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Space News Reports

One of Oldest, Most Distant Galaxies Reveals a "Hidden Universe" of Unobserved Objects
"This object is a unique example of what is suspected to be an abundant, underlying population of small and faint galaxies at about 500 million years after the Big Bang," explained Adi Zitrin of the California
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Long-Sought Source of Massive Supernovas Detected
A group of researchers recently presented a model that provides the first characterization of the progenitor for a hydrogen-deficient supernova. Their model predicts that a bright hot star, which is the binary
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Milky Way's "Zombie" Zone --"Orbiting Dwarf Galaxies Completely Devoid of Hydrogen Gas"
Astronomers using the National Science Foundation’s Green Bank Telescope (GBT) in West Virginia, along with data from other large radio telescopes, have discovered that our nearest galactic neighbors, the dwarf
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Saturn Moon May Hide a 'Fossil' Core or an Ocean
This mosaic of Saturn's moon Mimas was created from images taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft during its closest flyby of the moon on Feb. 13, 2010. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute › Full image and
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NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Studies Comet Flyby
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Status Report NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has sent home more data about Mars than all other missions combined, is also now providing data about a comet that buzzed The Red
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NASA's Mars Odyssey Orbiter Watches Comet Fly Near
Artist's concept of NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech › Full image and caption Mars Odyssey Mission Status Report The longest-lived robot ever sent to Mars came through its latest challenge in
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All Three NASA Mars Orbiters Healthy After Comet Flyby
This artist's concept shows NASA's Mars orbiters lining up behind the Red Planet for their "duck and cover" maneuver to shield them from comet dust from the close flyby of comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) on Oct. 19, 2014. ›
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NASA's MAVEN Studies Passing Comet and Its Effects
MAVEN Mission Status Report NASA's newest orbiter at Mars, MAVEN, took precautions to avoid harm from a dust-spewing comet that flew near Mars today and is studying the flyby's effects on the Red Planet's atmosphere. The MAVEN
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Your Chance To Name A Comet Landing Site 19 October 2014, 22.26 Space
Your Chance To Name A Comet Landing Site
Image depicts the primary landing site on comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko chosen for the European Space Agency's Rosetta mission. Image credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA › Full
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NASA Mission Provides Its First Look at Martian Upper Atmosphere
[image-50] NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft has provided scientists their first look at a storm of energetic solar particles at Mars, produced unprecedented ultraviolet images of the tenuous
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NASA Mission Finds Widespread Evidence of Young Lunar Volcanism
[image-50] NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) has provided researchers strong evidence the moon’s volcanic activity slowed gradually instead of stopping abruptly a billion years ago. Scores of distinctive rock
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NASA’s Hubble Telescope Finds Potential Kuiper Belt Targets for New Horizons Pluto Mission
[image-50] Peering out to the dim, outer reaches of our solar system, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has uncovered three Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) the agency’s New Horizons spacecraft could potentially visit after it flies
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Hubble Finds Extremely Distant Galaxy through Cosmic Magnifying Glass
Get larger image formats Peering through a giant cosmic magnifying glass, NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has spotted one of the farthest, faintest, and smallest galaxies ever seen. The diminutive object is estimated to be
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NASA's Hubble Telescope Finds Potential Kuiper Belt Targets for New Horizons Pluto Mission
Get larger image formats The Kuiper Belt is a vast disk of icy debris left over from our Sun's formation 4.6 billion years ago. Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) are a unique class of solar-system body that has never been visited
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New Dark Matter Theory Solves Milky Way's "Missing Satellite-Galaxies" Puzzle
  A new measurement of dark matter in the Milky Way has revealed there is half as much of the mysterious substance as previously thought. Australian astronomers probed the edge of the Milky Way,
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First Ultraluminous Pulsar Ever Detected --"Extreme X Ray Source in Cigar Galaxy was Thought to be a Black Hole"
Astronomers working with NASA's Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR), led by Caltech's Fiona Harrison, have found a pulsating dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. The object,
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Discovery of New Particle will "Transform Our Understanding of Fundamental Force of Nature"
    Led by scientists from the University of Warwick, the discovery of the new particle will help provide greater understanding of the strong interaction, the fundamental force of nature found within
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NASA Selects New Science Teams for Astrobiology Research
NASA has awarded five-year grants totaling almost $50 million to seven research teams nationwide, including one from the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to study the origins, evolution, distribution
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NASA's NuSTAR Telescope Discovers Shockingly Bright Dead Star
Astronomers have found a pulsating, dead star beaming with the energy of about 10 million suns. This is the brightest pulsar - a dense stellar remnant left over from a supernova explosion - ever recorded. The discovery was
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NASA Parachute Engineers Have Appetite for Destruction
Engineers from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are bound and determined to destroy a perfectly good parachute this week during the latest test for the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD)
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Metal Made Like Plastic May Have Big Impact 08 October 2014, 23.45 Space
Metal Made Like Plastic May Have Big Impact
Open a door and watch what happens -- the hinge allows it to open and close, but doesn't permanently bend. This simple concept of mechanical motion is vital for making all kinds of movable structures, including mirrors and
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Send Your Name on NASA's Mars Journey, Start with Orion
NASA is inviting the public to send their names on a microchip to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, including Mars. Image credit: NASA › Larger image If only your name could collect frequent flyer miles. NASA is inviting
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NASA's New Winds Mission Installed, Gathers First Data
NASA's newest Earth observing mission, the International Space Station-Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat, is collecting its first science data on ocean wind speeds and direction following its successful installation and
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Check Out This Huge Rock On The Surface Of Rosetta’s Comet!
A close-up of a boulder nicknamed “Cheops” on the surface of 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Image taken by the Rosetta spacecraft. Credit: ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/SSO/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA As the Rosetta
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Earth Shines In Space Pictures In Glory You’ve Rarely Seen Before
by Elizabeth Howell on October 9, 2014 A timelapse photo of Earth created from a video made by the Expedition 28 and 29 crews on the International Space Station. Credit: zqyogl We truly live on a beautiful planet, and
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Among the Martian Hills: Curiosity Rover Peers At Rocks Of Mount Sharp
Rover tracks and Martian sand as seen from the rear hazcam of NASA’s Curiosity rover. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech After a couple of years of racing towards Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons), now it’s time for the Curiosity rover
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NASA Invites Public to Send Your Name to Mars – Starting on Orion’s First Flight
NASA invites you to send your name to Mars via the first Orion test flight in December 2014. Deadline for submissions is Oct 31, 2014. Join over 160,000 others! See link below. Credit: NASA Here’s your chance to
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Radio Telescopes Help Astronomers Tune In To Nova Generated Gamma Rays
When the nova stops blowing a wind, and the material drifts off into space, the fireworks are finished. Credit: Bill Saxton, NRAO/AUI/NSF Over two years ago, the Fermi-LAT Collaboration observed an “ear and eye opening”
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Video: Test Flight For NASA’s Orion Will be a ‘Trial By Fire’
by Nancy Atkinson on October 9, 2014 NASA if getting ready for the first test flight of the Orion crew vehicle, currently scheduled for December 4, 2014. “Before we can send astronauts into space on Orion, we have to
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NASA Mission Points to Origin of “Ocean of Storms” on Earth’s Moon
[image-36][image-51] Using data from NASA’s Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL), mission scientists have solved a lunar mystery almost as old as the moon itself. Early theories suggested the craggy outline of a
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Hubble Maps the Temperature and Water Vapor on an Extreme Exoplanet
Get larger image formats Located 260 light-years away, exoplanet WASP-43b is no place to call home. It is a world of extremes, where seething winds howl at the speed of sound from a 3,000-degree-Fahrenheit day side, hot
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Unearthly Zodiacal Light --A Fossil Clue to the Origin of Our Solar System
    This panorama photo, taken by ESO's Yuri Beletsky, shows the view of the starry sky from the site of ESO’s Very Large Telescope (VLT) at Cerro Paranal in Chile during the total lunar eclipse of
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Cassini Spacecraft Tracks Mystery Object in a Titan Sea
        NASA's Cassini spacecraft is monitoring the evolution of a mysterious feature in a large hydrocarbon sea on Saturn's moon Titan. The feature covers an area of about 100 square
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Did Our Solar System Originate in a Distant Star Cluster?
Planets orbiting stars outside the Solar System are now known to be very common. These exoplanets have been found orbiting stars of widely varied ages and chemical compositions and are scattered across the sky. But,
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NASA’s Newest Mars Mission Spacecraft Enters Orbit around Red Planet
[image-36] NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) spacecraft successfully entered Mars’ orbit at 10:24 p.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21, where it now will prepare to study the Red Planet’s upper atmosphere as
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Future News Reports

