Showing posts from September, 2010

NASA Mission Shows Evolution Of Conditions At Edge Of Solar System

Source:    NASA RELEASE: 10-233 Excerpt: New data from NASA's Interstellar Boundary Explorer, or IBEX, spacecraft, reveal that conditions at the edge of our solar system may be much more dynamic than previously thought. …"Our discovery of changes over six months … show that the interaction of our sun and the galaxy is amazingly dynamic," said David J. McComas, IBEX principal investigator and assistant vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio. "These variations are taking place on remarkably short timescales." For more information about IBEX, visit

NASA'S Lunar Spacecraft Completes Exploration Mission Phase

Source:   NASA RELEASE: 10-223 Excerpt: NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, or LRO, will complete the exploration phase of its mission on Sept. 16, after a number of successes that transformed our understanding of Earth's nearest neighbor. LRO completed a one-year exploration mission in a polar orbit approximately 31 miles above the moon's surface. It produced a comprehensive map of the lunar surface in unprecedented detail; searched for resources and safe landing sites for potential future missions to the moon; and measured lunar temperatures and radiation levels. …Results from the mission include: new observations of the Apollo landing sites; indications that permanently shadowed and nearby regions may harbor water and hydrogen; observations that large areas in the permanently shadowed regions are colder than Pluto; detailed information about lunar terrain; …. For more information about LRO, visit

NASA Data Shed New Light About Water and Volcanoes on Mars

Source:   NASA RELEASE: 10-216 Data from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander suggest liquid water has interacted with the Martian surface throughout the planet's history and into modern times. The research also provides new evidence that volcanic activity has persisted on the Red Planet into geologically recent times, several million years ago.  For more information about the Phoenix mission, visit:

Amateur Astronomers are First to Detect Objects Impacting Jupiter

Source:   NASA Excerpt:   (Sept. 9) Amateur astronomers using backyard telescopes were the first to detect two small objects that burned up in Jupiter’s atmosphere on June 3 and Aug. 20.  

NASA Scientists Talk About Asteroids Passing Near Earth

Source:   NASA Excerpt:   ...Two asteroids passed within the moon’s distance from Earth on Sept. 8. NASA scientists were available for satellite interviews to discuss these near-Earth objects.  

30 Years Ago: Detection of Other Planetary Systems

Source:   Katherine Bracher, Mercury Magazine  Excerpt:...These days it’s common knowledge that there are planets around other stars; several hundred have now been found. But 30 years ago none had yet been discovered, and there was much discussion about whether other planetary systems did exist.  ...[In Mercury for Sept/Oct 1980, David C. Black] wrote that: “if we are ever to understand the origin of our own planetary system, we must look for other planetary systems in the hope of establishing, for example, whether planetary systems are a common or a rare occurrence, whether planetary systems are found around single stars or also found around binary and multiple stars, and whether the structure of planetary systems in general is similar to that of the solar system.” Today we have some answers to these questions....