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Topic: California Institute of Technology in Pasadena

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity scoops and begins analyzing it’s first Martian Soil Sample

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has ingested its first solid sample into an analytical instrument inside the rover, a capability at the core of the two-year mission.

The rover’s Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instrument is analyzing this sample to determine what minerals it contains.

Three bite marks left in the Martian ground by the scoop on the robotic arm of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity are visible in this image taken by the rover's right Navigation Camera during the mission's 69th Martian day, or sol (October 15th, 2012). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Three bite marks left in the Martian ground by the scoop on the robotic arm of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity are visible in this image taken by the rover’s right Navigation Camera during the mission’s 69th Martian day, or sol (October 15th, 2012). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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New Analysis reveals how European Space Agency’s Huygens probe landed on Saturn’s moon Titan after being delivered by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The European Space Agency’s Huygens probe, ferried to Saturn’s moon Titan by NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, bounced, slid and wobbled its way to rest in the 10 seconds after touching down on Titan in January 2005, a new analysis reveals. The moon’s surface is more complex than previously thought.

Scientists reconstructed the chain of events by analyzing data from a variety of instruments that were active during the impact, in particular changes in the acceleration. The instrument data were compared with results from computer simulations and a drop test using a model of Huygens designed to replicate the landing.

Artist concept showing the descent and landing of Huygens. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/ESA)

Artist concept showing the descent and landing of Huygens. (Image credit: NASA/JPL/ESA)

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Martian Rock “Jake Matijevic” analysed by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover reveals Surprises

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The first Martian rock NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached out to touch presents a more varied composition than expected from previous missions. The rock also resembles some unusual rocks from Earth’s interior.

The rover team used two instruments on Curiosity to study the chemical makeup of the football-size rock called “Jake Matijevic” (matt-EE-oh-vick) The results support some surprising recent measurements and provide an example of why identifying rocks’ composition is such a major emphasis of the mission. Rock compositions tell stories about unseen environments and planetary processes.

This image shows where NASA's Curiosity rover aimed two different instruments to study a rock known as "Jake Matijevic." (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This image shows where NASA’s Curiosity rover aimed two different instruments to study a rock known as “Jake Matijevic.” (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Galaxy Evolution Explorer combine to capture image of Helix nebula in the constellation Aquarius

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A dying star is refusing to go quietly into the night, as seen in this combined infrared and ultraviolet view from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), which NASA has lent to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

In death, the star’s dusty outer layers are unraveling into space, glowing from the intense ultraviolet radiation being pumped out by the hot stellar core.

A dying star is throwing a cosmic tantrum in this combined image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), which NASA has lent to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In death, the star's dusty outer layers are unraveling into space, glowing from the intense ultraviolet radiation being pumped out by the hot stellar core. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A dying star is throwing a cosmic tantrum in this combined image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope and the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX), which NASA has lent to the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. In death, the star’s dusty outer layers are unraveling into space, glowing from the intense ultraviolet radiation being pumped out by the hot stellar core. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover discovers ancient Streambed on Mars

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence — images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels — is the first of its kind.

Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate rock. The sizes and shapes of stones offer clues to the speed and distance of a long-ago stream’s flow.

Remnants of Ancient Streambed on Mars: NASA's Curiosity rover found evidence for an ancient, flowing stream on Mars at a few sites, including the rock outcrop pictured here, which the science team has named "Hottah" after Hottah Lake in Canada's Northwest Territories. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Remnants of Ancient Streambed on Mars: NASA’s Curiosity rover found evidence for an ancient, flowing stream on Mars at a few sites, including the rock outcrop pictured here, which the science team has named “Hottah” after Hottah Lake in Canada’s Northwest Territories. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity completes examination of Maritan Rock “Jake Matijevic”

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s rover Curiosity touched a Martian rock with its robotic arm for the first time on September 22nd, assessing what chemical elements are in the rock called “Jake Matijevic.”

After a short drive the preceding day to get within arm’s reach of the football-size rock, Curiosity put its Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) instrument in contact with the rock during the rover’s 46th Martian day, or sol.

This image combines photographs taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) at three different distances from the first Martian rock that NASA's Curiosity rover touched with its arm. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS )

This image combines photographs taken by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) at three different distances from the first Martian rock that NASA’s Curiosity rover touched with its arm. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS )

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft reveals Hydrated Minerals on the Giant Asteroid Vesta’s surface

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has revealed that the giant asteroid Vesta has its own version of ring around the collar. Two new papers based on observations from the low-altitude mapping orbit of the Dawn mission show that volatile, or easily evaporated materials, have colored Vesta’s surface in a broad swath around its equator.

Pothole-like features mark some of the asteroid’s surface where the volatiles, likely water, released from hydrated minerals boiled off. While Dawn did not find actual water ice at Vesta, there are signs of hydrated minerals delivered by meteorites and dust evident in the giant asteroid’s chemistry and geology. The findings appear today in the journal Science.

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NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity finds unusual football sized Rock to Examine

 

Written by Guy Webster and D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has driven up to a football-size rock that will be the first for the rover’s arm to examine.

Curiosity is about 8 feet (2.5 meters) from the rock. It lies about halfway from the rover’s landing site, Bradbury Landing, to a location called Glenelg. In coming days, the team plans to touch the rock with a spectrometer to determine its elemental composition and use an arm-mounted camera to take close-up photographs.

The drive by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity during the mission's 43rd Martian day, or sol, (September 19th, 2012) ended with this rock about 8 feet (2.5 meters) in front of the rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The drive by NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity during the mission’s 43rd Martian day, or sol, (September 19th, 2012) ended with this rock about 8 feet (2.5 meters) in front of the rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft takes one last look at the giant asteroid Vesta as it heads to the Dwarf Planet Ceres

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn mission is releasing two parting views of the giant asteroid Vesta, using images that were among the last taken by the spacecraft as it departed its companion for the last year.

The first set of images is a color-coded relief map of Vesta’s northern hemisphere, from the pole to the equator.

As NASA's Dawn spacecraft takes off for its next destination, this mosaic synthesizes some of the best views the spacecraft had of the giant asteroid Vesta. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA)

As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft takes off for its next destination, this mosaic synthesizes some of the best views the spacecraft had of the giant asteroid Vesta. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity continues activities to test it’s Robotic Arm and use of Tools

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity stepped through activities on September 7th, 8th and 9th designed to check and characterize precision movements by the rover’s robotic arm and use of tools on the arm.

The activities confirmed good health and usefulness of Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI, and used that camera to check arm placement during several positioning activities.

This view of the lower front and underbelly areas of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines nine images taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 34th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity's work on Mars (Sept. 9, 2012). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

This view of the lower front and underbelly areas of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines nine images taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 34th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Sept. 9, 2012). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

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