RSS News Feed /rss/ Discovery NASA news articles in RSS feed Sun, 21 Dec 2014 21:27:12 GMT Stardust Adjusts Path for Comet Flyby http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1023 With two weeks until its flyby of comet Tempel 1, NASA's Stardust spacecraft fired its thrusters on Jan. 31 to help refine its flight path toward the comet. The Stardust-NExT mission will fly past comet Tempel 1 on Valentine's Day - Feb. 14, 2011.   The trajectory correction maneuver consumed about 300 grams (10.6 ounces) of fuel and changed the spacecraft's speed by 2.6 meters per second (about 5.8 mph).   The EPOXI mission spacecraft revealed a cometary snow storm created by carbon dioxide jets spewing out tons of golf-ball to basketball-sized fluffy ice particles from the peanut-shaped comet's rocky ends. At the same time, a different process was causing water vapor to escape from the comet's smooth mid-section. This information sheds new light on the nature of comets and even planets. Wed, 02 Feb 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1023 Kepler Finds Earth-Size Planet Candidates http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1024 The Kepler mission has discovered its first Earth-size planet candidates and its first candidates in the habitable zone, a region where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface. Five of the potential planets are near Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of smaller, cooler stars than our sun.   Candidates require follow-up observations to verify they are actual planets. Kepler also found six confirmed planets orbiting a sun-like star, Kepler-11. This is the largest group of transiting planets orbiting a single star yet discovered outside our solar system. Fri, 04 Feb 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1024 Hours From Comet Encounter http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1025 The Stardust-NExT mission spacecraft is within a quarter-million miles of its target, comet Tempel 1, which it will fly by tonight. The spacecraft is cutting the distance with the comet at a rate of about 6.77 miles per second or 24,000 mph. The flyby of Tempel 1 will give scientists an opportunity to look for changes on the comet's surface since it was visited by NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft in July 2005. Since then, Tempel 1 has completed one orbit of the sun, and scientists are looking forward to discovering any differences in the comet. Mon, 14 Feb 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1025 Stardust-NExT – Mission Accomplished! http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1026 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Cambria","serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-theme-font:minor-fareast; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} The Stardust-NExT mission flew close by comet Tempel 1 on Valentine’s Day, and mission scientists loved what they saw.  The recycled but dependable Stardust spacecraft returned exciting new images of Tempel 1 almost six years after the Deep impact mission first showed us the comet up close. The Stardust-NExT (New Exploration of Tempel 1) mission met its three imaging goals in this bonus round:  observing changes in surface features in areas imaged by Deep Impact; photographing new terrain not previously seen; and viewing the crater generated when the Deep Impact mission propelled an impactor into the comet.  It also accomplished its dust measurement goals using the Cometary and Interstellar Dust Analyzer.   Wed, 16 Feb 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1026 February 2011 Newsletter Now Available http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1027 The February 2011 issue of the award winning Discovery and New Frontiers News features early findings from the EPOXI and Stardust-NExT comet encounters, the latest from MESSENGER as it prepares to go into its year-long orbit about Mercury, Dawn happenings as Vesta orbit insertion is just months away, a remembrance of Rick Grammier, program office news, and current status of Juno and GRAIL as they make progress toward launch later this year. Mon, 28 Feb 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1027 MESSENGER Prepares for Mercury Orbit Insertion http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1028 On the evening of March 17 Eastern Time, the MESSENGER spacecraft will execute a 15-minute maneuver that will place it into orbit about Mercury, making it the first craft ever to do so, and initiating a one-year science campaign to understand the innermost planet. Starting on Monday, March 7, antennas from NASA's three Deep Space Network ground stations in California, Spain, and Australia will begin a round-the-clock vigil, allowing flight control engineers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD, to monitor MESSENGER on its final approach to Mercury. Wed, 09 Mar 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1028 MESSENGER Begins Historic Orbit around Mercury http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1029 At 9:10 p.m. EDT, engineers in the MESSENGER Mission Operations Center at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., received the anticipated radiometric signals confirming nominal burn shutdown and successful insertion of the MESSENGER probe into orbit around the planet Mercury.   The spacecraft rotated back to the Earth by 9:45 p.m. EDT, and started transmitting data.  Upon review of these data, the engineering and operations teams confirmed that the burn executed nominally with all subsystems reporting a clean burn and no logged errors. Thu, 17 Mar 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1029 Stardust Fires its Engines for the Last Time http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1030 On Thursday, March 24 at about 4 p.m. PDT, the Stardust spacecraft will perform a final burn with its main engines. "We call it a 'burn to depletion,' firing our rockets until there is nothing left in the tank," said Stardust-NExT project manager Tim Larson of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. "It's a unique way for an interplanetary spacecraft to go out. Essentially, Stardust will be providing us useful information to the very end."   At first glance, the burn is an insignificant event. The venerable spacecraft has executed 40 major flight path maneuvers since its 1999 launch.  Between the main engines and the reaction control system, the rocket motors have fired more than 2 million times. But the March 24 burn will be different from all others. It will effectively end the life of NASA's most traveled comet hunter. Thu, 24 Mar 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1030 MESSENGER Sends Back First Orbital Images http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1031 On March 29, MESSENGER delivered its first image since entering orbit about Mercury on March 17. It was taken today at 5:20 am EDT Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) as the spacecraft sailed high above Mercury’s south pole, providing a glimpse of portions of Mercury's surface not previously seen by spacecraft. Wed, 30 Mar 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1031 Space School Musical Wins Telly Award http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1032 "Space School Musical," a creative collaboration between NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers Programs and KidTribe, has been awarded a 2011 Telly Award in the Children's Audience category.   The musical is a multi-disciplinary project that combines singing and dancing with solar system science.  Students move, groove and laugh along with the planets, moons, asteroids, a feisty meteor, a stand-up comet, and some really rockin' scientists.  Kids can watch the video, learn the content and the songs, and perform the play themselves.    Wed, 06 Apr 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1032 Dawn Begins Approach to Asteroid Vesta http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1033 The Dawn spacecraft has reached its official approach phase to asteroid Vesta.  It will now begin using cameras to aid navigation for an expected July 16 orbital encounter.   Tue, 03 May 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1033 NASA Announces Three New Mission Candidates http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1034 NASA has selected three science investigations to conduct concept studies as candidates for the next mission in the Discovery Program.  One of the three will be chosen as a potential 2016 mission – either a first look at the Martian interior; the first exploration of an extraterrestrial sea by landing a craft on Saturn's moon Titan; or studying in unprecedented detail the surface of a comet's nucleus.   Each investigation team will receive $3 million to conduct preliminary design studies and analyses. After a detailed review of the concept studies in 2012, NASA will select one to continue development efforts leading up to launch. The selected mission will be cost-capped at $425 million, not including launch vehicle funding.      Thu, 05 May 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1034 Dawn Captures First Image of Nearing Asteroid http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1035 NASA's Dawn spacecraft has obtained its first image of the giant asteroid Vesta, which will help fine-tune navigation during its approach. Dawn expects to achieve orbit around Vesta on July 16, when the asteroid is about 117 million miles from Earth.   The image from Dawn's framing cameras was taken on May 3 when the spacecraft began its approach and was approximately 752,000 miles from Vesta. The asteroid appears as a small, bright pearl against a background of stars. Vesta also is known as a protoplanet, because it is a large body that almost formed into a planet.    Wed, 11 May 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1035 NASA Selects Third New Frontiers Mission http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1036 An asteroid sample return is the third mission selected in NASA’s New Frontiers Program of solar system explorations.  The Origins-Spectral Interpretation-Resource Identification-Security-Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, will be the first U.S. mission to carry materials from an asteroid back to Earth.  Launching in 2016, the spacecraft will use a robotic arm to pluck samples that could better explain our solar system's formation and how life began.   "This is a critical step in meeting the objectives outlined by President Obama to extend our reach beyond low-Earth orbit and explore into deep space," said NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. "It’s robotic missions like these that will pave the way for future human space missions to an asteroid and other deep space destinations."      Wed, 25 May 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1036 Vesta Fiesta on the Way http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1037 After close to four years cruising at stunning speeds, the Dawn spacecraft is catching up to Vesta, its first destination in the main asteroid belt. Dawn will soon be entering into  a year-long orbit around asteroid Vesta, seeing it up close for the first time.  