NASA Awards Postdoctoral Fellowships for 2021

NASA has selected 24 new Fellows for its prestigious NASA Hubble Fellowship Program (NHFP). The NHFP is one of the highlights of NASA’s pursuit of excellence in astrophysics. The program enables outstanding postdoctoral scientists to pursue independent research in any area of NASA Astrophysics, using theory, observation, experimentation, or instrument development. Over 400 applicants vied for the fellowships. Each fellowship provides the awardee up to three years of support.

Even With Regular Exercise, Astronaut’s Heart Left Smaller After A Year In Space

DALLAS – March. 29, 2021 – With NASA preparing to send humans to Mars in the 2030s, researchers are studying the physical effects of spending long periods in space. Now a new study by scientists at UT Southwestern shows that the heart of an astronaut who spent nearly a year aboard the International Space Station shrank, even with regular exercise, although it continued to function well.

MEDIA ADVISORY: News conference

Los Alamos National Laboratory and France’s National Centre for Space Studies (CNES) will hold an online press conference on Wednesday, March 10, to assess the health of SuperCam, the rock-zapping laser that was developed under the auspices of the two institutions and is now on board the NASA Perseverance rover on the surface of Mars.

Seeking History of Life on Mars: 2020 Perseverance Rover Experts Available

The new era of space exploration features two Stony Brook University faculty members as part of the development of NASA’s Mars2020 Perseverance rover that recently landed. Distinguished Professor Scott McLennan and Associate Professor Joel Hurowitz worked on the PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) that is attached to the arm of the rover. Professor Hurowitz also serves as the deputy principal investigator for the PIXL and is part of the scientific leadership of the mission.

What will ancient sedimentary rock tell us about the history of life on Mars?

The new era of space exploration features two Stony Brook University faculty members as part of the development of NASA’s Mars2020 Perseverance rover that recently landed. Distinguished Professor Scott McLennan and Associate Professor Joel Hurowitz both worked on the PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) that is attached to the arm of the rover. The PIXL is a micro-focus X-ray fluorescence instrument that rapidly measures elemental chemistry by focusing an X-ray beam to a tiny spot on the target rock or soil, analyzing the induced X-ray fluorescence. Both professors have been working on Mars missions with NASA since 2004.

Hubble Uncovers Concentration of Small Black Holes

Astronomers using the Hubble Space Telescope in their hunt for a massive black hole at the heart of the globular cluster NGC 6397 found something they weren’t expecting: a concentration of smaller black holes lurking there instead. This is a new twist on the search for intermediate-mass black holes. They are the long-sought “missing link” between supermassive black holes and stellar-mass black holes.

Missouri S&T among winners in NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge

The success of NASA’s future plans to explore and inhabit the moon may depend in part on research by university students, including a team of seven from Missouri University of Science and Technology who have won a grant from the space agency to develop a way to remove lunar dust from power-producing solar cells.The Missouri S&T team is one of seven university-affiliated groups to be selected for funding through NASA’s Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge.

Increasing ocean temperature threatens Greenland’s ice sheet

Irvine, Calif., Jan. 25, 2021 — Scientists at the University of California, Irvine and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory have for the first time quantified how warming coastal waters are impacting individual glaciers in Greenland’s fjords. Their work is the subject of a study published recently in Science Advances. Working under the auspices of the Oceans Melting Greenland mission for the past five years, the researchers used ships and aircraft to survey 226 glaciers in all sectors of one of Earth’s largest islands.

MTU students win NASA’s BIG Idea Challenge

MTU students took home top honors — the Artemis Award — in NASA’s Breakthrough, Innovative and Game-changing (BIG) Idea Challenge. Eight university teams competed in the BIG Idea Challenge for 2020, called the Lunar PSR Challenge. The goal? Demonstrating different technologies and designs to study and explore the moon’s permanently shadowed regions (PSRs), which NASA officials note are a formidable challenge for space exploration.

Powerful electrical events quickly alter surface chemistry on Mars and other planetary bodies

Thinking like Earthlings may have caused scientists to overlook the electrochemical effects of Martian dust storms. On Earth, dust particles are viewed mainly in terms of their physical effects, like erosion. But, in exotic locales from Mars to Venus to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa, electrical effects can affect the chemical composition of a planetary body’s surface and atmosphere in a relatively short time, according to research from Washington University in St. Louis.

Hubble Pins Down Weird Exoplanet with Far-Flung Orbit

Astronomers analyzing Hubble images of the double star, HD 106906, have discovered a planet in a huge 15,000-year-long orbit that sweeps it as far from its stellar duo as Planet Nine would be from our Sun. This is observational evidence that similarly far-flung worlds may exist around other stars. Researchers hypothesize that the planet wound up there in a game of planetary pinball where the gravitational pull of a passing star modified the orbit’s shape.

Best Region For Life on Mars Was Far Below Surface

The most habitable region for life on Mars would have been up to several miles below its surface, likely due to subsurface melting of thick ice sheets fueled by geothermal heat, a Rutgers-led study concludes. The study, published in the journal Science Advances, may help resolve what’s known as the faint young sun paradox – a lingering key question in Mars science.

Scientists Solve Big Limitation of Stratospheric Balloon Payloads

Nearly all photons emitted after the Big Bang are now visible only at far-infrared wavelengths. Earth’s atmosphere blocks most of this light, so scientists are turning to huge stratospheric balloons to explore it. However, it is quite difficult to cool a telescope the size of a living room to nearly absolute zero while flying it from a balloon. This is where the Balloon-Borne Cryogenic Telescope Testbed comes in. NASA researchers discuss the mission in Review of Scientific Instruments.

Hubble Launches Large Ultraviolet-Light Survey of Nearby Stars

This is a ground-based telescopic photo of the Large Magellanic Cloud, a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. The LMC is one of several select targets of a new initiative with NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, called ULLYSES (UV Legacy Library of Young Stars as Essential Standards). The program is looking at over 300 stars to build an ultraviolet-light catalog for capturing the diversity of stars, from young to old, to give astronomers a much better understanding of the birth of stars and how this relates to everything from planets to the formation and evolution of galaxies.