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Topic: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA Spacecrafts break record for navigating away from Earth with GPS

 

Written by Danny Baird
​NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft recently broke the world record for navigating with GPS signals farther from Earth than ever before. MMS’ success indicates that NASA spacecraft may soon be able to navigate via GPS as far away as the Moon, which will prove important to the Gateway, a planned space station in lunar orbit.

After navigation maneuvers conducted this February, MMS now reaches over 116,300 miles from Earth at the highest point of its orbit, or about halfway to the Moon.

Illustration of the four MMS spacecraft in orbit in Earth's magnetic field. (NASA)

Illustration of the four MMS spacecraft in orbit in Earth’s magnetic field. (NASA)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observes Asteroid’s disintegration

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A small asteroid has been caught in the process of spinning so fast it’s throwing off material, according to new data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and other observatories.

Images from Hubble show two narrow, comet-like tails of dusty debris streaming from the asteroid (6478) Gault. Each tail represents an episode in which the asteroid gently shed its material — key evidence that Gault is beginning to come apart.

This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the gradual self-destruction of an asteroid, whose ejected dusty material has formed two long, thin, comet-like tails. The longer tail stretches more than 500,000 miles (800,000 kilometers) and is roughly 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) wide. The shorter tail is about a quarter as long. The streamers will eventually disperse into space. (NASA, ESA, K. Meech and J. Kleyna (University of Hawaii), and O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory))

This Hubble Space Telescope image reveals the gradual self-destruction of an asteroid, whose ejected dusty material has formed two long, thin, comet-like tails. The longer tail stretches more than 500,000 miles (800,000 kilometers) and is roughly 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometers) wide. The shorter tail is about a quarter as long. The streamers will eventually disperse into space. (NASA, ESA, K. Meech and J. Kleyna (University of Hawaii), and O. Hainaut (European Southern Observatory))

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover data shows Asteroids, Hydrogen Atmosphere could have produced ingredients for Life

 

Written by Timothy Childers
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A new study reveals asteroid impacts on ancient Mars could have produced key ingredients for life if the Martian atmosphere was rich in hydrogen. An early hydrogen-rich atmosphere on Mars could also explain how the planet remained habitable after its atmosphere thinned.

The study used data from NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars and was conducted by researchers on Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument team and international colleagues.

Data from NASA's Curiosity Mars rover were used in a new paper studying how asteroids impacting the ancient Martian atmosphere could have produced key ingredients to life. Those data were provided by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Data from NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover were used in a new paper studying how asteroids impacting the ancient Martian atmosphere could have produced key ingredients to life. Those data were provided by Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Terra Satellite takes images of Meteor “Fireball” over Bering Sea

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On December 18th, 2018, a large “fireball” – the term used for exceptionally bright meteors that are visible over a wide area – exploded about 16 miles (26 kilometers) above the Bering Sea.

The explosion unleashed an estimated 173 kilotons of energy, or more than 10 times the energy of the atomic bomb blast over Hiroshima during World War II.

Two NASA instruments aboard the Terra satellite captured images of the remnants of the large meteor.

NASA's MODIS instrument, aboard the Terra satellite, captured this true-color image showing the remnants of a meteor's passage, seen as a dark shadow cast on thick, white clouds on Dec. 18, 2018. (NASA GSFC)

NASA’s MODIS instrument, aboard the Terra satellite, captured this true-color image showing the remnants of a meteor’s passage, seen as a dark shadow cast on thick, white clouds on Dec. 18, 2018. (NASA GSFC)

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NASA data shows Arctic Sea Ice 2019 Wintertime Extent Is Seventh Lowest

 

Written by Maria-Jose Vinas
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Sea ice in the Arctic appears to have hit its annual maximum extent after growing through the fall and winter. The 2019 wintertime extent reached on March 13th ties with 2007’s as the 7th smallest extent of winter sea ice in the satellite record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA.

This year’s maximum extent peaked at 5.71 million square miles (14.78 million square kilometers) and is 332,000 square miles (860,000 square kilometers) below the 1981 to 2010 average maximum – equivalent to missing an area of ice larger than the state of Texas.

