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March 2012 Top Stories


Witnesses Highlight Unique Cybersecurity Challenges at NASA

Witnesses Highlight Unique Cybersecurity Challenges at NASA

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

The Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight today held a hearing to examine the state of information security at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).




VLT Rediscovers Life on Earth by Looking at the Moon

VLT Rediscovers Life on Earth by Looking at the Moon

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

Finding life on our home planet may sound like a trivial observation, but the novel approach of an international team may lead to future discoveries of life elsewhere in the universe.




Architecture of Kepler's Multi-transiting Systems: II. New investigations with twice as many candidates

Architecture of Kepler's Multi-transiting Systems: II. New investigations with twice as many candidates

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

Having discovered 885 planet candidates in 361 multiple-planet systems, Kepler has made transits a powerful method for studying the statistics of planetary systems.




Exosphere Confirmed at Saturn's Moon Dione

Exosphere Confirmed at Saturn's Moon Dione

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

The Cassini spacecraft flew by Dione, one of Saturn's icy moons, on 7 April 2010. During that flyby, instruments detected molecular oxygen ions around the moon.




Final Report: Audit of NASA's Process for Transferring Technology to the Government and Private Sector

Final Report: Audit of NASA's Process for Transferring Technology to the Government and Private Sector

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

NASA Inspector General Paul Martin today released a report that assesses NASA's efforts to identify and plan for the transfer and commercialization of Agency-developed technology.




Hacking Curiosity: Adding an aftermarket sample collection capability to the Mars Science Lab

Hacking Curiosity: Adding an aftermarket sample collection capability to the Mars Science Lab

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

Can the Mars Science Lab (MSL) Curiosity be fitted with a couple of "aftermarket" sample collection racks once it completes its primary mission of one Martian year? The author believes there is the potential to do so.




NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Young Crater With Bright Rays

NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Young Crater With Bright Rays

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

This high-resolution color image shows a 14-kilometer diameter crater that is relatively young, as indicated by the bright rays that cross the neighboring features.




Images: Space Station EVA Performed by Russian Cosmonauts

Images: Space Station EVA Performed by Russian Cosmonauts

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

During the spacewalk, Shkaplerov and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko moved the Strela-1 crane from the Pirs Docking Compartment to begin preparing the Pirs for its replacement next year with a new laboratory and docking module.




NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Crater Moltke: Impact Melt Boundary

NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Crater Moltke: Impact Melt Boundary

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

In the absence of an absolute age date, lunar scientists have to rely on the geomorphology of a crater to determine how old it is relative to other craters.




Olson, Colleagues Urge White House to Correct Safety Glitch (NASA Commercial Crew)

Olson, Colleagues Urge White House to Correct Safety Glitch (NASA Commercial Crew)

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

Under proposed agreements between NASA and commercial crew entities, NASA would not have the necessary authority to oversee and approve the safety measures needed to keep our astronauts safe.




International Space Station Heads of Agencies Joint Statement

International Space Station Heads of Agencies Joint Statement

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

The heads of the International Space Station (ISS) agencies from Canada, Europe, Japan, Russia and the United States met in Quebec City, Canada, on March 1, 2012




Ready to Launch! A New Website Sharing Space Station Benefits For Humanity

Ready to Launch! A New Website Sharing Space Station Benefits For Humanity

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

When the International Space Station was first imagined, the idea was to create an unprecedented research platform to support microgravity investigations for the benefit of all humankind.




Image: Spitzer Telescope Finds Hidden Jet at Herbig-Haro 34

Image: Spitzer Telescope Finds Hidden Jet at Herbig-Haro 34

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

The twin jets, in a system called Herbig-Haro 34, are made of identical knots of gas and dust, ejected one after another from the area around the star.




NASA Finds Thickest Parts of Arctic Ice Cap Melting Faster

NASA Finds Thickest Parts of Arctic Ice Cap Melting Faster

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

A new NASA study revealed that the oldest and thickest Arctic sea ice is disappearing at a faster rate than the younger and thinner ice at the edges of the Arctic Ocean's floating ice cap.




NASA Finds Sea Ice Driving Arctic Air Pollutants

NASA Finds Sea Ice Driving Arctic Air Pollutants

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

Drastic reductions in Arctic sea ice in the last decade may be intensifying the chemical release of bromine into the atmosphere, resulting in ground-level ozone depletion and the deposit of toxic mercury in the Arctic, according to a new NASA-led study.




GAO: Assessments of Selected Large-Scale NASA Projects

GAO: Assessments of Selected Large-Scale NASA Projects

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

NASA's largest science project--the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST)--however, has experienced development cost growth of $3.6 billion--or 140 percent--and a schedule delay of over 4 years.




Astrobiologist Dale Andersen's Field Reports: Lake Untersee, Antarctica (Gigapixel panorama)

Astrobiologist Dale Andersen's Field Reports: Lake Untersee, Antarctica (Gigapixel panorama)

[Thursday, March 1, 2012]

In 2008 our research team discovered large conical stromatolites forming beneath the thick perennial ice of Lake Untersee.




GAO Summary: Cost Overruns, Schedule Delays, Ongoing Technical Problems With Mars Science Laboratory

GAO Summary: Cost Overruns, Schedule Delays, Ongoing Technical Problems With Mars Science Laboratory

[Friday, March 2, 2012]

Since the original project baseline in 2008, the life-cycle cost for the project has increased by over $881 million--including an 84 percent increase in development costs.




NASA Continues Orion Parachute Testing for Orbital Test Flight (with photos)

NASA Continues Orion Parachute Testing for Orbital Test Flight (with photos)

[Friday, March 2, 2012]

On Feb. 29, NASA successfully conducted another drop test of the Orion crew vehicle's entry, descent and landing parachutes high above the Arizona desert in preparation for the vehicle's orbital flight test in 2014.




ATV launch delayed

ATV launch delayed

[Friday, March 2, 2012]

A routine inspection has concluded that additional measures are required to ensure the maximum readiness of the third Automated Transfer Vehicle for launch. It has therefore been decided to postpone the launch previously scheduled for 9 March.




Video: GOES-13 Detects Tornado Movement

Video: GOES-13 Detects Tornado Movement

[Friday, March 2, 2012]

This movie using GOES-13 visible and infrared satellite imagery from Feb. 28 at 7:45 a.m. EST through March 1, and shows the progression of the cold front and associated low pressure area moving over the central U.S. that triggered at least 20 tornadoes




Image: Merging Galaxy Cluster Abell 520

Image: Merging Galaxy Cluster Abell 520

[Friday, March 2, 2012]

This composite image shows the distribution of dark matter, galaxies, and hot gas in the core of the merging galaxy cluster Abell 520, formed from a violent collision of massive galaxy clusters.




NASA Dawn Image on Vesta: Chains and Clusters of Secondary Craters

NASA Dawn Image on Vesta: Chains and Clusters of Secondary Craters

[Friday, March 2, 2012]

This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows numerous linear chains and clusters of small craters. These chains and clusters of craters were created by material that was ejected during the formation of a larger crater.




Video: Watch The Moon Go Through Its Phases in 2012

Video: Watch The Moon Go Through Its Phases in 2012

[Saturday, March 3, 2012]

This animation shows the geocentric phase, libration, position angle of the axis, and apparent diameter of the Moon throughout the year 2012, at hourly intervals.




NASA's Kepler Releases New Catalog With 2,321 Planet Candidates

NASA's Kepler Releases New Catalog With 2,321 Planet Candidates

[Saturday, March 3, 2012]

Since the last catalog was released in February 2011, the number of planet candidates identified by Kepler has increased by 88 percent and now totals 2,321 transiting 1,790 stars.




Community College Scholars Selected to Design Robotic Rovers

Community College Scholars Selected to Design Robotic Rovers

[Saturday, March 3, 2012]

Ninety-two students from schools in 24 states have been selected to travel to a NASA center to develop rovers through the National Community College Aerospace Scholars program.




NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Spring Symposium

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Spring Symposium

[Saturday, March 3, 2012]

The NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program is proud to announce its first annual Spring Symposium at the Westin Hotel in Pasadena, California on March 27-29, 2012.




NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Hollows Within an Impact Crater

NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Hollows Within an Impact Crater

[Saturday, March 3, 2012]

This interesting complex crater exhibits many hollows along its floor and central peak complex. The hollows have a very high albedo, which makes this crater stand out prominently.




