Written by Elizabeth Landau
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn mission has found evidence for organic material on Ceres, a dwarf planet and the largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Scientists using the spacecraft’s visible and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIR) detected the material in and around a northern-hemisphere crater called Ernutet. Organic molecules are interesting to scientists because they are necessary, though not sufficient, components of life on Earth.
Written by Sarah Frazier
Greenbelt, MD – The first total solar eclipse in the continental United States in nearly 40 years takes place on August 21st, 2017. Beyond providing a brilliant sight in the daytime sky, total solar eclipses provide a rare chance for scientists to collect data only available during eclipses. NASA is funding 11 scientific studies that will take advantage of this opportunity.
“When the moon blocks out the sun during a total eclipse, those regions of Earth that are in the direct path of totality become dark as night for almost three minutes,” said Steve Clarke, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “This will be one of the best-observed eclipses to date, and we plan to take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn as much as we can about the sun and its effects on Earth.”
Written by Hal Pierce/Rob Gutro
Greenbelt, MD – Widespread flooding has recently caused the deaths of dozens of people in southern Thailand. Frequent and persistent downpours have resulted in record rainfall totals and NASA calculated rainfall over the region from January 5th to January 12th, 2017.
The Global Precipitation Measurement mission or GPM core satellite is part of a constellation of satellites that can measure rainfall from space. GPM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency and the data is input into NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellitE Retrievals for GPM (IMERG) data product.
Written by Bob Jacobs / Allard Beutel
Washington, D.C. – In 2016, NASA drove advances in technology, science, aeronautics and space exploration that enhanced the world’s knowledge, innovation, and stewardship of Earth.
“This past year marked record-breaking progress in our exploration objectives,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “We advanced the capabilities we’ll need to travel farther into the solar system while increasing observations of our home and the universe, learning more about how to continuously live and work in space, and, of course, inspiring the next generation of leaders to take up our Journey to Mars and make their own discoveries.”
Peterson Air Force Base, CO – For more than 50 years, NORAD and its predecessor, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD) have tracked Santa’s flight across the world.
The tradition began in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.”
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – NASA confirmed Friday morning that all eight spacecraft of its latest Earth science mission are in good shape. The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) will provide scientists with advanced technology to see inside tropical storms and hurricanes as never before.
CYGNSS launched into orbit at 5:37am PST (8:37am EST) Thursday aboard an Orbital ATK air-launched Pegasus XL launch vehicle. The rocket was dropped and launched from Orbital’s Stargazer L-1011 aircraft, which took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, over the Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of central Florida.
Written by Kate Ramsayer
Greenbelt, MD – As Earth warms, much of the extra heat is stored in the planet’s ocean — but monitoring the magnitude of that heat content is a difficult task.
A surprising feature of the tides could help, however. Scientists at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, are developing a new way to use satellite observations of magnetic fields to measure heat stored in the ocean.
Written by Gina Anderson
Washington, D.C. – NASA has released its Spinoff 2017 publication, which takes a close look at 50 different companies that are using NASA technology — innovations developed by NASA, including JPL; with NASA funding; or under a contract with the agency — in products that we all benefit from.
Whether it’s the self-driving tractor that harvests food, cameras used in car-crash safety tests, or tools making brain surgery safer, NASA technology plays a significant role in our daily lives.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – A new multi-institutional study of the temporary slowdown in the global average surface temperature warming trend observed between 1998 and 2013 concludes the phenomenon represented a redistribution of energy within the Earth system, with Earth’s ocean absorbing the extra heat.
The phenomenon was referred to by some as the “global warming hiatus.” Global average surface temperature, measured by satellites and direct observations, is considered a key indicator of climate change.
Written by Alan Buis
Pasadena, CA – NASA is set to launch its first Earth science small satellite constellation, which will help improve hurricane intensity, track and storm surge forecasts, on December 12th from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.
The Cyclone Global Navigation Satellite System (CYGNSS) hurricane mission will measure previously unknown details crucial to accurately understanding the formation and intensity of tropical cyclones and hurricanes. Derek Posselt of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is the deputy principal investigator.
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