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NASA’s Lucy Mission discovers asteroid Eurybates has a Satellite

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Lucy mission team is seeing double after discovering that Eurybates, the asteroid the spacecraft has targeted for flyby in 2027, has a small satellite. This “bonus” science exploration opportunity for the project was discovered using images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 in September 2018, December 2019, and January 2020.

Launching in October 2021, Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojan asteroids, a population of small bodies orbiting the Sun “leading” and “trailing” Jupiter, at the same distance from the Sun as the gas giant.

Artist rendition of NASA's Lucy spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Eurybates. (NASA)

Artist rendition of NASA’s Lucy spacecraft orbiting the asteroid Eurybates. (NASA)

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NASA, SpaceX have successful Final Test Flight of Crew Dragon Spacecraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – On Sunday, January 19th, 2020 NASA and SpaceX completed a launch escape demonstration of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket. This was the final major flight test of the spacecraft before it begins carrying astronauts to the International Space Station under NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.

The launch escape test began at 9:30am CT with liftoff from historic Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a mission to show the spacecraft’s capability to safely separate from the rocket in the unlikely event of an inflight emergency.

NASA and SpaceX completed a launch escape demonstration of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket on Jan. 19, 2020. The test began at 9:30am CT with liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a mission to show the spacecraft’s capability to safely separate from the rocket in the unlikely event of an inflight emergency. (NASA Television)

NASA and SpaceX completed a launch escape demonstration of the company’s Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket on Jan. 19, 2020. The test began at 9:30am CT with liftoff from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a mission to show the spacecraft’s capability to safely separate from the rocket in the unlikely event of an inflight emergency. (NASA Television)

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SpaceX, NASA to launch final, major In-Flight Abort Demonstration before Astronauts board Crew Dragon Spacecraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA and SpaceX postponed the test until Sunday, January 19th, due to sustained winds and rough seas in the recovery area. Further updates will be available from NASA’s commercial crew blog.

NASA and SpaceX are preparing to launch the final, major test before astronauts fly aboard the Crew Dragon spacecraft and Falcon 9 rocket to the International Space Station as part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program.

The uncrewed in-flight abort demonstration is targeted for 7:00am CT Sunday, January 19th, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida. There is a four-hour test window. (SpaceX)

The uncrewed in-flight abort demonstration is targeted for 7:00am CT Sunday, January 19th, from Launch Complex 39A in Florida. There is a four-hour test window. (SpaceX)

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NASA Observes Australia’s Bushfires, From Smoke Going Round the World to Aerosol Levels

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA scientists using data from its NOAA/NASA Suomi NPP satellite, has traced the movement of the smoke coming off the Australian fires across the globe showing that it has circumnavigated the Earth.

In an image created from data gathered by the Ozone Mapping and Profiler Suite (OMPS) Nadir Mapper on Suomi NPP, a black circle shows the smoke which had been traced from its origins coming back to the eastern region of Australia after having traveled around the world.

This image of the UV aerosol index from the Suomi NPP satellite OMPS Nadir Mapper instrument showing a "close-up" from Jan. 13, 2020 (specifically orbit 42546). The image reveals that the smoke has now made its all the way back to eastern Australia (black circle). The red circle shows "newly formed" (or current) smoke that has just been emitted from the fires. The green circle shows the dust from an intense dust storm. (NASA/Colin Seftor)

This image of the UV aerosol index from the Suomi NPP satellite OMPS Nadir Mapper instrument showing a “close-up” from Jan. 13, 2020 (specifically orbit 42546). The image reveals that the smoke has now made its all the way back to eastern Australia (black circle). The red circle shows “newly formed” (or current) smoke that has just been emitted from the fires. The green circle shows the dust from an intense dust storm. (NASA/Colin Seftor)

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NASA, NOAA research shows 2019 Second Warmest Year on Record

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – According to independent analyses by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Earth’s global surface temperatures in 2019 were the second warmest since modern record keeping began in 1880.

Globally, 2019 temperatures were second only to those of 2016 and continued the planet’s long-term warming trend: the past five years have been the warmest of the last 140 years.

This plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Berkeley Earth research group, the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK), and the Cowtan and Way analysis. Though there are minor variations from year to year, all five temperature records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other. (NASA GISS/Gavin Schmidt)

This plot shows yearly temperature anomalies from 1880 to 2019, with respect to the 1951-1980 mean, as recorded by NASA, NOAA, the Berkeley Earth research group, the Met Office Hadley Centre (UK), and the Cowtan and Way analysis. Though there are minor variations from year to year, all five temperature records show peaks and valleys in sync with each other. (NASA GISS/Gavin Schmidt)

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NASA’s ARIA Team mapped damage in Southwestern Puerto Rico after Earthquake

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that since a magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck Puerto Rico last week, aftershocks near its southwestern coast have been relentless. The frequency and intensity of the aftershocks continue to cause damage on this already-vulnerable part of the island.