Obama's War Against US Energy Independence:  Give Away Oil Rich Alaskan Islands to Russia!
  By Joe Miller The Obama administration, despite the nation’s economic woes, effectively killed the job-producing Keystone Pipeline last month. The Arab Spring is turning the oil production of Libya and other Arab
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OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials 08 April 2012, 02.33 Administrator Energy
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials
OSBIT Power's MaXccess system completes successful offshore trials Visit http://www.osbitpower.com for further information OSBIT Power (OP), Siemens Wind Power and Statoil have successfully completed offshore
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North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost 12 January 2012, 02.01 Administrator Energy
North America's EV charging infrastructure to get a boost
        North America’s EV charging infrastructure may soon see significant improvements, thanks to a recent agreement between Eaton Corporation and Coulomb Technologies. Under the deal, Eaton’s Level II and
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Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source? 28 May 2011, 01.34 Administrator Energy
Could The Gravitomagnetic Field Be The Ultimate Energy Source?
      Have scientists already unknowingly discovered the source for all atomic energy reactions, and could the discovery of the gravitomagnetic field be the ultimate energy source?  What if our understandings on how
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Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation 25 September 2011, 16.27 Administrator Energy
Physicists urge caution over apparent speed of light violation
Physicists wary of junking light speed limit yet Physicist Antonio Ereditato poses before presenting the result of an experiment, which found a subatomic particle, the neutrino, seemed to move faster than the speed of
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STEORN ORBO  FREE ENERGY:  What's Next a Self Charging Unit for your Electric Car?
Steorn's Free Energy Orbo -- From Permanent Magnets to Solid State Systems   My associate, Hank Mills composed this for PESN, Saturday, February 12, 2011 6:17 Steorn is a small company based in Dublin, Ireland. For
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Cold Fusion, Releases Energy from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field 16 January 2011, 09.17 Administrator Energy
Cold Fusion, Releases Energy  from Hydrogen's Gravitomagnetic Field
Cold Fusion "In Bologna we did it" By Ilaria VENTURI, La Republica News, Bolona, Italy For the first time in Italy, in front of experts, the process was carried out using nickel and hydrogen. It 's the way to achieve
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Abu Dhabi Media Zone to generate renewable energy through its façade
Eco Factor: Sustainable development to generate renewable solar energy. Bernard Tschumi Architects have re-imagined their master plan for the new Abu Dhabi Media Zone, by incorporating several environmentally-friendly
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NASA Air Campaigns Focus on Arctic Climate Impacts PDF Print E-mail

Flights are underway from Fairbanks, Alaska, with NASA's C-130 Hercules aircraft Flights are underway from Fairbanks, Alaska, with NASA's C-130 Hercules aircraft to study the connection between retreating Arctic sea ice and climate change. Image Credit: NASA/Patrick Lynch
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September 16, 2014

Over the past few decades, average global temperatures have been on the rise, and this warming is happening two to three times faster in the Arctic. As the region's summer comes to a close, NASA is hard at work studying how rising temperatures are affecting the Arctic.

