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Topic: Caltech

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory robots take part in Subterranean Challenge

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On August 15th through the 22nd, robots from all over the world will compete to find objects in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge Systems Competition held in mining tunnels under Pittsburgh.

Among them will be a team led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, that features wheeled rovers, drones and climbing robots that can rise on pinball-flipper-shaped treads to scale obstacles.

JPL and its university partners are competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Subterranean Challenge in Pittsburgh August 15th-22nd, 2019, with a fleet of robots built to search tunnels, caves and other subterranean environments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

JPL and its university partners are competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Subterranean Challenge in Pittsburgh August 15th-22nd, 2019, with a fleet of robots built to search tunnels, caves and other subterranean environments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover continues exploring Martian Surface

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover has come a long way since touching down on Mars seven years ago. It has traveled a total of 13 miles (21 kilometers) and ascended 1,207 feet (368 meters) to its current location. Along the way, Curiosity discovered Mars had the conditions to support microbial life in the ancient past, among other things.

And the rover is far from done, having just drilled its 22nd sample from the Martian surface. It has a few more years before its nuclear power system degrades enough to significantly limit operations. After that, careful budgeting of its power will allow the rover to keep studying the Red Planet.

This panorama of a location called "Teal Ridge" was captured on Mars by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA's Curiosity rover on June 18th, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This panorama of a location called “Teal Ridge” was captured on Mars by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA’s Curiosity rover on June 18th, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA creates Sensor Chip Electronics for ESA Dark Energy Mission, Euclid

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the European Space Agency’s Euclid mission, set to launch in 2022, will investigate two of the biggest mysteries in modern astronomy: dark matter and dark energy. A team of NASA engineers recently delivered critical hardware for one of the instruments that will fly on Euclid and probe these cosmic puzzles.

Based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the engineers designed, fabricated and tested 20 pieces of sensor-chip electronics (SCEs) hardware for Euclid (16 for the flight instrument and four backups).

The cryogenic (cold) portion of the Euclid space telescope's Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument. NASA led the procurement and delivery of the detectors for the NISP instrument. The gold-coated hardware is the 16 sensor-chip electronics integrated with the infrared sensors. (Euclid Consortium/CPPM/LAM)

The cryogenic (cold) portion of the Euclid space telescope’s Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument. NASA led the procurement and delivery of the detectors for the NISP instrument. The gold-coated hardware is the 16 sensor-chip electronics integrated with the infrared sensors. (Euclid Consortium/CPPM/LAM)

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NASA Aqua Satellite takes photos before landfall of Tropical Storm Barry

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  On Friday, July 12th, 2019, at around 2:00pm local time, NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), aboard the Aqua satellite, captured imagery of Tropical Storm Barry in the Gulf of Mexico. According to the National Hurricane Center, Barry is expected to make landfall over the Louisiana coast on Saturday, likely as a hurricane.

In the infrared AIRS image, the large purple area indicates very cold clouds that have been carried high into the atmosphere by deep thunderstorms. These clouds are associated with heavy rainfall. Warmer areas with shallower rain clouds are shown in blue and green. And the orange and red areas represent mostly cloud-free air.

NASA's AIRS instrument aboard the Aqua Satellite imaged Tropical Storm Barry on the afternoon of July 12, 2019, a day before the storm is expected to make landfall on the Louisiana Coast. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s AIRS instrument aboard the Aqua Satellite imaged Tropical Storm Barry on the afternoon of July 12, 2019, a day before the storm is expected to make landfall on the Louisiana Coast. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA engineers make new Plan to keep Voyager 1, Voyager 2 going

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA engineers have been able to keep Voyager 1 and 2 spacecrafts flying for nearly 42 years, with careful planning and dashes of creativity, far longer than any other spacecraft in history.

To ensure that these vintage robots continue to return the best science data possible from the frontiers of space, mission engineers are implementing a new plan to manage them. And that involves making difficult choices, particularly about instruments and thrusters.

This artist's concept depicts one of NASA's Voyager spacecraft, including the location of the cosmic ray subsystem (CRS) instrument. Both Voyagers launched with operating CRS instruments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept depicts one of NASA’s Voyager spacecraft, including the location of the cosmic ray subsystem (CRS) instrument. Both Voyagers launched with operating CRS instruments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Hubble, Spitzer Space Telescopes identify Planet’s Atmosphere

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – For the first time, two NASA space telescopes have worked together to identify the detailed chemical “fingerprint” of a planet between the sizes of Earth and Neptune. No planets like this can be found in our own solar system, but they are common around other stars.

