December 2008 Top Story Archives



NASA To Recognize Winner of Lunar Lander Challenge »» NASA To Recognize Winner of Lunar Lander Challenge

[Monday, December 1, 2008] NASA will recognize Armadillo Aerospace, the winner of the 2008 Northrop Grumman Lunar Lander Challenge, during a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Dec. 5 at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street, SW, Washington.

° Full Story


RocketShip Tours to Sell Rides to Edge of Space Aboard XCOR's Lynx »» RocketShip Tours to Sell Rides to Edge of Space Aboard XCOR's Lynx

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] A travel entrepreneur who introduced hundreds of thousands of Americans to European travel in the 1960's has taken luxury travel to new heights - the edge of space.

° Full Story


NASA TV to Air Space Shuttle Commander Remarks on 10th Anniversary of Inaugural Station Assembly Flight »» NASA TV to Air Space Shuttle Commander Remarks on 10th Anniversary of Inaugural Station Assembly Flight

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] In honor of the 10th anniversary of the first construction flight for the International Space Station, NASA Television will provide sound bites and video b-roll featuring the commander of that space shuttle mission.

° Full Story


NASA Dawn Status Report November 26, 2008 »» NASA Dawn Status Report November 26, 2008

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] The Dawn spacecraft is healthy and on course for its flyby of Mars early next year. The planet’s gravity will help boost the probe on its way to rendezvous with Vesta.

° Full Story


NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit Update: Serious but Stable »» NASA Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit Update: Serious but Stable

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] Spirit's condition has improved during the past week, though skies remain fairly dusty after the recent Martian dust storm.

° Full Story


NASA Finishes Listening for Phoenix Mars Lander »» NASA Finishes Listening for Phoenix Mars Lander

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] After nearly a month of daily checks to determine whether Martian NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander would be able to communicate again, the agency has stopped using its Mars orbiters to hail the lander and listen for its beep.

° Full Story


SpaceX Adds Two DragonLab Missions to Manifest »» SpaceX Adds Two DragonLab Missions to Manifest

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announces the addition of two DragonLab missions to its manifest, as a result of demand from a successful workshop held at SpaceX headquarters on November 6 to introduce the new DragonLab product.

° Full Story


The Societal Impact of Space Flight »» The Societal Impact of Space Flight

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] Certain turning points in the history of space flight must have had an impact: Sputnik, the moon landing, Space Shuttle disasters, and so on are etched in memory for better or worse. But unpacking the nature and extent of that impact is no simple task.

° Full Story


NRC Report: Launching Science: Science Opportunities Provided by NASA's Constellation System »» NRC Report: Launching Science: Science Opportunities Provided by NASA's Constellation System

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] In November 2007 NASA asked the National Research Council (NRC) to evaluate the potential for new science opportunities enabled by the Constellation System of rockets and spacecraft.

° Full Story


A New Compositional Class of Comets: from Fire, Ice, or Beyond? »» A New Compositional Class of Comets: from Fire, Ice, or Beyond?

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] Comet 96P/Machholz 1 shows extremely anomalous compositional characteristics helping pinpoint its origin to one of three intriguing scenarios.

° Full Story


Omega Centauri - the glittering giant of the southern skies »» Omega Centauri - the glittering giant of the southern skies

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] Sparkling away at magnitude 3.7 and appearing nearly as large as the full moon on the southern night sky, Omega Centauri is visible with the unaided eye from a clear, dark observing site

° Full Story


NASA Extends Contract with Russian Federal Space Agency »» NASA Extends Contract with Russian Federal Space Agency

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] NASA has signed a $141 million modification to the current International Space Station contract with the Russian Federal Space Agency for crew transportation services planned through the spring of 2012.

° Full Story


If I Were You: Perceptual Illusion of Body Swapping »» If I Were You: Perceptual Illusion of Body Swapping

[Tuesday, December 2, 2008] Manipulation of the visual perspective, in combination with the receipt of correlated multisensory information from the body was sufficient to trigger the illusion that another person's body or an artificial body was one's own.

° Full Story


Brown Dwarfs Do Form Like Stars »» Brown Dwarfs Do Form Like Stars

[Wednesday, December 3, 2008] Astronomers have uncovered strong evidence that brown dwarfs form like stars. Using the Smithsonian's Submillimeter Array (SMA), they detected molecules of carbon monoxide shooting outward from the object known as ISO-Oph 102.

° Full Story


ESA satellites focusing on the Arctic »» ESA satellites focusing on the Arctic

[Wednesday, December 3, 2008] The Arctic is undergoing rapid transformation due to climate change, pollution and human activity. ESA's ERS and Envisat satellites have been providing satellite data of the region for the last 17 years.

° Full Story


Venus comes to life at wavelengths invisible to human eyes »» Venus comes to life at wavelengths invisible to human eyes

[Wednesday, December 3, 2008] A pale yellow dot to the human eye, Earth's twin planet comes to life in the ultraviolet and the infrared. New images taken by instruments on board ESA's Venus Express provide insight into the turbulent atmosphere of our neighbouring planet.