NASA researchers this summer and fall are carrying out three Alaska-based airborne research campaigns aimed at measuring greenhouse gas concentrations near Earth's surface, monitoring Alaskan glaciers, and collecting data on Arctic sea ice and clouds. Observations from these NASA campaigns will give researchers a better understanding of how the Arctic is responding to rising temperatures.

CARVE, or Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment, is a five-year airborne research campaign managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, that uses instruments aboard NASA aircraft to measure air and surface conditions and concentrations of gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane. Using NASA's C-23 Sherpa aircraft, CARVE flies approximately two weeks per month, g from May to November. Now that the mission is in its fourth year, researchers are building a detailed picture of how the land and atmosphere interact in the Arctic.

In high-latitude areas like Alaska, frozen ground known as permafrost can trap large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane produced by layers of decayed plant and animal matter. As permafrost temperatures have been increasing faster than air temperatures in the Arctic, scientists have questioned whether these heat-trapping gases could be released into the atmosphere, increasing their global concentrations.

"The exchange of carbon between the land and the atmosphere is very important - but uncertain," said Charles Miller, a JPL scientist and principal investigator of CARVE.

The Arctic Radiation - IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment, or ARISE, is a new NASA airborne campaign to collect data on thinning sea ice and measure cloud and atmospheric properties in the Arctic. The campaign was designed to address questions about the relationship between retreating sea ice and the Arctic climate.

Arctic sea ice reflects sunlight away from Earth, moderating warming in the region. Loss of sea ice means more heat from the sun is absorbed by the ocean surface, adding to Arctic warming. In addition, the larger amount of open water leads to more moisture in the air, which affects the formation of clouds that have their own effect on warming, either enhancing or reducing it.

"ARISE will link clouds and sea ice in a way that improves our computer models of the Arctic," said Tom Wagner, cryospheric sciences program manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Our goal is to better understand both the causes of Arctic ice loss and the connections to the overall Earth system."

The ARISE campaign, using NASA's C-130 Hercules aircraft from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, had its first science flight on Sept. 4 and has already carried out several surveys of sea ice and cloud conditions. The campaign is based in Fairbanks, Alaska.

"We are off to a great start collecting a timely and unique data set to help better understand the potential influence of clouds on the Arctic climate as sea ice conditions change," said William Smith, ARISE principal investigator at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Another area of interest in Alaska is its glaciers. Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have been taking airborne measurements of glacier surface height using a laser altimeter, an instrument that bounces a laser off the ice surface and measures how long it takes to return. These flights are part of NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne campaign that studies changes to land and sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic.

University researchers observe Alaskan glaciers twice a year, before and after the melt season, to determine how much ice they have lost or gained. The scientists have surveyed between 130 and 140 glaciers going back to the mid-1990s. IceBridge's Alaska flights have found that glaciers across the state are declining rapidly, with those terminating on land and in lakes losing mass faster than expected.

Researchers are also finding that there is considerable variation in mass loss throughout Alaska. "One glacier might be doing better than the one next to it," said Evan Burgess, University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist and member of the IceBridge Alaska team.

NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow

Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
818-354-0474
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Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0918
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Ed Campion
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
301-286-0697
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2014-312

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  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Space  |  
 
NASA Launches RapidScat Wind Watcher to Space Station PDF Print E-mail
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At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40 Sept. 21, 2014 -- At Cape Canaveral Air Force Station's Space Launch Complex 40, the nine rocket engines roar to life on the Falcon launch vehicle. Image credit: NASA
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September 20, 2014

A new NASA mission that will boost global monitoring of ocean winds for improved weather forecasting and climate studies is among about 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of NASA science investigations and cargo now on their way to the International Space Station aboard SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft. The cargo ship launched on the company's Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 10:52 p.m. PDT Saturday, Sept. 20 (1:52 a.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21).

The SpaceX mission is the company's fourth cargo delivery flight to the space station through a $1.6 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract. Dragon's cargo will support experiments to be conducted by the crews of space station Expeditions 41 and 42.

The International Space Station-Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat, mission will monitor ocean winds from the vantage point of the space station. This space-based scatterometer, developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, is a remote sensing instrument that uses radar pulses reflected from the ocean's surface from different angles to calculate surface wind speed and direction. This information will be useful for weather and marine forecasting and hurricane monitoring.

ISS-RapidScat's berth on the space station will put it in an orbit that is unique from any other wind measuring instrument currently in orbit. This vantage point will give scientists the first near-global direct observations of how ocean winds vary over the course of the day due to solar heating. The new mission will also provide cross-calibration of the international constellation of ocean wind satellites, extending the continuity and usefulness of the scatterometer data record.

Approximately nine days after berthing with the station, the RapidScat instrument and its nadir adapter, which orients the instrument to point down at Earth, will be robotically installed on the External Payload Facility SDX site of the Columbus module over a three-day period by the station's robotic arm, which is controlled by ground controllers at NASA's Johnson Space Center. ISS-RapidScat is an autonomous payload, requiring no interaction from station astronauts.

Using a different end effector -- a mechanical hand -- the station's robotic arm will first extract RapidScat's nadir adapter from the trunk of the Dragon and install it on an external site on the Columbus module. The arm will then pluck the RapidScat instrument assembly from the Dragon's trunk and attach it to the nadir adapter, completing the installation. Each of the two operations will take about six hours.

