JPL News-Month in Review, NASA -Climate Change, May 2022

JPL News-Month in Review, NASA-Climate Change, May 2022

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory <jplnewsroom@jpl.nasa.gov>

 EARTH

California Field Campaign Helping Scientists Protect Diverse Ecosystems
Above Santa Barbara County, the Surface Biology and Geology High-Frequency Time Series, or SHIFT, campaign collects data to understand land and aquatic ecosystems. Read More

EARTH.

California Field Campaign Helping Scientists Protect Diverse Ecosystems

A research plane collecting spectral imaging data of vegetation on land and in the ocean as part of the SHIFT campaign flies just off the Central Coast of California near Point Conception and the Jack and Laura Dangermond Preserve in February. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Full Image Details

The SHIFT campaign uses a research plane carrying the AVIRIS-NG instrument to collect data on the function, health, and resilience of plant communities in the 640-square-mile (1,656-square-kilometer) area of Santa Barbara County and the nearby ocean shown in this annotated map. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech Full Image Details

RELATED NEWS 

CLIMATE CHANGE.

NASA’s EMIT Will Map Tiny Dust Particles to Study Big Climate Impacts

EARTH.

NASA Finds New Way to Monitor Underground Water Loss

EARTH.

International Sea Level Satellite Takes Over From Predecessor

CLIMATE CHANGE.

Thawing Permafrost Could Leach Microbes, Chemicals Into Environment

CLIMATE CHANGE

NASA Finds Each State Has Its Own Climatic Threshold for Flu Outbreaks

EARTH.

California Fire Led to Spike in Bacteria, Cloudiness in Coastal Waters

EARTH.

NASA Supports Research to Advance Earth Science

CLIMATE CHANGE

Sea Level to Rise up to a Foot by 2050, Interagency Report Finds

WEATHER
Clusters of Weather Extremes Will Increase Risks to Corn Crops, Society
To assess how climate warming will change risks such as crop failures and wildfires, it’s necessary to look at how the risks are likely to interact. Read More

WEATHER.

New Space-Based Weather Instruments Start Gathering Data

MARS

NASA’s Mars Helicopter Scouts Ridgeline for Perseverance Science Team

NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter scouted this ridgeline near the ancient river delta in Jezero Crater because it is of interest to Perseverance rover scientists. Enlarged at right is a close-up of one of the ridgeline’s rocky outcrops. The image was captured on April 23, during the rotorcraft’s 27th flight.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

For more information, please visit the following link:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/nasas-mars-helicopter-scouts-ridgeline-for-perseverance-science-team

 

MARS
NASA’s Mars Helicopter Spots Gear That Helped Perseverance Rover Land
Eyeing some of the components that enabled the rover to get safely to the Martian surface could provide valuable insights for future missions. Read More

This image of Perseverance’s backshell and parachute was collected by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 26th flight on April 19, 2022.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Full Image Details

MARS.

NASA’s Mars Helicopter Spots Gear That Helped Perseverance Rover Land

This image of Perseverance’s backshell and supersonic parachute was captured by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 26th flight on Mars on April 19, 2022.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Full Image Details 

SOLAR SYSTEM
Greenland Ice, Jupiter Moon Share Similar Feature
Parallel ice ridges, a common feature on Jupiter’s moon Europa, are found on Greenland’s ice sheet – and could bode well for Europa’s potential habitability. Read More

 The surface geology of Jupiter’s icy moon Europa is on display in this view made from images taken by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in the late 1990s.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SETI Institute

SOLAR SYSTEM.

Greenland Ice, Jupiter Moon Share Similar Feature

A double ridge cutting across the surface of Europa is seen in this mosaic of two images taken by NASA’s Galileo during the spacecraft’s close flyby on Feb. 20, 1997. Analysis of a similar feature in Greenland suggests shallow liquid water may be ubiquitous across the Jovian moon’s icy shell.

Credit: NASA/JPL/ASU

SOLAR SYSTEM
NASA Extends Exploration for 8 Planetary Science Missions

An illustration shows our solar system (not to scale).

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Among the missions are InSight, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Odyssey, and Curiosity, all of which have been critical to expanding our understanding of the Red Planet. Read More

For more information, please visit the following link:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/nasa-extends-exploration-for-8-planetary-science-missions

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures Video of Solar Eclipse on Mars

April 20, 2022

The Mastcam-Z camera recorded video of Phobos, one of the Red Planet’s two moons, to study how its orbit is changing over time.

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used its Mastcam-Z camera to shoot video of Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons, eclipsing the Sun. It’s the most zoomed-in, highest-frame-rate observation of a Phobos solar eclipse ever taken from the Martian surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/SSI Full Image Details

NASA’s Perseveranc

MARS.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures Video of Solar Eclipse on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Sees Solar Eclipse on Mars

Apr 20, 2022           NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used its Mastcam-Z camera system to shoot video of Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons, eclipsing the Sun. It’s the most zoomed-in, highest frame-rate observation of a Phobos solar eclipse ever taken from the Martian surface. Several Mars rovers have observed Phobos crossing in front of the Sun over the past 18 years. Spirit and Opportunity made the first observations back in 2004; Curiosity in 2019 was the first to record video of the event. Each time these eclipses are observed, they allow scientists to measure subtle shifts in Phobos’ orbit over time. The moon’s tidal forces pull on the deep interior of the Red Planet, as well as its crust and mantle; studying how much Phobos shifts over time reveals something about how resistant the crust and mantle are, and thus what kinds of materials they’re made of. The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/SSI

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Arrives at Delta for New Science Campaign

April 19, 2022

MARS.

