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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘jet propulsion lab’

Mars Rover Curiosity Resumes Mars Exploration

The Mars Rover Curiosity team stationed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) had a big year in 2012. Aside from nailing the rover’s landing, the researchers kept Mars hours for months while testing Curiosity’s capabilities. So, during the holidays the team got a much-deserved break, leaving the rover sitting in an area named “Yellowknife Bay.” The area is flatter and …

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100 Billion Planets Populate the Milky Way Galaxy, Say Astronomers

For years now, NASA‘s Kepler mission has been confirming the existence of planets outside our solar system. Now, a new review of Kepler data suggests that there are billions upon billions of planets just in the Milky Way galaxy. “There are at least 100 billion planets in the galaxy, just our galaxy,” said John Johnson, assistant professor of planetary astronomy …

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Cassini to Track Venus Transit, Study Exoplanets

NASA announced today that it will begin using the Cassini probe’s visual and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIMS) for uses other than studying Saturn and its moons. On Friday, from its vantage point in orbit around Saturn, the VIMS will be used to track Venus as it travels across the face of the sun. A similar Venus transit could be seen …

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Mars Rover Curiosity Prepares to Drill a Rock

Nearly all of the instruments packed into Mars rover Curiosity‘s frame have been utilized, but once crucial test has yet to be performed. NASA scientists will soon use Curiosity’s percussive drill to powder the interior of a rock for analysis, something that has never been done on Mars. To choose the perfect rock for the drilling, the rover is currently …

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NASA Looks Back on a Historic Year in Space [VIDEO]

This year, as usual, was a historic year for NASA, spaceflight, astronomy, and space exploration. Though NASA’s share of the U.S. federal budget has been falling for years now, the agency has an uncanny knack for stretching its budget and providing industry and the scientifically curious with almost daily discoveries. To commemorate another memorable year, NASA has released a rather …

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NASA Probes Smash Into Moon Mountain as Planned

NASA’s GRAIL project spacecrafts, Ebb and Flow, crash-landed on the surface of the moon yesterday afternoon. The impact had been pre-planned, and occurred as predicted at 5:28 pm December 17, 2012. The landing site has been named in honor of Sally Ride, the first U.S. woman in space and a member of the GRAIL mission team. “Sally was all about …

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NASA Probes Prepare to Slam Into the Moon

NASA‘s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) probes today completed a burn that irreversibly altered their orbit and have begun skimming the surface of the moon. Over the weekend, the probes, named Ebb and Flow, will orbit ever closer to the surface of the moon. On Monday, December 17, at around 5:28 pm EST the probes will slam into the …

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Mars Rover Curiosity to Drill Rocks in Yellowknife Bay

NASA reported this week that Mars Rover Curiosity recently drove 19 meters (63 feet) toward an area called “Yellowknife Bay. The drive represents the rover’s fourth consecutive driving day since leaving an outcrop called “Point Lake.” Curiosity has now driven a total of 598 meters (0.37 miles) on the surface of Mars. On the way, scientists used the rover’s Chemistry …

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Enormous Galaxy Cluster Spotted by NASA’s WISE

Galaxy clusters, the rarest of galaxy groupings, can be difficult for astronomers to find. NASA‘s Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) space telescope, however, has just found a gigantic galaxy cluster, and is expected to uncover thousands more. The new findings have been published in The Astrophysical Journal. “One of the key questions in cosmology is how did the first bumps …

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Mars Rover Opportunity Completes Walkabout of Matijevic Hill

NASA announced today that Mars rover Opportunity has completed a reconnaissance circuit around an area named “Matijevic Hill.” Opportunity began its study of the location at the beginning of October. The site is named after Jacob Matijevic, who led the engineering team for Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity and died back in September. “If you are a geologist studying a …

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Mars Rover Curiosity Has Fully Analyzed Martian Soil

Mars Rover Curiosity has now used each of its on-board instruments to analyze Martian soil. Though researchers have found a complex chemistry in the soil on Mars, they haven’t found what would be considered a major discovery: carbon-based organic compounds that could represent the ingredients for life. Water, sulfur, and chlorine-containing substances have been found in samples analyzed using Curiosity’s …

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Voyager Discovers New Region at the Edge of the Solar System

Excited NASA researchers today announced that the Voyager 1 spacecraft has encountered a new, unexpected region on its way out of the solar system. The scientists believe that the region is the final hurdle before Voyager enters interstellar space. The new region of the heliosphere – the bubble of charged particles from the sun that envelops the solar system – …

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