° Full Story


NASA To Provide Mars Science Laboratory Update »» NASA To Provide Mars Science Laboratory Update

[Wednesday, December 3, 2008] NASA will hold a briefing at noon EST, Thursday, Dec. 4, about the agency's Mars Science Laboratory, or MSL. The briefing will take place in the James E. Webb Memorial Auditorium at NASA Headquarters, 300 E Street, S.W., Washington.

° Full Story


NASA's Swift Looks to Comets for a Cool View »» NASA's Swift Looks to Comets for a Cool View

[Wednesday, December 3, 2008] NASA's Swift Gamma-ray Explorer satellite rocketed into space in 2004 on a mission to study some of the highest-energy events in the universe.

° Full Story


Goodyear and NASA Successfully Recreate Original Moon Tire »» Goodyear and NASA Successfully Recreate Original Moon Tire

[Wednesday, December 3, 2008] Goodyear and the NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) recently completed a jointly-funded project for the development and production of twelve replicates of the original wire-mesh moon tire used on the Apollo Lunar Roving Vehicle in the early 1970s.

° Full Story


NASA Deputy Administrator Dale to Resign on January 17 »» NASA Deputy Administrator Dale to Resign on January 17

[Wednesday, December 3, 2008] NASA Deputy Administrator Shana Dale announced Wednesday her intent to resign from the agency, effective Jan. 17, 2009, in advance of the new administration coming into office. She has served as NASA's second-in-command since November 2005.

° Full Story


NASA Mars Science Lab Launch Delayed Two Years »» NASA Mars Science Lab Launch Delayed Two Years

[Thursday, December 4, 2008] NASA's Mars Science Laboratory will launch two years later than previously planned, in the fall of 2011. The mission will send a next-generation rover with unprecedented research tools to study the early environmental history of Mars.

° Full Story


NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter FInds Martian Rock Record with Rhythmic Patterns »» NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter FInds Martian Rock Record with Rhythmic Patterns

[Thursday, December 4, 2008] Climate cycles persisting for millions of years on ancient Mars left a record of rhythmic patterns in thick stacks of sedimentary rock layers, revealed in three-dimensional detail by a telescopic camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

° Full Story


Rocket Motor Test Helps NASA's Shuttle and Ares I »» Rocket Motor Test Helps NASA's Shuttle and Ares I

[Thursday, December 4, 2008] NASA's Space Shuttle Program on Thursday successfully conducted a test firing of a space shuttle reusable solid rocket motor in Utah.

° Full Story


NASA Sets Target Shuttle Launch Date For Hubble Servicing Mission »» NASA Sets Target Shuttle Launch Date For Hubble Servicing Mission

[Thursday, December 4, 2008] NASA announced Thursday that space shuttle Atlantis' STS-125 mission to repair the Hubble Space Telescope is targeted to launch May 12, 2009.

° Full Story


Deep-Space Maneuver Positions MESSENGER for Third Mercury Encounter »» Deep-Space Maneuver Positions MESSENGER for Third Mercury Encounter

[Thursday, December 4, 2008] MESSENGER completed the first part of a two-part deep-space maneuver today, providing the expected 90% of the velocity change needed to place the spacecraft on course to fly by Mercury for the third time in September 2009.

° Full Story


Students Discover Unique Planet »» Students Discover Unique Planet

[Thursday, December 4, 2008] Three undergraduate students, from Leiden University in the Netherlands, have discovered an extrasolar planet. The extraordinary find, which turned up during their research project, is about five times as massive as Jupiter.

° Full Story


A Station Celebration »» A Station Celebration

[Friday, December 5, 2008] Ten years ago on December 4, 2008, NASA and its partner nations began building a dream: the International Space Station.

° Full Story


Hubble Image: A Celestial Snow Globe of Stars »» Hubble Image: A Celestial Snow Globe of Stars

[Friday, December 5, 2008] Like a whirl of shiny flakes sparkling in a snow globe, Hubble catches an instantaneous glimpse of many hundreds of thousands of stars moving about in the globular cluster M13, one of the brightest and best-known globular clusters in the northern sky.

° Full Story


Observing Jupiter to understand Earth »» Observing Jupiter to understand Earth

[Friday, December 5, 2008] Magnetic substorms on Earth disrupt orbiting satellites, including telecommunication satellites and global positioning systems.

° Full Story


Obama-Biden Transition Project: Space Solar Power (SSP) -- A Solution for Energy Independence & Climate Change »» Obama-Biden Transition Project: Space Solar Power (SSP) -- A Solution for Energy Independence & Climate Change

[Saturday, December 6, 2008] A National Security Space Office study concluded in October of 2007 that "The magnitude of the looming energy and environmental problems is significant enough to warrant consideration of all options, to include ... space-based solar power."

° Full Story


NASA Administrator Mike Griffin: Risk and Rewards in Commercial Space »» NASA Administrator Mike Griffin: Risk and Rewards in Commercial Space

[Monday, December 8, 2008] "I want to talk about how and why NASA not only should, but must, pursue and nurture appropriate partnerships with the emerging commercial space sector when it is reasonably within the grasp of such firms to meet our needs."