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Arrives at Delta for New Science Campaign

The expanse of Jezero Crater’s river delta is shown in this panorama of 64 stitched-together images taken by the Mastcam-Z system on NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on April 11, 2022, the 406th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS Full Image Details

This image of the parachute that helped deliver NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover to the Martian surface was taken by the rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument on April 6, 2022.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

Full Image Details

“The delta at Jezero Crater pr

For more information, please visit the following link:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/nasas-perseverance-rover-arrives-at-delta-for-new-science-campaign

MARS.

What Sounds Captured by NASA’s Perseverane Rover Reveal About Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures Puff, Whir, Zap Sounds from Mars

Apr 1, 2022  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Listen closely to new sounds from Mars recorded by NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover, including puffs and pings from a rover tool, light Martian wind, the whirring of the agency’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter, and laser zaps. Most of the sounds – best heard through headphones with the sound up – were recorded using the microphone belonging to Perseverance’s SuperCam instrument, mounted on the head of the rover’s mast. Other sounds, including the puffs and pings from the rover’s Gaseous Dust Removal Tool, or gDRT, blowing shavings off rock faces, were recorded by another microphone mounted on the chassis of the rover. A new study based on recordings made by the rover reveals that the speed of sound is slower on the Red Planet than on Earth and that, mostly, a deep silence prevails in the much thinner atmosphere. For more information on the study go to: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/what-so… For more about Perseverance go to mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/ and nasa.gov/perseverance. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/LANL/CNES/IRAP

This illustration indicates the placement of Perseverance’s two microphones. The microphone on the mast is part of the SuperCam science instrument. The microphone on the side of the rover was intended to capture the sounds of entry, descent, and landing for public engagement.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Full Image Details

 

JPL LIFE

NASA Wins 3 Webby Awards, 5 People’s Voice Awards for 2022

April 27, 2022

The awards are the highest honor for online communications.

Credit: Webby Awards

The JPL-managed NASA’s Global Climate Change and Solar System Exploration sites, along with JPL’s virtual tour, are among the winners.

 Read More

JPL LIFE

JPL Commits to First-Ever Space Industry Diversity Pledge
Interim Director Larry James joined 22 executives in a commitment to significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups by 2030. Read More

Inclusion is a JPL core value.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Interim Director Larry James joined 22 executives in a commitment to significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups by 2030.

Twenty-three space industry executives, including Larry James, interim director of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, gathered at the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on April 5 to pledge their commitment to advancing diversity across the collective workforce in coming years.

The executives signed the “Space Workforce 2030” pledge, the first-ever space industry commitment of its kind to “significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups.” Each company will agree to annual reporting of data on diversity in our collective technical workforce, a regular cadence of exchanges of best practices, and work with universities to increase the number of diverse and underrepresented students graduating ready to join the space industry.

“We’re excited to be a part of this industry initiative and continuing to lead the way in growing our diverse and inclusive workforce,” said James. “We know that these qualities lead to stronger teams and innovative solutions – key things we need here at JPL as we tackle the toughest challenges in science and engineering.”

Cozette Hart, JPL’s director for human resources, is proud of JPL’s partnership in this effort.

“We’ve shared JPL DEI data in our annual report, so the unification and commitment of our industry to broaden this work is an extremely positive step for all of us,” said Hart.

Neela Rajendra, the Lab’s manager of diversity, equity, and inclusion, acknowledged the importance of being part of a cohort of other aerospace organizations where companies can identify trends and learn from each other.

“This is industry-specific and even more powerful,” she said. “There’s a recognition that if we can advance diversity, equity, and inclusion for the industry as a whole, we’ll all benefit from it.”

Collaboration also helps JPL refine its diversity focus areas as the Lab continues to develop its strategic plan, Rajendra added.

By signing the pledge, the companies vow to accomplish the following by 2030:

  • Significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups in our collective technical workforce.
  • Significantly increase the number of women and employees from underrepresented groups who hold senior leadership positions in our collective technical workforce.
  • Work with universities to increase the percentages of women and students from underrepresented groups receiving aerospace engineering degrees to levels commensurate with overall engineering programs.
  • Sponsor K-12 programs that collectively reach over 5 million underrepresented students annually.
  • Meet twice a year at the working level to exchange best practices on strengthening diversity recruitment, STEM education outreach, and representation at leadership levels.
  • Seek like-minded leaders and organizations to join this effort.

“This effort links to the DEI recruitment efforts already in place at JPL,” shared Hart. “In partnership with these companies and our universities, colleges, and organizations such as Society of Women Engineers (SWE), National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), etc., we will be implementing even more opportunities for current and potential employees in the future.”

“Essentially, we’re committing to continuing the focus on our talent pipeline and really supporting future employees,” said Rajendra. “It’s about ensuring that all students and future talent have the opportunity to join the technical fields in aerospace regardless of background, socioeconomic status, or self-identity.”

