archive-edu.com » EDU » U » USRA.EDU

Total: 1151

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • NASA's GRAIL Lunar Impact Site Named for Astronaut Sally Ride
    today said GRAIL principal investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge As we complete our lunar mission we are proud we can honor Sally Ride s contributions by naming this corner of the Moon after her The impact marked a successful end to the GRAIL mission which was NASA s first planetary mission to carry cameras fully dedicated to education and public outreach Ride who died in July after a 17 month battle with pancreatic cancer led GRAIL s MoonKAM Moon Knowledge Acquired by Middle School Students Program through her company Sally Ride Science in San Diego Along with its primary science instrument each spacecraft carried a MoonKAM camera that took more than 115 000 total images of the lunar surface Imaging targets were proposed by middle school students from across the country and the resulting images returned for them to study The names of the spacecraft were selected by Ride and the mission team from student submissions in a nationwide contest Sally Ride worked tirelessly throughout her life to remind all of us especially girls to keep questioning and learning said Sen Barbara Mikulski of Maryland Today her passion for making students part of NASA s science is honored by naming the impact site for her Fifty minutes prior to impact the spacecraft fired their engines until the propellant was depleted The maneuver was designed to determine precisely the amount of fuel remaining in the tanks This will help NASA engineers validate computer models to improve predictions of fuel needs for future missions Ebb fired its engines for 4 minutes 3 seconds and Flow fired its for 5 minutes 7 seconds said GRAIL project manager David Lehman of NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory It was one final important set of data from a mission that

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/grail/122112/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive


  • NASA Announces Robust Multi-Year Mars Program; New Rover to Close Out Decade of New Missions
    the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN MAVEN orbiter to study the martian upper atmosphere the Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations Geodesy and Heat Transport InSight mission which will take the first look into the deep interior of Mars and participation in ESA s 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions including providing Electra telecommunication radios to ESA s 2016 mission and a critical element of the premier astrobiology instrument on the 2018 ExoMars rover The plan to design and build a new Mars robotic science rover with a launch in 2020 comes only months after the agency announced InSight which will launch in 2016 bringing a total of seven NASA missions operating or being planned to study and explore our Earth like neighbor The 2020 mission will constitute another step toward being responsive to high priority science goals and the president s challenge of sending humans to Mars orbit in the 2030s The future rover development and design will be based on the Mars Science Laboratory MSL architecture that successfully carried the Curiosity rover to the martian surface this summer This will ensure mission costs and risks are as low as possible while still delivering a highly capable rover with a proven landing system The mission will constitute a vital component of a broad portfolio of Mars exploration missions in development for the coming decade The mission will advance the science priorities of the National Research Council s 2011 Planetary Science Decadal Survey and responds to the findings of the Mars Program Planning Group established earlier this year to assist NASA in restructuring its Mars Exploration Program The challenge to restructure the Mars Exploration Program has turned from the seven minutes of terror for the Curiosity landing to the start of seven years of innovation NASA s associate administrator for science and

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/mars/122112/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Scientists Find Similarities in Formation of Mars and Earth
    To investigate the history of martian water and other volatiles the team of researchers compared water concentrations and hydrogen isotopes trapped in crystals within the meteorites Both were of the same primitive nature but one was relatively rich in elements such as hydrogen while the other wasn t There are competing theories that account for the diverse compositions of martian meteorites said Tomohiro Usui of Tokyo Japan lead author of the paper and a former NASA LPI postdoctoral fellow who led the research Until this study there was no direct evidence that primitive martian lavas contained material from the surface of Mars Usui revealed that the initial hydrogen isotopic composition of Mars was Earth like because he designed an experiment that greatly reduced contamination to the meteorite here on Earth said coauthor Justin Simon a JSC cosmochemist Much controversy surrounds the origin abundance and history of water on Mars The sculpted channels of the martian southern hemisphere speak loudly of flowing water but that terrain is ancient Consequently planetary scientists often describe early Mars as warm and wet and current Mars as cold and dry One meteorite appears to have changed little on its way to the surface of Mars from the martian mantle It has a hydrogen isotopic composition similar to that of Earth The other meteorite appears to have incorporated some martian crust that had contact with the martian atmosphere Thus the meteorites represent two very different sources of water One sampled water from the deep interior and represents the water that existed when Mars formed as a planet while the other sampled the shallow crust and atmosphere These meteorites contain trapped basaltic liquids not unlike the basalts that erupt on Hawaii said coauthor John Jones a JSC experimental petrologist and member of the Mars Science Laboratory rover