Celebrate the beginning of Dawn's year-long exploration with a Vesta Fiesta!   Tue, 21 Jun 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1037 Genesis Finds Sun, Planets Formed Differently http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1038 Analysis of samples returned by NASA's Genesis mission indicates our Sun and its inner planets may have formed differently than scientists previously thought.   The data revealed slight differences in the types of oxygen and nitrogen present on the Sun and planets. The elements are among the most abundant in our solar system. Although the differences are slight, the implications could help determine how our solar system evolved.   The air on Earth contains three different kinds of oxygen atoms, which are differentiated by the number of neutrons they contain. Nearly 100 percent of oxygen atoms in the solar system are composed of O-16, but there also are tiny amounts of more exotic oxygen isotopes called O-17 and O-18. Researchers studying the oxygen of Genesis samples found that the percentage of O-16 in the Sun is slightly higher than on Earth, the moon, and meteorites. The other isotopes' percentages were slightly lower.   "The implication is that we did not form out of the same solar nebula materials that created the Sun -- just how and why remains to be discovered," said Kevin McKeegan, a Genesis co-investigator from the University of California, Los Angeles and the lead author of one of two Science papers published this week. Fri, 24 Jun 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1038 Dawn Set to Begin Orbit Around Vesta http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1039 NASA's Dawn spacecraft is on track to begin the first extended visit to a large asteroid. The mission expects to go into orbit around Vesta on July 16 and begin gathering science data in early August. Vesta resides in the main asteroid belt and is thought to be the source of a large number of meteorites that fall to Earth.   After traveling nearly four years and 1.7 billion miles, Dawn is approximately 96,000 miles away from Vesta. When Vesta captures Dawn into its orbit, there will be approximately 9,900 miles between them. They will be approximately 117 million miles away from Earth. Fri, 24 Jun 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1039 Dawn Enters Orbit Around Vesta http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1040 The Dawn spacecraft began its year-long orbit around the asteroid Vesta on July 15 and returned the first close-up image of the giant space rock two days later. Dawn is the first probe to enter orbit around an object in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The image shows Vesta in greater detail than ever before. When Vesta captured Dawn into its orbit, there were approximately 9,900 miles between the spacecraft and asteroid. Engineers estimate the orbit capture took place at 10 p.m. PDT Friday, July 15.   Tue, 19 Jul 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1040 Dawn Returns First Full Frame Image of Vesta http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1041 As the Dawn spacecraft spirals toward the first of four intensive science orbits of asteroid Vesta, the mission team unveiled the first full-frame image of Vesta taken on July 24.  The image was taken by Dawn's framing camera at a distance of 3,200 miles, revealing the first surface details of the giant asteroid. These images, taken for navigation purposes and as preparation for scientific observations, go all the way around Vesta, since the giant asteroid turns on its axis once every five hours and 20 minutes.   Mon, 01 Aug 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1041 GRAIL Prepares for September Launch http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1042 The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission is making final preparations for an early September launch. The twin lunar probes, called GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B, will fly in tandem orbits around the Moon for several months to measure its gravity field in unprecedented detail. The mission will also provide answers to longstanding questions about our Moon and give scientists a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved. It will provide important data for future lunar exploration.   Thu, 18 Aug 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1042 August 2011 Newsletter Now Available http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1043 The August  2011 issue of the award-winning Discovery and New Frontiers News features:  - Juno's spectacular launch on August 5 - Dawn becoming the first spacecraft to orbit a main belt asteroid and the Vesta Fiestas to celebrate the milestone - MESSENGER's historic insertion into orbit around Mercury - GRAIL as it prepares for a September launch - New Horizons adding a new target to its 2015 flyby of the Pluto system with the discovery of a fourth moon - OSIRIS-REx selected as the third New Frontiers mission - Selection of three new Discovery mission candidates -The Thrill of Discovery educator workshop held last March - "Space Musical Musical" - a Telly award, new activity guide, and more! Mon, 22 Aug 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1043 GRAIL On Its Way to the Moon http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1044 NASA's Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission to study the Moon from crust to core successfully lifted off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 9:08 a.m. ET on Saturday, September 10. Mission controllers received timely communications from both GRAIL spacecraft indicating that they successfully separated from the upper stage of their Delta II rocket, the rocket nose cone, or fairing, was jettisoned, and the solar arrays deployed.   "We are on our way, and early indications show everything is looking good," said David Lehman, GRAIL project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. The spacecraft is on a path that will reach the Moon in about 3-1/2 months.   Mon, 12 Sep 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1044 Kepler Discovers First Planet Orbiting Two Suns http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1045 The existence of a world with a double sunset, as portrayed in the film Star Wars more than 30 years ago, is now scientific fact. NASA's Kepler mission has made the first unambiguous detection of a circumbinary planet -- a planet orbiting two stars -- 200 light-years from Earth.   Unlike Star Wars' Tatooine, the planet is cold, gaseous and not thought to harbor life, but its discovery demonstrates the diversity of planets in our galaxy. Previous research has hinted at the existence of circumbinary planets, but clear confirmation proved elusive. Kepler detected such a planet, known as Kepler-16b, by observing transits, where the brightness of a parent star dims from the planet crossing in front of it.   Thu, 15 Sep 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1045 GRAIL Naming Contest To Begin http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1046 Now that the GRAIL mission to the Moon is underway, the two robotic spacecraft, currently dubbed "GRAIL-A" and "GRAIL-B," need real names -- ones that capture the spirit and excitement of lunar exploration.   Students, choose names for the two GRAIL spacecraft and explain your choice. Your justification can be any length, from a short paragraph to a 500-word essay.   Thu, 22 Sep 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1046 MESSENGER Team Presents New Mercury Findings http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1047 MESSENGER scientists presented 30 papers and posters with the latest results from observations made during the spacecraft’s first six months in orbit around Mercury at a special session of the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in Nantes, France. “This is the first major scientific meeting at which MESSENGER orbital observations are being presented to the scientific community,” said Principal Investigator Sean Solomon of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. “As the first spacecraft to orbit our solar system’s innermost planet, MESSENGER continues to reveal new surprises every week. It is timely to sum up what we’ve learned so far and to seek feedback from our international colleagues across planetary science on our interpretations to date.” After three successful flybys of Mercury, the MESSENGER spacecraft entered orbit about the innermost planet on March 18, 2011. The orbital phase of the mission is enabling the first global perspective on the planet’s geology, surface composition, topography, gravity and magnetic fields, exosphere, magnetosphere, and solar-wind interaction.   Wed, 05 Oct 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1047 Dawn Scientists Share New Discoveries at Vesta http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1048 Among the significant early science discoveries the Dawn mission team has revealed is the discovery of one of the largest mountains in our solar system in the southern hemisphere of the giant asteroid Vesta.  Team members presented findings at the recent annual meeting of the Geological Society of America in Minneapolis, MN, and the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society in Nantes, France.   The Dawn spacecraft has been orbiting Vesta since mid-July. Team members presented findings at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in Minneapolis, MN, and the joint meeting of the European Planetary Science Congress and the Division of Planetary Sciences in Nantes, France.   Mon, 17 Oct 2011 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1048 NASA Extends MESSENGER Mission http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1049 NASA has announced that it will extend the MESSENGER mission for an additional year of orbital operations at Mercury beyond the planned end of the primary mission on March 17, 2012. The MESSENGER probe became the first spacecraft to orbit the innermost planet on March 18, 2011.   "We are still ironing out the funding details, but we are pleased to be able to support the continued exploration of Mercury," said NASA MESSENGER Program Scientist Ed Grayzeck, who made the announcement on November 9, 2011, at the 24th meeting of the MESSENGER Science Team in Annapolis, MD.   Tue, 15 Nov 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1049 Dawn Shows Vesta's "Color Palette" http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1050 Vesta appears in a splendid rainbow-colored palette in new images obtained by NASA's Dawn spacecraft. The colors, assigned by scientists to show different rock or mineral types, reveal Vesta to be a world of many varied, well-separated layers and ingredients. Vesta is unique among asteroids visited by spacecraft to date in having such wide variation, supporting the notion that it is transitional between the terrestrial planets -- Earth, Mercury, Mars and Venus -- and its asteroid siblings. Mon, 05 Dec 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1050 Kepler Confirms First Planet in Habitable Zone http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1051 The Kepler mission has confirmed its first planet in the "habitable zone," the region where liquid water could exist on a planet’s surface. Kepler also has discovered more than 1,000 new planet candidates, nearly doubling its previously known count. Ten of these candidates are near-Earth-size and orbit in the habitable zone of their host star. Candidates require follow-up observations to verify that they are actual planets.        