Showing posts from March, 2010

NASA Mars Spacecraft Snaps Photos Chosen by Public

Source:   NASA RELEASE: 10-071 Excerpt: The most powerful camera aboard a NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars has returned the first pictures of locations on the Red Planet suggested by the public. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment, or HiRISE camera, aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO, is nicknamed, "the people's camera." Through a program called HiWish that began in January, scientists have received approximately 1,000 suggestions. The first eight images of areas the public selected are available online at:

Helium rain washing away neon on Jupiter

Source:   Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times It's raining on Jupiter… raining helium. …droplets of that inert gas that keeps the Goodyear blimp aloft and that powers the runaway house in the movie "Up" are falling like a soft rain from the upper atmosphere of the planet into the gas giant's high-pressure interior. In the process, they're washing away the neon that should also be in the upper atmosphere, researchers from UC Berkeley reported Monday.... See also  Discover Magazine Online , and .

LRO image of Luan 21 Lander

Source:  NASA-LRO Lunar Reconnaisance Orbiter images showing the USSR Luna Lander and rover. The Luna 21 spacecraft landed in Le Monnier crater on 15 January 1973 delivering the Soviet Union’s second rover - Lunokhod 2 to the lunar surface. The rover drew two giant circles to honor International Women’s Day.

Guilty of Killing the Dinosaurs

Source:   Lynn Yarris, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory Excerpt: …an international panel of 41 experts in geology, paleontology  and other related fields, after an exhaustive review of the data, declared an end to a 30 year controversy over what triggered the extinction of the dinosaurs – an asteroid or volcanoes. The panel ruled in favor of the asteroid... the size of San Francisco, traveling faster than a bullet, slammed into Earth ...delivered a destructive blast thousands of times more powerful than the combined yield of all the world’s nuclear weapons, setting off earthquakes greater than 11 in magnitude and widespread tsunamis, and shrouding the globe for years in a thick cocoon of sky-blackening dust and debris....

Probe may have found cosmic dust

Source:   Paul Rincon, BBC News Excerpt: ...Scientists may have identified the first specks of interstellar dust in material collected by the US space agency's Stardust spacecraft. ...The Nasa spacecraft was primarily sent to catch dust streaming from Comet Wild 2 .... also set out to capture particles of interstellar a seven-year, 4.8-billion-km (2.9 billion miles) interplanetary voyage. “So far this particle is unique... if we drop it on the floor, it will cost $300m to get another one ” Dr Andrew Westphal, University of California, Berkeley. …The discovery was made by a member of the public, using the Stardust@Home internet application, which invited participants to search the aerogel collection medium for tiny particles of the dust. ….

“Blue Marble” Earth image

Source:   NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) A spectacular “blue marble” image is the most detailed true-color image of the entire Earth to date. Using a collection of satellite- based observations, scientists and visualizers stitched together months of observations of the land surface, oceans, sea ice, and clouds into a seamless, true-color mosaic of every square kilometer (.386 square mile) of our planet. These images are freely available to educators, scientists, museums, and the public. This record includes preview images and links to full resolution versions up to 21,600 pixels across.” GSFC has also uploaded an animation of these images, as well as almost 1,400 other images and videos. gsfc/4392965590/

Chilean Quake May Have Shortened Earth Days

Source:   Alan Buis, NASA News 2010-071 Excerpt:  The Feb. 27 magnitude 8.8 earthquake in Chile may have shortened the length of each Earth day. JPL research scientist Richard Gross computed how Earth's rotation should have changed as a result of the Feb. 27 quake. … by about 1.26 microseconds (a microsecond is one millionth of a second). … more impressive is how much the quake shifted Earth's axis. Gross calculates the quake should have moved Earth's figure axis… by 2.7 milliarcseconds (about 8 centimeters, or 3 inches).