NASA MRO Image of Mars: Crater with Gullies on a Central Structure

NASA MRO Image of Mars: Crater with Gullies on a Central Structure

[Saturday, March 3, 2012]

The 40-kilometer diameter unnamed crater (49 degrees North, 21 degrees East) in this image is located west of Lyot Crater and north of Deuteronilus Mensae in the Northern Plains of Mars.




Images and Video From Space: Tornadoes Sweep Across Midwest and Appalachian Mountains

Images and Video From Space: Tornadoes Sweep Across Midwest and Appalachian Mountains

[Saturday, March 3, 2012]

Severe thunderstorms and tornadoes swept across the Midwest and Appalachians on March 2, 2012. According to CNN, at least 36 people were killed, with the majority of the victims in Indiana and Kentucky.




Image: Dust over the Arabian Sea

Image: Dust over the Arabian Sea

[Sunday, March 4, 2012]

Dust plumes stretched southward over the Arabian Sea in late February 2012. The thickest plume arises just west of the Iran-Pakistan border, though thinner plumes blow southward along the entire coast of Pakistan.




NASA MRO Image of Mars: Sand Dunes in the Spring

NASA MRO Image of Mars: Sand Dunes in the Spring

[Sunday, March 4, 2012]

In the winter, Martian dunes north of 70 degrees latitude are covered by a seasonal layer of carbon dioxide ice (dry ice). In the spring as the ice sublimates (goes directly from solid to gas) numerous seasonal phenomena are observed.




NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Crater Anaxagoras: Cracked Mound

NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Crater Anaxagoras: Cracked Mound

[Sunday, March 4, 2012]

The irregularly fractured surface in today's Featured Image is on top of a north-western oriented slightly elongated mound on the floor of crater Anaxagoras




Resignation Letter from CASIS Executive Director Jeanne L. Becker

Resignation Letter from CASIS Executive Director Jeanne L. Becker

[Sunday, March 4, 2012]

As a result of undue and onerous political pressures exerted over the almost six months of existence of CASIS, business operations have been difficult in standing up this brand new organization.




Video: Lego Space Shuttle Flies To The Edge of Space

Video: Lego Space Shuttle Flies To The Edge of Space

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

My Lego tribute to the end of the space shuttle era. Proving that although retired, this machine can still fly, albeit in toy form. The launch took place from central Germany and reached a max altitude of 35000m.




Space Station Utilization Headache for NASA: CASIS Director Resigns - Accusations Start To Fly

Space Station Utilization Headache for NASA: CASIS Director Resigns - Accusations Start To Fly

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

"As a result of undue and onerous political pressures exerted over the almost six months of existence of CASIS, business operations have been difficult in standing up this brand new organization"




NASA MRO Image of Mars: Another Well-Preserved Impact Crater

NASA MRO Image of Mars: Another Well-Preserved Impact Crater

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

When seen at full HiRISE resolution, almost all craters on Mars do show some modification such as subsequent smaller impacts, wind-blown deposition and/or erosion, and downslope movement of material on steep slopes.




NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Inside Crater Pytheas

NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Inside Crater Pytheas

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

On the Moon, talus deposits are created entirely by gravity, but on the Earth wind and water play a role in their formation.




Hydrogen Sulfide Emissions off of Africa

Hydrogen Sulfide Emissions off of Africa

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

Pale green patterns tinted the water along the Namibian coast in late February 2012. But unlike other bright hues that occasionally show up in the ocean, these colors didn't result from a phytoplankton bloom.




Counting Down to the Transit of Venus

Counting Down to the Transit of Venus

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

Three months before the last transit of Venus this century, scientists are gathering at the Observatoire de Paris to finalize their observation plans in a workshop supported by the Europlanet Research Infrastructure and the EGIDE/PHC Sakura Program.




Working Models for the Gravitational Field of Phobos

Working Models for the Gravitational Field of Phobos

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

Phobos is the larger and closer of the two natural satellites of Mars. Despite decades of Martian exploration, we still know very little about Phobos.




Solar Flare Pushes Plasma Cloud Toward Earth

Solar Flare Pushes Plasma Cloud Toward Earth

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

A large solar flare erupted from the Sun earlier today, launching a coronal mass ejection into space. This plasma 'cloud' is expected to pass Earth in 2 to 3 days, potentially causing increased nighttime auroras. No major effects on Earth are expected.




2012 Legislative Blitz: Broad Bi-Partisan Support for US Space Program on Capitol Hill

2012 Legislative Blitz: Broad Bi-Partisan Support for US Space Program on Capitol Hill

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

NSS is pleased to announce that this year's Legislative Blitz was very successful, as we called on Congress to work with the Administration and NASA to reach consensus on a unified and comprehensive human and robotic spaceflight program.




Jim Royston Named Interim Director of CASIS Dr. Jeanne Becker Steps Down From Leadership Role

Jim Royston Named Interim Director of CASIS Dr. Jeanne Becker Steps Down From Leadership Role

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

The Board received Dr. Becker's resignation last week and accepted it as a result of ongoing disputes in relation to the pace and direction of the implementation of CASIS' mission.




New target launch date for ATV-3

New target launch date for ATV-3

[Monday, March 5, 2012]

A routine inspection has concluded that additional measures are required to ensure the maximum readiness of the third Automated Transfer Vehicle for launch. It has therefore been decided to postpone the launch previously scheduled for 9 March.




NASA LRO Image: Apollo 15 Rover Tracks On The Moon

NASA LRO Image: Apollo 15 Rover Tracks On The Moon

[Tuesday, March 6, 2012]

It was during Apollo 15 that the rover was driven on the steepest slopes while exploring the base of a mountain named Hadley Delta (it was named Delta because of its shape, not because it was a river delta).




Study Supports Theory of Extraterrestrial Impact

Study Supports Theory of Extraterrestrial Impact

[Tuesday, March 6, 2012]

A 16-member international team of researchers that includes James Kennett, professor of Earth science at UC Santa Barbara, has identified a nearly 13,000-year-old layer of thin, dark sediment buried in the floor of Lake Cuitzeo in central Mexico.




Video: Space Weather - Explosions on Venus

Video: Space Weather - Explosions on Venus

[Tuesday, March 6, 2012]

As the solar wind rushes outward from the Sun at nearly a million miles per hour, it is stopped about 44,000 miles away from Earth when it collides with the giant magnetic envelope that surrounds the planet called the magnetosphere.




NASA Dawn Image: Undulating Terrain in Vesta's Southern Hemisphere

NASA Dawn Image: Undulating Terrain in Vesta's Southern Hemisphere

[Tuesday, March 6, 2012]

This Dawn FC (framing camera) image shows the undulating terrain of Vesta's southern hemisphere, which consists of ridges and depressions. This undulating terrain is only located in Vesta's southern hemisphere, in and around the Rheasilvia impact basin.




NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Interior of the Rembrandt Impact Basin

NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Interior of the Rembrandt Impact Basin

[Tuesday, March 6, 2012]

The long scarp trending vertically on the left-side of this image is located in the interior of the large 715-kilometer diameter Rembrandt impact basin.




OIG: Review of NASA's Lessons Learned Information System

OIG: Review of NASA's Lessons Learned Information System

[Tuesday, March 6, 2012]

Specifically, other than the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, no NASA Center consistently contributed information to LLIS from 2005 through 2010.




Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 6 March 2012

Joint USAF/NOAA Report of Solar and Geophysical Activity 6 March 2012

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

Solar activity is expected to be moderate. Additional M-class events from Region 1429 are likely. There is also a chance for a major flare and/or proton producing event from Region 1429 during the next three days (07-09 March).




Video: Flying Through a Crack in the Ice

Video: Flying Through a Crack in the Ice

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

In October 2011, researchers flying in NASA's Operation IceBridge campaign made the first-ever detailed, airborne measurements of a major iceberg calving event while it was in progress.




NASA Images: Solar Active Region 1429 and Flare

NASA Images: Solar Active Region 1429 and Flare

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

The images above come from NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory, which constantly images our nearest star in high-definition detail.




Photo: Ice cover on Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota As Seen From The Space Station

Photo: Ice cover on Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota As Seen From The Space Station

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

Ice cover on Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 30 crew member on the ISS. This striking photograph illustrates the harsh winter conditions frequently experienced in North Dakota.




NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Hovnatanian Crater

NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Hovnatanian Crater

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

Hovnatanian crater was formed by an object that impacted at a very oblique angle, causing the crater to appear elliptical.




Image: Amateur Astronomers Ping The International Space Station With A Laser

Image: Amateur Astronomers Ping The International Space Station With A Laser

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

Early Sunday morning, at 01:27 our time, the San Antonio Astronomical Association, an amateur astronomy group, succeeded in flashing the space station with a one-watt blue laser and a white spotlight as we passed overhead.




Image: Firestorm of Star Birth in Galaxy Centaurus A

Image: Firestorm of Star Birth in Galaxy Centaurus A

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

Hubble's panchromatic vision, stretching from ultraviolet through near-infrared wavelengths, reveals the vibrant glow of young, blue star clusters and a glimpse into regions normally obscured by the dust.




NASA's Twin Grail Spacecraft Begin Collecting Lunar Science Data

NASA's Twin Grail Spacecraft Begin Collecting Lunar Science Data

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

During the next 84 days, scientists will obtain a high-resolution map of the lunar gravitational field to learn about the moon's internal structure and composition in unprecedented detail.




New Report Expands on Vital Role of Aerospace and Defense Industry to U.S. Economy

New Report Expands on Vital Role of Aerospace and Defense Industry to U.S. Economy

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

A new report commissioned by AIA demonstrates the irreplaceable impact the aerospace and defense (A/D) industry has on America's economic and national security.




Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM): Fueling up in Space

Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM): Fueling up in Space

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

One of the major hurdles engineering teams face when designing a satellite is how much fuel it can carry to operate throughout its lifetime.




Making the Case for Human Missions to Asteroids

Making the Case for Human Missions to Asteroids

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

The following article is a free sample from the current issue of Space Quarterly Magazine. It is our hope that if you enjoy this article you will consider subscribing to the magazine.




NASA Tweetups Are Evolving. It's Time To Be More Social

NASA Tweetups Are Evolving. It's Time To Be More Social

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

NASA is expanding its successful program of Tweetups to include more social media platforms, broadening the agency's use of social media to engage audiences about the agency's mission of exploration and discovery




Image: A Towering Dust Devil Swirls Over The Surface of Mars

Image: A Towering Dust Devil Swirls Over The Surface of Mars

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

A towering dust devil casts a serpentine shadow over the Martian surface in this stunning, late springtime image of Amazonis Planitia.




NASA LRO Image: A New View of the Apollo 11 Landing Site

NASA LRO Image: A New View of the Apollo 11 Landing Site

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

This image of the Apollo 11 landing site captured from just 24 km (15 miles) above the surface provides LRO's best look yet at humanity's first venture to another world.




Robotic Refueling Mission Begins With Space Station Robotics

Robotic Refueling Mission Begins With Space Station Robotics

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission began operations on the International Space Station with the Canadian Dextre robot marking important milestones in satellite-servicing technology and the use of the space station robotic capabilities.




Commercial Crew Companies Review Safety Standards in Letter to Congress

Commercial Crew Companies Review Safety Standards in Letter to Congress

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

We read with interest your February 29, 2012 letter to Dr. John Holdren regarding NASA's Commercial Crew program to procure services to fly astronauts to the International Space Station on commercial vehicles.




Space Foundation Honors NASA Kepler Mission

Space Foundation Honors NASA Kepler Mission

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

The NASA Kepler Mission is being recognized for the discovery of 61 confirmed extrasolar planets and over 2,300 planet candidates in the first 16 months of observations from May 2009 to September 2010.




House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Members Critical of President's NASA Budget Proposal

House Science, Space, and Technology Committee Members Critical of President's NASA Budget Proposal

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

Today in a hearing of the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee to review the fiscal year 2013 (FY13) budget proposal for NASA, Members expressed several concerns to Administrator Charles Bolden over funding priorities.




Citizen Scientists Reveal a Bubbly Milky Way

Citizen Scientists Reveal a Bubbly Milky Way

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

A team of volunteers has pored over observations from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope and discovered more than 5,000 "bubbles" in the disk of our Milky Way galaxy.




Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Begins Climate and Weather Studies

Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership Begins Climate and Weather Studies

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

NASA has completed commissioning of the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership satellite (NPP), which is now making global environmental observations.




MESSENGER Modifies Orbit to Prepare for Extended Mission

MESSENGER Modifies Orbit to Prepare for Extended Mission

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

MESSENGER successfully completed an orbit-correction maneuver this evening to lower its periapsis altitude - the lowest point of MESSENGER's orbit about Mercury relative to the planet's surface.




Autonomous Space Capture Challenge Opens Algorithmic Crowdsourcing to General Public

Autonomous Space Capture Challenge Opens Algorithmic Crowdsourcing to General Public

[Wednesday, March 7, 2012]

TopCoder today announced registration has opened for the Autonomous Space Capture Challenge, an algorithm competition which seeks computationally efficient code solutions which models autonomous docking or satellite servicing procedures.




Video: X-class Solar Flares and Solar Tsunami

Video: X-class Solar Flares and Solar Tsunami

[Thursday, March 8, 2012]

On March 7, 2012 just a few minutes after midnight UT time the active region (AR11429) unleashed two strong X-class flare.




NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Kuiper Crater in Color

NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Kuiper Crater in Color

[Thursday, March 8, 2012]

This high-resolution enhanced color view of Kuiper crater shows not just the bright rays that extend out from this relatively young crater but also the redder color of Kuiper's ejecta blanket.




Images: Moving Around in Weightlessness in

Images: Moving Around in Weightlessness in "2001" and 2012

[Thursday, March 8, 2012]

With little experience in weightlessness inside a large spacecraft, the experts consulted by Stanley Kubrick in the 1960s felt that space travelers would need to be anchored to something in order to move around.




Military Satellites - Current Status and Future Prospects

Military Satellites - Current Status and Future Prospects

[Thursday, March 8, 2012]

The following article is a free sample from the current issue of Space Quarterly Magazine. It is our hope that if you enjoy this article you will consider subscribing to the magazine.




The Epic Struggle Between Birds and Pigs Moves to Space with a NASA Science Twist

The Epic Struggle Between Birds and Pigs Moves to Space with a NASA Science Twist

[Thursday, March 8, 2012]

For nearly three years, millions of gamers have used physics in the battle between birds and pigs in the video game Angry Birds.




Geomagnetic Storm Continues, Solar Radiation Storm Begins Decay

Geomagnetic Storm Continues, Solar Radiation Storm Begins Decay

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

The coronal mass ejection associated with the R3 (Strong) Radio Blackout event from 0024 UTC March 7 continues to minimally affect the Earth and G1 (Minor) storming levels have been observed since the onset at 1105 UTC March 8 (6:05 a.m. EST March 8).




Gravitational Lens Reveals Details of Distant, Ancient Galaxy

Gravitational Lens Reveals Details of Distant, Ancient Galaxy

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

Thanks to the presence of a natural "zoom lens" in space, University of Chicago scientists working with NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have obtained a uniquely close-up look at the brightest gravitationally magnified galaxy yet discovered.




Docking date for ATV-3 with Space Station

Docking date for ATV-3 with Space Station

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

ESA's third Automated Transfer Vehicle, scheduled for launch on an Ariane 5 from Europe's Spaceport in French Guiana on 23 March, is planned to dock with the International Space Station five days later.




Mapping the Moho with GOCE

Mapping the Moho with GOCE

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

The first global high-resolution map of the boundary between Earth's crust and mantle - the Moho - has been produced based on data from ESA's GOCE gravity satellite. Understanding the Moho will offer new clues into the dynamics of Earth's interior.




Lockheed Martin Space Fence Radar Prototype Tracking Orbiting Objects

Lockheed Martin Space Fence Radar Prototype Tracking Orbiting Objects

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

A prototype of a new radar system developed by a Lockheed Martin-led team is now tracking orbiting space objects, bringing the U.S. Air Force's Space Fence program one step closer to revolutionizing our nation's space situational awareness.




Earth's Magnetic Field Provides Vital Protection

Earth's Magnetic Field Provides Vital Protection

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

A chance alignment of planets during a passing gust of the solar wind has allowed scientists to compare the protective effects of Earth's magnetic field with that of Mars' naked atmosphere.




