Tag Archives: Orion Spacecraft

NASA News Digest: Space Science For 9 March – 29 March 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 Targets May 2018 Launch of Mars InSight Mission

RELEASE 16-026 (Click here for the full article) – 9 March 2016

2016march31__16_026NASA’s Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) mission to study the deep interior of Mars is targeting a new launch window that begins May 5, 2018, with a Mars landing scheduled for Nov. 26, 2018.

InSight’s primary goal is to help us understand how rocky planets – including Earth – formed and evolved. The spacecraft had been on track to launch this month until a vacuum leak in its prime science instrument prompted NASA in December to suspend preparations for launch.

InSight project managers recently briefed officials at NASA and France’s space agency, Centre National d’Études Spatiales (CNES), on a path forward; the proposed plan to redesign the science instrument was accepted in support of a 2018 launch.

For addition information about the mission, visit: www.nasa.gov/insight

More information about NASA’s journey to Mars is available online at: www.nasa.gov/journeytomars

NASA Announces Dates for One of World’s Largest Hackathons

RELEASE 16-034 (Click here for the full article) – 23 March 2016

2016march31_space-apps-challenge2NASA’s open innovation incubator, the International Space Apps Challenge, will take place April 22-24. The global main stage for this year’s event will be in Pasadena, California, with local events taking place simultaneously in 193 locations spanning 72 countries.

On April 23 and 24, participants are asked to develop mobile applications, software, hardware, data visualizations and platform solutions that could contribute to space exploration missions and help improve life on Earth.

This year’s challenge will include a Data Bootcamp on April 22, streamed live from the global main stage. The bootcamp is open to the public and will give participants the opportunity to learn new skills with computer coding and data.

“We’re reaching out to women’s organizations influential in the data and maker communities to participate, and we encourage women-led teams in the hackathon,” said Deborah Diaz, chief technology officer for information technology.

A more information about the Space Apps Challenge, and a full list of NASA challenges, go to: spaceappschallenge.org

Follow the challenge on Twitter at: twitter.com/spaceapps

NASA Gets Down to Earth This Year With Globe-Spanning Expeditions

RELEASE 16-039 (Click here for the full article) – 23 March 2016

NASA is sending scientists around the world in 2016 – from the edge of the Greenland ice sheet to the coral reefs of the South Pacific – to delve into challenging questions about how our planet is changing and what impacts humans are having on it.

While Earth science field experiments are nothing new for NASA, the next six months will be a particularly active period with eight major new campaigns taking researchers around the world on a wide range of science investigations. The public is invited to follow this journey of exploration online through NASA’s social media channels and the new Earth Expeditions webpage, which will feature regular video, photos and blog posts from these missions and other ongoing field activities.

“Combining the long-term global view from space with detailed measurements from field experiments is a powerful way of deciphering what’s happening in our world,” said Michael Freilich, director of NASA’s Earth Science Division in Washington. “Scientists worldwide use NASA Earth science field data together with satellite data and computer models to tackle many of today’s environmental challenges and advance our knowledge of how the Earth works as a complex, integrated system.”

To follow all the NASA Earth Expeditions, visit: www.nasa.gov/earthexpeditions

NASA Selects Instrument Team to Build Next-Gen Planet Hunter

RELEASE 16-038 (Click here for the full article) – 29 March 2016

2016march31_16-038_0NASA has selected a team to build a new, cutting-edge instrument that will detect planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, by measuring the miniscule “wobbling” of stars. The instrument will be the centerpiece of a new partnership with the National Science Foundation (NSF) called the NASA-NSF Exoplanet Observational Research program, or NN-EXPLORE.

The instrument, named NEID (pronounced “nee-id”), which is short for NN-EXPLORE Exoplanet Investigations with Doppler Spectroscopy, will measure the tiny back-and-forth wobble of a star caused by the gravitational tug of a planet in orbit around it. The wobble tells scientists there is a planet orbiting the star, and the size of the wobble indicates how massive the planet is.

The highly precise instrument, to be built by a Pennsylvania State University research group led by Dr. Suvrath Mahadevan, will be completed in 2019 and installed on the 3.5-meter WIYN telescope at the Kitt Peak National Observatory in Arizona.

For more information, visit: exep.jpl.nasa.gov/NNExplore/

NASA’s ‘Spaceport of the Future’ Reaches Another Milestone

RELEASE 16-037 (Click here for the full article) – 29 March 2016

2016mar31_16-037NASA has completed a major milestone on its journey to Mars and is ready to begin another phase of work on its spaceport of the future, where the next generation of astronauts will launch to Mars and other deep-space destinations.

