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  • NASA Selects Mission to Study Mars Atmosphere
    planet s history The loss of Mars atmosphere has been an ongoing mystery McCuistion said MAVEN will help us solve it The principal investigator for the mission is Bruce Jakosky of the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder The university will receive 6 million to fund mission planning and technology development during the next year NASA s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Maryland will manage the project Lockheed Martin of Littleton Colorado will build the spacecraft based on designs from NASA s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and 2001 Mars Odyssey missions The team will begin mission design and implementation in the fall of 2009 Launched in August 2005 the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter is a multipurpose spacecraft that carries the most powerful telescopic camera ever flown to another planet The camera can show martian landscape features as small as a kitchen table from low orbital altitudes The mission is examining potential landing sites for future surface missions and providing a communications relay for other Mars spacecraft The 2001 Mars Odyssey launched in April of that year is determining the composition of the Red Planet s surface by searching for water and shallow buried ice The spacecraft also is studying the planet s radiation environment After arriving at Mars in the fall of 2014 MAVEN will use its propulsion system to enter an elliptical orbit ranging 90 to 3870 miles above the planet The spacecraft s eight science instruments will take measurements during a full Earth year which is roughly equivalent to half of a martian year MAVEN also will dip to an altitude 80 miles above the planet to sample Mars entire upper atmosphere During and after its primary science mission the spacecraft may be used to provide communications relay support for robotic missions

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/marsAtmosphere/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Tellier Announces Retirement from LPI
    biology teacher in the St Louis area developing and implementing an innovative open classroom concept with a self paced science curriculum Pursuit of advanced education and an interest in Futures Studies brought Tellier to the University of Houston Clear Lake UHCL The pursuit of his studies at UHCL led Tellier to the LPI s library in August 1979 Recruited by LPI librarian Fran Waranius his primary task was to identify collect and index more than 40 years of lunar science literature The bibliography he created could be searched by title author and keywords a cutting edge research tool in the years before the advent of the universal access that today s Internet provides Long before the days of easy web access Tellier handled search requests from scientists from all over the world The bibliography now part of the Astrophysics Data System ADS has added tremendous depth in the field of lunar science As new interest in lunar exploration emerges Tellier s efforts to identify and index lunar science documents and materials provide a solid foundation for future lunar research Capitalizing on his extensive knowledge of lunar literature Tellier devoted his time to preparing digital versions of imagery cartography and ancillary

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/tellier/ (2016-02-15)
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  • NASA Mars Lander Digs Deeper as Third Month Nears End
    a trench called Stone Soup which is about 18 centimeters 7 inches deep On a later sol the lander s robotic arm will sprinkle soil from the sample into the third cell of the wet chemistry laboratory This deck mounted laboratory part of Phoenix s Microscopy Electrochemistry and Conductivity Analyzer MECA has previously used two of its four soil testing cells In the first two cells we analyzed samples from the surface and the ice interface and the results look similar Our objective for Cell 3 is to use it as an exploratory cell to look at something that might be different said JPL s Michael Hecht lead scientist for MECA The appeal of Stone Soup is that this deep area may collect and concentrate different kinds of materials Stone Soup lies on the borderline or natural trough between two of the low polygon shaped hummocks that characterize the arctic plain where Phoenix landed The trench is toward the left or west end of the robotic arm s work area on the north side of the lander When digging near a polygon center Phoenix has hit a layer of icy soil as hard as concrete about 5 centimeters 2 inches beneath the ground surface In the Stone Soup trench at a polygon margin the digging has not yet hit an icy layer like that The trough between polygons is sort of a trap where things can accumulate Hecht said Over a long timescale there may even be circulation of material sinking at the margins and rising at the center The science team had considered two finalist sites as sources for the next sample to be delivered to the wet chemistry lab This past weekend Stone Soup won out We had a shootout between Stone Soup and white stuff in a

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/marsPhoenix/diggingDeeper/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Dr. Paul Spudis Announced as Chief Scientist of Google Lunar X PRIZE Contender Odyssey Moon Limited
    and planetary science including interpretation of remote sensing and image data He will be applying his combined passions for science and lunar development to help Odyssey Moon deliver a valuable scientific mission while pursuing the 30 Million Google Lunar X PRIZE and an ongoing commercial lunar enterprise Evidence indicates that abundant energy and material resources exist on the Moon including deposits of ice within craters at the poles he said Returning to the Moon will teach us the skills we need to live and work productively on other worlds Odyssey Moon CEO Dr Robert Bob Richards says the addition of Spudis to the Odyssey Moon Executive Team broadens and strengthens the scientific capability for the commercial company Paul is a persistent champion of the value of the Moon to the human species Richards said He understands the Moon s role in furthering human knowledge and securing a prosperous future and he has the experience and the credentials to help us make it happen In addition to serving as Principal Investigator of the mini SAR experiment on the Chandrayaan 1 mission launching in 2008 Spudis is also a team member of the mini RF technology demonstration experiment onboard NASA s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission also bound for the Moon later this year Prior to this he was Principal Investigator in the Planetary Geology Program of the NASA Office of Space Science Solar System Exploration Division specializing in research on the processes of impact and volcanism on the planets He served on NASA s Lunar and Planetary Sample Team LAPST which advised on the allocations of lunar samples for scientific research He is also a member of NASA s Lunar Exploration Science Working Group LEXSWG which devised scientific strategies of lunar exploration and the Planetary Geology Working Group which monitors overall directions

