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Topic: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to be turned off January 30th, 2020

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On January 30th, 2020, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope will be switched off permanently  after nearly 16 years of exploring the cosmos in infrared light. By then, the spacecraft will have operated for more than 11 years beyond its prime mission, thanks to the Spitzer engineering team’s ability to address unique challenges as the telescope slips farther and farther from Earth.

Managed and operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Spitzer is a small but transformational observatory. It captures infrared light, which is often emitted by “warm” objects that aren’t quite hot enough to radiate visible light.

This artist's concept shows NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in front of an infrared image of the Milky Way galaxy. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope in front of an infrared image of the Milky Way galaxy. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft data shows inner workings of Saturn’s Rings

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The NASA Cassini spacecraft provided intricate detail on the workings of Saturn’s complex rings when it dove close to Saturn in its final year, new analysis shows.

Although the mission ended in 2017, science continues to flow from the data collected. A new paper published June 13th in Science describes results from four Cassini instruments taking their closest-ever observations of the main rings.

Findings include fine details of features sculpted by masses embedded within the rings.

This false-color image to the right shows an infrared spectral map of Saturn's A, B and C rings, captured by Cassini's VIMS. (Infrared image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/CNRS/LPG-Nantes); (Saturn image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/G. Ugarkovic)

This false-color image to the right shows an infrared spectral map of Saturn’s A, B and C rings, captured by Cassini’s VIMS. (Infrared image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/CNRS/LPG-Nantes); (Saturn image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/G. Ugarkovic)

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NASA discovers portions of Jupiter’s Moon Europa’s surface is Table Salt

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that on the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa a familiar ingredient has been hiding in plain sight. Using a visible-light spectral analysis, planetary scientists at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have discovered that the yellow color visible on portions of the surface of Europa is actually sodium chloride, a compound known on Earth as table salt, which is also the principal component of sea salt.

The discovery suggests that the salty subsurface ocean of Europa may chemically resemble Earth’s oceans more than previously thought, challenging decades of supposition about the composition of those waters. The finding was published by Science Advances on June 12th.

Tara Regio is the yellowish area to left of center, in this NASA Galileo image of Europa's surface. This region of geologic chaos is the area researchers identified an abundance of sodium chloride. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Tara Regio is the yellowish area to left of center, in this NASA Galileo image of Europa’s surface. This region of geologic chaos is the area researchers identified an abundance of sodium chloride. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission will pave way for future Astronauts

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A historic moment, when a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024 will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.

When a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024, the historic moment will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.

This artist's concept depicts astronauts and human habitats on Mars. NASA's Mars 2020 rover will carry a number of technologies that could make Mars safer and easier to explore for humans. (NASA)

This artist’s concept depicts astronauts and human habitats on Mars. NASA’s Mars 2020 rover will carry a number of technologies that could make Mars safer and easier to explore for humans. (NASA)

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NASA’s Starshade technology to aid observations of far off Planets

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the feat of staying highly synchronized while airborne can be appreciated by anyone who’s ever seen aircraft engaged in formation flying. In work sponsored by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP), engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are taking formation flying to a new extreme.

Their work marks an important milestone within a larger program to test the feasibility of a technology called a starshade. Although starshades have never flown in space, they hold the potential to enable groundbreaking observations of planets beyond our solar system, including pictures of planets as small as Earth.

This artist's concept shows the geometry of a space telescope aligned with a starshade, a technology used to block starlight in order to reveal the presence of planets orbiting that star. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows the geometry of a space telescope aligned with a starshade, a technology used to block starlight in order to reveal the presence of planets orbiting that star. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA continues work on Mars 2020 Rover, Public invited to watch

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – As NASA’s Mars 2020 rover takes shape at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, a newly installed webcam will offer the public a live, bird’s-eye view of it. You can watch as JPL engineers and technicians assemble and test the rover before it embarks next year on one of the most technologically challenging interplanetary missions ever designed.

