Archives

March 2013


A solar prominence began to bow out and the broke apart in a graceful, floating style in a little less than four hours (Mar. 16, 2013). The sequence was captured in extreme ultraviolet light. A large cloud of the particles appeared to hover further out above the surface before it faded away. Credit: Solar Dynamics Observatory/NASA


Opportunity Moves Into Place for Quiet Period of Operations - sols 3255-3260, Mar. 21, 2013-Mar. 26, 2013: This location, called 'Big Nickel,' is the last in-situ (contact) target before the rover departs from Cape York, once solar conjunction is concluded.

Opportunity Moves Into Place for Quiet Period of Operations - sols 3255-3260, Mar. 21, 2013-Mar. 26, 2013: This location, called 'Big Nickel,' is the last in-situ (contact) target before the rover departs from Cape York, once solar conjunction is concluded.

One of the Expedition 35 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station exposed this 400 millimeter night image of the greater New York City metropolitan area on March 23. For orientation purposes, note that Manhattan runs horizontal through the frame from left to the midpoint. Central Park is just a little to the left of frame center. ISS035-E-008056 (23 March 2013) - high res (3.4 M) low res (142 K)

One of the Expedition 35 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station took this photo which was part of a series documenting the launch of the "other half" of the Expedition 35 crew. The Soyuz TMA-08M rocket launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 29, 2013 (Kazakh time) carrying Expedition 35 Soyuz Commander Pavel Vinogradov, NASA Flight Engineer Chris Cassidy and Russian Flight Engineer Alexander Misurkin to the International Space Station. Their Soyuz rocket launched at 2:43 a.m., March 29, local time, while it was still March 28 in GMT and USA time zones. ISS035-E-010313 (28 March 2013) - high res (2.7 M) low res (49 K)

"Citizen science, in which volunteers work with professional scientists to conduct research, is expanding due to large online datasets. To plan projects, it is important to understand volunteers' motivations for participating. This paper analyzes results from an online survey of nearly 11,000 volunteers in Galaxy Zoo, an astronomy citizen science project. Results show that volunteers' primary motivation is a desire to contribute to scientific research. We encourage other citizen science projects to study the motivations of their volunteers, to see whether and how these results may be generalized to inform the field of citizen science." More


NASA is about to get a chance to try something totally new: instead of just visting or landing on things in space, it is going to go grab one of those things - something that is rather huge - and bring it back to Earth. Details will be formally announced on 10 April 2013 when the new budget is rolled out.


Three new crew members are on an unprecedented fast track to the International Space Station, going from the launch pad to the orbiting complex in just six hours.


The discovery of box-like geologic structures on Mount Sharp centered in Curiosity's Gale crater landing site, is raising interest for rover exploration as potentially habitable for past life on Mars.


The International Astronomical Union (IAU) - the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919 - recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to nine impact craters on Mercury. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities.

The International Astronomical Union (IAU) - the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature since its inception in 1919 - recently approved a proposal from the MESSENGER Science Team to assign names to nine impact craters on Mercury. In keeping with the established naming theme for craters on Mercury, all of the newly designated features are named after famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities. The newly named craters are


A new analysis of data from NASA's Cassini spacecraft suggests that Saturn's moons and rings are gently worn vintage goods from around the time of our solar system's birth.


The first firm details of the 15 February asteroid impact in Russia, the largest in more than a century, are becoming clear. ESA is carefully assessing the information as crucial input for developing the Agency's asteroid-hunting effort.


In this new view of a vast star-forming cloud called W3, ESA's Herschel space observatory tells the story of how massive stars are born.

In this new view of a vast star-forming cloud called W3, ESA's Herschel space observatory tells the story of how massive stars are born.

W3 is a giant molecular cloud containing an enormous stellar nursery, some 6200 light-years away in the Perseus Arm, one of our Milky Way Galaxy's main spiral arms.

The UK Space Agency is pleased to announce new chairpersons for two of its advisory committees: the Science Programme Advisory Committee (SPAC) and Space Exploration Advisory Committee (SEAC).

One of the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the International Space Station recorded this night image of the British Isles. The view is to the north with Dublin, Ireland left of center. London appears as the bright cluster of lights centered in the lower right quadrant. The green appearance along the horizon is the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. ISS034-E-050137 (14 Feb. 2013) - high res (1.9 M) low res (53 K)


One of the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station photographed this image featuring the Southern High Plains of northwestern Texas, directly south of the city of Amarillo (off the image to the north).

One of the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station photographed this image featuring the Southern High Plains of northwestern Texas, directly south of the city of Amarillo (off the image to the north).


