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Latest Jet Propulsion Laboratory Stories

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
2014-03-12 08:39:21

Guy Webster, Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA's long-lived Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter put itself into a precautionary safe standby mode March 9 after an unscheduled swap from one main computer to another. The mission's ground team has begun restoring the spacecraft to full operations. "The spacecraft is healthy, in communication and fully powered," said Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Manager Dan Johnston of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.  "We have stepped up the...

Kepler Space Telescope Marks Five Years in Space
2014-03-07 11:47:49

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory Exactly five years ago, on March 6, 2009, NASA's Kepler Space Telescope rocketed into the night skies above Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to find planets around other stars, called exoplanets, in search of potentially habitable worlds. Since then, Kepler has unveiled a whole new side of our galaxy -- one that is teeming with planets. Because of Kepler, we now know that most stars have planets, Earth-sized planets are common, and planets...

Small Asteroid Will Safely Pass Earth
2014-03-06 12:52:56

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory An asteroid about 25 feet (8 meters) across will safely pass Earth at about 1:21 p.m. PST (4:21 p.m. EST) today, March 6, approaching us six times closer than the moon. This distance, though not unusual, is closer than the Earth flyby of a larger asteroid on Wednesday afternoon, March 5. This afternoon's flyby object, asteroid 2014 EC, was discovered on March 5 by the Catalina Sky Survey near Tucson, Ariz. Its closest-approach distance, about 38,300...

Cassini Nears 100th Titan Flyby
2014-03-06 09:16:49

NASA Ten years ago, we knew Titan as a fuzzy orange ball about the size of Mercury. We knew it had a nitrogen atmosphere -- the only known world with a thick nitrogen atmosphere besides Earth. But what might lie beneath the hazy air was still just a guess. On March 6, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will swoop down within 933 miles (1,500 kilometers) of Titan to conduct its 100th flyby of the Saturn moon. Each flyby gives us a little more knowledge of Titan and its striking similarities to...

Comet Find Is NEOWISE's First Since Activation
2014-03-01 06:14:41

[ Watch the Video: What's So Weird About A New Comet? ] DC Agle, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA's Near-Earth Object Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (NEOWISE) spacecraft has spotted a never-before-seen comet - its first such discovery since coming out of hibernation late last year. "We are so pleased to have discovered this frozen visitor from the outermost reaches of our solar system," said Amy Mainzer, the mission's principal investigator from NASA's Jet Propulsion...

mars striations
2014-02-27 12:04:34

NASA NASA's Curiosity Mars rover has reached an area where orbital images had piqued researchers' interest in patches of ground with striations all oriented in a similar direction. A close-up look at some of the striations from the rover's Navigation Camera gains extra drama by including Mount Sharp in the background. The lower slopes of that layered mountain are the mission's long-term science destination. The foreground rocks are in an outcrop called "Junda," which the rover passed...

curiosity looks back
2014-02-20 11:08:34

Guy Webster, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Terrain that NASA's Curiosity Mars rover is now crossing is as smooth as team members had anticipated based on earlier images from orbit. On Tuesday, Feb. 18, the rover covered 329 feet (100.3 meters), the mission's first long trek that used reverse driving and its farthest one-day advance of any kind in more than three months. The reverse drive validated feasibility of a technique developed with testing on Earth to lessen damage to...

NASA To Host Social Media Event At The Deep Space Network Complex
2014-02-14 12:04:45

Courtney O'Connor - NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA will host a two-day NASA Social for 50 of its social media followers on April 1 and 2, 2014, at the agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the Deep Space Network complex in Goldstone, Calif. The event is part of a yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN), the world's largest and most powerful communications system for "talking" to spacecraft. From the first planetary...

Mars Odyssey Spacecraft Moved For New Observations
2014-02-13 09:56:19

Guy Webster / Dwayne Brown - NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory NASA's Mars Odyssey spacecraft has tweaked its orbit to help scientists make the first systematic observations of how morning fogs, clouds and surface frost develop in different seasons on the Red Planet. The maneuver took place Tuesday, Feb. 11. Odyssey team engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and Lockheed Martin Space Systems of Denver, designed the gentle move to accelerate Odyssey's drift...

Clever Technology Decodes More Information From Single Photons
2014-02-12 21:17:46

National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) It's not quite Star Trek communications—yet. But long-distance communications in space may be easier now that researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) have designed a clever detector array that can extract more information than usual from single particles of light. Described in a new paper, the NIST/JPL array-on-a-chip easily identifies the position of the exact...


Word of the Day
malpais
  • The ragged surface of a lava-flow.
'Malpais' translates from Spanish as 'bad land.'