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Topic: NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched Sunday on it’s way to the Sun

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Hours before the rise of the very star it will study, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe launched from Florida Sunday to begin its journey to the Sun, where it will undertake a landmark mission. The spacecraft will transmit its first science observations in December, beginning a revolution in our understanding of the star that makes life on Earth possible.

Roughly the size of a small car, the spacecraft lifted off at 2:31am CDT on a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. At 4:33am, the mission operations manager reported that the spacecraft was healthy and operating normally.

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA's Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, August 12th, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first-ever mission into a part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket launches NASA’s Parker Solar Probe to touch the Sun, Sunday, August 12th, 2018, from Launch Complex 37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first-ever mission into a part of the Sun’s atmosphere called the corona. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA uses data from several Telescopes to locate Smaller Black Holes

 

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – Scientists have taken major steps in their hunt to find black holes that are neither very small nor extremely large. Finding these elusive intermediate-mass black holes could help astronomers better understand what the “seeds” for the largest black holes in the early Universe were.

The new research comes from two separate studies, each using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes.

Black holes that contain between about one hundred and several hundred thousand times the mass of the Sun are called “intermediate mass” black holes, or IMBHs.

The COSMOS Legacy Survey shows data that have provided evidence for the existence of intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs). (X-ray: NASA/CXC/ICE/M.Mezcua et al.; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Illustration: NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

The COSMOS Legacy Survey shows data that have provided evidence for the existence of intermediate-mass black holes (IMBHs). (X-ray: NASA/CXC/ICE/M.Mezcua et al.; Infrared: NASA/JPL-Caltech; Illustration: NASA/CXC/A.Hobart)

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NASA halts Parker Solar Probe Launch, New Launch Date is Sunday, August 12th

 

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The launch of a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy rocket carrying the Parker Solar Probe spacecraft was scrubbed today due to a violation of a launch limit, resulting in a hold. There was not enough time remaining in the window to recycle.

The launch is planned for Sunday, August 12th, 2018 from Space Launch Complex-37 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. The forecast shows a 60 percent chance of favorable weather conditions for launch. The launch time is 2:31am CDT.

NASA scrubs Saturday morning launch of the Parker Solar Probe due to a glitch with the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket. (NASA)

NASA scrubs Saturday morning launch of the Parker Solar Probe due to a glitch with the United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy Rocket. (NASA)

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NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble Space Telescopes observations used to discover why Water Vapor is missing from Ultrahot Jupiters

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Imagine a place where the weather forecast is always the same: scorching temperatures, relentlessly sunny, and with absolutely zero chance of rain. This hellish scenario exists on the permanent daysides of a type of planet found outside our solar system dubbed an “ultrahot Jupiter.” These worlds orbit extremely close to their stars, with one side of the planet permanently facing the star.

What has puzzled scientists is why water vapor appears to be missing from the toasty worlds’ atmospheres, when it is abundant in similar but slightly cooler planets. Observations of ultrahot Jupiters by NASA’s Spitzer and Hubble space telescopes, combined with computer simulations, have served as a springboard for a new theoretical study that may have solved this mystery.

These simulated views of the ultrahot Jupiter WASP-121b show what the planet might look like to the human eye from five different vantage points, illuminated to different degrees by its parent star. The images were created using a computer simulation being used to help scientists understand the atmospheres of these ultra-hot planets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Vivien Parmentier/Aix-Marseille University (AMU))

These simulated views of the ultrahot Jupiter WASP-121b show what the planet might look like to the human eye from five different vantage points, illuminated to different degrees by its parent star. The images were created using a computer simulation being used to help scientists understand the atmospheres of these ultra-hot planets. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Vivien Parmentier/Aix-Marseille University (AMU))

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope sees remnants of a Supernova

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Thin, red veins of energized gas mark the location of one of the larger supernova remnants in the Milky Way galaxy in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope.

A supernova “remnant” refers to the collective, leftover signs of an exploded star, or supernova. The red filaments in this image belong to a supernova remnant known as HBH 3 that was first observed in 1966 using radio telescopes. Traces of the remnant also radiate optical light. The branches of glowing material are most likely molecular gas that was pummeled by a shockwave generated by the supernova. The energy from the explosion energized the molecules and caused them to radiate infrared light.

Thin, red veins of energized gas mark the location of the supernova remnant HBH3 in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The puffy, white feature in the image is a portion of the star forming regions W3, W4 and W5. Infrared wavelengths of 3.6 microns have been mapped to blue, and 4.5 microns to red. The white color of the star-forming region is a combination of both wavelengths, while the HBH3 filaments radiate only at the longer 4.5 micron wavelength. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/IPAC)

Thin, red veins of energized gas mark the location of the supernova remnant HBH3 in this image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. The puffy, white feature in the image is a portion of the star forming regions W3, W4 and W5. Infrared wavelengths of 3.6 microns have been mapped to blue, and 4.5 microns to red. The white color of the star-forming region is a combination of both wavelengths, while the HBH3 filaments radiate only at the longer 4.5 micron wavelength. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/IPAC)

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NASA’s Terra satellite uses MISR to capture images of California Fires

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – More than a dozen wildfires are burning in the state of California, with several of them threatening life and property. The Ferguson Fire ignited July 13th in the Sierra National Forest west of Yosemite National Park.