Once installed, RapidScat will be activated over a period of three days. Checkout of RapidScat will be completed approximately two weeks after installation. About two weeks of preliminary calibration and validation will then follow. RapidScat will then be ready to begin its two-year science mission.

Dragon also will deliver the first-ever 3-D printer in space. The technology enables parts to be manufactured quickly and cheaply in space, instead of waiting for the next cargo resupply vehicle delivery. The research team also will gain valuable insight into improving 3-D printing technology on Earth by demonstrating it in microgravity.

New biomedical hardware launched aboard the spacecraft will help facilitate prolonged biological studies in microgravity. The Rodent Research Hardware and Operations Validation (Rodent Research-1) investigation provides a platform for long-duration rodent experiments in space. These investigations examine how microgravity affects animals, providing information relevant to human spaceflight, discoveries in basic biology and knowledge that may have direct impact toward human health on Earth.

The Dragon spacecraft will also transport other biological research, including a new plant study. The Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) hardware has supported a variety of plant growth experiments aboard the space station. The BRIC-19 investigation will focus on the growth and development in microgravity of Arabidopsis thaliana seedlings, a small flowering plant related to cabbage. Because plant development on Earth is impacted by mechanical forces such as wind or a plant's own weight, researchers hope to improve understanding of how the growth responses of plants are altered by the absence of these forces when grown in microgravity.

Dragon is scheduled to be grappled at 4:04 a.m. PDT (7:04 a.m. EDT) on Tuesday, Sept. 23, by Expedition 41 Flight Engineer Alexander Gerst of the European Space Agency, using the space station's robotic arm to take hold of the spacecraft. NASA's Reid Wiseman will support Gerst in a backup position. Dragon is scheduled to depart the space station in mid-October for a splashdown in the Pacific Ocean, west of Baja California, bringing from the space station almost 3,200 pounds (1,450 kilograms) of science, hardware and crew supplies.

The space station is a convergence of science, technology and human innovation that demonstrates new technologies and makes research breakthroughs not possible on Earth. NASA recently awarded contracts to SpaceX and The Boeing Company to transport U.S. crews to and from the space station with the goal of certifying those transportation systems in 2017.

ISS-RapidScat is a partnership between JPL and the International Space Station Program Office at NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston, with support from the Earth Science Division of NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington. Other mission partners include the Kennedy Space Center, Florida; NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama; the European Space Agency; and SpaceX.

For more information on ISS-RapidScat, visit:

http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/RapidScat/

http://www.nasa.gov/rapidscat

For more information about SpaceX's fourth cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/spacex

For more information about the International Space Station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/station

For more information on Earth science activities aboard the space station, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/issearthscience

ISS-RapidScat is the third of five NASA Earth science missions scheduled to launch into space within 12 months, the most new Earth-observing mission launches in one year in more than a decade. NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow

Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
818-354-0474
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Stephanie Schierholz
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1100
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Dan Huot
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111
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2014-317

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  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Space  |  
 
NASA's ISS-RapidScat is Headed Into Space! PDF Print E-mail

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on the launch pad at Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The rocket is carrying the ISS-RapidScat instrument to the International Space Station as part of a resupply mission. Image credit: NASA
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September 18, 2014

The launch of NASA's International Space Station Rapid Scatterometer, or ISS-RapidScat, on board the fourth SpaceX commercial resupply services mission is scheduled for 11:14 p.m. PDT Sept. 19 (2:14 a.m. EDT Sept. 20). The instrument will monitor ocean winds from its perch on the space station. It will track hurricanes and storms, and provide a better understanding of Earth's climate.

NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 10 p.m. PDT (1 a.m. EDT). Watch online at:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

ISS-RapidScat is one of several cargo items being delivered to the space station for NASA by SpaceX's Dragon capsule. The capsule will be boosted to space by SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, lifting off from the company's hangar at Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The launch window is instantaneous; should it pass, the next launch opportunity is Saturday, Sept. 20, at approximately 10:53 p.m. PDT (Sunday, Sept. 21, at approximately 1:53 a.m. EDT).

Seconds before launch, nine Merlin engines on the rocket's first stage will ignite. Upon release of the vehicle at liftoff, the engines will produce more than 1.3 million pounds (600,000 kilograms) of thrust. One minute and 10 seconds after launch, the rocket will be traveling at supersonic speeds. Main-engine cutoff occurs about 161 seconds after launch. Three seconds later, the first and second stages separate. Eight seconds after that, the second stage burns for seven minutes, bringing the rocket into a low-Earth orbit. During this time, the nose cone protecting the Dragon capsule opens up and falls away.

The second-stage engine cuts off at nine minutes and 40 seconds after launch. Thirty-five seconds later, Dragon separates from the rocket, reaching a preliminary orbit. The solar arrays deploy soon after, and a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings over the next two days put Dragon in reach of the space station.

As Dragon chases the station, it will establish communication with the ground and space station. On Monday, Sept. 22, a final decision to mate the capsule with the station will be made by NASA's Mission Control in Houston and the SpaceX team in Hawthorne, California. The astronauts on board the station will use a robotic arm to capture the capsule, and berth it with the Nadir docking port on Node 2.

Nine days after the capsule docks with the station, the ISS-RapidScat instrument is scheduled to be installed on the External Payload Facility SDX site of the Columbus module over a three-day period by the robotic arm with commands from the ground. ISS-RapidScat is an autonomous payload, requiring no interaction from space station astronauts.

Engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, are expected to activate the instrument about 12 to 18 days after launch. A two-week period of calibration and validation will follow, before RapidScat begins its two-year science mission.

