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Topic: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA uses Unmanned Aircraft to aid in Hurricane Harvey Search and Rescue

 

Written by Jay Levine, X-Press editor
NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationEdwards, CA – NASA commercialized technology enabled vital bird’s eye views of the Houston disaster areas left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey that helped first in the search and rescue mission and then in damage assessment.

The unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) detect and avoid technology (DAA) developed and flight tested at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center in California used in Texas fulfils a primary goal that Armstrong researcher Ricardo Arteaga and his team had from the start – help people.

NASA Commercialized Technology Assists Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts. (NASA)

NASA Commercialized Technology Assists Hurricane Harvey Recovery Efforts. (NASA)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers Dark Planet that eats Light

 

Written by Donna Weaver / Ray Villard
Space Telescope Science Institute

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationBaltimore, MD – NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has observed a planet outside our solar system that looks as black as fresh asphalt because it eats light rather than reflecting it back into space. This light-eating prowess is due to the planet’s unique capability to trap at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere.

The oddball exoplanet, called WASP-12b, is one of a class of so-called “hot Jupiters,” gigantic, gaseous planets that orbit very close to their host star and are heated to extreme temperatures.

The day side of the planet, called WASP-12b, eats light rather than reflects it into space. The exoplanet, which is twice the size of Jupiter, has the unique capability to trap at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere. The temperature of the atmosphere is a seething 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit, which is as hot as a small star. The night side is much cooler, with temperatures roughly 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which allows water vapor and clouds to form. (NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI))

The day side of the planet, called WASP-12b, eats light rather than reflects it into space. The exoplanet, which is twice the size of Jupiter, has the unique capability to trap at least 94 percent of the visible starlight falling into its atmosphere. The temperature of the atmosphere is a seething 4,600 degrees Fahrenheit, which is as hot as a small star. The night side is much cooler, with temperatures roughly 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit, which allows water vapor and clouds to form. (NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI))

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NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment mission coming to a close

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – With one of its twin satellites almost out of fuel after more than 15 years of chasing each other around our planet to measure Earth’s ever-changing gravity field, the operations team for the U.S./German Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) mission is making plans for an anticipated final science collection.

On September 3rd, one of 20 battery cells aboard the GRACE-2 satellite stopped operating due to an age-related issue. It was the eighth battery cell loss on GRACE-2 since the twin satellites that compose the GRACE mission launched in March 2002 on a mission designed to last five years. The following day, contact was lost with GRACE-2.

Illustration of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites in orbit. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

Illustration of the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) twin satellites in orbit. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

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Plunge into Saturn ends NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft’s groundbreaking mission

 

Written by Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A thrilling epoch in the exploration of our solar system came to a close today, as NASA’s Cassini spacecraft made a fateful plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet.

“This is the final chapter of an amazing mission, but it’s also a new beginning,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Saturn's active, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus sinks behind the giant planet in a farewell portrait from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. This view of Enceladus was taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 13, 2017. It is among the last images Cassini sent back. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

Saturn’s active, ocean-bearing moon Enceladus sinks behind the giant planet in a farewell portrait from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft. This view of Enceladus was taken by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft on Sept. 13, 2017. It is among the last images Cassini sent back. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover begins climbing Vera Rubin Ridge

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has begun the steep ascent of an iron-oxide-bearing ridge that’s grabbed scientists’ attention since before the car-sized rover’s 2012 landing.

“We’re on the climb now, driving up a route where we can access the layers we’ve studied from below,” said Abigail Fraeman, a Curiosity science-team member at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Researchers used the Mastcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover to gain this detailed view of layers in "Vera Rubin Ridge" from just below the ridge. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Researchers used the Mastcam on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover to gain this detailed view of layers in “Vera Rubin Ridge” from just below the ridge. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft begins plunge into Saturn

 

Written by Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is on final approach to Saturn, following confirmation by mission navigators that it is on course to dive into the planet’s atmosphere on Friday, September 15th, 2017.

Cassini is ending its 13-year tour of the Saturn system with an intentional plunge into the planet to ensure Saturn’s moons – in particular Enceladus, with its subsurface ocean and signs of hydrothermal activity – remain pristine for future exploration.

