Division News

MB Atacama 1

Sampling for Biomarkers in the Atacama Desert

NASA Ames Pathway PhD Candidate, Mary Beth Wilhelm, conducted Mars analog field work in the Atacama Desert in Chile with Senior Research Scientist Dr. Alfonso Davila of the SETI Institute and Civil Servant Dr. Jennifer Eigenbrode of NASA Goddard.

LIDAR scan of FINESSE team members in a lava tube

FINESSE team conducts fieldwork and hosts Media Day at Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve

The Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration (FINESSE) team's first field campaign occurred in Idaho from July 29 to August 8, 2014. 
 
The FINESSE team, led by NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, is focused on a science and exploration field-based research program to generate strategic knowledge in preparation for human and robotic exploration of our moon, Mars’ moons Phobos and Deimos, and near-Earth asteroids.
 
FINESSE Forum

Ames FINESSE Team Presents Science Data at NASA's Exploration Science Forum

The FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration) team participated in the NASA Exploration Science Forum last week at Ames.
FINESS KB-COM

FINESSE team completes first field deployment to Craters of the Moon, Idaho

NASA's FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science & Exploration) completed the project's first field deployment in July 2014.  
Pavilion Lake Outland Second Pass

Paviion Lake Research Project completes field deployment to Pavilion Lake, BC

NASA MMAMA (SMD) funded Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP) team completed the project’s first Phase 3 field deployment, which ran from June 12-27, 2014.
CheMin

Ames Instrument Helps Identify the First Habitable Environment on Mars, Wins Invention Award

June 24, 2014

RELEASE: 14-047AR

Ames Instrument Helps Identify the First Habitable Environment on Mars, Wins Invention Award 

 

Image of Star - Farid Salama

NASA Simulator Successfully Recreates Space Dust

A team of scientists at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., has successfully reproduced, right here on Earth, the processes that occur in the atmosphere of a red giant star and lead to the formation of planet-forming interstellar dust.

Science Magazine

Science Magazine

The March 7th Science magazine had a number of articles on the 100th anniversary of the discovery of X-ray diffraction. There is a 2-page timeline of discoveries that includes CheMin's first diffraction pattern on Mars.


View here: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6175/1092.full.pdf

Organic nano

Need to track organic nano particles across the Universe? NASA's got an app for you!

On Friday, February 21st, a significantly updated version of the NASA Ames PAH IR Spectroscopic database was made public at www.astrochem.org/pahdb/. This is the largest collection of PAH spectra in the world and now contains 700 computational and 75 experimental spectra.

Rock on the Martian Surface

Don’t Eat the Dirt on Mars: the Pros and Cons of Perchlorate

Planetary Systems Branch Pathways Intern's Article about Mars Featured on KQED, San Francisco PBS affiliate

 

To be successful Mars colonists, future astronauts will need to know both the potential hazard and utility of the soil. Astronauts can use Martian soil to “live off the land” as building material, fuel, or a fertilizer, greatly reducing the cost of a Mars mission, which is one of the biggest barriers to sending humans to the red planet.

CalACademy - Hoehler

Ames Astrobiology Team Partners with California Academy of Sciences in Dark Universe Program

The NASA Ames Astrobiology Team has partnered with the California Academy of Sciences in the “Dark Universe Program,” a new cosmology show that began January 31.

K-Rex rover

Ames Team to Use Robots, Humans to Study Impact Sites and Volcanoes Selected to Join New Virtual Research Institute

The Ames project dubbed “FINESSE,” which stands for Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration, was selected to join a new NASA virtual institute that will focus on questions concerning space science and human space exploration. The team was selected to participate by NASA's Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), which is based at Ames.

Science January 2014

Exploring Martian Habitability

Curiosity's results from Yellowknife bay were published online in Science Express last month (December 2013), to correspond with the first day of the AGU (American Geophysical Union).

