News Articles for 2004

planned image coverage for upcoming Iapetus flyby

December 30, 2004

Cassini Caps off 2004 With Flyby of Icy Moon Iapetus

NASA's Cassini spacecraft is set to cap off 2004 with an encounter of Saturn's ying-yang moon Iapetus (eye-APP-eh-tuss) on New Year's Eve.

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December 29, 2004

JPL/Caltech Float Set to Launch on Rose Parade Mission

A towering 50-foot robot from JPL and Caltech will thrill throngs of parade-goers on New Year's Day.

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Cassini image of Huygens

December 28, 2004

Cassini Mission Status Report

NASA's Cassini spacecraft successfully performed a getaway maneuver on Monday, Dec. 27, to keep it from following the European Space Agency's Huygens probe into the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan.

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artist's concept of Huygens release

December 24, 2004

Cassini Mission Status Report

The European Space Agency's Huygens probe successfully detached from NASA's Cassini orbiter today to begin a three-week journey to Saturn's moon Titan.

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Artist concept

December 21, 2004

European Space Agency's Huygens Probe Set to Detach From Cassini Orbiter

The highlights of the first year of the Cassini-Huygens mission to Saturn can be broken into two chapters: first, the arrival of the Cassini orbiter at Saturn in June, and second, the release of the Huygens probe on Dec. 24, 2004, on a path toward Titan.

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artist concept of galaxy formation

December 21, 2004

Aging Universe May Still be Spawning Massive Galaxies

NASA's Galaxy Evolution Explorer has spotted what appear to be massive "baby" galaxies in our corner of the universe. Previously, astronomers thought the universe's birth rate had dramatically declined and only small galaxies were forming.

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ultraviolet image showing haze over Titan

December 16, 2004

Cassini Shows Before And After Look At Saturn's Moon Titan

Cassini's second close flyby of Titan completes a 'before' and 'after' look at the fuzzy moon and provides the first direct evidence of changing weather patterns in the skies over Titan.

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Aura MLS images

December 14, 2004

NASA'S Aura Satellite Sheds new Light On Air Quality and Ozone Hole

NASA scientists announced the agency's Aura spacecraft is providing the first daily, direct global measurements of low-level ozone and many other pollutants affecting air quality.

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Artist's Concept of Mars Science Laboratory

December 14, 2004

NASA Selects Investigations for the Mars Science Laboratory

NASA has selected eight proposals to provide instrumentation and associated science investigations for the mobile Mars Science Laboratory rover, scheduled for launch in 2009. Proposals selected today were submitted to NASA in response to an announcement of opportunity released in April.

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Deep Impact Concept

December 14, 2004

NASA Set to Launch First Comet Impact Probe

Launch and flight teams are in final preparations for the planned Jan. 12, 2005, liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., of NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft.

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Titan, from Dec. 11, 2004

December 13, 2004

Cassini Mission Status Report

The Cassini spacecraft completed a successful rendezvous with Saturn's moon Titan today.

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This view is the product of a technique called super resolution.

December 13, 2004

Mars Rovers Spot Water-Clue Mineral, Frost, Clouds

Scientists have identified a water-signature mineral called goethite in bedrock that the NASA's Mars rover Spirit examined in the "Columbia Hills," one of the mission's surest indicators yet for a wet history on Spirit's side of Mars.

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Artist's concept depicting a distant hypothetical solar system

December 9, 2004

Spitzer and Hubble Capture Evolving Planetary Systems

Two of NASA's Great Observatories, the Spitzer Space Telescope and the Hubble Space Telescope, have provided astronomers an unprecedented look at dusty planetary debris around stars the size of our Sun.

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December 8, 2004

JPL Community Mourns Loss of Three Colleagues

Leadership of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory expressed their deep concern today after a vanpool accident that took the life of three riders and injured several others.

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Saturn rings and moon Prometheus

December 3, 2004

Cassini Captures Saturn Moon Red-Handed

Stealing is a crime on Earth, but at Saturn, apparently it is routine. The Cassini spacecraft has witnessed Saturn's moon Prometheus snatching particles from one of Saturn's rings.

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Data showing wind over the Indian ocean

December 2, 2004

NASA Study Links Wind and Current Changes to Indian Ocean Warming

A NASA study suggests changing winds and currents in the Indian Ocean during the 1990s contributed to the observed warming of the ocean during that period.

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high-resolution image captured by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's panoramic camera

December 2, 2004

Reports Detail Rover Discoveries of Wet Martian History

The most dramatic findings so far from NASA's twin Mars rovers -- telltale evidence for a wet and possibly habitable environment in the arid planet's past -- passed rigorous scientific scrutiny for publication in a major research journal.

