Space & Planetary Science: September 2012 Archives

Streambed Discovered on Mars

Remnants of Ancient Streambed Discovered on Mars

"NASA's Curiosity rover mission has found evidence a stream once ran vigorously across the area on Mars where the rover is driving. There is earlier evidence for the presence of water on Mars, but this evidence - images of rocks containing ancient streambed gravels - is the first of its kind. Scientists are studying the images of stones cemented into a layer of conglomerate rock. The sizes and shapes of stones offer clues to the speed and distance of a long-ago stream's flow."

U.S., Europe Won't Go It Alone in Mars Exploration, Space News

"Let me say this clearly, because we hear all the time that NASA has 'abandoned' ExoMars," Bolden said. "We have not abandoned ExoMars, and the Electra payload is an example of our continuing high interest in the mission."

ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, NASA.gov

"NASA will not be moving forward with the planned 2016 and 2018 ExoMars missions that we had been exploring with the European Space Agency. Instead, we will develop an integrated strategy to ensure that the next steps for Mars exploration will support science as well as human exploration goals."

Keith's note: Note: Electra is a UHF radio/relay on MRO. It is already in orbit at Mars. As such, it doesn't take much "high interest" on NASA's part to allow ExoMars or any other mission to use it - as long as it still works.


NASA Hosts Teleconference on Status of Mars Program Options

"NASA will host a media teleconference 3 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 25, to provide details of a summary report provided by the Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG). The MPPG was established to aid with planning for the agency's future Mars Program within available future budgets. The summary report will be posted an hour before the teleconference on NASA's MPPG webpage."

NAS Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (dial-in/webcast)

"10:15 a.m. PDT (1:15 pm EDT) Report of the Mars Program Planning Group - Orlando Figueroa"

Mars Program Planning Group Summary of Final Report

NASA And Motorola Poke Fun At iOS 6, Learn How To Get Google Maps Back On Your iOS Device

"This isn't the only company making fun off iOS 6 though. NASA's own Curiosity Rover claimed that he was updated to iOS 6 and was now in Norway! What a terrible coincidence. Here's the CuriosityRover's entire tweet: NASA HAVE UPDATED ME TO iOS 6. APPARENTLY I'M NOW IN NORWAY."

Keith's note: There is clear confusion between the official NASA Twitter account @MarsCuriosity and the spoof Twitter@MarsCuroisity - this author attributes a tweet from the parody Twitter to one made by NASA's official Twitter account. Between a slight change in spelling and nearly identical design, its easy to be confused - at first - until you actually read the tweets, that is. Some of the stuff is funny. Too bad they have to use the F-word in almost every tweet - rather lazy and uncreative.

NASA to Brief NRC on Its New Mars Plan Next Week, SpacePolicyOnline

"Orlando Figueroa will brief the National Research Council's Committee on Astrobiology and Planetary Science (CAPS) next week on the results of his Mars Program Planning Group (MPPG) effort. Figueroa is scheduled to brief the committee on Tuesday at 10:15 am PT (1:15 pm ET) at the NRC's Beckman Center in Irvine, CA. The NRC plans to webcast the meeting."

Jaylee Mead

Jaylee Mead dies: NASA astronomer was a cultural benefactor in D.C., Washington Post

"Jaylee Mead and her husband, Gilbert, came, in some ways, from different universes. Gilbert was an heir to the riches of Consolidated Papers in Wisconsin -- one of the largest papermakers in North America -- while Jaylee was the daughter of a general store owner in rural North Carolina. They worked together for years at the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, he as a geophysicist and she as an astronomer, one of the few women of her generation to pursue a career in astrophysics."

