LAUNCH OF JASON-3 SCHEDULED FOR SUN JAN 17th

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Liftoff aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 4 East is targeted for January 17, 10:42 a.m. PST (1:42 p.m. EST), at the opening of a 30-second launch window. If needed, a backup launch opportunity is available at 10:41 a.m. PST (1:31 p.m. EST) on Jan. 18.

A Jason-3 prelaunch news conference and science briefing will be held at Vandenberg at 4 p.m. EST on Jan. 15. The briefing will be carried live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website. Media also can ask questions via phone by calling 321-867-2468, or on Twitter by using the hashtag #askNASA.

On Jan. 16, media will have an opportunity to photograph the Falcon 9 and Jason-3 spacecraft at the launch pad. Those wishing to attend the launch pad photo opportunity should confirm their participation with Capt. Selena Rodts of the 30th Space Wing Public Affairs office at 805-606-3595 no later than Jan. 11.

On Jan. 17, NASA TV launch commentary coverage of the countdown will begin at 11 a.m. EST. Coverage will feature updates of countdown milestones and streaming video clips that highlight launch preparations and liftoff. Spacecraft separation from the rocket will occur 55 minutes after launch.

Jason-3 will continue the ability to monitor and precisely measure global sea surface heights, monitor the intensification of tropical cyclones and support seasonal and coastal forecasts. Jason-3 data also will benefit fisheries management, marine industries and research into human impacts on the world’s oceans. The mission is planned to last at least three years, with a goal of five years.

Jason-3 is a four-agency international partnership consisting of NOAA, NASA, Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, France’s space agency, and the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites. Thales Alenia of France built the spacecraft.

NASA TV will live stream launch coverage and prelaunch briefings at:

http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For prelaunch, countdown and launch day coverage of the liftoff, including the prelaunch webcast of Jason-3 aboard the Falcon 9 rocket, go to:

http://blogs.nasa.gov/Jason-3

The Jason-3 News Center at the NASA Vandenberg Resident Office will open Jan. 11. To speak with a NASA communications specialist, call 805-605-3051. A recorded launch status report also will be available by dialing 805-734-2693.

NOAA, in collaboration with international European partners, is responsible for the Jason-3 mission. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, is responsible for NASA Jason-3 project management. NASA’s Launch Services Program at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida provides launch management. SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, is NASA’s launch service provider of the Falcon 9 rocket.

For more information about the Jason-3 mission, visit:

http://nesdis.noaa.gov/jason-3/

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Steve Cole
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-0918
stephen.e.cole@nasa.gov

John Leslie
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, Md.
301-713-0214
john.leslie@noaa.gov

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Deep Ocean Discovery Opens Up Possibility for Life Beyond Earth

In this artist’s concept, the moon Ganymede orbits the giant planet Jupiter. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observed aurorae on the moon generated by Ganymede’s magnetic fields. A saline ocean under the moon’s icy crust best explains shifting in the auroral belts measured by Hubble. Image Credit: NASA/ESA

In this artist’s concept, the moon Ganymede orbits the giant planet Jupiter. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observed aurorae on the moon generated by Ganymede’s magnetic fields. A saline ocean under the moon’s icy crust best explains shifting in the auroral belts measured by Hubble.
Image Credit: NASA/ESA

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope has the best evidence yet for an underground saltwater ocean on Ganymede, Jupiter’s largest moon. The subterranean ocean is thought to have more water than all the water on Earth’s surface.
Identifying liquid water is crucial in the search for habitable worlds beyond Earth and for the search of life as we know it.

“This discovery marks a significant milestone, highlighting what only Hubble can accomplish,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “In its 25 years in orbit, Hubble has made many scientific discoveries in our own solar system. A deep ocean under the icy crust of Ganymede opens up further exciting possibilities for life beyond Earth.”