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Titan Moasaic

November 23, 2004

Cassini Shows Grandeur of Two Saturn Moons

New views of two of Saturn's moons, Titan and Tethys, represent the most detailed look at these moons to date and show a sharp contrast between them -- one is foggy and one is cratered.

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human eye

November 11, 2004

Space Science and Medical Technology: To See or Not to See

In two free public lectures, Dr. Wolfgang Fink, JPL senior research scientist and assistant professor of ophthalmology and neurosurgery at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles, will describe tools for early detection, diagnosis and prevention of eye disorders in space and on Earth.

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Opportunity's view of Burns Cliff

November 11, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

Operators of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity have determined that a proposed route eastward out of "Endurance Crater" is not passable, so the rover will backtrack to leave the crater by a southward route, perhaps by retracing its entry path.

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infrared image of starless core

November 9, 2004

Spitzer Sees Ice and Warm Glows in Dark and Dusty Places

Two new results from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope released today are helping astronomers better understand how stars form out of thick clouds of gas and dust, and how the molecules in those clouds ultimately become planets.

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radar image of Titan's surface

November 9, 2004

Cassini Radar Sees Bright Flow-Like Feature on Titan

A strikingly bright feature that is consistent with an active geology has been seen in one of Cassini's first radar images of Saturn's moon Titan.

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Imagery of JPL Missions

November 8, 2004

Jet Propulsion Laboratory Honored by Scientific American

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has been named by Scientific American Magazine as a research leader within the 2004 Scientific American 50 - the magazine's prestigious annual list recognizing outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology.

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Saturn's moon Titan shows a sharp contrast between its smooth and rough edges in a new false-color radar image.

November 5, 2004

Radar Image Shows Titan's Surface Live and in Color

Saturn's moon Titan shows a sharp contrast between its smooth and rough edges in a new false-color radar image.

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November 4, 2004

Spirit Adds Clues About History of Rocks in Martian Hills

All the scientific tools on NASA's two Mars Exploration Rovers are still working well, a full 10 months after Spirit's dramatic landing. The ones on Spirit are adding fresh evidence about the history of layered bedrock in a hill the rover is climbing.

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panoramic camera's calibration target

October 29, 2004

NASA's Mars Rovers Pass the 50,000-Picture Mark

A view of the sundial-like calibration target on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit, with a bit of martian terrain in the background, is the 50,000th image from the twin rovers that have been exploring Mars since January.

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radar image of Titan

October 29, 2004

Cassini's Radar Shows Titan's Young Active Surface

The first radar images of Saturn's moon Titan show a very complex geological surface that may be relatively young.

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image from Cassini's visual and infrared mapping spectrometer clearly shows surface features on Titan.

October 27, 2004

Cassini Peeks Below Cloud Shroud Around Titan

Early analysis of images and other data captured during last night's close flyby of Saturn's moon Titan

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Titan close-up

October 26, 2004

Cassini-Huygens Mission Status Report

The Cassini spacecraft beamed back information and pictures tonight after successfully skimming the hazy atmosphere of Saturn’s moon Titan.

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Purple Haze of Titan

October 25, 2004

First Close Encounter of Saturn's Hazy Moon Titan

Long hidden behind a thick veil of haze, Titan, the only known moon with an atmosphere, is ready for its close-up on Oct. 26, 2004. This visit by the Cassini spacecraft may settle intense speculation about whether this moon of Saturn harbors oceans of liquid methane and ethane beneath its coat of clouds.

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a rock called Tetl

October 21, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

A problem that affects the steering on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has recurred after disappearing for nearly two weeks.

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Exozodiacal Dust

October 21, 2004

Keck Team to Make Stars 'Disappear'

The technological magicians at JPL and the Keck Observatory are a step closer to performing a vanishing act on a cosmic scale.

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truck carrying Deep Impact arrives at facility

October 18, 2004

Deep Impact Arrives in Florida to Prepare for Launch

NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft has arrived in Florida to begin final preparations for a launch on Dec. 30, 2004.

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massive bodies, before they collide

October 18, 2004

Astronomers Discover Planet Building is Big Mess

Planets are built over a long period of massive collisions between rocky bodies as big as mountain ranges, astronomers announced today.

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Artist's Concept

October 13, 2004

Free Programs Will Preview NASA's Next Mars Mission

Two free public programs in Pasadena this week will introduce NASA's next Mars mission, a multipurpose orbiter under assembly for launch next August.

