NASA News Digest: Space Science For 5 May – 18 May 2016

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

NASA Makes Dozens Of Patents Available In Public Domain To Benefit U.S. Industry

RELEASE 16-050 (Click here for the full article) – 5 May 2016

2016may18_public_domain_thumbnail.verticalNASA has released 56 formerly-patented agency technologies into the public domain, making its government-developed technologies freely available for unrestricted commercial use. In addition to the release of these technologies, a searchable database now is available that catalogs thousands of expired NASA patents already in the public domain.

These technologies were developed to advance NASA missions but may have non-aerospace applications and be used by commercial space ventures and other companies free of charge, eliminating the time, expense and paperwork often associated with licensing intellectual property. The technologies include advanced manufacturing processes, sensors, propulsion methods, rocket nozzles, thrusters, aircraft wing designs and improved rocket safety and performance concepts.

To search the database of NASA-developed technologies now in the public domain, visit: technology.nasa.gov/publicdomain

To learn more about the Technology Transfer Program, visit: technology.nasa.gov

NASA’s Kepler Mission Announces Largest Collection Of Planets Ever Discovered

RELEASE 16-051 (Click here for the full article) – 10 May 2016

2016may18_kepler_all-planets_may2016NASA’s Kepler mission has verified 1,284 new planets – the single largest finding of planets to date.

“This announcement more than doubles the number of confirmed planets from Kepler,” said Ellen Stofan, chief scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “This gives us hope that somewhere out there, around a star much like ours, we can eventually discover another Earth.”

Analysis was performed on the Kepler space telescope’s July 2015 planet candidate catalog, which identified 4,302 potential planets. For 1,284 of the candidates, the probability of being a planet is greater than 99 percent – the minimum required to earn the status of “planet.” An additional 1,327 candidates are more likely than not to be actual planets, but they do not meet the 99 percent threshold and will require additional study. The remaining 707 are more likely to be some other astrophysical phenomena. This analysis also validated 984 candidates previously verified by other techniques.

For more information about the Kepler mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/kepler

For briefing materials from Tuesday’s media teleconference where the new group of planets was announced, visit: www.nasa.gov/feature/ames/kepler/briefingmaterials160510

Critical NASA Science Returns To Earth aboard SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

RELEASE 16-052 (Click here for the full article) – 11 May 2016

2016may18_dragon-depart-final_smA SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 2:51 p.m. EDT Wednesday, May 11, about 261 miles southwest of Long Beach, California, with more than 3,700 pounds of NASA cargo, science and technology demonstration samples from the International Space Station.

The Dragon spacecraft will be taken by ship to Long Beach where some cargo will be removed and returned to NASA, and then be prepared for shipment to SpaceX’s test facility in McGregor, Texas, for processing.

A variety of technology and biology studies conducted in the unique microgravity environment of the space station returned aboard the commercial resupply spacecraft, including research in the burgeoning field of nanotechnology. The Microchannel Diffusion study, for example, examined how microparticles interact with each other and their delivery channel in the absence of gravitational forces. In this one-of-a-kind laboratory, researchers were able to observe nanoscale behaviors at slightly larger scales – knowledge which may have implications for advancements in particle filtration, space exploration and drug delivery technologies.

Get more information about SpaceX’s mission to the International Space Station at: www.nasa.gov/spacex

Get more information about the International Space Station at: www.nasa.gov/station

From ‘Magnetoshells’ To Growable Habitats, NASA Invests In Next Stage Of Visionary Technology Development

RELEASE 16-053 (Click here for the full article) – 13 May 2016

2016-phase-ii-graphic-for-press-release-banner-graphicNASA has selected eight technology proposals for investment that have the potential to transform future aerospace missions, introduce new capabilities, and significantly improve current approaches to building and operating aerospace systems.

Awards under Phase II of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program can be worth as much as $500,000 for a two-year study, and allow proposers to further develop concepts funded by NASA for Phase I studies that successfully demonstrated initial feasibility and benefit.

“The NIAC program is one of the ways NASA engages the U.S. scientific and engineering communities, including agency civil servants, by challenging them to come up with some of the most visionary aerospace concepts,” said Steve Jurczyk, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate in Washington. “This year’s Phase II fellows have clearly met this challenge.”

For a complete list of the selected proposals, and more information about NIAC, visit: www.nasa.gov/feature/niac-2016-phase-i-and-phase-ii-selections

For more information about NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, visit: www.nasa.gov/spacetech

NASA Invites Media, Social Media To June Deep Space Rocket Booster Test

RELEASE 16-055 (Click here for the full article) – 18 May 2016

2016may18_m16-055aMedia and social media followers are invited to watch as NASA tests the largest, most powerful booster in the world for the agency’s new deep space rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), on June 28 at Orbital ATK Aerospace System’s test facility in Promontory, Utah. SLS and NASA’s Orion spacecraft will launch astronauts on missions to explore multiple destinations on the journey to Mars.

NASA social media followers can apply for credentials to attend the booster test firing as part of a NASA Social event. A maximum of 45 participants will be selected to attend events on June 27, which include tours of the Orbital ATK facilities and opportunities for interviews with NASA and Orbital ATK officials. Participants also will have the opportunity to view, and feel, the powerful test firing on June 28.

For more information about SLS, visit: www.nasa.gov/sls

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