Mon, 05 Dec 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1051 Dawn Gets Closer and Closer to Vesta http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1052 0 0 1 50 288 lockheed / JPL 2 1 337 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} NASA's Dawn spacecraft has sent back the first images of the giant asteroid Vesta from its low-altitude mapping orbit. The images, obtained by the framing camera, show the stippled and lumpy surface in detail never seen before, piquing the curiosity of scientists who are studying Vesta for clues about the solar system's early history. Thu, 22 Dec 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1052 Kepler Finds Earth-Size Planets http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1053 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Cambria","serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} NASA's Kepler mission has discovered the first Earth-size planets orbiting a sun-like star outside our solar system. The planets, called Kepler-20e and Kepler-20f, are too close to their star to be in the so-called habitable zone where liquid water could exist on a planet's surface, but they are the smallest exoplanets ever confirmed around a star like our Sun.   The discovery marks the next important milestone in the ultimate search for planets like Earth. The new planets are thought to be rocky. Kepler-20e is slightly smaller than Venus, measuring 0.87 times the radius of Earth. Kepler-20f is slightly larger than Earth, measuring 1.03 times its radius. Both planets reside in a five-planet system called Kepler-20, approximately 1,000 light-years away in the constellation Lyra. Thu, 22 Dec 2011 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1053 Twin GRAIL Spacecraft Enter Lunar Orbit http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1054 Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-qformat:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:11.0pt; font-family:"Cambria","serif"; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} The first of two NASA spacecraft to study the Moon in unprecedented detail entered lunar orbit on Dec. 31, followed by the second a day later.    The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL)-A spacecraft successfully completed its planned main engine burn at 5 p.m. ET on New Year’s Eve and entered into orbit around the Moon.   The second craft, GRAIL-B, caught up with its twin on New Year’s Day, achieving orbit at 5:43 pm ET.  Working together, GRAIL-A and GRAIL-B will study the Moon as never before, vastly expanding knowledge about our Moon and the evolution of our planet. Tue, 03 Jan 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1054 Montana Students Submit Winning Names for GRAIL http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1055 0 0 1 112 640 lockheed / JPL 5 1 751 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} NASA’s twin GRAIL spacecraft have new names, thanks to elementary students in Bozeman, Montana. Their winning entry, "Ebb and Flow," was selected as part of a nationwide school contest that began in October 2011.   The names were submitted by Nina DiMauro’s class of 28 fourth graders from Emily Dickinson Elementary School. Nearly 900 classrooms with more than 11,000 students from 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia participated in the contest. Previously named Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL-A and -B, the washing machine-sized spacecraft began orbiting the Moon earlier this month after a September 2011 launch. Science operations will begin in March.   Wed, 18 Jan 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1055 Understanding NASA Images through Art http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1056 0 0 1 60 348 lockheed / JPL 2 1 407 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} A new workshop for educators will bring together scientists and artists to inspire and engage students with a fresh approach to appreciating and interpreting images from space.  "A Vision of Discovery," presented by NASA's Discovery and New Frontiers Programs, will be held in four locations across the country on March 10, 2012.   Wed, 01 Feb 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1056 NASA to Sponsor Fault Management Workshop http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1057 0 0 1 72 416 lockheed / JPL 3 1 487 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The 2012 NASA Spacecraft Fault Management Workshop brings together NASA’s Fault Management (FM) community — including project managers, systems and software engineers, researchers, technologists, and FM practitioners — to actively, and collaboratively, address near-term challenges and to develop a long-term vision for the FM discipline.   Tue, 14 Feb 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1057 GRAIL Begins Science Collecting Phase http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1058 0 0 1 75 429 lockheed / JPL 3 1 503 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) Moon-orbiting spacecraft began their science collection phase on March 6. 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. The data also will provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved. Mon, 12 Mar 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1058 MESSENGER Begins Year Two at Mercury http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1059 0 0 1 65 376 lockheed / JPL 3 1 440 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} On March 17, 2012, MESSENGER successfully wrapped up a year-long campaign to perform the first complete reconnaissance of the geochemistry, geophysics, geologic history, atmosphere, magnetosphere, and plasma environment of the solar system's innermost planet. The following day, March 18, 2012, marked the official start of an extended phase designed to build upon those discoveries.   0 0 1 98 562 lockheed / JPL 4 1 659 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} "What MESSENGER has accomplished since its launch in August 2004 is amazing," said MESSENGER Mission Systems Engineer Eric Finnegan, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD. The achievements include six-plus years of cruise operations, capped by a year of nearly flawless orbital operations, with an additional year of scientific return ahead in the harsh environment at 0.3 astronomical units (27,886,766 miles) from the Sun.      Mon, 19 Mar 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1059 GRAIL Returns First Student-Selected Images http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1060 0 0 2012-04-02T16:35:00Z 2012-04-02T16:35:00Z 1 90 519 lockheed / JPL 4 1 608 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} One of two GRAIL spacecraft orbiting the Moon in tandem has beamed back the first student-requested pictures of the lunar surface from its onboard camera. Fourth grade students from the Emily Dickinson Elementary School in Bozeman, Montana, received the honor of making the first image selections by winning a nationwide competition to rename the two spacecraft.   Over 60 student–requested images were taken by the MoonKAM camera on the Ebb spacecraft from March 15-17 and downlinked to Earth on March 20.   Fri, 23 Mar 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1060 March 2012 D/NF Newsletter Now Online http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1061 The March 2012 issue of the Discovery and New Frontiers News, now in its 13th year of publication, contains the latest updates on the missions and highlights from education and public outreach activities.   The newsletter has photos from the recent San Diego Festival of Science and Engineering Expo Day which featured a NASA booth for the first time. Scientists and educators from many of the D/NF missions brought a wide array of activities that engaged kids and their parents, proving that science is cool! Fri, 30 Mar 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1061 Kepler Mission Extended http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1062 0 0 1 47 274 lockheed / JPL 2 1 320 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} 0 0 1 47 274 lockheed / JPL 2 1 320 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} 0 0 1 58 334 lockheed / JPL 2 1 391 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The Kepler mission has been approved for extension through fiscal year 2016. Originally planned to operate through 2012, NASA's Senior Review recommended the extension to add four additional years to Kepler's search for Earth-size planets around sun-like stars in our galaxy.    Thu, 05 Apr 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1062 Dawn Gets More Time to Explore Vesta http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1063 0 0 1 117 669 lockheed / JPL 5 1 785 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The Dawn mission has received official confirmation that 40 extra days have been added to its exploration of the giant asteroid Vesta, the second most massive object in the main asteroid belt. The extension allows Dawn to continue its scientific observations at Vesta until Aug. 26, while still arriving at the dwarf planet Ceres at the same originally scheduled target date in February 2015.   "We are leveraging our smooth and successful operations at Vesta to provide for even more scientific discoveries for NASA and the world." said Robert Mase, Dawn project manager based at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA. "This extra time will allow us to extend our scientific investigation and learn more about this mysterious world." Thu, 19 Apr 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1063 MESSENGER Settles Into 8 Hour Orbit http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1064 0 0 1 92 530 lockheed / JPL 4 1 621 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} On April 16 and April 20, MESSENGER mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD, conducted maneuvers to reduce the spacecraft’s orbital period about Mercury. The fist maneuver shortened the orbital period from 11.6 to 9.1 hours and consumed the remaining oxidizer, one of two propellants that supply the higher-efficiency large thruster. With the second maneuver, accomplished with the spacecraft’s four medium-sized thrusters, MESSENGER is now in the 8-hour orbit from which it will operate for the next year.   Fri, 20 Apr 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1064 Dawn Reveals More Vesta Secrets http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1065 0 0 1 122 696 lockheed / JPL 5 1 817 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Images from the Dawn spacecraft are revealing new details about the giant asteroid Vesta, including its varied surface composition, sharp temperature changes and clues to its internal structure. The findings were presented on April 24 at the European Geosciences Union meeting in Vienna, Austria, and will help scientists better understand the early solar system and processes that dominated its formation.   