|*** MARCH 2007 ***|
|NASA SCIENTISTS AND TEACHERS TO STUDY MARS IN THE MOJAVE DESERT|
|...NASA's Spaceward Bound project at the agency's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., will take a team of NASAscientists and 40 teachers from throughout the country to study the unique geologic formations of California's Mojave Desert and the supremely adapted microbes that call it home. The Mojave's inhospitable, sun-scorched environment presents scientists with opportunities to study conditions similar to what explorers will find on the moon and Mars. Leading the team is Chris McKay, an Ames planetary scientist with extensive experience in field work in extreme environments. |
"We have been doing field expeditions to Mars-like environments for years," said McKay. "Now we're bringing along the teachers, so they can see and participate in the exploration of these extreme environments. The teachers become part of the research team.
|NASA STUDIES HOW AIRBORNE PARTICLES AFFECT CLIMATE CHANGE|
|MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. - A recent NASA study links natural and human-made aerosol particles to how much Earth warms or cools. Earth's atmosphere acts as a protective shield that regulates how much solar energy the planet absorbs or deflects. The Intercontinental Chemical Transport Experiment studied how chemicals and pollution affect that protective shield by measuring air flowing from North America and across the Atlantic Ocean. |
"The majority of aerosols form a layer of haze near the Earth's surface, which can cause either a cooling or warming effect, depending on aerosol type and location," said Jens Redemann, lead author of the science paper at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
Different types of aerosol particles can influence visible light and other kinds of radiation, affecting climate and temperatures, the scientists
reported. "Changing the flow of radiation – including light – above and within the atmosphere changes the energy available for driving Earth's climate," said Phil Russell, also a NASA Ames scientist.
|NASA STUDIES TRUE COLORS OF EVERGREEN RAIN FORESTS|
|NASA satellites reveal that Amazon forests are neither evergreen nor dependent on constant rain, and are capable of manufacturing their seasons. |
Researchers report a 25 percent increase in the amount of green leaf area during the dry season when the skies are relatively clear. They found that the rain forests are more dependent on light than rain, enduring several months of dry season by tapping water deep in the soil with their long roots. The results of this NASA-funded research will appear in the March 20 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
"Our finding is similar to the discovery of a large green continent, nearly a third the size of South America, appearing and disappearing each year," explained Ranga Myneni, professor of geography and environment at Boston University, the lead author of this study. "This has very important consequences for weather, atmospheric carbon, water and nutrient cycling, given that leaves are the air purifiers and food factories of our planet," Myneni added.
|NASA TO EXPLORE FUTURE COLLABORATIONS WITH STATE OF HAWAII|
|Under the terms of a memorandum of understanding, signed today inHawaii, NASA Ames Research Center will explore opportunities for |
future collaborations with the state of Hawaii in support of the Vision for Space Exploration, NASA's plan to return humans to the moon and later travel to Mars.
"This agreement with the state of Hawaii is another exciting opportunity for NASA to work with a partner in support of the agency's exploration, science and aeronautics mission goals," said S. Pete Worden, director of NASA Ames Research Center.
"We are excited to partner with NASA to collaborate on future space exploration," said Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, who signed the agreement with Worden during a signing ceremony in the Executive Chambers at the Hawaii State Capitol. "We are looking forward to future collaborations with NASA to develop innovative opportunities in aerospace-related fields that capitalize on Hawaii's science and technology resources and capabilities."
|NASA AWARDS SUPERCOMPUTING TIME FOR ADVANCED RESEARCH|
|NASA has awarded 4.75 million hours of supercomputing time for the coming year to leading U.S. researchers. This computing time is intended to help scientists solve some of the most challenging research problems involving turbulent fluid flow, naval ship design,combustion for power generation, and ocean convection. |
NASA awarded the time under its National Leadership Computing System (NLCS) initiative, chartered to provide resources to computationally intensive research projects of national interest. Researchers will use NASA's Columbia system, one of the world's largest and most productive supercomputers, located at the NASA Advanced Supercomputing (NAS) facility at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
"These significant allocations of time on Columbia will help top scientists make high-impact advances in several important fields, leading to improved aerospace vehicles and naval ships, a cleaner environment, and more accurate predictions of future climate change," said NAS Deputy Division Chief Bryan Biegel. The NAS facility delivers high-performance computing capability to nearly 1,000 users at NASA and other government agencies, industry and universities supporting NASA missions.