Tag Archives | NASA

NASA Clemantine photo of lunar glow in 1994

Lunar glow remains a mystery

Just before sunrise, Apollo 17 astronaut Eugene Cernan spotted a strange glow circling the horizon of the moon. He was expected to see some light from the sun, rays from the outer corona just as in sunrises on earth, but the shape and behavior of the glow—a crescent-shaped illumination with distinct beams—puzzled scientists. Even since…

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A view of Salinas, Calif. compiled from Landsat 5 data. Photo credit: Forrest Melton, Cooperative for Research in Science and Technology at NASA Ames Research Center

The Grapes of Landsat

A version of this post can be found at the AGU GeoSpace Blog and at NASA Landsat Science. California’s persistent drought is forcing grape growers to keep a more-attentive-than-normal eye on their vines, as water shortages and elevated temperatures alter this year’s growing season. “This year, we’re going to have to be more vigilant than ever,”…

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The ATHLETE vehicle at one of its fuel cell charging stations. Credit: JPL/NASA

Fuel Cells…in Space!

When it comes to exploring strange new worlds, NASA’s ATHLETE (All-Terrain Hex-Legged Extra-Terrestrial Explorer) is one tricked-out rover. The robotic vehicle (pictured) has six wheels attached to six spider-like legs that move independently to traverse the bumpy surfaces of Mars, the Moon, asteroids and beyond. The whole setup acts as a giant platform for whatever…

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An artist's concept of the New Horizons space probe and its item of interest, Pluto.

Pluto probe peril

As the Curiosity rover safely studies rocks on the surface of Mars, a NASA mission on route to Pluto may find itself on a treacherously rocky path. NASA announced last month that the $650 million New Horizons space probe’s planned trajectory during its July 2015 flyby could turn into a collision course with unknown moons…

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a thousand splendid planets

NASA’s Kepler team announced last week they’d found more than a thousand potential planets – after just *four months* of observation. The numbers make my head spin like…oh, never mind. (Since you asked, my favorite Kepler story lede? Dennis Overbye’s, in the New York Times: “Astronomers have cracked the Milky Way like a piñata, and…

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The search for ET. All these astronauts are now dead.

Science hype

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration is notoriously good at finding means for justifying its science budget, sometimes deploying what amounts to science fiction (see vintage hype image gallery in a separate post). Mostly, though, it’s simple hype. All of us slugs are on the NASA news release list. An unusually cryptic, tantalizing PR…

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