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  • Deadline Extended for the 2012 Humans in Space International Youth Art Competition
    future while incorporating this year s theme How will humans use science and technology to explore space and what mysteries will they uncover Competition judges will include program managers scientists artists teachers astronauts musicians and engineers from all over the world Winning artwork will be woven into multimedia displays and performances providing opportunities for people of all ages to experience and be inspired by the creativity our next generation of explorers Key venues for the 2012 winners will include the 19th Humans in Space Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics IAA in Cologne Germany in July 2013 and multiple events associated with NASA s 50th Anniversary of Solar System Exploration celebration Information about background science artwork guidelines and how to enter the competition is available at www humansinspaceart org Submissions are electronic and are due November 15 2012 11 59 p m CDT 23 59 GMT 5 A complete submission for youth artists will have An entry form that includes Submission and contact information Artist s statement of originality 400 words or less Artwork rules for different genres provided on website A waiver signed by a parent or guardian or by the artist if he she is at least

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/hsyac/101112/ (2016-02-15)
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  • First Planets Found Around Sun-Like Stars in a Cluster
    the majority of stars which spread out shortly after birth these young stars remain loosely bound together by mutual gravitational attraction We are detecting more and more planets that can thrive in diverse and extreme environments like these nearby clusters said Mario R Perez the NASA astrophysics program scientist in the Origins of Solar Systems Program Our galaxy contains more than 1000 of these open clusters which potentially can present the physical conditions for harboring many more of these giant planets The two new Beehive planets are called Pr0201b and Pr0211b The star s name followed by a b is the standard naming convention for planets These are the first b s in the Beehive said Sam Quinn a graduate student in astronomy at Georgia State University in Atlanta and the lead author of the paper describing the results which was published in Astrophysical Journal Letters Quinn and his team in collaboration with David Latham at the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics discovered the planets by using the 1 5 meter Tillinghast telescope at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory s Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory near Amado Arizona to measure the slight gravitational wobble the orbiting planets induce upon their host stars Previous searches of clusters had turned up two planets around massive stars but none had been found around stars like our Sun until now This has been a big puzzle for planet hunters Quinn said We know that most stars form in clustered environments like the Orion nebula so unless this dense environment inhibits planet formation at least some Sun like stars in open clusters should have planets Now we finally know they are indeed there The results also are of interest to theorists who are trying to understand how hot Jupiters wind up so close to their stars Most

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/giantPlanets/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Public Invited to Free Symposium on the History of Planetary Exploration
    Martin Global Vision Center 2121 Crystal Drive Arlington Virginia in the Crystal City complex Symposium participation is free and open to the public although registration is required Keynote speeches will include Exploring the Solar System Who has Done It How and Why by Peter Westwick University of Southern California and First On The Moon Venus and Mars The Soviet Planetary Exploration Enterprise by Wesley T Huntress Jr NASA Advisory Committee

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/nasa/50thAnniversary/101112/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Kring Receives Award for Distinguished Service
    GSA established the award in 2011 The award is given to those members of the PGD and those outside the Division and GSA who have rendered exceptional service to the PGD for a multi year period Kring was selected as the recipient of this award for the work he has done in administering the Eugene M Shoemaker Impact Cratering Award In 1997 Kring and others affiliated with the GSA Planetary Geology Division were approached by Carolyn Shoemaker widow of the late Eugene Gene Shoemaker and asked if they could help set up an endowment with the GSA Foundation to support a research scholarship fund The first award was given in 1999 Kring initially administered the award for GSA from the University of Arizona but with the approval of the LPI Director he has administered the award from the LPI since 2006 The Eugene M Shoemaker Impact Cratering Award is for undergraduate or graduate students of any nationality working in any country in the disciplines of geology geophysics geochemistry astronomy or biology The award which includes a cash prize is to be applied for the study of impact craters either on Earth or on the other solid bodies in the solar

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/kring/092612/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Dawn Prepares for Trek Toward Dwarf Planet
    how the instrument found signatures of hydrogen likely in the form of hydroxyl or water bound to minerals in Vesta s surface The source of the hydrogen within Vesta s surface appears to be hydrated minerals delivered by carbon rich space rocks that collided with Vesta at speeds slow enough to preserve their volatile content said Prettyman A complementary paper led by Brett Denevi a Dawn participating scientist based at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel Maryland describes the presence of pitted terrain created by the release of the volatiles Vesta is the second most massive member of the main asteroid belt The orbit at which these data were obtained averaged about 130 miles 210 kilometers above the surface Dawn left Vesta earlier this month and is now on its way to its second target the dwarf planet Ceres Scientists thought it might be possible for water ice to survive near the surface around the giant asteroid s poles Unlike Earth s Moon however Vesta has no permanently shadowed polar regions where ice might survive The strongest signature for hydrogen in the latest data came from regions near the equator where water ice is not stable In some cases other space rocks crashed into these deposits later at high speed The heat from the collisions converted the hydrogen bound to the minerals into water which evaporated The holes that were left as the water escaped stretch as much as 0 6 miles 1 kilometer across and go down as deep as 700 feet 200 meters Seen in images from Dawn s framing camera this pitted terrain is best preserved in sections of the Marcia crater The pits look just like features seen on Mars but while water was common on Mars it was totally unexpected on Vesta