NASA Cooperative Agreement Notice Draft Announcement for a Joint SMD and HEOMD Science and Exploration Institute and Request for Comments

"NASA's Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD) intend to release a Cooperative Agreement Notice (CAN) for the NEW NASA science and exploration institute (name to be determined) no earlier than October 2012. The new institute will retain the successful structure of the NASA Lunar Science Institute (NLSI), consisting of new peer-reviewed and competitively selected teams managed by the current small central office located at NASA Ames Research Center. The new institute will be a virtual research organization that leverages knowledge and expertise from the science and exploration communities and supports NASA's goals in lunar and planetary science and human exploration of the solar system. It is anticipated that approximately seven teams will be selected in response to the proposed CAN."

Keith's note: NASA just repeated this tweet to its 2.9 million followers: "In 1 hour, join @NASA and @SBAgov in a Google+ hangout to celebrate #smallbiz contributions to @MarsCuriosity http://go.nasa.gov/QllNLZ". OSTP (the White House) host posted multiple tweets for its 300,000+ followers such as yesterday's tweet "Tomorrow join @NASA & @SBAgov for Google+ Hangout w/ ATA Engineering, a small business that helped land @MarsCuriosity" and posted something on its official blog.

I have looked back over a week of Tweets by @MarsCuriosity. No mention whatsoever of this event was made to its 1.1 million followers. I did not see anything from JPL PAO on this event either. No mention is made on any of the missions multiple official websites either. It is rather odd that the White House and NASA Headquarters go out of their way to highlight the @MarsCuriosity mission - and bring in the SBA so as to emphasize the economic value/impact of space exploration - and yet JPL PAO can't even be bothered to tell people about it?

NASA Administrator Bolden and SBA Administrator Mills "Hangout" with Curiosity Small Business ATA Engineering

"NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and Small Business Administration Administrator Karen Mills highlighted the contributions of small businesses to the success of the Curiosity rover's landing on Mars during a Google+ Hangout Wednesday with ATA Engineering, headquartered in Herndon, Va. ATA Engineering partnered with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) team to test and analyze the entry, descent and landing of the rover, specifically the wheels, actuators and thermal control systems."

If the Mars rover finds water, it could be H2 ... uh oh!, LA Times

"On Nov. 1, after learning that the drill bit box had been opened, Conley said she had the mission reclassified to one in which Curiosity could touch the surface of Mars "as long as there is no ice or water." Conley's predecessor at NASA, John D. Rummel, a professor of biology at East Carolina University, said, partly in jest: "It will be a sad day for NASA if they do detect ice or water. That's because the Curiosity project will most likely be told, 'Gee, that's nice. Now turn around.' " If water is found, Curiosity could still conduct tests from a distance with instruments including a laser and spectrometers."

Mars Rover May Be Contaminated with Earth Microbes, NPR

"... what we would do is we would take a step back, and we would convene a panel of scientific experts to review the whole procedure, look at the amount of ultraviolet light that might've been hitting the drill bit that would be burning, you know, giving all those organisms sunburn. There are a small number of organisms on the rover, many, many fewer than there are on the palm of your hand. But there are a few. So we would convene this panel of experts. We'd look at the conditions at Gale Crater. We'd consider what the characteristics of this potential water or ice might be, and then that panel would decide how we should proceed with the potential to study that."

Hearing: The Path from LEO to Mars, Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation

"Sep 12 2012 2:00 PM"

NASA to Host Mars Curiosity Rover Progress Teleconference

"September 12, 2012 2 p.m. EDT"

Keith's note: Why is NASA SMD PAO scheduling a media event on MSL at the exact same time as a Senate hearing that includes MSL Project Scientist John Grotzinger and Fuk Li, Director of JPL's Mars Exploration Directorate? You'd think that there'd be a little more coordination on these things within SMD.

Save Planetary Science, AGU

"The time has come for us to again stand up and fight for the future of our science. In part due to you making your voices heard, the US Congress continues work to restore a large portion of the serious cut to the FY 2013 NASA Planetary Science budget. Although the final budget won't be enacted for some months due to the election, planning in both houses of Congress looks positive. Now we must turn our attention to the source of the President's budget - the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP)."


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This page is an archive of entries in the Space & Planetary Science category from September 2012.

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