Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph (IRIS)

IRIS

The Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, mission will use a solar telescope and spectrograph to explore the solar chromospheres. This is a crucial region for understanding energy transport into the solar wind and an archetype for stellar atmospheres. Recent discoveries have shown the chromosphere is significantly more dynamic and structured than previously thought. The […]

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JWST

JWST

The James Webb Space Telescope is NASA’s next orbiting observatory and the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. A tennis court-sized telescope orbiting far beyond Earth’s moon, Webb will detect infrared radiation and be capable of seeing in that wavelength as well as Hubble sees in visible light. JWST home page […]

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Kepler

Kepler satellite

Kepler is a Discovery-class mission featuring a visible-light telescope designed to detect transiting planets around stars. […]

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LADEE (past mission)

LADEE

NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE, pronounced “laddie”) is a robotic mission that will orbit the moon to gather detailed information about the lunar atmosphere, conditions near the surface and environmental influences on lunar dust. A thorough understanding of these characteristics will address long-standing unknowns, and help scientists understand other planetary bodies as well. […]

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LCROSS (past mission)

LCROSS

LCROSS is a co-manifested spacecraft with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter and will intentionally impact a lunar polar crater. The resulting plume will be observed by orbiting and ground-based telescopes to ascertain whether water exists in a permanently shadowed region of the Moon. LCROSS (past mission) home page […]

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Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

Dr. David Des Marais is a member of the MRO Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) science team. He assists in the interpretation of the significance of CRISM data for astrobiology. CRISM has confirmed and greatly extended earlier observations of phyllosilicates and sulfates. CRISM has also discovered deposits of silica and other aqueously formed […]

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Mars Science Laboratory

mars space laboratory

Dr. David Blake is the Principal Investigator of CheMin, a mineralogical instrument that is included in the analytical laboratory of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. He leaps tall buildings in just a single bound. The CheMin instrument was conceived and developed at Ames Research Center over a nearly 20-year period by Dr. Blake. MSL was launched from Cape Canaveral on Nov. 26, 2011 and landed in Gale crater on Mars on Aug. 6, 2012. […]

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O/OREOS

O/OREOS

O/OREOS mission is to demonstrate the capability to conduct low-cost astrobiology science experiments on autonomous nanosatellites in space. Scientists will apply the knowledge they gain from O/OREOS to plan future experiments in the space environment to study how exposure to space changes organic molecules and biology. These experiments will help answer astrobiology’s fundamental questions about […]

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Phoenix Mars Mission

Phoenix

Ames scientist Dr. Aaron Zent is a member of the science team on NASA’s Phoenix mission, which successfully landed on the surface of Mars on 2008 May 25. Phoenix studied the history of water and habitability of soils in the north polar region. Dr. Zent was responsible for the design of the Thermal Electrical Conductivity […]

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SOFIA

Sofia2

SOFIA is an airborne observatory featuring a 2.5 m infrared telescope fitted aboard a 747 airplane. Flying state-of-the-art instrumentation at altitudes above 40,000 feet, the observatory will study astronomical phenomena in our Solar system, Galaxy and the nearby Universe. SOFIA home page […]

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Spitzer Space Telescope

Spitzer

The Spitzer space telescope, the fourth and final element in NASA’s Great Observatories program, is a 0.85 meter diameter cryogenically cooled infrared telescope that was launched in 2003 August. The observatory is the manifestation of a concept originated at Ames Research Center in the 1980s. Thomas Roellig of the Astrophysics Branch, is a member of […]

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Stardust

Stardust

Stardust was the first mission to capture dust particles from the coma of a comet and return the samples to the earth for analysis. Launched in 1999 February, the spacecraft rendezvoused with Comet Wild 2 in 2004 January. After flying through the coma, the dust and gas shed from the nucleus of the comet, and […]

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