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/dawn/092612/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Former LPI Intern Studies Mars with the Curiosity Team
    an internship at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston then focused his senior thesis on the Red Planet s surface processes He had no idea that one day he would have the opportunity to help others understand the planetary body that he had come to know and love Now an assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences at the University of Alabama Ewing is collaborating with a researcher at the University of Texas researcher who is a participating scientist with the Mars Science Laboratory MSL The MSL team will analyze rock outcrops and assess whether they are derived from wind blown sediments Mars is a wind dominated planet Rocks collected by previous rovers have shown outcrops that were deposited by migrations of sand dunes Ewing said The question now is what role has wind and the sediment transport system played in the evolution of the planet s surface As the Mars rover Curiosity begins moving around the surface it will encounter these outcrops and use various instruments to provide imagery and other information that scientists will interpret One instrument the Mast Camera provides digital color photos video and images that can be used to build three dimensional representations

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/ewing/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Curiosity's Arm Wields Camera Well
    capability that had been obscured by a thin film of dust on the cover during previous use of the camera It took images of cameras at the top of Curiosity s mast of the underbelly of the rover and of MAHLI s own calibration target among other pointings Wow seeing these images after all the tremendous hard work that has gone into making them possible is a profoundly emotional moment said MAHLI Principal Investigator Ken Edgett of Malin Space Science Systems San Diego It is so exciting to see the camera returning beautiful sharp images from Mars Selected MAHLI images with captions are available at 1 usa gov PecY9c Raw versions of all MAHLI images are available along with raw images from the other cameras on Curiosity at mars jpl nasa gov msl multimedia raw The camera s calibration target includes a 1909 Lincoln penny that Edgett purchased for this purpose We re seeing the penny in the foreground and looking past it a setting I m sure the people who minted these coins never imagined Edgett said The penny is a nod to geologists tradition of placing a coin or other object of known scale as a size reference in close up photographs of rocks and it gives the public a familiar object for perceiving size easily when it will be viewed by MAHLI on Mars The folks who drive the rover s arm and turret have taken a 220 pound arm through some very complex tai chi to center a penny in an image that s only a few centimeters across said MAHLI Deputy Principal Investigator Aileen Yingst of the Tucson based Planetary Science Institute They make the impossible look easy The arm characterization activities including more imaging by MAHLI will continue for a few days before Curiosity

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/mars/curiosity/091112/ (2016-02-15)
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  • SOFIA to Embark on New Cycle of Science Observations
    to galaxies hundreds of millions of light years away SOFIA s first airborne science observations were made in December 2010 During 2011 SOFIA accomplished 30 flights in the Early Science program as well as a deployment to Germany from its base at NASA s Dryden Aircraft Operations Facility in Palmdale California The newly announced observing period known as Cycle 1 includes 46 science flights grouped in four multi week observing campaigns spread through a 13 month span The Cycle 1 science flights include approximately 330 research flight hours about 200 hours of which have been awarded to guest investigators whose proposals to observe with SOFIA were evaluated by U S and German chartered peer review panels In addition to the 46 science flights planned for Cycle 1 during the coming months SOFIA will undertake commissioning observations needed to make the first four of the observatory s seven first generation scientific instruments ready for use by guest investigators The four instruments to be employed during Cycle 1 are the FORCAST mid infrared camera and spectrometer Principal Investigator Terry Herter Cornell University the GREAT far infrared spectrometer P I Rolf Guesten Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy the HIPO high speed photometer P I Ted Dunham Lowell Observatory and the FLITECAM near infrared camera and spectrometer P I Ian McLean University of California at Los Angeles Twenty six U S educators in the Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program previously were chosen to participate in SOFIA Cycle 1 flights as partners with the astronomers These educators including classroom teachers and science museum staff were selected based on the quality of their plans to bring SOFIA training and flight experiences back to their classrooms and communities Six German Airborne Ambassador educators also are expected to participate in SOFIA flights during Cycle 1 Last year SOFIA

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/sofia/083012/ (2016-02-15)
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