° Full Story


NASA Assigns Astronaut Crews for Future Space Shuttle Missions »» NASA Assigns Astronaut Crews for Future Space Shuttle Missions

[Monday, December 8, 2008] NASA has assigned the crews for space shuttle missions STS-130 and STS-131. The STS-130 mission will deliver a third connecting module to the International Space Station and a seven-windowed cupola to be used as a control room for robotics.

° Full Story


Jump Into Space With NASA's Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Interactive Exhibit in Pittsburgh »» Jump Into Space With NASA's Hubble and James Webb Space Telescope Interactive Exhibit in Pittsburgh

[Monday, December 8, 2008] NASA's Hubble exhibit now has a companion, an interactive exhibit on the James Webb Space Telescope -- and it's now in Pittsburgh for all to see. Visitors will be able to experience how the Webb telescope will work, through computer games, videos and disp

° Full Story


HiRISE Camera Aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Captures High-Resolution 3D Images of Mars »» HiRISE Camera Aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Captures High-Resolution 3D Images of Mars

[Monday, December 8, 2008] The High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment, or HiRISE, team based at The University of Arizona today released 362 three-dimensional images of Mars taken by the HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

° Full Story


Rivers of Gas Flow Around Stars in New Space Image »» Rivers of Gas Flow Around Stars in New Space Image

[Monday, December 8, 2008] A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows a turbulent star-forming region, where rivers of gas and stellar winds are eroding thickets of dusty material.

° Full Story


NASA MESSENGER Completes Two-Part Maneuver; Poised for Third Mercury Encounter »» NASA MESSENGER Completes Two-Part Maneuver; Poised for Third Mercury Encounter

[Tuesday, December 9, 2008] MESSENGER completed the second part of a two-part deep-space maneuver today, providing the remaining 10% velocity change needed to place the probe on course to fly by Mercury for the third time in September 2009.

° Full Story


Northrop Grumman CEO Says Transforming Global Climate Data Into Knowledge is Key to Addressing Global Climate Change, Demonstrating U.S. Leadership »» Northrop Grumman CEO Says Transforming Global Climate Data Into Knowledge is Key to Addressing Global Climate Change, Demonstrating U.S. Leadership

[Tuesday, December 9, 2008] Ronald Sugar has called for a national initiative to transform the global climate data being collected by various earth observation systems into the practical, decision-quality knowledge needed to address the challenges of global climate change.

° Full Story


Leap Second will be added to clocks on Dec. 31, 2008 »» Leap Second will be added to clocks on Dec. 31, 2008

[Tuesday, December 9, 2008] On December 31, 2008 a "leap second" will be added to the world's clocks at 23 hours, 59 minutes and 59 seconds Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).

° Full Story


NASA Hubble Space Telescope Finds Carbon Dioxide on an Extrasolar Planet »» NASA Hubble Space Telescope Finds Carbon Dioxide on an Extrasolar Planet

[Tuesday, December 9, 2008] NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has discovered carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star. This is an important step along the trail of finding the chemical biotracers of extraterrestrial life as we know it.

° Full Story


SpaceX Draco Thruster Performs Long-Duration Firing and Restart (with video) »» SpaceX Draco Thruster Performs Long-Duration Firing and Restart (with video)

[Wednesday, December 10, 2008] Just days after the successful full mission-length test firing of the nine-engine first stage of Falcon 9, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) marked another significant advance with the performance of its smallest rocket engine, Draco.

° Full Story


Aerospace Shows Strength in Harsh Financial Atmosphere »» Aerospace Shows Strength in Harsh Financial Atmosphere

[Wednesday, December 10, 2008] The aerospace industry is showing resiliency in trying economic times, ending 2008 with modest growth and continued strength in important areas like foreign trade balance and employment, AIA announced Wednesday.

° Full Story


NASA to Announce New Findings on Dark Energy »» NASA to Announce New Findings on Dark Energy

[Wednesday, December 10, 2008] Astronomers will hold a media teleconference Tuesday, Dec. 16 at 1 p.m. EST to announce important new results on dark energy that were made using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

° Full Story


MIT finds the universe's faintest stars »» MIT finds the universe's faintest stars

[Wednesday, December 10, 2008] The two faintest star-like objects ever found, a pair of twin "brown dwarfs" each just a millionth as bright as the sun, have been spotted by a team led by MIT physicist Adam Burgasser.

° Full Story


James Webb Telescope Mirrors Chill Out at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center »» James Webb Telescope Mirrors Chill Out at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center

[Wednesday, December 10, 2008] The first of 18 mirror segments that will fly on NASA's James Webb Space Telescope arrived this week at the Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. to prepare it to meet the extreme temperatures it will encounter in space.

° Full Story


UH Astronomer Uses Ultra-Sensitive Camera to Measure the Size of a Planet Orbiting a Distant Star »» UH Astronomer Uses Ultra-Sensitive Camera to Measure the Size of a Planet Orbiting a Distant Star

[Wednesday, December 10, 2008] A team of astronomers led by John Johnson of the University of Hawaii's Institute for Astronomy has used a new technique to measure the precise size of a planet around a distant star.