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Spitzer observes never-before-seen globular cluster

October 12, 2004

Newfound Star Cluster May Be Final Milky Way 'Fossil'

Just when astronomers thought they might have dug up the last of our galaxy's "fossils," they've discovered a new one in the galactic equivalent of our own backyard.

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'Escher' Rock

October 7, 2004

Mars Rovers Probing Water History at Two Sites

NASA's Spirit and Opportunity have been exploring Mars about three times as long as originally scheduled. The more they look, the more evidence of past liquid water on Mars these robots discover. Team members reported the new findings at a news briefing today.

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Artist's Concept

October 6, 2004

NASA Approves Mission to Seek Nearest Stars, Brightest Galaxies

A new NASA mission will scan the entire sky in infrared light in search of nearby cool stars, planetary construction zones and the brightest galaxies in the universe.

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composite image

October 6, 2004

Great Observatories May Unravel 400-Year-Old Supernova Mystery

Four hundred years ago, sky watchers, including the famous astronomer Johannes Kepler, best known as the discoverer of the laws of planetary motion, were startled by the sudden appearance of a "new star" in the western sky, rivaling the brilliance of the nearby planets.

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Johannes Kepler

October 6, 2004

The History of Johannes Kepler

Four centuries ago, an evening's entertainment was as simple as stepping out to gaze at the night sky. But among the world's many star watchers, one man stood apart. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) was a mathematician and physicist who not only observed, but also sought to explain the celestial dance above.

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Spirit's View from 'Engineering Flats'

October 5, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

Engineers on NASA's Mars Exploration Rover team are investigating possible causes and remedies for a problem affecting the steering on Spirit.

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Paso Robles after 6.5 San Simeon quake; image credit: Dane Golden/FEMA

October 4, 2004

Earthquake Forecast Program Has Amazing Success Rate

A NASA-funded earthquake forecast program has an amazing track record. Published in 2002, the Rundle-Tiampo Forecast has accurately forecast the locations of 13 of California's 14 largest earthquakes this decade, including last week's tremors.

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Brian Muirhead

October 4, 2004

New JPL Chief Engineer Selected

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has appointed Brian Muirhead as Chief Engineer. Muirhead had previously served as chief engineer for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, and was flight system manager and project manager of NASA's Mars Pathfinder mission, which successfully landed on the red planet and operated the Sojourner rover in 1997.

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Genesis cleanroom team members looks at recovered samples

September 30, 2004

Genesis Mission Status Report

The Genesis team is preparing to ship its samples of the Sun from the mission's temporary cleanroom at the U.S. Army Proving Ground, Dugway, Utah, to NASA's Johnson Space Center, Houston.

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young girl at Solar System Ambassador event

September 29, 2004

NASA Recruits Community Outreach Volunteers for 2005

Calling all space buffs! NASA's Solar System Ambassadors program is recruiting more volunteers to spread the marvel of space science and exploration across the nation.

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montage illustrating virual pediatrics

September 29, 2004

JPL Software Links Pediatric Doctors With New Research

Conjoined twins from Guatemala and the Philippines were recently separated after marathon surgeries in the United States, since their small communities lacked the quality medical care for the delicate procedure.

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artist's concept of Toutatis

September 28, 2004

Large Asteroid Will Zoom Safely Past Earth Wednesday

A mountain-sized asteroid will make its closest approach to Earth at 6:35 a.m. Pacific Time (9:35 a.m. Eastern Time) tomorrow.

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Spirit rover tracks seen from orbit

September 27, 2004

Mars Orbiter Sees Rover Tracks Among Thousands of New Images

NASA's Mars Global Surveyor, starting its third mission extension this week after seven years of orbiting Mars, is using an innovative technique to capture pictures even sharper than most of the more than 170,000 it has already produced.

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Genesis Spacecraft

September 23, 2004

Genesis Mission Status Report

The Genesis team has shipped its first scientific sample from the mission's specially constructed cleanroom at the U.S. Army Proving Ground in Dugway, Utah. The sample, containing what are known as "lid foils," was attached to the interior lid of the Genesis sample return capsule.

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Pine Island

September 23, 2004

Scientists Report Increased Thinning of West Antarctic Glaciers

Glaciers in West Antarctica are shrinking at a rate substantially higher than was observed in the 1990s. They are losing 60 percent more ice into the Amundsen Sea than they accumulate from inland snowfall.

