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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover Team names Mountain after Rafael Navarro-González

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The team of scientists and engineers behind NASA’s Curiosity rover named a hill along the rover’s path on Mars in honor of a recently deceased mission scientist. A craggy hump that stretches 450 feet (120 meters) tall, “Rafael Navarro Mountain” is located on Mount Sharp in northwest Gale Crater.

The inspiration for the name is award-winning scientist Rafael Navarro-González; he died on January 28th, 2021, from complications related to COVID-19 Coronavirus.

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its Mastcam to take an image of this mountain, nicknamed “Rafael Navarro Mountain” after the astrobiologist Rafael Navarro-González, who worked on the mission until he passed away January 26th, 2021. (NASA)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover used its Mastcam to take an image of this mountain, nicknamed “Rafael Navarro Mountain” after the astrobiologist Rafael Navarro-González, who worked on the mission until he passed away January 26th, 2021. (NASA)

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NASA evaluates Artemis Program Navigational Needs

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Space communications and navigation engineers at NASA are evaluating the navigation needs for the Artemis program, including identifying the precision navigation capabilities needed to establish the first sustained presence on the lunar surface.

“Artemis engages us to apply creative navigation solutions, choosing the right combination of capabilities for each mission,” said Cheryl Gramling, associate chief for technology in the Mission Engineering and Systems Analysis Division at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Illustration of NASA's lunar-orbiting Gateway and a human landing system in orbit around the Moon. (NASA)

Illustration of NASA’s lunar-orbiting Gateway and a human landing system in orbit around the Moon. (NASA)

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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 finishes first ever Global Accounting of Fluctuating Freshwater Levels

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – To investigate humans’ impact on freshwater resources, scientists have now conducted the first global accounting of fluctuating water levels in Earth’s lakes and reservoirs – including ones previously too small to measure from space. 

The research, published March 3rd in the journal Nature, relied on NASA’s Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite 2 (ICESat-2), launched in September 2018. 

Lake Mead, along the Colorado River. (National Park Service)

Lake Mead, along the Colorado River. (National Park Service)

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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope finishes Final Tests, Ready for Launch

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – February marked significant progress for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which completed its final functional performance tests at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California.

Testing teams successfully completed two important milestones that confirmed the observatory’s internal electronics are all functioning as intended, and that the spacecraft and its four scientific instruments can send and receive data properly through the same network they will use in space. These milestones move Webb closer to being ready to launch in October.

Following the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope's recent milestone tests, engineering teams have confirmed that the observatory will both mechanically, and electronically survive the rigors anticipated during launch. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

Following the conclusion of the James Webb Space Telescope’s recent milestone tests, engineering teams have confirmed that the observatory will both mechanically, and electronically survive the rigors anticipated during launch. (NASA/Chris Gunn)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope takes image of Young Comet near Jupiter’s Asteroid

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA reports that for the first time, a wayward comet-like object has been spotted near the family of ancient asteroids.

After traveling several billion miles toward the Sun, a wayward young comet-like object orbiting among the giant planets has found a temporary parking place along the way. The object has settled near a family of captured ancient asteroids, called Trojans, that are orbiting the Sun alongside Jupiter. This is the first time a comet-like object has been spotted near the Trojan population.

NASA's Hubble Space Telescope snapped this image of the young comet P/2019 LD2 as it orbits near Jupiter’s captured ancient asteroids, which are called Trojans. The Hubble view reveals a 400,000-mile-long tail of dust and gas flowing from the wayward comet's bright solid nucleus. (NASA/ESA/J. Olmsted/STScI)

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope snapped this image of the young comet P/2019 LD2 as it orbits near Jupiter’s captured ancient asteroids, which are called Trojans. The Hubble view reveals a 400,000-mile-long tail of dust and gas flowing from the wayward comet’s bright solid nucleus. (NASA/ESA/J. Olmsted/STScI)

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NASA Lunar Gateway’s Core Flight Software to be created by Goddard Space Flight Center

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA is improving a flight software system to help create and certify essential software for the lunar Gateway.

As part of the Artemis program, NASA will send astronauts to the Moon and establish a sustained lunar presence by the end of the decade. The Gateway will provide a waypoint for lunar exploration and allow astronauts to live and work in lunar orbit as well as host science instruments and experiments.

This illustration shows the Gateway lunar platform orbiting the Moon. (NASA)

This illustration shows the Gateway lunar platform orbiting the Moon. (NASA)

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NASA Hubble Space Telescope discovers group of multiple Small Black Holes

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Astronomers found something they weren’t expecting at the heart of the globular cluster NGC 6397: a concentration of smaller black holes lurking there instead of one massive black hole.

Globular clusters are extremely dense stellar systems, which host stars that are closely packed together. These systems are also typically very old — the globular cluster at the focus of this study, NGC 6397, is almost as old as the universe itself. This cluster resides 7,800 light-years away, making it one of the closest globular clusters to Earth. Due to its very dense nucleus, it is known as a core-collapsed cluster.

The amount of mass a black hole can pack away varies widely from less than twice the mass of our Sun to over a billion times our Sun's mass. Midway between are intermediate-mass black holes weighing roughly hundreds to tens of thousands of solar masses. So, black holes come small, medium, and large. (NASA, ESA, T. Brown, S. Casertano, and J. Anderson (STScI))

The amount of mass a black hole can pack away varies widely from less than twice the mass of our Sun to over a billion times our Sun’s mass. Midway between are intermediate-mass black holes weighing roughly hundreds to tens of thousands of solar masses. So, black holes come small, medium, and large. (NASA, ESA, T. Brown, S. Casertano, and J. Anderson (STScI))

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NASA picks SpaceX to launch SPHEREx Mission

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, California, to provide launch services for the Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization, and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission.

SPHEREx is a planned two-year astrophysics mission to survey the sky in the near-infrared light, which, though not visible to the human eye, serves as a powerful tool for answering cosmic questions involving the birth of the universe, and the subsequent development of galaxies.

This illustration shows the preliminary design for NASA’s Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx), which will map the entire sky in near-infrared light. The mission could launch as early as 2024. (Caltech )

This illustration shows the preliminary design for NASA’s Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx), which will map the entire sky in near-infrared light. The mission could launch as early as 2024. (Caltech )

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NASA says Surface of Phobos could reveal information about Mars’ Past

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The Martian moon Phobos orbits through a stream of charged atoms and molecules that flow off the Red Planet’s atmosphere, new NASA research shows.

Many of these charged particles, or ions, of oxygen, carbon, nitrogen, and argon, have been escaping Mars for billions of years as the planet has been shedding its atmosphere. Some ions, scientists predict, have been smashing into the surface of Phobos and could be preserved in its uppermost layer, according to a paper published on February 1st in the journal Nature Geoscience.

An image of Phobos from March 23, 2008, taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

An image of Phobos from March 23, 2008, taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

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