° Full Story


NASA International Space Station 2009 Calendar Available Online »» NASA International Space Station 2009 Calendar Available Online

[Wednesday, December 10, 2008] As part of NASA's celebration of the 10th anniversary of the International Space Station, the agency is providing a special 2009 calendar to teachers and the public.

° Full Story


Unprecedented 16-Year Long Study Tracks Stars Orbiting Milky Way Black Hole »» Unprecedented 16-Year Long Study Tracks Stars Orbiting Milky Way Black Hole

[Thursday, December 11, 2008] In a 16-year long study, using several of ESO's flagship telescopes, a team of German astronomers has produced the most detailed view ever of the surroundings of the monster lurking at our Galaxy's heart - a supermassive black hole. (With video)

° Full Story


NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Completes Prime Mission »» NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Completes Prime Mission

[Thursday, December 11, 2008] NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has completed its primary, two-year science phase. The spacecraft has found signs of a complex Martian history of climate change that produced a diversity of past watery environments.

° Full Story


Challenger Center Live Webcast with Private Space Explorer Richard Garriott, and Challenger Founding Chairman, Dr. June Scobee Rodgers »» Challenger Center Live Webcast with Private Space Explorer Richard Garriott, and Challenger Founding Chairman, Dr. June Scobee Rodgers

[Thursday, December 11, 2008] Join Challenger Center for Space Science Education's live interactive webcast with Richard Garriott and Challenger Center's Founding Chairman Dr. June Scobee Rodgers.

° Full Story


Google Lunar X PRIZE to Announce 'Mystery Team' at NASA Ames »» Google Lunar X PRIZE to Announce 'Mystery Team' at NASA Ames

[Thursday, December 11, 2008] The X PRIZE Foundation will reveal the identities of a "Mystery Team" competing for the $30 million Google Lunar X PRIZE during a media briefing hosted at NASA's Ames Research Center on Wednesday, Dec. 17, 2008.

° Full Story


NASA to Update Reporters about Constellation Program »» NASA to Update Reporters about Constellation Program

[Friday, December 12, 2008] NASA will host a media teleconference to brief reporters about recent developments and ongoing progress in NASA's Constellation Program.

° Full Story


Space Shuttle Ferry Flight Arrival On NASA TV's Public Channel »» Space Shuttle Ferry Flight Arrival On NASA TV's Public Channel

[Friday, December 12, 2008] Today's arrival of space shuttle Endeavour at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida will be seen only on NASA Television's Public Channel (101). System maintenance is being performed on the media (103) and education (102) channels.

° Full Story


Europa does the wave to generate heat »» Europa does the wave to generate heat

[Friday, December 12, 2008] One of the moons in our solar system that scientists think has the potential to harbor life may have a far more dynamic ocean than previously thought.

° Full Story


Outliving expectations: Marisat-F2 satellite held on for 32 years, served South Pole for 8 »» Outliving expectations: Marisat-F2 satellite held on for 32 years, served South Pole for 8

[Friday, December 12, 2008] Concluding 32 years of distinguished service for global communications, one of three aged communications satellites used to connect South Pole Station to the rest of the world was decommissioned on Oct. 29 after eight years of service to the station.

° Full Story


Challenger Center Presents: Science from Space! Richard Garriott demonstrates physics on the space station »» Challenger Center Presents: Science from Space! Richard Garriott demonstrates physics on the space station

[Saturday, December 13, 2008] Challenger Center for Space Science Education presents new science demonstration videos for students filmed on board the International Space Station (ISS) by Richard Garriott.

° Full Story


Researchers identify new region of the magnetosphere »» Researchers identify new region of the magnetosphere

[Saturday, December 13, 2008] A detailed analysis of the measurements of five different satellites has revealed the existence of the warm plasma cloak, a new region of the magnetosphere.

° Full Story


European Mars500 participants announced »» European Mars500 participants announced

[Saturday, December 13, 2008] The final four Europeans who are set to take part in a 105-day simulated Mars mission were presented to the media in Paris today. From March next year, two of the group will join four Russian participants inside an isolation facility in Moscow.

° Full Story


Important role of groundwater springs in shaping Mars »» Important role of groundwater springs in shaping Mars

[Saturday, December 13, 2008] Data and images from Mars Express suggest that several Light Toned Deposits, some of the least understood features on Mars, were formed when large amounts of groundwater burst on to the surface.

° Full Story


Wobbly planets could reveal Earth-like moons »» Wobbly planets could reveal Earth-like moons

[Saturday, December 13, 2008] Moons outside our Solar System with the potential to support life have just become much easier to detect, thanks to research by an astronomer at University College London (UCL).

° Full Story


Planet formation could lie in stellar storms rather than gravitational instability »» Planet formation could lie in stellar storms rather than gravitational instability

[Saturday, December 13, 2008] New research suggests that turbulence plays a critical role in creating ripe conditions for the birth of planets. The study, to be published in The Astrophysical Journal, challenges the prevailing theory of planet formation.

