NASA News Digest: Space Science (And A Remembrance) For 2 February – 3 March 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 Study Finds Carbon Emissions Could Dramatically Increase Risk Of U.S. Megadroughts

RELEASE 15-020 (Click here for the full article) – 12 February 2015

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.

“Natural droughts like the 1930s Dust Bowl and the current drought in the Southwest have historically lasted maybe a decade or a little less,” said Ben Cook, climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University in New York City, and lead author of the study. “What these results are saying is we’re going to get a drought similar to those events, but it is probably going to last at least 30 to 35 years.”

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

NASA, ESA Telescopes Give Shape To Furious Black Hole Winds

RELEASE 15-021 (Click here for the full article) – 19 February 2015

2015mar3_15_021_nustarNASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton telescope are showing that fierce winds from a supermassive black hole blow outward in all directions — a phenomenon that had been suspected, but difficult to prove until now.

This discovery has given astronomers their first opportunity to measure the strength of these ultra-fast winds and prove they are powerful enough to inhibit the host galaxy’s ability to make new stars.

“We know black holes in the centers of galaxies can feed on matter, and this process can produce winds. This is thought to regulate the growth of the galaxies,” said Fiona Harrison of the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) in Pasadena, California. Harrison is the principal investigator of NuSTAR and a co-author on a new paper about these results appearing in the journal Science. “Knowing the speed, shape and size of the winds, we can now figure out how powerful they are.”

For more information, visit: www.nasa.gov/nustar and www.nustar.caltech.edu/

New NASA Earth Science Missions Expand View Of Our Home Planet

RELEASE 15-025 (Click here for the full article) – 26 February 2015

Four new NASA Earth-observing missions are collecting data from space – with a fifth newly in orbit – after the busiest year of NASA Earth science launches in more than a decade.

On Feb. 27, 2014, NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) launched the Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) Core Observatory into space from Japan. Data from GPM and the other new missions are making observations and providing scientists with new insights into global rain and snowfall, atmospheric carbon dioxide, ocean winds, clouds, and tiny airborne particles called aerosols.

“This has been a phenomenally productive year for NASA in our mission to explore our complex planet from the unique vantage point of space,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Combined with data from our other Earth-observing spacecraft, these new missions will give us new insights into how Earth works as a system.”

Video and images of these new NASA data products are available online at: go.nasa.gov/newearthviews

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

Media Invited to See Bigelow Expandable Space Station Module Ahead Of Shipment To NASA

RELEASE 15-038 (Click here for the full article) – 3 March 2015

2015mar3_15_038NASA and Bigelow Aerospace invite media to a photo and interview opportunity at 10 a.m. PST on Thursday, March 12, at Bigelow Aerospace’s North Las Vegas facility to mark the completion of all major milestones on the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM).

Reporters will have the opportunity to see and photograph the BEAM before it’s shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for launch to the International Space Station later this year. Robert Bigelow, president and founder of Bigelow Aerospace, and William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, will conduct a joint question and answer session with media.

For more information about Bigelow Aerospace, visit: www.bigelowaerospace.com

For more information about the BEAM, visit: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/news/beam_feature.html

NASA Administrator Remembers Leonard Nimoy

RELEASE 15-029 (Click here for the full article) – 27 February 2015

2015mar3_spockThe following is a statement from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the passing of Leonard Nimoy:

“Leonard Nimoy was an inspiration to multiple generations of engineers, scientists, astronauts, and other space explorers. As Mr. Spock, he made science and technology important to the story, while never failing to show, by example, that it is the people around us who matter most.

“NASA was fortunate to have him as a friend and a colleague. He was much more than the Science Officer for the USS Enterprise. Leonard was a talented actor, director, philanthropist, and a gracious man dedicated to art in many forms.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the legions of Star Trek fans around the world.”

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