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NASA to do feasibility study on manning Orion Spacecraft’s first flight

 

Written by Cheryl Warner
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA is assessing the feasibility of adding a crew to the first integrated flight of the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1). NASA is building new deep space capabilities to take humans farther into the solar system than we have ever traveled, and ultimately to Mars.

Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot announced February 15th that he had asked William Gerstenmaier, associate administrator for NASA’s Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate in Washington, to conduct the study, and it is now underway. NASA expects it to be completed in early spring.

NASA Continues Progress to Send Humans to Deep Space. Pictured is NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. (NASA)

NASA Continues Progress to Send Humans to Deep Space. Pictured is NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket. (NASA)

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NASA finds Red Dwarf Star with several Earth Size Planets in Orbit

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A bumper crop of Earth-size planets huddled around an ultra-cool, red dwarf star could be little more than chunks of rock blasted by radiation, or cloud-covered worlds as broiling hot as Venus.

Or they could harbor exotic lifeforms, thriving under skies of ruddy twilight.

Scientists are pondering the possibilities after this week’s announcement: the discovery of seven worlds orbiting a small, cool star some 40 light-years away, all of them in the ballpark of our home planet in terms of their heft (mass) and size (diameter). Three of the planets reside in the “habitable zone” around their star, TRAPPIST-1, where calculations suggest that conditions might be right for liquid water to exist on their surfaces—though follow-up observations are needed to be sure.

This illustration shows the seven planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, and ultra-cool dwarf star, as they might look as viewed from Earth using a fictional, incredibly powerful telescope. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

This illustration shows the seven planets orbiting TRAPPIST-1, and ultra-cool dwarf star, as they might look as viewed from Earth using a fictional, incredibly powerful telescope. (NASA-JPL/Caltech)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope discover Star with Seven Earth Sized Planets in Orbit

 

Written by Elizabeth Landau
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water — key to life as we know it — under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it. This artist's concept appeared on the cover of the journal Nature in Feb. 23, 2017 announcing new results about the system. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultra-cool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it. This artist’s concept appeared on the cover of the journal Nature in Feb. 23, 2017 announcing new results about the system. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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AAA reports Average Gas Prices Remain Steady Despite Low Demand

 

AAATampa, FL – National gas prices have increased fractions of a penny to reach today’s average price for regular unleaded gasoline, which is $2.28 per gallon. Today’s average is the same as one week ago, five cents less compared to one month ago and 56 cents more than the same date last year.

Prices continue to remain flat due to lower driving demand and an oversupplied market as a result of increased U.S. production. As refinery maintenance season begins and driving demand increases, we could expect to see some of the gasoline supply in the U.S. soaked up.

National Average Gas Price Comparison, 2015-2017-February «Read the rest of this article»

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IRS warns Tax Professionals of New Scam to “Unlock” Their Tax Software Accounts

 

IRS - Internal Revenue ServiceWashington, D.C. – The Internal Revenue Service, state tax agencies and the tax industry today warned tax professionals to be alert to a new phishing email scam impersonating software providers.

The scam email comes with the subject line, “Access Locked.” It tells recipients that access to their tax prep software accounts has been “suspended due to errors in your security details.” The scam email asks the tax professional to address the issue by using an “unlock” link provided in the email.

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NASA to present findings on Exoplanets in other systems during Wednesday News Conference

 

Written by Felicia Chou / Sean Potter
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA will hold a news conference at 10:00am PST (12:00pm CST) Wednesday, February 22nd, to present new findings on planets that orbit stars other than our sun, known as exoplanets. The event will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Details of these findings are embargoed by the journal Nature until 10:00am PST (12:00pm CST).

Media and the public also may ask questions during the briefing on Twitter using the hashtag #askNASA.

Artist's illustration of an exoplanet. (NASA)

Artist’s illustration of an exoplanet. (NASA)

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NASA’s Earth Science continues research from International Space Station

 

Written by Samson Reiny
NASA Earth Science News Team

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The number of instruments on the International Space Station dedicated to observing Earth to increase our understanding of our home planet continues to grow.

Two new instruments are scheduled to make their way to the station on the SpaceX Dragon capsule.

The Stratospheric Aerosol and Gas Experiment (SAGE) III instrument will monitor the condition of the ozone layer, which covers an area in the stratosphere 10 to 30 miles (16 to 48 kilometers) above Earth and protects the planet from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation.

The International Space Station is becoming an increasingly busy platform for studying our home planet. (NASA)

The International Space Station is becoming an increasingly busy platform for studying our home planet. (NASA)

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Use IRS.gov for Quick Answers to your Tax Questions

 

Internal Revenue Service - IRSWashington, D.C. – The Internal Revenue Service today reminded taxpayers that the next couple of weeks, especially around Presidents’ Day, marks the busiest time of year for IRS toll-free phone services. Taxpayers can avoid the rush by getting answers to their questions on IRS.gov.

The IRS will be issuing an “Avoid the Rush” series of news releases that provide tips related to the most common questions asked by taxpayers during the February peak.

Income Taxes

Income Taxes

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft will continue current orbit around Jupiter

 

Written by DC Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter, which has been in orbit around the gas giant since July 4, 2016, will remain in its current 53-day orbit for the remainder of the mission. This will allow Juno to accomplish its science goals, while avoiding the risk of a previously-planned engine firing that would have reduced the spacecraft’s orbital period to 14 days.

“Juno is healthy, its science instruments are fully operational, and the data and images we’ve received are nothing short of amazing,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “The decision to forego the burn is the right thing to do — preserving a valuable asset so that Juno can continue its exciting journey of discovery.”

NASA's Juno spacecraft soared directly over Jupiter's south pole when JunoCam acquired this image on February 2, 2017 at 6:06 a.m. PT (9:06 a.m. ET), from an altitude of about 62,800 miles (101,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops. (NASA)

NASA’s Juno spacecraft soared directly over Jupiter’s south pole when JunoCam acquired this image on February 2, 2017 at 6:06 a.m. PT (9:06 a.m. ET), from an altitude of about 62,800 miles (101,000 kilometers) above the cloud tops. (NASA)

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American Heart Association warns Cardiovascular Disease Costs Will Exceed $1 Trillion by 2035

 

Nearly Half of Americans Will Develop Pre-existing CVD Conditions

American Heart AssociationWashington, D.C. – A new study, released today by the American Heart Association, projects that by 2035, cardiovascular disease (CVD), the most costly and prevalent killer, if left unchecked, will place a crushing economic and health burden on the nation’s financial and health care systems.

According to the study, in the next two decades, the number of Americans with CVD will rise to 131.2 million – 45 percent of the total U.S. population – with costs expected to reach $1.1 trillion.

This is the American Heart Association's Salty Six Infographic highlighting six popular foods that can add high levels of sodium to your diet. They are bread and rolls, cold cuts, cured meat, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches. (American Heart Association)

This is the American Heart Association’s Salty Six Infographic highlighting six popular foods that can add high levels of sodium to your diet. They are bread and rolls, cold cuts, cured meat, pizza, poultry, soup, and sandwiches. (American Heart Association)

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