Stars with Dusty Disks Should Harbor Earth-like Worlds

Stars with Dusty Disks Should Harbor Earth-like Worlds

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

A Stars with disks of debris around them might be good targets to search for Earth-like planets, researchers say.




Image: Algerian Sands As Seen From Space

Image: Algerian Sands As Seen From Space

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

This image from the Ikonos-2 satellite shows the sandy and rocky terrain of the Sahara desert in western Algeria.




NASA Launches International Competition to Develop Space Apps

NASA Launches International Competition to Develop Space Apps

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

NASA, governments around the world and civil society organizations will co-host the International Space Apps Challenge on April 21-22 with events across seven continents and in space.




NASA Budget Word Clouds: Bolden Vs Tyson, NASA Vs Tomorrow

NASA Budget Word Clouds: Bolden Vs Tyson, NASA Vs Tomorrow

[Friday, March 9, 2012]

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson both testified before the Senate on NASA's FY 2013 budget the other day. Simple word clouds reveal starkly different messages.




Network building: POLENET project in Antarctica completes GPS/seismic array

Network building: POLENET project in Antarctica completes GPS/seismic array

[Sunday, March 11, 2012]

What had been projected to be an initial two-year effort to install an array of GPS and seismometer instruments across roughly a third of the continent is now in its fourth year.




Meteorites Reveal Another Way to Make Life's Components

Meteorites Reveal Another Way to Make Life's Components

[Sunday, March 11, 2012]

Creating some of life's building blocks in space may be a bit like making a sandwich - you can make them cold or hot, according to new NASA research.




Mars Rover Opportunity Update:  Winter Studies of 'Amboy' Rock Continue

Mars Rover Opportunity Update: Winter Studies of 'Amboy' Rock Continue

[Monday, March 12, 2012]

Opportunity Status for sol 2880-2886: Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.




Greenland ice sheet may melt completely with 1.6 degrees global warming

Greenland ice sheet may melt completely with 1.6 degrees global warming

[Monday, March 12, 2012]

The Greenland ice sheet is likely to be more vulnerable to global warming than previously thought. The temperature threshold for melting the ice sheet completely is in the range of 0.8 to 3.2 degrees Celsius global warming.




Why do We See the Man in the Moon?

Why do We See the Man in the Moon?

[Monday, March 12, 2012]

There's something poetic about gazing up at the night sky, seeing the familiar face of the "Man in the Moon" who faithfully accompanies us through life.




Building Vega meant testing materials to their limits

Building Vega meant testing materials to their limits

[Monday, March 12, 2012]

When the first of Europe's Vega rockets thundered skywards on 13 February, it was a new design based on some novel materials. Such novelty called for rigorous technical risk management by ESA's materials specialists.




Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria Named President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

Astronaut Michael Lopez-Alegria Named President of the Commercial Spaceflight Federation

[Monday, March 12, 2012]

CSF is pleased to announce that former NASA astronaut, International Space Station (ISS) commander, Naval Aviator, and test pilot Michael E. Lopez-Alegria (Capt., U.S. Navy, Ret.) has been named as President, effective March 19, 2012.




Conrad Foundation: Cast Your Vote for Prestigious Student Award

Conrad Foundation: Cast Your Vote for Prestigious Student Award

[Monday, March 12, 2012]

It is the power of the people that will select the 2012 winner of the People's Choice Award which is bestowed on the student team with the most innovative new product in the Conrad Foundation's annual Spirit of Innovation Challenge (Conrad Challenge).




NASA Cassini Captures New Images of Rhea

NASA Cassini Captures New Images of Rhea

[Tuesday, March 13, 2012]

Raw, unprocessed images of Saturn's second largest moon, Rhea, were taken on March 10, 2012, by Cassini. This was a relatively distant flyby with a close-approach distance of 26,000 miles (42,000 kilometers), well suited for global geologic mapping.




Prolonged Space Travel Causes Brain and Eye Abnormalities in Astronauts

Prolonged Space Travel Causes Brain and Eye Abnormalities in Astronauts

[Tuesday, March 13, 2012]

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the eyes and brains of 27 astronauts who have spent prolonged periods of time in space revealed optical abnormalities similar to those that can occur in intracranial hypertension of unknown cause.




3D-Printer with Nano-Precision (with video)

3D-Printer with Nano-Precision (with video)

[Tuesday, March 13, 2012]

Printing three dimensional objects with incredibly fine details is now possible using "two-photon lithography". With this technology, tiny structures on a nanometer scale can be fabricated.




Robonaut-2 Says

Robonaut-2 Says "Hello world" in American Sign Language From the ISS

[Tuesday, March 13, 2012]

On 12 March 2012, NASA's Robonaut-2 said "hello world" in American Sign Language (ASL) from the International Space Station.




Boeing Completes Preliminary Design Review of Commercial Crew Space Transportation Vehicle CST-100

Boeing Completes Preliminary Design Review of Commercial Crew Space Transportation Vehicle CST-100

[Tuesday, March 13, 2012]

Boeing successfully completed a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) of the company's integrated Commercial Crew Space Transportation system, which includes the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft, on March 12.




Cassini Spies Wave Rattling Jet Stream on Jupiter

Cassini Spies Wave Rattling Jet Stream on Jupiter

[Tuesday, March 13, 2012]

New movies of Jupiter are the first to catch an invisible wave shaking up one of the giant planet's jet streams, an interaction that also takes place in Earth's atmosphere and influences the weather.




GM, NASA Jointly Developing Robotic Gloves for Human Use (with video)

GM, NASA Jointly Developing Robotic Gloves for Human Use (with video)

[Tuesday, March 13, 2012]

General Motors and NASA are jointly developing a robotic glove that auto workers and astronauts can wear to help do their respective jobs better while potentially reducing the risk of repetitive stress injuries.




Video: Morpheus Tether Test #8

Video: Morpheus Tether Test #8

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

The Morpheus team successfully performed another Tether Test. This was the longest run of the vehicle to date




NASA GSFC Solicitation: High Power Uplink (Near Earth Objects Characterization)

NASA GSFC Solicitation: High Power Uplink (Near Earth Objects Characterization)

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

NASA/HQ has a requirement to provide high resolution, high power uplink capability at Ka-band for the use in characterizing Near Earth Objects (NEOs), orbital debris, and to fill knowledge gaps in space situational awareness.




Rare Peek at Early Stages of Star Formation

Rare Peek at Early Stages of Star Formation

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

Using radio and infrared telescopes, astronomers have obtained a first tantalizing look at a crucial early stage in star formation.




NASA's Astrobiology Research Sparks 'GreenTech' Revolution

NASA's Astrobiology Research Sparks 'GreenTech' Revolution

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

NASA's astrobiologists study microbial life to understand how it transformed a rocky Earth into the thriving, diverse, life-sustaining planet we inhabit today.




The feeding habits of teenage galaxies

The feeding habits of teenage galaxies

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

Astronomers have known for some time that the earliest galaxies were much smaller than the impressive spiral and elliptical galaxies that now fill the Universe.




Artist's Concept: Compact Planetary System

Artist's Concept: Compact Planetary System

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

This artist's concept depicts a planetary system so compact that it's more like Jupiter and its moons than a star and its planets.




Getting a Full Picture of an Elusive Subject: Abell 383

Getting a Full Picture of an Elusive Subject: Abell 383

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

Two teams of astronomers have used data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and other telescopes to map the distribution of dark matter in a galaxy cluster known as Abell 383, which is located about 2.3 billion light-years from Earth.




NASA Video: Evolution of the Moon

NASA Video: Evolution of the Moon

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

From year to year, the moon never seems to change. Craters and other formations appear to be permanent now, but the moon didn't always look like this.




NASA Selects Next Class of Student Ambassadors

NASA Selects Next Class of Student Ambassadors

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

NASA recently inducted 100 high-performing interns into the 2012 NASA Student Ambassadors Virtual Community.




Cassini Gets Top Honor from Air & Space Museum

Cassini Gets Top Honor from Air & Space Museum

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn, managed by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has received the top group honor from the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum the Trophy for Current Achievement.




NASA Releases New WISE Mission Catalog of Entire Infrared Sky

NASA Releases New WISE Mission Catalog of Entire Infrared Sky

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

NASA unveiled a new atlas and catalog of the entire infrared sky today showing more than a half billion stars, galaxies and other objects captured by the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) mission.