Fig. 1. 2MASS0103(AB)b in November 2012, with NACO in L' band. The green arrow shows the position of the companion in 2002. The light-blue circle identifies the expected position of the companion if it had been a background source.


Until now, supernovas came in two main "flavors." A core-collapse supernova is the explosion of a star about 10 to 100 times as massive as our Sun, while a Type Ia supernova is the complete disruption of a tiny white dwarf. Today, astronomers are reporting their discovery of a new kind of supernova called Type Iax. This new class is fainter and less energetic than Type Ia. Although both varieties come from exploding white dwarfs, Type Iax supernovas may not completely destroy the white dwarf.

Until now, supernovas came in two main "flavors." A core-collapse supernova is the explosion of a star about 10 to 100 times as massive as our Sun, while a Type Ia supernova is the complete disruption of a tiny white dwarf. Today, astronomers are reporting their discovery of a new kind of supernova called Type Iax. This new class is fainter and less energetic than Type Ia. Although both varieties come from exploding white dwarfs, Type Iax supernovas may not completely destroy the white dwarf.

The Soyuz rocket is rolled out to the launch pad by train on Tuesday, March 26, 2013, at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Launch of the Soyuz rocket is scheduled for March 29 and will send Expedition 35 Soyuz Commander Pavel Vinogradov, and Flight Engineers Chris Cassidy of NASA and Alexander Misurkin of Russia on a five-and-a-half-month mission aboard the International Space Station. Image Credit: NASA/Carla Cioffi

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has resumed science investigations after recovery from a computer glitch that prompted the engineers to switch the rover to a redundant main computer on Feb. 28. The rover has been monitoring the weather since March 21 and delivered a new portion of powdered-rock sample for laboratory analysis on March 23, among other activities.

"We are back to full science operations," said Curiosity Deputy Project Manager Jim Erickson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.


NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has resumed science investigations after recovery from a computer glitch that prompted the engineers to switch the rover to a redundant main computer on Feb. 28. The rover has been monitoring the weather since March 21 and delivered a new portion of powdered-rock sample for laboratory analysis on March 23, among other activities.

One of the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the International Space Station recorded this image of much of Galveston Island, which is annually a popular "spring break" spot for students and vacationers from all over. Weather-wise, the whole week was pretty much a carbon copy of this clear day, though official spring time was more than a week away.


The Colorado Plateau spans northern Arizona, southern Utah, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. This physiographic province is well known for its striking landscapes and broad vistas--an impression that is enhanced by the view from the orbital perspective of the International Space Station. This astronaut photograph highlights part of the Utah-Arizona border region of the Plateau, and includes several prominent landforms.

The Colorado Plateau spans northern Arizona, southern Utah, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. This physiographic province is well known for its striking landscapes and broad vistas—an impression that is enhanced by the view from the orbital perspective of the International Space Station. This astronaut photograph highlights part of the Utah-Arizona border region of the Plateau, and includes several prominent landforms.

"A team of scientists at Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Switzerland have developed the world's smallest medical implant to monitor critical chemicals in the blood. The 14mm device measures up to five indicators, including proteins like troponin, that show if and when a heart attack has occurred. Using Bluetooth, the device can then transmit the data to a smartphone for tracking. The device can also track levels of glucose, lactate, and ATP, providing valuable data for physiologic monitoring during activity, or in possible disease conditions like diabetes. As far as tricorders go, this device may be the one you have been waiting for, provided you are on board for the implant." more at ExtremeTech

Imagine the potential of such technology to monitor the health of astronauts. No more wires.

"Run tracking and calorie counting apps can certainly be regarded among the successes of the smartphone, but without dedicated sensor hardware, the philosophy of "there's an app for that" only goes so far. A host of products now available for Android let users with a little bit of technical know-how create powerful devices previously found only in the domain of hospitals and law enforcement. One of the most successful expansion boards that allows Android devices to control external instruments and to orchestrate the collection of a variety of sensor data is the IOIO board. The system works well in wireless mode with most Bluetooth dongles, and its on-board FPGA gives 25 I/O channels, including plenty for analog input. It also handles analog output via pulse width modulation (PWM)." More at ExtremeTech


From NASA ScienceCast: "A comet is heading for Mars, and there is a chance that it might hit the Red Planet in October 2014. An impact wouldn't necessarily mean the end of NASA's Mars program. But it would transform the program along with Mars itself."


Last week NASA Administrator Bolden announced that access to NASA computer networks and facilities would be curtailed for citizens of various countries. Among the countries listed was Saudi Arabia.  It is more than a little unusual to see Saudi Arabia targeted like this given the strong relations between the Saudis and the U.S. in a wide range of scientific and technological fields. It is even more odd that NASA would publicly snub a major U.S. ally in the Middle East in the midst of a presidential trip to the region.


