Written by Whitney Clavin
Pasadena, CA – Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet’s living kingdoms. How did it all begin?
A new study from researchers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, and the Icy Worlds team at NASA’s Astrobiology Institute, based at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, CA, describes how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life.
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.
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 Dr. Tony Phillips
Washington, D.C. - Evidence that Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbors a large underground ocean has been uncovered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network, furthering scientific interest in the moon as a potential home to extraterrestrial microbes.
Researchers theorized the presence of an interior reservoir of liquid water in 2005 when Cassini discovered water vapor and ice spewing from vents near the moon’s south pole. New data on the moon’s gravity field reported in the April 4th, 2014, edition of the journal Science strengthen the case for an ocean hidden inside Enceladus.
Clarksville, TN – Hopefully the Winter Market is going to start looking a lot like Spring here in the near days or weeks. Visit us at the Winter Market this Friday from 9:30am until 1:30am at the Smith Trahern Mansion. «Read the rest of this article»
Written by Whitney Clavin
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.
Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.
Written by Guy Webster
Pasadena, CA – NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars have returned clues for understanding seasonal features that are the strongest indication of possible liquid water that may exist today on the Red Planet.
The features are dark, finger-like markings that advance down some Martian slopes when temperatures rise. The new clues include corresponding seasonal changes in iron minerals on the same slopes and a survey of ground temperatures and other traits at active sites.
Written by Whitney Clavin
Pasadena, CA – Imagine living on a planet with seasons so erratic you would hardly know whether to wear Bermuda shorts or a heavy overcoat. That is the situation on a weird, wobbly world found by NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler space telescope.
The planet, designated Kepler-413b, precesses, or wobbles, wildly on its spin axis, much like a child’s top. The tilt of the planet’s spin axis can vary by as much as 30 degrees over 11 years, leading to rapid and erratic changes in seasons.
In contrast, Earth’s rotational precession is 23.5 degrees over 26,000 years. Researchers are amazed that this far-off planet is precessing on a human timescale.
Nashville, TN - Record breaking cold weather has swept much of the Southeast U.S. over the past few days. Areas that are normally mild have been faced with freezing temperatures which has resulted in many car accidents and stranded travelers across several states. As always, the Red Cross is there to help.
“We are currently working to assist stranded passengers at Greyhound stations in Nashville and Memphis with food, shelter and personal hygiene items,” said David Kitchen, Regional Disaster Program Officer. “Some of these people may have been stranded for over 24 hours and we want to ensure that their emergency needs are being met.” «Read the rest of this article»
Written by DC Agle/Jia-Rui Cook
Pasadena, CA – Three NASA science instruments are being prepared for check-out operations aboard the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, which is set to become the first to orbit a comet and land a probe on its nucleus in November.
Rosetta was reactivated January 20th after a record 957 days in hibernation. U.S. mission managers are scheduled to activate their instruments on the spacecraft in early March and begin science operations with them in August. The instruments are an ultraviolet imaging spectrograph, a microwave thermometer and a plasma analyzer.
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