Written by Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
Washington, D.C. – This Saturday at 5:51am PDT, (7:51am CDT, 12:51 UTC) NASA’s Juno spacecraft will get closer to the cloud tops of Jupiter than at any other time during its prime mission.
At the moment of closest approach, Juno will be about 2,600 miles (4,200 kilometers) above Jupiter’s swirling clouds and traveling at 130,000 mph (208,000 kilometers per hour) with respect to the planet. There are 35 more close flybys of Jupiter scheduled during its prime mission (scheduled to end in February of 2018).
Written by Guy Webster
Pasadena, CA – Seasonal dark streaks on Mars that have become one of the hottest topics in interplanetary research don’t hold much water, according to the latest findings from a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars.
The new results from NASA’s Mars Odyssey mission rely on ground temperature, measured by infrared imaging using the spacecraft’s Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS). They do not contradict last year’s identification of hydrated salt at these flows, which since their 2011 discovery have been regarded as possible markers for the presence of liquid water on modern Mars.
Written by Andrew Good
Pasadena, CA – Each year, NASA funds a handful of futuristic concepts to push forward the boundaries of space exploration. These early-stage proposals are selected with the hope of developing new ideas into realistic proofs-of-concept.
From August 23rd to 25th, the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium will host presentations on 28 proposals, including five from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California.
NASA’s Stennis Space Center
Bay St. Louis, MS – NASA engineers successfully conducted a development test of the RS-25 rocket engine Thursday, August 18th at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The RS-25 will help power the core stage of the agency’s new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for the journey to Mars.
A variety of NASA officials and contractor representatives, as well as social and traditional media members, gathered to watch the 420-second test of RS-25 engine No. 0528. NASA is developing the SLS to send humans further into deep space than they have ever traveled, including on the journey to Mars.
Written by Michele Johnson
Washington, D.C. – Using public data collected by NASA’s Kepler mission, astronomers have catalogued the planet candidates that may be similar to our third rock from the sun. The tabulation of candidates will help astronomers focus their research efforts in the search for life.
The analysis, led by Stephen Kane, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at San Francisco State University in California, highlights 20 candidates in the Kepler trove that are less than twice the size of Earth and orbit their star in the conservative habitable zone — the range of distances where liquid water could pool on the surface of an orbiting planet.
Written by Preston Dyches / DC Agle
Pasadena, CA – Five years after departing Earth, and a month after slipping into orbit around Jupiter, NASA’s Juno spacecraft is nearing a turning point. On July 31st at 12:41pm PDT (3:41pm EDT), Juno will reach the farthest point in its orbit of Jupiter for the first time, known as “apojove,” 5 million miles (8.1 million kilometers) from the giant planet.
After that point, Jupiter’s gravitational grip on Juno will cause the spacecraft to begin falling back toward the planet for another pass, this time with its scientific eyes wide open.
Written by Sarah Schlieder
Greenbelt, MD – NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will launch September 2016 and travel to a near-Earth asteroid known as Bennu to harvest a sample of surface material and return it to Earth for study. The science team will be looking for something special. Ideally, the sample will come from a region in which the building blocks of life may be found.
To identify these regions on Bennu, the Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) team equipped the spacecraft with an instrument that will measure the spectral signatures of Bennu’s mineralogical and molecular components.
Washington, D.C. – July is always a good time to assess where U.S. human space exploration has been and where it’s going. This year, July 20th marks the 40th anniversary of Viking, which in 1976 became the first spacecraft to land on Mars.
And just seven years — to the day — before Viking’s amazing feat, humans first set foot on another world, when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin set the Apollo 11 lunar module Eagle down in the moon’s Sea of Tranquility on July 20th, 1969.
Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – An international team of astronomers has discovered and confirmed a treasure trove of new worlds using NASA’s Kepler spacecraft on its K2 mission. Out of 197 initial planet candidates, scientists have confirmed 104 planets outside our solar system. Among the confirmed is a planetary system comprising four promising planets that could be rocky.
These four planets, all between 20 and 50 percent larger than Earth by diameter, are orbiting the M dwarf star K2-72, found 181 light-years away in the direction of the Aquarius constellation. The host star is less than half the size of the sun and less bright.
Written Dwayne Brown / Laurie Cantillo
Washington, D.C. – The engineers and scientists working on NASA’s Juno mission have been busying themselves, getting their newly arrived Jupiter orbiter ready for operations around the largest planetary inhabitant in the solar system.
Juno successfully entered Jupiter’s orbit during a 35-minute engine burn on Monday, July 4th. Confirmation that the burn had completed was received on Earth at 8:53pm. PDT (11:53pm EDT) that evening.
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