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Topic: Atmosphere

NASA’s Juno spacecraft data reveals amount of Water in Jupiter’s Atmosphere

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Juno mission has provided its first science results on the amount of water in Jupiter’s atmosphere. Published recently in the journal Nature Astronomy, the Juno results estimate that at the equator, water makes up about 0.25% of the molecules in Jupiter’s atmosphere – almost three times that of the Sun.

These are also the first findings on the gas giant’s abundance of water since the agency’s 1995 Galileo mission suggested Jupiter might be extremely dry compared to the Sun (the comparison is based not on liquid water but on the presence of its components, oxygen and hydrogen, present in the Sun).

The JunoCam imager aboard NASA's Juno spacecraft captured this image of Jupiter's southern equatorial region on Sept. 1, 2017. The image is oriented so Jupiter's poles (not visible) run left-to-right of frame. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill)

The JunoCam imager aboard NASA’s Juno spacecraft captured this image of Jupiter’s southern equatorial region on Sept. 1, 2017. The image is oriented so Jupiter’s poles (not visible) run left-to-right of frame. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Kevin M. Gill)

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has shown us 10 Things about the Sun

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – In February 2020, NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory — SDO — is celebrating its 10th year in space. Over the past decade the spacecraft has kept a constant eye on the Sun, studying how the Sun creates solar activity and drives space weather — the dynamic conditions in space that impact the entire solar system, including Earth.

Since its launch on February 11th, 2010, SDO has collected millions of scientific images of our nearest star, giving scientists new insights into its workings.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory image of the sun. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO/Joy Ng)

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory image of the sun. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO/Joy Ng)

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NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft studies Mars’ Atmosphere for causes of unpredictable Radio Communications disruptions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft has discovered “layers” and “rifts” in the electrically charged part of the upper atmosphere (the ionosphere) of Mars. The phenomenon is very common at Earth and causes unpredictable disruptions to radio communications.

However, we do not fully understand them because they form at altitudes that are very difficult to explore at Earth. The unexpected discovery by MAVEN shows that Mars is a unique laboratory to explore and better understand this highly disruptive phenomenon.

Graphic illustrating radio signals from a remote station (bent purple line) interfering with a local station (black tower) after being reflected off a plasma layer in the ionosphere. (NASA Goddard/CI lab)

Graphic illustrating radio signals from a remote station (bent purple line) interfering with a local station (black tower) after being reflected off a plasma layer in the ionosphere. (NASA Goddard/CI lab)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope examines planet so hot hydrogen gas rips apart

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says massive gas giants called “hot Jupiters” – planets that orbit too close to their stars to sustain life – are some of the strangest worlds found beyond our solar system. New observations show that the hottest of them all is stranger still, prone to planetwide meltdowns so severe they tear apart the molecules that make up its atmosphere.

Called KELT-9b, the planet is an ultra-hot Jupiter, one of several varieties of exoplanets – planets around other stars – found in our galaxy. It weighs in at nearly three times the mass of our own Jupiter and orbits a star some 670 light-years away.

Artist's rendering of a "hot Jupiter" called KELT-9b, the hottest known exoplanet - so hot, a new paper finds, that even molecules in its atmosphere are torn to shreds. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist’s rendering of a “hot Jupiter” called KELT-9b, the hottest known exoplanet – so hot, a new paper finds, that even molecules in its atmosphere are torn to shreds. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA says NESSI Emerges as New Tool for Exoplanet Atmospheres

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The darkness surrounding the Hale Telescope breaks with a sliver of blue sky as the dome begins to open, screeching with metallic, sci-fi-like sounds atop San Diego County’s Palomar Mountain. The historic observatory smells of the oil pumped in to support the bearings that make this giant telescope float ever so slightly as it moves to track the stars.

Since February 2018, scientists have been testing an instrument at the Hale Telescope called the New Mexico Exoplanet Spectroscopic Survey Instrument, or NESSI.

