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Topic: NASA’s Science Mission Directorate

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope observes conditions on Rocky Planet

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope data has been used in a new study to provide a rare glimpse of conditions on the surface of a rocky planet orbiting a star beyond the Sun. The study, published today in the journal Nature, shows that the planet’s surface may resemble those of Earth’s Moon or Mercury:

The planet likely has little to no atmosphere and could be covered in the same cooled volcanic material found in the dark areas of the Moon’s surface, called mare.

This artist's illustration depicts the exoplanet LHS 3844b, which is 1.3 times the mass of Earth and orbits an M dwarf star. The planet's surface may be covered mostly in dark lava rock, with no apparent atmosphere, according to observations by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

This artist’s illustration depicts the exoplanet LHS 3844b, which is 1.3 times the mass of Earth and orbits an M dwarf star. The planet’s surface may be covered mostly in dark lava rock, with no apparent atmosphere, according to observations by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

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NASA confirms mission to Jupiter’s Moon, Europa

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has announced the mission to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa is a go.

An icy ocean world in our solar system that could tell us more about the potential for life on other worlds is coming into focus with confirmation of the Europa Clipper mission’s next phase. The decision allows the mission to progress to completion of final design, followed by the construction and testing of the entire spacecraft and science payload.

A 2016 artist's concept of the Europa Clipper spacecraft. The design is changing as the spacecraft is developed. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A 2016 artist’s concept of the Europa Clipper spacecraft. The design is changing as the spacecraft is developed. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA picks Study Proposals for understanding Fundamental Nature of Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. Two Proposals have been picked by NASA for concept studies that could help us better understand the fundamental nature of space and how it changes in response to planetary atmospheres, radiation from the Sun, and interstellar particles. The proposals will advance NASA’s heliophysics program and could lead to better protection for both technology and humans as we travel farther from home.

Each of these Heliophysics Science Mission of Opportunity proposals will receive $400,000 to conduct a nine-month mission concept study.

NASA has chosen two new science proposals for nine-month concept studies to advance our understanding of how the particles and energy in space – shown here flowing from the Sun in an illustration of the solar wind – affect the fundamental nature of space. One proposal will ultimately be chosen to launch along with NASA’s upcoming Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe in October 2024. (NASA)

NASA has chosen two new science proposals for nine-month concept studies to advance our understanding of how the particles and energy in space – shown here flowing from the Sun in an illustration of the solar wind – affect the fundamental nature of space. One proposal will ultimately be chosen to launch along with NASA’s upcoming Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe in October 2024. (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover gains Bit Carousel

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars 2020 rover now has the bit carousel installed, a mechanism that will play a key role in the acquisition, containment and eventual return to Earth of humanity’s first samples from another planet.

“The bit carousel is at the heart of the sampling and caching subsystem,” said Keith Rosette, Mars 2020 sample handling delivery manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “It contains all of the tools the coring drill uses to sample the Martian surface and is the gateway for the samples to move into the rover for assessment and processing.”

In this August 5, 2019 image, the bit carousel - the heart of sampling and caching subsystem of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission - is attached to the front end of the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In this August 5, 2019 image, the bit carousel – the heart of sampling and caching subsystem of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission – is attached to the front end of the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Apollo 11, Mars 2020 have same goal, collect Samples

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Apollo 11 command module Columbia splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, fulfilling President John F. Kennedy’s goal to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth on July 24th, 1969.

Among the mission’s many firsts was the acquisition and return of the first samples from another celestial body. Findings based on the 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of lunar rock and soil rewrote the textbooks on both the Moon and solar system, and the samples are still being studied today by researchers using new and more sensitive instruments.

From left to right: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon; 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of samples were brought back to Earth from that mission; the Mars 2020 rover, seen here in an artist's concept rover, will be taking the first planetary samples at Jezero Crater, Mars (on right). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

From left to right: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon; 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of samples were brought back to Earth from that mission; the Mars 2020 rover, seen here in an artist’s concept rover, will be taking the first planetary samples at Jezero Crater, Mars (on right). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA engineers test Mars 2020 Rover Cameras

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Equipped with visionary science instruments, the NASA Mars 2020 rover underwent an “eye” exam after several cameras were installed on it. The rover contains an armada of imaging capabilities, from wide-angle landscape cameras to narrow-angle high-resolution zoom lens cameras.

