On April 16, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center hosted the 16th annual Student Launch competition in Huntsville, Alabama. During the event student-designed and built rockets were launched in an effort to reach an altitude of one mile, deploy an automated parachute system, and safely land to be recovered. The competition gives young aspiring engineers a chance to test their high-flying creations and a shot at a $5,000 cash prize. NASA hosts this and other events like it to engage students across the country in the agency’s Journey to Mars through hands-on activities in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
Craters with bright material on dwarf planet Ceres shine in new images from NASA’s Dawn mission.
In its lowest-altitude mapping orbit, at a distance of 240 miles (385 kilometers) from Ceres, Dawn has provided scientists with spectacular views of the dwarf planet.
Haulani Crater, with a diameter of 21 miles (34 kilometers), shows evidence of landslides from its crater rim. Smooth material and a central ridge stand out on its floor. An enhanced false-color view allows scientists to gain insight into materials and how they relate to surface morphology. This image shows rays of bluish ejected material. The color blue in such views has been associated with young features on Ceres.
“Haulani perfectly displays the properties we would expect from a fresh impact into the surface of Ceres. The crater floor is largely free of impacts, and it contrasts sharply in color from older parts of the surface,” said Martin Hoffmann, co-investigator on the Dawn framing camera team, based at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany.
The crater’s polygonal nature (meaning it resembles a shape made of straight lines) is noteworthy because most craters seen on other planetary bodies, including Earth, are nearly circular. The straight edges of some Cerean craters, including Haulani, result from pre-existing stress patterns and faults beneath the surface.
A hidden treasure on Ceres is the 6-mile-wide (10-kilometer-wide) Oxo Crater, which is the second-brightest feature on Ceres (only Occator’s central area is brighter). Oxo lies near the 0 degree meridian that defines the edge of many Ceres maps, making this small feature easy to overlook. Oxo is also unique because of the relatively large “slump” in its crater rim, where a mass of material has dropped below the surface. Dawn science team members are also examining the signatures of minerals on the crater floor, which appear different than elsewhere on Ceres.
“Little Oxo may be poised to make a big contribution to understanding the upper crust of Ceres,” said Chris Russell, principal investigator of the mission, based at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dawn’s mission is managed by JPL for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Dawn is a project of the directorate’s Discovery Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. UCLA is responsible for overall Dawn mission science. Orbital ATK Inc., in Dulles, Virginia, designed and built the spacecraft. The German Aerospace Center, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Italian Space Agency and Italian National Astrophysical Institute are international partners on the mission team. For a complete list of mission participants, visit: dawn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission.
2. .Tuesday, April 19, 2016: 7-8:30 PM PDT (10-11:30 PM EDT, 9-10:30 PM CDT): We welcome back DR. BRUCE CORDELL who will be discussing his latest work on the upcoming Maslow Window for space development projects.
3. Friday, April 22, 2016: 2016; 9:30-11AM PDT; (12:30-2 PM EDT; 11:30AM – 1 PM CDT. We welcome RICK EYERDAM who will discuss his work and latest book, Inside NASA’s Quest For Life In Space.
4. Sunday, April 24, 2016: 12-1:30 PM PDT (3-4:30 PM EDT, 2-3:30 PM CDT): We welcome MICHAEL PATTERSON to the show, a true space propulsion expert. Read his full bio before the show on The Space Show website. We will be discussing advanced propulsion and more.
A tour of aurora borealis and other gorgeous sites from the ISS;
From the caption:
NASA Television’s newest offering, NASA TV UHD, brings ultra-high definition video to a new level with the kind of imagery only the world’s leader in space exploration could provide.
Harmonic produced this show exclusively for NASA TV UHD, using time-lapses shot from the International Space Station, showing both the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis phenomena that occur when electrically charged electrons and protons in the Earth’s magnetic field collide with neutral atoms in the upper atmosphere.