The agency recently wrapped up a comprehensive and successful review of plans for the facilities and ground support systems that will process the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“NASA is developing and modernizing the ground systems at Kennedy to safely integrate Orion with SLS, move the vehicle to the pad, and successfully launch it into space,” said Bill Hill, deputy associate administrator of NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Division at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington. “Modernizing the ground systems for our journey to Mars also ensures long-term sustainability and affordability to meet future needs of the multi-use spaceport.”

For more information on GSDO, visit: www.nasa.gov/groundsystems

For more information on Orion, visit: www.nasa.gov/orion

NASA News Digest: Space Science For 16 December – 19 December 2014

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 Rover Finds Active and Ancient Organic Chemistry on Mars

RELEASE 14-432 (Click here for the full article) – 16 December 2014

2014dec27_432NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has measured a tenfold spike in methane, an organic chemical, in the atmosphere around it and detected other organic molecules in a rock-powder sample collected by the robotic laboratory’s drill.

“This temporary increase in methane — sharply up and then back down — tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” said Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, a member of the Curiosity rover science team. “There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.”

Researchers used Curiosity’s onboard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory a dozen times in a 20-month period to sniff methane in the atmosphere. During two of those months, in late 2013 and early 2014, four measurements averaged seven parts per billion. Before and after that, readings averaged only one-tenth that level.

For copies of the new Science papers about Mars methane and water, visit: go.nasa.gov/1cbk35X

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

Learn about NASA’s Journey to Mars at: www.nasa.gov/content/nasas-journey-to-mars/

NASA, Planetary Scientists Find Meteoritic Evidence of Mars Water Reservoir

RELEASE 14-337 (Click here for the full article) – 18 December 2014

2014dec27_337NASA and an international team of planetary scientists have found evidence in meteorites on Earth that indicates Mars has a distinct and global reservoir of water or ice near its surface.

Though controversy still surrounds the origin, abundance and history of water on Mars, this discovery helps resolve the question of where the “missing Martian water” may have gone. Scientists continue to study the planet’s historical record, trying to understand the apparent shift from an early wet and warm climate to today’s dry and cool surface conditions.

The reservoir’s existence also may be a key to understanding climate history and the potential for life on Mars. The team’s findings are reported in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters.

These findings can be viewed online in their entirety at: go.nasa.gov/1zwSjTa

For more about the ARES Division at JSC, visit: ares.jsc.nasa.gov

Learn about NASA’s Journey to Mars at: www.nasa.gov/content/nasas-journey-to-mars/

NASA’s Kepler Reborn, Makes First Exoplanet Find of New Mission

RELEASE 14-335 (Click here for the full article) – 18 December 2014

2014dec27_335NASA’s planet-hunting Kepler spacecraft makes a comeback with the discovery of the first exoplanet found using its new mission — K2.

The discovery was made when astronomers and engineers devised an ingenious way to repurpose Kepler for the K2 mission and continue its search of the cosmos for other worlds.

“Last summer, the possibility of a scientifically productive mission for Kepler after its reaction wheel failure in its extended mission was not part of the conversation,” said Paul Hertz, NASA’s astrophysics division director at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “Today, thanks to an innovative idea and lots of hard work by the NASA and Ball Aerospace team, Kepler may well deliver the first candidates for follow-up study by the James Webb Space Telescope to characterize the atmospheres of distant worlds and search for signatures of life.”

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

Video Gives Astronaut’s-Eye View Inside NASA’s Orion Spacecraft

RELEASE 14-206 (Click here for the full article) – 19 December 2014

New video recorded during the return of NASA’s Orion through Earth’s atmosphere this month provides a taste of the intense conditions the spacecraft and the astronauts it carries will endure when they return from deep space destinations on the journey to Mars.

Among the first data to be removed from Orion following its uncrewed Dec. 5 flight test was video recorded through windows in Orion’s crew module. Although much of the video was transmitted down to Earth and shown in real time on NASA Television, it was not available in its entirety. Also, the blackout caused by the superheated plasma surrounding the vehicle as it endured the peak temperatures of its descent prevented downlink of any information at that key point. However, the cameras were able to record the view and now the public can have an up-close look at the extreme environment a spacecraft experiences as it travels back through Earth’s environment from beyond low-Earth orbit.

The video begins 10 minutes before Orion’s 11:29 a.m. EST splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, just as the spacecraft was beginning to experience Earth’s atmosphere. Peak heating from the friction caused by the atmosphere rubbing against Orion’s heat shield comes less than two minutes later, and the footage shows the plasma created by the interaction change from white to yellow to lavender to magenta as the temperature increases.

