Clarksville, TN Online: News, Opinion, Arts & Entertainment.


Topic: California Institute of Technology in Pasadena

NASA’s Mars Bound Rover carries Coin for Camera Checkup

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The camera at the end of the robotic arm on NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has its own calibration target, a smartphone-size plaque that looks like an eye chart supplemented with color chips and an attached penny.

When Curiosity lands on Mars in August, researchers will use this calibration target to test performance of the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager, or MAHLI. MAHLI’s close-up inspections of Martian rocks and soil will show details so tiny, the calibration target includes reference lines finer than a human hair. This camera is not limited to close-ups, though. It can focus on any target from about a finger’s-width away to the horizon.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity with an inset showing calibration targets to be used by a camera at the end of the robotic arm. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity with an inset showing calibration targets to be used by a camera at the end of the robotic arm. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 

NASA’s Cassini Delivers Holiday Treats From Saturn

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook – Jet Propulsion Laboratory
and Joe Mason – Space Science Institute

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – No team of reindeer, but radio signals flying clear across the solar system from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft have delivered a holiday package of glorious images. The pictures, from Cassini’s imaging team, show Saturn’s largest, most colorful ornament, Titan, and other icy baubles in orbit around this splendid planet.

The release includes images of satellite conjunctions in which one moon passes in front of or behind another. Cassini scientists regularly make these observations to study the ever-changing orbits of the planet’s moons. But even in these routine images, the Saturnian system shines. A few of Saturn’s stark, airless, icy moons appear to dangle next to the orange orb of Titan, the only moon in the solar system with a substantial atmosphere. Titan’s atmosphere is of great interest because of its similarities to the atmosphere believed to exist long ago on the early Earth.

Titan and Dione - Saturn's third-largest moon Dione can be seen through the haze of its largest moon, Titan, in this view of the two posing before the planet and its rings from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

Titan and Dione - Saturn's third-largest moon Dione can be seen through the haze of its largest moon, Titan, in this view of the two posing before the planet and its rings from NASA's Cassini spacecraft. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SSI)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 

NASA’s Dawn Spacecraft Obtains First Low Altitude Images of Vesta Asteroid

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has sent back the first images of the giant asteroid Vesta from its low-altitude mapping orbit. The images, obtained by the framing camera, show the stippled and lumpy surface in detail never seen before, piquing the curiosity of scientists who are studying Vesta for clues about the solar system’s early history.

At this detailed resolution, the surface shows abundant small craters, and textures such as small grooves and lineaments that are reminiscent of the structures seen in low-resolution data from the higher-altitude orbits. Also, this fine scale highlights small outcrops of bright and dark material.

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has spiraled closer and closer to the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR)

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has spiraled closer and closer to the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 


NASA: Climate Change May Bring Big Ecosystem Changes

 

Written by Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – By 2100, global climate change will modify plant communities covering almost half of Earth’s land surface and will drive the conversion of nearly 40 percent of land-based ecosystems from one major ecological community type – such as forest, grassland or tundra – toward another, according to a new NASA and university computer modeling study.

Researchers from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, CA, investigated how Earth’s plant life is likely to react over the next three centuries as Earth’s climate changes in response to rising levels of human-produced greenhouse gases. Study results are published in the journal Climatic Change.

Predicted percentage of ecological landscape being driven toward changes in plant species as a result of projected human-induced climate change by 2100. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Predicted percentage of ecological landscape being driven toward changes in plant species as a result of projected human-induced climate change by 2100. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 

Is Vesta the “Smallest Terrestrial Planet?”

 

Written by Dauna Coulter
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft spent the last four years voyaging to asteroid Vesta – and may have found a planet.

Vesta was discovered over two hundred years ago but, until Dawn, has been seen only as an indistinct blur and considered little more than a large, rocky body. Now the spacecraft’s instruments are revealing the true complexity of this ancient world.

“We’re seeing enormous mountains, valleys, hills, cliffs, troughs, ridges, craters of all sizes, and plains,” says Chris Russell, Dawn principal investigator from UCLA. “Vesta is not a simple ball of rock. This is a world with a rich geochemical history. It has quite a story to tell!”

Like Earth and other terrestrial planets, Vesta has ancient basaltic lava flows on the surface and a large iron core. It also has tectonic features, troughs, ridges, cliffs, hills and a giant mountain. False colors in this montage denote topography, where the colors indicate heights ranging from -22 km to +19 km above a reference ellipsoid.

Like Earth and other terrestrial planets, Vesta has ancient basaltic lava flows on the surface and a large iron core. It also has tectonic features, troughs, ridges, cliffs, hills and a giant mountain. False colors in this montage denote topography, where the colors indicate heights ranging from -22 km to +19 km above a reference ellipsoid.

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: News | No Comments
 

NASA’s Cassini to Make a Double Play

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – In an action-packed day and a half, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will be making its closest swoop over the surface of Saturn’s moon Dione and scrutinizing the atmosphere of Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

The closest approach to Dione, about 61 miles (99 kilometers) above the surface, will take place at about 1:39am PST (4:39am EST) on December 12th. One of the questions Cassini scientists will be asking during this flyby is whether Dione’s surface shows any signs of activity.

A quartet of Saturn's moons, from tiny to huge, surround and are embedded within the planet's rings in this Cassini composition. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

A quartet of Saturn's moons, from tiny to huge, surround and are embedded within the planet's rings in this Cassini composition. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 

NASA’s Voyager Hits New Region at Solar System Edge

 

Written Jia-Rui C. Cook and Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft has entered a new region between our solar system and interstellar space. Data obtained from Voyager over the last year reveal this new region to be a kind of cosmic purgatory. In it, the wind of charged particles streaming out from our sun has calmed, our solar system’s magnetic field is piled up, and higher-energy particles from inside our solar system appear to be leaking out into interstellar space.

“Voyager tells us now that we’re in a stagnation region in the outermost layer of the bubble around our solar system,” said Ed Stone, Voyager project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “Voyager is showing that what is outside is pushing back. We shouldn’t have long to wait to find out what the space between stars is really like.”

Artist concept of Voyager 1 encountering a stagnation region. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Artist concept of Voyager 1 encountering a stagnation region. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: Technology | No Comments
 


Space Observatory Provides Clues to Creation of Earth’s Oceans

 

Written by Whitney Clavin
Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Astronomers have found a new cosmic source for the same kind of water that appeared on Earth billions of years ago and created the oceans. The findings may help explain how Earth’s surface ended up covered in water.

New measurements from the Herschel Space Observatory show that comet Hartley 2, which comes from the distant Kuiper Belt, contains water with the same chemical signature as Earth’s oceans. This remote region of the solar system, some 30 to 50 times as far away as the distance between Earth and the sun, is home to icy, rocky bodies including Pluto, other dwarf planets and innumerable comets.

New measurements from the Herschel Space Observatory have discovered water with the same chemical signature as our oceans in a comet called Hartley 2 (pictured at right). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

New measurements from the Herschel Space Observatory have discovered water with the same chemical signature as our oceans in a comet called Hartley 2 (pictured at right). (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

«Read the rest of this article»

Sections: News | No Comments
 



  • Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On PinterestVisit Us On YoutubeCheck Our FeedVisit Us On Instagram
  • Personal Controls

    Archives