For more information about ISS-RapidScat, visit:

http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/RapidScat/

http://www.nasa.gov/rapidscat

For more information about SpaceX space station resupply missions, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/spacex

Alan Buis
818-354-0474
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
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2014-316

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  Section:  Articles - File Under:  Space  |  
 
Five Things About NASA's ISS-RapidScat PDF Print E-mail

ISS-RapidScat will have a close-up view of ocean winds from its perch ISS-RapidScat will have a close-up view of ocean winds from its perch on the International Space Station, as this 2010 astronaut photo of Hurricane Earl illustrates. Image credit: NASA
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September 18, 2014

NASA's ISS-RapidScat mission will observe ocean wind speed and direction over most of the globe, bringing a new eye on tropical storms, hurricanes and typhoons. Here are five fast facts about the mission.

1. The space station looks homeward. ISS-RapidScat is the first scientific Earth-observing instrument specifically designed and developed to mount on the exterior of the International Space Station.

2. Microwaves in space. The ISS-RapidScat scatterometer is a type of radar that uses the same low-energy microwaves you use to warm up food. It bounces the microwaves off the ocean surface and analyzes the strength of the return signal to calculate wind speed and direction over the ocean.

3. Great sightlines, tight deadlines. The entire mission was built in a mere 18 months to catch a free ride on a scheduled International Space Station cargo resupply mission and take advantage of an available mounting location on the station. Most free-flying satellite missions require many years in development before launch.

4. Reduce, reuse, recycle. The ISS-RapidScat team adapted and reused hardware from the 1990s that was built to test the preceding NASA scatterometer instrument, QuikScat. Despite their advanced age, the components offer all the capacity the mission needs and passed every test. Using these components significantly reduced the mission's overall cost.

5. A view that changes daily. Two other satellite instruments record ocean winds, but they are in sun-synchronous orbit, meaning that they cross the equator at the same times each day. The space station's orbit will take ISS-RapidScat across almost the entire globe between the Arctic and Antarctic circles at different times of the day. This will give scientists data they need to study how ocean winds grow and change throughout the day.

For more information about ISS-RapidScat, please visit:

http://winds.jpl.nasa.gov/missions/RapidScat/

http://www.nasa.gov/issearthscience/

More information about NASA's Earth science activities this year is at:

http://www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow

Alan Buis
818-354-0474
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
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Written by Carol Rasmussen
NASA Earth Science News Team

2014-315

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Dawn Operating Normally After Safe Mode Triggered PDF Print E-mail
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Flights are underway from Fairbanks, Alaska, with NASA's C-130 Hercules aircraft Flights are underway from Fairbanks, Alaska, with NASA's C-130 Hercules aircraft to study the connection between retreating Arctic sea ice and climate change. Image Credit: NASA/Patrick Lynch
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September 16, 2014

Over the past few decades, average global temperatures have been on the rise, and this warming is happening two to three times faster in the Arctic. As the region's summer comes to a close, NASA is hard at work studying how rising temperatures are affecting the Arctic.

NASA researchers this summer and fall are carrying out three Alaska-based airborne research campaigns aimed at measuring greenhouse gas concentrations near Earth's surface, monitoring Alaskan glaciers, and collecting data on Arctic sea ice and clouds. Observations from these NASA campaigns will give researchers a better understanding of how the Arctic is responding to rising temperatures.

CARVE, or Carbon in Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment, is a five-year airborne research campaign managed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, that uses instruments aboard NASA aircraft to measure air and surface conditions and concentrations of gases like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and methane. Using NASA's C-23 Sherpa aircraft, CARVE flies approximately two weeks per month, g from May to November. Now that the mission is in its fourth year, researchers are building a detailed picture of how the land and atmosphere interact in the Arctic.

In high-latitude areas like Alaska, frozen ground known as permafrost can trap large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane produced by layers of decayed plant and animal matter. As permafrost temperatures have been increasing faster than air temperatures in the Arctic, scientists have questioned whether these heat-trapping gases could be released into the atmosphere, increasing their global concentrations.

"The exchange of carbon between the land and the atmosphere is very important - but uncertain," said Charles Miller, a JPL scientist and principal investigator of CARVE.

The Arctic Radiation - IceBridge Sea and Ice Experiment, or ARISE, is a new NASA airborne campaign to collect data on thinning sea ice and measure cloud and atmospheric properties in the Arctic. The campaign was designed to address questions about the relationship between retreating sea ice and the Arctic climate.

Arctic sea ice reflects sunlight away from Earth, moderating warming in the region. Loss of sea ice means more heat from the sun is absorbed by the ocean surface, adding to Arctic warming. In addition, the larger amount of open water leads to more moisture in the air, which affects the formation of clouds that have their own effect on warming, either enhancing or reducing it.

"ARISE will link clouds and sea ice in a way that improves our computer models of the Arctic," said Tom Wagner, cryospheric sciences program manager at NASA Headquarters in Washington. "Our goal is to better understand both the causes of Arctic ice loss and the connections to the overall Earth system."

The ARISE campaign, using NASA's C-130 Hercules aircraft from Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia, had its first science flight on Sept. 4 and has already carried out several surveys of sea ice and cloud conditions. The campaign is based in Fairbanks, Alaska.

"We are off to a great start collecting a timely and unique data set to help better understand the potential influence of clouds on the Arctic climate as sea ice conditions change," said William Smith, ARISE principal investigator at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

Another area of interest in Alaska is its glaciers. Researchers at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have been taking airborne measurements of glacier surface height using a laser altimeter, an instrument that bounces a laser off the ice surface and measures how long it takes to return. These flights are part of NASA's Operation IceBridge, an airborne campaign that studies changes to land and sea ice in the Arctic and Antarctic.