Images from Dawn's framing camera and visible and infrared mapping spectrometer, taken 420 miles and 130 miles above the surface of the asteroid, show a variety of surface mineral and rock patterns. Coded false-color images help scientists better understand Vesta's composition and enable them to identify material that was once molten below the asteroid's surface.  Tue, 24 Apr 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1065 MESSENGER Snaps Number 100,000 http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1066 0 0 1 158 907 lockheed / JPL 7 2 1063 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} On May 3, MESSENGER's Mercury Dual Imaging System delivered the 100,000th image of Mercury since the spacecraft entered into orbit around the planet on March 18, 2011. The instrument — one of seven aboard the spacecraft — has globally mapped the planet in high-resolution monochrome images and in color images through eight of its color filters, uncovering a new view of Mercury and shedding light on the planet's geologic history.   "That our inventory of orbital images of Mercury is now expressed in six figures constitutes an important footnote in the history of solar system exploration," offers MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon, of the Carnegie Institution of Washington. "The MESSENGER mission has at last provided us a view of the innermost planet that is fully global, multispectral, and at a range of illumination conditions. Moreover, we are steadily building a library of targeted high-resolution images that allow us to view features and discern geological processes in unprecedented detail."   Thu, 03 May 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1066 Dawn Reveals More Secrets From Vesta http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1067 0 0 1 151 861 lockheed / JPL 7 2 1010 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The Dawn spacecraft is yielding new insights into the creation of asteroid Vesta and its kinship with terrestrial planets and Earth's moon. Vesta has been revealed as a special fossil of the early solar system with a more varied, diverse surface than originally thought. Scientists have confirmed a variety of ways in which Vesta more closely resembles a small planet or Earth's moon than another asteroid. Results appear in today's edition of the journal Science. "Dawn's visit to Vesta has confirmed our broad theories of this giant asteroid's history, while helping to fill in details it would have been impossible to know from afar," said Carol Raymond, deputy principal investigator at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. "Dawn's residence at Vesta of nearly a year has made the asteroid's planet-like qualities obvious and shown us our connection to that bright orb in our night sky."   Thu, 10 May 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1067 GRAIL Completes Prime Mission http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1068 0 0 1 141 807 lockheed / JPL 6 1 947 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory, or GRAIL, mission completed its prime lunar investigation earlier than expected, gathering unprecedented detail about the internal structure and evolution of the Moon. It will begin extended science operations on Aug. 30, continuing through Dec. 3, 2012.   The twin probes, named Ebb and Flow, are studying the Moon from crust to core. As they fly over areas of greater and lesser gravity caused by both visible features, such as mountains and craters, and masses hidden beneath the lunar surface, the distance between the two spacecraft changes slightly. Mission scientists use this information to create a high-resolution map of the Moon's gravitational field. The data will allow scientists to understand what goes on below the lunar surface. This information will increase knowledge of how Earth and its rocky neighbors in the inner solar system developed into the diverse worlds we see today.    Thu, 31 May 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1068 Students Showcase MoonKAM Images http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1069 0 0 1 124 711 lockheed / JPL 5 1 834 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Middle-school students and their teachers gathered in Washington D.C. on June 1 to demonstrate science lessons and highlight images they took from lunar orbit using NASA's lunar orbiting Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft and its MoonKAM system. The students watched presentations from the GRAIL mission's principal investigator, Maria Zuber, NASA deputy administrator Lori Garver, President Obama's science advisor John Holdren, and Sally Ride, America's first woman in space.   "I was more than impressed with the student demonstrations and their grasp of lunar science, I was blown away," said Maria Zuber from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge. "The GRAIL mission and MoonKAM are making a difference in young students’ lives one image at a time."   Fri, 08 Jun 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1069 Curiosity Lands Safely on Mars http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1070 0 0 1 79 454 lockheed / JPL 3 1 532 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} NASA's Curiosity rover is set to initiate a new era of scientific exploration on the Red Planet. The one-ton rover, hanging by ropes from a rocket backpack, touched down onto the Martian surface on Sunday, Aug. 5, at 10:32 pm PT, ending a 36-week flight and beginning a two-year investigation. The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft that carried Curiosity succeeded in every step of the most complex landing ever attempted on Mars, including the final severing of the bridle cords and flyaway maneuver of the rocket backpack. Mon, 06 Aug 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1070 Dawn Engineers Assess Reaction Wheel Status http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1071 0 0 1 79 451 lockheed / JPL 3 1 529 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Engineers working on the Dawn spacecraft are assessing the status of a reaction wheel -- part of a system that helps the spacecraft point precisely -- after onboard software powered it off on August 8.  Dawn's mission is to study the geology and geochemistry of the giant asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres, the two most massive objects in the main asteroid belt. Dawn is now using its thrusters to point at Earth for communications. The rest of the spacecraft is otherwise healthy.   Mon, 13 Aug 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1071 InSight Will Investigate the Deep Interior of Mars http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1072 0 0 1 127 730 lockheed / JPL 6 1 856 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} NASA has selected InSIght, a geophysical investigation of Mars, to be the 12th mission in the Discovery Program of groundbreaking solar system explorations. Set to launch in 2016, InSight, which is an acronym for Interior exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will take the first look into the deep interior of Mars to see why the Red Planet evolved so differently from Earth as one of our solar system's rocky planets.   The mission will place instruments on the Martian surface to investigate whether the core of Mars is solid or liquid like Earth's, and why Mars' crust is not divided into tectonic plates that drift like Earth's. Detailed knowledge of the interior of Mars in comparison to Earth will help scientists understand better how terrestrial planets form and evolve.   Mon, 20 Aug 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1072 Hasta La Vista, Vesta! http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1073 0 0 1 71 411 lockheed / JPL 3 1 481 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} NASA’s Dawn mission has had an awesome year exploring asteroid Vesta! Soon the spacecraft begins her journey to dwarf planet Ceres. Join the celebration of this milestone with a live interactive video event featuring the Dawn mission team on September 8, 2012, at noon PDT. It all takes place right on your computer at Google+ Hangout. Thu, 30 Aug 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1073 GRAIL Begins Extended Mission http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1074 0 0 1 54 314 lockheed / JPL 2 1 367 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The twin, lunar-orbiting Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) spacecraft have resumed data collection to begin the mission's extended operations.   At 9:28 a.m. PDT on Aug. 30, while the two spacecraft were 19 miles above the Moon's Ocean of Storms, the Lunar Gravity Ranging System -- the sole science instrument aboard both GRAIL twins -- was energized. Fri, 31 Aug 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1074 Next Target - Ceres http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1075 0 0 1 71 408 lockheed / JPL 3 1 478 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} After returning stunning views of a world known for more than 200 years but never before seen up close, the Dawn spacecraft is preparing to bid farewell to giant asteroid Vesta and begin its two-and-a-half-year journey to the dwarf planet Ceres.   Dawn is a comparative planetology mission on steroids, set to become the first probe ever to orbit and study two distant solar system destinations, thanks to its futuristic but very real and super efficient ion propulsion engine.  0 0 1 43 250 lockheed / JPL 2 1 292 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;}   To make its escape from Vesta, the spacecraft will spiral away as gently as it arrived. The ion propulsion system uses electricity to ionize xenon to generate thrust. The 12-inch-wide ion thrusters provide less power than conventional engines, but can maintain thrust for months at a time.   Fri, 31 Aug 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1075 Asteroid Naming Contest for Students Underway http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1076 0 0 1 119 684 lockheed / JPL 5 1 802 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} OSIRIS-REx is a NASA mission that’s going to fly to an asteroid and bring back samples from it. Right now, the asteroid's name is 1999 RQ36. Students – think you can come up with a better name? Here is your chance! The mission’s “Name That Asteroid!” contest is open to kids worldwide under the age of 18. To enter, parents or teachers must fill out an online entry form with the proposed name and a short explanation of why that name is a good choice. Each contestant can submit one name, up to 16 characters long. Enter by December 2, 2012 to have a chance to name a piece of the solar system!   