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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘jet propulsion lab’

Mars Rover Curiosity Drills a Rock, Makes History

After months of careful planning and tests, Mars rover Curiosity has finally used its hammering drill to collect a bedrock sample on Mars. The event marks the first time any rover has drilled into a rock on the red planet. Curiosity left a hole 0.63 inches (1.6 cm) wide and 2.5 inches (6.4 cm) deep in a flat, veiny rock …

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Comet ISON Spotted by NASA’s Deep Impact

NASA‘s Deep Impact spacecraft has snapped several images of the comet ISON (C/2012 S1). The images were obtained over 36 hours on January 17 and 18, from a distance of 793 million km (493 million miles). The comet is expected to come within 1.8 million km (1.1 million miles) of the sun and burn bright enough to be seen from …

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Mars Rover Curiosity Pounds a Rock

NASA today announced that Mars rover Curiosity is closer than ever to the first full use of its hammering drill. Over the weekend the rover completed a successful test of the drill’s percussive action. The “drill-on-rock checkout” left a mark on the rock, named “John Klein,” chosen as the target for the first drill sampling of rock material in the …

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NASA to Launch ISS Instrument to Monitor Ocean Winds

NASA announced this week that it will launch an instrument called the ISS-RapidScat to the International Space Station (ISS) next year to measure ocean winds. The instrument, originally built to test NASA;s QuikScat satellite, will measure the Earth’s ocean surface wind speed and direction. The data will improve weather forecasts and hurricane monitoring. “The ability for NASA to quickly reuse …

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Mars Rover Curiosity Braces For Drilling

For over one month now, Mars rover Curiosity has been preparing to use its hammering drill for the first time. It now appears that the rover’s first drill test is now imminent. Researchers announced that they have placed the drill onto a series of locations and pressed down on it with Curiosity’s arm. This “pre-load testing allowed engineers to check …

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Mars Rover Curiosity Takes Nighttime Photos

NASA announced today that Mars rover Curiosity has used the camera on its arm to take pictures at night. The photos were of a rock named “Sayunei,” which Curiosity had purposely scuffed with its left-front wheel to uncover dust-free materials. This was the first time the rover has taken photos at night using the white and ultraviolet lights on its …

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Mars Rover Opportunity Celebrates 9 Years on Mars

Though the focus of 2012 was the new Curiosity rover, NASA’s Opportunity rover is still exploring the Martian landscape. The rover has now been examining the red planet for nine years. This week NASA revealed that Opportunity is currently examining veined rocks on the rim of an ancient crater named “Endeavor.” The rover is examining the area, called “Matijevic Hill,” …

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Climate Change is Threatening the Amazon Rainforest, Says NASA

A NASA-led study has shown that a part of the Amazon rainforest twice the size of California is still suffering from a “megadrought” that began in 2005. Researchers cited this and damage due to drought recurrences in the Amazon during the past decade as evidence that the rainforest may face “large-scale degradation due to climate change.” The study looked at …

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NASA Looks For the Origin of Life at the Bottom of the Ocean

NASA this week revealed that it is simulating the conditions believed to have created the organic molecules that may have been the precursors to life on Earth. An experiment at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) is mimicking the conditions observed at hydrothermal vents in the deepest parts of the ocean. Glass tubes, thin barrels, and valves are sending carbon dioxide-rich …

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Mars Rover Curiosity Drilling Rock Chosen

For more than a month now, Mars Rover Curiosity has been preparing to test its hammering drill on a Martian rock. The rover team took great pains to scan a low-lying area called “Yellowknife Bay” for the perfect rock specimen. Today, researchers have announced that the a flat rock with pale veins has been chosen as the target. Curiosity is …

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“Doomsday” Asteroid Won’t Hit Earth in 2036

Earlier this week, astronomers with the European Space Agency (ESA) announced that they were collecting data on the asteroid Apophis as it made its most recent approach to Earth. The data was, among other things, meant to narrow the prediction as to whether the asteroid might impact the Earth in 2036. Now, NASA has announced that Apophis will not be …

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Mars Rover Curiosity Tidies Up a Rock

Though most of Mars rover Curiosity‘s on-board tools have already been used successfully, a few specific instruments remain to be tested. One of those instruments is the rover’s hammering drill, which it is preparing to test on a rock in an area named “Yellowknife Bay.” Another is the rover’s Dust Removal Tool (DRT) (also known as a “brush”), which NASA …

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