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NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover uses MOXIE Instrument to Extract Oxygen from Red Planet

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – The growing list of “firsts” for Perseverance, NASA’s newest six-wheeled robot on the Martian surface, includes converting some of the Red Planet’s thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen.

A toaster-size, experimental instrument aboard the NASA Mars Perseverance rover called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) accomplished the task. The test took place April 20th, the 60th Martian day, or sol, since the mission landed February 18th.

Technicians at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory lower the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) instrument into the belly of the Perseverance rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Technicians at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory lower the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) instrument into the belly of the Perseverance rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Carbon Mapper instrument to locate Greenhouse Gas hot spots on Earth

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California is providing the instrument that will enable a nonprofit organization called Carbon Mapper to pinpoint and measure methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) point-sources from space.

The data collected by the instrument will help to find super-emitters – the small percentage of individual sources that are responsible for a significant fraction of global emissions of methane and carbon dioxide.

Data collected with the Global Airborne Observatory over the Permian Basin in 2019, a joint campaign with NASA’s AVIRIS-NG. (Carbon Mapper, U. Arizona/Arizona State University/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Data collected with the Global Airborne Observatory over the Permian Basin in 2019, a joint campaign with NASA’s AVIRIS-NG.(Carbon Mapper, U. Arizona/Arizona State University/NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA reports Asteroid Apophis to pass safely past Earth for 100-Plus Years

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The near-Earth object was thought to pose a slight risk of impacting Earth in 2068, but now radar observations have ruled that out.

After its discovery in 2004, asteroid 99942 Apophis had been identified as one of the most hazardous asteroids that could impact Earth. But that impact assessment changed as astronomers tracked Apophis and its orbit became better determined.

This image of asteroid Apophis was recorded by radio antennas at the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone complex in California and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The asteroid was 10.6 million miles (17 million kilometers) away, and each pixel has a resolution of 127 feet (38.75 meters). (NASA/JPL-Caltech and NSF/AUI/GBO)

This image of asteroid Apophis was recorded by radio antennas at the Deep Space Network’s Goldstone complex in California and the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. The asteroid was 10.6 million miles (17 million kilometers) away, and each pixel has a resolution of 127 feet (38.75 meters). (NASA/JPL-Caltech and NSF/AUI/GBO)

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NASA, Blue Origin work to Bring Lunar Gravity Conditions Closer to Earth

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – At one-sixth that of Earth, the unique gravity of the lunar surface is one of the many variable conditions that technologies bound for the Moon will need to perform well in. NASA will soon have more options for testing those innovations in lunar gravity thanks to a collaboration with Blue Origin to bring new testing capabilities to the company’s New Shepard reusable suborbital rocket system.

Currently, NASA can approximate the Moon’s gravity on parabolic flights and in centrifuges on suborbital vehicles – both invaluable options for maturing promising innovations.

New Shepard (NS-14) lifts off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. (Blue Origin)

New Shepard (NS-14) lifts off from Blue Origin’s Launch Site One in West Texas. (Blue Origin)

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NASA reports large Asteroid 2001 FO32 to safely fly past Earth, March 21st

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The largest asteroid predicted to pass by our planet in 2021 will be at its closest on March 21st, providing astronomers a rare opportunity to get a good look at a rocky relic that formed at the dawn of our solar system.

Called 2001 FO32, the near-Earth asteroid will make its closest approach at a distance of about 1.25 million miles (2 million kilometers) – or 5 1/4 times the distance from Earth to the Moon. There is no threat of a collision with our planet now or for centuries to come.

This diagram depicts the elongated and inclined orbit of 2001 FO32 as it travels around the Sun (white ellipse). Because of this orbit, when the asteroid makes its close approach to Earth, it will be traveling at an unusually fast speed of 77,000 mph (124,000 kph). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This diagram depicts the elongated and inclined orbit of 2001 FO32 as it travels around the Sun (white ellipse). Because of this orbit, when the asteroid makes its close approach to Earth, it will be traveling at an unusually fast speed of 77,000 mph (124,000 kph). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Juno Spacecraft data suggests Mars may be shedding dust into Interplanetary Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Look up to the night sky just before dawn, or after dusk, and you might see a faint column of light extending up from the horizon. That luminous glow is the zodiacal light, or sunlight reflected toward Earth by a cloud of tiny dust particles orbiting the Sun.

