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Topic: NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

NASA reports Neutron Star spotted ouside of Milky Way Galaxy

 

NASA Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – Astronomers have discovered a special kind of neutron star for the first time outside of the Milky Way galaxy, using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile.

Neutron stars are the ultra dense cores of massive stars that collapse and undergo a supernova explosion. This newly identified neutron star is a rare variety that has both a low magnetic field and no stellar companion.

The neutron star is located within the remains of a supernova – known as 1E 0102.2-7219 (E0102 for short) – in the Small Magellanic Cloud, located 200,000 light years from Earth.

(Credits: X-ray (NASA/CXC/ESO/F.Vogt et al); Optical (ESO/VLT/MUSE & NASA/STScI))

(Credits: X-ray (NASA/CXC/ESO/F.Vogt et al); Optical (ESO/VLT/MUSE & NASA/STScI))

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NASA looks for Commercial Partners for Moon Presence, Future Missions

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – As NASA shifts human exploration back to the Moon, U.S. commercial partnerships will be a key to expediting missions and building a sustainable presence on the lunar surface. The agency is orchestrating a robotic lunar campaign with a focus on growing commercial base of partnerships and activity that can support U.S. science, technology, and exploration objectives.

NASA is planning a series of robotic commercial delivery missions as early as 2019 ahead of a human return to the Moon. These missions will deliver NASA instruments and technology to the surface of the Moon to conduct science and prepare for human exploration. 

NASA prepares to return to the Moon. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

NASA prepares to return to the Moon. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA’s Kepler spacecraft begins Campaign 18 observing Clusters of Stars

 

NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationSilicon Valley, CA – NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft began the 18th observing campaign of its extended mission, K2, on May 12th, 2018. For the next 82 days, Kepler will stare at clusters of stars, faraway galaxies, and a handful of solar system objects, including comets, objects beyond Neptune, and an asteroid. The Kepler spacecraft is expected to run out of fuel within several months.

Campaign 18 is a familiar patch of space, as it’s approximately the same region of sky that Kepler observed during Campaign 5 in 2015. One of the advantages of observing a field over again is that planets outside the solar system, called exoplanets, may be found orbiting farther from their stars. Astronomers hope to not only discover new exoplanets during this campaign, but also to confirm candidates that were previously identified.

NASA's Kepler spacecraft campaign. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Ann Marie Cody)

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft campaign. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Ann Marie Cody)

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NASA’s InSight lander on it’s way to Mars

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander has made its first course correction toward Mars.

InSight, short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, is the first mission dedicated to exploring the deep interior of Mars.

The lander is currently encapsulated in a protective aeroshell, which launched on top of an Atlas V 401 rocket on May 5th, 2018 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in Central California.

NASA's InSight spacecraft is currently cruising to Mars. Yesterday, it performed its first course correction guiding it to the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s InSight spacecraft is currently cruising to Mars. Yesterday, it performed its first course correction guiding it to the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s GRACE Follow-On Spacecraft launched Tuesday with mission to track Earth’s Water Changes

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. –  A joint U.S./German space mission to track the continuous movement of water and other changes in Earth’s mass on and beneath the planet’s surface successfully launched at 12:47pm PDT (2:47pm CDT) Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018 from the California coast.

The twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO), a joint NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) mission, lifted off on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California, sharing their ride into space with five Iridium NEXT communications satellites.

The NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow-On spacecraft launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will measure changes in how mass is redistributed within and among Earth's atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets, as well as within Earth itself. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

The NASA/German Research Centre for Geosciences GRACE Follow-On spacecraft launch onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, from Space Launch Complex 4E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. The mission will measure changes in how mass is redistributed within and among Earth’s atmosphere, oceans, land and ice sheets, as well as within Earth itself. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA lists Five Things you may not know about GRACE Follow-On Mission launching May 22nd

 

Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA’s Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Scheduled to launch no earlier than May 22nd, 2018 the twin satellites of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, a collaboration between NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ), will continue the work of monitoring changes in the world’s water cycle and surface mass, which was so well performed by the original GRACE mission.

There are far more than five things to say about this amazing new-old mission; but here are a few favorite facts.

Artist's illustration of the GRACE-FO satellites in orbit. (NASA)

Artist’s illustration of the GRACE-FO satellites in orbit. (NASA)

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NASA satellite observations reveal Freshwater locations changing around the Earth

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In a first-of-its-kind study, scientists have combined an array of NASA satellite observations of Earth with data on human activities to map locations where freshwater is changing around the globe and why.

The study, published today in the journal Nature, finds that Earth’s wet land areas are getting wetter and dry areas are getting drier due to a variety of factors, including human water management, climate change and natural cycles.

A team led by Matt Rodell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, used 14 years of observations from the U.S./German-led Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) spacecraft mission to track global trends in freshwater in 34 regions around the world.

Artist's illustration of the twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission. GRACE Follow-On will soon continue the work of the original GRACE mission, providing valuable data that will help manage Earth's critical water resources. (NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio)

Artist’s illustration of the twin spacecraft of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission. GRACE Follow-On will soon continue the work of the original GRACE mission, providing valuable data that will help manage Earth’s critical water resources. (NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio)

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Reexamination of NASA Galileo orbiter data yields new evidence of Plumes from Jupiter’s moon Europa

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Scientists re-examining data from an old mission bring new insights to the tantalizing question of whether Jupiter’s moon Europa has the ingredients to support life. The data provide independent evidence that the moon’s subsurface liquid water reservoir may be venting plumes of water vapor above its icy shell.

Data collected by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in 1997 were put through new and advanced computer models to untangle a mystery — a brief, localized bend in the magnetic field — that had gone unexplained until now.

Artist's illustration of Jupiter and Europa (in the foreground) with the Galileo spacecraft after its pass through a plume erupting from Europa's surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Michigan)

Artist’s illustration of Jupiter and Europa (in the foreground) with the Galileo spacecraft after its pass through a plume erupting from Europa’s surface. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Michigan)

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NASA is sending Mars Helicopter to Red Planet on Mars 2020 Rover Mission

 

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA is sending a helicopter to Mars.

The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with the agency’s Mars 2020 rover mission, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet.

“NASA has a proud history of firsts,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “The idea of a helicopter flying the skies of another planet is thrilling. The Mars Helicopter holds much promise for our future science, discovery, and exploration missions to Mars.”

The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with NASA's Mars 2020 rover, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Mars Helicopter, a small, autonomous rotorcraft, will travel with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover, currently scheduled to launch in July 2020, to demonstrate the viability and potential of heavier-than-air vehicles on the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s GRACE-FO Mission set to launch May 19th

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Media Relations

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  Imagine standing on the roof of a building in Los Angeles and trying to point a laser so accurately that you could hit a particular building in San Diego, more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) away.

This accuracy is required for the feat that a novel technology demonstration aboard the soon-to-launch Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission will aim to achieve.

For the first time, a promising technique called laser ranging interferometry will be tested between two satellites.

GRACE-FO will demonstrate the effectiveness of using lasers instead of microwaves to more precisely measure fluctuations in the separation distance between the two spacecraft, potentially improving the precision of range fluctuation measurements by a factor of at least 10 on future GRACE-like missions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

GRACE-FO will demonstrate the effectiveness of using lasers instead of microwaves to more precisely measure fluctuations in the separation distance between the two spacecraft, potentially improving the precision of range fluctuation measurements by a factor of at least 10 on future GRACE-like missions. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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