Ganymede is the largest moon in our solar system and the only moon with its own magnetic field. The magnetic field causes aurorae, which are ribbons of glowing, hot electrified gas, in regions circling the north and south poles of the moon. Because Ganymede is close to Jupiter, it is also embedded in Jupiter’s magnetic field. When Jupiter’s magnetic field changes, the aurorae on Ganymede also change, “rocking” back and forth.

By watching the rocking motion of the two aurorae, scientists were able to determine that a large amount of saltwater exists beneath Ganymede’s crust affecting its magnetic field.

Read More: NASA’s Hubble Observations Suggest Underground Ocean on Jupiter’s Largest Moon

Hubble is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, conducts Hubble science operations. STScI is operated for NASA by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., in Washington.

For images and more information about Hubble, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

President Obama Recognizes Astronaut Scott Kelly

State Of The Union

NASA astronaut Scott Kelly stands as he is recognized by President Barack Obama, while First Lady Michelle Obama (lower left corner) and other guests applaud. The President recognized Kelly during the State of the Union address on Capitol Hill in Washington on Jan. 20, 2015. This March, Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will launch to the International Space Station and become the first crewmembers to live and work aboard the orbiting laboratory for a year-long mission. While living on the International Space Station, Kelly, Kornienko and the rest of the crew will carry out hundreds of research experiments and work on cutting-edge technology development that will inspire students here at home in science, technology, engineering and math. Photo Credit: (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

AIMM Attends Special Event at National Air and Space Museum

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September 10, 2014 – AIMM attended the Vital Signs – Taking Pulse of our Planet special reception and lecture hosted by the National Air and Space Museum and Sponsored by the Maryland Space Business Roundtable.

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AIMM’s NASA program manager Rob Andreoli is pictured below at the event.

AIMM's Program Manager at the event.

SpaceX Launch of NASA Cargo to Space Station Set for Friday, Spacewalk Wednesday

SpaceX Prelaunch Image - courtesy of NASA

SpaceX Prelaunch Image – courtesy of NASA

NASA and SpaceX are targeting a 3:25 p.m. EDT launch on Friday, April 18, of SpaceX’s third cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. NASA Television coverage will begin at 2:15 p.m.

The company’s April 14 launch to the orbiting laboratory was scrubbed due to a helium leak in the Falcon 9 rocket that will launch the Dragon spacecraft to the space station.

Dragon is carrying to the space station almost 5,000 pounds of science and research, crew supplies, vehicle hardware and spacewalk tools — all to support the crew and more than 150 scientific investigations planned for Expeditions 39 and 40. If needed, another launch attempt will take place at 3:02 p.m. Saturday, April 19.

NASA Television coverage of Dragon’s arrival at the space station will begin at 5:45 a.m. Sunday, April 20. Expedition 39 Commander Koichi Wakata of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will use the space station’s robotic arm to capture the spacecraft at approximately 7 a.m. NASA’s Rick Mastracchio will support Wakata during the rendezvous. NASA Television coverage will resume at 9:30 a.m., as the Dragon is attached to the Earth-facing port of the space station’s Harmony module.

An April 18 launch will allow the space station program to plan for a spacewalk on Wednesday, April 23, to replace a failed multiplexer-demultiplexer (MDM) relay system. The prime MDM, which is operating normally, and the failed backup computer provide commands to some space station systems, including the external cooling system, Solar Alpha Rotary joints and Mobile Transporter rail car.

A separate media advisory providing NASA TV coverage times for the April 23 spacewalk will be issued at a later date.

For the latest information on the SpaceX mission, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/spacex

For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and scheduling information, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv

For the latest information on the International Space Station, visit:
http://www.nasa.gov/station

NASA Announces 715 New Worlds

The artist concept depicts multiple-transiting planet systems, which are stars with more than one planet. The planets eclipse or transit their host star from the vantage point of the observer. This angle is called edge-on. Image Credit: NASA

The artist concept depicts multiple-transiting planet systems, which are stars with more than one planet. The planets eclipse or transit their host star from the vantage point of the observer. This angle is called edge-on.
Image Credit: 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.

