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All Posts Tagged Tag: ‘JPL’

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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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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Asteroid in 2040 Will Miss the Earth, Just Barely

An asteroid discovered just last year and given tentative 1 in 500 odds of hitting the Earth in February 2040 is now no longer a danger to the planet, according to astronomers. Data gathered using the Gemini North telescope in Mauna Kea, Hawaii has confirmed that asteroid 2011 AG5 will not be slamming into Earth. Astronomers at the University of …

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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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