After a journey of 245 days across 352 million miles, the moment of truth for the Mars Science Laboratory begins late in the evening of August 5 when the spacecraft roars into the Martian atmosphere, traveling at 13,200 miles an hour. The final seven minutes will determine the fate of the mission, and a perfect performance of the Lockheed Martin Space Systems aeroshell is absolutely vital to getting the Mars Curiosity Rover safely down on the sands of Mars.
Comets and asteroids preserve the building blocks of our Solar System and should help explain its origin. But there are unsolved puzzles. For example, how did icy comets obtain particles that formed at high temperatures, and how did these refractory particles acquire rims with different compositions? Carnegie's theoretical astrophysicist Alan Boss and cosmochemist Conel Alexander are the first to model the trajectories of such particles in the unstable disk of gas and dust that formed the Solar System.
For several days this month, Greenland's surface ice cover melted over a larger area than at any time in more than 30 years of satellite observations. Nearly the entire ice cover of Greenland, from its thin, low-lying coastal edges to its 2-mile-thick center, experienced some degree of melting at its surface, according to measurements from three independent satellites analyzed by NASA and university scientists.
In order to understand Earth's earliest history--its formation from Solar System material into the present-day layering of metal core and mantle, and crust--scientists look to meteorites. New research from a team including Carnegie's Doug Rumble and Liping Qin focuses on one particularly old type of meteorite called diogenites.
A telescope launched July 11 aboard a NASA sounding rocket has captured the highest-resolution images ever taken of the sun's million-degree atmosphere called the corona. The clarity of the images can help scientists better understand the behavior of the solar atmosphere and its impacts on Earth's space environment.
Heliophysics nuggets are a collection of early science results, new research techniques, and instrument updates that further our attempt to understand the sun and the dynamic space weather system that surrounds Earth.