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Opportunity's Travels

September 21, 2004

Rover Missions Renewed as Mars Emerges from Behind Sun

As NASA's Spirit and Opportunity rovers resumed reliable contact with Earth, after a period when Mars passed nearly behind the Sun, the space agency extended funding for an additional six months of rover operations, as long as they keep working.

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Larsen Ice Shelf

September 21, 2004

Glaciers Surge When Ice Shelf Breaks Up

Since 2002, when the Larsen B ice shelf broke away from the coast of the Antarctic Peninsula, scientists have witnessed profound increases in the flow of nearby glaciers into the Weddell Sea. These observations were made possible through NASA, Canadian and European satellite data.

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artist's concept of Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter

September 20, 2004

NASA Selects Contractor for First Prometheus Mission to Jupiter

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif., selected Northrop Grumman Space Technology, Redondo Beach, Calif., as the contractor for co-designing the proposed Prometheus Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter (JIMO) spacecraft. The contract award is for approximately $400 million, covering work through mid-2008.

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Dr. Michelle Santee

September 17, 2004

Coming Down From the Clouds

Dr. Michelle Santee studies clouds - in particular, polar stratospheric clouds, which have an important role in the development of the "ozone hole" over Antarctica.

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artist's concept of Genesis spacecraft

September 16, 2004

Genesis Mission Status Report

Genesis team scientists and engineers continue their work on the mission's sample return canister in a specially constructed clean room at the U.S. Army Proving Ground in Dugway, Utah.

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Colorful Threads and Shadows

September 16, 2004

Strings of Shadowy Rings Drape Saturn

Saturn's ring shadows appear wrapped in a harmonious symphony with the planet in this color view from the Cassini spacecraft.

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Hurricane Frances shown in left two panels; Hurricane Ivan in right -- click to see full image

September 14, 2004

Frances, Ivan Contribute to Hurricane Studies

Seen through the eyes of the Multi-angle Imaging SpectroRadiometer aboard NASA's Terra satellite, the menacing clouds of Hurricanes Frances and Ivan provide a wealth of information that can help improve hurricane forecasts.

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Recovered materials from Genesis.

September 10, 2004

Genesis Scientists Bouncing Back from Hard Landing

Scientists who conducted the preliminary assessment of the Genesis canister are encouraged by what they see. They believe it may be possible to achieve the most important portions of their science objectives.

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Genesis Principal Investigator and Lead Scientist Dr. Don Burnett examines

September 9, 2004

Genesis Mission Status Report

Genesis team specialists are beginning the process of conducting inventory of the contents of the craft's science canister.

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monthly changes over South America in the distribution of water

September 9, 2004

NASA's Grace Gravity Mission Weighs in on Earth's Changing Climate

For the first time, scientists have demonstrated that precise measurements of Earth's changing gravity field can effectively monitor changes in the planet's climate and weather.

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The Atlas Ring

September 9, 2004

Cassini Discovers Ring and One, Possibly Two, Objects at Saturn

Scientists examining Saturn's contorted F ring, which has baffled them since its discovery, have found one small body, possibly two, orbiting in the F ring region, and a ring of material associated with Saturn's moon Atlas.

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Genesis science canister in the cleanroom

September 8, 2004

Genesis Mission Status Report

The science canister from the Genesis mission was moved into the cleanroom at the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground in Utah early Wednesday evening.

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Genesis return capsule on ground in Utah

September 8, 2004

Genesis Mission Status Report

The science canister from the Genesis spacecraft has been transported by helicopter from its impact site at the U.S. Army Dugway Proving Ground in Utah to a holding area next to a specially constructed clean room on the Army base.

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Genesis Spacecraft

September 8, 2004

Genesis Mission Status Report

The Genesis sample return capsule entered Earth's atmosphere at 9:52:47 a.m. Mountain Daylight Time and entered the preplanned entry ellipse in the Utah Test and Training Range as predicted. However, the Genesis capsule, as a result of its parachute not deploying, impacted the ground at a speed of 311 kilometers per hour (193 miles per hour).

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False-color image

September 7, 2004

Spitzer Arrives at Scene of Galactic Collision

NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has set its infrared sight on a major galactic collision and witnessed not death, but a teeming nest of life.

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Genesis Spacecraft

September 7, 2004

NASA a 'Go' for Midair Capture of Samples from the Sun

NASA's Genesis spacecraft crossed the orbit of the Moon early Monday, Sept. 6, on its way to the mission's dramatic finale over the skies of west-central Utah tomorrow. Genesis, bringing back samples of the solar wind, is NASA's first sample return mission since Apollo 17 returned the last of America's lunar samples to Earth in December 1972.