° Full Story


Space Station Crew Exchanges Seasons Greetings with Earth »» Space Station Crew Exchanges Seasons Greetings with Earth

[Saturday, December 13, 2008] Soaring high above the Earth, the crew of the ISS has beamed down season's greetings that will air on NASA Television starting Friday, Dec. 12. The public can return the extraterrestrial good will and send greetings to the crew by visiting:

° Full Story


Astronomers Dissect a Supermassive Black Hole with Natural Magnifying Glasses »» Astronomers Dissect a Supermassive Black Hole with Natural Magnifying Glasses

[Saturday, December 13, 2008] Combining a double natural "magnifying glass" with the power of ESO's Very Large Telescope, astronomers have scrutinised the inner parts of the disc around a supermassive black hole 10 billion light-years away.

° Full Story


Drama in the Heart of the Tarantula Nebula »» Drama in the Heart of the Tarantula Nebula

[Saturday, December 13, 2008] Enormous stars in 30 Doradus, also known as the Tarantula Nebula, are producing intense radiation and searing winds of multimillion-degree gas that carve out gigantic bubbles in the surrounding cooler gas and dust.

° Full Story


A Sense of Purpose, Fall Commencement Address by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin »» A Sense of Purpose, Fall Commencement Address by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin

[Sunday, December 14, 2008] I've got a news flash for you: there are a lot of nerds at NASA and our industrial partners. And if national surveys provide any indication, then our nation likes our nerds.

° Full Story


NASA's Top Science, Exploration and Discovery Stories of 2008 »» NASA's Top Science, Exploration and Discovery Stories of 2008

[Monday, December 15, 2008] NASA landed on Mars, photographed distant worlds, added to the Space Station, took part in a lunar science mission with India and made major progress toward returning astronauts to the moon as the agency celebrated its 50th birthday in 2008.

° Full Story


Space Has Never Been Closer: NASA Instruments Document Contraction of the Boundary between the Earth’s Ionosphere and Space »» Space Has Never Been Closer: NASA Instruments Document Contraction of the Boundary between the Earth’s Ionosphere and Space

[Monday, December 15, 2008] Observations made by NASA instruments onboard an Air Force satellite have shown that the boundary between the Earth's upper atmosphere and space has moved to extraordinarily low altitudes.

° Full Story


Solar Flare Surprise »» Solar Flare Surprise

[Monday, December 15, 2008] Solar flares are the most powerful explosions in the solar system. Packing a punch equal to a hundred million hydrogen bombs, they obliterate everything in their immediate vicinity. Not a single atom should remain intact.

° Full Story


A new vision for people in space: MIT report outlines goals for future of human space program »» A new vision for people in space: MIT report outlines goals for future of human space program

[Monday, December 15, 2008] A team led by MIT researchers releases today the most comprehensive independent review of the future of the nation's human spaceflight program undertaken in many years.

° Full Story


Saturn's Dynamic Moon Enceladus Shows More Signs of Activity »» Saturn's Dynamic Moon Enceladus Shows More Signs of Activity

[Monday, December 15, 2008] The closer scientists look at Saturn's small moon Enceladus, the more they find evidence of an active world. The most recent flybys of Enceladus made by NASA's Cassini spacecraft have provided new signs of ongoing changes on and around the moon.

° Full Story


Phoenix Site on Mars May Be in Dry Climate Cycle Phase »» Phoenix Site on Mars May Be in Dry Climate Cycle Phase

[Monday, December 15, 2008] The Martian arctic soil that NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander dug into this year is very cold and very dry. However, when long-term climate cycles make the site warmer, the soil may get moist enough to modify the chemistry.

° Full Story


FAA Issues Launch Site Operator License for Spaceport America »» FAA Issues Launch Site Operator License for Spaceport America

[Monday, December 15, 2008] The New Mexico Spaceport Authority (NMSA) received its launch license for vertical and horizontal launch from the Federal Aviation Administration's Associate Administrator for Commercial Space Transportation (FAA/AST).

° Full Story


Ancient magma 'superpiles' may have shaped the continents »» Ancient magma 'superpiles' may have shaped the continents

[Tuesday, December 16, 2008] Two giant plumes of hot rock deep within the earth are linked to the plate motions that shape the continents, researchers have found.

° Full Story


Breathing cycles in Earth's upper atmosphere tied to solar wind disturbances »» Breathing cycles in Earth's upper atmosphere tied to solar wind disturbances

[Tuesday, December 16, 2008] A new study shows the periodic "breathing" of Earth's upper atmosphere is due in part to cyclic solar wind disturbances, a finding that should help engineers track satellites more accurately and improve forecasts for electronic communication disruptions.

° Full Story


Titan's Volcanoes Give NASA Spacecraft Chilly Reception »» Titan's Volcanoes Give NASA Spacecraft Chilly Reception

[Tuesday, December 16, 2008] Data collected during several recent flybys of Titan by NASA's Cassini spacecraft have put another arrow in the quiver of scientists who think the Saturnian moon contains active cryovolcanoes spewing a super-chilled liquid into its atmosphere.