The Hale Telescope is located on Palomar Mountain in San Diego County, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Hale Telescope is located on Palomar Mountain in San Diego County, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA missions examine reason Earth’s poles mess with Electronics

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The 2019 Norway Campaign has come to an end with two of three missions being launched. The Cusp Heating Investigation, or CHI mission, was successfully launched December 10th — citizen scientists Hearts In The Ice, affiliated with the Aurorasaurus project, captured imagery of the launch from the ground in Svalbard.

The Investigation of Cusp Irregularities-5 or ICI-5 mission launched November 26th.  After 17 launch attempts, the Cusp Region Experiment-2, or CREX-2, mission, was not able to get off the ground due to a combination of unacceptable weather conditions and a lack of science activity.

Earth’s magnetosphere, showing the northern and southern polar cusps. (Andøya Space Center/Trond Abrahamsen)

Earth’s magnetosphere, showing the northern and southern polar cusps. (Andøya Space Center/Trond Abrahamsen)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observations gives clues to makeup of Super Puffy Planets

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – New data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have provided the first clues to the chemistry of two of these super-puffy planets, which are located in the Kepler 51 system. This exoplanet system, which actually boasts three super-puffs orbiting a young Sun-like star, was discovered by NASA’s Kepler space telescope in 2012.

However, it wasn’t until 2014 when the low densities of these planets were determined, to the surprise of many.

The recent Hubble observations allowed a team of astronomers to refine the mass and size estimates for these worlds — independently confirming their “puffy” nature.

This illustration depicts the Sun-like star Kepler 51 and three giant planets that NASA's Kepler space telescope discovered in 2012–2014. These planets are all roughly the size of Jupiter but a tiny fraction of its mass. This means the planets have an extraordinarily low density, more like that of Styrofoam rather than rock or water, based on new Hubble Space Telescope observations. (NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak, J. Olmsted, D. Player and F. Summers (STScI))

This illustration depicts the Sun-like star Kepler 51 and three giant planets that NASA’s Kepler space telescope discovered in 2012–2014. These planets are all roughly the size of Jupiter but a tiny fraction of its mass. This means the planets have an extraordinarily low density, more like that of Styrofoam rather than rock or water, based on new Hubble Space Telescope observations. (NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak, J. Olmsted, D. Player and F. Summers (STScI))

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NASA looks at Mars’ Water loss today to discover how much water Mars once had

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says Mars may be a rocky planet, but it is not a hospitable world like Earth. It’s cold and dry with a thin atmosphere that has significantly less oxygen than Earth’s. But Mars likely once had liquid water, a key ingredient for life. Studying the history of water can help uncover how the Red Planet lost water and how much water it once had.

“We already knew that Mars was once a wet place,” said Curtis DeWitt, scientist at the Universities Space Research Association’s SOFIA Science Center. “But only by studying how present-day water is lost can we understand just how much existed in the deep past.”

Image of a sloping hillside from the Mars Curiosity rover and an illustration of deuterated water molecules, called HDO instead of H2O because one of its hydrogen atoms has an extra neutrally charged particle. Infrared observations can study these particles that retrace the history of liquid water because the heavier molecules are more likely to remain even after liquid water has evaporated. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SOFIA)

Image of a sloping hillside from the Mars Curiosity rover and an illustration of deuterated water molecules, called HDO instead of H2O because one of its hydrogen atoms has an extra neutrally charged particle. Infrared observations can study these particles that retrace the history of liquid water because the heavier molecules are more likely to remain even after liquid water has evaporated. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/SOFIA)

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NASA’s Artemis Lunar Program moves full speed ahead

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – In 2019, NASA celebrated the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing, the most historic moment in space exploration, while also making significant progress toward putting the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 under the Artemis program.

Through America’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, Artemis gained bipartisan support this year among members of Congress, the U.S aerospace industry, as well as with international partners, including Canada, Australia, and Japan, and member states of the European Space Agency.

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NASA looks at returning to Venus

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Sue Smrekar really wants to go back to Venus. In her office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the planetary scientist displays a 30-year-old image of Venus’ surface taken by the Magellan spacecraft, a reminder of how much time has passed since an American mission orbited the planet.

The image reveals a hellish landscape: a young surface with more volcanoes than any other body in the solar system, gigantic rifts, towering mountain belts and temperatures hot enough to melt lead.

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA's JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet's extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA’s JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet’s extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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