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Topic: Isotopes

NASA’s MAVEN Spacecraft celebrates 1,000 Days in Orbit

 

Written by Nancy Jones
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – On June 17th, NASA’s MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution Mission) will celebrate 1,000 Earth days in orbit around the Red Planet. Since its launch in November 2013 and its orbit insertion in September 2014, MAVEN has been exploring the upper atmosphere of Mars.

MAVEN is bringing insight to how the sun stripped Mars of most of its atmosphere, turning a planet once possibly habitable to microbial life into a barren desert world.

This artist concept shows the MAVEN spacecraft and the limb of Mars. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center)

This artist concept shows the MAVEN spacecraft and the limb of Mars. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center)

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NASA scientists explain the Carbon loss in Mars’ Atmosphere

 

Deborah Williams-Hedges
California Institute of Technology

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mars is blanketed by a thin, mostly carbon dioxide atmosphere — one that is far too thin to keep water from freezing or quickly evaporating. However, geological evidence has led scientists to conclude that ancient Mars was once a warmer, wetter place than it is today.

To produce a more temperate climate, several researchers have suggested that the planet was once shrouded in a much thicker carbon dioxide atmosphere. For decades that left the question, “Where did all the carbon go?”

The solar wind stripped away much of Mars’ ancient atmosphere and is still removing tons of it every day. But scientists have been puzzled by why they haven’t found more carbon — in the form of carbonate — captured into Martian rocks. They have also sought to explain the ratio of heavier and lighter carbons in the modern Martian atmosphere.

This graphic depicts paths by which carbon has been exchanged among Martian interior, surface rocks, polar caps, waters and atmosphere, and also depicts a mechanism by which it is lost from the atmosphere with a strong effect on isotope ratio. (Lance Hayashida/Caltech)

This graphic depicts paths by which carbon has been exchanged among Martian interior, surface rocks, polar caps, waters and atmosphere, and also depicts a mechanism by which it is lost from the atmosphere with a strong effect on isotope ratio. (Lance Hayashida/Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover examines Martian Atmosphere to learn about it’s past

 

Written by Guy Webster
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover is using a new experiment to better understand the history of the Martian atmosphere by analyzing xenon.

While NASA’s Curiosity rover concluded its detailed examination of the rock layers of the “Pahrump Hills” in Gale Crater on Mars this winter, some members of the rover team were busy analyzing the Martian atmosphere for xenon, a heavy noble gas.

Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) experiment analyzed xenon in the planet’s atmosphere. Since noble gases are chemically inert and do not react with other substances in the air or on the ground, they are excellent tracers of the history of the atmosphere.

A Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) team member at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland prepares the SAM testbed for an experiment. This test copy of SAM is inside a chamber that can model the pressure and temperature environment that SAM sees inside NASA's Curiosity rover on Mars. (NASA/GSFC)

A Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) team member at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland prepares the SAM testbed for an experiment. This test copy of SAM is inside a chamber that can model the pressure and temperature environment that SAM sees inside NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars. (NASA/GSFC)

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Nashville Sounds fall to Albuquerque 4-2

 

Nashville SoundsAlbuquerque, N.M – Despite achieving double-digit hits for the second consecutive game, the Nashville Sounds (69-59) could not muster enough runs in a 4-2 defeat to the Albuquerque Isotopes Sunday afternoon at Isotopes Park.

Eight different Sounds recorded hits in the contest including outfielder Logan Schafer, who extended his hitting streak to 14 games with a single in the top of the third. He finished the game going 2-for-5 and is hitting .362 during his current streak.

Nashville Sounds fall to Albuquerque 4-2 (Mateen Sidiq Nashville Sports Network)

Nashville Sounds fall to Albuquerque 4-2 (Mateen Sidiq Nashville Sports Network)

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Nashville Sounds rained out for Monday

 

Nashville SoundsNashville, TN  – Monday night’s game at Greer Stadium, which was scheduled to be the final game of a five-game series between the first-place Nashville Sounds (66-56) and the Round Rock Express (61-61) has been postponed due to unplayable field conditions.

