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Topic: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

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 reports Immune cells may be key to Brain Health

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHampton, VA – The team at the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia (BIG) at the University of Virginia looks a lot like the multinational collaboration onboard the International Space Station, with researchers from 16 different countries combining their talents to do biomedical research.

Led by Dr. Jonathan Kipnis, the BIG team’s research is big indeed, as they work together to find treatments for major neurological diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, stroke, and dementia.

Dr. Jonathan Kipnis is part of the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia at the University of Virginia. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

Dr. Jonathan Kipnis is part of the Center for Brain Immunology and Glia at the University of Virginia. (NASA/David C. Bowman)

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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 NICER telescope records sudden spike of X-Rays

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MDNASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) telescope on the International Space Station detected a sudden spike of X-rays at about 9:04pm CDT on August 20th. The burst was caused by a massive thermonuclear flash on the surface of a pulsar, the crushed remains of a star that long ago exploded as a supernova.

The X-ray burst, the brightest seen by NICER so far, came from an object named SAX J1808.4-3658, or J1808 for short. The observations reveal many phenomena that have never been seen together in a single burst. In addition, the subsiding fireball briefly brightened again for reasons astronomers cannot yet explain.

Illustration depicting a Type I X-ray burst. The explosion first blows off the hydrogen layer, which expands and ultimately dissipates. Then rising radiation builds to the point where it blows off the helium layer, which overtakes the expanding hydrogen. Some of the X-rays emitted in the blast scatter off of the accretion disk. The fireball then quickly cools, and the helium settles back onto the surface. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (USRA))

Illustration depicting a Type I X-ray burst. The explosion first blows off the hydrogen layer, which expands and ultimately dissipates. Then rising radiation builds to the point where it blows off the helium layer, which overtakes the expanding hydrogen. Some of the X-rays emitted in the blast scatter off of the accretion disk. The fireball then quickly cools, and the helium settles back onto the surface. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (USRA))

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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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NASA Instrument on European Mission to Explore Planet Clouds on European Mission

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA will contribute an instrument to a European space mission that will explore the atmospheres of hundreds of planets orbiting stars beyond our Sun, or exoplanets, for the first time.

The instrument, called the Contribution to ARIEL Spectroscopy of Exoplanets, or CASE, adds scientific capabilities to ESA’s (the European Space Agency’s) Atmospheric Remote-sensing Infrared Exoplanet Large-survey, or ARIEL, mission.

This artist's concept shows the European Space Agency's ARIEL spacecraft on its way to Lagrange Point 2 (L2) - a gravitationally stable, Sun-centric orbit - where it will be shielded from the Sun and have a clear view of the sky. NASA's JPL will manage the mission's CASE instrument. (ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/Europlanet-Science Office)

This artist’s concept shows the European Space Agency’s ARIEL spacecraft on its way to Lagrange Point 2 (L2) – a gravitationally stable, Sun-centric orbit – where it will be shielded from the Sun and have a clear view of the sky. NASA’s JPL will manage the mission’s CASE instrument. (ESA/STFC RAL Space/UCL/Europlanet-Science Office)

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