NASA circulated two internal memos on the subject of Education and Public Outreach on Friday. These memos have begun to circulate outside of the agency as well.


Part of the Amazon Basin in northern Brazil is pictured in this image from the Japanese ALOS satellite. Along the left side of the image and running along the bottom, the Nhamunda River creates the border between the Brazilian states of Para (north) and Amazonas (south).

Part of the Amazon Basin in northern Brazil is pictured in this image from the Japanese ALOS satellite. Along the left side of the image and running along the bottom, the Nhamunda River creates the border between the Brazilian states of Para (north) and Amazonas (south). Small patches of land and vegetation outline the river's main route, though the surrounding area is also covered by water. This river is one of the many tributaries of the Amazon, which is located just to the south (not pictured).

"The tiny spacecraft passenger for Vega's upcoming Flight VV02 is getting the same "white glove" treatment as the launch's two larger payloads, with Estonia's ESTCube-1 student satellite now mission-ready at the Spaceport in French Guiana. In the Spaceport's S1B clean room, ESTCube-1 has been integrated in its box-type dispenser - readying the cubesat for integration in the Vega launcher's payload "stack," along with the Proba-V and VNREDSat-1A passengers. ESTCube-1 is the first Estonian satellite, built by a collaboration of students from Tartu University, Estonian Aviation Academy, Tallinn University of Technology and University of Life Sciences, and was developed in conjunction with the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the German Space Center (DLR)." More

"Four teams of university students have been chosen to develop and conduct hypergravity experiments during ESA's fourth 'Spin Your Thesis!' campaign. The campaign will take place from 23 September to 4 October 2013 at the Large Diameter Centrifuge facility located at ESA's European Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC) in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Each week two teams will use the centrifuge equipment. During the preparation of their experiments, the students will be supported by ESA's Education Office and hypergravity experts. A member of the European Low Gravity Research Association (ELGRA) will also be on hand to provide advice and expertise in gravity-related research." More

"The Silicon Valley Space Center will develop four scientific payloads to fly on the XCOR Lynx spacecraft, which is currently under construction in Mojave, California. The payloads will fly on missions sponsored by the United States Rocket Academy's Citizens in Space program. The payloads are part of a cooperative agreement between the Silicon Valley Space Center and Citizens in Space, which was announced today. "The Silicon Valley Space Center is proud to support the Citizens in Space program," said Dr. Sean Casey, co-founder of the Silicon Valley Space Center. "This is a unique opportunity to leverage the technical expertise of the Silicon Valley community in support of citizen science and the emerging suborbital spaceflight industry." More


Restarting science operations after 3 weeks of computer problems, the Mars rover Curiosity will be using its robotic arm and the Goddard Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory to process a triple-dose of drilled subsurface rock in a more intense search for organic carbon before April 4, when Mars will move behind the Sun blocking communications until May 1.


The positions of the planets next month will mean diminished communications between Earth and NASA's spacecraft at Mars.

Each spring and summer, as the air warms up and the sunlight beats down on the Greenland ice sheet, sapphire-colored ponds spring up like swimming pools. As snow and ice melt atop the glaciers, the water flows in channels and streams and collects in depressions on the surface that are sometimes visible from space. These melt ponds and lakes sometimes disappear quickly - a phenomenon that scientists have observed firsthand in recent years.


Each spring and summer, as the air warms up and the sunlight beats down on the Greenland ice sheet, sapphire-colored ponds spring up like swimming pools. As snow and ice melt atop the glaciers, the water flows in channels and streams and collects in depressions on the surface that are sometimes visible from space. These melt ponds and lakes sometimes disappear quickly - a phenomenon that scientists have observed firsthand in recent years.


Acquired by ESA's Planck space telescope, the most detailed map ever created of the cosmic microwave background - the relic radiation from the Big Bang - was released today revealing the existence of features that challenge the foundations of our current understanding of the Universe.


NASA's Operation IceBridge scientists have begun another season of research activity over Arctic ice sheets and sea ice with the first of a series of science flights from Greenland completed on Wednesday.

NASA's Operation IceBridge scientists have begun another season of research activity over Arctic ice sheets and sea ice with the first of a series of science flights from Greenland completed on Wednesday.


Thirty-five years after its launch, Voyager 1 appears to have travelled beyond the influence of the Sun and exited the heliosphere, according to a new study appearing online today.


A sequence of radar images of asteroid 2013 ET was obtained on March 10, 2013, by NASA scientists using the 230-foot (70-meter) Deep Space Network antenna at Goldstone, Calif., when the asteroid was about 693,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers) from Earth, which is 2.9 lunar distances.