Find the full list of “Space Workforce 2030” signatories below:

  • Roy Azevedo, president of Raytheon Intelligence & Space
  • Payam Banazadeh, CEO at Capella Space
  • Peter Beck, CEO at Rocket Lab
  • Tory Bruno, CEO at United Launch Alliance
  • Jim Chilton, senior VP of Space & Launch at Boeing
  • Michael Colglazier, CEO at Virgin Galactic
  • Eileen Drake, CEO and president of AeroJet Rocketdyne
  • Tim Ellis, CEO at Relativity Space
  • John Gedmark, CEO at Astranis Space Technologies
  • Steve Isakowitz, CEO at The Aerospace Corporation
  • Larry James, acting director at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Daniel Jablonsky, CEO at Maxar Technologies
  • Dave Kaufman, president of Ball Aerospace
  • Chris Kemp, CEO at Astra
  • Robert Lightfoot, executive vice president of Lockheed Martin Space
  • Will Marshall, CEO at Planet
  • Dan Piemont, president of ABL Space Systems
  • Peter Platzer, CEO at Spire Global
  • John Serafini, CEO at HawkEye 360
  • Gwynne Shotwell, president and chief operating officer of SpaceX
  • Melanie Stricklan, CEO at Slingshot Aerospace
  • Amela Wilson, CEO at Nanoracks
  • Tom Wilson, president of Space Systems at Northrop Grumman

News Media Contact

Matthew Segal

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

818-354-8307

matthew.j.segal@jpl.nasa.gov

2022-052

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STARS AND GALAXIES
Webb Telescope’s Coldest Instrument Reaches Operating Temperature
With help from a cryocooler, the Mid-Infrared Instrument has dropped down to just a few degrees above the lowest temperature matter can reach and is ready for calibration. Read More

In this illustration, the multilayered sunshield on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope stretches out beneath the observatory’s honeycomb mirror. The sunshield is the first step in cooling down Webb’s infrared instruments, but the Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) requires additional help to reach its operating temperature.

Credit: NASA GSFC/CIL/Adriana Manrique Gutierrez

STARS AND GALAXIES.

What’s Up – May 2022

April 29, 2022

What are some skywatching highlights in May 2022? May provides some great planet spotting, including a conjunction of Jupiter a conjunction of Jupiter and Mars.

Read More

What are some skywatching highlights in May 2022? May provides some great planet spotting, including a close conjunction of Jupiter and Mars. At mid-month, a total eclipse of the Moon should delight skywatchers across the Americas, Europe, and Africa. And all month long, the Coma star cluster (aka, the Coma Berenices star cluster, or Melotte 111) is a great target for binoculars in the evening.

What’s Up: May 2022 Skywatching Tips from NASA

Apr 29, 2022  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

What are some skywatching highlights in May 2022? May provides some great planet spotting, including a close conjunction of Jupiter and Mars. At mid-month, a total eclipse of the Moon should delight skywatchers across the Americas, Europe, and Africa. And all month long, the Coma star cluster (aka, the Coma Berenices star cluster, or Melotte 111) is a great target for binoculars in the evening. YouTube Full Description (i.e., “Show More”) 0:00 Intro 0:11 Planet-spotting opportunities 1:02 Lunar eclipse 2:27 The Coma star cluster 3:33 May Moon phases Additional information about topics covered in this episode of What’s Up, along with still images from the video, and the video transcript, are available at https://solarsystem.nasa.gov/skywatch….

Chapters

Intro

0:00

Planet-spotting opportunities

0:11

Lunar eclipse

1:02

The Coma star cluster

2:27

May Moon phases

3:33

Transcript:

What’s Up for May? The planets of dusk and dawn, a lunar eclipse, and the Coma star cluster.

May begins and ends with a couple of great planet-spotting opportunities. On May 2nd, look to the west about 45 minutes after sunset to find Mercury about 10 degrees off the horizon, accompanied by a slim crescent moon. Just to the south of the Moon is brilliant red giant star Aldebaran, which should be roughly the same brightness as Mercury. (And by the way, this is the only chance to spot a naked-eye planet in the early evening until August.)

Then in the last week of May, you can watch each morning as Jupiter and Mars get increasingly close in the predawn sky. Their morning meetup culminates in a close conjunction that you can watch on the 28th through the 30th, where they’ll be separated by barely the width of the full moon. Should look incredible with binoculars, where you can also see Jupiter’s largest moons.

Skywatchers in the Western Hemisphere can look forward to a total lunar eclipse in mid-May. The event will be visible across the Americas, Europe, and Africa – basically anywhere the Moon is above the horizon at the time.

The visible part of the eclipse begins about 10:30pm U.S. Eastern time on May 15th, with totality starting an hour later and lasting for about an hour and a half. Those in the Eastern U.S. will see the eclipse start with the Moon well above the horizon. For the Central U.S., the eclipse starts about an hour and a half after dark, with the Moon relatively low in the sky. On the West coast of the U.S., the Moon rises with totality beginning or already underway, so you’ll want to find a clear view toward the southeast if viewing from there.

Now, lunar eclipses are the ones that are safe to look at directly with your eyes, binoculars, or a telescope (unlike solar eclipses).

The Moon takes on a dim, reddish hue during the period of totality. Even though the Moon is fully immersed in Earth’s shadow at that time, red wavelengths of sunlight filter through Earth’s atmosphere and fall onto the Moon’s surface. One way to think of this is that a total lunar eclipse shows us a projection of all the sunrises and sunsets happening on the planet at that moment.

So check your local details for this eclipse, and find lots more eclipse info from NASA at the address on your screen.

Finally in May, a really nice target for binoculars: the Coma star cluster. This loose, open star cluster displays 40 or 50 stars spread over a region of sky about three finger-widths wide. The brightest stars in the cluster form a distinctive Y shape, as seen here.

The Coma star cluster is located about 300 light years away, making it the second closest open cluster to Earth after the Hyades cluster in Taurus.

To find the Coma star cluster, look southward for the constellation Leo. It can be easiest to start from the Big Dipper, toward the north, and use the two “pointer stars” on the end which always point you toward Leo. Once you’ve identified Leo, the Coma star cluster is about 15 degrees to the east of the triangle of stars representing the lion’s hindquarters. It’s relatively easy to find with binoculars, even under light-polluted urban skies – as long as it’s clear out.