To view the video of Orion’s re-entry, visit: www.youtube.com/watch?v=MtWzuZ6WZ8E

For information about Orion, visit: www.nasa.gov/orion

NASA News Digest: Space Science For 27 October – 5 December 2014

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 Observatory Identifies Impact of Cosmic Chaos on Star Birth

RELEASE 14-296 (Click here for the full article) – 27 October 2014

2014dec14_14_296The same phenomenon that causes a bumpy airplane ride, turbulence, may be the solution to a long-standing mystery about stars’ birth, or the absence of it, according to a new study using data from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Galaxy clusters are the largest objects in the universe, held together by gravity. These behemoths contain hundreds or thousands of individual galaxies that are immersed in gas with temperatures of millions of degrees.

This hot gas, which is the heftiest component of the galaxy clusters aside from unseen dark matter, glows brightly in X-ray light detected by Chandra. Over time, the gas in the centers of these clusters should cool enough that stars form at prodigious rates. However, this is not what astronomers have observed in many galaxy clusters.

An interactive image, podcast, and video about these findings are available at: chandra.si.edu
For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit: www.nasa.gov/chandra

NASA Rocket Experiment Finds the Universe Brighter Than We Thought

RELEASE 14-310 (Click here for the full article) – 6 November 2014

2014dec14_14_310A NASA sounding rocket experiment has detected a surprising surplus of infrared light in the dark space between galaxies, a diffuse cosmic glow as bright as all known galaxies combined. The glow is thought to be from orphaned stars flung out of galaxies.

The findings redefine what scientists think of as galaxies. Galaxies may not have a set boundary of stars, but instead stretch out to great distances, forming a vast, interconnected sea of stars.

Observations from the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment, or CIBER, are helping settle a debate on whether this background infrared light in the universe, previously detected by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, comes from these streams of stripped stars too distant to be seen individually, or alternatively from the first galaxies to form in the universe.

For more information on NASA’s sounding rocket experiments, visit:
www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/sounding-rockets/
For more information about CIBER, visit: ciber.caltech.edu/rocket.html

Mars Spacecraft Reveal Comet Flyby Effects on Martian Atmosphere

RELEASE 14-311 (Click here for the full article) – 7 November 2014

2014dec14_14_311Two NASA and one European spacecraft that obtained the first up-close observations of a comet flyby of Mars on Oct. 19, have gathered new information about the basic properties of the comet’s nucleus and directly detected the effects on the Martian atmosphere.

Data from observations carried out by NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) mission, NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), and a radar instrument on the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Mars Express spacecraft have revealed that debris from the comet added a temporary and very strong layer of ions to the ionosphere, the electrically charged layer high above Mars. In these observations, scientists were able to make a direct connection from the input of debris from a specific meteor shower to the formation of this kind of transient layer in response; that is a first on any planet, including Earth.

For more information about NASA’s Mars missions, visit: www.nasa.gov/mars

NASA’s New Orion Spacecraft Completes First Spaceflight Test

RELEASE 14-325 (Click here for the full article) – 5 December 2014

2014dec14_14_325NASA marked a major milestone Friday on its journey to Mars as the Orion spacecraft completed its first voyage to space, traveling farther than any spacecraft designed for astronauts has been in more than 40 years.

“Today’s flight test of Orion is a huge step for NASA and a really critical part of our work to pioneer deep space on our Journey to Mars,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. “The teams did a tremendous job putting Orion through its paces in the real environment it will endure as we push the boundary of human exploration in the coming years.”

For more information about Orion, its flight test and the Journey to Mars, visit: www.nasa.gov/orion and go.nasa.gov/1pVQu0S

NASA’s Fermi Space Telescope Reveals New Source of Gamma Rays

RELEASE 14-326 (Click here for the full article) – 8 December 2014

2014dec14_14_326Observations by NASA’s Curiosity Rover indicate Mars’ Mount Sharp was built by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years.

This interpretation of Curiosity’s finds in Gale Crater suggests ancient Mars maintained a climate that could have produced long-lasting lakes at many locations on the Red Planet.

“If our hypothesis for Mount Sharp holds up, it challenges the notion that warm and wet conditions were transient, local, or only underground on Mars,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity deputy project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena. “A more radical explanation is that Mars’ ancient, thicker atmosphere raised temperatures above freezing globally, but so far we don’t know how the atmosphere did that.”

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

Follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: facebook.com/marscuriosity and twitter.com/marscuriosity