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Topic: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA study shows Greenland Ice Sheet Melting means rise in Sea Levels, more Flooding

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The Greenland Ice Sheet is rapidly melting, having lost 3.8 trillion tons of ice between 1992 and 2018, a new study from NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA) finds. The study combined 26 independent satellite datasets to track global warming’s effect on Greenland, one of the largest ice sheets on Earth, and the ice sheet melt’s impact on rising sea levels.

The findings, which forecast an approximate 3 to 5 inches (70 to 130 millimeters) of global sea level rise by 2100, are in alignment with previous worst-case projections if the average rate of Greenland’s ice loss continues.

The Greenland Ice Sheet, seen here in Oct. 2018, is melting at a rapidly accelerating rate because of Earth's warming climate. As the ice melts into the ocean, it raises the sea level around the world, causing flooding and other damage to coastal communities. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The Greenland Ice Sheet, seen here in Oct. 2018, is melting at a rapidly accelerating rate because of Earth’s warming climate. As the ice melts into the ocean, it raises the sea level around the world, causing flooding and other damage to coastal communities. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA looks at returning to Venus

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Sue Smrekar really wants to go back to Venus. In her office at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the planetary scientist displays a 30-year-old image of Venus’ surface taken by the Magellan spacecraft, a reminder of how much time has passed since an American mission orbited the planet.

The image reveals a hellish landscape: a young surface with more volcanoes than any other body in the solar system, gigantic rifts, towering mountain belts and temperatures hot enough to melt lead.

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA's JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet's extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA's Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Venus hides a wealth of information that could help us better understand Earth and exoplanets. NASA’s JPL is designing mission concepts to survive the planet’s extreme temperatures and atmospheric pressure. This image is a composite of data from NASA’s Magellan spacecraft and Pioneer Venus Orbiter. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA maps Water Ice locations on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has big plans for returning astronauts to the Moon in 2024, a stepping stone on the path to sending humans to Mars. But where should the first people on the Red Planet land?

A new paper published in Geophysical Research Letters will help by providing a map of water ice believed to be as little as an inch (2.5 centimeters) below the surface.

Water ice will be a key consideration for any potential landing site. With little room to spare aboard a spacecraft, any human missions to Mars will have to harvest what’s already available for drinking water and making rocket fuel.

The area of Mars in this illustration holds near-surface water ice that would be easily accessible for astronauts to dig up. The water ice was identified as part of a map using data from NASA orbiters. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The area of Mars in this illustration holds near-surface water ice that would be easily accessible for astronauts to dig up. The water ice was identified as part of a map using data from NASA orbiters. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Soon, NASA will have Two Rovers driving across Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA –  Curiosity won’t be NASA’s only active Mars rover for much longer. Next summer, Mars 2020 will be headed for the Red Planet.

While the newest rover borrows from Curiosity’s design, they aren’t twins: Built and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, each has its own role in the ongoing exploration of Mars and the search for ancient life.

Here’s a closer look at what sets the siblings apart.

Illustrations of NASA's Curiosity and Mars 2020 rovers. While the newest rover borrows from Curiosity's design, each has its own role in the ongoing exploration of Mars and the search for ancient life. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Illustrations of NASA’s Curiosity and Mars 2020 rovers. While the newest rover borrows from Curiosity’s design, each has its own role in the ongoing exploration of Mars and the search for ancient life. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA reports Seals used to study how heat moves through Ocean Layers

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the Antarctic Circumpolar Current flows in a loop around Antarctica, connecting the Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean. It is one of the most significant ocean currents in our climate system because it facilitates the exchange of heat and other properties among the oceans it links.

But how the current transfers heat, particularly vertically from the top layer of the ocean to the bottom layers and vice versa, is still not fully understood. This current is very turbulent, producing eddies – swirling vortices of water similar to storms in the atmosphere – between 30 to 125 miles (50 to 200 kilometers) in diameter.

A tagged elephant seal basks on Kerguelen Island, a French territory in the Antarctic. Elephant seals are tagged as part of a French research program called SO-MEMO (Observing System - Mammals as Samplers of the Ocean Environment), operated by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). (Sorbonne University/Etienne Pauthenet)

A tagged elephant seal basks on Kerguelen Island, a French territory in the Antarctic. Elephant seals are tagged as part of a French research program called SO-MEMO (Observing System – Mammals as Samplers of the Ocean Environment), operated by the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS). (Sorbonne University/Etienne Pauthenet)

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NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter observes Dust thrust into the Sky from Storms on Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says dust storms are common on Mars. But every decade or so, something unpredictable happens: A series of runaway storms breaks out, covering the entire planet in a dusty haze.