Nearly 95 percent of these planets are smaller than Neptune, which is almost four times the size of Earth. This discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more akin to Earth than previously identified exoplanets, which are planets outside our solar system.

“The Kepler team continues to amaze and excite us with their planet hunting results,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “That these new planets and solar systems look somewhat like our own, portends a great future when we have the James Webb Space Telescope in space to characterize the new worlds.”

Since the discovery of the first planets outside our solar system roughly two decades ago, verification has been a laborious planet-by-planet process. Now, scientists have a statistical technique that can be applied to many planets at once when they are found in systems that harbor more than one planet around the same star.

To verify this bounty of planets, a research team co-led by Jack Lissauer, planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., analyzed stars with more than one potential planet, all of which were detected in the first two years of Kepler’s observations — May 2009 to March 2011.

The research team used a technique called verification by multiplicity, which relies in part on the logic of probability. Kepler observes 150,000 stars, and has found a few thousand of those to have planet candidates. If the candidates were randomly distributed among Kepler’s stars, only a handful would have more than one planet candidate. However, Kepler observed hundreds of stars that have multiple planet candidates. Through a careful study of this sample, these 715 new planets were verified.

This method can be likened to the behavior we know of lions and lionesses. In our imaginary savannah, the lions are the Kepler stars and the lionesses are the planet candidates. The lionesses would sometimes be observed grouped together whereas lions tend to roam on their own. If you see two lions it could be a lion and a lioness or it could be two lions. But if more than two large felines are gathered, then it is very likely to be a lion and his pride. Thus, through multiplicity the lioness can be reliably identified in much the same way multiple planet candidates can be found around the same star.

“Four years ago, Kepler began a string of announcements of first hundreds, then thousands, of planet candidates –but they were only candidate worlds,” said Lissauer. “We’ve now developed a process to verify multiple planet candidates in bulk to deliver planets wholesale, and have used it to unveil a veritable bonanza of new worlds.”

These multiple-planet systems are fertile grounds for studying individual planets and the configuration of planetary neighborhoods. This provides clues to planet formation.

Four of these new planets are less than 2.5 times the size of Earth and orbit in their sun’s habitable zone, defined as the range of distance from a star where the surface temperature of an orbiting planet may be suitable for life-giving liquid water.

One of these new habitable zone planets, called Kepler-296f, orbits a star half the size and 5 percent as bright as our sun. Kepler-296f is twice the size of Earth, but scientists do not know whether the planet is a gaseous world, with a thick hydrogen-helium envelope, or it is a water world surrounded by a deep ocean.

“From this study we learn planets in these multi-systems are small and their orbits are flat and circular — resembling pancakes — not your classical view of an atom,” said Jason Rowe, research scientist at the SETI Institute in Mountain View, Calif., and co-leader of the research. “The more we explore the more we find familiar traces of ourselves amongst the stars that remind us of home.”

This latest discovery brings the confirmed count of planets outside our solar system to nearly 1,700. As we continue to reach toward the stars, each discovery brings us one step closer to a more accurate understanding of our place in the galaxy.

Launched in March 2009, Kepler is the first NASA mission to find potentially habitable Earth-size planets. Discoveries include more than 3,600 planet candidates, of which 961 have been verified as bona-fide worlds.

The findings papers will be published March 10 in The Astrophysical Journal and are available for download at:

http://www.nasa.gov/ames/kepler/digital-press-kit-kepler-planet-bonanza

Ames is responsible for the Kepler mission concept, ground system development, mission operations and science data analysis. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., managed Kepler mission development. Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp. in Boulder, Colo., developed the Kepler flight system and supports mission operations with the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado in Boulder. The Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore archives, hosts and distributes Kepler science data. Kepler is NASA’s 10th Discovery Mission and was funded by the agency’s Science Mission Directorate.

For more information about the Kepler space telescope, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/kepler

Read More: http://www.nasa.gov