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Fermi’s Motion Produces a Study in Spirograph

NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope orbits our planet every 95 minutes, building up increasingly deeper views of the universe with every circuit. This image compresses eight individual frames, from a movie showing 51 months of position and exposure data by Fermi’s Large Area Telescope (LAT), into a single snapshot. The pattern reflects numerous motions of the spacecraft, including its orbit around Earth, the precession of its orbital plane, the manner in which the LAT nods north and south on alternate orbits, and more.
The LAT sweeps across the entire sky every three hours, capturing the highest-energy form of light — gamma rays — from sources across the universe. These range from supermassive black holes billions of light-years away to intriguing objects in our own galaxy, such as X-ray binaries, supernova remnants and pulsars.
Image Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration

NASA’s Webb Telescope to Have a Texas-Sized Presence at the South by Southwest Festival

February 19, 2013: Everything’s bigger in Texas, and a life-sized model of the world’s largest space telescope, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, will be on display at the South by Southwest (SXSW) Interactive Festival along with Webb-related exhibits, educational events, interactives, visualizations, scientists, and much more. The NASA events at SXSW will occur March 8-10, 2013, in Austin.

Read more at: http://hubblesite.org/newscenter/archive/releases/2013/10/full/

 

NASA Mars Rover Confirms First Drilled Martian Rock Sample

PASADENA, Calif. — NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has relayed new images that confirm it has successfully obtained the first sample ever collected from the interior of a rock on another planet. No rover has ever drilled into a rock beyond Earth and collected a sample from its interior.
Transfer of the powdered-rock sample into an open scoop was visible for the first time in images received Wednesday at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, Calif.

Read more at: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/feb/HQ_13-059_Curiosity_Confirms_First_Scoop.html

 

NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers Tiny Planet System

 

WASHINGTON — NASA’s Kepler mission scientists have discovered a new planetary system that is home to the smallest planet yet found around a star similar to our sun.

The planets are located in a system called Kepler-37, about 210 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. The smallest planet, Kepler-37b, is slightly larger than our moon, measuring about one-third the size of Earth. It is smaller than Mercury, which made its detection a challenge.

The moon-size planet and its two companion planets were found by scientists with NASA’s Kepler mission to find Earth-sized planets in or near the “habitable zone,” the region in a planetary system where liquid water might exist on the surface of an orbiting planet. However, while the star in Kepler-37 may be similar to our sun, the system appears quite unlike the solar system in which we live.

Astronomers think Kepler-37b does not have an atmosphere and cannot support life as we know it. The tiny planet almost certainly is rocky in composition. Kepler-37c, the closer neighboring planet, is slightly smaller than Venus, measuring almost three-quarters the size of Earth. Kepler-37d, the farther planet, is twice the size of Earth.
The first exoplanets found to orbit a normal star were giants. As technologies have advanced, smaller and smaller planets have been found, and Kepler has shown even Earth-size exoplanets are common.

Read more at:  http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/feb/HQ_13-057_Kepler_Tiny_Planet.html

 

NASA Seeks University Participants for Summer Rocket Workshop

WASHINGTON — University faculty and students interested in learning how to build scientific experiments for spaceflight are invited to join RockOn 2013 from June 15-20 at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.
RockOn 2013 is an annual workshop held in partnership with the Colorado and Virginia Space Grant Consortia. Registration is open through May.
“Now in its sixth year, this program provides the basics on building, testing and flying a science payload on a suborbital rocket,” said Phil Eberspeaker, chief of the sounding rocket program office at Wallops. “This is an exciting first step for participants to gain hands-on experience in building more complex space experiments. The program provides students with a solid foundation on which to build a future aerospace career.”
During the program, participants will work together to build experiment payloads to fly on a NASA sounding rocket predicted to reach an altitude of 73 miles. The flight will take place June 20, the last day of the workshop, weather permitting.
“The purpose of the program is to bring together university students and instructors, and introduce them to building scientific experiments for space flight,” said Chris Koehler, director of the Colorado Space Grant Consortium. “We really get into the basics of building experiments, including developing circuit boards, programming flight code and working together as a cohesive team on space projects.”