The planet, Gliese 3470 b (also known as GJ 3470 b), may be a cross between Earth and Neptune, with a large rocky core buried under a deep, crushing hydrogen-and-helium atmosphere. Weighing in at 12.6 Earth masses, the planet is more massive than Earth but less massive than Neptune (which is more than 17 Earth masses).

This artist's illustration shows the theoretical internal structure of the exoplanet GJ 3470 b. It is unlike any planet found in the Solar System. Weighing in at 12.6 Earth masses the planet is more massive than Earth but less massive than Neptune. (NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak (STScI))

This artist’s illustration shows the theoretical internal structure of the exoplanet GJ 3470 b. It is unlike any planet found in the Solar System. Weighing in at 12.6 Earth masses the planet is more massive than Earth but less massive than Neptune. (NASA, ESA, and L. Hustak (STScI))

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NASA selects Three Finalists for Future Small Satellites

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Three finalists have been selected by NASA from among a dozen concepts for future small satellites.

The finalists include a 2022 robotic mission to study two asteroid systems, twin spacecraft to study the effects of energetic particles around Mars, and a lunar orbiter managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to study water on the Moon.

One of three finalists selected by NASA for future small satellites, Lunar Trailblazer will detect and map water on the lunar surface to study how its form, abundance and location relate to geology. The principal investigator is Caltech's Bethany Ehlmann. JPL will provide project management. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

One of three finalists selected by NASA for future small satellites, Lunar Trailblazer will detect and map water on the lunar surface to study how its form, abundance and location relate to geology. The principal investigator is Caltech’s Bethany Ehlmann. JPL will provide project management. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope to be turned off January 30th, 2020

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On January 30th, 2020, NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope will be switched off permanently  after nearly 16 years of exploring the cosmos in infrared light. By then, the spacecraft will have operated for more than 11 years beyond its prime mission, thanks to the Spitzer engineering team’s ability to address unique challenges as the telescope slips farther and farther from Earth.

Managed and operated by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, Spitzer is a small but transformational observatory. It captures infrared light, which is often emitted by “warm” objects that aren’t quite hot enough to radiate visible light.

This artist's concept shows NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope in front of an infrared image of the Milky Way galaxy. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope in front of an infrared image of the Milky Way galaxy. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Cassini spacecraft data shows inner workings of Saturn’s Rings

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The NASA Cassini spacecraft provided intricate detail on the workings of Saturn’s complex rings when it dove close to Saturn in its final year, new analysis shows.

Although the mission ended in 2017, science continues to flow from the data collected. A new paper published June 13th in Science describes results from four Cassini instruments taking their closest-ever observations of the main rings.

Findings include fine details of features sculpted by masses embedded within the rings.

This false-color image to the right shows an infrared spectral map of Saturn's A, B and C rings, captured by Cassini's VIMS. (Infrared image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/CNRS/LPG-Nantes); (Saturn image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/G. Ugarkovic)

This false-color image to the right shows an infrared spectral map of Saturn’s A, B and C rings, captured by Cassini’s VIMS. (Infrared image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/CNRS/LPG-Nantes); (Saturn image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute/G. Ugarkovic)

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NASA discovers portions of Jupiter’s Moon Europa’s surface is Table Salt

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says that on the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa a familiar ingredient has been hiding in plain sight. Using a visible-light spectral analysis, planetary scientists at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have discovered that the yellow color visible on portions of the surface of Europa is actually sodium chloride, a compound known on Earth as table salt, which is also the principal component of sea salt.

The discovery suggests that the salty subsurface ocean of Europa may chemically resemble Earth’s oceans more than previously thought, challenging decades of supposition about the composition of those waters. The finding was published by Science Advances on June 12th.

Tara Regio is the yellowish area to left of center, in this NASA Galileo image of Europa's surface. This region of geologic chaos is the area researchers identified an abundance of sodium chloride. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

Tara Regio is the yellowish area to left of center, in this NASA Galileo image of Europa’s surface. This region of geologic chaos is the area researchers identified an abundance of sodium chloride. (NASA/JPL/University of Arizona)

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