University researchers observe Alaskan glaciers twice a year, before and after the melt season, to determine how much ice they have lost or gained. The scientists have surveyed between 130 and 140 glaciers going back to the mid-1990s. IceBridge's Alaska flights have found that glaciers across the state are declining rapidly, with those terminating on land and in lakes losing mass faster than expected.

Researchers are also finding that there is considerable variation in mass loss throughout Alaska. "One glacier might be doing better than the one next to it," said Evan Burgess, University of Alaska Fairbanks scientist and member of the IceBridge Alaska team.

NASA monitors Earth's vital signs from land, air and space with a fleet of satellites and ambitious airborne and ground-based observation campaigns. NASA develops new ways to observe and study Earth's interconnected natural systems with long-term data records and computer analysis tools to better see how our planet is changing. The agency shares this unique knowledge with the global community and works with institutions in the United States and around the world that contribute to understanding and protecting our home planet.

For more information about NASA's Earth science activities in 2014, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/earthrightnow

Alan Buis
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
818-354-0474
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Steve Cole
NASA Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0918
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Ed Campion
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
301-286-0697
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2014-312

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Space Station Extension May Cost More Than NASA Expects: Report PDF Print E-mail

The International Space Station. Credit: NASA

The International Space Station. Credit: NASA

NASA’s anticipated $3 billion to $4 billion annual budget for the International Space Station is “overly optimistic”, a new report from NASA’s Inspector General says.

Transportation costs will likely rise when NASA uses commercial spacecraft to access the station instead of Russian Soyuzes, the report said. Also, if international partners don’t commit to extending the station four extra years to 2024, NASA will need to pick up more of the financial burden.

“While ISS program officials have been seeking ways to reduce costs and consolidate resources, it is unclear whether these efforts will be sufficient to address anticipated cost increases, particularly because the program does not expect to maintain any funding reserves over the next several years,” the report reads.

Expedition 38 crew members proudly sport their national flags in this March 2014 picture from the International Space Station. Pictured (clockwise from top center) are Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, commander; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, all flight engineers. Credit: NASA

Expedition 38 crew members proudly sport their national flags in this March 2014 picture from the International Space Station. Pictured (clockwise from top center) are Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov, commander; Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Koichi Wakata, Russian cosmonaut Sergey Ryazanskiy, NASA astronauts Rick Mastracchio and Mike Hopkins, and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Tyurin, all flight engineers. Credit: NASA

In January, the Obama administration approved NASA’s request to extend the ISS until 2024. At the time, NASA said the extension would be beneficial for science and also for the companies that will send spacecraft to the station, which right now appear to be SpaceX and Boeing. (NASA has been purchasing Soyuz seats since the shuttle retired in 2011, and U.S. flights are slated to start up again in 2017.)

There are 16 nations participating in space station operations, however, and any extension may require the approval of some or all of them. Political tensions with major partner Russia (which manages much of the station) have increased since the Ukrainian invasion crisis erupted earlier this year, prompting international condemnation. NASA cut most scientific ties with Russia in April, but preserved the station — an activity the agency says is proceeding normally, despite the crisis.

Besides political ramifications, the report points to technical issues with the ISS that could make an extension difficult. Its solar arrays are degrading faster than possible, causing power limitations, and NASA has limited capability to lift large replacements parts to the station since the shuttle’s retirement.

Image above: Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock (right) and Tracy Caldwell Dyson work to replace a failed ammonia pump module outside of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Image above: Expedition 24 Flight Engineers Doug Wheelock (right) and Tracy Caldwell Dyson work to replace a failed ammonia pump module outside of the International Space Station. Credit: NASA TV

Even the station’s promise of science return is proving to be a challenge. ISS United States laboratory manager Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) is facing “issues related to funding and patent licenses and data rights” that are “deterring commercial stakeholders from conducting research on the ISS,” the report notes.

The report suggests that NASA keep trying to secure commitments from the ISS partners to share station costs, and that the agency “prioritize the human health risks to long-term exploration” in terms of its scientific research. While the report praised NASA for taking its recommendations seriously, it chastised the agency for not having a list of risks to the ISS ready yet.

NASA’s spending on the ISS was $2.9 bilion in fiscal 2013, with 43% of that money going to system operations and maintenance and 34% to crew and cargo transportation. About 10% is allocated to research.

The report was signed by Paul Martin, the inspector general, and can be read in full at this link. This news report just skims the surface of what the actual report says, so we highly encourage you to read it.

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

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Lazy Giant Galaxies Gain Mass By Ingesting Smaller Neighbors PDF Print E-mail

Some of the many thousands of merging galaxies identified within the GAMA survey. Credit: Professor Simon Driver and Dr Aaron Robotham, ICRAR.

Some of the many thousands of merging galaxies identified within the GAMA survey. Credit: Professor Simon Driver and Dr Aaron Robotham, ICRAR.

The Anglo-Australian Telescope in New South Wales has been watching how lazy giant galaxies gain size – and it isn’t because they create their own stars. In a research project known as the Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) survey, a group of Australian scientists led by Professor Simon Driver at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) have found Universe’s most massive galaxies prefer “eating” their neighbors.

According to findings published in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, astronomers studied more than 22,000 individual galaxies to see how they grew. Apparently smaller galaxies are exceptional star producers, forming their stellar members from their own gases. However, larger galaxies are lazy. They aren’t very good at stellar creation. These massive monsters rarely produce new stars on their own. So how do they grow? They cannabilize their companions. Dr. Aaron Robotham, who is based at the University of Western Australia node of the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR), explains that smaller ‘dwarf’ galaxies were being consumed by their heavyweight peers.