2013 Technology Transfer Award Winners

Honorable Mention in the 2013 NASA Software of the Year Award Competition: Ross A. Beyer (SST)
 
2013 Patent Award:
  • Rapid Polymer Sequencer: Viktor Stolc (SCR)

Life on Mars still beyond our reach to discover it

San Jose Mercury News - Life on Mars still beyond our reach to discover it. "There may have once been life on Mars, but for now, it is beyond our technological reach to find it. The soil chemistry at the site the rover Curiosity is exploring and radiation from space, combined with the limits of our tools, means it is impossible to detect molecules of organic carbon compounds that are the hallmark of living organisms on Earth, NASA scientists said Monday in San Francisco...

FINESSE

Ames FINESSE Selected As New NASA SSERVI Team

NASA Ames Code SST Scientists were recently selected to lead a new team in NASA's SSERVI (Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute).  

Borucki Honored By President Obama For Work On Kepler

Borucki Honored By President Obama For Work On Kepler. The Mountain View Voice (11/13, DeBolt, 52K) profiles Ames Research Center William Borucki, who was fundamental in getting the Kepler telescope developed. For his work, he was given the Samuel J. Heyman Service of America Medal by President Barack Obama last month. Borucki, according to the article, is “most proud” of his work with the telescope.
DB Chem Engaged Crowd

Ames Astrobiology Team Partners with Lassen Volcanic National Park in Dark Sky Festival

The Ames Research Center Team of the NASA Astrobiology Institute cohosted the 2013 Lassen Volcanic Dark Sky Festival on August 9-11, 2013.  During the three-day festival, over 45 events were held and more than 4200 visitors learned about preserving the dark sky and the study of astrobiology in the park.

President and Borucki

President Barack Obama Recognizes NASA Employees' Public Service

 

President Barack Obama Recognizes NASA Employees' Public Service - President Obama met with two NASA employees and 32 fellow public servants in the East Room at the White House in Washington to express gratitude and acknowledge their selection as recipients and finalists of the prestigious 2013 Samuel J. Heyman Service of America Medals or Sammies.

Science Benefits from Diverse Landing Area of NASA Mars Rover

NASA's Curiosity rover is revealing a great deal about Mars, from long-ago processes in its interior to the current interaction between the Martian surface and atmosphere.

Examination of loose rocks, sand and dust has provided new understanding of the local and global processes on Mars. Analyses of observations and measurements by the rover's science instruments during the first four months after the August 2012 landing are detailed in five reports in the Sept. 27 edition of the journal Science.

Nathalie Cabrol

Exploring Earth’s alien spaces

When Nathalie Cabrol was little,her grandfather gave her a pair of binoculars he had picked up as a soldier in Germany after the liberation of France. It was her first real glimpse at the wonders of the moon and stars.
WSPV Ames Greenhouse

Wave Selective Photovoltaics for Algal Production Ames-UC Santa Cruz collaboration featured as local cover story and picked up nationally online.

Ames researcher microbiologists (Bebout Exobiology lab) have successfully completed first phase assessment of a UC Santa Cruz developed technology “wave selective photovoltaics.”   Using an led solar simulator and greenhouse rooftop facilities atop B239, tests were run on five commercially important algal strains (which are also of interest for space missions). 

In memorium - Bishun Khare 1933-2013

In memorium - Bishun Khare 1933-2013

Memorial services for Bishun were held on Monday, August 26, 2013 at the SETI Institute colloquium room.
SETI is located at 189 Bernardo Ave. in Mountain View, CA
http://www.seti.org/node/1845
PLRP

Pavilion Lake team conducts successful Operational Readiness Test at the Neutral Buoyancy Lab JSC) July 8-12, 2013

The Pavilion Lake Research Project (PLRP) is currently in Phase 3 of its operations, and is preparing for a science-driven field deployment at Pavilion Lake in the summer of 2014.

Rover Zöe in the Atacama desert

Drilling our Way to Life on Mars – Rover-Mounted Drill Autonomously Explores Subsurface Life in the Atacama Desert, Chile

Whether life ever existed on Mars or was capable of surviving profound climate changes is still unknown, and is a central question to the upcoming Mars 2020 mission. Despite large aquifers predicted at depth and surface ice in the polar regions, most of Mars remains extremely arid.

