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NASA/Solar System News 2015

December 2014

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Recent Measurements of Pluto and Charon Obtained by New Horizons

How Big Is Pluto? New Horizons Settles Decades-Long Debate

A Portrait from the Final Approach to Pluto and Charon




Critical Step on Journey to Mars Thursday, Dec. 5

The un-crewed Orion will orbit 3,600 miles above Earth before
splashing down in the Pacific. Orion is being designed to carry
astronauts on exploration missions into deep space, including a
trip to an asteroid and eventually to Mars.




Once There Set Day:Wednesday,November12 2014 Time:9:00am Time Zone:Eastern U.S.,All Channels
Press; GO. Click on > Play

Rosetta Races Toward Comet Touchdown




In this side-by-side view, an image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko obtained on October 30, 2014 by the OSIRIS scientific imaging system on the Rosetta spacecraft is displayed with two different saturation levels.
This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko, from Rosetta's OSIRIS scientific imaging system, shows two saturation levels. In the left image darkness hides the right half; the right image shows some surface structures. Image was taken 10/30/14 from about 18.6 miles (30 kilometers) away.
Image Credit: 
ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
This image of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was obtained on October 30, 2014 by the OSIRIS scientific imaging system on the Rosetta spacecraft. The right half is obscured by darkness. The image was taken from a distance of approximately 18.6 miles (30 kilometers).
Image Credit: 
ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team
Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko
This is a rare glance at the dark side of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Light backscattered from dust particles in the comet’s coma reveals a hint of surface structures. This image was taken by OSIRIS, Rosetta’s scientific imaging system, on Sept. 29, 2014.
Image Credit: 
ESA/Rosetta/MPS for OSIRIS Team

UCLA Explore The Planets

The NASA Comet ISON Observing Campaign 

Sun Grazing Comets or Sun Grazers

Amateur Observers' Program Asteroids & Comets

Experience the thrill of participating
in a NASA project!

Don't worry, you won't need to know much about astronomy, comets or asteroids. That's what this site is about!

Getting started...

•If you don't know what an asteroid or comet is or how to find things in the night sky, you'll want to start with the
Beginner's Guide.



NASA/Solar System News 2014 



Updated March 16, 2014
Your 15 Minutes of 'Frame' - from NASA's Cassini
With more than a half-dozen images and GIFs already live on the page, users are invited to visit Cassini's raw image database, dig through the treasure trove and create their own digital masterpiece and suggested caption. The submission process is as simple as filling out a form and uploading the image. Guidelines and further information can be found on the Cassini website. Over the years, the Cassini mission website has been sharing raw, unprocessed versions of images sent to Earth by the spacecraft. On June 30 (July 1 EDT), Cassini 10 years exploring Saturn, its rings and moons. To help mark 10 years in orbit, NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., has created a special gallery on the Saturn website where members of the public can experience "15 minutes of frame" by submitting their own amateur images made up from image data brought back by Cassini.
Neil Armstrong

"One Small Step For [a] Man, One Giant Leap For Mankind." The infamous words of Astronaut Neil Armstrong as he set foot on the Moon.

More on Astronauts
NASA's Operation IceBridge Begins New Arctic Campaign
The mission, known as Operation IceBridge, is to gather data on changes to polar ice and maintain continuity of measurements between NASA's Ice, Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) missions. The original ICESat mission ended in 2009, and its successor, ICESat-2, is scheduled for launch in 2017.
By flying yearly campaigns, IceBridge provides valuable data on rapidly changing areas of polar land and sea ice. Flights run through May 23 from Thule Air Base and Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, with a week-long deployment to Fairbanks, Alaska.
For more about PolarTREC and the IceBridge teacher research experience, visit:
For more about the U.S.-Denmark-Greenland Joint Committee, visit:
Hubble Frontier Field Abell 2744
This long-exposure image from NASA's Hubble Space Telescope of massive galaxy cluster Abell 2744 is the deepest ever made of any cluster of galaxies. It shows some of the faintest and youngest galaxies ever detected in space. Abell 2744, located in the constellation Sculptor, appears in the foreground of this image. It contains several hundred galaxies as they looked 3.5 billion years ago. The immense gravity in Abell 2744 acts as a gravitational lens to warp space and brighten and magnify images of nearly 3,000 distant background galaxies. The more distant galaxies appear as they did longer than 12 billion years ago, not long after the big bang.
This image is part of an unprecedented long-distance view of the universe from an ambitious collaborative project among NASA's Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes called The Frontier Fields. Over the next several years, select patches of the sky will be photographed for the purpose of better understanding galaxy evolution. This visible-light and near-infrared composite image was taken with Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3.
Image credit: NASA/ESA/STScI
Ten Years Ago, Spirit Rover Lands on Mars