Astronomers have long thought that the dust is brought into the inner solar system by a few of the asteroid and comet families that venture in from afar.

But now, a team of Juno scientists argues that Mars may be the culprit. They published their finding in a March 9th paper in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

This photo shows the zodiacal light as it appeared on March 1st, 2021, in Skull Valley, Utah. The Pleiades star cluster is visible near the top of the light column. Mars is just below that. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This photo shows the zodiacal light as it appeared on March 1st, 2021, in Skull Valley, Utah. The Pleiades star cluster is visible near the top of the light column. Mars is just below that. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA observations of Comet Catalina Suggests Comets Delivered Carbon to Rocky Planets

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says that in early 2016, an icy visitor from the edge of our solar system hurtled past Earth. It briefly became visible to stargazers as Comet Catalina before it slingshot past the Sun to disappear forevermore out of the solar system.

Among the many observatories that captured a view of this comet, which appeared near the Big Dipper, was the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, NASA’s telescope on an airplane. Using one of its unique infrared instruments, SOFIA was able to pick out a familiar fingerprint within the dusty glow of the comet’s tail – carbon.

Illustration of a comet from the Oort Cloud as it passes through the inner solar system with dust and gas evaporating into its tail. SOFIA’s observations of Comet Catalina reveal that it’s carbon-rich, suggesting that comets delivered carbon to the terrestrial planets like Earth and Mars as they formed in the early solar system. (NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook)

Illustration of a comet from the Oort Cloud as it passes through the inner solar system with dust and gas evaporating into its tail. SOFIA’s observations of Comet Catalina reveal that it’s carbon-rich, suggesting that comets delivered carbon to the terrestrial planets like Earth and Mars as they formed in the early solar system. (NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook)

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NASA RainCube Weather Satellite mission comes to an end

 

Pasadena, CANASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationAfter nearly 2 1/2 years in orbit, a shoebox-size weather satellite phoned home one last time before plunging into Earth’s atmosphere and burning up on December 24th, 2020. RainCube (Radar in a CubeSat) was a technology demonstration meant to show that shrinking a weather radar into a low-cost, miniature satellite called a CubeSat could provide science-quality data.

RainCube was deployed on July 13th, 2018, from the International Space Station and had a primary mission of three months.

Fleets of miniature satellites like RainCube could one day study the rapid development and evolution of storms like this supercell thunderstorm over Nebraska. (Mike Coniglio/NOAA NSSL)

Fleets of miniature satellites like RainCube could one day study the rapid development and evolution of storms like this supercell thunderstorm over Nebraska. (Mike Coniglio/NOAA NSSL)

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NASA has Two Heliophysics Missions that will Explore Sun, Earth’s Aurora

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA has approved two heliophysics missions to explore the Sun and the system that drives space weather near Earth. Together, NASA’s contribution to the Extreme Ultraviolet High-Throughput Spectroscopic Telescope Epsilon Mission, or EUVST, and the Electrojet Zeeman Imaging Explorer, or EZIE, will help us understand the Sun and Earth as an interconnected system.

Understanding the physics that drive the solar wind and solar explosions – including solar flares and coronal mass ejections – could one day help scientists predict these events, which can impact human technology and explorers in space.

From the International Space Station’s orbit 269 miles above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia, this nighttime photograph captures the aurora australis, or "southern lights." Russia's Soyuz MS-12 crew ship is in the foreground and Progress 72 resupply ship in the background. (NASA)

From the International Space Station’s orbit 269 miles above the Indian Ocean southwest of Australia, this nighttime photograph captures the aurora australis, or “southern lights.” Russia’s Soyuz MS-12 crew ship is in the foreground and Progress 72 resupply ship in the background. (NASA)

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NORAD is tracking Santa tonight

 

Norad Tracks SantaPeterson Air Force Base, CO – NORAD is tracking Santa’s flight across the world just like it’s predecessor did, the Continental Air Defense Command (CONAD), for more than 50 years.

Back in 1955 after a Colorado Springs-based Sears Roebuck & Co. advertisement misprinted the telephone number for children to call Santa. Instead of reaching Santa, the phone number put kids through to the CONAD Commander-in-Chief’s operations “hotline.” This began the tradition.

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