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Tiny Planet-Finding Mirrors Borrow From Webb's Playbook
2012-05-25 03:33:19

NASA's next flagship mission – the James Webb Space Telescope – will carry the largest primary mirror ever deployed. This segmented behemoth will unfold to 21.3 feet in diameter once the observatory reaches its orbit in 2018. A team of scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., now is developing an instrument that would image and characterize planets beyond the solar system possibly from a high-altitude balloon has borrowed a page from the Webb...

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2010-06-24 06:45:00

Many scientists speculate that our galaxy could be full of places like Pandora from the movie "Avatar" -- Earth-like worlds in solar systems besides our own. That doesn't mean such worlds have been easy to find, however. Of the 400-plus planets so far discovered, none could support life as we know it on Earth. "The problem with finding Earth-like planets," said Stefan Martin, an engineer at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., "is that their host stars can emit 10 million times...

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2008-03-04 07:50:00

A giant telescope, galaxy maps, and laser beacons on Mars are only a few of the ideas that teams selected by NASA will study for the next generation of astronomy and astrophysics missions. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., will help usher in this new era by playing an active role in 15 of the 19 science teams chosen to look at new concepts for future missions. The 15 teams will explore concepts for missions to hunt for planets orbiting other stars (exoplanets) and to answer...

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2008-01-28 15:25:00

First results from a new NASA-funded scientific instrument at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii are helping scientists overturn long-standing assumptions about powerful explosions called novae and have produced the first unified model for a nearby nova called RS Ophiuchi. "We were getting ready for a routine engineering run when all of a sudden the nova went off. It was very bright and easy to observe, so we took this opportunity and turned it into gold," says team member Marc Kuchner of...

2007-12-05 17:24:18

NASA has selected three teams of scientists to begin studying disks of dust around nearby stars starting in February 2008, using the Keck Interferometer in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. This sophisticated new system combines the observing power of the two large Keck telescopes into a single mega-telescope. The announcement follows completion of the Keck Interferometer's technology phase, in which its detectors, starlight trackers, active optics and computer control systems were installed, tested and...

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2005-09-29 18:46:39

JPL -- Are we alone in the universe? Are there planets like Earth around other "suns" that might harbor life?  Thanks to a recent technology breakthrough on a key NASA planet-finding project, the dream of answering those questions is no longer light-years away. On a crystal clear, star-filled night at Hawaii's Keck Observatory in Mauna Kea, NASA engineers successfully suppressed the blinding light of three stars, including the well-known Vega, by 100 times.  This breakthrough...


Latest Nuller Reference Libraries

7_a23a0395183f2368aec4b62e1b9470672
2004-10-19 04:45:43

Terrestrial Planet Finder -- The Terrestrial Planet Finder is a proposed NASA telescope system capable of detecting extrasolar terrestrial planets. In May 2002, NASA chose two TPF mission architecture concepts for further study and technology development. Each would use a different means to achieve the same goal - to block the light from a parent star in order to see its much smaller, dimmer planets. That technology challenge has been likened to finding a firefly near the beam of...

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