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NASA Current Events

Possible Exomoon Found
April 13, 2014 | NASA

NASA-funded researchers have spotted the first signs of an “exomoon,” and though they say it’s impossible to confirm its presence, the finding is a tantalizing first step toward locating others. The discovery was made by watching a chance encounter of objects in our galaxy, which can be witnessed only once.

Satellite Data and Corn Belt Productivity
April 10, 2014 | NASA

“Data from satellite sensors show that during the Northern Hemisphere’s growing season, the Midwest region of the United States boasts more photosynthetic activity than any other spot on Earth, according to NASA and university scientists.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Total Lunar Eclipse: April 15
April 8, 2014 | NASA on

There will be four lunar eclipses between now and September 28, 2015. The first will be a total eclipse on April 15, 2014. It will be visible over much of the United States.

April 15, 2014
October 8, 2014
April 4 2015
September 28, 2015

NASA: Capturing an Asteroid?
March 27, 2014 | NASA

“NASA is developing an Asteroid Redirect Mission — a first-ever mission to identify, capture and redirect an asteroid to a safe orbit of Earth’s moon for future exploration by astronauts in the 2020s.”

Sinkhole Collapse Warnings from Radar?
March 25, 2014 | NASA

“Radar data, if collected routinely from airborne systems or satellites, could at least in some cases foresee sinkholes before they happen, decreasing danger to people and property.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Carbon Balance of the Amazon?
March 23, 2014 | NASA

“A new NASA-led study seven years in the making has confirmed that natural forests in the Amazon remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than they emit, therefore reducing global warming. This finding resolves a long-standing debate about a key component of the overall carbon balance of the Amazon basin.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Astronomers: Win $35000 From NASA
March 18, 2014 | NASA

“NASA’s Asteroid Data Hunter contest series will offer $35,000 in awards over the next six months to citizen scientists who develop improved algorithms that can be used to identify asteroids.”

Related: Google Map of Asteroid Impacts

Colliding Comets
March 16, 2014 | NASA

“Astronomers exploring the disk of gas and dust around a nearby star have uncovered a compact cloud of poisonous gas formed by ongoing rapid-fire collisions among a swarm of icy, comet-like bodies. The researchers suggest the comet swarm is either the remnant of a crash between two icy worlds the size of Mars or frozen debris trapped and concentrated by the gravity of an as-yet-unseen planet.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Flooding in New Zealand
March 13, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has an interesting satellite image pair of a coastline in New Zealand. It shows coastal waters discolored by suspended sediment after heavy rains.

Flows of Water on Mars?
March 6, 2014 | NASA

“NASA spacecraft orbiting Mars have returned clues for understanding seasonal features that are the strongest indication of possible liquid water that may exist today on the Red Planet.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Related: Rocks on Mars

NASA image
Spitzer Discovers a New Supernova
March 6, 2014 | NASA

“The closest supernova of its kind to be observed in the last few decades has sparked a global observing campaign involving legions of instruments on the ground and in space.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

NASA Responds to California Drought
March 4, 2014 | NASA

“The severity of California’s current drought is illustrated in these images of Folsom Lake, a reservoir in Northern California located 25 miles (40 kilometers) northeast of Sacramento.” Quoted from the NASA image release.

Image Credit: California Department of Water Resources

715 New Planets!
March 4, 2014 | NASA

“NASA’s Kepler mission announced Wednesday the discovery of 715 new planets. These newly verified worlds orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems much like our own solar system.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Artistic image by NASA
Lunar Impact and Afterglow Visible for 8 Seconds
March 2, 2014 | Nature

The impact of a large object onto the lunar surface in September, 2013 produced a flash and an afterglow that was bright enough to have been seen from Earth with the unaided eye for about eight seconds. The flash was the result of the tremendous impact speed generating enough heat to melt the target and impactor

Debris from a Massive Supernova Explosion
February 27, 2014 | NASA

“This artist’s concept depicts the explosive death of a massive star, followed by the creation of a disk made up of the star’s ashes. [...] Astronomers believe planets might form in this dead star’s disk.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

IRIS Spots Its Largest Solar Flare
February 27, 2014 | NASA

“On Jan. 28, 2014, NASA’s Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph, or IRIS, witnessed its strongest solar flare since it launched in the summer of 2013. Solar flares are bursts of x-rays and light that stream out into space, but scientists don’t yet know the fine details of what sets them off.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Moving at 2.5 Million MPH
February 25, 2014 | NASA

“The red arc in this infrared image from NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope is a giant shock wave, created by a speeding star known as Kappa Cassiopeiae. [...]

It is a massive, hot supergiant moving at around 2.5 million mph [...]. But what really makes the star stand out in this image is the surrounding, streaky red glow of material in its path. Such structures are called bow shocks, and they can often be seen in front of the fastest, most massive stars in the galaxy.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

How Stars Explode
February 23, 2014 | NASA

“One of the biggest mysteries in astronomy, how stars blow up in supernova explosions, finally is being unraveled with the help of NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Geologic Map of Ganymede
February 20, 2014 |

NASA recently published a geologic map of Ganymede, the largest moon in our solar system.