So here’s wishing you clear skies for finding the Coma star cluster and any other wonders you discover in the night sky in May.

Here are the phases of the Moon for May.

Stay up to date with all of NASA’s missions to explore the solar system and beyond at nasa.gov. I’m Preston Dyches from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and that’s What’s Up for this month.

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NASA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory News – Month in Review – October 2021 

NASA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory News – Month in Review – October 2021 

JPL News – Month in Review

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory <jplnewsroom@jpl.nasa.gov>

Friday, October 1, 2021

MONTH IN REVIEW

What’s Up – October 2021
What are some skywatching highlights in October? See several groupings of the Moon, planets, and stars at sunrise and sunset. Then get to know two bright stars that take turns with Polaris as North Star over thousands of years. Plus, Oct. 16 is International Observe the Moon Night!
› Watch now

NASA’s Mars Fleet Lies Low With Sun Between Earth and Red Planet
The missions will continue collecting data about the Red Planet, though engineers back on Earth will stop sending commands to them until mid-October.
› Read the full story

  NASA’s Perseverance Rover Cameras Capture Mars Like Never Before
Scientists tap into an array of imagers aboard the six-wheeled explorer to get a big picture of the Red Planet.
› Read the full story

NASA’s InSight Finds Three Big Marsquakes, Thanks to Solar-Panel Dusting
The lander cleared enough dust from one solar panel to keep its seismometer on through the summer, allowing scientists to study the three biggest quakes they’ve seen on Mars.
› Read the full story

NASA Robots Compete in DARPA’s Subterranean Challenge Final
Led by NASA JPL, Team CoSTAR will participate in the SubT final this week to demonstrate multi-robot autonomy in a series of tests in extreme environments.
› Read the full story

NASA’s Delta-X Helps With Disaster Response in Wake of Hurricane Ida
Researchers flying a radar instrument over coastal wetlands in Louisiana helped with monitoring oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico.
› Read the full story

Solar Electric Propulsion Makes NASA’s Psyche Spacecraft Go
Futuristic electric thrusters emitting a cool blue glow will guide the Psyche spacecraft through deep space to a metal-rich asteroid.
› Read the full story

NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter Captures a Mars Rock Feature in 3D
The rotorcraft captures nuances of rocky outcrop during aerial reconnaissance.
› Read the full story

Take a 3D Spin on Mars and Track NASA’s Perseverance Rover
Two interactive web experiences let you explore the Martian surface, as seen by cameras aboard the rover and orbiters flying overhead.
› Read the full story

Justin Simon Shepherds Perseverance Through First Phase of Martian Rock Sampling
The Johnson Space Center scientist was tasked with helping guide the way for mission’s first cored Mars rock sample.
› Read the full story

NASA Confirms Thousands of Massive, Ancient Volcanic Eruptions on Mars
Scientists found evidence that a region of northern Mars called Arabia Terra experienced thousands of “super eruptions,” the biggest volcanic eruptions known, over a 500-million-year period.
› Read the full story

Visionary Tech Concepts Could Pioneer the Future in Space
Dozens of concepts are being presented at this year’s NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts Symposium, including eight led by technologists from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
› Read the full story

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Collects Puzzle Pieces of Mars’ History
The rocks it has analyzed for sample collection are helping the team better understand a past marked by volcanic activity and water.
› Read the full story

Mars Perseverance Team Members to Be Recognized at Hispanic Heritage Awards
The three award recipients – Diana Trujillo, Christina Hernandez, and Clara O’Farrell – are engineers from the NASA rover team.
› Read the full story

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Collects First Mars Rock Sample
The rock core is now enclosed in an airtight titanium sample tube, and will be available for retrieval in the future.
› Read the full story

Planetary Radar Observes 1,000th Near-Earth Asteroid Since 1968
Seven days after this historic milestone, a massive antenna at NASA’s Deep Space Network Goldstone complex imaged another, far larger object.
› Read the full story

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Successfully Cores Its First Rock
Perseverance will obtain additional imagery of the sample tube before potentially completing the process of collecting its first scientifically-selected Mars sample.
› Read the full story

Improving Food Security Through Capacity Building
Millions of people suffer from food insecurity around the globe. With the help of Earth-observing satellites, the NASA-USAID SERVIR project is hoping to reduce that number.
› Read the full story

NASA’s Deep Space Network Looks to the Future
The DSN is being upgraded to communicate with more spacecraft than ever before and to accommodate evolving mission needs.
› Read the full story

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NASA’s Perseverance Rover Cameras Capture Mars Like Never Before

Sep 23, 2021

Using its WATSON camera, NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took this selfie over a rock nicknamed “Rochette,” on Sept.10, 2021, the 198th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Two holes can be seen where the rover used its robotic arm to drill rock core samples.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Full Image Details

Scientists tap into an array of imagers aboard the six-wheeled explorer to get a big picture of the Red Planet.

NASA’s Perseverance rover has been exploring Jezero Crater for more than 217 Earth days (211 Martian days, or sols), and the dusty rocks there are beginning to tell their story – about a volatile young Mars flowing with lava and water.

That story, stretching billions of years into the past, is unfolding thanks in large part to the seven powerful science cameras aboard Perseverance. Able to home in on small features from great distances, take in vast sweeps of Martian landscape, and magnify tiny rock granules, these specialized cameras also help the rover team determine which rock samples offer the best chance to learn whether microscopic life ever existed on the Red Planet.