“All galaxies start off small and grow by collecting gas and quite efficiently turning it into stars,” he said. “Then every now and then they get completely cannibalized by some much larger galaxy.”

So how does our home galaxy stack up to these findings? Dr. Robotham, who led the research, said the Milky Way is at a tipping point and is expected to now grow mainly by eating smaller galaxies, rather than by collecting gas.

“The Milky Way hasn’t merged with another large galaxy for a long time but you can still see remnants of all the old galaxies we’ve cannibalized,” he said. “We’re also going to eat two nearby dwarf galaxies, the Large and Small Magellanic Clouds, in about four billion years.” Robotham also added the Milky Way wouldn’t escape unscathed. Eventually, in about five billion years, we’ll encounter the nearby Andromeda Galaxy and the tables will be turned. “Technically, Andromeda will eat us because it’s the more massive one,” he said.

This simulation shows what will happen when the Milky Way and Andromeda get closer together and then collide, and then finally come together once more to merge into an even bigger galaxy.

Simulation Credit: Prof Chris power (ICRAR-UWA), Dr Alex Hobbs (ETH Zurich), Prof Justin Reid (University of Surrey), Dr Dave Cole (University of Central Lancashire) and the Theoretical Astrophysics Group at the University of Leicester. Video Production Credit: Pete Wheeler, ICRAR.

What exactly is going on here? Is it a case of mutual attraction? According to Dr. Robotham when galaxies grow, they acquire a heavy-duty gravitational field allowing them to suck in neighboring galaxies with ease. But why do they stop producing their own stars? Is it because they have exhausted their fuel? Robotham said star formation slows down in really massive galaxies might be “because of extreme feedback events in a very bright region at the center of a galaxy known as an active galactic nucleus.”

“The topic is much debated, but a popular mechanism is where the active galactic nucleus basically cooks the gas and prevents it from cooling down to form stars,” Dr. Robotham said.

Will the entire Universe one day become just a single, large galaxy? In reality, gravity may very well cause galaxies groups and clusters to congeal into a limited number of super-giant galaxies, but that will take many billions of years to occur..

“If you waited a really, really, really long time that would eventually happen, but by really long I mean many times the age of the Universe so far,” Dr. Robotham said.

While the GAMA survey findings didn’t take billions of years, it didn’t happen overnight either. It took seven years and more than 90 scientists to complete – and it wasn’t a single revelation. From this work there have been over 60 publications and there are still another 180 in progress!

Original Story Souce: Monster galaxies gain weight by eating smaller neighbours – ICAR

Further reading: ‘Galaxy and Mass Assembly (GAMA): Galaxy close-pairs, mergers and the future fate of stellar mass’ in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. Published online 19/9/2014 at: http://mnras.oxfordjournals.org/lookup/doi/10.1093/mnras/stu1604 . Preprint version accessible at: http://arxiv.org/abs/1408.1476 .

About 

Tammy is a professional astronomy author, President Emeritus of Warren Rupp Observatory and retired Astronomical League Executive Secretary. She’s received a vast number of astronomy achievement and observing awards, including the Great Lakes Astronomy Achievement Award, RG Wright Service Award and the first woman astronomer to achieve Comet Hunter's Gold Status.

Tagged as: Galaxy And Mass Assembly (GAMA) Survey, Galaxy Mergers, International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR)

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How NASA’s Next Mars Spacecraft Will Greet The Red Planet On Sunday PDF Print E-mail
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An artist concept of MAVEN in orbit around Mars. (Credit: NASA's Goddard Spaceflight Center).

An artist concept of MAVEN in orbit around Mars. (Credit: NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center).

NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter is oh-so-close to its destination after a 10-month journey. It’s scheduled to arrive in orbit Sunday (Sept. 21) around 9:50 p.m. EDT (1:50 a.m. UTC) if all goes well, but there are a few things that need to happen, in order, first.

One big obstacle is already out of the way. MAVEN controllers had expected to do final engine burn tweaks to put it on the right trajectory, but the mission is so on-target that it won’t be needed.

“#MAVEN orbit insertion sequence has been activated on the s/c. No additional ground intervention is needed to enter #Mars’ orbit on Sunday,” the official account tweeted yesterday (Sept. 18).

So what does the sequence entail? MAVEN will need to turn on its six thruster engines for a 33-minute braking maneuver to slow it down. This will allow the gravity of Mars to “capture” the spacecraft into an elliptical or oval-shaped orbit.

Should that all go safely, MAVEN still has a lot of work to do before being ready to capture information about the upper atmosphere of the Red Planet. All spacecraft go through a commissioning phase to ensure their instruments are working correctly and that they are in the correct orbit and orientation to do observations.

As such, controllers will spend about six weeks moving MAVEN into a more circular orbit and testing out its instruments. Usually this period is done without interruption, but NASA wants to capture information when Comet Siding Spring comes whizzing by Mars Oct. 19.

Controllers are interested in learning about the comet and its effect on the upper atmosphere, so they will stop the commissioning to make those measurements. MAVEN will also be oriented in such a way that its solar panels are protected as much as possible from the dust, although scientists now believe the risk of strikes is very low.

This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, 2014 the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 miles (132,000 kilometers). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This graphic depicts the orbit of comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring as it swings around the sun in 2014. On Oct. 19, 2014 the comet will have a very close pass at Mars. Its nucleus will miss Mars by about 82,000 miles (132,000 kilometers). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

MAVEN is expected to work at Mars for a year, but investigators are hoping it will be for longer so that the atmosphere can be tracked through more of a solar cycle. The Sun’s activity is a major influencer on the atmosphere and the “stripping” of molecules from it over time, which could have thinned Mars’ atmosphere in the ancient past.

