NASA

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This Mastcam-Z image shows a sample of Mars rock inside the sample tube on Sept. 1, 2021 – the 190th sol, or Martian day, of the mission. The image was taken after coring concluded but prior to an operation that vibrates the drill bit and tube to clear the tube's lip of any residual material.

The bronze-colored outer-ring is the coring bit. The lighter-colored inner-ring is the open end of the sample tube, and inside is a rock core sample slightly thicker than a pencil. A portion of the tube's serial number – 266 – can be seen on the top side of tube's wall.

Additional images taken after the arm completed sample acquisition were inconclusive due to poor sunlight conditions. Another round of images with better lighting will be taken before the sample processing continues.

Obtaining additional imagery prior to proceeding with the sealing and storing of Mars rock sample is an extra step the team opted to include based on its experience with the rover’s sampling attempt on Aug. 5. Although the Perseverance mission team is confident that the sample is in the tube, images in optimal lighting conditions will confirm its presence.

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The Juno spacecraft has gotten a private radio show from Jupiter's closest moon, the highly volcanic Io.

NASA's Juno spacecraft is "listening" in on radio emissions from Jupiter's volcanic moon Io, allowing researchers to discover what triggers the strange radio waves.

Of all the planets in our solar system, Jupiter has the largest and most powerful magnetic field, which extends so far that some of the planet's moons orbit within it. Because Io is closest to the planet, the moon is "caught in a gravitational tug-of-war" between Jupiter and two other large moons, according to NASA. These opposing pulls cause massive internal heat, which has led to hundreds of volcanic eruptions across the moon's surface.

The volcanos release 1 ton of gasses and particles per second into space, NASA said in a statement. Some of this material splits into electrically charged ions and electrons that then rain down onto Jupiter through the planet's magnetic field. Electrons caught in the magnetic field are accelerated toward Jupiter's poles and, along the way, generate a phenomenon scientists call decameter radio waves (also known as decametric radio emissions, or DAM).

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In 2018, scientists made a discovery that could change our understanding of the dusty, dry red ball that is Mars.

Radar signals bounced from just below the planet's surface revealed a shining patch, consistent with nothing so much as an underground pool of liquid water. Subsequent searches turned up even more shiny patches, suggesting a whole network of underground lakes.

Groundbreaking stuff, right? Although Mars has water in the form of ice, to date not a single drop of the liquid stuff has ever been found on our red buddy.

There's just one problem. According to a new analysis, which has found dozens more of these shiny patches, some of them are in regions that are just too cold for liquid water, even a brine, which can have a lower freezing temperature than freshwater.

"We're not certain whether these signals are liquid water or not, but they appear to be much more widespread than what the original paper found," said planetary scientist Jeffrey Plaut of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

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NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced Friday that the agency has approved a new infrared space telescope in the effort to help advance planetary defense efforts.

The Near-Earth Object Surveyor space telescope (NEO Surveyor) will move to the next phase of mission development at JPL after a successful review that moved the mission forward into preliminary design.

The NEO Surveyor was proposed to aid NASA's ability to both discover and characterize near-earth objects, like the "potentially hazardous" asteroid 2021 KT1.

KT1, the size of Seattle's Space Needle, recently hurtled past Earth at a distance of approximately 4.5 million miles and a velocity of 40,000 mph.

According to NASA, a near-Earth object is an asteroid or comet that approaches within 1.3 astronomical units of the sun.

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Most of the U.S. missed out on the "ring of fire" piece of year's first solar eclipse on Thursday (June 10), but parts of the East Coast caught a stunning sunrise partial eclipse to make up for it.

The June 10 annular eclipse was mostly visible over Canada, Greenland and Siberia, plus a small sliver of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. But skywatchers in a much wider range were able to catch the eclipse in partial phases. In many areas, the partial eclipse aligned closely with sunrise, making for a particularly eerie spectacle.

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NASA's new chief is setting up an effort to further study unidentified flying objects within his first month in office.

Bill Nelson, the former Florida senator and spaceflight veteran, told CNN Business' Rachel Crane during a wide-ranging interview on Thursday that it's not clear to anyone — even in the upper echelons of the US space agency — what the high-speed objects observed by Navy pilots are.

Nelson added that he does not believe the UFOs are evidence of extraterrestrials visiting Earth. "I think I would know" if that were the case, Nelson said. But, he acknowledged, it'd be premature to rule that out as a possibility.

Nelson's comments echo the findings of a new Pentagon report expected to be released later this month. Five sources familiar with the results of that study told CNN that US intelligence officials found no evidence that the UFOs are alien spacecraft, but investigators also have not reached a definitive assessment as to what these mysterious objects might be.

"We don't know if it's extraterrestrial. We don't know if it's an enemy. We don't know if it's an optical phenomenon," Nelson said. "We don't think [it's an optical phenomenon] because of the characteristics that those Navy jet pilots described ... And so the bottom line is, we want to know."