Last year, a fleet of NASA spacecraft got a detailed look at the life cycle of the 2018 global dust storm that ended the Opportunity rover’s mission. And while scientists are still puzzling over the data, two papers recently shed new light on a phenomenon observed within the storm: dust towers, or concentrated clouds of dust that warm in sunlight and rise high into the air.

Side-by-side movies shows how the 2018 global dust storm enveloped the Red Planet, courtesy of the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera onboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This global dust storm caused NASA's Opportunity rover to lose contact with Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

Side-by-side movies shows how the 2018 global dust storm enveloped the Red Planet, courtesy of the Mars Color Imager (MARCI) camera onboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). This global dust storm caused NASA’s Opportunity rover to lose contact with Earth. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA says Apollo 12, Mars 2020 are Two of a Space Kind

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says fifty years ago today, during their second moonwalk, Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. and Alan Bean became the first humans to reach out and touch a spacecraft that had previously landed on another celestial body.

NASA’s 1969 Apollo 12 Moon mission and the upcoming Mars 2020 mission to the Red Planet may be separated by half a century and targets that are 100 million miles apart, but they share several mission goals unique in the annals of space exploration.

“We on the Mars 2020 project feel a special kinship with the crew of Apollo 12,” said John McNamee, Mars 2020 project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

(Left) Apollo 12 astronaut Charles "Pete" Conrad Jr. stands beside NASA's Surveyor 3 spacecraft; the lunar module Intrepid can be seen in the distance. Apollo 12 landed on the Moon's Ocean of Storms on Nov. 20, 1969. (Right) Mars 2020 rover, seen here in an artist's concept, will make history's most accurate landing on a planetary body when it lands at Mars' Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

(Left) Apollo 12 astronaut Charles “Pete” Conrad Jr. stands beside NASA’s Surveyor 3 spacecraft; the lunar module Intrepid can be seen in the distance. Apollo 12 landed on the Moon’s Ocean of Storms on Nov. 20, 1969. (Right) Mars 2020 rover, seen here in an artist’s concept, will make history’s most accurate landing on a planetary body when it lands at Mars’ Jezero Crater on Feb. 18, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s BRUIE Robotic Submersible tested under Sea Ice

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s little robotic explorer will be rolling into Antarctica this month to perform a gymnastic feat – driving upside down under sea ice.

BRUIE, or the Buoyant Rover for Under-Ice Exploration, is being developed for underwater exploration in extraterrestrial, icy waters by engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. It will spend the next month testing its endurance at Australia’s Casey research station in Antarctica, in preparation for a mission that could one day search for life in ocean worlds beyond Earth.  

An underwater rover called BRUIE is being tested in Antarctica to look for life under the ice. Developed by engineers at NASA-JPL, the robotic submersible could one day explore ice-covered oceans on moons like Europa and Enceladus. BRUIE is pictured here in an arctic lake near Barrow, Alaska in 2015. (NASA)

An underwater rover called BRUIE is being tested in Antarctica to look for life under the ice. Developed by engineers at NASA-JPL, the robotic submersible could one day explore ice-covered oceans on moons like Europa and Enceladus. BRUIE is pictured here in an arctic lake near Barrow, Alaska in 2015. (NASA)

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NASA’s Cassini mission images used to create First Global Geologic Map of Titan

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has released the first map showing the global geology of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, has been completed and fully reveals a dynamic world of dunes, lakes, plains, craters and other terrains.

Titan is the only planetary body in our solar system other than Earth known to have stable liquid on its surface. But instead of water raining down from clouds and filling lakes and seas as on Earth, on Titan what rains down is methane and ethane – hydrocarbons that we think of as gases but that behave as liquids in Titan’s frigid climate.

The first global geologic map of Titan is based on radar and visible-light images from NASA's Cassini mission, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017. Labels point to several of the named surface features. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

The first global geologic map of Titan is based on radar and visible-light images from NASA’s Cassini mission, which orbited Saturn from 2004 to 2017. Labels point to several of the named surface features. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

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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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