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Genesis Spacecraft

September 3, 2004

A Little Glitz Goes a Long Way for NASA's Genesis

It seems everyone benefits from a little "bling bling" now and then. Hollywood icons use six-carat jewels to decorate themselves; eastern ayurvedic doctors use precious gems to make medicine; and scientists on NASA's Genesis mission, due to return Sept. 8, use sapphire, silicon, gold and diamond to collect raw solar wind particles in outer space.

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Dr. Ayanna Howard with a SmartNav rover

September 2, 2004

JPL Engineer Selected as Young Innovator

Dr. Ayanna Howard, an electrical engineer at JPL, has been selected to participate in the National Academy of Engineering's annual engineering symposium.

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image showing temperature of Saturn's rings

September 2, 2004

Cassini Reveals Saturn's Cool Rings

The Cassini spacecraft has taken the most detailed temperature measurements to date of Saturn's rings.

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Image taken by the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity

September 1, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has resumed using its rock abrasion tool after a pebble fell out that had jammed the tool's rotors two weeks ago.

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artist's concept of Neptune-sized extrasolar planet.

August 31, 2004

Scientists Discover First of a New Class of Extrasolar Planets

Astronomers announced today the first discovery of a new class of planets beyond our solar system about 10 to 20 times the size of Earth - far smaller than any previously detected.

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Water Mass Map from Neutron Spectrometer

August 25, 2004

Mars Odyssey Begins Overtime After Successful Mission

NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter begins working overtime today after completing a prime mission that discovered vast supplies of frozen water, ran a safety check for future astronauts, and mapped surface textures and minerals all over Mars, among other feats.

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Titan appears as a softly glowing sphere in this colorized image

August 23, 2004

Cassini-Huygens Mission Status Report

The Cassini spacecraft successfully completed a 51-minute engine burn that will raise its next closest approach distance to Saturn by nearly 300,000 kilometers (186,000 miles).

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Artist's concept of Genesis

August 19, 2004

NASA Mission Returns with a Piece of the Sun

In a dramatic ending that marks a beginning in scientific research, NASA's Genesis spacecraft is set to swing by Earth and jettison a sample return capsule filled with particles of the Sun that may ultimately tell us more about the genesis of our solar system.

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August 19, 2004

Local High School Student Sets Sights On Saturn

During the summer months, most high school seniors would welcome the chance to sleep late or go to the beach, but Jessica Luttkus spent her time planning the perfect photo shoot of Saturn.

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true color image of the United Arab Emirates taken from Aqua-MODIS on August 10, 2004.

August 18, 2004

Scientists Study Desert Air to Understand Weather and Climate

NASA, Naval Research Laboratory and Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists have assembled in the Arabian Desert to study tiny airborne particles called aerosols and their effect on weather and climate.

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Artist's Concept of Orbiting Carbon Observatory

August 18, 2004

Free Talks Focus on Link Between Carbon Dioxide and Climate

Carbon dioxide is the focus of a pair of free, public lectures to be held at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena on Thursday, Aug. 19, and at Pasadena City College on Friday, Aug. 20.

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Above Gusev Crater

August 18, 2004

Bedrock in Mars' Gusev Crater Hints at Watery Past

Now that NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is finally examining bedrock in the "Columbia Hills," it is finding evidence that water thoroughly altered some rocks in Mars' Gusev Crater.

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Newly discovered moon

August 16, 2004

Out From the Shadows: Two New Saturnian Moons

With eyes sharper than any that have peered at Saturn before, the Cassini spacecraft has uncovered two moons, which may be the smallest bodies so far seen around the ringed planet.

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Measurements of Ganymede

August 13, 2004

Scientists Discover Ganymede has a Lumpy Interior

Scientists have discovered irregular lumps beneath the icy surface of Jupiter's largest moon, Ganymede.

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Software of the Year Award

August 12, 2004

Mars Software Honored by NASA

NASA has selected a data visualization and simulation software package used by Mars rovers and landers, and a software package that can be used in aerospace and industrial flow fluid applications, as the "best of the best" software developed by the agency this year.

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Genesis Spacecraft

August 11, 2004

Trajectory Maneuver Brings Spacecraft Closer to Home

Thirty days before its historic return to Earth with NASA's first samples from space since the Apollo missions, the Genesis spacecraft successfully completed its twentieth trajectory maneuver.

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False-color picture inside 'Endurance Crater'

August 10, 2004

Relays from Mars Show International Interplanetary Networking

One of NASA's Mars rovers has sent pictures relayed by the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter for the first time, demonstrating that the orbiter could serve as a communications link if needed.

