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Archive for March 15, 2013

Panorama From NASA Mars Rover Shows Mount Sharp


Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Rising above the present location of NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity, higher than any mountain in the 48 contiguous states of the United States, Mount Sharp is featured in new imagery from the rover.

A pair of mosaics assembled from dozens of telephoto images shows Mount Sharp in dramatic detail. The component images were taken by the 100-millimeter-focal-length telephoto lens camera mounted on the right side of Curiosity’s remote sensing mast, during the 45th Martian day of the rover’s mission on Mars (Sept. 20, 2012).

This layered mound, also called Aeolis Mons, in the center of Gale Crater rises more than 3 miles (5 kilometers) above the crater floor location of Curiosity. Lower slopes of Mount Sharp remain a destination for the mission, though the rover will first spend many more weeks around a location called “Yellowknife Bay,” where it has found evidence of a past environment favorable for microbial life.

Full Story and Links To Images: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-097&cid=release_2013-097

NASA TV News Conference To Discuss Planck Cosmology Findings


An artist's concept of the Planck spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

An artist’s concept of the Planck spacecraft. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

NASA will host a news conference at 8 a.m. PDT (11 a.m. EDT) Thursday, March 21, to discuss the first cosmology results from Planck, a European Space Agency mission with significant NASA participation.

The briefing will be held at NASA Headquarters in Washington. It will be broadcast live on NASA Television and streamed on the agency’s website.

Planck launched into space in 2009 and has been scanning the skies ever since, mapping cosmic microwave background, or the afterglow, of the big bang that created our universe more than 13 billion years ago.

Full Story: http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?release=2013-096&cid=release_2013-096
Broadcast Information: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/nasatv/index.html

Building The Massive Simulation Sets Essential To Planck Results


To make the most precise measurement yet of the cosmic microwave background (CMB) – the remnant radiation from the big bang – the European Space Agency’s (ESA’s) Planck satellite mission has been collecting trillions of observations of the sky since the summer of 2009. On March 21, 2013, ESA and NASA, a major partner in Planck, will release preliminary cosmology results based on Planck’s first 15 months of data. The results have required the intense creative efforts of a large international collaboration, with significant participation by the U.S. Planck Team based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).

Strength in data analysis is a major U.S. contribution, including the resources of the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC) at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the expertise of scientists in Berkeley Lab’s Computational Cosmology Center (C3).

The cosmological signal in the CMB data set is tiny, and separating it from the overwhelming instrument noise and astrophysical foregrounds requires enormous data sets – Planck’s 72 detectors gather 10,000 samples per second as they sweep over the sky – and exquisitely precise analyses.

Full Story: http://newscenter.lbl.gov/news-releases/2013/03/14/massive-planck-simulations/