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Topic: NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft

NASA’s Juno spacecraft data reveals heat source on Jupiter’s moon Io that could be a Volcano

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Data collected by NASA’s Juno spacecraft using its Jovian InfraRed Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument point to a new heat source close to the south pole of Io that could indicate a previously undiscovered volcano on the small moon of Jupiter. The infrared data were collected on December 16th, 2017, when Juno was about 290,000 miles (470,000 kilometers) away from the moon.

“The new Io hotspot JIRAM picked up is about 200 miles (300 kilometers) from the nearest previously mapped hotspot,” said Alessandro Mura, a Juno co-investigator from the National Institute for Astrophysics in Rome. “We are not ruling out movement or modification of a previously discovered hot spot, but it is difficult to imagine one could travel such a distance and still be considered the same feature.”

This annotated image highlights the location of the new heat source in the southern hemisphere of the Jupiter moon Io. The image was generated from data collected on Dec. 16, 2017, by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument aboard NASA's Juno mission when the spacecraft was about 290,000 miles (470,000 kilometers) from the Jovian moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM)

This annotated image highlights the location of the new heat source in the southern hemisphere of the Jupiter moon Io. The image was generated from data collected on Dec. 16, 2017, by the Jovian Infrared Auroral Mapper (JIRAM) instrument aboard NASA’s Juno mission when the spacecraft was about 290,000 miles (470,000 kilometers) from the Jovian moon. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/ASI/INAF/JIRAM)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft data reveals plasma waves moving from Saturn to it’s moon Enceladus

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New research from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft’s up-close Grand Finale orbits shows a surprisingly powerful and dynamic interaction of plasma waves moving from Saturn to its rings and its moon Enceladus.

The observations show for the first time that the waves travel on magnetic field lines connecting Saturn directly to Enceladus. The field lines are like an electrical circuit between the two bodies, with energy flowing back and forth.

Researchers converted the recording of plasma waves into a “whooshing” audio file that we can hear — in the same way a radio translates electromagnetic waves into music.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft's Grand Finale orbits found a powerful interaction of plasma waves moving from Saturn to its rings and its moon Enceladus. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft’s Grand Finale orbits found a powerful interaction of plasma waves moving from Saturn to its rings and its moon Enceladus. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft discovers Complex Organics coming from Saturn’s moon Enceladus

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft reveal complex organic molecules originating from Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus, strengthening the idea that this ocean world hosts conditions suitable for life. Research results show much larger, heavier molecules than ever before.

Powerful hydrothermal vents mix up material from the moon’s water-filled, porous core with water from the moon’s massive subsurface ocean – and it is released into space, in the form of water vapor and ice grains. A team led by Frank Postberg and Nozair Khawaja of the University of Heidelberg, Germany, continues to examine the makeup of the ejected ice and has recently identified fragments of large, complex organic molecules.

A dramatic plume sprays water ice and vapor from the south polar region of Saturn's moon Enceladus. Cassini's first hint of this plume came during the spacecraft's first close flyby of the icy moon on February 17, 2005. (NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

A dramatic plume sprays water ice and vapor from the south polar region of Saturn’s moon Enceladus. Cassini’s first hint of this plume came during the spacecraft’s first close flyby of the icy moon on February 17, 2005. (NASA/JPL/Space Science Institute)

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NASA Juno Spacecraft discovers origin of Jupiter’s Lightning

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Ever since NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft flew past Jupiter in March, 1979, scientists have wondered about the origin of Jupiter’s lightning. That encounter confirmed the existence of Jovian lightning, which had been theorized for centuries.

But when the venerable explorer hurtled by, the data showed that the lightning-associated radio signals didn’t match the details of the radio signals produced by lightning here at Earth.

In a new paper published in Nature today, scientists from NASA’s Juno mission describe the ways in which lightning on Jupiter is actually analogous to Earth’s lightning. Although, in some ways, the two types of lightning are polar opposites.

This artist's concept of lightning distribution in Jupiter's northern hemisphere incorporates a JunoCam image with artistic embellishments. Data from NASA's Juno mission indicates that most of the lightning activity on Jupiter is near its poles. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/JunoCam)

This artist’s concept of lightning distribution in Jupiter’s northern hemisphere incorporates a JunoCam image with artistic embellishments. Data from NASA’s Juno mission indicates that most of the lightning activity on Jupiter is near its poles. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/JunoCam)

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory gets visit from U.S. Vice President Mike Pence

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A week before NASA launches its next mission to Mars, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence toured on Saturday, April 28th, the birthplace of numerous past, present and future space missions at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The afternoon visit by the Vice President, his wife, Karen, and daughter Charlotte, included a stop in JPL’s Mission Control, where engineers will communicate with NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight).

