NASA News Digest: Space Science For 4 November – 12 November 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 announcements from NASA can subscribe to their service by sending an email to: hqnews-request@newsletters.nasa.gov?subject=subscribe

Be An Astronaut: NASA Seeks Explorers For Future Space Missions

RELEASE 15-216 (Click here for the full article) – 4 November 2015

In anticipation of returning human spaceflight launches to American soil, and in preparation for the agency’s journey to Mars, NASA announced it will soon begin accepting applications for the next class of astronaut candidates. With more human spacecraft in development in the United States today than at any other time in history, future astronauts will launch once again from the Space Coast of Florida on American-made commercial spacecraft, and carry out deep-space exploration missions that will advance a future human mission to Mars.

The agency will accept applications from Dec. 14 through mid-February and expects to announce candidates selected in mid-2017. Applications for consideration as a NASA Astronaut will be accepted at: http://www.usajobs.gov

The next class of astronauts may fly on any of four different U.S. vessels during their careers: the International Space Station, two commercial crew spacecraft currently in development by U.S. companies, and NASA’s Orion deep-space exploration vehicle.

From pilots and engineers, to scientists and medical doctors, NASA selects qualified astronaut candidates from a diverse pool of U.S. citizens with a wide variety of backgrounds.

The agency will accept applications from Dec. 14 through mid-February and expects to announce candidates selected in mid-2017. Applications for consideration as a NASA Astronaut will be accepted at:

For more information about a career as a NASA astronaut, and application requirements, visit: www.nasa.gov/astronauts

NASA Mission Reveals Speed of Solar Wind Stripping Martian Atmosphere

RELEASE 15-217 (Click here for the full article) – 5 November 2015

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission has identified the process that appears to have played a key role in the transition of the Martian climate from an early, warm and wet environment that might have supported surface life to the cold, arid planet Mars is today.

MAVEN data have enabled researchers to determine the rate at which the Martian atmosphere currently is losing gas to space via stripping by the solar wind. The findings reveal that the erosion of Mars’ atmosphere increases significantly during solar storms. The scientific results from the mission appear in the Nov. 5 issues of the journals Science and Geophysical Research Letters.

“Mars appears to have had a thick atmosphere warm enough to support liquid water which is a key ingredient and medium for life as we currently know it,” said John Grunsfeld, astronaut and associate administrator for the NASA Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Understanding what happened to the Mars atmosphere will inform our knowledge of the dynamics and evolution of any planetary atmosphere. Learning what can cause changes to a planet’s environment from one that could host microbes at the surface to one that doesn’t is important to know, and is a key question that is being addressed in NASA’s journey to Mars.”

To view an animation simulating the loss of atmosphere and water on Mars: svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4370

For more information and images on Mars’ lost atmosphere, visit: svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/goto?4393

For more information about NASA’s MAVEN mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/maven

Four Months After Pluto Flyby, NASA’s New Horizons Yields Wealth Of Discovery

RELEASE 15-214 (Click here for the full article) – 9 November 2015

From possible ice volcanoes to twirling moons, NASA’s New Horizons science team is discussing more than 50 exciting discoveries about Pluto at this week’s 47th Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences in National Harbor, Maryland.

“The New Horizons mission has taken what we thought we knew about Pluto and turned it upside down,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “It’s why we explore — to satisfy our innate curiosity and answer deeper questions about how we got here and what lies beyond the next horizon.”

For one such discovery, New Horizons geologists combined images of Pluto’s surface to make 3-D maps that indicate two of Pluto’s most distinctive mountains could be cryovolcanoes — ice volcanoes that may have been active in the recent geological past.

To view more images and graphics being presented by New Horizons scientists at the 47th Annual Meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division for Planetary Sciences, visit: pluto.jhuapl.edu/News-Center/Press-Conferences/November-9-2015.php

For more information on NASA’s New Horizons mission, including fact sheets, videos and images, visit: www.nasa.gov/newhorizons

As Earth Warms, NASA Targets ‘Other Half’ Of Carbon, Climate Equation

RELEASE 15-219 (Click here for the full article) – 12 November 2015

During a noon EST media teleconference today, NASA and university scientists will discuss new insights, tools and agency research into key carbon and climate change questions, as the agency ramps up its efforts to understand how Earth’s ocean, forest, and land ecosystems absorb nearly half of emitted carbon dioxide today.

Carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere by human activities influences the amount of the sun’s energy trapped by Earth’s atmosphere. These emissions are the subject of a United Nations climate conference in Paris later this month. To improve the information available to policymakers on this issue, scientists are grappling with the complex question of whether Earth’s oceans, forests and land ecosystems will maintain their capacity to absorb about half of all human-produced carbon dioxide emissions in the future.

“NASA is at the forefront of scientific understanding in this area, bringing together advanced measurement technologies, focused field experiments, and cutting-edge research to reveal how carbon moves around the planet and changes our climate,” said Michael Freilich, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division. “Understanding how the planet responds to human carbon emissions and increasing atmospheric CO2 levels will position our nation to take advantage of the opportunities and face the challenges that climate changes present.”

To learn more about NASA’s efforts to better understand the carbon and climate challenge, visit: www.nasa.gov/carbonclimate

NASA Orders SpaceX Crew Mission To International Space Station

RELEASE 15-224 (Click here for the full article) – 20 November 2015

2012nov22_39a_aerial1NASA took a significant step Friday toward expanding research opportunities aboard the International Space Station with its first mission order from Hawthorne, California based-company SpaceX to launch astronauts from U.S. soil.

This is the second in a series of four guaranteed orders NASA will make under the Commercial Crew Transportation Capability (CCtCap) contracts. The Boeing Company of Houston received its first crew mission order in May.

“It’s really exciting to see SpaceX and Boeing with hardware in flow for their first crew rotation missions,” said Kathy Lueders, manager of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program. “It is important to have at least two healthy and robust capabilities from U.S. companies to deliver crew and critical scientific experiments from American soil to the space station throughout its lifespan.”

For the latest on Commercial Crew progress, bookmark the program’s blog at: blogs.nasa.gov/commercialcrew

Leave a Reply

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

Post Navigation