Altogether, some 800 scientists and engineers around the world make up the larger Perseverance team. That includes smaller teams, from a few dozen to as many as 100, for each of the rover’s cameras and instruments. And the teams behind the cameras must coordinate each decision about what to image.

“The imaging cameras are a huge piece of everything,” said Vivian Sun, the co-lead for Perseverance’s first science campaign at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “We use a lot of them every single day for science. They’re absolutely mission-critical.”

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/nasas-perseverance-rover-cameras-capture-mars-like-never-before?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nasajpl&utm_content=monthly20211001-19

Mars Report: Update on NASA’s Perseverance Rover SHERLOC Instrument (September 23rd, 2021)

Sep 23, 2021  NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover has been hard at work using the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals) instrument to help determine the best rocks to sample and look for signs of ancient life. Mounted on the rover’s robotic arm, SHERLOC is the only instrument that can directly detect organics, which are building blocks for life. Because it characterizes the chemical composition of rocks, SHERLOC can also help scientists understand whether any of the rocks formed in an ancient habitable environment. SHERLOC features spectrometers, a laser, and cameras, including WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering). WATSON is a color camera that takes close-up images of rock grains and surface textures. This video provides an instrument update by Eva Scheller, one of the science team members from Caltech. For more information on Perseverance, visit https://mars.nasa.gov/perseverance. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Watch as Caltech’s Eva Scheller, a member of the Perseverance science team, provides a snapshot of the rover’s SHERLOC science instrument. Mounted on the rover’s robotic arm, SHERLOC features spectrometers, a laser, and cameras, including WATSON, which takes close-up images of rock grains and surface textures.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The storytelling began soon after Perseverance landed in February, and the stunning images have been stacking up as the multiple cameras conduct their scientific investigations. Here’s how they work, along with a sampling of what some have found so far:

The Big Picture

Perseverance’s two navigation cameras – among nine engineering cameras – support the rover’s autonomous driving capability. And at each stop, the rover first employs those two cameras to get the lay of the land with a 360-degree view.

Perseverance looks back with one of its navigation cameras toward its tracks on July 1, 2021 (the 130th sol, or Martian day, of its mission), after driving autonomously 358 feet (109 meters) – its longest autonomous drive to date. The image has been processed to enhance the contrast.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Full Image Details

“The navigation camera data is really useful to have those images to do a targeted science follow-up with higher-resolution instruments such as SuperCam and Mastcam-Z,” Sun said.

Perseverance’s six hazard avoidance cameras, or Hazcams, include two pairs in front (with only a single pair in use at any one time) to help avoid trouble spots and to place the rover’s robotic arm on targets; the two rear Hazcams provide images to help place the rover in the context of the broader landscape.

Mastcam-Z, a pair of “eyes” on the rover’s mast, is built for the big picture: panoramic color shots, including 3D images, with zoom capability. It can also capture high-definition video.

Perseverance Mars rover used its Mastcam-Z camera system to create this enhanced-color panorama, which scientists used to look for rock-sampling sites. The panorama is stitched together from 70 individual images taken on July 28, 2021, the 155th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

Full Image Details

Jim Bell at Arizona State University leads the Mastcam-Z team, which has been working at high speed to produce images for the larger group. “Part of our job on this mission has been a sort of triage,” he said. “We can swing through vast swaths of real estate and do some quick assessment of geology, of color. That has been helping the team figure out where to target instruments.”

Color is key: Mastcam-Z images allow scientists to make links between features seen from orbit by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) and what they see on the ground.

The instrument also functions as a low-resolution spectrometer, dividing the light it captures into 11 colors. Scientists can analyze the colors for clues about the composition of the material giving off the light, helping them decide which features to zoom in on with the mission’s true spectrometers.

For instance, there’s a well-known series of images from March 17. It shows a wide escarpment, aka the “Delta Scarp,” that is part of a fan-shaped river delta that formed in the crater long ago. After Mastcam-Z provided the broad view, the mission turned to SuperCam for a closer look.

The Long View

This image of an escarpment, or scarp – a long, steep slope – along the delta of Mars’ Jezero Crater was generated using data from the Perseverance rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument. The inset image at top is a close-up provided by the Remote Microscopic Imager, which is part of the SuperCam instrument.

Credit: RMI: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL/CNES/CNRS/ASU/MSSSMastcam-Z: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS

Full Image Details

Scientists use SuperCam to study mineralogy and chemistry, and to seek evidence of ancient microbial life. Perched near Mastcam-Z on Perseverance’s mast, it includes the Remote Micro-Imager, or RMI, which can zoom in on features the size of a softball from more than a mile away.

Once Mastcam-Z provided images of the scarp, the SuperCam RMI homed in on a corner of it, providing close-ups that were later stitched together for a more revealing view.

To Roger Wiens, principal investigator for SuperCam at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, these images spoke volumes about Mars’ ancient past, when the atmosphere was thick enough, and warm enough, to allow water to flow on the surface.

“This is showing huge boulders,” he said. “That means there had to have been some huge flash flooding that occurred that washed boulders down the riverbed into this delta formation.”

The chock-a-block layers told him even more.

“These large boulders are partway down the delta formation,” Wiens said. “If the lakebed was full, you would find these at the very top. So the lake wasn’t full at the time the flash flood happened. Overall, it may be indicating an unstable climate. Perhaps we didn’t always have this very placid, calm, habitable place that we might have liked for raising some micro-organisms.”