Tue, 04 Sep 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1076 Dawn Discovers Hydrogen on Giant Asteroid Vesta http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1077 0 0 1 68 349 lockheed / JPL 6 1 416 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The Dawn mission has surprised scientists with detection of abundances of hydrogen in a wide swath around the equator of the giant asteroid Vesta. Scientists thought it might be possible for water ice to survive near the surface around the giant asteroid's poles. They believe the hydrogen is probably in the form of hydroxyl or water bound to minerals in Vesta's surface. Fri, 21 Sep 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1077 Dawn and CosmoQuest Launch Asteroid Mappers http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1078 0 0 1 81 419 lockheed / JPL 7 2 498 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Dawn and CosmoQuest have partnered to launch Asteroid Mappers, a new citizen science project where everyone can access high-resolution images of Vesta and assist scientists in identifying craters, boulders, and other features.   Register now and join in this scientific adventure to help figure out Vesta’s surface history and geology, how and when these features formed. Detectives are needed to reveal the clues hidden in this ancient object! Fri, 28 Sep 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1078 Latest D/NF Newsletter Now Online http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1079 The September 2012 issue of the Discovery and New Frontiers News contains the latest updates on the missions and highlights from education and public outreach activities. When did Dawn depart from Vesta and where is it heading now? How many times has MESSENGER circled Mercury? Why did Juno perform not one but two Deep Space Maneuvers?     Sun, 30 Sep 2012 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1079 MESSENGER Finds Unusual Ridges and Troughs http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1080 0 0 1 149 855 lockheed / JPL 7 2 1002 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} MESSENGER has discovered tectonic landforms unlike any previously found on Mercury or elsewhere in the solar system. The findings are reported in a paper led by Smithsonian scientist Thomas Watters, "Extension and contraction within volcanically buried impact craters and basins on Mercury," published in the December issue of the journal Geology.   The surface of Mercury is covered with deformational landforms that formed by faulting in response to horizontal contraction or shortening as the planet's interior cooled and surface area shrank, causing blocks of crustal material to be pushed together. Contraction from cooling of Mercury's interior has been so dominant that extensional landforms caused by fault formation in response to horizontal stretching and pulling apart of crustal material had not been previously documented outside of the interiors of a few large impact basins. Tue, 20 Nov 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1080 MESSENGER Finds Evidence for Ice on Mercury http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1081 0 0 1 199 1140 lockheed / JPL 9 2 1337 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} New observations by the MESSENGER spacecraft provide compelling support for the long-held hypothesis that Mercury harbors abundant water ice and other frozen volatile materials in its permanently shadowed polar craters.   The newest data from MESSENGER strongly indicate that water ice is the major constituent of Mercury's north polar deposits and that ice is exposed at the surface in the coldest of those deposits, but that the ice is buried beneath an unusually dark material across most of the deposits, areas where temperatures are a bit too warm for ice to be stable at the surface itself.   Shown in red in the image below are areas of Mercury’s north polar region that are in shadow in all images acquired by MESSENGER to date. Image coverage, and mapping of shadows, is incomplete near the pole. The polar deposits imaged by Earth-based radar are in yellow, and the background image is the mosaic of MESSENGER images. This comparison indicates that all of the polar deposits imaged by Earth-based radar are located in areas of persistent shadow as documented by MESSENGER images.   Thu, 29 Nov 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1081 Asteroid Naming Contest Extended http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1082 0 0 1 132 755 lockheed / JPL 6 1 886 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Good news! The entry deadline for The Planetary Society and OSIRIS-REx's Name that Asteroid! contest has been extended. The Planetary Society will now accept entries through December 31, 2012.   The mission’s “Name That Asteroid!” contest is open to kids worldwide under the age of 18. To enter, parents or teachers must fill out an online entry form with the proposed name and a short explanation of why that name is a good choice. Each contestant can submit one name, up to 16 characters long. Enter by December 31, 2012 to have a chance to name a piece of the solar system!   For contest guidelines and rules, visit www.planetary.org.   Tue, 04 Dec 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1082 GRAIL Creates Most Accurate Moon Gravity Map http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1083 0 0 1 152 872 lockheed / JPL 7 2 1022 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission’s twin probes orbiting Earth's moon have generated the highest resolution gravity field map of any celestial body. The new map is allowing scientists to learn about the moon's internal structure and composition in unprecedented detail. Data from the two spacecraft also will provide a better understanding of how Earth and other rocky planets in the solar system formed and evolved.   The gravity field map reveals an abundance of features never before seen in detail, such as tectonic structures, volcanic landforms, basin rings, crater central peaks and numerous simple, bowl-shaped craters. Data also show the moon's gravity field is unlike that of any terrestrial planet in our solar system.   These are the first scientific results from the prime phase of the mission, and they are published in three papers in the journal Science.    Wed, 05 Dec 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1083 GRAIL Prepares for Moon Impact http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1084 0 0 1 117 673 lockheed / JPL 5 1 789 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Ebb and Flow, the twin Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission probes, which have made new discoveries about the internal structure and composition of the Moon, are being prepared for their controlled descent and impact on a mountain near the Moon's north pole at about 2:28 p.m. PST Monday, Dec. 17.   Nearly one year after the dynamic duo entered into orbit around the Moon, the formation-flying pair will be directed into the lunar surface because their low orbit and low fuel levels preclude further scientific operations. The probes will impact about 20 seconds apart, both hitting the surface at 3,760 mph. No imagery of the impact is expected because the region will be in shadow at the time.    Thu, 13 Dec 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1084 GRAIL Mission Ends with Tribute to Sally RIde http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1085 0 0 1 115 656 lockheed / JPL 5 1 770 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} NASA has named the site where the twin GRAIL spacecraft impacted the Moon in honor of the late astronaut, Sally K. Ride, who was America's first woman in space and a member of the GRAIL mission team.   On Dec. 14, Ebb and Flow, the two spacecraft comprising NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission, were commanded to descend into a lower orbit that would result in an impact Dec. 17 on a mountain near the Moon's north pole. The formation-flying duo hit the lunar surface as planned at 2:28 p.m. PST and 2:29 p.m. PST at a speed of 3,760 mph. The location of the Sally K. Ride Impact Site is on the southern face of an approximately 1.5 mile tall mountain near a crater named Goldschmidt.    Mon, 17 Dec 2012 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1085 Deep Impact Eyes Comet ISON http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1086 0 0 1 166 949 lockheed / JPL 7 2 1113 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The Deep Impact spacecraft is still a workhorse, years after its 2005 encounter with comet Tempel 1 and 2010 flyby of comet Hartley 2. In January, it acquired images of a comet called ISON. The images were taken by the spacecraft's Medium-Resolution Imager over a 36-hour period on Jan. 17 and 18 from a distance of 493 million miles. Many scientists anticipate a bright future for the comet, full name C/2012 S1 ISON; the spaceborne conglomeration of dust and ice may put on quite a show as it passes through the inner solar system this fall. "This is the fourth comet on which we have performed science observations and the farthest point from Earth from which we've tried to transmit data on a comet," said Tim Larson, project manager for the Deep Impact spacecraft at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA. "The distance limits our bandwidth, so it's a little like communicating through a modem after being used to DSL. But we're going to coordinate our science collection and playback so we maximize our return on this potentially spectacular comet." Fri, 08 Feb 2013 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1086 MESSENGER Releases Tribute Video http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1087 The MESSENGER mission has been orbiting Mercury for nearly two years, capturing fantastic images of the planet closest to the Sun. The team has created a compelling new video tribute to the mission, whose discoveries from orbit have led planetary geologists to rethink and reform some hypotheses on the formation and evolution of the innermost planet. Thu, 28 Feb 2013 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1087 MESSENGER Completes First Extended Mission http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1088 0 0 1 76 436 lockheed / JPL 3 1 511 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} On March 17, 2013, MESSENGER successfully completed its year-long first extended mission in orbit about Mercury, building on the groundbreaking scientific results from its earlier primary mission. The team is poised to embark on a second extended mission that promises to provide new observations of Mercury's surface and interior at unprecedented spatial resolution and of the planet's dynamic magnetosphere and exosphere at high resolution during the peak and declining phase of the current solar cycle.   Mon, 18 Mar 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1088 More Mercury Craters Named http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1089 0 0 1 57 330 lockheed / JPL 2 1 386 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The MESSENGER mission continues to recognize individuals who have contributed to the cultural richness of planet Earth by naming craters on Mercury in their honor. Nine newly named craters join 95 other craters designated since the MESSENGER spacecraft's first Mercury flyby in January 2008 to pay tribute to famous deceased artists, musicians, or authors or other contributors to the humanities.  