NASA scientists are helping local and federal agencies assess the extent of that damage. Using synthetic aperture radar data from the Copernicus Sentinel-1 satellites operated by the European Space Agency (ESA), the Advanced Rapid Imaging and Analysis (ARIA) team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and Caltech in Pasadena, California, created a new damage map that includes the southwestern coast near the main quake’s epicenter.

NASA's ARIA team mapped damage in southwestern Puerto Rico following a 6.4-magnitude quake and hundreds of aftershocks. Guanica, west of the city of Ponce, was particularly hard-hit. (NASA/JPL-Caltech, ESA)

NASA’s ARIA team mapped damage in southwestern Puerto Rico following a 6.4-magnitude quake and hundreds of aftershocks. Guanica, west of the city of Ponce, was particularly hard-hit. (NASA/JPL-Caltech, ESA)

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NASA says Future Homes on Moon, Mars Could Be Made of Fungi

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – Science fiction often imagines our future on Mars and other planets as run by machines, with metallic cities and flying cars rising above dunes of red sand. But the reality may be even stranger – and “greener.”

Instead of habitats made of metal and glass, NASA is exploring technologies that could grow structures out of fungi to become our future homes in the stars, and perhaps lead to more sustainable ways of living on Earth as well.

A researcher holding a petri dish containing mycelia – the underground threads that make up the main part of a fungus – growing in simulated martian soil, also known as martian regolith. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Lynn Rothschild)

A researcher holding a petri dish containing mycelia – the underground threads that make up the main part of a fungus – growing in simulated martian soil, also known as martian regolith. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Lynn Rothschild)

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NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, Hubble Telescope, Spitzer Telescope photos used to make 3D image of Crab Nebula

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Astronomers and visualization specialists from NASA’s Universe of Learning program have combined the visible, infrared and X-ray vision of NASA’s Great Observatories to create a three-dimensional representation of the dynamic Crab Nebula, the tattered remains of an exploded star.

The multiwavelength computer graphics visualization is based on images from the NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory, the NASA Hubble Space Telescope and the NASA Spitzer Space Telescope.

This new multiwavelength image of the Crab Nebula combines X-ray light from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (in blue) with visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope (in yellow) and infrared light seen by the Spitzer Space Telescope (in red). This particular combination of light from across the electromagnetic spectrum highlights the nested structure of the pulsar wind nebula. The X-rays reveal the beating heart of the Crab, the neutron-star remnant from the supernova explosion seen almost a thousand years ago. (NASA, ESA and J. DePasquale (STScI) and R. Hurt (Caltech/IPAC))

This new multiwavelength image of the Crab Nebula combines X-ray light from the Chandra X-ray Observatory (in blue) with visible light from the Hubble Space Telescope (in yellow) and infrared light seen by the Spitzer Space Telescope (in red). This particular combination of light from across the electromagnetic spectrum highlights the nested structure of the pulsar wind nebula. The X-rays reveal the beating heart of the Crab, the neutron-star remnant from the supernova explosion seen almost a thousand years ago. (NASA, ESA and J. DePasquale (STScI) and R. Hurt (Caltech/IPAC))

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NASA’s TESS Satellite discovers Planet with Two Stars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – In 2019, when Wolf Cukier finished his junior year at Scarsdale High School in New York, he joined NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, as a summer intern. His job was to examine variations in star brightness captured by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and uploaded to the Planet Hunters TESS citizen science project.

“I was looking through the data for everything the volunteers had flagged as an eclipsing binary, a system where two stars circle around each other and from our view eclipse each other every orbit,” Cukier said.

In this illustration, TOI 1338 b is silhouetted by its host stars. TESS only detects transits from the larger star. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith)

In this illustration, TOI 1338 b is silhouetted by its host stars. TESS only detects transits from the larger star. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith)

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NASA’s SOFIA telescope discovers how Swan Nebula was born

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says one of the brightest and most massive star-forming regions in our galaxy, the Omega or Swan Nebula, came to resemble the shape resembling a swan’s neck we see today only relatively recently.

New observations reveal that its regions formed separately over multiple eras of star birth. The new image from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, is helping scientists chronicle the history and evolution of this well-studied nebula.

“The present-day nebula holds the secrets that reveal its past; we just need to be able to uncover them,” said Wanggi Lim, a Universities Space Research Association scientist at the SOFIA Science Center at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.

Composite image of the Swan Nebula. SOFIA detected the blue areas (20 microns) near the center, revealing gas as it’s heated by massive stars located at the center and the green areas (37 microns) that trace dust as it’s warmed both by massive stars and nearby newborn stars. (NASA/SOFIA/De Buizer/Radomski/Lim; NASA/JPL-Caltech; ESA/Herschel)

Composite image of the Swan Nebula. SOFIA detected the blue areas (20 microns) near the center, revealing gas as it’s heated by massive stars located at the center and the green areas (37 microns) that trace dust as it’s warmed both by massive stars and nearby newborn stars. (NASA/SOFIA/De Buizer/Radomski/Lim; NASA/JPL-Caltech; ESA/Herschel)

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