Underwater Eruption from Space
February 16, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

“Kavachi is an undersea volcano on the southern edge of the Solomon Islands in the western Pacific Ocean. It erupted dozens of times in the 20th century, often breaking the water surface, only to be eroded back below the water line within a few months.” Satellite view from NASA Earth Observatory.

NASA Image
Kepler Finds a Very Wobbly Planet
February 11, 2014 | NASA

“Imagine living on a planet with seasons so erratic you would hardly know whether to wear Bermuda shorts or a heavy overcoat. [...] The planet, designated Kepler-413b, precesses, or wobbles, wildly on its spin axis, much like a child’s top. The tilt of the planet’s spin axis can vary by as much as 30 degrees over 11 years, leading to rapid and erratic changes in seasons. In contrast, Earth’s rotational precession is 23.5 degrees over 26,000 years. Researchers are amazed that this far-off planet is precessing on a human timescale.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

NASA Image
Data for the California Drought from the Grace Satellite
February 11, 2014 | National Geographic

A national geographic article explains how data from NASA’s Grace satellite has been useful for understanding the California drought.

Spectacular New Crater and Ejecta on Mars
February 6, 2014 |

“Space rocks hitting Mars excavate fresh craters at a pace of more than 200 per year, but few new Mars scars pack as much visual punch as one seen in a NASA image released today.” Quoted from the NASA press release (February 5, 2014).

First Mission to Land a Probe on a Comet
January 28, 2014 | NASA

“Three NASA science instruments are being prepared for check-out operations aboard the European Space Agency’s Rosetta spacecraft, which is set to become the first to orbit a comet and land a probe on its nucleus in November.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Evapotranspiration Measured from Space
January 28, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

NASA’s Earth Observatory has an interesting image that demonstrates how they are able to measure geographic variations in evapotranspiration using satellite data. (Image of irrigated land from Idaho’s Snake River floodplain.

Most Popular Items for December
January 2, 2014 |

The Saturn Hexagon?

The Utah Supervolcano

What is Ammolite?

Landslide on an Incredible Scale

Failure of the Midcontinent Rift

Zoom in on the San Andreas Fault

Price of Gold Falling

Size of the Yellowstone Magma Chamber Severely Underestimated?

Salaries and Employment of Recent Geoscience Graduates

The Largest Recorded Fault Slip

How Do They Steer the Horizontal Drill?

Ash Plume at San Miguel
January 1, 2014 | NASA Earth Observatory

Sunday’s explosive eruption at San Miguel Volcano in El Salvador produced a plume of ash captured by NASA in this satellite image.

Earth and Moon Seen by Passing Juno Spacecraft
December 15, 2013 | NASA on

“When NASA’s Juno spacecraft flew past Earth on Oct. 9, 2013, it received a boost in speed of more than 8,800 mph (about 7.3 kilometer per second), which set it on course for a July 4, 2016, rendezvous with Jupiter.

One of Juno’s sensors, a special kind of camera optimized to track faint stars, also had a unique view of the Earth-moon system. The result was an intriguing, low-resolution glimpse of what our world would look like to a visitor from afar.” Quoted from the NASA video release.

NASA Hazard Warning Systems
December 12, 2013 | NASA

“Scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., and Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego have enhanced existing GPS technologies to develop new systems for California and elsewhere to warn of hazards from earthquakes, tsunamis and extreme weather events.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Ancient Lake in the Gale Crater on Mars?
December 10, 2013 | NASA

“This illustration depicts a concept for the possible extent of an ancient lake inside Gale Crater. The existence of a lake there billions of years ago was confirmed from examination of mudstone in the crater’s Yellowknife Bay area.”

The Planet that Should Not Be There?
December 8, 2013 | University of Arizona

“The discovery of a giant planet orbiting its star at 650 times the average Earth-Sun distance has astronomers puzzled over how such a strange system came to be.” Quoted from the University of Arizona press release.

The Saturn Hexagon?
December 6, 2013 | NASA

“NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has obtained the highest-resolution movie yet of a unique six-sided jet stream, known as the hexagon, around Saturn’s north pole.

This is the first hexagon movie of its kind, using color filters, and the first to show a complete view of the top of Saturn down to about 70 degrees latitude.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Water Discovered on Five Planets
December 6, 2013 | NASA

“Two teams of scientists using the Hubble Space Telescope have found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant exoplanets. The planets are not the size of Earth, but rather massive worlds known as hot Jupiters because they orbit so close to their stars. ” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Who Uses Landsat Images and Why
December 4, 2013 | USGS

“To learn more about who uses Landsat imagery and the value these users see in Landsat imagery, the U.S. Geological Survey analyzed responses to a survey of more than 40,000 individuals who accessed free Landsat images from the archive at the USGS Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center. Quoted from the USGS press release.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden explores
NASA's new Images of Change iPad application.
Image credit: NASA/JPL
NASA Launches Changing Earth iPad App
December 3, 2013 | NASA

“Human activities, a changing climate and natural disasters are rapidly altering the face of our planet. Now, with NASA’s Images of Change iPad application, users can get an interactive before-and-after view of these changes.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Iceland Aurora
November 26, 2013 | NASA via

“On the left, bright green auroras appear to emanate from the largest glacier in Iceland as if it’s a volcano. On the right, clouds appear tinged with the green light reflecting from the auroras.” Quoted from the NASA image release.