For more information and to register online, visit:

http://spacegrant.colorado.edu/rockon/2013/index_2013.html

Dragon Prepares to Resupply Station

The Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX, Dragon spacecraft stands inside a processing hangar at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. Teams had just installed the spacecraft’s solar array fairings.

NASA and its international partners are targeting Friday, March 1, as the launch date for the next cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station by SpaceX. Launch is scheduled for 10:10 a.m. EST from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida.

SpaceX’s Dragon capsule will be filled with about 1,200 pounds of supplies for the space station crew and experiments being conducted aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Read more at:http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2452.html

 

Celestial Valentine

 

Generations of stars can be seen in this infrared portrait from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. In this wispy star-forming region, called W5, the oldest stars can be seen as blue dots in the centers of the two hollow cavities (other blue dots are background and foreground stars not associated with the region).
Younger stars line the rims of the cavities, and some can be seen as pink dots at the tips of the elephant-trunk-like pillars. The white knotty areas are where the youngest stars are forming. Red shows heated dust that pervades the region’s cavities, while green highlights dense clouds.
Read more at: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/imagegallery/image_feature_2450.html

 

NASA Satellite Data Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East

 

WASHINGTON — A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.
Scientists at the University of California at Irvine (UC Irvine); NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.; and the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., found during a seven-year period beginning in 2003, parts of Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran along the Tigris and Euphrates river basins lost 117 million acre feet (144 cubic kilometers) of its total stored freshwater. That is almost the amount of water in the Dead Sea. The researchers attribute about 60 percent of the loss to pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs.
The findings, to be published Friday, Feb. 15, in the journal Water Resources Research, are the result of one of the first comprehensive hydrological assessments of the entire Tigris-Euphrates-Western Iran region. Because obtaining ground-based data in the area is difficult, satellite data, such as that from NASA’s twin Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites, are essential. GRACE is providing a global picture of water storage trends and is invaluable when hydrologic observations are not routinely collected or shared beyond political boundaries.

Read more at: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/feb/HQ_13-049_Middle_East_Groundwater.html

 

Curiosity Rover’s Self Portrait at ‘John Klein’ Drilling Site

 

This rectangular version of a self-portrait of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of exposures taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) during the 177th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s work on Mars (Feb. 3, 2013).
The rover is positioned at a patch of flat outcrop called “John Klein,” which was selected as the site for the first rock-drilling activities by Curiosity. The self-portrait was acquired to document the drilling site.
The rover’s robotic arm is not visible in the mosaic. MAHLI, which took the component images for this mosaic, is mounted on a turret at the end of the arm. Wrist motions and turret rotations on the arm allowed MAHLI to acquire the mosaic’s component images. The arm was positioned out of the shot in the images or portions of images used in the mosaic.

Malin Space Science Systems, San Diego, developed, built and operates MAHLI. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., manages the Mars Science Laboratory Project and the mission’s Curiosity rover for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The rover was designed and assembled at JPL, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

Read more at: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/msl/multimedia/pia16764.html

 

NASA Set for New Round Of J-2X Testing at Stennis Space Center

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss. — NASA’s progress toward a return to deep space missions continues with a new round of upcoming tests on the next-generation J-2X rocket engine, which will help power the agency’s Space Launch System (SLS) to new destinations in the solar system.

Beginning this month, engineers will conduct a series of tests on the second J-2X development engine, designated number 10002, on the A-2 Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Once the series is completed, the engine will be transferred to the A-1 Test Stand to undergo a series of gimbal, or pivot, tests for the first time.

“The upcoming test series is not only a critical step forward, but important to the Stennis test team, as well,” said Gary Benton, manager of the J-2X test project at Stennis. “This test series will help us increase our knowledge of the J-2X and its performance capabilities. In addition, the series will help us maintain the high skill level of our team as we look ahead to continued J-2X testing and testing of the RS-25 engines that will be used to power the SLS first-stage.”

Read more at: http://www.nasa.gov/home/hqnews/2013/feb/HQ_13-047_New_J-2X_Testing.html

 

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