Thursday, November 5, 2009
Phoenix Lander on Mars, Composited Images gathered for 5 months after landing on Mars on May 25 2008
This approximately true color view combines images taken on several dates during the five months Phoenix studied its surroundings after landing on May 25, 2008. The Phoenix Mission was led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission was by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development was by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Texas A&M University
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
This image was taken from the Space Shuttle on February 21, 2000.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Life on our planet is thought to have arisen out of a pond-scum-like mix of chemicals. Some of these chemicals are thought to have come from a planet-forming disk of gas and dust that swirled around our young sun. Meteorites carrying the chemicals might have crash-landed on Earth.
Astronomers don't know if these same life-generating processes are taking place around stars that are cooler than our sun, but the Spitzer observations show their disk chemistry is different. Spitzer detected a prebiotic molecule, called hydrogen cyanide, in the disks around yellow stars like our sun, but found none around cooler, less massive, reddish stars. Hydrogen cyanide is a carbon-containing, or organic compound. Five hydrogen cyanide molecules can join up to make adenine—a chemical element of the DNA molecule found in all living organisms on Earth.
Friday, August 14, 2009
* Image Credit : JPL/ NASA
Wednesday, July 8, 2009
This is a montage of New Horizons images of Jupiter and its volcanic moon Io, taken during the spacecraft's Jupiter flyby in early 2007. The Jupiter image is an infrared color composite taken by the spacecraft's near-infrared imaging spectrometer, the Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array (LEISA) at 1:40 UT on Feb. 28, 2007. The infrared wavelengths used (red: 1.59 µm, green: 1.94 µm, blue: 1.85 µm) highlight variations in the altitude of the Jovian cloud tops, with blue denoting high-altitude clouds and hazes, and red indicating deeper clouds. The prominent bluish-white oval is the Great Red Spot. The observation was made at a solar phase angle of 75 degrees but has been projected onto a crescent to remove distortion caused by Jupiter's rotation during the scan. The Io image, taken at 00:25 UT on March 1st 2007, is an approximately true-color composite taken by the panchromatic Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), with color information provided by the 0.5 µm ("blue") and 0.9 µm ("methane") channels of the Multispectral Visible Imaging Camera (MVIC). The image shows a major eruption in progress on Io's night side, at the northern volcano Tvashtar. Incandescent lava glows red beneath a 330-kilometer high volcanic plume, whose uppermost portions are illuminated by sunlight. The plume appears blue due to scattering of light by small particles in the plume
Friday, July 3, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
This view from the Cassini spacecraft looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 30 degrees above the ringplane. The rings have been brightened relative to the planet to enhance visibility.
Images taken using red, green and blue spectral filters were combined to create this natural color view. The images were acquired with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on Feb. 24, 2009 at a distance of approximately 866,000 kilometers (538,000 miles) from Saturn. Image scale is 38 kilometers (24 miles) per pixel.
The channels seen here indicate that fluids flowed from high plateaus on the right to lowland areas on the left. In the center of the image, the wide distribution of the channels' tributaries suggests that rainfall is effectively eroding the surface. The bright terrain toward the bottom of the image is interpreted as high cliffs and broken bedrock.
These canyon systems remind us that Titan is (or has recently been) a dynamic world with a complicated geological history. Multiple channels have flowed into a wide, dark arc in the center of this mountainous region. Here, the canyons appear to have been filled by fine-grained materials that appear dark (smooth) to Cassini's synthetic aperture radar. These canyon-filling materials were later carved by a large river channel that winds from the bottom left of the image toward the left center.
The image center is at 71 degrees south latitude, 240 degrees west longitude, and its dimensions are 335 by 289 kilometers (208 by 179 miles). The radar illuminated this area from the top of the image at 18 degrees incidence angle. The areas seen here are typical of other regions observed near Titan's south pole in other flybys
Radar data show that the arc of Hotei is the boundary between rugged mountains to the south and east and a broad valley. Emerging from the mountains are several radar-bright channels that are likely now dry river beds that were carved by flowing methane due to rainfall. Within the valley, the channels end near lobate (blobby) flows some 100 to 200 meters (300 to 600 feet) thick, which some scientists think could be slushy ice lava from cryovolcanoes. These flows are portrayed here as the rough and elevated lighter tan areas in the foreground. It is possible that such phenomena could release methane from beneath the surface, helping to explain how Titan's atmosphere sustains its supply of methane.
The area depicted is located at approximately 28 degrees south latitude and 78 degrees west longitude.
The shadow of the moon Tethys is revealed on Saturn's B and C rings in this image which also includes the planet.
The planet is overexposed in this image in which the exposure time was set to capture the faint shadow on the rings. Tethys itself is not visible in this image. As Saturn approaches its August 2009 equinox, the planet's moons cast shadows onto the rings.
This view looks toward the unilluminated side of the rings from about 20 degrees above the ringplane. The image was taken in visible light with the Cassini spacecraft wide-angle camera on May 12, 2009. The view was obtained at a distance of approximately 1.2 million kilometers (746,000 miles) from Saturn and at a Sun-Saturn-spacecraft, or phase, angle of 28 degrees. Image scale is 65 kilometers (40 miles) per pixel.
The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The imaging operations center is based at the Space Science Institute in Boulder, Colo.