Topic: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Written by Whitney Clavin
Pasadena, CA – The New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument (NESSI) will soon get its first “taste” of exoplanets, helping astronomers decipher their chemical composition. Exoplanets are planets that orbit stars beyond our sun.
NESSI got its first peek at the sky on April 3rd, 2014. It looked at Pollux, a star in the Gemini constellation, and Arcturus, in the Boötes constellation, confirming that all modes of the instrument are working.
Written by Guy Webster
Pasadena, CA – Scientists using NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover are eyeing a rock layer surrounding the base of a small butte, called “Mount Remarkable,” as a target for investigating with tools on the rover’s robotic arm.
The rover works near this butte in an image taken on April 11th by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope discovers first Earth size planet orbiting another Star in the “Habitable Zone”
Written by Tony Phillip
Washington, D.C. – Using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, astronomers have discovered the first Earth-size planet orbiting in the “habitable zone” of another star. The planet, named “Kepler-186f” orbits an M dwarf, or red dwarf, a class of stars that makes up 70 percent of the stars in the Milky Way galaxy.
The discovery of Kepler-186f confirms that planets the size of Earth exist in the habitable zone of stars other than our sun.
The “habitable zone” is defined as the range of distances from a star where liquid water might pool on the surface of an orbiting planet.
NASA’s AIM spacecraft data shows Teleconnections in Earth’s Atmosphere linking Climate and Weather across the Globe
Written by Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Earth’s poles are separated by four oceans, six continents and more than 12,000 nautical miles.
Turns out, that’s not so far apart.
New data from NASA’s AIM spacecraft have revealed “teleconnections” in Earth’s atmosphere that stretch all the way from the North Pole to the South Pole and back again, linking weather and climate more closely than simple geography would suggest.
Written by Carol Rasmussen
Pasadena, CA – A new study shows that soybean plants can be redesigned to increase crop yields while requiring less water and helping to offset greenhouse gas warming. The study is the first to demonstrate that a major food crop can be modified to meet multiple goals at the same time.
The study, led by Darren Drewry of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA, used an advanced vegetation model and high-performance computer optimization techniques.
Written by Jane Platt
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons.
Images taken with Cassini’s narrow angle camera on April 15th, 2013, show disturbances at the very edge of Saturn’s A ring — the outermost of the planet’s large, bright rings. One of these disturbances is an arc about 20 percent brighter than its surroundings, 750 miles (1,200 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide.
Washington, D.C. – International Space Station Program officials, the international partners and representatives of SpaceX agreed Sunday to proceed with Monday’s scheduled launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and its Dragon cargo craft on the company’s third commercial resupply mission to the orbital laboratory.
After a series of meetings and reviews of procedures, flight controllers, engineers and managers concluded that the SpaceX-3 mission could be conducted as planned without violating any launch commit criteria despite the loss Friday of a backup computer command relay box called a multiplexer/demultiplexer (MDM) that resides in the station’s S0 truss.
Written by David Israel and Mark Whalen
Pasadena, CA – A team of about 20 working at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, through the lab’s Phaeton early-career-hire program, led the development of the Optical Payload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS) investigation, which is preparing for an April 14th launch to the International Space Station aboard the SpaceX-3 mission.
The goal? NASA’s first optical communication experiment on the orbital laboratory.
Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. – Consider a pair of brothers, identical twins. One gets a job as an astronaut and rockets into space. The other gets a job as an astronaut, too, but on this occasion he decides to stay home. After a year in space, the traveling twin returns home and they reunite.
Are the identical twins still … identical?
NASA is about to find out.
Written by Whitney Clavin
Pasadena, CA – Titan, Europa, Io and Phobos are just a few members of our solar system’s pantheon of moons. Are there other moons out there, orbiting planets beyond our sun?
NASA-funded researchers have spotted the first signs of an “exomoon,” and though they say it’s impossible to confirm its presence, the finding is a tantalizing first step toward locating others. The discovery was made by watching a chance encounter of objects in our galaxy, which can be witnessed only once.
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