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Topic: NASA Headquarters

NASA works on plan for Suborbital Space Transportation System for Personnel

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For the first time in the agency’s history, NASA has initiated a new effort to enable NASA personnel to fly on future commercial suborbital spaceflights. NASA’s Flight Opportunities program has successfully worked with emerging commercial suborbital transportation systems to fly research payloads to space for short periods of microgravity time.

In addition, the Flight Opportunities program recently released a call that allows those non-NASA researchers to propose accompanying their payloads in suborbital space.

NASA to develop plan for Flying Personnel on Suborbital Spacecraft. (NASA)

NASA to develop plan for Flying Personnel on Suborbital Spacecraft. (NASA)

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NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft radar shows the Moon may be Richer in Metals than thought

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – What started out as a hunt for ice lurking in polar lunar craters turned into an unexpected finding that could help clear some muddy history about the Moon’s formation.

Team members of the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument on NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) spacecraft found new evidence that the Moon’s subsurface might be richer in metals, like iron and titanium, than researchers thought. That finding, published July 1st in Earth and Planetary Science Letters, could aid in drawing a clearer connection between Earth and the Moon.

This image based on data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft shows the face of the Moon we see from Earth. The more we learn about our nearest neighbor, the more we begin to understand the Moon as a dynamic place with useful resources that could one day even support human presence. (NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University)

This image based on data from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft shows the face of the Moon we see from Earth. The more we learn about our nearest neighbor, the more we begin to understand the Moon as a dynamic place with useful resources that could one day even support human presence. (NASA / GSFC / Arizona State University)

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Astrobotic picked to send NASA’s VIPER rover to Moon’s South Pole

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has awarded Astrobotic of Pittsburgh $199.5 million to deliver NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) to the Moon’s South Pole in late 2023.

The water-seeking mobile VIPER robot will help pave the way for astronaut missions to the lunar surface beginning in 2024 and will bring NASA a step closer to developing a sustainable, long-term presence on the Moon as part of the agency’s Artemis program.

Illustration of NASA's Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) on the surface of the Moon. (NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

Illustration of NASA’s Volatiles Investigating Polar Exploration Rover (VIPER) on the surface of the Moon. (NASA Ames/Daniel Rutter)

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NASA’s Cold Atom Lab aboard International Space Station takes One Giant Leap for Quantum Science

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – This month marks 25 years since scientists first produced a fifth state of matter, which has extraordinary properties totally unlike solids, liquids, gases and plasmas. The achievement garnered a Nobel Prize and changed physics.

A new study in the journal Nature builds on that legacy. In July 2018, NASA’s Cold Atom Lab became the first facility to produce that fifth state of matter, called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), in Earth orbit. A fundamental physics facility on the International Space Station, Cold Atom Lab cools atoms down to ultracold temperatures in order to study their basic physical properties in ways that would not be possible on Earth.

This image shows six finely tuned lasers used inside NASA's Cold Atom Lab to slow down atoms, lowering their temperature. This is step one in a three-step cooling process. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image shows six finely tuned lasers used inside NASA’s Cold Atom Lab to slow down atoms, lowering their temperature. This is step one in a three-step cooling process. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s New Horizons Conducts the First Interstellar Parallax Experiment

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For the first time, a spacecraft has sent back pictures of the sky from so far away that some stars appear to be in different positions than we’d see from Earth. 

More than four billion miles from home and speeding toward interstellar space, NASA’s New Horizons has traveled so far that it now has a unique view of the nearest stars.

“It’s fair to say that New Horizons is looking at an alien sky, unlike what we see from Earth,” said Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) in Boulder, Colorado.

NASA's New Horizons spacecraft. (NASA)

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft. (NASA)

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NASA reports Arctic Regions Ice Melts speed up Freshwater Depletion

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Seven of the regions that dominate global ice mass losses are melting at an accelerated rate, a new study shows, and the quickened melt rate is depleting freshwater resources that millions of people depend on.

The impact of melting ice in Greenland and Antarctica on the world’s oceans is well documented. But the largest contributors to sea level rise in the 20th century were melting ice caps and glaciers located in seven other regions: Alaska, the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, the Southern Andes, High Mountain Asia, the Russian Arctic, Iceland and the Norwegian archipelago Svalbard. The five Arctic regions accounted for the greatest share of ice loss.

