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Topic: Moon

NASA instrument to help improve Earth Observations of the Moon

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – A high-altitude NASA plane is taking off with a new instrument to measure the Moon’s brightness and eventually help Earth observing sensors make more accurate measurements.

The airborne Lunar Spectral Irradiance Instrument (air-LUSI) is flying aboard NASA’s ER-2 airplane. The ER-2 is able to soar above clouds, about 70,000 feet above ground.

The crew of the International Space Station snapped this image of the full Moon on April 30, 2018, as the station orbited off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. (NASA)

The crew of the International Space Station snapped this image of the full Moon on April 30, 2018, as the station orbited off the coast of Newfoundland, Canada. (NASA)

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence Calls on NASA to Write the Next Chapter for America in Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – A rich history, 21st-century expertise and the technological leadership of a one-of-a-kind region stood front and center during U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on November 14th, 2019.

Touring with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the vice president commended Ames’ innovators and visionaries for their role in building Silicon Valley into a technological powerhouse and in bringing expert knowledge and dedication to the center’s endeavors today. Pence learned about some of these during his time at Ames, with visits to facilities and projects critical for the Artemis program.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Vertical Motion Simulator facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (NASA/Dominic Hart)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Vertical Motion Simulator facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (NASA/Dominic Hart)

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NASA research shows Neptune Moons orbits connected to avoid each other

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says even by the wild standards of the outer solar system, the strange orbits that carry Neptune’s two innermost moons are unprecedented, according to newly published research.

Orbital dynamics experts are calling it a “dance of avoidance” performed by the tiny moons Naiad and Thalassa. The two are true partners, orbiting only about 1,150 miles (1,850 kilometers) apart. But they never get that close to each other; Naiad’s orbit is tilted and perfectly timed. Every time it passes the slower-moving Thalassa, the two are about 2,200 miles (3,540 kilometers) apart.

Neptune Moon Dance: This photo illustrates how the odd orbits of Neptune's inner moons Naiad and Thalassa enable them to avoid each other as they race around the planet. (NASA)

Neptune Moon Dance: This photo illustrates how the odd orbits of Neptune’s inner moons Naiad and Thalassa enable them to avoid each other as they race around the planet. (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 rover to search for Ancient Life

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover have discovered what may be one of the best places to look for signs of ancient life in Jezero Crater, where the rover will land on February 18th, 2021.

A paper published today in the journal Icarus identifies distinct deposits of minerals called carbonates along the inner rim of Jezero, the site of a lake more than 3.5 billion years ago. On Earth, carbonates help form structures that are hardy enough to survive in fossil form for billions of years, including seashells, coral and some stromatolites – rocks formed on this planet by ancient microbial life along ancient shorelines, where sunlight and water were plentiful.

NASA's Mars 2020 Will Hunt for Microscopic Fossils Lighter colors represent higher elevation in this image of Jezero Crater on Mars, the landing site for NASA's Mars 2020 mission. The oval indicates the landing ellipse, where the rover will be touching down on Mars. (NASA)

NASA’s Mars 2020 Will Hunt for Microscopic Fossils Lighter colors represent higher elevation in this image of Jezero Crater on Mars, the landing site for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. The oval indicates the landing ellipse, where the rover will be touching down on Mars. (NASA)

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NASA reports All Four Engines Are Attached to the SLS Core Stage for Artemis I Mission

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – All four RS-25 engines were structurally mated to the core stage for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for Artemis I, the first mission of SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft. To complete assembly of the rocket stage, engineers and technicians are now integrating the propulsion and electrical systems within the structure.

The completed core stage with all four RS-25 engines attached is the largest rocket stage NASA has built since the Saturn V stages for the Apollo Program that first sent Americans to the Moon.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket now has all four RS-25 engines were mated to the core stage. (Eric Bordelon, NASA)

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket now has all four RS-25 engines were mated to the core stage. (Eric Bordelon, NASA)

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NASA’s Rocket to the Moon, What Is the Exploration Upper Stage?

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket delivers propulsion in stages to send NASA’s Orion spacecraft and heavy cargo to the Moon for the Artemis lunar missions.