This mosaic image taken on Jan. 4, 2004, by the navigation camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, shows a 360 degree panoramic view of the rover on the surface of Mars. Spirit operated for more than six years after landing in January 2004 for what was planned as a three-month mission.

Spirit drove 4.8 miles (7.73 kilometers), more than 12 times the goal set for the mission. The drives crossed a plain to reach a distant range of hills that appeared as mere bumps on the horizon from the landing site; climbed slopes up to 30 degrees as Spirit became the first robot to summit a hill on another planet; and covered more than half a mile (nearly a kilometer) after Spirit's right-front wheel became immobile in 2006. The rover returned more than 124,000 images. It ground the surfaces off 15 rock targets and scoured 92 targets with a brush to prepare the targets for inspection with spectrometers and a microscopic imager. 

A Minotaur V rocket carrying NASA's Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE) lifts off from at NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia on Friday, Sept. 6, 2013.  LADEE is a robotic mission designed to orbit the moon.
NASA's Asteroid Sample Return Mission Moves into Development

NASA's first mission to sample an asteroid is moving ahead into development and testing in preparation for its launch in 2016.

The Origins-Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) passed a confirmation review Wednesday called Key Decision Point (KDP)-C. NASA officials reviewed a series of detailed project assessments and authorized the spacecraft's continuation into the development phase.

NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS) satellite arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California on Tuesday, April 16, to begin its final preparations for launch currently scheduled no earlier than May 28. IRIS will improve our understanding of how heat and energy move through the deepest levels of the sun’s atmosphere, thereby increasing our ability to forecast space weather. Following final checkouts, the IRIS spacecraft will be placed inside an Orbital Sciences Pegasus rocket. Deployment of the Pegasus from the L-1011 carrier aircraft is targeted for 7:27 p.m. PDT at an altitude of 39,000 feet at a location over the Pacific Ocean about 100 miles northwest of Vandenberg AFB off the central coast of California south of Big Sur. Go to:


NASA Voyager Status Update on Voyager 1 Location           03.20.13

The Voyager team is aware of reports today that NASA's Voyager 1 has left the solar system," said Edward Stone, Voyager project scientist based at the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif. "It is the consensus of the Voyager science team that Voyager 1 has not yet left the solar system or reached interstellar space. In December 2012, the Voyager science team reported that Voyager 1 is within a new region called 'the magnetic highway' where energetic particles changed dramatically. A change in the direction of the magnetic field is the last critical indicator of reaching interstellar space and that change of direction has not yet been observed." 

To learn more about the current status of the Voyager mission: 

The Voyager spacecraft were built and continue to be operated by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, Calif. Caltech manages JPL for NASA. The Voyager missions are a part of NASA's Heliophysics System Observatory, sponsored by the Heliophysics Division of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. 

Jia-Rui C. Cook 818-354-0850
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. 

How Did Life Arise? Fuel Cells May Have Answers

How Did Life Arise? Fuel Cells May Have Answers
A new JPL-led study demonstrates a unique way to study the origins of life: fuel cells.

› Read full story    NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory | 4800 Oak Grove Dr | Pasadena, CA 91109   








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