A small glacier in the Arctic region of Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, as photographed by NASA's Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX). This is one of the seven regions where ice loss is accelerating, causing the depletion of freshwater resources. (NASA/John Sonntag)

A small glacier in the Arctic region of Norwegian archipelago Svalbard, as photographed by NASA’s Airborne Tropical Tropopause Experiment (ATTREX). This is one of the seven regions where ice loss is accelerating, causing the depletion of freshwater resources. (NASA/John Sonntag)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope celebrates 30 Years in Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA is celebrating the Hubble Space Telescope’s 30 years of unlocking the beauty and mystery of space by unveiling a stunning new portrait of a firestorm of starbirth in a neighboring galaxy.

In this Hubble portrait, the giant red nebula (NGC 2014) and its smaller blue neighbor (NGC 2020) are part of a vast star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, located 163,000 light-years away. The image is nicknamed the “Cosmic Reef,” because it resembles an undersea world.

A colorful image resembling a cosmic version of an undersea world teeming with stars is being released to commemorate the Hubble Space Telescope's 30 years of viewing the wonders of space. In the Hubble portrait, the giant red nebula (NGC 2014) and its smaller blue neighbor (NGC 2020) are part of a vast star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, located 163,000 light-years away. (NASA, ESA and STScI)

A colorful image resembling a cosmic version of an undersea world teeming with stars is being released to commemorate the Hubble Space Telescope’s 30 years of viewing the wonders of space. In the Hubble portrait, the giant red nebula (NGC 2014) and its smaller blue neighbor (NGC 2020) are part of a vast star-forming region in the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of the Milky Way, located 163,000 light-years away. (NASA, ESA and STScI)

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NASA Scientists use GRACE, GRACE-FO Satellite Data to examine Ice Loss in Greenland, Antarctica

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – According to NASA, during the exceptionally warm Arctic summer of 2019, Greenland lost 600 billion tons of ice – enough to raise global sea levels by nearly a tenth of an inch (2.2 millimeters) in just two months, a new study shows.

Led by scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of California, Irvine, the study also concludes that Antarctica continues to lose mass, particularly in the Amundsen Sea Embayment and the Antarctic Peninsula on the western part of the continent; however, those losses have been partially offset by gains from increased snowfall in the northeast.

Greenland's Steenstrup Glacier, with the midmorning sun glinting off the Denmark Strait in the background. The image was taken during a NASA IceBridge airborne survey of the region in 2016. (NASA/Operation IceBridge)

Greenland’s Steenstrup Glacier, with the midmorning sun glinting off the Denmark Strait in the background. The image was taken during a NASA IceBridge airborne survey of the region in 2016. (NASA/Operation IceBridge)

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Rocket Lab gets NASA Contract to Launch CubeSat to Moon from Virginia

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected Rocket Lab of Huntington Beach, California, to provide launch services for the Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat.

Rocket Lab, a commercial launch provider licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, will launch the 55-pound CubeSat aboard an Electron rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. After launch, the company’s Photon platform will deliver CAPSTONE to a trans-lunar injection.

Part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Launch Complex 2 is Rocket Lab’s second launch site for the Electron rocket. Rocket Lab will launch NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat mission to the Moon from the Virginia launch site in early 2021. (Rocket Lab)

Part of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, Launch Complex 2 is Rocket Lab’s second launch site for the Electron rocket. Rocket Lab will launch NASA’s Cislunar Autonomous Positioning System Technology Operations and Navigation Experiment (CAPSTONE) CubeSat mission to the Moon from the Virginia launch site in early 2021. (Rocket Lab)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover’s Mast to include new Laser Instrument

 

SuperCam is a rock-vaporizing instrument that will help scientists hunt for Mars fossils.

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA is sending a new laser-toting robot to Mars. But unlike the lasers of science fiction, this one is used for studying mineralogy and chemistry from up to about 20 feet (7 meters) away. It might help scientists find signs of fossilized microbial life on the Red Planet, too.

One of seven instruments aboard the Mars 2020 rover that launches this summer, SuperCam was built by a team of hundreds and packs what would typically require several sizable pieces of equipment into something no bigger than a cereal box.

Mars 2020's mast, or "head," includes a laser instrument called SuperCam that can vaporize rock material and study the resulting plasma. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Mars 2020’s mast, or “head,” includes a laser instrument called SuperCam that can vaporize rock material and study the resulting plasma. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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