Mapping Global Forest Losses and Gains
November 20, 2013 | NASA

“The ravages of deforestation, wildfires, windstorms and insects on global forests during this century are revealed in unprecedented detail in a new study based on data from the NASA-U.S. Geological Survey Landsat 7 satellite.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Bedrock Map of Vesta Asteroid
November 11, 2013 |

“This colorized map from NASA’s Dawn mission shows the types of rocks and minerals distributed around the surface of the giant asteroid Vesta. In this color scheme, red shows diogenite, a type of mineral thought to be formed through magmatic processes deep in the crust. Green shows howardite, a type of surface rock that is made of broken bits of different materials that are excavated, ejected and mixed by meteor impacts…..” Partial quote from the NASA image description.

An Asteroid with Six Comet-Like Tails
November 11, 2013 | NASA

“This NASA Hubble Space Telescope set of images reveals a never-before-seen set of six comet-like tails radiating from a body in the asteroid belt, designated P/2013 P5.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Radio Bursts From Beyond our Galaxy?
November 10, 2013 | NASA

“Astronomers, including a team member from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., have detected the first population of radio bursts known to originate from galaxies beyond our own Milky Way. The sources of the light bursts are unknown, but cataclysmic events, such as merging or exploding stars, are likely the triggers.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Rare New Microbe Found in Two Distant Clean Rooms
November 9, 2013 | NASA

“A rare, recently discovered microbe that survives on very little to eat has been found in two places on Earth: spacecraft clean rooms in Florida and South America. Microbiologists often do thorough surveys of bacteria and other microbes in spacecraft clean rooms. Fewer microbes live there than in almost any other environment on Earth, but the surveys are important for knowing what might hitch a ride into space. If extraterrestrial life is ever found, it would be readily checked against the census of a few hundred types of microbes detected in spacecraft clean rooms.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

India Headed to Mars
November 4, 2013 | Calgary Herald

If all goes according to plans, India will launch a spacecraft to Mars on Tuesday, November 5th. So far there have been 40 attempts to reach Mars by the United States, the Soviet Union, the European Space Agency, Japan and China. Only 23 missions have been successful.

Observing Galaxies 100X Fainter than Ever Seen Before
October 31, 2013 | NASA

“NASA’s Hubble, Spitzer and Chandra space telescopes are teaming up to look deeper into the universe than ever before. With a boost from natural “zoom lenses” found in space, they should be able to uncover galaxies that are as much as 100 times fainter than what these three great observatories typically can see.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Natural Gas Flaring from Space
October 30, 2013 |

We have posted views of Earth from NASA’s Suomi satellite that show night illumination and natural gas flaring for oil industry sites in the Bakken Formation, Eagle Ford Shale, Alaska North Slope, United States Gulf, Mexican Gulf, Venezuela Orinoco Field, Brazil offshore basins, North Sea, North Africa onshore, west Africa offshore, and Persian Gulf.

Coldest Place in the Universe
October 30, 2013 | NASA

“At a cosmologically crisp one degree Kelvin (minus 458 degrees Fahrenheit), the Boomerang nebula is the coldest known object in the universe — colder, in fact, than the faint afterglow of the Big Bang, the explosive event that created the cosmos.” Quoted from the NASA press release.

Methane and Ethane Lakes on Saturn’s Moon Titan?
October 25, 2013 | NASA

“With the sun now shining down over the north pole of Saturn’s moon Titan, a little luck with the weather, and trajectories that put the spacecraft into optimal viewing positions, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has obtained new pictures of the liquid methane and ethane seas and lakes that reside near Titan’s north pole.” Quoted from the NASA image release.

Record Data Transmission Rate Between Earth and Moon
October 25, 2013 | NASA

NASA has used a laser to transmit data between the moon and the Earth, a distance of 239,000 miles, at a rate of 622 megabits per second.

Potential 21st Century Temperature, Precipitation Changes
October 19, 2013 | NASA

“Models used by the IPCC estimate global temperature and precipitation patterns will change throughout the 21st century given current rising greenhouse gas levels. This video depicts a scenario in which carbon dioxide concentrations reach 670 parts per million by 2100, up from around 400 ppm today.” Quoted from the NASA video release.

Melting the Antarctic Ice Shelf from Below
October 19, 2013 |

Meteorites from Mars
October 19, 2013 | UPI

“NASA’s Curiosity rover on Mars has found evidence confirming some meteors found on Earth did in fact come from the Red Planet. Quoted from the UPI article.

Related: Meteorite Articles

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