In addition, scientists have picked up signs of igneous rock that formed from lava or magma on the crater floor during this early period. That could mean not only flowing water, but flowing lava, before, during, or after the time that the lake itself formed.

These clues are crucial to the mission’s search for signs of ancient Martian life and potentially habitable environments. To that end, the rover is taking samples of Martian rock and sediment that future missions could return to Earth for in-depth study.

The (Really) Close-up

Perseverance took this close-up of a rock target nicknamed “Foux” using its WATSON camera on July 11, 2021, the 139th Martian day, r sol, of the mission. The area within the camera is roughly 1.4 by 1 inches (3.5 centimeters by 2.6 centimeters).

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Full Image Details

A variety of Perseverance’s cameras assist in the selection of those samples, including WATSON (the Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering).

Located at the end of the rover’s robotic arm, WATSON provides extreme closeups of rock and sediment, zeroing in on the variety, size, shape, and color of tiny grains – as well as the “cement” between them – in those materials. Such information can lend insight into Mars’ history as well as the geological context of potential samples.

WATSON also helps engineers position the rover’s drill for extracting rock core samples and produces images of where the sample came from.

The imager partners with SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence for Organics & Chemicals), which includes an Autofocus and Contextual Imager (ACI), the rover’s highest-resolution camera. SHERLOC uses an ultraviolet laser to identify certain minerals in rock and sediment, while PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry), also on the robotic arm, uses X-rays to determine the chemical composition. These cameras, working in concert with WATSON, have helped capture geologic data – including signs of that igneous rock on the crater floor – with a precision that has surprised scientists.

“We’re getting really cool spectra of materials formed in aqueous [watery] environments – for example sulfate and carbonate,” said Luther Beegle, SHERLOC’s principal investigator at JPL.

Engineers also use WATSON to check on the rover’s systems and undercarriage – and to take Perseverance selfies (here’s how).

Beegle says not just the strong performance of the imaging instruments, but their ability to endure the harsh environment on the Martian surface, gives him confidence in Perseverance’s chances for major discoveries.

“Once we get over closer to the delta, where there should be really good preservation potential for signs of life, we’ve got a really good chance of seeing something if it’s there,” he said.

More About the Mission

A key objective for Perseverance’s mission on Mars is astrobiology, including the search for signs of ancient microbial life. The rover will characterize the planet’s geology and past climate, pave the way for human exploration of the Red Planet, and be the first mission to collect and cache Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust).

Subsequent NASA missions, in cooperation with ESA (European Space Agency), would send spacecraft to Mars to collect these sealed samples from the surface and return them to Earth for in-depth analysis.

The Mars 2020 Perseverance mission is part of NASA’s Moon to Mars exploration approach, which includes Artemis missions to the Moon that will help prepare for human exploration of the Red Planet.

JPL, which is managed for NASA by Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages operations of the Perseverance rover.

For more about Perseverance:

mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

nasa.gov/perseverance

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Where Is Perseverance Right Now?

Explore With Perseverance in 3D

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News Media Contact

DC Agle / Andrew Good

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

818-393-9011 / 818-393-2433

agle@jpl.nasa.gov / andrew.c.good@jpl.nasa.gov

Karen Fox / Alana Johnson

NASA Headquarters, Washington

301-286-6284 / 202-358-1501

karen.c.fox@nasa.gov / alana.r.johnson@nasa.gov

Written by Pat Brennan

2021-199

For more information, please following the link:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/nasas-perseverance-rover-cameras-capture-mars-like-never-before?utm_source=iContact&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=nasajpl&utm_content=monthly20211001-19

Mars Perseverance Team Members to Be Recognized at Hispanic Heritage Awards

Sep 08, 2021

From left to right: Diana Trujillo, Christina Hernandez, and Clara O’Farrell are engineers with NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover team.

Credit: Hispanic Heritage Foundation

The three award recipients – Diana Trujillo, Christina Hernandez, and Clara O’Farrell – are engineers from the NASA rover team.

Three Latina engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California are the 2021 recipients of STEM Awards from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. They will be honored for their significant roles in the agency’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover mission during the 34th Hispanic Heritage Awards broadcast on PBS Oct. 8, joined by Carlos Santana, Ivy Queen, and others.

NASA JPL recipients are:

  • Christina Hernandez began her work at JPL in the Natural Space Environments group and as mission assurance manager on STABLE (Sub arcsecond Telescope and Balloon Experiment). Her Mars-related work began with impact assessment to keep Mars spacecraft safe during the Comet Siding Spring event. As a payload systems engineer for Perseverance, she has worked on three of its seven science instruments. Her work on the rover’s PIXL (short for Planetary Instrument for X-Ray Lithochemistry) will help scientists hunt for signs of ancient microbial life by taking super-close images of rock and soil textures and using its X-ray spectrometer to identify chemical elements within them.
  • Clara O’Farrell, who is originally from Argentina, moved to the U.S. on her 19th birthday to start college. She studied aerospace engineering at Princeton and completed a doctoral degree at Caltech with research on fluid dynamics of jellyfish swimming. After joining JPL in 2013, she began her work on parachutes, aerodynamics, and trajectory simulation for Mars entry, descent, and landing. Her accomplishments as a guidance and control engineer include certifying a supersonic parachute to land Perseverance via supersonic sounding rocket tests.
  • Diana Trujillo, an aerospace engineer, is currently Technical Group Supervisor for Sequence Planning and Execution and a Tactical Mission Lead for Perseverance. Born and raised in Colombia, Trujillo immigrated to the U.S. at the age of 17 to pursue her dream of working for NASA. While enrolled in English-as-a-second-language courses, she also worked full time to support her studies in community college and later the University of Florida and University of Maryland. Diana has held several roles for NASA and JPL, including Mars Curiosity Mission Lead, Deputy Project System Engineer, and Deputy Team Chief of Engineering Operations on Curiosity. Trujillo has also been active in sharing the excitement and opportunities of STEM with the public. She created and hosted #JuntosPerseveramos, NASA’s first-ever Spanish-language live broadcast of a major mission milestone (Perseverance landing on Mars), attracting millions of viewers worldwide.

