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Topic: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA reports Rosetta Spacecraft eyes Target Comet

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The Rosetta spacecraft has caught a first glimpse of its destination comet since waking up from deep-space hibernation on January 20th.

The first images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko were taken on March 20th and 21st by the Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS) wide-angle camera and narrow-angle camera. Rosetta is an international mission spearheaded by the European Space Agency with support and instruments provided by NASA.

This image of comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko was taken on March 21, 2014, by the narrow-angle camera of the Rosetta spacecraft's Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS). (ESA © 2014 MPS for OSIRIS-Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

This image of comet 67P/Churymov-Gerasimenko was taken on March 21, 2014, by the narrow-angle camera of the Rosetta spacecraft’s Optical, Spectroscopic and Infrared Remote Imaging System (OSIRIS). (ESA © 2014 MPS for OSIRIS-Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA)

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NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer data reveals insights into how Black Holes Form

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – How do you grow a supermassive black hole that is a million to a billion times the mass of our sun? Astronomers do not know the answer, but a new study using data from NASA’s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, or WISE, has turned up what might be the cosmic seeds from which a black hole will sprout.

The results are helping scientists piece together the evolution of supermassive black holes — powerful objects that dominate the hearts of all galaxies.

The galaxy NGC 4395 is shown here in infrared light, captured by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The galaxy NGC 4395 is shown here in infrared light, captured by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity to study Sandstones at next waypoint

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Variations in the stuff that cements grains together in sandstone have shaped the landscape surrounding NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover and could be a study topic at the mission’s next science waypoint.

On a journey with many months yet to go toward prime destinations on the lower slope of Mount Sharp, Curiosity is approaching a site called “the Kimberley.” Scientists on the team picked this location last year as a likely place to pause for investigation.

Sandstone layers with varying resistance to erosion are evident in this Martian scene recorded by the Mast Camera on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on Feb. 25, 2014, about one-quarter mile (about 400 meters) from a planned waypoint called "the Kimberley." (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Sandstone layers with varying resistance to erosion are evident in this Martian scene recorded by the Mast Camera on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on Feb. 25, 2014, about one-quarter mile (about 400 meters) from a planned waypoint called “the Kimberley.” (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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New Spacecraft being design by NASA may one day take images of Earth like Planets

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A spacecraft that looks like a giant sunflower might one day be used to acquire images of Earth-like rocky planets around nearby stars. The prototype deployable structure, called a starshade, is being developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA.

The hunt is on for planets that resemble Earth in size, composition and temperature. Rocky planets with just the right temperature for liquid water — not too hot, not too cold — could be possible abodes for life outside our solar system.

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovers formation of new Gully on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A comparison of images taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in November 2010 and May 2013 reveal the formation of a new gully channel on a crater-wall slope in the southern highlands of Mars.

Gully or ravine landforms are common on Mars, particularly in the southern highlands.

This pair of before (left) and after (right) images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter documents formation of a new channel on a Martian slope between 2010 and 2013, likely resulting from activity of carbon-dioxide frost. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

This pair of before (left) and after (right) images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter documents formation of a new channel on a Martian slope between 2010 and 2013, likely resulting from activity of carbon-dioxide frost. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona)

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NASA study shows Amazon Forest consumes more Carbon Dioxide than it creates

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A new NASA-led study seven years in the making has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, therefore reducing global warming. This finding resolves a long-standing debate about a key component of the overall carbon balance of the Amazon basin.

The Amazon’s carbon balance is a matter of life and death: living trees take carbon dioxide out of the air as they grow, and dead trees put the greenhouse gas back into the air as they decompose.

Old-growth Amazon tree canopy in Tapajós National Forest, Brazil. A new NASA study shows that the living trees in the undisturbed Amazon forest draw more carbon dioxide from the air than the forest's dead trees emit. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Old-growth Amazon tree canopy in Tapajós National Forest, Brazil. A new NASA study shows that the living trees in the undisturbed Amazon forest draw more carbon dioxide from the air than the forest’s dead trees emit. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Detector Technology discovers evidence of Gravitational Waves created by the Big Bang

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers are announcing today that they have acquired the first direct evidence that gravitational waves rippled through our infant universe during an explosive period of growth called inflation.

This is the strongest confirmation yet of cosmic inflation theories, which say the universe expanded by 100 trillion trillion times, in less than the blink of an eye.

The findings were made with the help of NASA-developed detector technology on the BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole, in collaboration with the National Science Foundation.

The BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole used a specialized array of superconducting detectors to capture polarized light from billions of years ago. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The BICEP2 telescope at the South Pole used a specialized array of superconducting detectors to capture polarized light from billions of years ago. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Global Hawk research aircraft finishes Climate Change study

 

Written by Rachel Hoover
NASA Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – NASA’s Global Hawk research aircraft returned to its base at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center at Edwards Air Force Base, CA, early Friday morning March 14th, marking the completion of flights in support of this year’s Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX), a multi-year NASA airborne science campaign.

On February 13th, the autonomously operated aircraft began conducting science flights from Andersen Air Force Base on Guam in the western Pacific region on a mission to track changes in the upper atmosphere and help researchers understand how these changes affect Earth’s climate.

NASA's Global Hawk No. 872 flares for landing at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam to begin the 2014 ATTREX climate-change mission Jan. 17th. The two-month-long airborne science flight campaign wrapped up with the aircraft's return to NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center March 14th. (U.S. Air Force)

NASA’s Global Hawk No. 872 flares for landing at Andersen Air Force Base on Guam to begin the 2014 ATTREX climate-change mission Jan. 17th. The two-month-long airborne science flight campaign wrapped up with the aircraft’s return to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center March 14th. (U.S. Air Force)

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NASA researchers use Fuel Cells to study Origins of Life on Earth

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – How life arose from the toxic and inhospitable environment of our planet billions of years ago remains a deep mystery. Researchers have simulated the conditions of an early Earth in test tubes, even fashioning some of life’s basic ingredients. But how those ingredients assembled into living cells, and how life was first able to generate energy, remain unknown.

A new study led by Laurie Barge of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, demonstrates a unique way to study the origins of life: fuel cells.

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter goes into Safe Standby after Main Computer swap

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s long-lived Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter put itself into a precautionary safe standby mode March 9th after an unscheduled swap from one main computer to another. The mission’s ground team has begun restoring the spacecraft to full operations.

“The spacecraft is healthy, in communication and fully powered,” said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Manager Dan Johnston of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. “We have stepped up the communication data rate, and we plan to have the spacecraft back to full operations within a few days.”

Artist concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL)

Artist concept of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL)

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