° Full Story


Looking for Extraterrestrial Life in all the Right Places »» Looking for Extraterrestrial Life in all the Right Places

[Tuesday, December 16, 2008] Scientists are expanding the search for extraterrestrial life and they've set their sights on some very unearthly planets. Cold "Super-Earths" giant, "snowball" planets that astronomers have spied on the outskirts of faraway solar systems.

° Full Story


Rock Varnish: A Promising Habitat for Martian Bacteria »» Rock Varnish: A Promising Habitat for Martian Bacteria

[Tuesday, December 16, 2008] As scientists search for life on Mars, they should take a close look at rock varnish, according to a paper in the current issue of the "Journal of Geophysical Research."

° Full Story


Google Lunar X PRIZE Announces Two New International Competitors at Google Headquarters »» Google Lunar X PRIZE Announces Two New International Competitors at Google Headquarters

[Tuesday, December 16, 2008] Two new international teams in the Google Lunar X PRIZ were announced today in a tele-press conference from Google Headquarters.

° Full Story


NASA Calls for Comment on Draft Altair Request for Proposals »» NASA Calls for Comment on Draft Altair Request for Proposals

[Tuesday, December 16, 2008] NASA has released a draft request for proposals, or RFP, to seek industry support for the design of its Altair lunar lander vehicle, part of NASA's Constellation Program.

° Full Story


Mystery Team for the Google Lunar X Prize Reveals Team at NASA Ames Research Center »» Mystery Team for the Google Lunar X Prize Reveals Team at NASA Ames Research Center

[Wednesday, December 17, 2008] Based in the United States, the Next Giant Leap (NGL) team boasts highly qualified members from the academic, aerospace and small business communities.

° Full Story


XCOR Aerospace Completes Successful First Test Fire of Engine for Lynx Suborbital Launch Vehicle »» XCOR Aerospace Completes Successful First Test Fire of Engine for Lynx Suborbital Launch Vehicle

[Wednesday, December 17, 2008] XCOR Aerospace, Inc., announced today that it has successfully completed its first test fire of the rocket engine that will be used to power its Lynx suborbital launch vehicle to the edge of space.

° Full Story


Biggest Breach of Earth's Solar Storm Shield Discovered »» Biggest Breach of Earth's Solar Storm Shield Discovered

[Wednesday, December 17, 2008] Earth's magnetic field, which shields our planet from particles streaming outward from the Sun, often develops two holes that allow the largest leaks, according to researchers sponsored by NASA and the National Science Foundation.

° Full Story


A Sparkling Spray of Stars »» A Sparkling Spray of Stars

[Wednesday, December 17, 2008] NGC 2264 lies about 2600 light-years from Earth in the obscure constellation of Monoceros, the Unicorn, not far from the more familiar figure of Orion, the Hunter. The image shows a region of space about 30 light-years across.

° Full Story


New Oceanography Mission Data Now Available From NASA »» New Oceanography Mission Data Now Available From NASA

[Wednesday, December 17, 2008] Oceanography data that will help scientists around the world better understand climate change are now available. The data come from the Ocean Surface Topography Mission, also known as OSTM/Jason-2.

° Full Story


NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory: Dark Energy Found Stiffling Growth in the Universe »» NASA Chandra X-ray Observatory: Dark Energy Found Stiffling Growth in the Universe

[Wednesday, December 17, 2008] For the first time, astronomers have clearly seen the effects of "dark energy" on the most massive collapsed objects in the universe using NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory.

° Full Story


NASA Solicits Ideas for Displaying Retired Space Shuttles and Main Engines »» NASA Solicits Ideas for Displaying Retired Space Shuttles and Main Engines

[Wednesday, December 17, 2008] NASA today issued a Request for Information seeking ideas from educational institutions, science museums and other appropriate organizations about the community's ability to acquire and publicly display the space shuttle orbiters.

° Full Story


NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter  Scientists Find 'Missing' Mineral and Clues to Mars Mysteries »» NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Scientists Find 'Missing' Mineral and Clues to Mars Mysteries

[Thursday, December 18, 2008] Researchers using a powerful instrument aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have found a long-sought-after mineral on the Martian surface and, with it, unexpected clues to the Red Planet's watery past.

° Full Story


Water detected at record distance with the Effelsberg 100 m radio telescope »» Water detected at record distance with the Effelsberg 100 m radio telescope

[Thursday, December 18, 2008] A research group led by graduate student Violette Impellizzeri from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy has used the 100 m Effelsberg radio telescope to detect water at the greatest distance from Earth so far.

° Full Story


Abrupt Climate Change: Will It Happen this Century? »» Abrupt Climate Change: Will It Happen this Century?

[Thursday, December 18, 2008] The United States faces the potential for abrupt climate change in the 21st century that could pose clear risks to society in terms of our ability to adapt.