Radar Images of Asteroid 2013 ET These radar images of asteroid 2013 ET were obtained when the asteroid was about 693,000 miles (1.1 million kilometers / 2.9 lunar distances) from Earth. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR

Astronomers have found some of the youngest stars ever seen, thanks to the Herschel space observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions.

Observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope in Chile, a collaboration involving the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Germany, the Onsala Space Observatory in Sweden, and the European Southern Observatory in Germany, contributed to the findings.


Astronomers have found some of the youngest stars ever seen, thanks to the Herschel space observatory, a European Space Agency mission with important NASA contributions.

Many spacecraft just fade away, drifting silently through space after their mission is over, but not GRAIL. NASA's twin GRAIL (Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory) spacecraft went out in a blaze of glory on Dec. 17, 2012, when they were intentionally crashed into a mountain near the Moon's north pole.


The following article is a free sample from the current issue of Space Quarterly Magazine. It is our hope that if you enjoy this article you will consider subscribing to the magazine.


The following article is a free sample from the current issue of Space Quarterly Magazine. It is our hope that if you enjoy this article you will consider subscribing to the magazine.


The March 2013 edition of Space Quarterly Magazine is now available. Here are the table of contents for the U.S. and Canadian editions.


A new study using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory points to the origin of a famous supernova. This supernova, discovered in 1604 by Johannes Kepler, belongs to an important class of objects that are used to measure the rate of expansion of the Universe.

A new study using data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory points to the origin of a famous supernova. This supernova, discovered in 1604 by Johannes Kepler, belongs to an important class of objects that are used to measure the rate of expansion of the Universe.


An international research team announces the first scientific results from one of the most inaccessible places on Earth: the bottom of the Mariana Trench located nearly 11 kilometers below sea level in the western Pacific, which makes it the deepest site on Earth.


NASA's Mars rover Curiosity is expected to resume science investigations in a few days, as engineers quickly diagnosed a software issue that prompted the rover to put itself into a precautionary standby status over the weekend.


Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford and Flight Engineers Evgeny Tarelkin and Oleg Novitskiy landed their Soyuz TMA-06M spacecraft in the steppe of Kazakhstan, northeast of the remote town of Arkalyk Friday evening.

This mosaic of images from the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Mars rover Curiosity shows Mount Sharp in a white-balanced color adjustment that makes the sky look overly blue but shows the terrain as if under Earth-like lighting. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Rising above the present location of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity, higher than any mountain in the 48 contiguous states of the United States, Mount Sharp is featured in new imagery from the rover.

A massive backplane that will hold the primary mirror of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope nearly motionless while it peers into space is another step closer to completion with the recent assembly of the support structure's wings.


ESA is offering software developers the opportunity to use its new testbed in space. The robust nanosat will allow individuals, companies and institutions to try out pioneering software without the danger of losing a mission.

"After conquering the seventh continent in its 100th birthday year, the World's Favorite Cookie has decided to take on the universe in its 101st with a new, ground-breaking star chart messaging app; OREO Skies. Putting its own, playful twist on traditional mobile messaging, OREOteamed up with Nokia to develop a smartphone app designed to connect people in a never-been-done before way: through the stars. Using augmented reality technology, the OREO Skies mobile app, now available exclusively onNokia Lumia Windows smartphones, allows users to ignite the "child" inside by writing messages and attaching them to actual constellations revealed in the app. As the best-selling global cookie brand,OREO is offering people around the world a chance to connect with each other in a way that's never been done before." More

"NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) recently selected E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSat) as one of 24 small satellites to fly as secondary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016. EcAMSat is being developed through a partnership between NASA's Ames Research Center and the Stanford University School of Medicine. It will be the first NASA mission in the "6U" configuration, with six times the volume of a single cubesat unit ("1U"). Cubesats belong to a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites measure about four inches on each side, have a volume of about one quart, and weigh less than three pounds. Though it is large for a nanosatellite, the 6U EcAMSat weighs only about 30 pounds and measures approximately 14.4 inches long, 8.9 inches wide and 3.9 inches tall." More


From 800 km high, Earth-observing satellites are assisting international development organisations with their work in developing countries. Satellites enable objective observations of the status of remote rural areas consistently over space and time.


