For situation awareness, at 10am PT 9/24/14, NATURE published a result on the smallest exoplanet to have molecules detected in its atmosphere. HAT-P-11b, a Neptune-sized planet, is the smallest exoplanet to have molecules of any kind detected in the atmosphere.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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...
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.