Zoë Robot Returns To Chile's Atacama Desert On NASA Mission To Search For Subsurface Life

Zoë Robot Returns To Chile's Atacama Desert On NASA Mission To Search For Subsurface Life

PITTSBURGH - The autonomous, solar-powered Zoë, which became the first robot to map microbial life during a 2005 field expedition in Chile’s Atacama Desert, is heading back to the world’s driest desert this month on a NASA astrobiology mission led by Carnegie Mellon University and the SETI Institute. This time, Zoë is equipped with a one-meter drill to search for subsurface life.

Cosmic Carbon's Molecular Evolution

NASA Develops Key to Cosmic Carbon's Molecular Evolution

Combining for the first time a blind, algorithm driven analytic approach with authentic PAH spectra, members of the Astrophysics & Astrochemistry Laboratory are now able to systematically track parts of carbon's molecular evolution across the Universe.
Leiden Observatory

Lou Allamandola awarded Oort Professorship for 2013 by Leiden Observatory

Every year, Leiden Observatory selects a distinguished astronomer to be the Oort Professor in memory of Professor Jan Oort, the distinguished Professor of Astronomy at Leiden University who played a pioneering role in many aspects of modern astronomy.

NASA Researchers Strike Scientific Gold With Meteorite

NASA Researchers Strike Scientific Gold With Meteorite

Scientists found treasure when they studied a meteorite that was recovered April 22, 2012 at Sutter's Mill, the gold discovery site that led to the 1849 California Gold Rush.
EDA Rocknest scoop

First results from CheMin Mineralogical Instrument on the Curiosity Rover to be presented at the AGU meeting in San Francisco

Dr. David Blake of the Exobiology Branch will be presenting an invited paper entitled "First results from the CheMin, DAN and SAM instruments on Mars Science Laboratory" at the American Geophysical Meeting in San Francisco on Monday, December 3, 2012.

Curiosity2

NASA ROVER'S FIRST SOIL STUDIES HELP FINGERPRINT MARTIAN MINERALS

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has completed initial experiments showing the mineralogy of Martian soil is similar to weathered basaltic soils of volcanic origin in Hawaii.
SSX

NASA HOSTED A TELECONFERENCE ABOUT MARS CURIOSITY ROVER PROGRESS

TUESDAY, OCT. 30, 2012 at 2:30 p.m. EDT: NASA HOSTED A TELECONFERENCE ABOUT MARS CURIOSITY ROVER PROGRESS NASA hosted a media teleconference regarding status of the Curiosity rover's mission to Mars.

Meteorite Discovery

Scientist Retracts Claim About Meteorite In California

 

The KTVU-TV http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/local/scientist-retracts-claim-rock-found-novato-was-met/nSmMt/  San Francisco (10/24) website reports, "After a fireball streaked across the Bay Area sky last Wednesday evening, scientists and locals alike were on the hunt for pieces of the meteor that was believed to have made landfall in the Bay Area."

Dr. Lou Allamandola

TIME magazine's list of 25 Most Influential Scientists

Congratulations to Dr. Lou Allamandola of the Space Science and Astrobiology Division.

 

 

 

 

 

Mars Science Laboratory

Update on CheMin and the MSL Curiosity Rover

Curiosity landed on Mars on 5 August and began a first-use checkout of rover and instrumental systems (called “CAP-1” and “CAP-2”).  CheMin’s first activity on Mars was an “aliveness check” on 9 August in which dark frames (CCD images taken without active cooling and without a powered X-ray source) were collected and sent to ground to test the instrument electronics (all downloaded data were nominal). 
LADEE UVS being integrated onto LADEE SC radiator deck

LADEE UVS flight instrument integrated on spacecraft

The LADEE Ultraviolet-Visible Spectrometer (UVS) was successfully integrated to the LADEE SC on August 23, 2012.  The UVS instrument will use its 3-inch limb viewing telescope and solar occultation viewer to search for atmospheric lunar dust and gasses, including sodium and potassium.

