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NASA’s Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory to monitor Plant Health from Space

 

Written by Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected a first-of-its-kind Earth science mission that will extend our nation’s lead in measuring key greenhouse gases and vegetation health from space to advance our understanding of Earth’s natural exchanges of carbon among the land, atmosphere and ocean.

The primary goals of the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory (GeoCARB), led by Berrien Moore of the University of Oklahoma in Norman, are to monitor plant health and vegetation stress throughout the Americas, and to probe, in unprecedented detail, the natural sources, sinks and exchange processes that control carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane in the atmosphere.

From an orbit 22,000 miles above the Americas, the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory will monitor plant health and vegetation stress and probe the natural sources, sinks and exchange processes of key greenhouse gases. (NASA)

From an orbit 22,000 miles above the Americas, the Geostationary Carbon Cycle Observatory will monitor plant health and vegetation stress and probe the natural sources, sinks and exchange processes of key greenhouse gases. (NASA)

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NASA to use Spacecraft Orbiting Earth to track Air Pollution

 

Written by Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For more than three decades NASA has focused its space-faring skills and science chops CSI-like on an elusive global killer. Later this month, that pursuit takes us to East Asia. In a few years, part way to the moon.

We are getting close.

Air pollution causes an estimated 152,000 deaths a year across the Americas and more than 2 million deaths in the Western Pacific, according to the United Nations. Some parts of the world have a detailed view of local air quality from ground sensor networks and forecast models that generate public alerts. But for much of the world this type of information and warning are not available.

Satellites have documented that human-produced and natural air pollution can travel a long way. This 2014 NASA satellite image shows a long river of dust from western Africa (bottom of image) push across the Atlantic Ocean. (NASA)

Satellites have documented that human-produced and natural air pollution can travel a long way. This 2014 NASA satellite image shows a long river of dust from western Africa (bottom of image) push across the Atlantic Ocean. (NASA)

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NASA reports NOAA’s Jason-3 Satellite set to launch January 17th

 

Written by Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Jason-3, an international mission led by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to continue U.S.-European satellite measurements of the topography of the ocean surfaces, is scheduled for launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Sunday, January 17th.

Liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg’s Space Launch Complex 4 East is targeted for 10:42:18am PST (12:42:18pm CST) at the opening of a 30-second launch window. If needed, a backup launch opportunity is available on the Western Range on January 18th at 10:31:04am PST (12:31:04pm CST).

Artist's rendering of Jason-3. (NASA)

Artist’s rendering of Jason-3. (NASA)

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NASA scientists say United States could be in for Megadroughts if current rate of Greenhouse Gas Emissions continues

 

Written by Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Droughts in the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains during the last half of this century could be drier and longer than drought conditions seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years, according to a new NASA study.

The study, published Thursday in the journal Science Advances, is based on projections from several climate models, including one sponsored by NASA. The research found continued increases in human-produced greenhouse gas emissions drives up the risk of severe droughts in these regions.

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NASA’s Operation IceBridge data shows Large Canyon underneath the Greenland Ice Sheet

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Data from a NASA airborne science mission reveals evidence of a large and previously unknown canyon hidden under a mile of Greenland ice.

The canyon has the characteristics of a winding river channel and is at least 460 miles (750 kilometers) long, making it longer than the Grand Canyon. In some places, it is as deep as 2,600 feet (800 meters), on scale with segments of the Grand Canyon. This immense feature is thought to predate the ice sheet that has covered Greenland for the last few million years.

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NASA launches their Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) Spacecraft

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMoffett Field, CA – NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) spacecraft launched Wednesday at 7:27pm PDT from Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA. The mission to study the solar atmosphere was placed in orbit by an Orbital Sciences Corporation Pegasus XL rocket.

“We are thrilled to add IRIS to the suite of NASA missions studying the sun,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science in Washington. “IRIS will help scientists understand the mysterious and energetic interface between the surface and corona of the sun.”

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NASA’s Voyager 1 Spacecraft nears edge of our Solar System and will soon enter Interstellar Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Data from NASA’s Voyager 1, now more than 11 billion miles (18 billion kilometers) from the sun, suggest the spacecraft is closer to becoming the first human-made object to reach interstellar space.