“There is so much happening and changing in the clean room, I come here every opportunity I get,” said Mars 2020 project manager John McNamee of JPL. “It is great that we can share this part of our journey to the Red Planet with the public anytime they want.”

The "Seeing 2020" live video feed allows the public to watch engineers and technicians assemble and test NASA's next Mars rover in a clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-CalTech)

The “Seeing 2020” live video feed allows the public to watch engineers and technicians assemble and test NASA’s next Mars rover in a clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-CalTech)

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NASA’s Mars Helicopter completes key tests

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A number of key tests were passed by NASA’s Mars Helicopter flight demonstration project with flying colors. In 2021, the small, autonomous helicopter will be the first vehicle in history to attempt to establish the viability of heavier-than-air vehicles flying on another planet.

“Nobody’s built a Mars Helicopter before, so we are continuously entering new territory,” said MiMi Aung, project manager for the Mars Helicopter at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “Our flight model – the actual vehicle that will travel to Mars – has recently passed several important tests.”

This image of the flight model of NASA's Mars Helicopter was taken on Feb. 14, 2019, in a cleanroom at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The aluminum base plate, side posts, and crossbeam around the helicopter protect the helicopter's landing legs and the attachment points that will hold it to the belly of the Mars 2020 rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image of the flight model of NASA’s Mars Helicopter was taken on Feb. 14, 2019, in a cleanroom at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The aluminum base plate, side posts, and crossbeam around the helicopter protect the helicopter’s landing legs and the attachment points that will hold it to the belly of the Mars 2020 rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA InSight’s Team looks to get heat probe digging again

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA InSight’s heat probe has been unable to dig very far on the surface of Mars. Scientists and engineers have a new plan for getting the probe also known as the “mole,” digging again on Mars. Part of an instrument called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), the mole is a self-hammering spike designed to dig as much as 16 feet (5 meters) below the surface and record temperature.

But the mole hasn’t been able to dig deeper than about 12 inches (30 centimeters) below the Martian surface since February 28th, 2019.

Engineers in a Mars-like test area at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory try possible strategies to aid the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) on NASA's InSight lander, using engineering models of the lander, robotic arm and instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Engineers in a Mars-like test area at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory try possible strategies to aid the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) on NASA’s InSight lander, using engineering models of the lander, robotic arm and instrument. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA lists Five Facts about their Deep Space Atomic Clock

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On June 22nd, 2019, NASA will be sending a new technology to space that will change the way we navigate our spacecraft – even how we send astronauts to Mars and beyond.

Built by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the Deep Space Atomic Clock is a technology demonstration that will help spacecraft navigate autonomously through deep space. No larger than a toaster oven, the instrument will be tested in Earth orbit for one year, with the goal of being ready for future missions to other worlds.

Here are five key facts to know about NASA’s Deep Space Atomic Clock:

This image of the Deep Space Atomic Clock, a new technology being tested by NASA that will change the way humans navigate the solar system. The precise timekeeper is targeted to launch from Florida on June 22, 2019, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image of the Deep Space Atomic Clock, a new technology being tested by NASA that will change the way humans navigate the solar system. The precise timekeeper is targeted to launch from Florida on June 22, 2019, aboard a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 rover has high definition cameras installed

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On February 18th, 2021, after the NASA Mars 2020 rover touches down on the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater, one of it’s first operations will be to raise its remote sensing mast (RSM), which carries important optics and instrumentation.

In this picture – taken on May 23rd, 2019, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility’s High Bay 1 clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California – engineers re-install the cover to the RSM head after integration of two Mastcam-Z high-definition cameras.

In this picture - taken on May 23, 2019, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility's High Bay 1 clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California - engineers re-install the cover to the remote sensing mast (RSM) head after integration of two Mastcam-Z high-definition cameras that will go on the Mars 2020 rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In this picture – taken on May 23, 2019, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility’s High Bay 1 clean room at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California – engineers re-install the cover to the remote sensing mast (RSM) head after integration of two Mastcam-Z high-definition cameras that will go on the Mars 2020 rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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