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NASA’s Curiosity rover has captured images of clouds on Mars— as described in its blog post: “wispy puffs filled with ice crystals that scattered light from the setting sun, some of them shimmering with color.”

According to NASA clouds are rare in the thin atmosphere of Mars, but usually form at its equator during its coldest time of year. Scientists noticed that last year — two years ago in Earth time— there were clouds beginning to form earlier than expected, so this year they were ready.

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Our telescopes on Earth and in space may one day welcome a new companion: a massive telescope on the moon. What's extra clever about the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope idea is that the LCRT would use an existing crater on the moon's far side.

On Wednesday, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced the LCRT is receiving $500,000 in Phase II funding through NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program. While the LCRT isn't an official NASA mission yet, the funding round is a vote of confidence in the idea.

Last year, the LCRT earned $125,000 in Phase I funding to explore the concept of sending robots to the moon's far side to build a telescope out of wire mesh suspended in a crater. The moon is a tempting place to locate a telescope because it could shield the device from Earth's radio signals and it wouldn't have to contend with an atmosphere.

"The LCRT's primary objective would be to measure the long-wavelength radio waves generated by the cosmic Dark Ages -- a period that lasted for a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, but before the first stars blinked into existence," JPL said in a statement.

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NASA's Mars helicopter Ingenuity keeps pushing the aerial exploration envelope.

The 4-lb. (1.8 kilograms) chopper lifted off from the floor of Mars' Jezero Crater today at 10:49 a.m. EDT (1449 GMT), kicking off its fourth flight on the Red Planet.

Ingenuity achieved all of its main technology-demonstrating goals on flights one through three — which occurred on April 19, April 22 and April 25 — so the helicopter's handlers let it off the leash today. Ingenuity covered 872 feet (266 meters) of ground and reached a top speed of 8 mph (13 kph) during the 117-second jaunt, NASA officials said.

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The second-ever Mars helicopter flight is in the books.

NASA's little Ingenuity helicopter took to the skies above Mars' Jezero Crater again early this morning (April 22), just three days after making history with the first powered, controlled flight on a world beyond Earth.

Monday's landmark 39-second debut flight was a straight up-and-down trip that took Ingenuity just 10 feet (3 meters) off Jezero's dusty floor. The helicopter team pushed the 4-lb. (1.8 kilograms) rotorcraft a little harder during today's 52-second sortie, which lifted off at 5:33 a.m. EDT (0933 GMT).

"Go big or go home! The Mars Helicopter successfully completed its 2nd flight, capturing this image with its black-and-white navigation camera," officials with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California wrote on Twitter. "It also reached new milestones of a higher altitude, a longer hover and lateral flying."

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NASA has chosen SpaceX to build spacecraft that will take humans to the Moon for the first time since the Apollo program wrapped up in 1972 — first reported by The Washington Post. The agency announced SpaceX had won the contract for the Artemis lunar lander at a press conference this afternoon. The company beat out Blue Origin (which teamed up with key aerospace players like Lockheed Martin) and defense contractor Dynetics to win the $2.9 billion contract. It was previously expected that NASA would select two of the companies.

NASA tends to pick multiple contractors for its key programs to promote competition and to ensure there are several options in case a provider can't make good on its proposal. It chose all three for the initial step of the contract last year but it has decided to go all in on SpaceX.

The company pitched its Starship for the Artemis missions. Although SpaceX has been encountering problems with the reusable spacecraft during testing (all of the prototypes have crashed and/or exploded thus far), NASA seems confident the company can get it right. SpaceX is still planning to take Starship into orbit later this year. The agency also explained that the reusable nature of the Starship factored into its decision.

The contract is a major victory for SpaceX. It's already working with NASA to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station, with the next mission scheduled for April 22nd.

When the Artemis program spun up under the Trump administration, the goal was to take astronauts back to the Moon in 2024, but the timeline for the project is under review. NASA doesn't currently have the funding it needs to make the mission happen by 2024 either.

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This artist's concept is of a Jupiter-mass planet orbiting the nearby star Epsilon Eridani. Located 10.5 light-years away, it is the closest known exoplanet to our solar system. The planet is in an elliptical orbit that carries it as close to the star as Earth is from the Sun, and as far from the star as Jupiter is from the Sun.

Epsilon Eridandi is a young star, only 800 million years old. It is still surrounded by a disk of dust that extends 20 billion miles from the star. The disk appears as a linear sheet of reflecting dust in this view because it is seen edge-on from the planet's orbit, which is in the same plane as the dust disk.

The planet's rings and satellites are purely hypothetical in this view, but plausible. As a gas giant, the planet is uninhabitable for life as we know it. However, any moons might have conditions suitable for life.

Astronomers determined the planet's mass and orbital tilt in 2006 by using Hubble to measure the unseen planet's gravitational pull on the star as it slowly moved across the sky. Evidence for the planet first appeared in 2000 when astronomers measured a telltale wobble in the star.

Source: nasa.gov