The ESA and NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured these images of the sun spitting out a coronal mass ejection (CME) on March 15, 2013, from 3:24 to 4:00 a.m. EDT. This type of image is known as a coronagraph, since a disk is placed over the sun to better see the dimmer atmosphere around it, called the corona. Credit: ESA&NASA/SOHO

The ESA and NASA Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured these images of the sun spitting out a coronal mass ejection (CME) on March 15, 2013, from 3:24 to 4:00 a.m. EDT. This type of image is known as a coronagraph, since a disk is placed over the sun to better see the dimmer atmosphere around it, called the corona. Credit: ESA&NASA/SOHO

"ESA is offering software developers the opportunity to use its new testbed in space. The robust nanosat will allow individuals, companies and institutions to try out pioneering software without the danger of losing a mission. Satellites are so complex and costly that their controllers cannot afford to take risks. The need for reliability means that onboard and ground control software has not altered significantly in the past 20 years. But the tiny Ops-Sat, a CubeSat combining commercial off-the-shelf technology and ESA expertise, is a chance to try out new ideas in space as early as 2015. "This satellite is designed for experimenting with mission-critical software both on board and on the ground," says Dave Evans, Ops-Sat project manager at ESA's European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany. "This means it must be flexible, powerful and robust." More

From 800 km high, Earth-observing satellites are assisting international development organisations with their work in developing countries. Satellites enable objective observations of the status of remote rural areas consistently over space and time.


This image was taken on March 09, 2013, and received on Earth March 10, 2013, by NASA's Cassini spacecraft. The camera was pointing toward Rhea at approximately 2,348 miles (3,778 kilometers) away, and the image was taken using the CL1 and CL2 filters.


A new NASA-developed, laser-based space communication system will enable higher rates of satellite communications similar in capability to high-speed fiber optic networks on Earth. The space terminal for the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration (LLCD), NASA's first high-data-rate laser communication system, was recently integrated onto the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) spacecraft at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.


The dark hot spot in this false-color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft is a window deep into Jupiter's atmosphere. All around it are layers of higher clouds, with colors indicating which layer of the atmosphere the clouds are in.

The dark hot spot in this false-color image from NASA's Cassini spacecraft is a window deep into Jupiter's atmosphere. All around it are layers of higher clouds, with colors indicating which layer of the atmosphere the clouds are in. The bluish clouds to the right are in the upper troposphere, or perhaps higher still, in the stratosphere. The reddish gyre under the hot spot to the right and the large reddish plume at its lower left are in the lower troposphere. In addition, a high, gauzy haze covers part of the frame. An annotated version of this image highlights the hot spot in the middle with an arrow and boxes around the plume and the gyre. Larger image

Artist's rendering of the planetary system HR 8799 at an early stage in its evolution, showing the planet HR 8799c, a disk of gas and dust, and interior planets. Image courtesy of Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics; Mediafarm.

A team of international scientists including a Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory astrophysicist has made the most detailed examination yet of the atmosphere of a Jupiter-size like planet beyond our solar system.


Scientific confirmation that the NASA Mars rover Curiosity has found a location habitable to Martian microbial life 3 billion years ago is an historic milestone in planetary exploration.

"NASA recently selected cubesat projects for flight opportunities as part of its CubeSat Launch Initiative in the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate. Three of these projects are sponsored by the Space Technology Mission Directorate and are managed by the Small Spacecraft Technology Program (SSTP) at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., and will be launched by the Launch Services Program at NASA's Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral, Fla. These cubesats are research spacecraft that weigh less than five pounds and measure approximately four by four by 12 inches. These miniature spacecraft will be launched to Earth orbit as auxiliary payloads between 2014 and 2016." More

Figure 1:  Montage, combining data from ALMA with images from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, for four distant galaxies. The ALMA images, represented in red, show the distant, background galaxies, being distorted by the gravitational lens effect produced by the galaxies in the foreground, depicted in the Hubble data in blue. The background galaxies appear warped into rings of light known as Einstein rings, which encircle the foreground galaxies.
Credit: ALMA (ESO/NRAO/NAOJ), Y. Hezaveh et al


ESA and the Russian federal space agency, Roscosmos, have signed a formal agreement to work in partnership on the ExoMars programme towards the launch of two missions in 2016 and 2018.

ESA and NASA's Solar Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) captured this image of a coronal mass ejection bursting off the leftside of the image at 9:25 p.m. EDT on March 12, 2013. This sun itself is obscured in this image, called a coronagraph, in order to better see the dimmer structures around it. Credit: ESA&NASA/SOHO


By Mike Loucks, John Carrico and Dennis Tito: Dennis Wingo provided some comments for us in his article Inspiration Mars: Some Thoughts About Their Plan. Dennis Wingo is a friend of ours. We welcome input from any source, especially visionaries like Dennis.


The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), in collaboration with its Canada and Taiwan partners, Japan, Europe and Chile, inaugurated the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) today, one of the world's most powerful telescopes, as part of an international ceremony in Chile.