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Final assembly phase of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

August 9, 2004

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mission Status

With one very busy year remaining before launch, the team preparing NASA's next mission to Mars has begun integrating and testing the spacecraft's versatile payload.

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The star and its cloud halo constitute a

August 9, 2004

Dying Star Goes Out With a Ring

A new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope shows the shimmering embers of a dying star, and in their midst a mysterious doughnut-shaped ring.

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artist's concept of Space Interferometry Mission

August 6, 2004

Planet Survey: Knocking on Heaven's Door

The Milky Way is a big, diverse neighborhood. And if you're hoping to find Earthlike planets that may harbor life, you'll need to figure out a way to narrow the search.

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One of Spirit's first images of its landing site at Gusev Crater

August 5, 2004

Rocks Tell Stories in Reports of Spirit's First 90 Martian Days

Scientific findings from the NASA rover Spirit's first three months on Mars will be published Friday, marking the start of a flood of peer-reviewed discoveries in scientific journals from the continuing two-rover adventure.

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artist concept showing how Cassini is able to detect radio signals from lightning on Saturn

August 5, 2004

Saturn's Shadow and Titan's Glow Shed Light on a Complex System

The Cassini spacecraft, which began its tour of the Saturn system just over a month ago, has detected lightning and a new radiation belt at Saturn, and a glow around the planet's largest moon, Titan.

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Aura Launch Vehicle

August 4, 2004

Aura Post-launch Status Report

Activation of the Aura spacecraft, launched July 15, is continuing, with the mission going very well so far.

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A rock outcrop

August 4, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

NASA's Spirit rover has climbed higher into rocky hills on Mars, and its twin, Opportunity, has descended deeper into a crater, but both rovers, for the time being, are operating with some restrictions while team members diagnose unexpected behavior.

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Rover with robotic arm

August 3, 2004

More Data from Mars Rover Spirit's First Month Now Online

Millions of people have viewed pictures from NASA's Spirit on the Mars rovers home page and other Internet sites. Beginning today, a more complete set of science data from Spirit's first 30 martian days is posted on a site primarily for scientists and technical researchers, but also available to anyone who's interested.

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scientists sampling dry soil

August 2, 2004

Scientists’ Showdown with Soil Moisture at the O.K. Corral

Tombstone, Ariz., is a dusty place known for Wyatt Earp's famous 1881 "Shootout at the O.K. Corral." This year, from August 2 to 27, it will be known as the place where scientists from NASA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and other institutions gather and study soil moisture to improve weather forecasts and the ability to interpret satellite data.

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Oil rig

July 30, 2004

Keeping Current With Ocean Currents

Imagine a place where the roads change constantly and last month's map may be completely out of date. That's the ocean.

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Chris Martin

July 30, 2004

Notes from the Galaxies

Chris Martin is a physicist. It might have been otherwise. As a life passion, music has always been a close second. Now, as principal investigator for the Galaxy Evolution Explorer project which studies the universe in ultraviolet light, Martin is a scientist and manager by day, classical pianist by night.

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color image of Saturn's moon Titan

July 29, 2004

Titan's Purple Haze Points to a Fuzzy Past

Encircled in purple stratospheric haze, Saturn's largest moon, Titan, appears as a softly glowing sphere in this colorized image taken on July 3, 2004, one day after Cassini's first flyby of that moon.

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spiral galaxy NGC 7331

July 29, 2004

NASA Selects Future Mission Concepts for Study

NASA has selected nine studies, including one from JPL, to investigate new ideas for future mission concepts within its Astronomical Search for Origins Program.

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color image of Saturn's rings

July 22, 2004

Saturn's Rings Offer a Fresco of Color

With shimmering pinks, hues of gray and a hint of brown, a newly released image of Saturn's rings resembles a fresco where nature is the painter.

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July 20, 2004

Apollo 11 Experiment Still Going Strong after 35 Years

It was the summer of '69. Director John Schlesinger's "Midnight Cowboy" had won the Oscar for Best Picture; the Rolling Stones' newly released "Honky Tonk Women" was climbing the charts; 400,000 people were gearing up to attend Woodstock…and America landed on the Moon, making "one giant leap for mankind."

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Rover Spirit took this image of a large, continuous rock outcrop

July 16, 2004

NASA's Mars Rovers Roll Into Martian Winter

As winter approaches on Mars, NASA's Opportunity rover continues to inch deeper into the stadium-sized crater dubbed "Endurance." On the other side of the planet, the Spirit rover found an intriguing patch of rock outcrop while preparing to climb up the "Columbia Hills" backward.

