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Topic: NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center

NASA Astronomers see large explosion on the Moon caused by a Meteor Strike

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington D.C. – For the past 8 years, NASA astronomers have been monitoring the Moon for signs of explosions caused by meteoroids hitting the lunar surface. “Lunar meteor showers” have turned out to be more common than anyone expected, with hundreds of detectable impacts occurring every year.

They’ve just seen the biggest explosion in the history of the program.

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NASA Television to air live coverage of record breaking Asteroid Flyby of Earth

 

Written by Dr. Tony Phillips
Science at NASA

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA Television will provide commentary starting at 2:00pm EST (1:00pm CST) on Friday, February 15th, during the close, but safe, flyby of a small near-Earth asteroid named “2012 DA14.”

NASA places a high priority on tracking asteroids and protecting our home planet from them. This flyby will provide a unique opportunity for researchers to study a near-Earth object up close.

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NASA’s GRAIL mission spacecrafts crash site on the Moon dedicated to Astronaut Sally Ride

 

Written by D.C. Agle
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has named the site where twin agency spacecraft impacted the moon Monday in honor of the late astronaut Sally K. Ride, who was America’s first woman in space and a member of the probes’ mission team.

Last Friday, Ebb and Flow, the two spacecraft comprising NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, were commanded to descend into a lower orbit that would result in an impact Monday on a mountain near the moon’s north pole.

The final flight path for NASA's twin GRAIL mission spacecraft to impact the moon on December 17th. GRAIL's MoonKAM is the signature education and public outreach program led by Sally Ride Science-founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America's first woman in space.

The final flight path for NASA’s twin GRAIL mission spacecraft to impact the moon on December 17th. GRAIL’s MoonKAM is the signature education and public outreach program led by Sally Ride Science-founded by Dr. Sally Ride, America’s first woman in space.

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Data from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft data reveals changing surface on Giant Asteroid Vesta

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Like a Hollywood starlet constantly retouching her makeup, the giant asteroid Vesta is constantly stirring its outermost layer to present a young face. Data from NASA’s Dawn mission show that a form of weathering that occurs on the moon and other airless bodies we’ve visited in the inner solar system does not alter Vesta’s outermost layer in the same way.

Carbon-rich asteroids have also been splattering dark material on Vesta’s surface over a long span of the body’s history. The results are described in two papers released today in the journal Nature.

This image from NASA's Dawn spacecraft shows a close up of part of the rim around the crater Canuleia on the giant asteroid Vesta. Canuleia, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) in diameter, is the large crater at the bottom-left of this image. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/PSI/Brown)

This image from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft shows a close up of part of the rim around the crater Canuleia on the giant asteroid Vesta. Canuleia, about 6 miles (10 kilometers) in diameter, is the large crater at the bottom-left of this image. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/PSI/Brown)

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NASA’s FOXSI X-Ray Telescope ready to launch in November

 

Written by Karen Fox
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Those who watch the sun are regularly treated to brilliant shows – dancing loops of solar material rise up, dark magnetic regions called sunspots twist across the surface, and dazzling flares of light and radiation explode into space. But there are smaller, barely visible events, too: much smaller and more frequent eruptions called nanoflares.

Depending on how many and how energetic these are, nanoflares may be the missing piece of the puzzle to help understand what seeds the cascade that causes a much bigger flare, or to explain how the sun transfers so much energy to its atmosphere that it’s actually hotter than the surface.

Looking down the telescope tube on FOXSI ­ the Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager ­ reveals state-of-the-art optics that will help focus hard x-rays, which usually simply pass right through telescope mirrors. (Credit: NASA/S. Christe)

Looking down the telescope tube on FOXSI ­ the Focusing Optics X-ray Solar Imager ­ reveals state-of-the-art optics that will help focus hard x-rays, which usually simply pass right through telescope mirrors. (Credit: NASA/S. Christe)

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft reveals Hydrated Minerals on the Giant Asteroid Vesta’s surface

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has revealed that the giant asteroid Vesta has its own version of ring around the collar. Two new papers based on observations from the low-altitude mapping orbit of the Dawn mission show that volatile, or easily evaporated materials, have colored Vesta’s surface in a broad swath around its equator.

Pothole-like features mark some of the asteroid’s surface where the volatiles, likely water, released from hydrated minerals boiled off. While Dawn did not find actual water ice at Vesta, there are signs of hydrated minerals delivered by meteorites and dust evident in the giant asteroid’s chemistry and geology. The findings appear today in the journal Science.

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft takes one last look at the giant asteroid Vesta as it heads to the Dwarf Planet Ceres

 

Written by Jia-Rui Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Dawn mission is releasing two parting views of the giant asteroid Vesta, using images that were among the last taken by the spacecraft as it departed its companion for the last year.

The first set of images is a color-coded relief map of Vesta’s northern hemisphere, from the pole to the equator.

As NASA's Dawn spacecraft takes off for its next destination, this mosaic synthesizes some of the best views the spacecraft had of the giant asteroid Vesta. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA)

As NASA’s Dawn spacecraft takes off for its next destination, this mosaic synthesizes some of the best views the spacecraft had of the giant asteroid Vesta. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCAL/MPS/DLR/IDA)

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NASA’s Global Hawk unmanned aircraft flys over Hurricane Lelie in the Atlantic

 

Written by Alan Buis
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has begun its latest hurricane science field campaign by flying an unmanned Global Hawk aircraft over Hurricane Leslie in the Atlantic Ocean during a day-long flight that began in California and ended in Virginia.

With the Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) mission, NASA for the first time will be flying Global Hawks from the U.S. East Coast.

An unmanned NASA Global Hawk aircraft comes in for a landing at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA, Sept. 7, kicking off the month-long Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) mission. HS3 will help researchers and forecasters uncover information about how hurricances and tropical storms form and intensify. (Image credit: NASA)

An unmanned NASA Global Hawk aircraft comes in for a landing at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA, Sept. 7, kicking off the month-long Hurricane and Severe Storm Sentinel (HS3) mission. HS3 will help researchers and forecasters uncover information about how hurricances and tropical storms form and intensify. (Image credit: NASA)

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NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has left the Giant Asteroid Vesta and heads to the Dwarf Planet Ceres

 

Written by Jia-Rui C. Cook
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mission controllers received confirmation today that NASA’s Dawn spacecraft has escaped from the gentle gravitational grip of the giant asteroid Vesta. Dawn is now officially on its way to its second destination, the dwarf planet Ceres.

Dawn departed from Vesta at about 11:26pm PDT on September 4th (2:26am EDT on September 5th).

Communications from the spacecraft via NASA’s Deep Space Network confirmed the departure and that the spacecraft is now traveling toward Ceres.

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NASA to hold Asteroid Naming Contest for Students

 

Written by Elizabeth Zubritsky
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Students worldwide have an opportunity to name an asteroid from which an upcoming NASA mission will return the first samples to Earth.

Scheduled to launch in 2016, the mission is called the Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx). Samples returned from the primitive surface of the near-Earth asteroid currently called (101955) 1999 RQ36 could hold clues to the origin of the solar system and organic molecules that may have seeded life on Earth.

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