At liftoff, the core stage and twin solid rocket boosters fire to propel the rocket off the launch pad send it into orbit. Once in orbit, the upper stage provides the in-space propulsion to set the spacecraft on a precise trajectory.

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) Exploration Upper Stage. (NASA) «Read the rest of this article»

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Unopened Apollo Sample opened by NASA Ahead of Artemis Missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA scientists opened an untouched rock and soil sample from the Moon returned to Earth on Apollo 17, marking the first time in more than 40 years a pristine sample of rock and regolith from the Apollo era has been opened. It sets the stage for scientists to practice techniques to study future samples collected on Artemis missions.

The sample, opened November 5th, in the Lunar Curation Laboratory at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, was collected on the Moon by Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt, who drove a 4-centimeter-wide tube into the surface of the Moon to collect it and another sample scheduled to be opened in January.

Pictured from left: Apollo sample processors Andrea Mosie, Charis Krysher and Juliane Gross open lunar sample 73002 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The Moon rocks inside this tube have remained untouched since they were collected on the surface and brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts nearly 50 years ago. (NASA/James Blair)

Pictured from left: Apollo sample processors Andrea Mosie, Charis Krysher and Juliane Gross open lunar sample 73002 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The Moon rocks inside this tube have remained untouched since they were collected on the surface and brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts nearly 50 years ago. (NASA/James Blair)

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NASA examines what happens when Exoplanets Collide

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – NASA says a dramatic glimpse of the aftermath of a collision between two exoplanets is giving scientists a view at what can happen when planets crash into each other. A similar event in our own solar system may have formed our Moon.

Known as BD +20 307, this double-star system is more than 300 light years from Earth with stars that are at least one billion years old. Yet this mature system has shown signs of swirling dusty debris that is not cold, as would be expected around stars of this age. Rather, the debris is warm, reinforcing that it was made relatively recently by the impact of two planet-sized bodies.  

Artist’s concept illustrating a catastrophic collision between two rocky exoplanets in the planetary system BD +20 307, turning both into dusty debris. Ten years ago, scientists speculated that the warm dust in this system was a result of a planet-to-planet collision. Now, SOFIA found even more warm dust, further supporting that two rocky exoplanets collided. This helps build a more complete picture of our own solar system’s history. Such a collision could be similar to the type of catastrophic event that ultimately created our Moon. (NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook)

Artist’s concept illustrating a catastrophic collision between two rocky exoplanets in the planetary system BD +20 307, turning both into dusty debris. Ten years ago, scientists speculated that the warm dust in this system was a result of a planet-to-planet collision. Now, SOFIA found even more warm dust, further supporting that two rocky exoplanets collided. This helps build a more complete picture of our own solar system’s history. Such a collision could be similar to the type of catastrophic event that ultimately created our Moon. (NASA/SOFIA/Lynette Cook)

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Northrop Grumman Mission sends NASA Science, Cargo International Space Station

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says on the 19th anniversary of the arrival of the first crew to live aboard the International Space Station, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the orbiting outpost with almost 8,200 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 8:59am CDT Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops and is scheduled to arrive at the space station around 3:10am Monday, November 4th.

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia November 2nd, 2019. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia November 2nd, 2019. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA’s VIPER Lunar Rover will explore the Moon’s South Pole

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA is sending a mobile robot to the South Pole of the Moon to get a close-up view of the location and concentration of water ice in the region and for the first time ever, actually sample the water ice at the same pole where the first woman and next man will land in 2024 under the Artemis program.

About the size of a golf cart, the Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, will roam several miles, using its four science instruments — including a 1-meter drill — to sample various soil environments. Planned for delivery to the lunar surface in December 2022, VIPER will collect about 100 days of data that will be used to inform the first global water resource maps of the Moon.

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice. The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring us a significant step closer towards NASA’s ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon – making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond. (NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover, or VIPER, is a mobile robot that will roam around the Moon’s south pole looking for water ice. The VIPER mission will give us surface-level detail of where the water is and how much is available for us to use. This will bring us a significant step closer towards NASA’s ultimate goal of a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon – making it possible to eventually explore Mars and beyond. (NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

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