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/mars/111912/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • NASA Researchers Strike Scientific Gold With Meteorite
    like orbit that reached the orbit of Mercury passing closer to the Sun than known from other recorded meteorite falls It circled the Sun three times during a single orbit of Jupiter in resonance with that planet Jenniskens said Based on the unusually short time that the asteroid was exposed to cosmic rays there was not much time to go slower or faster around the Sun That puts the original source asteroid very close to this resonance in a low inclined orbit A good candidate source region for CM chondrites now is the Eulalia asteroid family recently proposed as a source of primitive C class asteroids in orbits that pass Earth adds Jenniskens After the asteroid broke up in the atmosphere weather radar briefly detected a hailstorm of falling meteorites over the townships of Coloma and Lotus in California This enabled a rapid recovery that permitted the most pristine look yet at a CM type carbonaceous chondrite This was the first time a rare carbonaceous chondrite meteorite was recovered based on such weather radar detection said Marc Fries of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson Arizona who pioneered the use of this technique Meteorites were found mostly under the radar footprint Of the estimated 100 000 pound asteroid less than 2 pounds was recovered on the ground in the form of 77 meteorites The biggest was 205 grams Some of the key meteorites were found by volunteer search teams led by Jenniskens The entire Ames community really came together in the search for these meteorites People work at NASA because they love science and that was very evident when we saw the overwhelming response of volunteers from Ames wanting to be a part of this said Ames Center Director S Pete Worden The meteorite was a jumbled mess of rocks called a regolith breccia that originated from near the surface of a primitive asteroid said meteoriticist Derek Sears of NASA Ames NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA have plans to target asteroids similar to the one recovered at Sutter s Mill The Sutter s Mill meteorite provides a rare glimpse of what these space missions may find NASA s robotic OSIRIS REx mission is currently being prepared to bring back a pristine sample of an asteroid named 1999 RQ36 said co author and mission co investigator Scott Sandford of NASA Ames In addition Sutter s Mill has the same reflective properties as near Earth asteroid 1999 JU3 the mission target of the Hayabusa 2 sample return mission currently being prepared by the Japanese space agency JAXA The rapid recovery resulted in the detection of compounds that quickly disappear once a meteorite lands on Earth Mike Zolensky a mineralogist at NASA s Johnson Space Center Houston was surprised to detect the mineral oldhamite a calcium sulfide known in the past to disappear from contact with water by simply breathing on it This mineral was known before mainly from rare enstatite chondrites said Zolensky and its presence in the regolith breccia

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/meteorites/122112/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • GRAIL Creates Most Accurate Moon Gravity Map
    Kiefer a staff scientist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute and a member of the GRAIL science team The first scientific results from the prime phase of the GRAIL mission have recently been published in three papers in the journal Science What this map tells us is that more than any other celestial body we know of the Moon wears its gravity field on its sleeve said GRAIL Principal Investigator Maria Zuber of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge When we see a notable change in the gravity field we can sync up this change with surface topography features such as craters rilles or mountains According to Zuber the Moon s gravity field preserves the record of impact bombardment that characterized all terrestrial planetary bodies and reveals evidence for fracturing of the interior extending to the deep crust and possibly the mantle This impact record is preserved and now precisely measured on the Moon The probes revealed the bulk density of the Moon s highland crust is substantially lower than generally assumed This low bulk crustal density agrees well with data obtained during the final Apollo lunar missions in the early 1970s indicating that local samples returned by astronauts are indicative of global processes The map was created by the spacecraft transmitting radio signals to define precisely the distance between them as they orbit the Moon in formation As they fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity caused by visible features such as mountains and craters and masses hidden beneath the lunar surface the distance between the two spacecraft will change slightly We used gradients of the gravity field in order to highlight smaller and narrower structures than could be seen in previous datasets said Jeff Andrews Hanna a GRAIL guest scientist with the Colorado School of Mines

