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Topic: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA research study shows how Electrical Energy on the Sea Floor may have spawned Life on Earth

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet’s living kingdoms. How did it all begin?

A new study from researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and the Icy Worlds team at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, describes how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life.

Michael Russell and Laurie Barge of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, are pictured in their Icy Worlds laboratory, where they mimic the conditions of Earth billions of years ago, attempting to answer the question of how life first arose. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Michael Russell and Laurie Barge of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, are pictured in their Icy Worlds laboratory, where they mimic the conditions of Earth billions of years ago, attempting to answer the question of how life first arose. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA says NESSI instrument will help Astronomers analyse Atmospheres, Compositions of Exoplanets

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument (NESSI) will soon get its first “taste” of exoplanets, helping astronomers decipher their chemical composition. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars beyond our sun.

NESSI got its first peek at the sky on April 3rd, 2014. It looked at Pollux, a star in the Gemini constellation, and Arcturus, in the Boötes constellation, confirming that all modes of the instrument are working.

The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology's 2.4-meter (7.9-foot) Magdalena Ridge Observatory in Socorro County, NM. (New Mexico Tech)

The New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology’s 2.4-meter (7.9-foot) Magdalena Ridge Observatory in Socorro County, NM. (New Mexico Tech)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter snaps shot of Curiosity Rover

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists using NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover are eyeing a rock layer surrounding the base of a small butte, called “Mount Remarkable,” as a target for investigating with tools on the rover’s robotic arm.

The rover works near this butte in an image taken on April 11th by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover and tracks from its driving are visible in this view from orbit, acquired on April 11th, 2014, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and tracks from its driving are visible in this view from orbit, acquired on April 11th, 2014, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA reports redesigned Soybean Plants can yield higher production with less Water

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new study shows that soybean plants can be redesigned to increase crop yields while requiring less water and helping to offset greenhouse gas warming. The study is the first to demonstrate that a major food crop can be modified to meet multiple goals at the same time.

The study, led by Darren Drewry of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, used an advanced vegetation model and high-performance computer optimization techniques.

A soybean field in Ohio. (WikiMedia Commons)

A soybean field in Ohio. (WikiMedia Commons)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft captures image of possible new Moon around Saturn

 

Written by Jane Platt
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons.

Images taken with Cassini’s narrow angle camera on April 15th, 2013, show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn’s A ring — the outermost of the planet’s large, bright rings. One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide.

The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn's A ring in this image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft could be caused by an object replaying the birth process of icy moons. (NASA)

The disturbance visible at the outer edge of Saturn’s A ring in this image from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft could be caused by an object replaying the birth process of icy moons. (NASA)

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NASA announces Video to be Beamed by Laser back to Earth from International Space Station

 

Written by David Israel and Mark Whalen
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A team of about 20 working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, through the lab’s Phaeton early-career-hire program, led the development of the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) investigation, which is preparing for an April 14th launch to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX-3 mission.

The goal? NASA’s first optical communication experiment on the orbital laboratory.

This artist's concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) laser will beam data to Earth from the International Space Station. (NASA)

This artist’s concept shows how the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) laser will beam data to Earth from the International Space Station. (NASA)

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NASA researchers finds signs of Exomoon

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Titan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system’s pantheon of moons. Are there other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun?

NASA-funded researchers have spotted the first signs of an “exomoon,” and though they say it’s impossible to confirm its presence, the finding is a tantalizing first step toward locating others. The discovery was made by watching a chance encounter of objects in our galaxy, which can be witnessed only once.

Researchers have detected the first "exomoon" candidate -- a moon orbiting a planet that lies outside our solar system. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Researchers have detected the first “exomoon” candidate — a moon orbiting a planet that lies outside our solar system. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity captures image of something reflecting on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Images taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on April 2nd and April 3rd include bright spots, which might be due to the sun glinting off a rock or cosmic rays striking the camera’s detector.

The rover took the image just after arriving at a waypoint called “the Kimberley.” The bright spot appears on a horizon, in the same west-northwest direction from the rover as the afternoon sun.

This image from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover includes a bright spot near the upper left corner. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image from the Navigation Camera (Navcam) on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover includes a bright spot near the upper left corner. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory uses new Radar Instrument to montior Levees in California

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – One morning in 2008, research scientist Cathleen Jones of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, was flying over the San Andreas fault near San Francisco, testing a new radar instrument built at JPL.

As the plane banked to make a turn, she looked down to see the Sacramento River delta, a patchwork of low-lying lands crisscrossed by levees.

Jones was using an instrument that can measure tiny movements of the ground on the scale of less than half an inch (less than a centimeter). It’s called the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR).

This 2004 levee break, caused by a burrowing beaver, did $90 million worth of damage. NASA's UAVSAR is monitoring levees for early signs of stress that could lead to failure. (Calif. DWR)

This 2004 levee break, caused by a burrowing beaver, did $90 million worth of damage. NASA’s UAVSAR is monitoring levees for early signs of stress that could lead to failure. (Calif. DWR)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover stops to survey next Observations area

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On Wednesday, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover drove the last 98 feet feet (30 meters) needed to arrive at a site planned since early 2013 as a destination for studying rock clues about ancient environments that may have been favorable for life.

The rover reached a vantage point for its cameras to survey four different types of rock intersecting in an area called “the Kimberley,” after a region of western Australia.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of various rock types at waypoint called "the Kimberley" shortly after arriving at the location on April 2, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover recorded this view of various rock types at waypoint called “the Kimberley” shortly after arriving at the location on April 2, 2014. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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