Much of the forest in this area suffered extreme stress due to the extended drought of 2012 through 2017, and bark beetle damage, leaving many dead trees through which the fire has burned rapidly. Many surrounding towns have been under evacuation orders, and many popular areas of the national park were closed on July 25th.

This image shows the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park on July 29 as observed by NASA's MISR instrument. The angular information from MISR's images is used to calculate the height of the smoke plume. The results are superimposed on the image on the right. (NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team)

This image shows the Ferguson Fire near Yosemite National Park on July 29 as observed by NASA’s MISR instrument. The angular information from MISR’s images is used to calculate the height of the smoke plume. The results are superimposed on the image on the right. (NASA/GSFC/LaRC/JPL-Caltech, MISR Team)

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NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies, 20 years of mapping Asteroids and Comets

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies enters Third Decade.

On March 11th, 1998, asteroid astronomers around the world received an ominous message: new observational data on the recently discovered asteroid 1997 XF11 suggested there was a chance that the half-mile-wide (nearly one kilometer) object could hit Earth in 2028.

The message came from the Minor Planet Center, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the worldwide repository for such observations and initial determination of asteroid orbits. And although it was intended to alert only the very small astronomical community that hunts and tracks asteroids to call for more observations, the news spread quickly.

The chart depicts the cumulative number of known Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) versus time. The area in red depicts the number of known NEAs larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer). The area in orange depicts the quantity of known NEAs larger than 460 feet (140 meters). The area in blue depicts the number of known NEAs in all sizes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The chart depicts the cumulative number of known Near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) versus time. The area in red depicts the number of known NEAs larger than 0.6 miles (1 kilometer). The area in orange depicts the quantity of known NEAs larger than 460 feet (140 meters). The area in blue depicts the number of known NEAs in all sizes. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA creates Radiation Maps of Jupiter’s Moon Europa

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – New NASA study creates comprehensive mapping of the radiation pummeling Jupiter’s icy moon Europa which reveals where scientists should look — and how deep they’ll have to go — when searching for signs of habitability and biosignatures.

Since NASA’s Galileo mission yielded strong evidence of a global ocean underneath Europa’s icy shell in the 1990s, scientists have considered that moon one of the most promising places in our solar system to look for ingredients to support life. There’s even evidence that the salty water sloshing around the moon’s interior makes its way to the surface.

Radiation from Jupiter can destroy molecules on Europa's surface. Material from Europa's ocean that ends up on the surface will be bombarded by radiation, possibly destroying any biosignatures, or chemical signs that could imply the presence of life. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Radiation from Jupiter can destroy molecules on Europa’s surface. Material from Europa’s ocean that ends up on the surface will be bombarded by radiation, possibly destroying any biosignatures, or chemical signs that could imply the presence of life. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Parker Solar Probe set to launch August 6th

 

Written by Sarah Frazier
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Early on an August morning, the sky near Cape Canaveral, Florida, will light up with the launch of Parker Solar Probe. No earlier than August 6th, 2018, a United Launch Alliance Delta IV Heavy will thunder to space carrying the car-sized spacecraft, which will study the Sun closer than any human-made object ever has.

On July 20th, 2018, Nicky Fox, Parker Solar Probe’s project scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, Maryland, and Alex Young, associate director for science in the Heliophysics Science Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, introduced Parker Solar Probe’s science goals and the technology behind them at a televised press conference from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Illustration of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe leaving Earth. (NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben)

Illustration of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe leaving Earth. (NASA/Johns Hopkins APL/Steve Gribben)

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NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory sees Planet destroyed by nearby Star

 

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – Scientists may have observed, for the first time, the destruction of a young planet or planets around a nearby star. Observations from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory indicate that the parent star is now in the process of devouring the planetary debris. This discovery gives insight into the processes affecting the survival of infant planets.

Since 1937, astronomers have puzzled over the curious variability of a young star named RW Aur A, located about 450 light years from Earth. Every few decades, the star’s optical light has faded briefly before brightening again. In recent years, astronomers have observed the star dimming more frequently, and for longer periods.

This artist’s illustration depicts the destruction of a young planet or planets, which scientists may have witnessed for the first time using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. (Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss; X-ray spectrum: NASA/CXC/MIT/H. M.Günther)

This artist’s illustration depicts the destruction of a young planet or planets, which scientists may have witnessed for the first time using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. (Illustration: NASA/CXC/M. Weiss; X-ray spectrum: NASA/CXC/MIT/H. M.Günther)

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