Wed, 27 Mar 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1089 Asteroid Hunter Don Yeomans Recognized http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1090 0 0 1 82 473 lockheed / JPL 3 1 554 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Time Magazine’s 2013 list of the 100 most influential people on Earth includes one who spends a lot of time looking beyond the Earth, to protect us all from incoming surprises. Don Yeomans manages NASA's Near Earth Object (NEO) Program which coordinates the search for and tracking of asteroids and comets whose orbits periodically bring them close to Earth. One of the program's key goals is to try to mitigate potential NEO impacts on Earth.    Fri, 19 Apr 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1090 WISE Mission Identifies New Asteroid Families http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1091 0 0 1 120 653 lockheed / JPL 10 3 770 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} 0 0 1 99 544 lockheed / JPL 8 2 641 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Data from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE) have led to a new and improved family tree for asteroids in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter.   Astronomers used millions of infrared snapshots from the asteroid-hunting portion of the WISE all-sky survey, called NEOWISE, to identify 28 new asteroid families. The snapshots also helped place thousands of previously hidden and uncategorized asteroids into families for the first time. The findings are a critical step in understanding the origins of asteroid families, and the collisions thought to have created these rocky clans.     Wed, 29 May 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1091 GRAIL Solves Mystery of Moon's Surface Gravity http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1092 0 0 1 120 653 lockheed / JPL 10 3 770 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission has uncovered the origin of massive invisible regions that make the Moon's gravity uneven, a phenomenon that affects the operations of lunar-orbiting spacecraft.   Because of GRAIL's findings, spacecraft on missions to other celestial bodies can navigate with greater precision in the future.   GRAIL's twin spacecraft studied the internal structure and composition of the Moon in unprecedented detail for nine months. They pinpointed the locations of large, dense regions called mass concentrations, or mascons, which are characterized by strong gravitational pull. Mascons lurk beneath the lunar surface and cannot be seen by normal optical cameras.    Thu, 30 May 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1092 Latest D/NF Newsletter Now Online http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1093 0 0 1 125 703 lockheed / JPL 12 3 825 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The May 2013 issue of the Discovery and New Frontiers News features the latest updates from the missions and highlights from education and public outreach activities.   What caused the uneven gravity on the Moon, a mystery since it was first detected in 1968?  GRAIL just found the answer.   OSIRIS-REx passed a key milestone and all systems are go for final design and development of the spacecraft. How will this mission will grab samples from an asteroid for return to Earth?   What are some of the surprising new findings being revealed by scientists on the Dawn and MESSENGER missions about their favorite destinations – giant asteroid Vesta and planet #1, Mercury?   Juno is flying by Earth this fall. Why is this the preferred path on its way to Jupiter?    Fri, 31 May 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1093 MESSENGER To Capture Images of Earth http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1094 0 0 1 95 547 lockheed / JPL 4 1 641 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} NASA’s Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft will capture images of Earth on July 19 and 20. The images will be taken at 7:49 a.m., 8:38 a.m. and 9:41 a.m. EDT on both days. Nearly half of the Earth, including all the Americas, Africa, and Europe, will be illuminated and facing MESSENGER, according to Hari Nair, the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory planetary scientist who designed and is implementing the campaign. The images on the second day will also include pictures of the Moon, where all six of the Apollo landing sites will be illuminated, 44 years to the day after Apollo 11 landed on the Moon’s rocky surface.   Thu, 18 Jul 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1094 MESSENGER Takes Image of the Earth http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1095 Mary Cullen 0 0 2013-07-25T00:35:00Z 2013-07-25T00:35:00Z 1 65 374 lockheed / JPL 3 1 438 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} The pair of bright star-like features in the upper panel are not stars at all, but the Earth and Moon! MESSENGER was 61 million miles from Earth when this picture was taken on July 19. The computer-generated image in the lower left shows how the Earth appeared from Mercury at the time. Much of the Americas, all of Europe and Africa, the Middle East, and much of Asia were visible.   Mon, 22 Jul 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1095 Onward to Ceres http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1096 0 0 1 85 490 lockheed / JPL 4 1 574 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Powering its way through the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, Dawn continues on course and on schedule for its 2015 appointment with dwarf planet Ceres. After spending more than a year orbiting and scrutinizing Vesta, the second most massive object in the asteroid belt, the robotic explorer has its sights set on the largest object between the Sun and Neptune that a spacecraft has not yet visited. This exotic expedition to unveil mysterious alien worlds would be impossible without the probe's ion propulsion system. Fri, 02 Aug 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1096 Cosmic Art in Action! http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1097 0 0 1 195 1114 lockheed / JPL 9 2 1307 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Cool new images arrive from NASA missions to planets, asteroids, comets, and moons. What are these amazing images revealing? With Art & the Cosmic Connection, learners of all ages can utilize the elements of art—shape, line, color, texture, value—to recognize the geology on planetary surfaces.   NASA’s robotic explorers capture images of mysterious alien landscapes using a range of instruments. These pictures are studied using a variety of techniques, including visual analysis. Similarly, visual artists depend on their sense of sight to guide their creativity. Both artists and scientists are keen observers of the natural world and engage in creative problem solving.   Art & the Cosmic Connection is a two-part interdisciplinary program developed by Denver-based artists and educators Monica & Tyler Aiello. Designed to engage students in both Earth and space science education by becoming artist explorers, the project uses the elements of art as a tool to investigate and analyze the mysterious surfaces of our celestial neighbors. It creates a powerful bridge between Earth and space science, as well as sharpened awareness of the potential of science to inspire art—and art to empower science!   Thu, 08 Aug 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1097 Scientists Detect Magmatic Water on Moon's Surface http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1098 0 0 1 147 842 lockheed / JPL 7 1 988 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Scientists have detected magmatic water — water that originates from deep within the Moon's interior — on the surface of the Moon. These findings, published in the August 25 issue of Nature Geoscience, represent the first such remote detection of this type of lunar water. The data came from NASA's Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument that flew aboard the Indian Space Research Organisation's Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft.   The discovery represents an exciting contribution to the rapidly changing understanding of lunar water, said Rachel Klima, a planetary geologist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD, and lead author of the paper, "Remote detection of magmatic water in Bullialdus Crater on the Moon."   Tue, 27 Aug 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1098 NASA Selects Four Potential Sites for InSight http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1099 0 0 1 77 442 lockheed / JPL 3 1 518 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} NASA has narrowed to four the number of potential landing sites for the agency's next mission to the surface of Mars, a 2016 lander to study the planet's interior.   The InSight lander is scheduled to launch in March 2016 and land on Mars six months later. It will touch down at one of four sites selected in August from a field of 22 candidates. All four semi-finalist spots lie near each other on an equatorial plain in an area of Mars called Elysium Planitia.  Thu, 05 Sep 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1099 Software Glitch May Have Silenced Deep Impact http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1100 0 0 1 53 307 lockheed / JPL 2 1 359 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Ground controllers have been unable to communicate with NASA's long-lived Deep Impact spacecraft. The last communication with the spacecraft was on Aug. 8, 2013. Deep Impact mission controllers will continue to uplink commands in an attempt to reestablish communications with the spacecraft.  Wed, 11 Sep 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1100 Tour Vesta With New High Resolution Images http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1101 0 0 1 74 428 lockheed / JPL 3 1 501 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} An atlas of the giant asteroid Vesta, created from images taken as NASA's Dawn spacecraft flew around the object, is now accessible for the public to explore online. The set of maps was created from mosaics of 10,000 images taken by Dawn's framing camera instrument at a low altitude of about 130 miles.   The maps are mostly at a scale about that of regional road-touring maps, where every inch of map is equivalent to a little more than 3 miles of asteroid.   Fri, 13 Sep 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1101 Deep Impact Mission Comes to an End http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1102 0 0 1 138 789 lockheed / JPL 6 1 926 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} After almost 9 years in space that included an unprecedented July 4th impact with one comet, a close flyby of a second comet, imaging two distant comets and the return of approximately 500,000 images of celestial objects, NASA's Deep Impact mission has ended.   The project team at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, has reluctantly pronounced the mission at an end after being unable to communicate with the spacecraft for over a month. The last communication with the probe was Aug. 8. Deep Impact was history's most traveled comet research mission, covering about 4.71 billion miles.   "Deep Impact has been a fantastic, long-lasting spacecraft that produced far more data than we planned," said Mike A'Hearn, the mission’s principal investigator at the University of Maryland in College Park. "It has revolutionized our understanding of comets and their activity."    