Image: Enceladus, Titan, and Saturn's Rings

Image: Enceladus, Titan, and Saturn's Rings

[Wednesday, March 14, 2012]

This image was taken on March 12, 2012 and received on Earth March 13, 2012. The camera was pointing toward Enceladus at approximately 1,045,661 kilometers away.




NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Crater Picasso

NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Crater Picasso

[Thursday, March 15, 2012]

This image, taken with the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), gives us a close-up look at Picasso crater. Named for Pablo Picasso, this crater is easily identifiable by the interesting comma-shaped pit on its floor.




Photo: Agricultural Areas in Northern Saudi Arabia As Seen From Space

Photo: Agricultural Areas in Northern Saudi Arabia As Seen From Space

[Thursday, March 15, 2012]

This photograph from astronauts on the International Space Station presents an almost surreal view of abundant green fields in the midst of a barren desert.




NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Crater Petavius B: Impact Melt Channel

NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Crater Petavius B: Impact Melt Channel

[Thursday, March 15, 2012]

The flat floored arc-shaped area at the bottom of this image was likely a pool of melt that drained out of the channel at the top. The shadows highlight the depth and steep banks of the channel.




Quasars Discovered Acting As Gravitational Lenses

Quasars Discovered Acting As Gravitational Lenses

[Thursday, March 15, 2012]

Astronomers using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope have found several examples of galaxies containing quasars, which act as gravitational lenses, amplifying and distorting images of galaxies aligned behind them.




Near-miss Asteroid Will Return Next Year

Near-miss Asteroid Will Return Next Year

[Thursday, March 15, 2012]

When it whizzes past Earth in 2013, a newly discovered asteroid is going to miss our planet - but not by much. The 50 m space rock is expected to come closer than many satellites, highlighting the growing need to keep watch on hazards from above.




Image: A Crescent Enceladus and its Water Plumes

Image: A Crescent Enceladus and its Water Plumes

[Thursday, March 15, 2012]

Dramatic plumes, both large and small, spray water ice from many locations along the moon's famed "tiger stripes" near the south pole of Enceladus. The tiger stripes are fissures that spray icy particles, water vapor and organic compounds.




Felix Baumgartner Completes Test Flight Ahead of Freefall Record Attempt From The Edge of Space

Felix Baumgartner Completes Test Flight Ahead of Freefall Record Attempt From The Edge of Space

[Thursday, March 15, 2012]

Felix Baumgartner, the Austrian BASE jumper aiming to break the world freefall record by jumping from 120,000 ft above the earth's surface, moved a step closer to achieving his dream today after the successful completion of a test flight from 71,581 ft.




Video: Ticks Survive and Move in Extreme Environment Inside an Electron Microscope

Video: Ticks Survive and Move in Extreme Environment Inside an Electron Microscope

[Thursday, March 15, 2012]

These findings open the new possibility of SEM observation of living organisms and showed the resistance of living ticks to vacuum condition in SEM.




Image: Space Station, Soyuz, and Progress Fly Over Nightside of Earth

Image: Space Station, Soyuz, and Progress Fly Over Nightside of Earth

[Friday, March 16, 2012]

Aurora Australis, seen at right on Earth's horizon, and daybreak (left) highlight this "busy" photograph taken by one of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station.




Ecliptic RocketCams Capture Action on ISS During Initial Phase of Robotic Refueling Mission Demo

Ecliptic RocketCams Capture Action on ISS During Initial Phase of Robotic Refueling Mission Demo

[Friday, March 16, 2012]

Six rugged RocketCam(TM) color video cameras captured close-up views of the first phase of NASA's teleoperated Robotic Refueling Mission (RRM) demonstration, conducted March 7-9 on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS).




Images: City of Dubai, United Arab Emirates at Night As Seen From Orbit

Images: City of Dubai, United Arab Emirates at Night As Seen From Orbit

[Friday, March 16, 2012]

City lights of Dubai, United Arab Emirates are featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 30 crew member on the International Space Station.




NASA's IceBridge 2012 Arctic Campaign Takes to the Skies

NASA's IceBridge 2012 Arctic Campaign Takes to the Skies

[Friday, March 16, 2012]

Researchers and flight crew with NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne mission to study changes in polar ice, began another season of science activity with the start of the 2012 Arctic campaign on March 13.




Solar flares over, Venus Express restarts science investigations

Solar flares over, Venus Express restarts science investigations

[Friday, March 16, 2012]

ESA's Venus Express spacecraft has returned to routine operation after its startracker cameras were temporarily blinded last week by radiation from a pair of large solar flares.




Image: Glittering Jewels of Messier 9

Image: Glittering Jewels of Messier 9

[Friday, March 16, 2012]

Hubble has produced the most detailed image so far of Messier 9, a globular star cluster located close to the centre of the galaxy. This ball of stars is too faint to see with the naked eye, yet Hubble can see over 250 000 individual stars shining in it.




Researchers Call for Continued Exploration of Mars

Researchers Call for Continued Exploration of Mars

[Friday, March 16, 2012]

A new position paper by researchers at the Planetary Science Institute calls for sustaining NASA funding for the exploration of Mars.




Launch of NASA's NuSTAR Mission Postponed Due to Launch Vehicle Software Issues

Launch of NASA's NuSTAR Mission Postponed Due to Launch Vehicle Software Issues

[Friday, March 16, 2012]

The planned launch of NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) mission has been postponed after a March 15 launch status meeting.




Enter the Dragon, Please take your Seats - SpaceX Completes Important Commercial Crew Milestone

Enter the Dragon, Please take your Seats - SpaceX Completes Important Commercial Crew Milestone

[Saturday, March 17, 2012]

SpaceX continues to prepare for our upcoming test flight in which we will attempt to send the Dragon spacecraft to the ISS. At the same time we continue making rapid progress in our efforts to prepare the Dragon spacecraft to carry astronauts.




Video: Morpheus Tether Test Number 9

Video: Morpheus Tether Test Number 9

[Saturday, March 17, 2012]

Morpheus flying in its ninth Tether Test. Overall a good stable flight, however the vehicle went beyond the built in altitude limit causing a soft abort. This is one of the many safety systems put in place to control the vehicle's motion.




NASA Dawn Image of Vesta: Mosaic of Visible and Infrared Spectrometer Data

NASA Dawn Image of Vesta: Mosaic of Visible and Infrared Spectrometer Data

[Monday, March 19, 2012]

This mosaic shows the location of the data acquired by VIR (visible and infrared spectrometer) during the HAMO (high-altitude mapping orbit) phase of the Dawn mission.




Image: Italy Seen From Space at Night

Image: Italy Seen From Space at Night

[Monday, March 19, 2012]

This nighttime panorama of much of Europe was photographed by one of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station flying approximately 240 miles above the Tyrrhenian Sea on Jan. 25, 2012.




Image: Spider Web of Stars in Galaxy IC 342

Image: Spider Web of Stars in Galaxy IC 342

[Monday, March 19, 2012]

Looking like a spider's web swirled into a spiral, Galaxy IC 342 presents its delicate pattern of dust in this image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope.




Cosmic Rays Alter Chemistry of Lunar Ice

Cosmic Rays Alter Chemistry of Lunar Ice

[Monday, March 19, 2012]

Space scientists from the University of New Hampshire and multi-institutional colleagues report they have quantified levels of radiation on the Moon's surface from galactic cosmic ray (GCR) bombardment .




Repurposing Express-AM4: Mission Possible: Recycling Space Junk into Antarctic Science Treasure

Repurposing Express-AM4: Mission Possible: Recycling Space Junk into Antarctic Science Treasure

[Monday, March 19, 2012]

Our team at Polar Broadband Ltd brings much to the table for the potential salvage and repurposing of Express-AM4 .




ASU-Led Team Produces First Complete Geologic Map of Io

ASU-Led Team Produces First Complete Geologic Map of Io

[Tuesday, March 20, 2012]

More than 400 years after Galileo's discovery of Io, the innermost of Jupiter's largest moons, a team of scientists led by Arizona State University (ASU) has produced the first complete global geologic map of the Jovian satellite.




Some orbits more popular than others in solar systems

Some orbits more popular than others in solar systems

[Tuesday, March 20, 2012]

In young solar systems emerging around baby stars, some orbits are more popular than others, resulting in 'planet pile-ups' and 'planet deserts'




Space Law in Focus in Vienna

Space Law in Focus in Vienna

[Tuesday, March 20, 2012]

The 51st session of the Legal Subcommittee of the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) opened today at the Vienna International Centre.