The spacecraft will also serve as a backup communications and data relay for the Opportunity and Curiosity rovers on the surface, which might be needed if some of the older NASA Mars spacecraft that fulfill that function experience technical difficulties.

About 

Elizabeth Howell is the senior writer at Universe Today. She also works for Space.com, Space Exploration Network, the NASA Lunar Science Institute, NASA Astrobiology Magazine and LiveScience, among others. Career highlights include watching three shuttle launches, and going on a two-week simulated Mars expedition in rural Utah. You can follow her on Twitter @howellspace or contact her at her website.

Tagged as: C/2013 A1 Siding Spring, MAVEN

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Spectacular Nighttime Blastoff Boosts SpaceX Cargo Ship Loaded with Science and Critical Supplies for Space Station PDF Print E-mail

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule packed with science experiments and station supplies blasts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 1:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 21, 2014 bound for the ISS. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule packed with science experiments and station supplies blasts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, at 1:52 a.m. EDT on Sept. 21, 2014 bound for the ISS. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL – A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket blazed aloft on a spectacular middle of the night blastoff that turned night into day along the Florida Space coast today, Sept. 21, 2014, boosting a commercial cargo ship for NASA and loaded with 2.5 tons of ground breaking science experiments, 20 ‘mousetronauts’ and critical supplies for the human crew residing aboard the International Space Station (ISS).

The SpaceX Dragon cargo vessel on the CRS-4 mission for thundered to space on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida at 1:52 a.m. EDT Sunday, Sept. 21, just hours after a deluge of widespread rain showers inundated the central Florida.

Notably, the Space CRS-4 mission is carrying NASA’s first research payload – RapidScat – aimed at conducting Earth science from the stations exterior.

CRS-4 marks the company’s fourth resupply mission to the ISS under a $1.6 Billion contract with NASA to deliver 20,000 kg (44,000 pounds) of cargo to the ISS during a dozen Dragon cargo spacecraft flights through 2016.

The Dragon spacecraft is loaded with more than 5,000 pounds of science experiments, spare parts, crew provisions, food, clothing and supplies to the six person crews living and working aboard the ISS soaring in low Earth orbit under NASA’s Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract.

“This launch kicks off a very busy time for the space station,” said NASA’s Sam Scimemi, director of the International Space Station, noting upcoming launches of a Soyuz carrying the next three person international crew of the station and launches of other cargo spacecraft including the Orbital Sciences Antares/Cygnus around mid- October.

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule packed with science experiments and station supplies blasts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on Sept. 21, 2014 bound for the ISS. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket carrying a Dragon cargo capsule packed with science experiments and station supplies blasts off from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida, on Sept. 21, 2014 bound for the ISS. Credit: Ken Kremer/kenkremer.com

Today’s Falcon 9 launch had already been postponed 24 hours by continuing terrible weather all week long at Cape Canaveral which had also forced a more than two hour delay to the target liftoff of a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from the Cape just four days earlier. Read my Atlas V launch story here.

Sundays launch brilliantly affirmed the ability of SpaceX to fire off their Falcon 9 rockets at a rapid pace since it was the second launch in less than two weeks, and the fourth over the past ten weeks. The prior Falcon 9 successfully launched the AsiaSat 6 commercial telecom satellite from the Cape on Sept. 7 – detailed here.

The CRS-4 missions marks the birth of a new era in Earth science aboard the massive million pound orbiting space station. The truck of the Dragon is loaded with the $30 Million ISS-Rapid Scatterometer to monitor ocean surface wind speed and direction.

RapidScat is NASA’s first research payload aimed at conducting Earth science from the stations exterior. The stations robot arm will pluck RapidScat out of the truck and attach it to an Earth-facing point on the exterior trusswork of ESA’s Columbus science module.

Dragon also carries the first 3-D printer to space for studies by the astronaut crews over at least the next two years.

SpaceX Falcon 9 erect at Cape Canaveral launch pad 40 awaiting launch on Sept 20, 2014 on the CRS-4 mission. Credit: Ken Kremer - kenkremer.com

SpaceX Falcon 9 erect at Cape Canaveral launch pad 40 awaiting launch on Sept 20, 2014 on the CRS-4 mission. Credit: Ken Kremer – kenkremer.com

The science experiments and technology demonstrations alone amount too over 1644 pounds (746 kg) of the Dragon’s cargo and will support 255 science and research investigations that will occur during the station’s Expeditions 41 and 42 for US investigations as well as for JAXA and ESA.

After a two day chase, Dragon will be grappled and berth at an Earth-facing port on the stations Harmony module.

Stay tuned here for Ken’s continuing SpaceX, Boeing, Sierra Nevada, Orbital Sciences, commercial space, Orion, Mars rover, MAVEN, MOM and more planetary and human spaceflight news.

Ken Kremer

About 

Dr. Ken Kremer is a speaker, scientist, freelance science journalist (Princeton, NJ) and photographer whose articles, space exploration images and Mars mosaics have appeared in magazines, books, websites and calanders including Astronomy Picture of the Day, NBC, BBC, SPACE.com, Spaceflight Now and the covers of Aviation Week & Space Technology, Spaceflight and the Explorers Club magazines. Ken has presented at numerous educational institutions, civic & religious organizations, museums and astronomy clubs. Ken has reported first hand from the Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral and NASA Wallops on over 40 launches including 8 shuttle launches. He lectures on both Human and Robotic spaceflight - www.kenkremer.com. Follow Ken on Facebook and Twitter

Tagged as: commercial resupply services (CRS), CRS-4, Falcon 9, ISS, SpaceX, SpaceX Dragon

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