The U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF), in collaboration with its Canada and Taiwan partners, Japan, Europe and Chile, inaugurated the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) today, one of the world's most powerful telescopes, as part of an international ceremony in Chile.


NASA's Mars rover Curiosity continues to move forward with assessment and recovery from a memory glitch that affected the rover's A-side computer. Curiosity has two computers that are redundant of one another. The rover is currently operating using the B-side computer, which is operating as expected.


Sols 3234-3240, Feb. 27, 2013-Mar. 05, 2013: Opportunity is exploring different locations around the inboard edge of 'Cape York' on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

Sols 3234-3240, Feb. 27, 2013-Mar. 05, 2013: Opportunity is exploring different locations around the inboard edge of 'Cape York' on the rim of Endeavour Crater.

A pair of newly discovered stars is the third-closest star system to the sun, according to a paper that will be published in Astrophysical Journal Letters. The duo is the closest star system discovered since 1916. The discovery was made by Kevin Luhman, an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State and a researcher in Penn State's Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds.

The number of potentially habitable planets is greater than previously thought, according to a new analysis by a Penn State researcher, and some of those planets are likely lurking around nearby stars.

"We now estimate that if we were to look at 10 of the nearest small stars we would find about four potentially habitable planets, give or take," said Ravi Kopparapu, a post-doctoral researcher in geosciences. "That is a conservative estimate," he added. "There could be more."

Thanks to a new high-tech gadget, astronomers have observed four planets orbiting a star relatively close to the sun in unprecedented detail, revealing the roughly ten-Jupiter-mass planets to be among the most exotic ones known.

The team, which includes several researchers from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), describes its findings in a paper accepted for publication by the Astrophysical Journal.


The number of potentially habitable planets is greater than previously thought, according to a new analysis by a Penn State researcher, and some of those planets are likely lurking around nearby stars.


An analysis of a rock sample collected by NASA's Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

Left: The view of the sun is partially obscured by Earth as seen by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Mar. 11, 2013, at 2:20 a.m. EDT. Credit: NASA/SDO Right: This image from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory on Mar. 11, 2013, at 8:00 a.m. EDT, shows the moon crossing in front of the sun. Credit: NASA/SDO

Maps of ozone concentrations over the Arctic come from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite. The left image shows March 19, 2010, and the right shows the same date in 2011. March 2010 had relatively high ozone, while March 2011 has low levels. Credit: NASA/Goddard

A combination of extreme cold temperatures, man-made chemicals and a stagnant atmosphere were behind what became known as the Arctic ozone hole of 2011, a new NASA study finds.


Researchers have conducted a remote reconnaissance of a distant solar system with a new telescope imaging system that sifts through the blinding light of stars.


NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has discovered a pair of stars that has taken over the title for the third-closest star system to the sun. The duo is the closest star system discovered since 1916.

WISE J104915.57-531906 is at the center of the larger image, which was taken by the NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). Image credit: NASA/JPL/Gemini Observatory/AURA/NSF

NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) has discovered a pair of stars that has taken over the title for the third-closest star system to the sun. The duo is the closest star system discovered since 1916.


Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey have been working with a host of international collaborators to present the most detailed map yet of Antarctica's landmass. Bedmap2 reveals a landscape of mountain ranges and plains cut by gorges and valleys much deeper than previously seen. In addition, the map allows scientists to analyse, in much greater detail, the bed below the Antarctic ice sheet.

Scientists at the British Antarctic Survey have been working with a host of international collaborators to present the most detailed map yet of Antarctica's landmass. Bedmap2 reveals a landscape of mountain ranges and plains cut by gorges and valleys much deeper than previously seen. In addition, the map allows scientists to analyse, in much greater detail, the bed below the Antarctic ice sheet.

"The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is seeking support from the public as it continues its efforts to recover and enhance Moon images from the 1960s using modern technology.

"NASA unveiled an Exploration Design Challenge on Monday to give students from kindergarten through 12th grade the opportunity to play a unique role in the future of human spaceflight. The innovative educational opportunity was announced in a special event at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The challenge asks students in the U.S. and abroad to think and act like scientists to overcome one of the major hurdles for deep space long-duration exploration -- protecting astronauts and hardware from the dangers of space radiation.This education-focused effort was developed through a Space Act Agreement between NASA and Lockheed Martin Corp. of Bethesda, Md., in collaboration with the National Institute of Aerospace in Hampton, Va. The goal is to help students see their role in America's future exploration endeavors. "America's next step in human space exploration is an ambitious one and will require new technologies, including ways to keep our astronauts safe from the effects of deep-space radiation," Bolden said. "That is the focus of this challenge, and we are excited students will be helping us solve that problem." More

Moffett Field, California - The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project (LOIRP) is seeking support from the public as it continues its efforts to recover and enhance Moon images from the 1960s using modern technology.

