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Topic: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA researchers construct 3D View of Amazon Forests to study El Niño Drought effects

 

Written by Ellen Gray
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Three-dimensional measurements of the central Brazilian Amazon rainforest have given NASA researchers a detailed window into the high number of branch falls and tree mortality that occur in response to drought conditions.

They found that 65 percent more trees and large branches died due to an El Niño-driven drought in 2015-2016 than compared to an average year. Understanding the effects of prolonged drought gives scientists a better sense of what may happen to carbon stored in tropical forests if these events become more common in the future.

The research team lays out a transect tape along which they measured the amount and location of woody debris on the forest floor, Tapajós National Forest, Brazil. (NASA/Veronika Leitold)

The research team lays out a transect tape along which they measured the amount and location of woody debris on the forest floor, Tapajós National Forest, Brazil. (NASA/Veronika Leitold)

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NASA reports Astronomers observe Supermassive Black Hole devour a Star

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – For the first time, astronomers have directly imaged the formation and expansion of a fast-moving jet of material ejected when the powerful gravity of a supermassive black hole ripped apart a star that wandered too close to the massive monster.

The scientists tracked the event with radio and infrared telescopes, including the National Science Foundation’s Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) and NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, in a pair of colliding galaxies called Arp 299.

An artist's concept of a tidal disruption event (TDE) that happens when a star passes fatally close to a supermassive black hole, which reacts by launching a relativistic jet. (Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF)

An artist’s concept of a tidal disruption event (TDE) that happens when a star passes fatally close to a supermassive black hole, which reacts by launching a relativistic jet. (Sophia Dagnello, NRAO/AUI/NSF)

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NASA assessment shows Antarctica Ice Losses have Tripled since 2012, Sea Levels Rising Faster

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Ice losses from Antarctica have tripled since 2012, increasing global sea levels by 0.12 inch (3 millimeters) in that timeframe alone, according to a major new international climate assessment funded by NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

According to the study, ice losses from Antarctica are causing sea levels to rise faster today than at any time in the past 25 years. Results of the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) were published Wednesday in the journal Nature.

The Antarctic Peninsula from the air: although the mountains are plastered in snow and ice, measurements tell us that this region is losing ice at an increasing rate. (Pippa Whitehouse, University of Durham)

The Antarctic Peninsula from the air: although the mountains are plastered in snow and ice, measurements tell us that this region is losing ice at an increasing rate. (Pippa Whitehouse, University of Durham)

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NASA studies Thickest Dust Storm ever seen on Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – One of the thickest dust storms ever observed on Mars has been spreading for the past week and a half. The storm has caused NASA’s Opportunity rover to suspend science operations, but also offers a window for four other spacecraft to learn from the swirling dust.

NASA has three orbiters circling the Red Planet, each equipped with special cameras and other atmospheric instruments. Additionally, NASA’s Curiosity rover has begun to see an increase in dust at its location in Gale Crater.

This set of images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a fierce dust storm is kicking up on Mars, with rovers on the surface indicated as icons. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This set of images from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a fierce dust storm is kicking up on Mars, with rovers on the surface indicated as icons. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover discovers Ancient Organic Molecules on Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover has found new evidence preserved in rocks on Mars that suggests the planet could have supported ancient life, as well as new evidence in the Martian atmosphere that relates to the search for current life on the Red Planet. While not necessarily evidence of life itself, these findings are a good sign for future missions exploring the planet’s surface and subsurface.

The new findings — “tough” organic molecules in 3-billion-year-old sedimentary rocks near the surface, as well as seasonal variations in the levels of methane in the atmosphere — appear in the June 8th edition of the journal Science.

NASA's Curiosity rover has discovered ancient organic molecules on Mars, embedded within sedimentary rocks that are billions of years old. (NASA/GSFC)

NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered ancient organic molecules on Mars, embedded within sedimentary rocks that are billions of years old. (NASA/GSFC)

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NASA’s ExoMars Rover will use Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer to search for Life on Mars

 

Written by Bill Steigerwald
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – An international team of scientists has created a tiny chemistry lab for a rover that will drill beneath the Martian surface looking for signs of past or present life.

The toaster oven-sized lab, called the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer or MOMA, is a key instrument on the ExoMars Rover, a joint mission between the European Space Agency and the Russian space agency Roscosmos, with a significant contribution to MOMA from NASA. It will be launched toward the Red Planet in July 2020.

Precision assembly and mechanical technician Ryan Wilkinson inspects MOMA during thermal vacuum testing at Goddard. (NASA)

Precision assembly and mechanical technician Ryan Wilkinson inspects MOMA during thermal vacuum testing at Goddard. (NASA)

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NASA’s GRACE Follow-On Spacecraft launched Tuesday with mission to track Earth’s Water Changes

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. –  A joint U.S./German space mission to track the continuous movement of water and other changes in Earth’s mass on and beneath the planet’s surface successfully launched at 12:47pm PDT (2:47pm CDT) Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018 from the California coast.

The twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), a joint NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) mission, lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, sharing their ride into space with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites.

The NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow-On spacecraft launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will measure changes in how mass is redistributed within and among Earth's atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets, as well as within Earth itself. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow-On spacecraft launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will measure changes in how mass is redistributed within and among Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets, as well as within Earth itself. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope used to create High-Resolution Ultraviolet-Light survey of nearby Galaxies

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Capitalizing on the unparalleled sharpness and spectral range of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, an international team of astronomers is releasing the most comprehensive, high-resolution ultraviolet-light survey of nearby star-forming galaxies.

The researchers combined new Hubble observations with archival Hubble images for 50 star-forming spiral and dwarf galaxies in the local universe, offering a large and extensive resource for understanding the complexities of star formation and galaxy evolution.

The project, called the Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), has amassed star catalogs for each of the LEGUS galaxies and cluster catalogs for 30 of the galaxies, as well as images of the galaxies themselves.

These six images represent the variety of star-forming regions in nearby galaxies. The galaxies are part of the Hubble Space Telescope's Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), the sharpest, most comprehensive ultraviolet-light survey of star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. (NASA/ESA/LEGUS team)

These six images represent the variety of star-forming regions in nearby galaxies. The galaxies are part of the Hubble Space Telescope’s Legacy ExtraGalactic UV Survey (LEGUS), the sharpest, most comprehensive ultraviolet-light survey of star-forming galaxies in the nearby universe. (NASA/ESA/LEGUS team)

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NASA lists Five Things you may not know about GRACE Follow-On Mission launching May 22nd

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Scheduled to launch no earlier than May 22nd, 2018 the twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, a collaboration between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), will continue the work of monitoring changes in the world’s water cycle and surface mass, which was so well performed by the original GRACE mission.

There are far more than five things to say about this amazing new-old mission; but here are a few favorite facts.

Artist's illustration of the GRACE-FO satellites in orbit. (NASA)

Artist’s illustration of the GRACE-FO satellites in orbit. (NASA)

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NASA to launch three CubeSat satellites on next International Space Station resupply mission

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – This weekend, when the next cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station lifts off from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, it will be carrying among its supplies and experiments three cereal box-sized satellites that will be used to test and demonstrate the next generation of Earth-observing technology.

NASA has been increasing its use of CubeSats — small satellites based on several configurations of approximately 4 x 4 x 4-inch cubes — to put new technologies in orbit where they can be tested in the harsh environment of space before being used as part of larger satellite missions or constellations of spacecraft.

The RainCube 6U CubeSat with fully-deployed antenna. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The RainCube 6U CubeSat with fully-deployed antenna. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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