“We completed the machine-vision calibration of the forward-facing cameras on the rover,” said Justin Maki, chief engineer for imaging and the imaging scientist for Mars 2020 at JPL. “This measurement is critical for accurate stereo vision, which is an important capability of the vehicle.”

In this image, engineers test cameras on the top of the Mars 2020 rover's mast and front chassis. The image was taken on July 23, 2019, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility's High Bay 1 at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In this image, engineers test cameras on the top of the Mars 2020 rover’s mast and front chassis. The image was taken on July 23, 2019, in the Spacecraft Assembly Facility’s High Bay 1 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) instrument to observe Coastal Ecosystems

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected a space-based instrument under its Earth Venture Instrument (EVI) portfolio that will make observations of coastal waters to help protect ecosystem sustainability, improve resource management, and enhance economic activity.

The selected Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) instrument, led by principal investigator Joseph Salisbury at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, will provide unique observations of ocean biology, chemistry, and ecology in the Gulf of Mexico, portions of the southeastern United States coastline, and the Amazon River plume – where the waters of the Amazon River enter the Atlantic Ocean.

NASA's Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) instrument will collect high-resolution observations of coastal ecosystems in such areas as the northern Gulf of Mexico, shown in this image with phytoplankton blooms stretching from the Texas and Louisiana coast (left) across the Mississippi River delta (center) toward Florida (far right). (NASA)

NASA’s Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) instrument will collect high-resolution observations of coastal ecosystems in such areas as the northern Gulf of Mexico, shown in this image with phytoplankton blooms stretching from the Texas and Louisiana coast (left) across the Mississippi River delta (center) toward Florida (far right). (NASA)

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NASA looks for Industries to take part in Next Phase of Commercial Lunar Payload Services

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has announced the latest opportunity for industry to participate in its Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) efforts to deliver science and technology payloads to and near the Moon.

The newest announcement calls for companies to push the boundaries of current technology to support the next generation of lunar landers that can land heavier payloads on the surface of the Moon, including the South Pole, as part of the agency’s Artemis program, which will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, setting the stage for future human exploration of Mars.

Commercial landers will carry NASA-provided science and technology payloads to the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the Moon by 2024. (NASA)

Commercial landers will carry NASA-provided science and technology payloads to the lunar surface, paving the way for NASA astronauts to land on the Moon by 2024. (NASA)

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NASA tests Mars 2020 rover arm, turret

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadenca, CA – NASA’s Mars 2020 rover’s robotic arm is able to curl heavy weights. On July 18th, 2019, the time-lapse video below was, taken in the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the rover’s 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm handily maneuvers 88 pounds’ (40 kilograms’) worth of sensor-laden turret as it moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration.

The rover’s arm includes five electrical motors and five joints (known as the shoulder azimuth joint, shoulder elevation joint, elbow joint, wrist joint and turret joint).

In this image, taken July 19, 2019, in the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at JPL, the rover's 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm maneuvers its 88-pound (40-kilogram) sensor-laden turret as it moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In this image, taken July 19, 2019, in the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at JPL, the rover’s 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm maneuvers its 88-pound (40-kilogram) sensor-laden turret as it moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover set to launch in One Year

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – One year from today, the NASA’s Mars 2020 rover launch period begins July 17th, 2020, and extends through August 5th, 2020. The mission will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and land at Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 18th, 2021.

“Back when we started this project in 2013, we came up with a timeline to chart mission progress,” said John McNamee, Mars 2020 project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Engineers at JPL install a sensor-filled turret on the end of the rover's seven-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) robotic arm. The image was taken on July 11, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Engineers at JPL install a sensor-filled turret on the end of the rover’s seven-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) robotic arm. The image was taken on July 11, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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