Image: The Nile and the Mediterranean Sea at Night As Seen From Space

Image: The Nile and the Mediterranean Sea at Night As Seen From Space

[Tuesday, March 20, 2012]

This nighttime image photographed by one of the Expedition 30 crew members aboard the International Space Station provides a look toward the Mediterranean Sea.




NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Fractures in Ohm's Melt

NASA LRO Image of the Moon: Fractures in Ohm's Melt

[Tuesday, March 20, 2012]

Impact melt deposits are some of the most distinctive geologic features on the Moon, probably because no two impact melt deposit morphologies are alike! Studying the morphology of an impact melt pond can reveal much.




Subcommittee Examines FY13 FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation Budget Proposal

Subcommittee Examines FY13 FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation Budget Proposal

[Tuesday, March 20, 2012]

Today the Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics held a hearing to review the fiscal year 2013 budget request submitted by the FAA Office of Commercial Space Transportation and to examine the office's expanded roles and responsibilities.




Forecast for Early Earth: Haze Followed by Sun, Then Haze, Then Sun ...

Forecast for Early Earth: Haze Followed by Sun, Then Haze, Then Sun ...

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

Earth's early atmosphere periodically flipped back and forth between hazy and sunny in a way that would have had a profound effect on the climate of our young planet.




NASA'S Swift Narrows Down Origin of Important Supernova Class

NASA'S Swift Narrows Down Origin of Important Supernova Class

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

Studies using X-ray and ultraviolet observations from NASA's Swift satellite provide new insights into the elusive origins of an important class of exploding star called Type Ia supernovae.




NASA Seeks Space Launch System Advanced Development Solutions

NASA Seeks Space Launch System Advanced Development Solutions

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., has issued a NASA Research Announcement (NRA) for advanced development proposals to support the nation's next heavy-lift rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS).




Mercury Transits Yield Precise Solar Radius

Mercury Transits Yield Precise Solar Radius

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

A group of scientists from Hawaii, Brazil and California has measured the diameter of the Sun with unprecedented accuracy by using a spacecraft to time the transits of the planet Mercury across the face of the Sun in 2003 and 2006.




Super-Earth unlikely able to transfer life to other planets

Super-Earth unlikely able to transfer life to other planets

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

While scientists believe conditions suitable for life might exist on the so-called "super-Earth" in the Gliese 581 system, it's unlikely to be transferred to other planets within that solar system.




MESSENGER Completes Primary Mission at Mercury, Settles in for Another Year

MESSENGER Completes Primary Mission at Mercury, Settles in for Another Year

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

On March 17, 2012, MESSENGER successfully wrapped up a year-long campaign at Mercury. The following day, March 18, 2012, marked the official start of an extended phase designed to build upon those discoveries.




NASA Cassini Plasma Spectrometer Instrument Resumes Operations

NASA Cassini Plasma Spectrometer Instrument Resumes Operations

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

The Cassini plasma spectrometer instrument has resumed operations. Mission managers received confirmation on Friday, March 16, that it was turned on. They plan to monitor the instrument for any unusual behavior.




NASA Calls for Student-Designed Deep Space Habitat Proposals

NASA Calls for Student-Designed Deep Space Habitat Proposals

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

The Exploration Habitat (X-Hab) Academic Innovation Challenge is accepting applications for the 2013 challenge, inviting students to design, manufacture, assemble and test systems for use on NASA's deep space habitat prototype.




Satellites map Earth's vital resources

Satellites map Earth's vital resources

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

Recent studies show that satellite radar data can be exploited to map forest height, 3D forest structure and their natural or anthropogenic disturbance with high spatial resolution and accuracy.




ATV Edoardo Amaldi set for liftoff

ATV Edoardo Amaldi set for liftoff

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

The Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) is the largest cargo vessel supplying the International Space Station with food, water supplies and propellants.




Surprising Discovery of Rare 'Emerald-Cut' Galaxy

Surprising Discovery of Rare 'Emerald-Cut' Galaxy

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

An international team of astronomers -- from Australia, Germany, Switzerland, and Finland -- has discovered a rare, rectangular-shaped galaxy (LEDA 074886) that has a striking resemblance to an emerald-cut diamond.




Hearing Notes: Charles Bolden Testifies on NASA's FY 2013 Budget

Hearing Notes: Charles Bolden Testifies on NASA's FY 2013 Budget

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

NASA Administrator Bolden testified before the House Appropriations Committee Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related AGencies today on the NASA FY 2013 budget. Here are some nots from that hearing.




Dawn Sees New Surface Features on Asteroid Vesta

Dawn Sees New Surface Features on Asteroid Vesta

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

NASA's Dawn spacecraft has revealed unexpected details on the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. New images and data highlight the diversity of Vesta's surface and reveal unusual geologic features, some of which were never previously seen on asteroids.




Ron Garan Receives 2011 Spirit of Yuri's Night Award

Ron Garan Receives 2011 Spirit of Yuri's Night Award

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

NASA Astronaut Ron Garan was officially presented with the 2011 Spirit of Yuri's Night Award on Wednesday, March 14, 2012, after a day of special events welcoming him back to his childhood home of Yonkers, NY.




Experimental Payloads Selected  by NASA For Commercial Suborbital Flights

Experimental Payloads Selected by NASA For Commercial Suborbital Flights

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

NASA's Flight Opportunities Program has selected 24 cutting-edge space technology payloads for flights on commercial reusable launch vehicles, balloons and a commercial parabolic aircraft.




NASA Astronaut to Name Global Winners in YouTube Space Lab Contest

NASA Astronaut to Name Global Winners in YouTube Space Lab Contest

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

NASA astronaut Suni Williams will announce Thursday the two winners of the YouTube Space Lab contest, a global science competition that challenges 14-18 year-old students to design a science experiment for the International Space Station.




Website Tool For Identifying Mission-Accessible Near-Earth Asteroids and Observing Opportunities

Website Tool For Identifying Mission-Accessible Near-Earth Asteroids and Observing Opportunities

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

Observers, mission planners, and other interested users are invited to use a new website tool to view a list of near-Earth asteroids that are among the most accessible for future robotic or human space flight round-trip rendezvous missions.




Data from MESSENGER spacecraft reveals new insights on planet Mercury

Data from MESSENGER spacecraft reveals new insights on planet Mercury

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

Thanks to the MESSENGER spacecraft, and a mission that took more than 10 years to complete, scientists now have a good picture of the solar system's innermost planet.




Cassini Sees Saturn Stressing out Enceladus

Cassini Sees Saturn Stressing out Enceladus

[Wednesday, March 21, 2012]

Images from NASA's Cassini spacecraft have, for the first time, enabled scientists to correlate the spraying of jets of water vapor from fissures on Saturn's moon Enceladus with the way Saturn's gravity stretches and stresses the fissures.




Remarks by the President on Energy at Roswell, New Mexico

Remarks by the President on Energy at Roswell, New Mexico

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

It was a wonderful trip over here. We took the helicopter. We landed in Roswell. I announced to people when I landed that I had come in peace. (Laughter.)




Video: The Coming Transit of Venus the Last in Your Lifetime

Video: The Coming Transit of Venus the Last in Your Lifetime

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

On June 5th/6th of this year the last transit of Venus in your lifetime will happen. Learn about its history, what it means and how you can participate in this rare event.




Geologists discover new class of landform - on Mars

Geologists discover new class of landform - on Mars

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

An odd, previously unseen landform could provide a window into the geological history of Mars, according to new research by University of Washington geologists.




Planet Starship: Runaway Planets Zoom at a Fraction of Light-Speed

Planet Starship: Runaway Planets Zoom at a Fraction of Light-Speed

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

Not only do runaway planets exist, but some of them zoom through space at a few percent of the speed of light - up to 30 million miles per hour.




NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Symposium March 27-29

NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Symposium March 27-29

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Symposium will be held March 27-29. The NIAC examines early stage concepts that may lead to advanced and innovative space technologies critical for NASA to enable missions 10 to 100 years from today.




Dusty Mars Rover's Self Portrait

Dusty Mars Rover's Self Portrait

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

This self portrait from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity shows dust accumulation on the rover's solar panels as the mission approached its fifth Martian winter.