Fri, 20 Sep 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1102 Dawn Validates Telescope Studies http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1103 0 0 1 195 839 lockheed / JPL 11 1 1033 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} Amazing close-up images of the giant asteroid Vesta taken by NASA’s Dawn spacecraft during a year in orbit from July 2011-2012 have provided a rare means to compare earlier observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and by ground-based telescopes and the conclusions derived from them. A new study involving Dawn's observations demonstrates how this three-way comparison can clarify our understanding of a solar system object.   "Since the vast majority of asteroids can only be studied remotely by ground-based and space-based facilities, confirming the accuracy of such observations using in-situ measurements is important to our exploration of the solar system," said Vishnu Reddy, the lead author of a paper published recently in the journal Icarus. Reddy is based at the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, AZ, and the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany. Fri, 27 Sep 2013 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1103 Dawn Findings Spur New Ideas on Vesta Formation http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1104 0 0 1 218 1245 lockheed / JPL 10 2 1461 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;} A new paper from scientists on NASA's Dawn mission suggests the history of how the giant asteroid Vesta formed is more complicated than previously thought.   If Vesta's formation had followed the script for the formation of rocky planets like Earth, heat from the interior would have created distinct, separated layers of rock – generally, a core, mantle and crust. In that version, the mineral olivine should concentrate in the mantle.   However, as described in a paper in the November 6th issue of the journal Nature, that's not what Dawn's visible and infrared mapping spectrometer (VIR) instrument found. The observations of the huge craters in Vesta's southern hemisphere that exposed the lower crust and should have excavated the mantle did not find evidence of olivine there. Scientists instead found clear signatures of olivine in the surface material in the northern hemisphere.   Infrared and visible-light data obtained by Dawn's VIR instrument of Bellicia crater show unexpected concentrations of the mineral olivine. Those detections of olivine are associated with several features in the image below: a deposit slumped downslope (annotated with the number 1), comingled bright and dark materials on the crater wall (number 2), relatively dark material adjacent to other olivine-rich material (number 3). Mon, 11 Nov 2013 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1104 GRAIL Mission Findings Bring New Lunar Insights http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1105 Scientists using data from NASA's Gravity Recovery and Interior Laboratory (GRAIL) mission are gaining new insight into the differences found on the near side and the far side of the Moon. Asymmetric distribution and size of lunar impact basins are largely due to temperature variations in the Moon’s crust, according to a report published in November 8th edition of the journal Science.    Maria Zuber, GRAIL principal investigator from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, said, "We know the Moon’s dark splotches are large, lava-filled impact basins that were created by asteroid impacts about four billion years ago. GRAIL data indicate that both the near side and the far side of the moon were bombarded by similarly large impactors, but they reacted to them much differently."    Mon, 11 Nov 2013 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1105 MESSENGER Captures Images of Encke and ISON http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1106   On November 18, NASA's Mercury-orbiting MESSENGER spacecraft pointed its Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) at 2P/Encke and captured this image of the comet as it sped within 2.3 million miles of Mercury's surface. The next day, the probe captured this companion image of comet ISON as it cruised by Mercury at a distance of 22.5 million miles on its way to its late-November closest approach to the Sun. MESSENGER's cameras have been acquiring targeted observations of Encke since October 28 and ISON since October 26, although the first faint detections didn't come until early November. During the closest approach of each comet to Mercury, the Mercury Atmospheric and Surface Composition Spectrometer (MASCS) and X-Ray Spectrometer (XRS) instruments also targeted the comets. Observations of ISON conclude on November 26, when the comet passes too close to the Sun, but MESSENGER will continue to monitor Encke with both the imagers and spectrometers through early December.   Tue, 26 Nov 2013 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1106 Dawn Scientists Designing Ceres Flight Plan http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1107   As NASA's Dawn spacecraft continues its steady cruise toward dwarf planet Ceres, powered by the glow of ion propulsion, the mission team is hard at work planning to make the most of their time in orbit around the largest body in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Dawn has been heading to Ceres since September 2012, when it departed from its first destination, Vesta, after a full year in orbit. Approach operations for Ceres will begin just over one year from now. Ceres presents an icy, possibly watery, counterpoint to the dry Vesta, where Dawn spent almost 14 months. Vesta and Ceres are two of the largest surviving protoplanets – bodies that almost became planets – and will give scientists clues about the planet-forming conditions at the dawn of our solar system.     Thu, 05 Dec 2013 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1107 Dawn Camera Displays Vesta in a New Light http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1108 When viewed with the human eye, the giant asteroid Vesta is not too impressive. It’s gray in color and pitted with craters large and small. But images captured by the Dawn mission’s framing camera during its two-year orbit of Vesta are revealing landscapes of incomparable beauty. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau, Germany, have re-analyzed framing camera images of the giant asteroid and assigned colors to different wavelengths of light. Their work has revealed geological structures that are invisible to the naked eye in unprecedented detail and landscapes of incomparable beauty. The composite image below of Antonia crater was taken from September to October 2011. The light blue area is fine-grain material excavated from the lower crust. The southern edge of the crater was buried by coarser material shortly after the crater formed. The dark blue of the southern crater rim is due to shadowing of the blocky material. Antonia has a diameter of 11 miles. Tue, 17 Dec 2013 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1108 Newly Named Craters on Mercury Announced http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1109 The MESSENGER Science Team has assigned names to 10 more impact craters on Mercury. Approved by the International Astronomical Union which is the arbiter of planetary and satellite nomenclature, the newly named craters follow the established naming theme for craters on Mercury: named after "deceased artists, musicians, painters, and authors who have made outstanding or fundamental contributions to their field and have been recognized as art historically significant figures for more than 50 years." Thu, 19 Dec 2013 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1109 Latest Newsletter Now Online http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1110 The December 2013 issue of the Discovery and New Frontiers News features the latest updates from the missions and highlights of education and public outreach activities. InSight will place a lander on Mars and drill deep down to study its interior. How do scientists decide where it should land? MESSENGER has been orbiting Mercury for more than 1,000 Earth days, and her science team continues to make new discoveries. Learn why mysterious Mercury has been found to be both one of the hottest and coldest bodies in our solar system. After 8 long years on the interplanetary highway, New Horizons has covered about 85% of her long journey to the Pluto system. What is the team doing do prepare for this historic encounter next year? Tue, 31 Dec 2013 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1110 InSight Launch Vehicle Selected http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1111 0 0 1 48 278 lockheed / JPL 2 1 325 14.0 Normal 0 false false false EN-US JA X-NONE /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin-top:0in; mso-para-margin-right:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:10.0pt; mso-para-margin-left:0in; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-fareast-language:JA;}   NASA has selected United Launch Services LLC of Centennial, Colo., to launch the InSight mission to Mars. InSight is short for Interior Exploration Using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport. InSight will launch in March 2016 aboard an Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 3E at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.     Thu, 02 Jan 2014 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1111 Send Your Name to an Asteroid and Beyond! http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1112 NASA is inviting people around the world to submit their names to be etched on a microchip that will fly aboard the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft which will launch to the asteroid Bennu in 2016. The "Messages to Bennu!" microchip will travel to the asteroid aboard the Origins-Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer, or OSIRIS-REx, spacecraft. The robotic mission will spend more than two years at the 1,760-foot-wide asteroid. The spacecraft will collect material from Bennu's surface and return it to Earth in a sample return capsule. "We're thrilled to be able to share the OSIRIS-REx adventure with people across the Earth, to Bennu and back," said Dante Lauretta, principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission from the University of Arizona in Tucson. "It's a great opportunity for people to get engaged with the mission early and join us as we prepare for launch."   Fri, 17 Jan 2014 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1112 Water Vapor Detected on Ceres http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1113   Scientists using the Herschel space observatory have made the first definitive detection of water vapor on the largest and roundest object in the asteroid belt, Ceres. Plumes of water vapor are thought to shoot up periodically from Ceres when portions of its icy surface warm slightly.  "This is the first time water vapor has been unequivocally detected on Ceres or any other object in the asteroid belt and provides proof that Ceres has an icy surface and an atmosphere," said Michael Küppers of the European Space Agency (ESA) in Spain, lead author of a paper in the journal Nature.    