The Yeti robot at NSF's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station in 2011. Credit: James Lever, U.S. Army's Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory

A century after Western explorers first crossed the dangerous landscapes of the Arctic and Antarctic, researchers funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) have successfully deployed a self-guided robot that uses ground-penetrating radar to map deadly crevasses hidden in ice-covered terrains.


The latest trajectory of comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring) generated by the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., indicates the comet will pass within 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) of Mars and there is a strong possibility that it might pass much closer.

The latest trajectory of comet 2013 A1 (Siding Spring) generated by the Near-Earth Object Program Office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., indicates the comet will pass within 186,000 miles (300,000 kilometers) of Mars and there is a strong possibility that it might pass much closer.

The star Eta Carinae is ready to blow. 170 years ago, this 100-solar-mass object belched out several suns' worth of gas in an eruption that made it the second-brightest star after Sirius. That was just a precursor to the main event, since it will eventually go supernova.

Vegetation growth at Earth's northern latitudes increasingly resembles lusher latitudes to the south, according to a NASA-funded study based on a 30-year record of land surface and newly improved satellite data sets.

San Francisco - (March 8, 2013) - Today DIYROCKETS and Sunglass are announcing a partnership to launch the world's first open source competition to create 3D printed rocket engines through collaborative design.

The competition opens for registration at South By Southwest (SXSW) on March 9, and challenges makers, designers and space entrepreneurs to create open source rocket engines that will serve the growing market for small payload delivery into low earth orbit and ultimately, disrupt the space transportation industry.

Although several companies have recently made strides in showcasing the power of the private sector in space exploration, DIYROCKETS is taking this a step further by creating the first of many competitions that encourages the fusion of creativity, technology and collaboration by people across the globe. Utilizing Sunglass's cloud-based platform to visualize, collaborate, manage versions and exchange feedback on each design with team members and the public from anywhere on the globe, the contest aims to dramatically drive down design costs, while creating innovative technology for all types of space hardware and parts, ranging from space propulsion to space medical sensors. Teams will have the freedom to work in a 3D design environment of their choice such as SolidWorks, Autodesk Inventor, Rhino or CATIA, while syncing their project to the Sunglass cloud.


Scientists with the $2.5 billion Mars rover Curiosity will reveal potentially historic discoveries about Mars next week in Washington D. C.

The famed wispy terrain on Saturn's moon Dione is front and center in this recent Cassini spacecraft image. The ''wisps'' are fresh fractures on the trailing hemisphere of the moon's icy surface.

See Dione's Icy Wisps to learn more about Dione's wispy terrain.

This view is centered on 55 degrees north latitude and 85 degrees west longitude on Dione (698 miles, or 1,123 kilometers across). North is up and rotated 39 degrees to the left.


With data from 73 ice and sediment core monitoring sites around the world, scientists have reconstructed Earth's temperature history back to the end of the last Ice Age.

The location of the ~ 1000 km Marte Vallis channel system on Mars. Marte Vallis is filled with young lavas obscuring the source and morphology of the channels. The dashed box highlights the area shown in Fig. 2. The background shows the global topography of Mars (MOLA colorized elevation above a MOLA hillshade image).

A team of astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken an important step closer to finding the birth certificate of a star that's been around for a very long time.

"We have found that this is the oldest known star with a well-determined age," said Howard Bond of Pennsylvania State University in University Park, Pa., and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore, Md.


Something unexpected is happening on the Sun. 2013 was supposed to be the year of "solar maximum," the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle. Yet 2013 has arrived and solar activity is relatively low.

Something unexpected is happening on the Sun. 2013 was supposed to be the year of "solar maximum," the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle. Yet 2013 has arrived and solar activity is relatively low. Sunspot numbers are well below their values from 2011, and strong solar flares have been infrequent. The image above shows the Earth-facing surface of the Sun on February 28, 2013, as observed by the Helioseismic and Magnetic Imager (HMI) on NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory.

Rock in an Icelandic hot spring near Reykjavik with sulfur and Galdieria sulphuraria. Credit: Christine Oesterhelt

In the movie Alien, the title character is an extraterrestrial creature that can survive brutal heat and resist the effects of toxins. In real life, organisms with similar traits exist, such as the "extremophile" red alga Galdieria sulphuraria. In hot springs in Yellowstone National Park, Galdieria uses energy from the sun to produce sugars through photosynthesis.


STRaND-1, the nanosatellite carrying a smartphone, has been declared operational in orbit by the mission team from the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL).