The outing has been postponed and will be rescheduled as a part of a doubleheader at The Dell Diamond during the Sounds’ final series against the Express at Round Rock. The date of the game has yet to be determined, though the series will run from Thursday, August 28th to Monday, September 1st.

Nashville Sounds rained out for Monday night

Nashville Sounds rained out for Monday night

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NASA to explore the mysteries of Mars with Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) Orbiter

 

Written by Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Billions of years ago when the planets of our solar system were still young, Mars was a very different world. Liquid water flowed in long rivers that emptied into lakes and shallow seas. A thick atmosphere blanketed the planet and kept it warm.

In this cozy environment, living microbes might have found a home, starting Mars down the path toward becoming a second life-filled planet next door to our own.

But that’s not how things turned out.

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover provides Science with data from it’s Diverse Landing area

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover is revealing a great deal about Mars, from long-ago processes in its interior to the current interaction between the Martian surface and atmosphere.

Examination of loose rocks, sand and dust has provided new understanding of the local and global processes on Mars. Analysis of observations and measurements by the rover’s science instruments during the first four months after the August 2012 landing are detailed in five reports in the September 27th edition of the journal Science.

NASA's Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture this set of 55 high-resolution images, which were stitched together to create this full-color self-portrait. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

NASA’s Curiosity rover used the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to capture this set of 55 high-resolution images, which were stitched together to create this full-color self-portrait. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

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Nashville Sounds lose 9-1 to Albuquerque Isotopes Wednesday night

 

Nashville SoundsNashville, TN – The Albuquerque Isotopes defeated the Nashville Sounds by a 9-1 margin on Wednesday evening at Greer Stadium.

Albuquerque right-hander Matt Magill (3-0) struck out 10 batters, including six in a row at one point, while holding the Sounds to one run on three hits over 5 1/3 innings of work to earn the win.

Eight different Isotopes batters drove in a run in the contest, the Sounds’ eighth defeat in 10 games against Albuquerque on the year.

Nashville Sounds Baseball.

Nashville Sounds Baseball.

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover data reveals alot about Mars’ Atmosphere in the Past

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – A pair of new papers report measurements of the Martian atmosphere’s composition by NASA’s Curiosity rover, providing evidence about loss of much of Mars’ original atmosphere.

Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of laboratory instruments inside the rover has measured the abundances of different gases and different isotopes in several samples of Martian atmosphere. Isotopes are variants of the same chemical element with different atomic weights due to having different numbers of neutrons, such as the most common carbon isotope, carbon-12, and a heavier stable isotope, carbon-13.

This picture shows a lab demonstration of the measurement chamber inside the Tunable Laser Spectrometer, an instrument that is part of the Sample Analysis at Mars investigation on NASA's Curiosity rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This picture shows a lab demonstration of the measurement chamber inside the Tunable Laser Spectrometer, an instrument that is part of the Sample Analysis at Mars investigation on NASA’s Curiosity rover. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Nashville Sounds lose to Albuquerque Isotopes 7-4 on Memorial Day at Greer Stadium

 

Nashville SoundsNashville, TN – Despite erasing a two-run deficit late in the game, the Nashville Sounds lost 7-4 to the Albuquerque Isotopes on Memorial Day at Greer Stadium. The loss gives Albuquerque the 3-1 series win.

After the Sounds tied it up 4-4 in the seventh, the visiting team quickly recaptured the lead with a three-run double from Alfredo Amezaga in the top of the ninth. Albuquerque used a fielder’s choice and two hits off reliever Tim Dillard (0-1) to set the table for Amezaga’s game-winning hit.

Nashville Sounds Baseball. (Mike Strasinger / Nashville Sounds)

Nashville Sounds Baseball. (Mike Strasinger / Nashville Sounds)

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