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

CheMin

June 24, 2014 RELEASE: 14-047AR Ames Instrument Helps Identify the First Habitable Environment on Mars, Wins Invention Award NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, has won the 2013 NASA Government Invention of the Year award for the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) X-ray diffraction instrument aboard the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity. CheMin’s identification […]

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Mars Rover Continues Mission Toward Mount Sharp

Ken Kremer at Universe Today (6/22, 18K) writes about NASA’s Curiosity mission, which is traveling across the floor of Mars’ Gale Crater toward “Mount Sharp on an expedition in search of the chemical ingredients of life that could support Martian microbes if they ever existed.” […]

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Christopher McKay Develops “Extreme Checklist” For Habitable Planets

New Scientist (6/9, Grossman, 329K) reports that Christopher McKay of the Ames Research Center has developed an “expanded checklist” of the types of planets that could host life. The new checklist was based on “the extremes that life can endure” here on Earth. McKay cautioned that Titan, with its surface liquid and weather cycle based […]

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SOFIA Gaining New Instrument

Britt Rawcliffe at Spaceflight Insider (6/5) wrote that the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) is getting a new instrument called the Echelon-Cross-Echelle Spectrograph (EXES), which stated testing back in April. SOFIA program scientist Pamela Marcum said that the addition of the instrument will give SOFIA an “unprecedented ability to study celestial objects at wavelengths […]

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Kepler Telescope Has Already Found Candidate Planets Under K2 Campaign

Discovery News (6/5, Klotz, 252K) reports that Thomas Barclay of the Ames Research Center said that in just the first nine days of the Kepler telescopes new observational campaign, K2, which has restored the telescope’s observational capabilities after losing two reaction wheels, “three more candidate planets, all around the size of Jupiter, circling relatively bright […]

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SOFIA Declared Operational

Flight Global (6/3, 2K) reports that NASA declared that the Stratospheric Observatory of Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) telescope is now operational, a milestone which comes several months after Obama Administration released its 2015 budget that “effectively” grounds the program. With the House have passed a bill that has “partial funding” for the project, its status is […]

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Kepler Telescope Resumes Scientific Observations

Spaceflight Now (6/3, Clark, 3K) reports that starting May 30, the Kepler telescope has been taking new scientific observations under the “K2” extension plan, which is allowing the telescope to operate on only two out of four functioning reaction wheels. under this “new lease on life,” the telescope will undertake nine observational campaigns over the […]

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