compared to its star, a red dwarf named GJ 3470. The star's intense radiation is heating the hydrogen in the planet's upper atmosphere to a point where it escapes into space. (NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI))

This artist’s illustration shows a giant cloud of hydrogen streaming off a warm, Neptune-sized planet just 97 light-years from Earth. The exoplanet is tiny compared to its star, a red dwarf named GJ 3470. The star’s intense radiation is heating the hydrogen in the planet’s upper atmosphere to a point where it escapes into space. (NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI))

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NASA OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft finds water on Asteroid Bennu

 

NASA Headquarters 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Recently analyzed data from NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has revealed water locked inside the clays that make up its scientific target, the asteroid Bennu.

During the mission’s approach phase, between mid-August and early December, the spacecraft traveled 1.4 million miles (2.2 million km) on its journey from Earth to arrive at a location 12 miles (19 km) from Bennu on December 3rd, 2018.

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km). (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

This mosaic image of asteroid Bennu is composed of 12 PolyCam images collected on Dec. 2 by the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from a range of 15 miles (24 km). (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

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NASA’s Voyager 2 Probe leaves Heliosphere, enters Interstellar Space

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – For the second time in history, a human-made object has reached the space between the stars. NASA’s Voyager 2 probe now has exited the heliosphere – the protective bubble of particles and magnetic fields created by the Sun.

Members of NASA’s Voyager team will discuss the findings at a news conference at 10:00am CST (8:00am PST) on Monday, December 10th at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in Washington. The news conference will stream live on the agency’s website.

This illustration shows the position of NASA's Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes, outside of the heliosphere, a protective bubble created by the Sun that extends well past the orbit of Pluto. Voyager 1 exited the heliosphere in August 2012. Voyager 2 exited at a different location in November 2018. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration shows the position of NASA’s Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 probes, outside of the heliosphere, a protective bubble created by the Sun that extends well past the orbit of Pluto. Voyager 1 exited the heliosphere in August 2012. Voyager 2 exited at a different location in November 2018. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Mars InSight Lander records sound of Winds on Mars

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport InSight lander, which touched down on Mars just 10 days ago, has provided the first ever “sounds” of Martian winds on the Red Planet. A media teleconference about these sounds will be held today at 1:30pm CST (9:30am PST).

InSight sensors captured a haunting low rumble caused by vibrations from the wind, estimated to be blowing between 10 to 15 mph (5 to 7 meters a second) on December 1st, from northwest to southeast. The winds were consistent with the direction of dust devil streaks in the landing area, which were observed from orbit.

One of the NASA Mars InSight Lander's 7-foot (2.2 meter) wide solar panels was imaged by the lander's Instrument Deployment Camera, which is fixed to the elbow of its robotic arm. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

One of the NASA Mars InSight Lander’s 7-foot (2.2 meter) wide solar panels was imaged by the lander’s Instrument Deployment Camera, which is fixed to the elbow of its robotic arm. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA InSight Lander touches down on Mars

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Mars has just received its newest robotic resident. NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet after an almost seven-month, 300-million-mile (458-million-kilometer) journey from Earth.

InSight’s two-year mission will be to study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

Tom Hoffman, InSight Project Manager, NASA JPL, left, and Sue Smrekar, InSight deputy principal investigator, NASA JPL, react after receiving confirmation that the Mars InSight lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 inside the Mission Support Area at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

Tom Hoffman, InSight Project Manager, NASA JPL, left, and Sue Smrekar, InSight deputy principal investigator, NASA JPL, react after receiving confirmation that the Mars InSight lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 inside the Mission Support Area at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA TV to air Insight Landing on Mars

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander is scheduled to touch down on the Red Planet at approximately 2:00pm CST November 26th, and viewers everywhere can watch coverage of the event live on NASA Television, the agency’s website and social media platforms.

Launched on May 5th, InSight marks NASA’s first Mars landing since the Curiosity rover in 2012.

This illustration shows a simulated view of NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander firing retrorockets to slow down as it descends toward the surface of Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration shows a simulated view of NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander firing retrorockets to slow down as it descends toward the surface of Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Insight Lander set for Landing on Mars

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) spacecraft is on track for a soft touchdown on the surface of the Red Planet on November 26th, 2018 the Monday after Thanksgiving.

But it’s not going to be a relaxing weekend of turkey leftovers, football and shopping for the InSight mission team. Engineers will be keeping a close eye on the stream of data indicating InSight’s health and trajectory, and monitoring Martian weather reports to figure out if the team needs to make any final adjustments in preparation for landing, only five days away.

An artist's impression of NASA InSight's entry, descent and landing at Mars, scheduled for November 26th, 2018. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An artist’s impression of NASA InSight’s entry, descent and landing at Mars, scheduled for November 26th, 2018. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA maps California Fires to help agencies on the ground

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – For the past two weeks NASA scientists and satellite data analysts have been working every day producing maps and damage assessments that can be used by disaster managers battling the Woolsey Fire near Los Angeles and the Camp Fire in Northern California.

The agency-wide effort also deployed a research aircraft over the Woolsey Fire on November 15th to identify burned areas at risk of mudslides in advance of winter rains expected in the area.

Spearheaded by NASA’s Disasters Program in the Earth Science Division, the team produces a variety of data products largely derived from satellite observations, including maps showing the locations of active fires, damage caused by fires, and burned areas that are susceptible to landslides and mudslides.

An image of the Camp Fire on November 8th from the Landsat 8 satellite. (USGS/NASA/Joshua Stevens)

An image of the Camp Fire on November 8th from the Landsat 8 satellite. (USGS/NASA/Joshua Stevens)

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