VISTA Produces Spectacular Panoramic View of the Distant Universe

VISTA Produces Spectacular Panoramic View of the Distant Universe

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

The most detailed infrared image ever taken of a region of space large enough to be representative of the distant Universe has been released by a team led by the University of Edinburgh.




Messenger Provides New Look at Mercury's Landscape, Metallic Core, and Polar Shadows

Messenger Provides New Look at Mercury's Landscape, Metallic Core, and Polar Shadows

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

Since moving into orbit about Mercury a little over one year ago, the spacecraft has captured nearly 100,000 images and returned data that have revealed new information about the planet.




Ecliptic

Ecliptic "MoonKAM" Systems Begin Operations in Lunar Orbit

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

Two four-camera color video systems supplied by Ecliptic Enterprises Corporation to NASA's dual-spacecraft GRAIL project have been turned on and are generating stunning video views of the Moon's surface from a vantage point in low lunar orbit.




Exercise has benefits, even when it's done in space

Exercise has benefits, even when it's done in space

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

Though earlier studies clearly showed that astronauts on these extended missions suffered serious deficits from lengthy times in a low-gravity environment, little was known about the effects of long-term space flight on the heart and vascular system.




NASA's Grail MoonKAM Returns First Student-Selected Lunar Images

NASA's Grail MoonKAM Returns First Student-Selected Lunar Images

[Thursday, March 22, 2012]

Fourth grade students from the Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman, Mont., received the honor of making the first image selections by winning a nationwide competition to rename the two spacecraft.




Discovery Sheds New Light on Wandering Continents

Discovery Sheds New Light on Wandering Continents

[Friday, March 23, 2012]

A layer of partially molten rock about 22 to 75 miles underground can't be the only mechanism that allows continents to gradually shift their position over millions of years, according to a NASA-sponsored researcher.




Modeling Extreme Space Weather

Modeling Extreme Space Weather

[Friday, March 23, 2012]

Explosions on the sun regularly disrupt the magnetic envelope surrounding Earth, but that envelope, the magnetosphere, largely protects the surface of the planet itself from space weather -- with one exception.




Europe's ATV Edoardo Amaldi Is On its Way to the International Space Station

Europe's ATV Edoardo Amaldi Is On its Way to the International Space Station

[Friday, March 23, 2012]

ESA's ATV Edoardo Amaldi lifted off from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, today at 04:34 GMT (05:34 CET, 01:34 local) on an Ariane 5 launcher, operated by Arianespace, heading towards the International Space Station.




Experients may force revision of astrophysical models of the universe

Experients may force revision of astrophysical models of the universe

[Friday, March 23, 2012]

Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories Z machine and the University of Rostock in Germany have found that current estimates of ice-giant planetary interiors overstate water's compressibility by as much as 30 percent.




Mars Rover Opportunity Update:  Winter Studies of 'Amboy' Rock Continue

Mars Rover Opportunity Update: Winter Studies of 'Amboy' Rock Continue

[Friday, March 23, 2012]

Opportunity Status for sol 2880-2886: Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.




NASA MRO Image of Mars: Bedrock Exposures in Crater Wall

NASA MRO Image of Mars: Bedrock Exposures in Crater Wall

[Saturday, March 24, 2012]

This mid-latitude crater appears well-preserved, with a clear ejecta blanket and well-defined rim. Bedrock exposures are visible near the top of the rim. Studying this site can yield information about the underlying terrain within this region.




South Pole Telescope Finishes Five-year Survey of Galaxy Clusters

South Pole Telescope Finishes Five-year Survey of Galaxy Clusters

[Saturday, March 24, 2012]

Its five-year mission: To survey the early universe for massive galaxy clusters, a search designed to understand more about one of cosmology's greatest mysteries -- dark energy. Mission complete. Now it's time for something new.




Image: Sediment in Lake Erie As Seen From Space

Image: Sediment in Lake Erie As Seen From Space

[Saturday, March 24, 2012]

After a nearly ice-free winter, Lake Erie was filled with multi-colored swirls of sediment on the first days of spring, 2012.




NASA LRO Image: Luna 23's Rough Landing On The Moon

NASA LRO Image: Luna 23's Rough Landing On The Moon

[Monday, March 26, 2012]

The entire Luna 23 vehicle (descent stage, ascent stage and Earth-return capsule) landed at an unexpected speed and fell on its side.




NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Close-up of Craters Hosting Radar-bright Deposits

NASA MESSENGER Image of Mercury: Close-up of Craters Hosting Radar-bright Deposits

[Monday, March 26, 2012]

MESSENGER's highly eccentric orbit, which passes low over Mercury's north polar region, enables higher-resolution views of Mercury's surface in the north than in the south.




NASA MRO Image of Mars: Uplifted Jumble of Ancient Bedrock

NASA MRO Image of Mars: Uplifted Jumble of Ancient Bedrock

[Monday, March 26, 2012]

Impact craters larger than a certain size have complex forms, including central peaks or other structures that result from structural uplift of the target material. This provides a mechanism for exposing deep, ancient bedrock.




Book Review:

Book Review: "Crater" By Homer Hickam

[Monday, March 26, 2012]

In a nutshell, "Crater" is sort of like Harry Potter meets Indiana Jones on the Moon - with some Johnny Quest thrown in for good measure.




NASA Successfully Launches Five Rockets from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia

NASA Successfully Launches Five Rockets from NASA Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia

[Tuesday, March 27, 2012]

NASA successfully launched five suborbital sounding rockets this morning from its Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia as part of a study of the upper level jet stream.




NASA Dawn Image of Asteroid Vesta: Double crater

NASA Dawn Image of Asteroid Vesta: Double crater

[Tuesday, March 27, 2012]

A double crater, called a crater doublet, is seen in the bottom right part of this framing camera (FC) image of Vesta.




NASA MRO image of Mars: The Floor of Toro Crater

NASA MRO image of Mars: The Floor of Toro Crater

[Tuesday, March 27, 2012]

Toro Crater may have experienced hydrothermal alteration, producing diverse minerals. The mineral diversity leads to diverse color in HiRISE, especially when enhanced as in this subimage.




Image: Parana River Floodplain Along the Mato Grosso/Sao Paulo Border, Brazil

Image: Parana River Floodplain Along the Mato Grosso/Sao Paulo Border, Brazil

[Tuesday, March 27, 2012]

The Parana River floodplain along the Mato Grosso--Sao Paulo border, Brazil is featured in this image photographed by an Expedition 30 crew member on the International Space Station.




Image: GRAIL's MoonKAM Looks Homeward Toward Earth

Image: GRAIL's MoonKAM Looks Homeward Toward Earth

[Tuesday, March 27, 2012]

This image of the far side of the lunar surface, with Earth in the background, was taken by the MoonKAM system onboard the Ebb spacecraft as part of the first image set taken from lunar orbit from March 15 - 18, 2012.




Earth's Other Moons

Earth's Other Moons

[Tuesday, March 27, 2012]

Earth usually has more than one moon, according to a team of astronomers from the University of Helsinki, the Paris Observatory and the University of Hawaii at Manoa.




NASA's Twitter Account Receives Shorty Award

NASA's Twitter Account Receives Shorty Award

[Tuesday, March 27, 2012]

NASA's activities in social media were recognized on Monday in New York when the agency's official Twitter feed, @NASA, received a Shorty Award for the best government use of social media.




Flying Formation - Around the Moon at 3,600 mph

Flying Formation - Around the Moon at 3,600 mph

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

"Our job is to ensure our two GRAIL spacecraft are flying a very, very accurate trail formation in lunar orbit," said David Lehman, GRAIL project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.




Stephen Hawking Accepts Prestigious NSS Award on Society's 25th Anniversary

Stephen Hawking Accepts Prestigious NSS Award on Society's 25th Anniversary

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

The National Space Society (NSS) is pleased to announce Dr. Stephen Hawking as the 14th recipient of NSS's Robert A. Heinlein Memorial Award.




NASA LRO Image: Luna 24 Sitting On The Lunar Surface

NASA LRO Image: Luna 24 Sitting On The Lunar Surface

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

Luna 24 landed in Mare Crisium on 18 August 1976 to complete the unfinished mission of Luna 23. The landing sites of Luna 23 and 24 are only 2.3 km apart.