“Congratulations to Christina, Clara, and Diana on receiving this prestigious STEM award,” said Dr. Jim Green, NASA’s chief scientist. “Each of them was integral to the planning, development, and successful landing of our Mars Perseverance rover. Our Mars Perseverance mission will advance NASA’s quest to explore past habitability of the Red Planet. Because of the hard work and dedication of our team, we can now look for past microbial life through the collection of core rock and soil samples and test technologies that will pave the way for future human exploration of Mars. Thank you to the Hispanic Heritage Foundation for their consideration and for this outstanding recognition of our extremely talented, diverse, and inspirational NASA workforce.”

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In the Hispanic Heritage Foundation’s news release, the organization’s president and CEO, Jose Antonio Tijerino, said, “As leaders in the STEM space, these inspirational Latinas demonstrate the great vision and value proposition our community presents America. These engineers also represent role models for aspiring Latinx engineers in expanding human knowledge and scientific discovery.”

The Hispanic Heritage Awards are produced by the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and were created by the White House in 1988 to commemorate the establishment of Hispanic Heritage Month in America. The awards are among the highest honors by Latinos for Latinos and are supported by 40 national Hispanic-serving institutions. The Foundation’s programs focus on education, workforce, and social impact through the lens of leadership.

More information at: https://www.hispanicheritage.org.

To learn more about Perseverance, visit:

https://nasa.gov/perseverance

and

https://mars.nasa.gov/mars2020/

News Media Contact

DC Agle / Andrew Good

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

818-393-9011 / 818-393-2433

agle@jpl.nasa.gov / andrew.c.good@jpl.nasa.gov

2021-188

For more information, please following the link:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/mars-perseverance-team-members-to-be-recognized-at-hispanic-heritage-awards

Delta-X Oil Slick Radar Signal in Gulf of Mexico

Sep 20, 2021

An oil slick in the Gulf of Mexico following Hurricane Ida – a high-end Category 4 when it made landfall near Port Fourchon, Louisiana, on Aug. 29, 2021 – appears as a green trail in the inset false-color graphic provided by NASA’s Delta-X project, while the surrounding seawater appears orange. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) regularly monitors U.S. coastal waters for potential spills and noticed slicks that appeared just off the coast after the hurricane. They were able to use this information from Delta-X to corroborate other data they had about oil slicks in the area (satellite image in the second inset picture). The blue-green swath crossing from the Gulf of Mexico over the Louisiana coast denotes the flight path of the Delta-X radar instrument on Sept. 1, just before 11:30 a.m. CDT.

Charged with studying the Mississippi River Delta, Delta-X was gearing up to collect data on Louisiana’s coastal wetlands when Hurricane Ida barreled ashore in late August. The storm damaged buildings and infrastructure alike, resulting in power outages, flooding, and oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil tends to smooth out the bumps on the ocean’s surface, which results in a distinct radar signal that the Delta-X mission was able to pick out of their data. Delta-X added flight paths to their planned schedule – with the support of NASA’s Applied Science Disaster Program – in order to collect information over the gulf in areas of interest to NOAA.

Delta-X is studying two wetlands – the Atchafalaya and Terrebonne Basins – by land, boat, and air to quantify water and sediment flow as well as vegetation growth. While the Atchafalaya Basin has been gaining land through sediment accumulation, Terrebonne Basin, which is right next to the Atchafalaya, has been rapidly losing land. The data collected by the project will be applied to models used to forecast which areas of the delta are likely to gain or lose land under various sea level rise, river flow, and watershed management scenarios.

The mission uses several instruments to collect its data. Affixed to the bottom of a Gulfstream-III airplane, one of those instruments, the all-weather Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR), bounces radar signals off of Earth’s surface, forming a kind of image of a particular area. Repeated images of the same regions, captured at different times, enable researchers to detect changes in those areas, such as fluctuating water levels beneath the vegetation as the tides move in and out of these wetlands. In addition to radar measurements, teams from Caltech, Louisiana State University, Florida International University, and other collaborating institutions gather water and vegetation samples – among other data – by boat, other airborne sensors, and from instruments on the ground.

Funded by NASA’s Earth Venture Suborbital (EVS-3) program, Delta-X is managed by the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Caltech in Pasadena, California, manages JPL for NASA. Fall 2021 was Delta-X’s last scheduled field campaign, although the five-year mission will run through the end of 2023.

To learn more about the Delta-X mission, visit: https://deltax.jpl.nasa.gov

Hurricane Ida, August 27, 2021

Oct 07, 2021

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/hurricane-ida-august-27-2021

On August 27, 2021 Ida crossed over Cuba as a Category 1 Storm. 48 hours later the storm intensified to a Category 4 before making landfall on the coast of Louisiana. The storm was the second most destructive storm to ever make landfall on the Louisiana coast with sustained winds over 150 mph (240 km/h).

The rapid intensification process that the storm system underwent is not well understood. Satellite images such as this are helpful as scientists attempt to understand new weather patterns that are emerging with Global Climate Change.