The UK Space Agency and the National Space Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan (KAZCOSMOS) have today (7 March 2013) signed an agreement outlining cooperation in the area of space activities.

One of the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the International Space Station used a 180-mm lens to photograph this day time nadir image of Lake Tahoe, on the border of California and Nevada, from approximately 240 miles above Earth. ISS034-E-032083 (20 Jan. 2013) - high res (1.4 M) low res (126 K)


Phillips & Company, a global communications firm, and Explore Mars, a non-profit corporation committed to advancing the cause for human exploration of Mars, today released findings and full analysis of a nationwide survey of U.S. citizens that focused on their opinions about the exploration of Mars.

"STRaND-1, the nanosatellite carrying a smartphone, has been declared operational in orbit by the mission team from the University of Surrey's Surrey Space Centre (SSC) and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL). The satellite successfully separated from the Indian PSLV launcher in low Earth orbit after its launch on 25th February, and first contact with STRaND-1 was made on its second pass over the Guildford ground station. STRaND-1 is being commissioned and operated from the Surrey Space Centre's ground station at the University of Surrey. Initial checks have confirmed that critical systems are all functioning as expected." More

The Director of Science and Robotic Exploration intends to define, in the course of 2013, the science themes and questions that will be addressed by the next two Large (L-class) missions in the Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 plan, "L2" and "L3", currently planned for a launch in 2028 and 2034, respectively.


A team of scientists working at Princess Elisabeth Antarctica have recently discovered a meteorite weighing 18kg embedded in the East Antarctic ice sheet, the largest such meteorite found in the region since 1988.


An image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on March 6, 2013, shows a winter storm hitting the U.S. mid-Atlantic region.

An image from NOAA's GOES-13 satellite on March 6, 2013, shows a winter storm hitting the U.S. mid-Atlantic region. The Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Program (GOES) is a joint effort of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Image Credit: NOAA-NASA Larger image

ESA's Herschel space observatory is expected to exhaust its supply of liquid helium coolant in the coming weeks after spending more than three exciting years studying the cool universe.

One of the Expedition 34 crew members aboard the International Space Station took advantage of clear skies over Indianapolis, Indiana on Feb. 25 and captured this image of the capital city from a point some 240 miles above Earth. ISS034-E-056011 (25 Feb. 2013) - high res (2.8 M) low res (142 K)

A network of seismographic stations recorded spectacular signals from the blast waves of the meteor that landed near Chelyabinsk, Russia, as the waves crossed the United States.

The National Science Foundation- (NSF) supported stations are used to study earthquakes and the Earth's deep interior.

Peering over the shoulder of giant Saturn, through its rings, and across interplanetary space, NASA's Cassini spacecraft spies the bright, cloudy terrestrial planet, Venus. The vast distance from Saturn means that Venus only shows up as a white dot, just above and to the right of the image center.

The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (NPP) satellite, a partnership between NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), was transitioned to NOAA operational organization control Feb. 22. The transition marks the next step of the mission that supports NASA's Earth science research and NOAA's weather forecasting missions.


Looking out at Earth's surface from the International Space Station (ISS), astronauts and cosmonauts frequently observe sunglint highlighting both ocean and inland water surfaces.


Peering over the shoulder of giant Saturn, through its rings, and across interplanetary space, NASA's Cassini spacecraft spies the bright, cloudy terrestrial planet, Venus. The vast distance from Saturn means that Venus only shows up as a white dot, just above and to the right of the image center.

The Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft was berthed to the International Space Station at 8:56 a.m. EST Sunday. The delivery flight was the second contracted resupply mission by the company under NASA's Commercial Resupply Services contract.

Two days after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, the SpaceX Dragon cargo spacecraft arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday, March 3, where it was captured by Expedition 34 Commander Kevin Ford of NASA and NASA Flight Engineer Tom Marshburn using the station's Canadarm2 robotic arm.

"NASA has selected 24 small satellites to fly as auxiliary payloads aboard rockets planned to launch in 2014, 2015 and 2016. The proposed CubeSats come from universities across the country, a Florida high school, several non-profit organizations and NASA field centers. CubeSats belong to a class of research spacecraft called nanosatellites. The cube-shaped satellites measure about 4 inches on each side, have a volume of about 1 quart, and weigh less than 3 pounds. The selections are from the fourth round of the CubeSat Launch Initiative. After launch, the satellites will conduct technology demonstrations, educational research or science missions. The selected CubeSats will be eligible for flight after final negotiations and an opportunity for flight becomes available." More


This morning at 10:10 a.m. EST, a SpaceX Falcon 9 with Dragon spacecraft launched from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station on its second of 12 NASA contracted resupply missions to the International Space Station (ISS).