NASA News Digest: Space Science For 26 March – 6 April 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 Asteroid Hunter Spacecraft Data Available To Public

RELEASE 15-051 (Click here for the full article) – 31 March 2015

15-051_0Millions of images of celestial objects, including asteroids, observed by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft now are available online to the public. The data was collected following the restart of the asteroid-seeking spacecraft in December 2013 after a lengthy hibernation.

The collection of millions of infrared images and billions of infrared measurements of asteroids, stars, galaxies and quasars spans data obtained between December 13, 2013, and December 13, 2014.

“One of the most satisfying things about releasing these cutting-edge astronomical data to the public is seeing what other exciting and creative projects the scientific community does with them,” said Amy Mainzer, principal investigator for NEOWISE at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), in Pasadena, California.

To view the NEOWISE data, visit: wise2.ipac.caltech.edu/docs/release/neowise/

For more information about NEOWISE, visit: www.nasa.gov/neowise

More information about asteroids and near-Earth objects is at available online at: www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch

For more information about the Asteroid Redirect Mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/asteroidinitiative

Curiosity Sniffs Out History Of Martian Atmosphere

RELEASE 15-055 (Click here for the full article) – 31 March 2015

15-055NASA’s Curiosity rover is using a new experiment to better understand the history of the Martian atmosphere by analyzing xenon.

While NASA’s Curiosity rover concluded its detailed examination of the rock layers of the “Pahrump Hills” in Gale Crater on Mars this winter, some members of the rover team were busy analyzing the Martian atmosphere for xenon, a heavy noble gas.

Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) experiment analyzed xenon in the planet’s atmosphere. Since noble gases are chemically inert and do not react with other substances in the air or on the ground, they are excellent tracers of the history of the atmosphere. Xenon is present in the Martian atmosphere at a challengingly low quantity and can be directly measured only with on-site experiments such as SAM.

“Xenon is a fundamental measurement to make on a planet such as Mars or Venus, since it provides essential information to understand the early history of these planets and why they turned out so differently from Earth,” said Melissa Trainer, one of the scientists analyzing the SAM data.

For more information about SAM, visit: ssed.gsfc.nasa.gov/sam/

SAM experiment data are archived in the Planetary Data System, online at: pds.nasa.gov/

For more information about Curiosity, visit: www.nasa.gov/msl

You can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and www.twitter.com/marscuriosity

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Mission Passes Critical Milestone

RELEASE 15-056 (Click here for the full article) – 31 March 2015

15-056NASA’s groundbreaking science mission to retrieve a sample from an ancient space rock has moved closer to fruition. The Origins Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) mission has passed a critical milestone in its path towards launch and is officially authorized to transition into its next phase.

Key Decision Point-D (KDP-D) occurs after the project has completed a series of independent reviews that cover the technical health, schedule and cost of the project. The milestone represents the official transition from the mission’s development stage to delivery of systems, testing and integration leading to launch. During this part of the mission’s life cycle, known as Phase D, the spacecraft bus, or the structure that will carry the science instruments, is completed, the instruments are integrated into the spacecraft and tested, and the spacecraft is shipped to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with the rocket.

“This is an exciting time for the OSIRIS-REx team,” said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator for OSIRIS-Rex at the University of Arizona, Tucson. “After almost four years of intense design efforts, we are now proceeding with the start of flight system assembly. I am grateful for the hard work and team effort required to get us to this point.”

For more information about the OSIRIS-REx mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/osiris-rex and asteroidmission.org

For more information about the ARM and NASA’s Asteroid Initiative, visit: www.nasa.gov/asteroidinitiative

NASA Celebrates Earth Day With #NoPlaceLikeHome Event

RELEASE 15-055 (Click here for the full article) – 6 April 2015

m15-055_0This Earth Day, April 22, NASA is asking people around the world to share pictures and videos on social media that show there is no place like home – planet Earth.

NASA’s Earth Day #NoPlaceLikeHome project seeks to get the public involved in highlighting the great diversity of the places, landscapes and ecosystems of our home planet. Participants are invited to post photos and videos that answer a simple question: What is your favorite place on Earth?

Images can be shared using the hashtag #NoPlaceLikeHome on Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Facebook, Google+ and Flickr. Leading up to Earth Day, NASA will participate by posting its own images and videos.

For more information on the #NoPlaceLikeHome project, visit: www.nasa.gov/likehome

NASA Extends Campaign For Public To Name Features On Pluto

RELEASE 15-060 (Click here for the full article) – 6 April 2015

nh-pluto-approaches-charonThe public has until Friday, April 24 to help name new features on Pluto and its orbiting satellites as they are discovered by NASA’s New Horizons mission.

Announced in March, the agency wants to give the worldwide public more time to participate in the agency’s mission to Pluto that will make the first-ever close flyby of the dwarf planet on July 14.

The campaign extension, in partnership with the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Paris, was due to the overwhelming response from the public.

“Due to increasing interest and the number of submissions we’re getting, it was clear we needed to extend this public outreach activity,” said Jim Green, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “This campaign not only reveals the public’s excitement about the mission, but helps the team, which will not have time to come up with names during the flyby, to have a ready-made library of names in advance to officially submit to the IAU.”

To find out more information about how to participate in the Pluto naming contest, visit: www.nasa.gov/newhorizons

Detailed IAU guidelines for acceptable names submissions are available online at: www.iau.org/public/themes/naming/#dwarfplanets

For images and updates on the July 14 Pluto flyby, visit: www.nasa.gov/newhorizons and pluto.jhuapl.edu

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post Navigation