Thu, 23 Jan 2014 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1113 MESSENGER Completes 3,000 Orbits http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1114 On April 20, MESSENGER completed its 3,000th orbit of Mercury and moved closer to the planet than any spacecraft has been before, dropping to an altitude of 124 miles above the planet's surface. "We are cutting through Mercury's magnetic field in a different geometry, and that has shed new light on the energetic electron population," said MESSENGER Project Scientist Ralph McNutt, of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, MD. "In addition, we are now spending more time closer to the planet in general – and that has, in turn, increased the opportunities for all of the remote sensing instruments to make higher-resolution observations of the planet."   Tue, 22 Apr 2014 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1114 MESSENGER Orbit Maneuver Raises Altitude http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1115 MESSENGER successfully completed the first orbit-correction maneuver of its Second Extended Mission on June 17, raising its minimum altitude above Mercury from 71 miles to 96 miles. This is the first of four maneuvers designed to modify the spacecraft’s orbit around Mercury and delay its inevitable impact onto Mercury’s surface, allowing scientists to continue to gather information about the innermost planet.   Wed, 18 Jun 2014 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1115 NASA Releases Draft Discovery AO http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1116 NASA’s Science Mission Directorate has released draft text for an Announcement of Opportunity (AO) soliciting proposals for the next candidates for future Discovery missions.   The Discovery Program’s Principal Investigator (PI)-led space science investigations give scientists the opportunity to dig deep into their imaginations and find innovative ways to deepen our knowledge about our solar system. Mon, 07 Jul 2014 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1116 Dawn Uncovers More of Vesta’s Hidden Secrets http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1117 Using data from the framing camera aboard NASA's Dawn spacecraft, researchers have for the first time identified a mineral component of the mysterious dark material discovered on the giant asteroid Vesta – it is serpentine that came to Vesta by way of impacts from primitive asteroids.  Rocks are silent storytellers. Because each mineral is created only under certain conditions, they provide insight into the evolution of the body on which they are found. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany have now begun to tell such a story from the enigmatic dark material that can be found scattered over the surface of Vesta. Since Dawn's arrival in July 2011, this material, that absorbs light as efficiently as soot, has sparked discussions within the scientific community. What is it made of? How did it originate? And what does it tell us about this unique body that took the first steps towards becoming a planet, but got stuck in an early evolutionary phase approximately 4.5 billion years ago?   Wed, 23 Jul 2014 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1117 Scientists Report New Stardust Discovery http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1118 Since 2006, when the Stardust sample return capsule delivered its aerogel and aluminum foil dust collectors back to Earth, scientists have combed through the collectors searching for interstellar dust.   The team now reports that they have found seven rare, microscopic interstellar dust particles that probably came from outside our solar system, perhaps created in a supernova explosion millions of years ago and altered by eons of exposure to the extremes of space. If confirmed, these particles would be the first samples of contemporary interstellar dust.   Thu, 14 Aug 2014 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1118 Acclaim for MESSENGER Principal Investigator http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1119 MESSENGER Principal Investigator Sean Solomon will receive the nation's top scientific honor, the National Medal of Science. Solomon, the director of Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, is one of nine scientists nationwide to win the honor, which will be awarded at a White House ceremony later this year.   "These scholars and innovators have expanded our understanding of the world, made invaluable contributions to their fields, and helped improve countless lives," President Obama said in a statement. "Our nation has been enriched by their achievements, and by all the scientists and technologists across America dedicated to discovery, inquiry, and invention."   Mon, 06 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1119 MESSENGER Returns First Images of Polar Ice http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1120 NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft has provided the first optical images of ice and other frozen volatile materials within permanently shadowed craters near Mercury’s north pole. The images not only reveal the morphology of the frozen volatiles, but they also provide insight into when the ices were trapped and how they’ve evolved, according to an article published on Oct. 15 in the journal, Geology.   Two decades ago, Earth-based radar images of Mercury revealed the polar deposits, postulated to consist of water ice. That hypothesis was later confirmed by MESSENGER through a combination of neutron spectrometry, thermal modeling, and infrared reflectometry. “But along with confirming the earlier idea, there is a lot new to be learned by seeing the deposits,” said lead author Nancy Chabot, the Instrument Scientist for MESSENGER’s Mercury Dual Imaging System (MDIS) and a planetary scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland.   Beginning with MESSENGER’s first extended mission in 2012, scientists launched an imaging campaign with the broadband clear filter of MDIS’s wide-angle camera (WAC). Although the polar deposits are in permanent shadow, through many refinements in the imaging, the WAC was able to obtain images of the surfaces of the deposits by leveraging very low levels of light scattered from illuminated crater walls. “It worked in spectacular fashion,” said Chabot.   Wed, 15 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1120 Maneuver Extends MESSENGER Orbital Operations http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1121 MESSENGER mission controllers at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., conducted the third of four maneuvers today to raise the spacecraft's minimum altitude sufficiently to extend orbital operations and delay the probe's inevitable impact onto Mercury's surface until early next spring.   The first of the four maneuvers, completed on June 17, raised MESSENGER's altitude at closest approach from 71.4 miles to 97.2 miles above the planet's surface. The second maneuver, on September 12, raised the altitude at closest approach from 15.7 miles to 58.2 miles above the planet's surface. Because of progressive changes to the orbit over time, the spacecraft's minimum altitude has continued to decrease since September.  Fri, 24 Oct 2014 05:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1121 NASA Releases Discovery Call for Proposals http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1122 On November 5, 2014, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD) released the Discovery 2014 Announcement of Opportunity (AO). This is the call for proposals for the next Discovery Program space science investigation.    The full text of the AO and all appendices is available electronically at http://nspires.nasaprs.com/. A preproposal conference will be held in November 2014; see http://discovery.larc.nasa.gov/ for details. Notices of Intent are requested by December 5, 2014, and proposals are due February 16, 2015.   The Discovery Program conducts Principal Investigator (PI)-led space science investigations relevant to SMD's planetary science programs. Discovery Program investigations must address NASA’s strategic objective to ascertain the content, origin, and evolution of the solar system and the potential for life elsewhere. Wed, 05 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1122 Next NASA Mars Mission Reaches Milestone http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1123 NASA's InSight mission has begun the assembly, test and launch operations (ATLO) phase of its development, on track for a March 2016 launch to Mars.   "Reaching this stage that we call ATLO is a critical milestone," said InSight Project Manager Tom Hoffman at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California. "This is a very satisfying point of the mission as we transition from many teams working on their individual elements to integrating these elements into a functioning system. The subsystems are coming from all over the globe, and the ATLO team works to integrate them into the flight vehicle. We will then move rapidly to rigorous testing when the spacecraft has been assembled, and then to the launch preparations."   Mon, 17 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1123 New Maps of Vesta Reveal Surface Features http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1124 High-resolution geological maps of the large asteroid Vesta, assembled from images captured by cameras on NASA's Dawn spacecraft, reveal that impacts from several large meteorites have shaped Vesta’s history. These maps, which display the variety of surface features in unprecedented detail, are included with a series of 11 scientific papers published this week in a special issue of the journal Icarus.   Geological mapping is a technique used to derive the geologic history of a planetary object from detailed analysis of surface morphology, topography, color and brightness information. The mapping was crucial for getting a better understanding of Vesta’s geological history. A team of 14 scientists mapped the surface of Vesta using Dawn spacecraft data.  Mon, 17 Nov 2014 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1124 Latest Newsletter Now Online http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1125 The December 2014 issue of the Discovery and New Frontiers News features the latest updates from the missions. 2015 will be a landmark year in space exploration. Nine years after launch, the New Horizons spacecraft will finally reveal the details of Pluto's surface to the curious public. What mysteries will be unlocked once we start to get images and data from Pluto and her moons? InSight will place a lander on Mars and drill deep down to study its interior. How do scientists decide where it should land? MESSENGER has been orbiting Mercury for nearly 4 years and continues to capture amazing targeted closeup images. Learn what the mission team is doing to keep MESSENGER orbiting as long as possible before the inevitable impact into Mercury. The ion-propelled Dawn spacecraft will be the first to orbit and explore two distant solar system objects. The team is preparaing for arrival at Ceres this spring, ready to make everyone forget the blurry image that is the best we have now. Fri, 19 Dec 2014 06:00:00 GMT http://discovery.nasa.gov/news/index.cfml?ID=1125