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/spudis/xPrize/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Solar System Book Dedicated to Robert Clayton, “Mr. Oxygen”
    MacPherson in the book s dedication MacPherson highlighted Clayton s discovery with colleagues at the Enrico Fermi Institute in 1973 that the chemistry of oxygen in the Allende meteorite was fundamentally different from that known for Earth rocks According to MacPherson the intense interest generated by the 1973 work revolutionized cosmochemistry in a way that continues to this day The editors collected an overview of Clayton s oxygen isotopic data in a frontispiece for the book that they labeled The Solar System in Clayton Mayeda Space The late Toshiko Mayeda Senior Research Associate in the Enrico Fermi Institute was a longtime collaborator of Clayton s The book dedication is the most recent of many honors that Clayton has received including the National Medal of Science the Meteoritical Society s Leonard Medal and election to the National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society of London Clayton officially retired in 2001 but in 2002 he published an article in Nature that successfully predicted that the oxygen isotopic composition of the Sun would be vastly different from Earth s and the rocky planets An analysis of data from NASA s Genesis satellite released in March verified his prediction Most cosmochemists now seem to agree that the compositional differences in oxygen isotopes arise from chemical reactions driven by ultraviolet light that occurred early in the history of the solar system The question that is unanswered is Where did that happen Clayton said Clayton prefers the idea that these photochemical reactions happened close to the Sun This idea implies that material from which Earth and other planets are made migrated close to the Sun where they were exposed to the ultraviolet light then moved back out again That would be a radical departure from what people think of as how to make planets he

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/clayton/ (2016-02-15)
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  • Take an Interactive Journey Through NASA’s First Fifty Years of Exploration
    historic video with state of the art computer animation the virtual exhibit takes a World s Fair approach to NASA history featuring pavilions that host each decade of the agency s challenges and achievements Visitors will get unique insight into NASA s activities over the years including a wide range of exploration and research initiatives and a glimpse into the future We re very excited to have people come and take a look at NASA s history said Brian Dunbar Internet services manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington DC We ve been able to take a wide range of material and weave it into a virtual tour that allows people to explore at their own pace The exhibit s host is an animated robot named Automa who will guide visitors through their journey Also assisting everyone throughout their tour are important historic and cultural figures of the past 50 years of aerospace history including astronauts presidents astronomers and other popular icons associated with NASA s history For example in the 1970s pavilion visitors will see a presentation of NASA s Voyager and Viking missions hosted by an avatar of the late astronomer Carl Sagan complete with excerpts from his popular

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/nasa/50thAnniversary/ (2016-02-15)
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  • LPI Welcomes 2008 Summer Interns
    opportunity to experience cutting edge research in lunar and planetary science working one on one with scientists at the LPI and the NASA Johnson Space Center This year s program will run from June 2 through August 8 The 12 students below were selected from an applicant pool of nearly 200 students and we welcome them to the Institute as they begin what promises to be a very rewarding summer The application deadline for next year s program will be in January 2009 We will begin accepting applications in the fall For more information about the program visit the summer intern Web page 2008 LPI SUMMER INTERNS Student David Baker St Lawrence University Advisor Dr Carl Allen JSC Student Ana Cernok University of Vienna Advisors Dr David Kring LPI Student Elizabeth Frank Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Advisors Dr David Kring LPI Student Miriam Galeneas University of Missouri Columbi a Advisors Dr John Jones JSC Student Tiffany Kataria State University of New York at Stony Brook Advisor Dr Essam Heggy LPI Student Mairi Litherland Rice University Advisor Dr Pat McGovern LPI Student Ayesha Mahmud Carleton College Advisor Dr Julie Moses LPI Student Kristin Rahilly Smith College Advisors Dr Allan Treiman LPI Student

    Original URL path: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/features/interns08/ (2016-02-15)
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  • NASA Spacecraft Shows Diverse, Wet Environments on Ancient Mars
    interaction of water with rocks dating back to what is called the Noachian period of Mars history approximately 4 6 billion to 3 8 billion years ago This period corresponds to the earliest years of the solar system when Earth the Moon and Mars sustained a cosmic bombardment by comets and asteroids Rocks of this age have largely been destroyed on Earth by plate tectonics They are preserved on the Moon but were never exposed to liquid water The phyllosilicate containing rocks on Mars preserve a unique record of liquid water environments possibly suitable for life in the early solar system The minerals present in Mars ancient crust show a variety of wet environments said John Mustard a member of the CRISM team from Brown University and lead author of the Nature study In most locations the rocks are lightly altered by liquid water but in a few locations they have been so altered that a great deal of water must have flushed though the rocks and soil This is really exciting because we re finding dozens of sites where future missions can land to understand if Mars was ever habitable and if so to look for signs of past life Another study published in the June 2 issue of Nature Geosciences finds that the wet conditions on Mars persisted for a long time Thousands to millions of years after the clays formed a system of river channels eroded them out of the highlands and concentrated them in a delta where the river emptied into a crater lake slightly larger than California s Lake Tahoe approximately 40 kilometers 25 miles in diameter The distribution of clays inside the ancient lakebed shows that standing water must have persisted for thousands of years says Bethany Ehlmann another member of the CRISM team

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