Topic: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Written by DC Agle / Guy Webster
Pasadena, CA – On Tuesday, September 29th, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover drilled its eighth hole on Mars, and its fifth since reaching Mount Sharp one year ago.
The drilling of the hole 2.6-inches (65 millimeters) deep in a rock the team labeled “Big Sky” is part of a multi-day, multi-step sequence that will result in the analysis of the Martian rock’s ingredients in the rover’s two onboard laboratories – the Chemistry and Mineralogy X-Ray diffractometer (CheMin) and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite.
Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – Since its arrival at comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft has been surveying the surface and the environment of this curiously shaped body. But for a long time, a portion of the nucleus — the dark, cold regions around the comet’s south pole — remained inaccessible to almost all instruments on the spacecraft.
Due to a combination of its double-lobed shape and the inclination of its rotation axis, Rosetta’s comet has a very peculiar seasonal pattern over its 6.5-year-long orbit. Seasons are distributed very unevenly between the two hemispheres. Each hemisphere comprise parts of both comet lobes and the “neck.”
Written by DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – NASA has selected five science investigations for refinement during the next year as a first step in choosing one or two missions for flight opportunities as early as 2020. Three of those chosen have ties to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
The submitted proposals would study Venus, near-Earth objects and a variety of asteroids.
Each investigation team will receive $3 million to conduct concept design studies and analyses. After a detailed review and evaluation of the concept studies, NASA will make the final selections by September 2016 for continued development leading up to launch.
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – Mysteries and insights about Ceres are being discussed this week at the European Planetary Science Conference in Nantes, France. NASA’s Dawn spacecraft is providing scientists with tantalizing views and other data about the intriguing dwarf planet that they continue to analyze.
“Ceres continues to amaze, yet puzzle us, as we examine our multitude of images, spectra and now energetic particle bursts,” said Chris Russell, Dawn principal investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – Levels of “background ozone” — ozone pollution present in a region but not originating from local, human-produced sources — are high enough in Northern California and Nevada that they leave little room for local ozone production under proposed stricter U.S. ground-level ozone standards, finds a new NASA-led study.
The researchers, led by Min Huang of George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, used a novel technique that combined data acquired from two instruments on NASA’s Aura spacecraft in the summer of 2008.
Written by Guy Webster / DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – New findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) provide the strongest evidence yet that liquid water flows intermittently on present-day Mars.
Using an imaging spectrometer on MRO, researchers detected signatures of hydrated minerals on slopes where mysterious streaks are seen on the Red Planet. These darkish streaks appear to ebb and flow over time.
They darken and appear to flow down steep slopes during warm seasons, and then fade in cooler seasons. They appear in several locations on Mars when temperatures are above minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 23 Celsius), and disappear at colder times.
Washington, D.C. – The newest high-resolution images of Pluto from NASA’s New Horizons are both dazzling and mystifying, revealing a multitude of previously unseen topographic and compositional details.
The image below — showing an area near the line that separates day from night — captures a vast rippling landscape of strange, aligned linear ridges that has astonished New Horizons team members.
Written by Guy Webster
Pasadena, CA – NASA will detail a major science finding from the agency’s ongoing exploration of Mars during a news briefing at 8:30am PDT (11:30am EDT) on Monday, September 28th.
The event will be broadcast live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Written by Guy Webster
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is conducting a “walkabout” survey of “Marathon Valley,” where the rover’s operators plan to use the vehicle through the upcoming Martian winter, and beyond, to study the context for outcrops bearing clay minerals.
Marathon Valley slices downhill from west to east for about 300 yards or meters through the western rim of Endeavour Crater. Opportunity has been investigating rock targets in the western portion of the valley since late July, working its way eastward in a thorough reconnaissance of the area.
Science at NASA
Washington, D.C. – More than 90 percent of our planet’s freshwater ice is bound in the massive ice sheets and glaciers of the Antarctic and Greenland. As temperatures around the world slowly climb, melt waters from these vast stores of ice add to rising sea levels.
All by itself, Greenland could bump sea levels by 7 meters (23 feet) if its ice melted completely.
And … it’s melting.
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