Tasked with detecting plant water use and stress, ECOSTRESS’s primary mission is to measure the temperature of plants heating up as they run out of water. But it can also measure and track heat-related phenomena like wildfires, heat waves, and volcanoes. ECOSTRESS observations have a spatial resolution of about 77 by 77 yards (70 by 70 meters), which enables researchers to study surface-temperature conditions down to the size of a football field. Due to the space station’s unique orbit, the mission can acquire images of the same regions at different times of the day, as opposed to crossing over each area at the same time of day like satellites in other orbits do. This is advantageous when monitoring plant stress in the same area throughout the day, for example.

The ECOSTRESS mission launched to the space station on June 29, 2018. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages the mission for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ECOSTRESS is an Earth Venture Instrument mission; the program is managed by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

More information about ECOSTRESS is available here: https://ecostress.jpl.nasa.gov/.

For more information, please following the link:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/delta-x-oil-slick-radar-signal-in-gulf-of-mexico

July 2021 Heat Wave Surface Temperature

Jul 15, 2021

Click here for movie

Collecting temperature readings in the atmosphere and at the surface, NASA’s Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS) instrument aboard the agency’s Aqua satellite captured the progression of a slow-moving heat dome across the southwestern U.S. from July 1 to July 12, 2021. The animation of the AIRS data shows surface air temperature anomalies – values above or below long-term averages. The hottest areas, shown in pink, experienced surface air temperatures more than 10 degrees Fahrenheit (5.6 degrees Celsius) above average. Surface air temperature is something that people directly feel when they are outside.

AIRS, in conjunction with the Advanced Microwave Sounding Unit (AMSU), senses emitted infrared and microwave radiation from Earth to provide a three-dimensional look at the planet’s weather and climate. Working in tandem, the two instruments make simultaneous observations down to Earth’s surface. With more than 2,000 channels sensing different regions of the atmosphere, the system creates a global, three-dimensional map of atmospheric temperature and humidity, cloud amounts and heights, greenhouse gas concentrations, and many other atmospheric phenomena. Launched into Earth orbit in 2002, the AIRS and AMSU instruments fly aboard NASA’s Aqua spacecraft and are managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, under contract to NASA. JPL is a division of Caltech.

More information about AIRS can be found at https://airs.jpl.nasa.gov.

For more information, please following the link:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/july-2021-heat-wave-surface-temperature

ECOSTRESS Views 2021 Northern California Dixie Fire

Jul 29, 2021

Click here for animation

NASA’s ECOSTRESS captured data over Northern California’s Dixie Fire, which had ballooned to over 220,000 acres as of July 29, 2021. In the data visualization, the red areas show the hottest pixels – and fire movement – from July 15 to July 24. The most heavily affected areas are south of Lake Almanor in Plumas County.

Tasked with detecting plant water use and stress from the vantage point of the International Space Station, ECOSTRESS’s primary mission is to measure the temperature of plants heating up as they run out of water. But it can also measure and track heat-related phenomena like wildfires, heat waves, and volcanoes. ECOSTRESS observations have a spatial resolution of about 77 by 77 yards (70 by 70 meters), which enables researchers to study surface-temperature conditions down to the size of a football field. Due to the space station’s unique orbit, the mission can acquire images of the same regions at different times of the day, as opposed to crossing over each area at the same time of day like satellites in other orbits do. This is advantageous when monitoring plant stress in the same area throughout the day, for example.

The ECOSTRESS mission launched to the space station on June 29, 2018. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages the mission for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ECOSTRESS is an Earth Venture Instrument mission; the program is managed by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

More information about ECOSTRESS is available here: https://ecostress.jpl.nasa.gov/.

For more information, please following the link:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/ecostress-views-2021-northern-california-dixie-fire

ECOSTRESS Views 2021 Southern Oregon Bootleg Fire

Jul 29, 2021

Click here for animation

NASA’s ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) is aiding in the fight against fires in the Western U.S. As of July 27, 2021, the Bootleg Fire in southern Oregon had ballooned to more than 410,000 acres, damaging hundreds of buildings and vehicles in its path.

ECOSTRESS measures surface temperature from the vantage point of the International Space Station. Researchers of the RADR-Fire team at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have been experimenting with ECOSTRESS data as part of a new tool now being implemented for first responders like the U.S. Forest Service.

In the visualization, ECOSTRESS is tracking the movement of the Bootleg Fire between July 7 and July and identifying its proximity to critical infrastructure — areas in red represent the hottest pixels ECOSTRESS detected. The extreme heat in those areas indicates the fire front, or where resources are most needed.

Tasked with detecting plant water use and stress, ECOSTRESS’s primary mission is to measure the temperature of plants heating up as they run out of water. But it can also measure and track heat-related phenomena like wildfires, heat waves, and volcanoes. ECOSTRESS observations have a spatial resolution of about 77 by 77 yards (70 by 70 meters), which enables researchers to study surface-temperature conditions down to the size of a football field. Due to the space station’s unique orbit, the mission can acquire images of the same regions at different times of the day, as opposed to crossing over each area at the same time of day like satellites in other orbits do. This is advantageous when monitoring plant stress in the same area throughout the day, for example.

The ECOSTRESS mission launched to the space station on June 29, 2018. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of Caltech in Pasadena, California, built and manages the mission for the Earth Science Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. ECOSTRESS is an Earth Venture Instrument mission; the program is managed by NASA’s Earth System Science Pathfinder program at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia.

More information about ECOSTRESS is available here: https://ecostress.jpl.nasa.gov/.

For more information, please following the link:

https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/images/ecostress-views-2021-southern-oregon-bootleg-fire

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