STEM Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics

NASA Completes One-on-One Virtual Mentoring for Middle School Girls

Jennifer Heldmann (Code SST) recently participated in NASA G.I.R.L.S. (Giving Initiative and Relevance to Learning Science), a virtual mentoring program to help girls get excited about careers in science and technology.
MSL

Destination Innovation Episode 4: CheMin

  Ames video - Destination Innovation Episode 4: CheMin. The fourth episode of DI focuses on the CheMin instrument aboard the Mars Science Laboratory, NASA' s latest robotic explorer to visit Mars.
 
RESOLVE

SST Instrument used in Milestone ISRU Field Test

HIGHLIGHT: Members of SST provided key science instrumentation and support for the RESOLVE In Situ Resource Utilization field test on Mauna Kea on the big island of Hawaii.
RESOLVE_Ennico-Smith

Iterations of Science & Exploration

Dr. Kimberly Ennico wrote this blog entry on July 16, 2012 while working on a field test for RESOLVE, the Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction. This week you can follow RESOLVE live on Ustream.


Blake_ISRU

CheMin mineralogical instrument on Mars Science Laboratory featured on first page of San Jose Mercury News

Caption:  Blake, shown operating a commercial version of the CheMin instrument, called "Terra", at the 10,000 foot level on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i as part of a lunar in situ resource utilization (ISRU) experiment (funded under the MMAMA program).
NIRCam_Greene

Ames Scientist helping test the James Webb Space Telescope NIRCam instrument at Lockheed Martin

Tom Greene has been helping with the cryogenic testing of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Near-infrared camera (NIRCam) flight instrument at the Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto since June 28.
LAD_Salama

New Laboratory Astrophysics Division, LAD, is Launched at the AAS Summer Meeting in Anchorage

Farid Salama and his colleagues from the Steering Committee attended the launch of the first new AAS Division in over thirty years, the Laboratory Astrophysics Division (LAD), where they were presented with a certificate  commemorating this historic occasion in recognition of the role they played in helping motivate the formation of the division.
Research in Chile

Exobiology Branch investigators conduct field research in Chile

In support of their Exobiology funded research to examine methane production in Mars analogue hypersaline environments, Brad Bebout and Angela Detweiler, of Ames’ Exobiology Branch recently conducted field research in Chile.

Sutter's Mill meteorite

Search for the "Sutter's Mill" meteorite

The fireball created by the falling meteoroid, which is thought to have been about 3-4 meters in diameter, was seen in multiple states.  These searches have so far turned up two fragments of the original body, and additional pieces have been found by meteorite dealers and members of the public. 

LADEE

LADEE UVS Flight Instrument Enters Flight Acceptance Testing

The LADEE UltraViolet Spectrometer (UVS) passed its Pre-Environmental testing Review (PER) and was cleared for flight acceptance testing. Over the next 35 days the UVS instrument will be put through a series of tests, including EMI/EMC, random vibration and thermal vacuum testing, before being delivered to the LADEE Project for integration into the LADEE spacecraft.
Microbial Life

NASA’s Astrobiology Research Sparks 'GreenTech' Revolution

NASA's astrobiologists study microbial life to understand how it transformed a rocky Earth into the thriving, diverse, life-sustaining planet we inhabit today. These studies of photosynthetic "green" algae are creating sparks for new "green technologies" [at Ames] on Earth and future human space exploration missions.

Kepler

NASA's Kepler Mission Wins 2012 Aviation Week Laureate Award

MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. -- NASA's Kepler mission has been named winner of the 2012 Aviation Week Laureate Award in the Space category, announced last night at the 55th annual black-tie awards dinner in Washington, D.C.

First ever Mars and the Mojave Festival in Death Valley National Park

First ever Mars and the Mojave Festival in Death Valley National Park

Death Valley Natl. Park encompasses some of the most extreme environments on the planet. For decades, planetary scientists have come here for research and instrument testing. We are organizing the first ever Death Valley National Park planetary analog festival, titled the Mars and the Mojave Festival – Exploring Extremes on Earth and Beyond. This pioneer three-day public event, scheduled for March 9-11, 2012 is co-sponsored by NASA Ames Research Center, the Death Valley National Park, the SAM Team at NASA Goddard, and the SETI Institute.
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