° Full Story


NASA's Kepler Spacecraft Ready to Ship to Florida »» NASA's Kepler Spacecraft Ready to Ship to Florida

[Thursday, December 18, 2008] Engineers are getting ready to pack NASA's Kepler spacecraft into a container and ship it off to its launch site at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla.

° Full Story


Student Opportunities at NASA Centers »» Student Opportunities at NASA Centers

[Thursday, December 18, 2008] Please find below paragraphs provided by participating NASA centers advertising their student programs. Please share it with students who might be interested in participating.

° Full Story


Where did Venus's water go? »» Where did Venus's water go?

[Thursday, December 18, 2008] Venus Express has made the first detection of an atmospheric loss process on Venus's day-side. Last year, the spacecraft revealed that most of the lost atmosphere escapes from the night-side.

° Full Story


NASA Center Cross-Generation Discussions Summary of Efforts & Results from Ames, Dryden, Glenn, Goddard, Johnson, Kennedy, Langley, Marshall & Stennis »» NASA Center Cross-Generation Discussions Summary of Efforts & Results from Ames, Dryden, Glenn, Goddard, Johnson, Kennedy, Langley, Marshall & Stennis

[Friday, December 19, 2008] At the April 2008 SMC meeting, eight members of the next generation community attended to discuss the long-term strategic effects on the NASA mission of current hiring practices and and specific actions.

° Full Story


NASA's New Horizons Earns a Holiday »» NASA's New Horizons Earns a Holiday

[Friday, December 19, 2008] After an intense annual checkout - more like a deep-space workout - New Horizons is getting some well-deserved rest.

° Full Story


Polyimide Foam Named NASA Commercial Invention of 2007 »» Polyimide Foam Named NASA Commercial Invention of 2007

[Friday, December 19, 2008] The 2007 NASA Commercial Invention of the Year is a multi-use foam that insulates for sound, heat and cold with aerospace and down to Earth applications.

° Full Story


Two Former Science Teachers to Fly on Next Space Shuttle Mission »» Two Former Science Teachers to Fly on Next Space Shuttle Mission

[Friday, December 19, 2008] Two former science teachers, who are now fully-trained NASA astronauts, will make their first journey into orbit on space shuttle Discovery's upcoming mission to the International Space Station.

° Full Story


Falcon 9 First Stage Flight Tank Arrives at Cape Canaveral »» Falcon 9 First Stage Flight Tank Arrives at Cape Canaveral

[Friday, December 19, 2008] Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) announces the arrival of the Falcon 9 first stage flight tank at SpaceX's newest launch site, Space Launch Complex 40 (SLC-40), in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

° Full Story


Hubble Catches Jupiter's Largest Moon Going to the 'Dark Side' »» Hubble Catches Jupiter's Largest Moon Going to the 'Dark Side'

[Saturday, December 20, 2008] NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has caught Jupiter's moon Ganymede playing a game of "peek-a-boo." In this crisp Hubble image, Ganymede is shown just before it ducks behind the giant planet.

° Full Story


Rising Seas, Severe Drought, Could Come in Decades, Says U.S. Report »» Rising Seas, Severe Drought, Could Come in Decades, Says U.S. Report

[Saturday, December 20, 2008] The United States could suffer the effects of abrupt climate changes within decades--sooner than some previously thought--says a new government report.

° Full Story


ALMA Observatory Equipped with its First Antenna NRAO »» ALMA Observatory Equipped with its First Antenna NRAO

[Saturday, December 20, 2008] High in the Atacama region of northern Chile one of the world's most advanced telescopes has just passed a major milestone. The first of many state-of-the-art antennas has been handed over to the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array project.

° Full Story


Modern day scourge helped ancient Earth escape a deathly deep freeze »» Modern day scourge helped ancient Earth escape a deathly deep freeze

[Sunday, December 21, 2008] The planet's present day greenhouse scourge, carbon dioxide, may have played a vital role in helping ancient Earth to escape from complete glaciation, say scientists in a paper published online today.

° Full Story


ESA Scientists spend a white Christmas in Antarctica »» ESA Scientists spend a white Christmas in Antarctica

[Monday, December 22, 2008] The idea of a white Christmas may seem magical for many of us, but spare a thought for a team of scientists forgoing the festive season to take part in a novel campaign being carried out in one of the most inhospitable regions on Earth.

° Full Story


NASA to Announce Space Station Resupply Services Contract »» NASA to Announce Space Station Resupply Services Contract

[Monday, December 22, 2008] NASA will host a media teleconference with Associate Administrator for Space Operations Bill Gerstenmaier at 4 p.m. EST, Tuesday, Dec. 23, to discuss the contract selection for commercial cargo resupply services for the International Space Station.

° Full Story


Research team reports how, when life on Earth became so big »» Research team reports how, when life on Earth became so big

[Monday, December 22, 2008] In 3.5 billion years, life on earth went from single microscopic cells to giant sequoias and blue whales. Scientists have now documented quantitatively that the increase in maximum size of organisms was not gradual, but happened in two distinct bursts.

