Past Highlights

LRO Images LADEE At The Moon

LRO Images LADEE At The Moon. Spaceflight Now (1/30, Clark, 3K) reports that on Wednesday, NASA released an image of the LADEE spacecraft taken by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). The article describes how LRO operators were able to capture the image on January 14.

Teachers Picked For SOFIA Ambassadors Program

Teachers Picked For SOFIA Ambassadors Program. TheAlternativePress (1/24) reported on the selection of Chatham, New Jersey high school science teacher Margaret Holzer through a “rigorous peer-reviewed process” to participate in SOFIA’s Airborne Astronomy Ambassadors program.

NASA Rover Results Include First Age Measurement on Mars and Help for Human Exploration

NASA's Curiosity rover is providing vital insight about Mars' past and current environments that will aid plans for future robotic and human missions.

NASA Update - Curiosity Out of Safe Mode

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project received confirmation from Mars Sunday (Nov. 10) that the Curiosity rover has successfully transitioned back into nominal surface operations mode. Curiosity had been in safe mode since Nov. 7, when an unexpected software reboot (also known as a warm reset) occurred during a communications pass with the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Mission science planning will resume tomorrow, and Curiosity science operations will recommence on Thursday.

Borucki Said He Is “Satisfied” By Kepler

Borucki Said He Is “Satisfied” By Kepler. The Discover Magazine (11/11, Powell, 314K), in an article titled “Kepler Spacecraft’s Successors Are Lining Up to Find Another Earth” for its December 2013 issue, reported Kepler is not currently hunting planets, Bill Borucki of the Ames Research Center said he has “a feeling of satisfaction” about the mission, adding, “The worry before we launched was that there were very few planets. That’s not true.

Engineers Outline K2 Plan To Restart Kepler Telescope Observations

Engineers Outline K2 Plan To Restart Kepler Telescope Observations. New Scientist (11/8, Becker, 18K) reports engineers at the Kepler Science Conference II outlined the “K2” plan, which would use a “helpful push from the sun” to allow the Kepler telescope to once again search for more exoplanets.

Researchers Using NASA’s Kepler Telescope Say Galaxy May Have 40 Billion Habitable Planets

NBC Nightly NewsVideo (11/5, story 9, 0:25, Williams, 7.86M) reported, “Well, good news for travelers, when we have all decided we have once and for all trashed planet Earth, a new analysis from NASA says there could be as many as 40 billion habitable earth size planets out there in the galaxy, the nearest place that could be considered to be truly hospitable to humans, is 12 light years away, visible to the naked eye at night but a long trip any way you look at it.” 

Sandford and Group Achievement Award for the Hayabusa Sample Transport and Curation Team

Dr. Sandford was a Co-investigator on the Japanese Hayabusa asteroid sample return mission and was one of the two US Sample Scientists on the mission.

Sandford and Group Achievement Award for the Stardust Interstellar Preliminary Examination Team

Dr. Sandford was part of an international team of scientists that has been working for several years to find interstellar dust candidates in the Stardust interstellar aerogel collectors. 

Dr. Chris McKay Lays Out Potential Paths For Changing Mars’ Ecosystem

McKay Lays Out Potential Paths For Changing Mars’ Ecosystem. Ray Villard at Discovery News (10/24, 598K) writes a concept proposed by Ames Research Center’s Chris McKay called planetary ecosynthesis, which could make Mars more habitable for humans or restore Mars’ ecosystem if native life is discovered.

Curiosity Finds “Surprising” Amounts Of Water, Perchlorate On Mars

The Christian Science Monitor (9/27, Spotts, 540K) reports on five new papers about what the Curiosity rover found during its first 100 days on Mars. It found that liquid water was present in Gale Crater, answering the “overarching question” of whether Mars was habitable at one period in time.

Curiosity’s Methane Result Causing Reexamination Of Previous Data

The Washington Post (9/23, Achenbach, 4.28M) continues coverage of how the Curiosity rover found no trace of methane on Mars. Michael Mumma of the Goddard Space Flight Center said his team is reviewing their data since they previously had detected the gas.

LADEE UVS spectrometer alive and healthy

Following the successful launch and activation of the LADEE spacecraft, the Ultraviolet and Visible Spectrometer (UVS) instrument was powered for the first time on Sep 14, 2013.  UVS was activated and ran through a series of “dark calibrations”.  These calibrations make measurements of the noise on the instruments sensor while the instruments telescope door is still closed.  The measurements are compared to similar measurements made just prior to launch to insure the instrument is in good health.

Curiosity To Conduct “Intense Science” At First Waypoint

The BBC News (9/16, Amos, 1.62M) reports continued coverage of the “intense science” the Curiosity rover will conduct now that it arrived at its first waypoint. While the rover is still “many months” away from its ultimate  destination of Mount Sharp, the article notes that operators are “delighted” by how Curiosity is handling.

NASA Continues Celebrations Of Curiosity Rover

NASA Continues Celebrations Of Curiosity Rover. Coverage continues of the one-year anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing on Mars. Compared to the previous day, coverage has expanded to included two and a half minutes of coverage on national TV broadcasts.
Swimming Robot Tested for Billion-Mile Trip to Saturn Moon

Swimming Robot Tested for Billion-Mile Trip to Saturn Moon

 Where do you get a robot ready to visit a lake a billion miles away?

The glacier-fed Laguna Negra (map) in the Chilean Andes, where NASA and SETI Institutescientists have been testing a floating robot whose successors may eventually parachute into a sea on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.

Curiosity Tops Its One-Day Driving Record

SPACE (7/25, Wall) reports on Sunday, the Curiosity rover traveled 329 feet, more than doubling the previous one-day travel record of 161 feet. Paolo Bellutta of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, “What enabled us to drive so far on Sol 340 was starting at a high point and also having Mastcam images giving us the size of rocks so we could be sure they were not hazards. ...
MSL CheMin mineralogical instrument –Educational Outreach in the Arizona Desert

MSL CheMin mineralogical instrument –Educational Outreach in the Arizona Desert

David Blake (PI, CheMin instrument, SSX) conducted field geology with a group of 25 high school teachers in northern Arizona, June 24-28th. 

Haven House Family Shelter NASA Ames Tour, July 1, 2013

Darlene Lim organized a tour of Ames for 25 visitors (20 kids, 5 adults) from the Inn Vision Shelter Network on Monday, July 1.  The tour took the group to the VMS, Exploration Encounter, 80x120 USAF Wind Tunnel, and the iRG Mars yard (Code TI). 

Ames scientists involved in coronagraph selection for the AFTA / WFIRST mission

Charlie Bolden recently approved the using the 2.4-m telescope assets given to NASA for the WFIRST mission that was the #1 large space mission priority of the 2010 decadal survey in astronomy and astrophysics. In addition to a wide field imaging instrument, this version of WFIRST will have a coronagraphic instrument for exoplanet imaging and spectroscopy. It is very important to improve the technological readiness of this exoplanet instrument, so the NASA exoplanet program manager (G.