|*** FEBRUARY 2008 ***|
|NASA TAPS ASTRONOMY COMMUNITY TO HELP SEARCH FOR LUNAR WATER|
|...News media are invited to attend a briefing from 12 p.m. to 12:30 noon PST Friday, Feb. 29 in Building 943 at |
NASA's Ames Research Center about the Lunar CRater Observing and Sensing Satellite, known as LCROSS, and the mission's participatory emphasis.
The briefing is part of the LCROSS Astronomer Workshop, which focuses on collaboration among NASA experts and professional astronomers on techniques for observing the debris plume that will be created when LCROSS hits the surface of the moon in early 2009. The objective of the mission is to detect possible water on the moon. Future mission activities will engage the amateur astronomy community, students and the public using ground-based and space-based telescopes.
LCROSS is scheduled to launch with the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, known as LRO, aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla., in late 2008. After launch, the LCROSS shepherding spacecraft and the Atlas V's Centaur upper stage rocket will fly by the moon and enter an elongated Earth orbit to position themselves for a rapid descent into a permanently shadowed crater near the moon's south pole.
|NASA AMES CONDUCTS TESTS OF KEPLER MISSION IMAGE DETECTORS|
|...Sensitive detectors that may help find habitable planets orbiting distant stars as part of NASA's Kepler Mission are undergoing tests at Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif. |
Scheduled to launch.., the Kepler Mission will measure tiny variations in the brightness of stars to find planets that pass in front of them during their orbits. During these passes or "transits" the planets will slightly decrease the star's brightness. The detectors are similar to the image detectors found in a digital camera, but much more sensitive.
"This is a major milestone for the Kepler mission," said David Koch, deputy principal investigator for the Kepler Mission. "We will use hardware identical to what we will be flying on Kepler in the test bed at Ames. We will have the ability to create transits of a star so that we can see the change in the star's brightness. By simulating transits, we will be able to demonstrate that the flight hardware will work," Koch explained.
|NASA'S AMES ENABLES COMMERCIAL WEIGHTLESS AIRCRAFT FLIGHTS|
|...Commercial, weightless flights will be offered this weekend at Moffett Field, Calif., under the terms of an agreement with the Zero Gravity Corp, Las Vegas. Although corporation officials said the first flight scheduled... later this year. |
"We're delighted to have signed this historic agreement with ZERO-G," said Ames Director S. Pete Worden. "This will further NASA's goal of pursuing mutually beneficial partnerships with the emerging commercial space sector."...
|NASA APPOINTS INTERIM LUNAR SCIENCE INSTITUTE DIRECTOR|
|...David Morrison has been appointed interim director of the NASA Lunar Science Institute, based at the Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., effective immediately. A nationwide search for a permanent director is under way. |
A world-renowned planetary scientist, Morrison currently serves as senior scientist at the Ames-based NASA Astrobiology Institute. The Lunar Science Institute will be modeled after the Astrobiology Institute, with teams across the nation working together to help lead the agency's research activities related to NASA's exploration goals.
The Lunar Science Institute will fund interdisciplinary science and exploration research teams to conduct basic lunar science, as well as astronomical, solar and Earth science investigations that can be performed from the moon. Institute teams also will provide a quick-response capability in support of NASA's Exploration initiative...