° Full Story


New Report Details Aerospace Workforce Needs, Remedies »» New Report Details Aerospace Workforce Needs, Remedies

[Monday, December 22, 2008] A new report from the aerospace industry promotes the need to convince more students to study math and science and makes proposals to senior policy makers to improve those education disciplines.

° Full Story


NASA Television Commemorates Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast »» NASA Television Commemorates Apollo 8 Christmas Eve Broadcast

[Monday, December 22, 2008] NASA Television will honor the 40th anniversary of the historic Christmas Eve broadcast by the Apollo 8 crew with special programming Dec. 24 and 25 on the NASA TV Public Channel (101).

° Full Story


Next NASA Moon Mission Completes Major Milestone »» Next NASA Moon Mission Completes Major Milestone

[Monday, December 22, 2008] NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, has successfully completed thermal vacuum testing, which simulates the extreme hot, cold and airless conditions of space LRO will experience after launch.

° Full Story


SpaceX Falcon 9 to Be Fully Integrated by December 231 »» SpaceX Falcon 9 to Be Fully Integrated by December 231

[Monday, December 22, 2008] Barring any unforeseen delays, the second stage and fairing are expected to arrive at the Cape by December 28th and will be mated on December 31st, just in time for the New Year.

° Full Story


NASA Awards Space Station Commercial Resupply Services Contracts To SpaceX and Orbital »» NASA Awards Space Station Commercial Resupply Services Contracts To SpaceX and Orbital

[Tuesday, December 23, 2008] NASA has awarded two contracts - one to Orbital Sciences Corp and one to SpaceX for commercial cargo resupply services to the International Space Station.

° Full Story


NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 26 December 2008 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 26 December 2008

[Friday, December 26, 2008] CDR Fincke & FE-2 Magnus started their day with another download of last night's data of the SLEEP experiment from their Actiwatches to the HRF-1 (Human Research Facility 1) laptop as part of the week-long session with SLEEP.

° Full Story


NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 29 December 2008 »» NASA ISS On-Orbit Status 29 December 2008

[Monday, December 29, 2008] All ISS systems continue to function nominally, except those noted previously or below. Underway: Week 10 of Increment 18.

° Full Story


NASA's Mars Rovers Near Five Years of Science and Discovery »» NASA's Mars Rovers Near Five Years of Science and Discovery

[Monday, December 29, 2008] NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity may still have big achievements ahead as they approach the fifth anniversaries of their memorable landings on Mars.

° Full Story


NASA TV To Air Space Station Crew's New Year's Message »» NASA TV To Air Space Station Crew's New Year's Message

[Monday, December 29, 2008] NASA TV will air a special New Year's message from International Space Station Expedition 18 Commander Mike Fincke and Flight Engineer Sandy Magnus beginning on Monday's noon EST Video File (newsfeed).

° Full Story


FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation Notice of Approval on a Record of Decision for the Spaceport America Commercial Launch Site »» FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation Notice of Approval on a Record of Decision for the Spaceport America Commercial Launch Site

[Monday, December 29, 2008] In accordance with National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) regulations and FAA Order 1050.1E, Change 1, the FAA is announcing the availability of the ROD for the Spaceport America Commercial Launch Site, Sierra County, New Mexico.

° Full Story


NASA Report Reviews Crew Safety Measures During Columbia Accident, Recommends Improvements »» NASA Report Reviews Crew Safety Measures During Columbia Accident, Recommends Improvements

[Tuesday, December 30, 2008] NASA has completed a comprehensive study of crew safety equipment and procedures used during the space shuttle Columbia accident with recommendations for improving the safety of all future human spaceflights.

° Full Story


NASA Report: Understanding Columbia's Loss »» NASA Report: Understanding Columbia's Loss

[Tuesday, December 30, 2008] NASA quietly issued a report today that deals with the loss of Space Shuttle Columbia and its crew. Specifically, the report derives important lessons from this accident that need to be considered in the design of future crewed spacecraft.

° Full Story


To Go Where no Spacecraft Has Gone Before »» To Go Where no Spacecraft Has Gone Before

[Tuesday, December 30, 2008] The ALHAT system is designed to automatically detect hazards such as craters and boulders and then direct the lander to the safest touchdown location available. It is a job ALHAT must perform - on-the-fly.

° Full Story


Four Out of Six Apollos »» Four Out of Six Apollos

[Tuesday, December 30, 2008] Apollo crews were heavily trained to recognize specific large-scale lunar surface features at or near the designated landing site. These features would help the astronauts find their way to a safe area as close to the planned landing site as possible.

° Full Story


Researcher hopes to put fuel cells on the fast track »» Researcher hopes to put fuel cells on the fast track

[Tuesday, December 30, 2008] The slow evolution of clean-energy solutions is about to kick into high gear, if Sossina M. Haile has anything to say about it.

° Full Story


NASA LaRC Solicitation: Parachute Systems for Venus »» NASA LaRC Solicitation: Parachute Systems for Venus

[Tuesday, December 30, 2008] NASA is developing potential proposals for the upcoming New Frontiers Program Announcement of Opportunity (2009) that involve multiple strategies for Venus exploration.

° Full Story