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/grail/120512/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Why Go Back to the Moon?
    to the Moon The first of these videos produced in partnership with the Lunar and Planetary Institute LPI is entitled Why Go Back to the Moon and features lunar geologist Paul Spudis a staff scientist at the LPI In the five minute video Spudis discusses what inspired his lifelong fascination with our nearest planetary neighbor how this ancient world is still geologically dynamic and how the recent discovery of vast

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/moon/120512/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Cassini Sees Abrupt Turn in Titan’s Atmosphere
    substantial atmosphere providing natural laboratories for exploring climate processes Understanding Titan s atmosphere gives us clues for understanding our own complex atmosphere said Scott Edgington Cassini deputy project scientist at NASA s Jet Propulsion Laboratory Some of the complexity in both places arises from the interplay of atmospheric circulation and chemistry The pole on Titan that is experiencing winter is typically pointed away from Earth due to orbital geometry Because Cassini has been in orbit around Saturn since 2004 it has been able to study the moon from angles impossible from Earth and watch changes develop over time Models have predicted circulation changes for nearly 20 years but Cassini has finally directly observed them happening marking a major milestone in the mission Other Cassini instruments recently obtained images of the formation of haze and a vortex over Titan s south pole but the data from the composite infrared spectrometer CIRS is sensitive to much higher altitudes provides more quantitative information and more directly probes the circulation and chemistry The CIRS data which enable scientists to track changes in atmospheric temperature and the distribution of gases like benzene and hydrogen cyanide also revealed changes in hard to detect vertical winds and global circulation Besides the evidence for sinking air Cassini also detected complex chemical production in the atmosphere at up to 400 miles 600 kilometers above the surface revealing the atmospheric circulation extends about 60 miles 100 kilometers higher than previously expected Compression of this sinking air as it moved to lower altitudes produced a hot spot hovering high above the south pole the first indication of big changes to come The scientists were also able to see very rapid changes in the atmosphere and pinpoint the circulation reversal to about six months around the August 2009 equinox when the Sun

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/cassini/112812/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Announcing the 2012 Shoemaker Impact Cratering Award Recipient
    University Mercer is pursuing a Ph D with a heavy emphasis on geochronology that involves in situ laser ablation 40 Ar 39 Ar analyses of Apollo samples in Kip Hodges laboratory and the geochemistry of select meteorites in Meenakshi Wadhwa s laboratory He is supplementing those studies with a geochronologic study of Upheaval Dome which is a terrestrial complex impact crater in Utah That latter project is the one being supported through the GSA Planetary Geology Division s Eugene M Shoemaker Impact Cratering Award The Eugene M Shoemaker Impact Cratering Award is designed to support undergraduate and graduate students of any nationality working in any country in the disciplines of geology geophysics geochemistry astronomy or biology Grants support the study of impact cratering processes on Earth and other bodies in the solar system including asteroids and comets that produce impacts and the geological chemical or biological results of impact cratering This award is generously provided by the Planetary Geology Division of the Geological Society of America and administered by the LPI It commemorates the work of Eugene Gene Shoemaker who greatly influenced planetary sciences during the Apollo era and for several decades thereafter including the discovery of Comet Shoemaker Levy

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/shoemaker_award/2012/ (2016-02-15)
    Open archived version from archive



  •