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The two red spots represent brain tumors

July 15, 2004

NASA Infrared Camera Helps Surgeons Map Brain Tumors

Using an infrared video camera developed by researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., surgeons are testing thermal imaging and image processing to see if they can create useful maps of brain tumors.

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Saturn's moon Iapetus

July 15, 2004

Cassini Exposes Saturn's Two-Face Moon

The moon with the split personality, Iapetus, presents a perplexing appearance in the latest images snapped by the Cassini spacecraft.

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Aura at Vandenberg Air Force Base; image credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

July 15, 2004

Aura Spacecraft Launched to Better Understand the Air We Breathe

Aura, a mission dedicated to the health of Earth's atmosphere, successfully launched today from tVandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., aboard a Boeing Delta II rocket.

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Mark Helmlinger

July 14, 2004

From the Field

Take a group of strangers, put them in a harsh environment, and give them a challenging mission to accomplish -- scientists who do field research have much more experience with this than reality television producers ever will.

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Artist's concept of Cassini at Saturn

July 12, 2004

Saturn's Majestic Rings Are the Topic of Free Lectures

Two free public programs in Pasadena this week will present the dramatic story of Saturn, its majestic rings and dozens of moons.

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Artist's concept of Cassini at Saturn

July 12, 2004

Cassini-Huygens Mission Status Report

The Cassini spacecraft emerged from behind the Sun today after being in solar conjunction since July 5.

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Saturn's A Ring From the Inside Out

July 9, 2004

At the Edge of an Alien World: Cassini Arrives at Saturn

When the Cassini spacecraft launched into space nearly seven years ago, its destination - Saturn - appeared as a speck in a sea of stars. More than a billion miles later, Cassini has at last arrived at the ringed planet and discovered a dynamic world full of surprises.

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Titan

July 3, 2004

Cassini Provides New Views of Titan, Saturn's Largest Moon

The Cassini spacecraft has revealed surface details of Saturn's moon Titan and imaged a huge cloud of gas surrounding the planet-sized moon.

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'Dirty Rotten' Rings

July 2, 2004

Cassini Exposes Puzzles About Ingredients in Saturn's Rings

Just two days after the Cassini spacecraft entered Saturn orbit, preliminary science results are already beginning to show a complex and fascinating planetary system.

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Artist's concept of Cassini at Saturn.

July 1, 2004

Fresh Cassini Pictures Show Majesty of Saturn's Rings

The first pictures taken by the Cassini spacecraft after it began orbiting Saturn show breathtaking detail of Saturn's rings, and other science measurements reveal that Saturn's magnetic field pulsed in size as Cassini approached the planet.

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artist's concept of Cassini at Saturn

June 30, 2004

Cassini Spacecraft Arrives at Saturn

The international Cassini-Huygens mission has successfully entered orbit around Saturn.

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Saturn

June 30, 2004

Cassini Set to Ring Saturn Today

After nearly seven years of asking, "Are we there yet?," the Cassini-Huygens mission is poised to enter Saturn’s orbit this evening.

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Saturn's peaceful beauty invites the Cassini spacecraft for a closer look in this natural color view

June 29, 2004

Cassini Spacecraft At Saturn's Doorstep

Saturn is now a day away for the Cassini spacecraft, a seasoned traveler that began its journey nearly seven years ago.

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Spiral galaxy called NGC 7331

June 28, 2004

Seeing Double: Spitzer Captures Our Galaxy's Twin

What would our Milky Way galaxy look like if we could travel outside it and snap a picture? It might look a lot like a new image by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope of a spiral galaxy called NGC 7331 - a virtual twin of our Milky Way.

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Saturn

June 28, 2004

Scientists Find That Saturn's Rotation Period is a Puzzle

On approach to Saturn, data obtained by the Cassini spacecraft are already posing a puzzling question: How long is the day on Saturn?

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Mt Erebus, Antarctica

June 25, 2004

New Software on NASA Spacecraft Monitors Active Volcano

Software on a NASA spacecraft recently made a scientific observation on its own without human interaction.

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Saturn's moon Titan

June 25, 2004

Getting Closer to Titan

Irregular bright and dark regions of yet unidentified composition and character are becoming increasingly visible on Titan’s surface as Cassini approaches its scheduled first flyby of Saturn’s largest moon on July 2, 2004.