JPL Director Michael Watkins gave Vice President Mike Pence, right, a plaque during the Vice President's tour of JPL on April 28, 2018. The plaque features a view of NASA's Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

JPL Director Michael Watkins gave Vice President Mike Pence, right, a plaque during the Vice President’s tour of JPL on April 28, 2018. The plaque features a view of NASA’s Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA to launch first pair of CubeSats designed for Deep Space

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Many of NASA’s most iconic spacecraft towered over the engineers who built them: think Voyager 1 and Voyager 2, Cassini or Galileo — all large machines that could measure up to a school bus.

But in the past two decades, mini-satellites called CubeSats have made space accessible to a new generation. These briefcase-sized boxes are more focused in their abilities and have a fraction of the mass — and cost — of some past titans of space.

In May, engineers will be watching closely as NASA launches its first pair of CubeSats designed for deep space. The twin spacecraft are called Mars Cube One, or MarCO, and were built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

An artist's rendering of the twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft as they fly through deep space. The MarCOs will be the first CubeSats -- a kind of modular, mini-satellite -- attempting to fly to another planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

An artist’s rendering of the twin Mars Cube One (MarCO) spacecraft as they fly through deep space. The MarCOs will be the first CubeSats — a kind of modular, mini-satellite — attempting to fly to another planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Virtual 3-D models of NASA’s Robotic Space Explorers in new “AR” Mobile App

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Media Relations Office

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA spacecraft travel to far-off destinations in space, but a new mobile app produced by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, brings spacecraft to users. The new app, called Spacecraft AR, uses the latest augmented reality (AR) technology to put virtual 3-D models of NASA’s robotic space explorers into any environment with a flat surface.

You can download the new app here.

JPL developed the Spacecraft AR app in collaboration with Google. The app uses Google’s ARCore technology to bring 3-D spacecraft into users’ devices using native mobile augmented reality. (“Native mobile” AR uses the built-in capabilities of a mobile device to interact with 3-D environments and objects.)

The free Spacecraft AR app uses Google ARCore technology to put virtual 3-D models of NASA robotic spacecraft, such as the Curiosity Mars rover seen here, into any environment with a flat surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The free Spacecraft AR app uses Google ARCore technology to put virtual 3-D models of NASA robotic spacecraft, such as the Curiosity Mars rover seen here, into any environment with a flat surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Kepler Mission to end when Spacecraft runs out of Fuel

 

Written by Charlie Sobeck
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope mission

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSilicon Valley, CA – Trailing Earth’s orbit at 94 million miles away, the Kepler space telescope has survived many potential knock-outs during its nine years in flight, from mechanical failures to being blasted by cosmic rays.

At this rate, the hardy spacecraft may reach its finish line in a manner we will consider a wonderful success. With nary a gas station to be found in deep space, the spacecraft is going to run out of fuel. We expect to reach that moment within several months.

In 2013, Kepler’s primary mission ended when a second reaction wheel broke, rendering it unable to hold its gaze steady at the original field of view.

NASA's Kepler Spacecraft

NASA’s Kepler Spacecraft

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft data reveals Saturn’s moon Titan has Sea Level elevation

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  Saturn’s moon Titan may be nearly a billion miles away from Earth, but a recently published paper based on data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft reveals a new way this distant world and our own are eerily similar. Just as the surface of oceans on Earth lies at an average elevation that we call “sea level,” Titan’s seas also lie at an average elevation.

This is the latest finding that shows remarkable similarities between Earth and Titan, the only other world we know of in our solar system that has stable liquid on its surface.

Ligeia Mare, shown in here in data obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft, is the second largest known body of liquid on Saturn's moon Titan. It is filled with liquid hydrocarbons, such as ethane and methane, and is one of the many seas and lakes that bejewel Titan's north polar region. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell)

Ligeia Mare, shown in here in data obtained by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, is the second largest known body of liquid on Saturn’s moon Titan. It is filled with liquid hydrocarbons, such as ethane and methane, and is one of the many seas and lakes that bejewel Titan’s north polar region. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASI/Cornell)

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory 2018 Missions and Activities

 

Written by Elyssia Widjaja
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Newsroom

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The year 2017 marked several milestones in science, technology and flight projects for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. Voyager 1 returned data from interstellar space as it surpassed 40 years in flight.

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft ended its 13-year tour of Saturn. JPL celebrated the 25th anniversary of the launch of the Earth-orbiting Topex/Poseidon satellite.

As JPL turns 82 in 2018, its missions and activities will continue to inspire. Here is a preview of events planned for JPL (some dates subject to change):

The solar arrays on NASA's InSight lander are deployed in this test inside a clean room at Lockheed Martin Space, Denver. This configuration is how the spacecraft will look on the surface of Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin)

The solar arrays on NASA’s InSight lander are deployed in this test inside a clean room at Lockheed Martin Space, Denver. This configuration is how the spacecraft will look on the surface of Mars. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Lockheed Martin)

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