Research using Voyager 1 data and published in the journal Science today provides new detail on the last region the spacecraft will cross before it leaves the heliosphere, or the bubble around our sun, and enters interstellar space.

This artist's concept shows NASA's two Voyager spacecraft exploring a turbulent region of space known as the heliosheath, the outer shell of the bubble of charged particles around our sun. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This artist’s concept shows NASA’s two Voyager spacecraft exploring a turbulent region of space known as the heliosheath, the outer shell of the bubble of charged particles around our sun. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA newest robot GROVER heads to Greenland to explore Ice Sheet

 

Written by Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s newest scientific rover is set for testing May 3rd through June 8th in the highest part of Greenland.

The robot known as GROVER, which stands for both Greenland Rover and Goddard Remotely Operated Vehicle for Exploration and Research, will roam the frigid landscape collecting measurements to help scientists better understand changes in the massive ice sheet.

A prototype of GROVER, minus its solar panels, was tested in January 2012 at a ski resort in Idaho. The laptop in the picture is for testing purposes only and is not mounted on the final prototype. (Credit: Gabriel Trisca, Boise State University)

A prototype of GROVER, minus its solar panels, was tested in January 2012 at a ski resort in Idaho. The laptop in the picture is for testing purposes only and is not mounted on the final prototype. (Credit: Gabriel Trisca, Boise State University)

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NASA Mars Rover Finds Mineral Vein Deposited by Water

 

Written by Guy Webster, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
and Steve Cole, NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has found bright veins of a mineral, apparently gypsum, deposited by water. Analysis of the vein will help improve understanding of the history of wet environments on Mars.

“This tells a slam-dunk story that water flowed through underground fractures in the rock,” said Steve Squyres of Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, principal investigator for Opportunity. “This stuff is a fairly pure chemical deposit that formed in place right where we see it. That can’t be said for other gypsum seen on Mars or for other water-related minerals Opportunity has found. It’s not uncommon on Earth, but on Mars, it’s the kind of thing that makes geologists jump out of their chairs.”

'Homestake' Vein in Color - This color view of a mineral vein called "Homestake" comes from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. The vein is about the width of a thumb and about 18 inches (45 centimeters) long. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

'Homestake' Vein in Color - This color view of a mineral vein called "Homestake" comes from the panoramic camera (Pancam) on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. The vein is about the width of a thumb and about 18 inches (45 centimeters) long. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/ASU)

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NASA Finds Japan Tsunami Waves Merged, Doubling Power

 

Written by Alan Buisl, Jet Propulsion Laboratory
and Steve Cole, NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA and Ohio State University researchers have discovered the major tsunami generated by the March 2011 Tohoku-Oki quake centered off northeastern Japan was a long-hypothesized “merging tsunami.”  The tsunami doubled in intensity over rugged ocean ridges, amplifying its destructive power at landfall.

Data from NASA and European radar satellites captured at least two wave fronts that day. The fronts merged to form a single, double-high wave far out at sea. This wave was capable of traveling long distances without losing power. Ocean ridges and undersea mountain chains pushed the waves together along certain directions from the tsunami’s origin.

The NASA/French Space Agency Jason-1 satellite (top left) passed over the tsunami 7 hours and 30 minutes after the earthquake and was able to 'see' a large wave resulting from merging tsunami jets. The NASA/European Jason-2 satellite (lower left) passed over the region 8 hours and 20 minutes after the earthquake and observed the normal tsunami wave. In the figures on the right, the satellite-observed tsunami height data (red and pink lines) was confirmed by JPL computer model predictions (black lines) based on 1,200 measurements of ground displacement from Japanese GPS stations. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ohio State University)

The NASA/French Space Agency Jason-1 satellite (top left) passed over the tsunami 7 hours and 30 minutes after the earthquake and was able to 'see' a large wave resulting from merging tsunami jets. The NASA/European Jason-2 satellite (lower left) passed over the region 8 hours and 20 minutes after the earthquake and observed the normal tsunami wave. In the figures on the right, the satellite-observed tsunami height data (red and pink lines) was confirmed by JPL computer model predictions (black lines) based on 1,200 measurements of ground displacement from Japanese GPS stations. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Ohio State University)

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