NASA News

AIM Spacecraft Observes Early Noctilucent Ice Clouds Over Antarctica

December 2, 2016

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NASA Observes Early Noctilucent Ice Clouds Over Antarctica

Data from NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere spacecraft shows the sky over Antarctica is glowing electric blue due to the start of noctilucent, or night-shining, cloud season in the Southern Hemisphere – and an early one at that. Noctilucent clouds are Earth’s highest clouds, sandwiched between Earth and space 50 miles above the […]

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Astronomers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

December 1, 2016

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Researchers Probe Mystery of Pluto’s Icy Heart

New research looks to solve the many mysteries of Pluto’s icy heart-shaped feature. Was Pluto’s frozen heart formed in an ancient impact basin and was it once closer to the north pole? And does the icy heart conceal a subsurface ocean? Scientists are offering several new scenarios to explain the formation of Pluto’s frozen heart-shaped […]

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NASA’s SOFIA Set To Study New Frontiers in the Solar System and Beyond

November 16, 2016

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SOFIA Observatory Expanding New Frontiers in the Solar System and Beyond

NASA’s SOFIA flying Observatory set to study planets, comets and asteroids orbiting other stars and supermassive black holes. NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, SOFIA, will soon be studying Neptune’s giant moon, Triton, and following-up on Hubble’s recent sighting of water plumes on Jupiter’s moon Europa. According to recently completed plans for the 2017 observing […]

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Get Ready for the November Supermoon

November 11, 2016

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November Supermoon

Don’t miss the upcoming supermoon on Monday, November 14. It will be the closest full moon to Earth since 1948 and we won’t see another supermoon like this until 2034. The moon’s orbit around Earth is slightly elliptical so sometimes it is closer and sometimes it’s farther away. When the moon is full as it […]

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Astronomers Explain Mysterious Dimming of Markarian 1018

November 10, 2016

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Markarian 1018 Black Hole Dims Brilliant Galaxy

By combining data from Chandra, VLT and several other telescopes, astronomers reveal that the dimming of Markarian 1018 arises from the black hole at the center being deprived of enough fuel to illuminate its surroundings. Astronomers may have solved the mystery of the peculiar volatile behavior of a supermassive black hole at the center of […]

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NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Measures a Day on Saturn

November 7, 2016

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Cassini Begins Epic Final Year at Saturn

Measuring the exact length of a Saturn day is turning out to be a bigger challenge than originally thought. Over more than a decade in Saturn orbit, Cassini’s instruments have wrestled with confusing measurements to determine the planet’s precise rotation rate. The mission’s final year and unprecedented trajectory will carry Cassini to unexplored regions so […]

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New “Morphing” Wing Could Enable More Efficient Plane Flight

November 3, 2016

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Morphing Wing Could Enable More Efficient Plane Manufacturing and Flight

Engineers at MIT and NASA have developed a new kind of bendable, “morphing” wing that could enable more efficient plane manufacturing and flight. When the Wright brothers accomplished their first powered flight more than a century ago, they controlled the motion of their Flyer 1 aircraft using wires and pulleys that bent and twisted the […]

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NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory Captures a Partial Solar Eclipse

November 1, 2016

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NASA’s SDO Catches a Lunar Transit

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory experienced a partial solar eclipse in space when it caught the moon passing in front of the sun. The moon’s shadow obstructs SDO’s otherwise constant view of the sun, and the shadow’s edge is sharp and distinct, since the moon has no atmosphere which would distort sunlight. From SDO’s point of […]

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10 Years of Revolutionary Solar Views from NASA’s STEREO Mission

October 25, 2016

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STEREO 10 Years of Revolutionary Solar Views

Ten years ago the twin STEREO spacecraft joined a fleet of NASA spacecraft monitoring the sun and its influence on Earth and space – and they provided a new and unique perspective. Launched 10 years ago, on October 25, 2006, the twin spacecraft of NASA’s STEREO mission – short for Solar and Terrestrial Relations Observatory […]

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Astronomers Discover Potential New Hunting Ground for Exoplanets

October 24, 2016

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NASA, Citizen Scientists Discover Potential New Hunting Ground for Exoplanets

A group of citizen scientists and professional astronomers have discovered a star surrounded by the oldest known circumstellar disk — a primordial ring of gas and dust that orbits around a young star and from which planets can form as the material collides and aggregates. Led by Steven Silverberg of University of Oklahoma, the team […]

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LRO Spacecraft Reveals Earth’s Moon Hit by Surprising Number of Meteoroids

October 13, 2016

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Earths-Moon-Hit-by-Surprising-Number-of-Meteoroids

A newly published study reveals that a random bombardment by comets, asteroids and associated fragments are altering the lunar surface at a higher rate than previously thought. After simulating the distant view of a new impact, the camera zooms up to the surface to show actual before/after images of a new 12-meter crater taken by […]

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Scientists Predict the Next Global Dust Storm on Mars

October 6, 2016

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New Study Predicts Next Global Dust Storm on Mars

Based on a historical pattern, scientists believe they can predict the occurrence of dust storms on Mars. Global dust storms on Mars could soon become more predictable — which would be a boon for future astronauts there — if the next one follows a pattern suggested by those in the past. A published prediction, based […]

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Hubble Spots Possible Water Plumes on Europa

September 27, 2016

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Possible Water Plumes Erupting on Jupiter's Moon Europa

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, astronomers have imaged what may be water vapor plumes erupting off the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. This finding bolsters other Hubble observations suggesting the icy moon erupts with high altitude water vapor plumes. The observation increases the possibility that missions to Europa may be able to sample Europa’s ocean […]

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NASA Research Reveals That Mercury is Active

September 26, 2016

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Astronomers Reveal Mercury is Active

New research suggests that Mercury is contracting even today, joining Earth as a tectonically active planet. Images obtained by NASA’s MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft reveal previously undetected small fault scarps— cliff-like landforms that resemble stair steps. These scarps are small enough that scientists believe they must be geologically young, which […]

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NASA DXL Sounding Rocket Solves One Cosmic Mystery, Reveals Another

September 23, 2016

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NASA-Funded Sounding Rocket Solves One Cosmic Mystery, Reveals Another

New research confirms some of our ideas about where cosmic X-rays come from and reveals an entire group of X-rays that don’t come from any known source. In the last century, humans realized that space is filled with types of light we can’t see – from infrared signals released by hot stars and galaxies, to […]

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Hubble Finds a Planet Orbiting Pair of Stars in System OGLE-2007-BLG-349

September 22, 2016

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Hubble Reveals Planet Orbiting Pair of Stars

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a team of astronomers has confirmed the existence of a planet orbiting two stars in the system OGLE-2007-BLG-349, located 8,000 light-years away towards the center of our galaxy. The planet orbits roughly 300 million miles from the stellar duo, about the distance from the asteroid belt to our sun. It […]

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover Views Layered Rock Formations

September 13, 2016

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Mars Rover Views Layered Rock Formations

The layered geologic past of Mars is revealed in stunning detail in new color images from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover, which is currently exploring the “Murray Buttes” region of lower Mount Sharp. Curiosity took the images with its Mast Camera (Mastcam) on September 8. The rover team plans to assemble several large, color mosaics from […]

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Views a Streamlined Form in Lethe Vallis, Mars

September 13, 2016

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New Image of Lethe Vallis on Mars

This newly released image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows a portion of Lethe Vallis, an outflow channel that also transported lava. This image was acquired at 15:16 local Mars time on May 6, 2016, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Another investigation of this area (Balme […]

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