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NASA-Funded Scientists Detect Water on Moon’s Surface that Hints at Water Below

September 2, 2013 Leave a comment

This image of the moon was generated by data collected by NASA's Moon Mineralogy MapperThis image of the moon was generated by data collected by NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper on the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 mission. It is a three-color composite of reflected near-infrared radiation from the sun, and illustrates the extent to which different materials are mapped across the side of the moon that faces Earth. Image credit: ISRO/NASA/JPL-Caltech/Brown Univ./USGS
› Full image and caption

 

August 28, 2013

PASADENA – NASA-funded lunar research has yielded evidence of water locked in mineral grains on the surface of the moon from an unknown source deep beneath the surface. Using data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper (M3) instrument aboard the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 spacecraft, scientists remotely detected magmatic water, or water that originates from deep within the moon’s interior, on the surface of the moon.

The findings, published Aug. 25 in Nature Geoscience, represent the first detection of this form of water from lunar orbit. Earlier studies had shown the existence of magmatic water in lunar samples returned during NASA’s Apollo program.

M3 imaged the lunar impact crater Bullialdus, which lies near the lunar equator. Scientists were interested in studying this area because they could better quantify the amount of water inside the rocks due to the crater’s location and the type of rocks it held. The central peak of the crater is made up of a type of rock that forms deep within the lunar crust and mantle when magma is trapped underground.

 

Read more: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-262

Voyager 1 Has Left the Solar System


Voyager 1 appears to have at long last left our solar system and entered interstellar space, says a University of Maryland-led team of researchers

Voyager 1 appears to have at long last left our solar system and entered interstellar space, says a University of Maryland-led team of researchers. (Credit: NASA)

 

Carrying Earthly greetings on a gold plated phonograph record and still-operational scientific instruments — including the Low Energy Charged Particle detector designed, built and overseen, in part, by UMD’s Space Physics Group — NASA’s Voyager 1 has traveled farther from Earth than any other human-made object. And now, these researchers say, it has begun the first exploration of our galaxy beyond the Sun’s influence.

“It’s a somewhat controversial view, but we think Voyager has finally left the Solar System, and is truly beginning its travels through the Milky Way,” says UMD research scientist Marc Swisdak, lead author of a new paper published online this week in The Astrophysical Journal Letters. Swisdak and fellow plasma physicists James F. Drake, also of the University of Maryland, and Merav Opher of Boston University have constructed a model of the outer edge of the Solar System that fits recent observations, both expected and unexpected.

Read more:  http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130815133726.htm

Billion-Pixel View From Curiosity at Rocknest, Mars

Mars Rock Touched by NASA Curiosity Has Surprises

October 12, 2012 1 comment

ScienceDaily (Oct. 12, 2012) — The first Martian rock NASA’s Curiosity rover has reached out to touch presents a more varied composition than expected from previous missions. The rock also resembles some unusual rocks from Earth’s interior.

Target: Jake Matijevic Rock. This image shows where NASA’s Curiosity rover aimed two different instruments to study a rock known as “Jake Matijevic.” (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

The rover team used two instruments on Curiosity to study the chemical makeup of the football-size rock called “Jake Matijevic” (matt-EE-oh-vick). The results support some surprising recent measurements and provide an example of why identifying rocks’ composition is such a major emphasis of the mission. Rock compositions tell stories about unseen environments and planetary processes.

“This rock is a close match in chemical composition to an unusual but well-known type of igneous rock found in many volcanic provinces on Earth,” said Edward Stolper of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, who is a Curiosity co-investigator. “With only one Martian rock of this type, it is difficult to know whether the same processes were involved, but it is a reasonable place to start thinking about its origin.”

Mars rover Curiosity scoops, detects bright object


This image from the right Mast Camera (Mastcam) of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity shows a scoop full of sand and dust lifted by the rover’s first use of the scoop on its robotic arm. In the foreground, near the bottom of the image, a bright object is visible on the ground. The object might be a piece of rover hardware. This image was taken during the mission’s 61st Martian day, or sol (Oct. 7, 2012), the same sol as the first scooping. After examining Sol 61 imaging, the rover team decided to refrain from using the arm on Sol 62 (Oct. 8). Instead, the rover was instructed to acquire additional imaging of the bright object, on Sol 62, to aid the team in assessing possible impact, if any, to sampling activities. For scale, the scoop is 1.8 inches (4.5 centimeters) wide, 2.8 inches (7 centimeters) long. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSSRead more: http://phys.org/news/2012-10-mars-rover-curiosity-scoops-bright.html

Mars rover Curiosity finds evidence of ancient fast-moving streams on surface of red planet

September 28, 2012 Leave a comment

The Nasa rover Curiosity has beamed pictures back from the red planet that appear to show the remnants of an ancient stream which once ‘ran vigorously’ on the surface of Mars.

The discovery of bedrock and pebbles, which appear to indicate there was once fast moving water on the planet, was described by the mission’s chief scientist as ‘exciting’.

Pebbles, that appear to have been rounded off by water, have offered the most convincing evidence yet that there was water on the surface of Mars.

Read more: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/mars-rover-curiosity-finds-evidence-of-ancient-fastmoving-streams-on-surface-of-red-planet-8189797.html

NASA Mars Rover Opportunity Reveals Geological Mystery: Spherical Objects Unlike Previously Found ‘Blueberries’

September 17, 2012 Leave a comment

ScienceDaily (Sep. 14, 2012) — NASA’s long-lived rover Opportunity has returned an image of the Martian surface that is puzzling researchers.

Small spherical objects fill the field in this mosaic combining four images from the Microscopic Imager on NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell Univ./ USGS/Modesto Junior College)
 

Spherical objects concentrated at an outcrop Opportunity reached last week differ in several ways from iron-rich spherules nicknamed “blueberries” the rover found at its landing site in early 2004 and at many other locations to date.

Opportunity is investigating an outcrop called Kirkwood in the Cape York segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The spheres measure as much as one-eighth of an inch (3 millimeters) in diameter. The analysis is still preliminary, but it indicates that these spheres do not have the high iron content of Martian blueberries.

“This is one of the most extraordinary pictures from the whole mission,” said Opportunity’s principal investigator, Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. “Kirkwood is chock full of a dense accumulation of these small spherical objects. Of course, we immediately thought of the blueberries, but this is something different. We never have seen such a dense accumulation of spherules in a rock outcrop on Mars.”

Read more: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/09/120914154003.htm