A big lead, or opening in the sea ice pack, in the eastern Beaufort Sea, as seen from a NASA Operation IceBridge survey flight on Apr. 14, 2018. (NASA/Linette Boisvert)

A big lead, or opening in the sea ice pack, in the eastern Beaufort Sea, as seen from a NASA Operation IceBridge survey flight on Apr. 14, 2018. (NASA/Linette Boisvert)

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft discovers plumes erupting on asteroid Bennu

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A NASA spacecraft that will return a sample of a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu to Earth in 2023 made the first-ever close-up observations of particle plumes erupting from an asteroid’s surface. Bennu also revealed itself to be more rugged than expected, challenging the mission team to alter its flight and sample collection plans, due to the rough terrain. 

Bennu is the target of NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission, which began orbiting the asteroid on December 31st. Bennu, which is only slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building, may contain unaltered material from the very beginning of our solar system.

This view of asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on January 19 was created by combining two images taken on board NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Other image processing techniques were also applied, such as cropping and adjusting the brightness and contrast of each image. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin)

This view of asteroid Bennu ejecting particles from its surface on January 19 was created by combining two images taken on board NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft. Other image processing techniques were also applied, such as cropping and adjusting the brightness and contrast of each image. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona/Lockheed Martin)

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NASA studies Dust in our Solar System

 

Written by Lina Tran
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Just as dust gathers in corners and along bookshelves in our homes, dust piles up in space too. But when the dust settles in the solar system, it’s often in rings. Several dust rings circle the Sun. The rings trace the orbits of planets, whose gravity tugs dust into place around the Sun, as it drifts by on its way to the center of the solar system.

The dust consists of crushed-up remains from the formation of the solar system, some 4.6 billion years ago — rubble from asteroid collisions or crumbs from blazing comets.

In this illustration, several dust rings circle the Sun. These rings form when planets’ gravities tug dust grains into orbit around the Sun. Recently, scientists have detected a dust ring at Mercury’s orbit. Others hypothesize the source of Venus’ dust ring is a group of never-before-detected co-orbital asteroids. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith)

In this illustration, several dust rings circle the Sun. These rings form when planets’ gravities tug dust grains into orbit around the Sun. Recently, scientists have detected a dust ring at Mercury’s orbit. Others hypothesize the source of Venus’ dust ring is a group of never-before-detected co-orbital asteroids. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith)

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NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft takes close up image of asteroid Bennu

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – This trio of images acquired by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft shows a wide shot and two close-ups of a region in asteroid Bennu’s northern hemisphere.

The wide-angle image (left), obtained by the spacecraft’s MapCam camera, shows a 590-foot (180-meter) wide area with many rocks, including some large boulders, and a “pond” of regolith that is mostly devoid of large rocks.

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was able to capture a region of asteroid Bennu’s Northern Hemisphere close up uisng it's MapCam camera and PolyCam camera. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft was able to capture a region of asteroid Bennu’s Northern Hemisphere close up uisng it’s MapCam camera and PolyCam camera. (NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona)

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NASA Goddard Technologists and Scientists Prepare for a New Era of Human Exploration

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA scientists, engineers, and technologists are preparing for a new era of human exploration at the Moon, which includes a new launch system, capsule, and lunar-orbiting outpost that will serve as the jumping-off point for human spaceflight deeper into the Solar System.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is playing a vital role in these initiatives, particularly in the areas of communications and instrument development as evidenced by the recent award of five proposals under NASA’s Development and Advancement of Lunar Instrumentation (DALI) to advance spacecraft-based instrument for use in lunar-landing missions.

The technologies needed for sustainable exploration at the Moon will have to be powerful, multipurpose, and fast, said Jake Bleacher, Chief Scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

Goddard will provide laser communications services to NASA’s Orion vehicle, shown in this artist concept. (NASA)

Goddard will provide laser communications services to NASA’s Orion vehicle, shown in this artist concept. (NASA)

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NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter observes Water Movement on the Moon

 

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Using an instrument aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), scientists have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon.

A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters describes how Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) measurements of the sparse layer of molecules temporarily stuck to the surface helped characterize lunar hydration changes over the course of a day.

Up until the last decade or so, scientists thought the Moon was arid, with any water existing mainly as pockets of ice in permanently shaded craters near the poles.

View of the Moon. (NASA)

View of the Moon. (NASA)

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