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is shown heading for the gap between Saturn and its rings during one of 22 such dives of the mission's finale in this illustration. The spacecraft will make a final plunge into the planet's atmosphere on Sept. 15. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is shown heading for the gap between Saturn and its rings during one of 22 such dives of the mission’s finale in this illustration. The spacecraft will make a final plunge into the planet’s atmosphere on Sept. 15. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft makes final flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan

 

Written by Preston Dyches
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Cassini spacecraft is headed toward its September 15th, 2017 plunge into Saturn, following a final, distant flyby of the planet’s giant moon Titan.

The spacecraft made its closest approach to Titan today at 12:04pm PDT (3:04pm EDT), at an altitude of 73,974 miles (119,049 kilometers) above the moon’s surface. The spacecraft is scheduled to make contact with Earth on September 12th at about 6:19pm PDT (9:19pm EDT).

Cassini made its final, distant flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on Sept. 11, which set the spacecraft on its final dive toward the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Cassini made its final, distant flyby of Saturn’s moon Titan on Sept. 11, which set the spacecraft on its final dive toward the planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA observes Tropical Storm Irma moving North up Florida Peninsula

 

Written by Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured night-time look at Hurricane Irma as it weakened to a large tropical storm and the GOES East satellite provided a daytime view as the large storm continued moving north over Florida.

Irma made landfall twice on September 10th, 2017, first in the Florida Keys and then near Naples. The storm has now been downgraded to a tropical storm but could still cause significant impacts over Georgia and Alabama. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama was under a Tropical Storm Watch on September 11th.

NASA-NOAA's Suomi NPP satellite captured this night-time infrared image of Hurricane Imra on Sept. 11, 2017 at 3:21 a.m. EDT (0721 UTC) located over central Florida. (NOAA/NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team)

NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP satellite captured this night-time infrared image of Hurricane Imra on Sept. 11, 2017 at 3:21 a.m. EDT (0721 UTC) located over central Florida. (NOAA/NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team)

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NASA and NOAA Satellites capture images of Hurricane Irma hitting Florida

 

Written by Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – As Hurricane Irma approached southern Florida, a NASA satellite captured a night-time image of the storm in the Florida Straits and identified where the strongest storms were occurring within Irma’s structure. NOAA’s GOES satellite provided a visible image at the time of Irma’s landfall in the Florida Keys.

As Irma moved along the coast of Cuba, the storm weakened to a Category 3 Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

After moving away from the northern coast of Cuba, Irma passed over waters that are warmer than 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit).

This visible image of Category 4 Hurricane Irma was taken on Sunday Sept. 10, 2017 at 9:25 a.m. EDT (1325 UTC) by the NOAA GOES East satellite as its eye approached the southwestern coast of Florida. Hurricane Jose is seen (right) near the Leeward Islands. (NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

This visible image of Category 4 Hurricane Irma was taken on Sunday Sept. 10, 2017 at 9:25 a.m. EDT (1325 UTC) by the NOAA GOES East satellite as its eye approached the southwestern coast of Florida. Hurricane Jose is seen (right) near the Leeward Islands. (NASA/NOAA GOES Project)

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NASA observes Hurricane Irma moving along Cuba’s Coast

 

Written by Rob Gutro
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Hurricane Irma was moving up Cuba’s northern coast when NASA’s Aqua satellite passed overhead.

A satellite instrument revealed coldest temperatures of powerful thunderstorm tops surrounding Irma’s eye and in a band of thunderstorms over the Florida Keys.

Infrared MODIS data showed two areas with very cold cloud top temperatures of strong thunderstorms.

This infrared image from the MODIS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite shows extremely cold temperatures (red) in thunderstorms surrounding the eye of Hurricane Irma as it traveled along Cuba's northern coast on Sept. 9 at 3:15 a.m. EDT (0715 UTC). (NASA/NRL)

This infrared image from the MODIS instrument aboard NASA’s Aqua satellite shows extremely cold temperatures (red) in thunderstorms surrounding the eye of Hurricane Irma as it traveled along Cuba’s northern coast on Sept. 9 at 3:15 a.m. EDT (0715 UTC). (NASA/NRL)

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