NASA Space Assets Detect Ocean inside Saturn Moon

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft and Deep Space Network have uncovered evidence Saturn’s moon Enceladus harbors a large underground ocean of liquid water, furthering scientific interest in the moon as a potential home to extraterrestrial microbes.

Researchers theorized the presence of an interior reservoir of water in 2005 when Cassini discovered water vapor and ice spewing from vents near the moon’s south pole. The new data provide the first geophysical measurements of the internal structure of Enceladus, consistent with the existence of a hidden ocean inside the moon. Findings from the gravity measurements are in the Friday April 4 edition of the journal Science.

“The way we deduce gravity variations is a concept in physics called the Doppler Effect, the same principle used with a speed-meas...

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NASA Celebrates Earth Day with “Global Selfie” Event

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For the first time in more than a decade, five NASA Earth-observing missions will be launched into space in a single year. To celebrate this milestone, NASA is inviting people all around the world to step outside on Earth Day, April 22, take a “selfie,” and share it with the world on social media.

Designed to encourage environmental awareness and recognize the agency’s ongoing work to protect our home planet, NASA’s “Global Selfie” event asks people everywhere to take a picture of themselves in their local environment.

On Earth Day, NASA will monitor photos posted to Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Google+ and Flickr...

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NASA TV to Air Arrival of New Space Station Crew Thursday

The Soyuz TMA-12M

Expedition 39 Flight Engineer Steven Swanson of NASA and Soyuz Commander Alexander Skvortsov and Flight Engineer Oleg Artemyev of the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan at 5:17 p.m. Tuesday (3:17 a.m. Wednesday in Baikonur).

Their Soyuz TMA-12M spacecraft did not complete a same-day rendezvous, as originally planned. Engineers are reviewing data to determine why the third in a series of rendezvous maneuvers that were to be conducted Tuesday did not occur as scheduled, thereby delaying the space station rendezvous two days. In conversations between flight controllers in Moscow and Houston, initial information indicates the spacecraft was not at the proper attitude, or orientation, for the automated thruster burn that puts the spacecraft in perfect position to dock with the space station.

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VIRGIN GALACTIC REACHES NEW HEIGHTS IN THIRD SUPERSONIC TEST FLIGHT

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MOJAVE, Calif. – Today, Virgin Galactic, the world’s first commercial spaceline, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group and Abu Dhabi’s aabar Investments PJS, successfully completed the third rocket-powered supersonic flight of its passenger carrying reusable space vehicle, SpaceShipTwo (SS2). In command on the flight deck of SS2 for the first time under rocket power was Virgin Galactic’s Chief Pilot Dave Mackay. Mackay, along with Scaled Composites’ (Scaled) Test Pilot Mark Stucky, tested the spaceship’s Reaction Control System (RCS) and the newly installed thermal protection coating on the vehicle’s tail booms. All of the test objectives were successfully completed.

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Launch of Maven Nov.18, 2013

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The $671 Million MAVEN spacecraft separated from the Atlas Centaur upper stage some 52 minutes after liftoff, unfurled its wing like solar panels to produce life giving power and thus began a 10 month .“We’re currently about 14,000 miles away from Earth and heading out to the Red Planet right now,” said MAVEN Project Manager David Mitchell of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center at the briefing, after the 5,400-pound spacecraft had been soaring through space for barely two and a half hours.“The first trajectory correction maneuver (TCM) is set for Dec. 3,” added Mitchell. There are a minimum of four TCM’s to ensure that the majestic probe remains precisely.

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New Science, NASA Cargo Launches to Space Station Aboard Orbital-1 Mission

The Antares rocket

Another NASA commercial space partner officially has begun contracted cargo flights to the International Space Station. Dozens of new NASA investigations and other science experiments from across the country are headed to the station aboard Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Cygnus spacecraft as part of the agency’s commercial partnerships with U.S. aerospace companies.

The launch aboard Orbital’s Antares rocket took place from NASA’s Wallop’s Flight Facility in Virginia Thursday, at 1:07 p.m. EST.

The Orbital-1 mission began the company’s first contracted cargo delivery flight to the station through a $1.9 billion NASA Commercial Resupply Services contract. Orbital will fly at least eight cargo missions to the space station through 2016.

“Today’s launch demonstrates how our strategic investments in...

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NASA’s MAVEN Mars orbiter set to launch on Nov. 18

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Ken Kremer - www.kenkremer.com for  space-site.com – 15 Oct  2013

KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, FL, USA – MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN Mission) is NASA’s next mission to Mars.   It is scheduled to lift off on Nov. 18, 2013 from Cape Canaveral, Florida on an Atlas V 401 rocket.  The 903 kilogram (2000 pound) probe will arrive at the Red Planet in September 2014 after a 10 month interplanetary voyage.

It is the first spacecraft from Earth devoted to investigating and understanding the upper atmosphere of Mars. The purpose is determining how and why Mars lost virtually all of its atmosphere billions of years ago and what effect that had on the climate.

“MAVENS’s goal is determining the composition of the ancient Martian atmosphere and when it was lost, where did all the water ...

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NASA’s Hubble Sees Comet ISON Intact

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A new image of the sunward plunging comet ISON suggests that the comet is intact despite some predictions that the fragile icy nucleus might disintegrate as the sun warms it. The comet will pass closest to the sun on Nov. 28.

In this NASA Hubble Space Telescope image taken on Oct. 9, the comet’s solid nucleus is unresolved because it is so small. If the nucleus broke apart then Hubble would have likely seen evidence for multiple fragments.

Moreover, the coma or head surrounding the comet’s nucleus is symmetric and smooth. This would probably not be the case if clusters of smaller fragments were flying along. What’s more, a polar jet of dust first seen in Hubble images taken in April is no longer visible and may have turned off.

This color composite image was assembled using two filters...

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Water on Mars

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Last month NASA’s Mars Rover Curiosity measured a high percentage of water in the surface soil of Mars. As the Mars One astronauts will be settling on Mars indefinitely, the availability of enough water at the location of the settlement is essential. For this reason, the exact location will be primarily based on the water content in the soil.

Will the astronauts have enough water, food and oxygen?

Our astronauts will be settling on Mars indefinitely. It’s not feasible to send water, oxygen and food from Earth to the astronauts: they will produce those on Mars.

Water

On Mars, water can be extracted from the soil. The Rover will select the location for the settlement primarily based on the water content in the soil. We expect this to be at a latitude of between 40 and 45 degrees North...

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Galactic bubble

The Galactic bubble

Nestled within the shell around this large bubble is an embryonic star that is already a hefty eight times more massive than our Sun.

This image, by ESA’s Herschel space observatory, was originally presented in the first announcement of scientific results  from the mission in May 2010.

This week Herschel scientists will meet again at ESA’s ESTEC establishment in the Netherlands to present, discuss, and take stock of the scientific breakthroughs of the entire mission at The Universe Explored by Herschel symposium.

The Galactic bubble shown in this image was just one of many surprising results of the mission.

It is about 4300 light-years away and has been blown by a star at its centre...

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