NASA MRO Image of Mars: Mineral Veins

NASA MRO Image of Mars: Mineral Veins

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

The bright linear features cutting the bedrock in the center region of this image look like mineral veins. Mineral veins are sheetlike bodies of minerals formed by water that flows through fractures.




Image: Bali, Lombok, and Sumbawa: Where Worlds Collide

Image: Bali, Lombok, and Sumbawa: Where Worlds Collide

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

This image from the Envisat satellite is dominated by the Indonesian islands of Bali, Lombok and Sumbawa. All three are part of the volcanic Sunda Arc along the submarine Java trench, where two tectonic plates are moving towards one another.




Mars Rover Opportunity Update: Energy Levels Expected to Rise (with photos)

Mars Rover Opportunity Update: Energy Levels Expected to Rise (with photos)

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

Opportunity is positioned on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater with an approximate 15-degree northerly tilt for favorable solar energy production.




ICAP Ocean Tomo Auctions NASA Software Patent Portfolios March 29

ICAP Ocean Tomo Auctions NASA Software Patent Portfolios March 29

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

The Innovative Partnership Program Office of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., will hold a March 29 auction with ICAP Ocean Tomo LLC of Chicago to sell three NASA-developed technology lots totaling 12 patents.




A Planetary System from the Early Universe

A Planetary System from the Early Universe

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

A group of European astronomers has discovered an ancient planetary system that is likely to be a survivor from one of the earliest cosmic eras, 13 billion years ago.




Hearing Airs Concerns with Sustaining Space Station and Fulfilling Research Potential

Hearing Airs Concerns with Sustaining Space Station and Fulfilling Research Potential

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

The Committee today held a hearing to review NASA's plans for conducting research aboard the ISS, and for ensuring essential spares, facilities, transportation and other resources are adequate to meet the research needs on the ISS thru 2020.




Billions of Rocky Planets in Habitable Zones Around Red Dwarfs

Billions of Rocky Planets in Habitable Zones Around Red Dwarfs

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

This first direct estimate of the number of light planets around red dwarf stars has just been announced by an international team using observations with the HARPS spectrograph on the 3.6-metre telescope at ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile




References to CASIS in House Hearing on Space Station Utilization

References to CASIS in House Hearing on Space Station Utilization

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

"... it is too early for us to say whether [CASIS] will be successful in ensuring full scientific utilization of the station as a national laboratory.




Europe's third cargo vehicle docks with the Space Station

Europe's third cargo vehicle docks with the Space Station

[Wednesday, March 28, 2012]

ESA's ATV Edoardo Amaldi has completed the first stage of its docking with the Russian Zvezda module of the International Space Station.




Live Webcast: Conrad Spirit of Innovation Summit at NASA Ames

Live Webcast: Conrad Spirit of Innovation Summit at NASA Ames

[Thursday, March 29, 2012]

This year, we are giving everyone the chance to attend the Innovation Summit - virtually. We'll stream live footage of the Summit's opening remarks, daily fireside chats, interactive student workshops, and opening and closing ceremonies.




Titanium paternity test fingers Earth as moon's sole parent

Titanium paternity test fingers Earth as moon's sole parent

[Thursday, March 29, 2012]

A new chemical analysis of lunar material collected by Apollo astronauts in the 1970s conflicts with the widely held theory that a giant collision between Earth and a Mars-sized object gave birth to the moon 4.5 billion years ago.




Dusty, Acidic Glaciers Could Explain the Valles Marineris Interior Layered Deposits on Mars

Dusty, Acidic Glaciers Could Explain the Valles Marineris Interior Layered Deposits on Mars

[Thursday, March 29, 2012]

Researchers have proposed a new hypothesis to explain a class of enigmatic geologic features on Mars that have puzzled scientists for decades.




A Star Explodes & Turns Inside Out

A Star Explodes & Turns Inside Out

[Thursday, March 29, 2012]

A new X-ray study of the remains of an exploded star indicates that the supernova that disrupted the massive star may have turned it inside out in the process.




NASA LRO Image: Lunokhod 1 Rover Parked On The Lunar Surface

NASA LRO Image: Lunokhod 1 Rover Parked On The Lunar Surface

[Thursday, March 29, 2012]

Luna 17, carrying Lunokhod 1, landed on the flood basalt surface of Mare Imbrium on 17 November 1970, after entering orbit on 15 November.




NASA MRO Image: Dunes and Ripples in Valles Marineris

NASA MRO Image: Dunes and Ripples in Valles Marineris

[Thursday, March 29, 2012]

Two types of wind-blown sedimentary deposits are pictured in this scene of the floor of Ius Chasma in the Valles Marineris.




Image: Highs and Lows of Goethe Basin on Mercury

Image: Highs and Lows of Goethe Basin on Mercury

[Thursday, March 29, 2012]

The width of this image is about 250 kilometers (150 miles) Topographic information from the Mercury Laser Altimeter (MLA) is used to colorize a image mosaic of Goethe basin, located in Mercury's northern region.




Organics Probably Formed Easily in Early Solar System

Organics Probably Formed Easily in Early Solar System

[Friday, March 30, 2012]

Complex organic compounds, including many important to life on Earth, were readily produced under conditions that likely prevailed in the primordial solar system




NASA LRO Image: Copernicus Crater

NASA LRO Image: Copernicus Crater

[Friday, March 30, 2012]

Understanding how scientists determine the relative age of geologic units on the Moon is straightforward, most of the time. One simply follows the law of superposition; what is on top is younger, what is below is older.




NASA MRO Image: Boulders on the Floor of Hellas Basin

NASA MRO Image: Boulders on the Floor of Hellas Basin

[Friday, March 30, 2012]

This image reveals bouldery patches on the floor of the giant Hellas impact basin. The boulders are often crudely aligned. Maybe these boulders were deposited or sculpted by flowing ice in the form of glaciers.




NASA Cassini Image: Distant Hyperion

NASA Cassini Image: Distant Hyperion

[Friday, March 30, 2012]

This view was obtained at a distance of approximately 324,000 miles (521,000 kilometers) from Hyperion and at a Sun-Hyperion-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 90 degrees.




NASA Dawn Image of Asteroid Vesta: Blocks of ejected material and small craters near a crater rim

NASA Dawn Image of Asteroid Vesta: Blocks of ejected material and small craters near a crater rim

[Friday, March 30, 2012]

The low sun elevation in this Dawn framing camera (FC) image of Vesta enhances small topographic details near the rim of the large crater, part of which is visible in the bottom left of the image.




Hubble Spies a Spiral Galaxy Edge-on

Hubble Spies a Spiral Galaxy Edge-on

[Friday, March 30, 2012]

The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has spotted the "UFO Galaxy." NGC 2683 is a spiral galaxy seen almost edge-on, giving it the shape of a classic science fiction spaceship.




NASA's SOFIA Captures Image of Dying, Outflowing Star

NASA's SOFIA Captures Image of Dying, Outflowing Star

[Friday, March 30, 2012]

Researchers using NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) have captured an infrared image of the last exhalations of a dying sun-like star.




Astronaut meets Dragon

Astronaut meets Dragon

[Friday, March 30, 2012]

In preparation for the upcoming SpaceX demonstration flight, NASA astronaut Megan McArthur performed a crew equipment interface test March 28 in Florida.




ATV-3 Power Connection Successful, Reboost Set

ATV-3 Power Connection Successful, Reboost Set

[Saturday, March 31, 2012]

The primary channel of the RECS failed late Thursday during air scrubbing of the interior of the ATV. The cause of that failure is under investigation.




Movie of Mercury's South Pole

Movie of Mercury's South Pole

[Saturday, March 31, 2012]

This movie shows 89 WAC images of Mercury's south polar region acquired over one complete Mercury solar day (176 Earth days) in 2011. This dataset enabled the illumination conditions at Mercury's south polar region to be quantified.




Image: A Cloudy Day on Mars

Image: A Cloudy Day on Mars

[Saturday, March 31, 2012]

Mars occasionally has cloudy weather. We intended to take a picture of the bright ice-covered dunes that are faintly visible through these thin clouds, but weather forecasting on Mars is just as challenging as on Earth.




Image: Hubble Sees Glittering Jewels of Messier 9

Image: Hubble Sees Glittering Jewels of Messier 9

[Saturday, March 31, 2012]

The Hubble Space Telescope has produced the most detailed image so far of Messier 9, a globular star cluster located close to the center of the galaxy.




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