NASA News Digest: Space Science For 5 January – 21 January 2015

Greetings fellow astrophiles,

The NASA News service provides up-to-date announcements of NASA policy, news events, and space science. A recent selection of space science articles are provided below, including direct links to the full announcements. Those interested in receiving these news announcements directly from NASA can subscribe to their service by sending an email to:

hqnews-request@newsletters.nasa.gov?subject=subscribe

NASA’s Chandra Detects Record-Breaking Outburst from Milky Way’s Black Hole

RELEASE 15-001 (Click here for the full article) – 5 January 2015

2015jan22_15_001_chandra20140105_0Astronomers have observed the largest X-ray flare ever detected from the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way galaxy. This event, detected by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory, raises questions about the behavior of this giant black hole and its surrounding environment.

The supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy, called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A*, is estimated to contain about 4.5 million times the mass of our sun.

Astronomers made the unexpected discovery while using Chandra to observe how Sgr A* would react to a nearby cloud of gas known as G2.

An interactive image, a podcast, and a video about the findings are available at: chandra.si.edu

For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit: www.nasa.gov/chandra

NASA, NOAA Find 2014 Warmest Year in Modern Record

RELEASE 15-010 (Click here for the full article) – 15 January 2015

The year 2014 ranks as Earth’s warmest since 1880, according to two separate analyses by NASA and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) scientists.

The 10 warmest years in the instrumental record, with the exception of 1998, have now occurred since 2000. This trend continues a long-term warming of the planet, according to an analysis of surface temperature measurements by scientists at NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS) in New York.

In an independent analysis of the raw data, also released Friday, NOAA scientists also found 2014 to be the warmest on record.

The data set of 2014 surface temperature measurements is available at:
data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/

The methodology used to make the temperature calculation is available at:
data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/sources_v3/

For more information about NASA’s Earth science activities, visit: www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow

NASA’s New Horizons Spacecraft Begins First Stages of Pluto Encounter

RELEASE 15-011 (Click here for the full article) – 15 January 2015

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft recently began its long-awaited, historic encounter with Pluto. The spacecraft is entering the first of several approach phases that culminate July 14 with the first close-up flyby of the dwarf planet, 4.67 billion miles (7.5 billion kilometers) from Earth.

“NASA first mission to distant Pluto will also be humankind’s first close up view of this cold, unexplored world in our solar system,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “The New Horizons team worked very hard to prepare for this first phase, and they did it flawlessly.”

For more information about the New Horizons mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/newhorizons and pluto.jhuapl.edu

NASA Spinoff 2015 Features Space Technology Making Life Better on Earth

RELEASE 15-009 (Click here for the full article) – 21 January 2015

NASA technologies are being used to locate underground water in some of the driest places on the Earth, build quieter and more fuel-efficient airplanes, and create shock absorbers that brace buildings in earthquakes.

The 2015 edition of NASA’s annual Spinoff publication highlights these and other technologies whose origins lie in space exploration, but now have broader applications.
NASA Spinoff 2015

“The game-changing technologies NASA develops to push the envelope of space exploration also improve our everyday lives,” said NASA Chief Technologist David Miller. “Spinoff 2015 is filled with stories that show there is more space in our lives than we think.”

Spinoff 2015 is available online at: spinoff.nasa.gov

For more information about NASA’s Technology Transfer Program, visit: technology.nasa.gov

NASA, Microsoft Collaboration Will Allow Scientists to ‘Work on Mars’

RELEASE 15-013 (Click here for the full article) – 21 January 2015

2015jan22_15_013_0NASA and Microsoft have teamed up to develop software called OnSight, a new technology that will enable scientists to work virtually on Mars using wearable technology called Microsoft HoloLens.

Developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, OnSight will give scientists a means to plan and, along with the Mars Curiosity rover, conduct science operations on the Red Planet.

“OnSight gives our rover scientists the ability to walk around and explore Mars right from their offices,” said Dave Lavery, program executive for the Mars Science Laboratory mission at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It fundamentally changes our perception of Mars, and how we understand the Mars environment surrounding the rover.”

Learn more about NASA’s journey to Mars at: www.nasa.gov/mars

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