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Spirit's close-up image of the rock dubbed 'Pot of Gold'

June 25, 2004

Mars Rover Surprises Continue; Spirit, Too, Finds Hematite

On challenging slopes that NASA's Mars rovers began exploring this month, both Spirit and Opportunity have found new surprises for the folks back home.

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Titan

June 25, 2004

An 'Alien Earth' in Saturn's Backyard

When the Cassini mission's Huygens probe plunges through the atmosphere of Saturn's moon Titan, it will provide a glimpse behind the veil of what many astronomers consider the most Earthlike body in our solar system.

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Saturn's moon Phoebe

June 23, 2004

Cassini Opens a Cosmic Time Capsule

Like a woolly mammoth trapped in Arctic ice, Saturn's small moon Phoebe may be a frozen artifact of a bygone era, some four billion years ago.

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Artist's concept of Cassini approaching Saturn.

June 17, 2004

Cassini-Huygens Mission Status Report

After completing a successful trajectory correction maneuver on Wednesday, the Cassini spacecraft is now on its final approach to Saturn.

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Richat Structure, in the Sahara desert of Mauritania

June 17, 2004

NASA Data Offer a Safari into Vast African Topography

Newly released topographic data from NASA and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency provide 21st century explorers new ways to traverse the wonders of Africa, the Arabian Peninsula and Madagascar.

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Comet Wild 2

June 17, 2004

NASA Spacecraft Reveals Surprising Anatomy of a Comet

Findings from a historic encounter between NASA's Stardust spacecraft and a comet have revealed a much stranger world than previously believed.

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Part of Spirit's 360-degree view at the base of

June 15, 2004

Mars Rovers Going the Extra Mile

NASA's Mars rovers are delighting scientists with their extra credit assignments. Both rovers successfully completed their primary three-month missions in April.

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Jim Erickson

June 14, 2004

Erickson Takes Rover Reins as Cook Joins 2009 Mission

At NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., James K. Erickson becomes project manager for the Mars Exploration Rover Project today as his predecessor, Richard A. Cook, switches to the development of an even more capable Mars rover for launch in 2009.

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close up of Phoebe

June 14, 2004

Phoebe's Surface Reveals Clues to Its Origin

Images collected during Cassini's close flyby of Saturn's moon, Phoebe, have yielded strong evidence that the tiny object may contain ice-rich material, overlain with a thin layer of darker material perhaps 300 to 500 meters (980 to 1,600 feet) thick.

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View of Phoebe.

June 12, 2004

Cassini's Flyby of Phoebe Shows a Moon With a Battered Past

First images from the Cassini flyby of Phoebe reveal it to be a scarred, cratered outpost with a very old surface and a mysterious past, and a great deal of variation in surface brightness across its surface.

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Cassini-Huygens Spacecraft

June 12, 2004

Cassini Makes Close Observations of Phoebe

With its flyby of Phoebe, the Cassini spacecraft has completed the first satellite flyby in its four-year tour of the Saturn system.

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Phoebe

June 9, 2004

Cassini Spacecraft Near First Stop in Historic Saturn Tour

The most complex interplanetary mission ever launched is about to meet one of the solar system's enigmatic moons. Cassini will fly by Saturn's largest outer moon, Phoebe, on Friday, June 11.

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Opportunity's view of its target down the slope of Endurance Crater.

June 8, 2004

Mars Rovers Continue Unique Exploration of Mars

NASA's Mars Opportunity rover began its latest adventure today inside the martian crater informally called Endurance. Opportunity will roll in with all six wheels, then back out to the rim to check traction by looking at its own track marks.

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This approximate true-color image taken by Opportunity highlights a feature called 'Karatepe' within the impact crater known as Endurance. This is an area where NASA plans to send the rover into the crater.

June 4, 2004

Mars Rovers Continue Unique Exploration of Mars

NASA has decided the potential science value gained by sending Opportunity into a martian impact crater likely outweighs the risk of the intrepid explorer not being able to get back out.

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Isotherm Graphic

June 4, 2004

NASA's New Satellite Takes on Global Climate Change

Although there have been satellites measuring Earth's atmosphere since the 1970's, most have been designed for weather forecasting. Climate studies, which require the detection of subtle trends and changes that can take years to appear, require a new generation of spaceborne instruments.

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Saturn

June 3, 2004

Cassini-Huygens Will Unlock Saturn's Secrets

The international Cassini-Huygens mission is poised to begin an extensive tour of Saturn, its majestic rings and 31 known moons.

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Endurance Crater

June 2, 2004

Rovers Examining Hills and Crater in Bonus-Time Mission

More than a month into bonus time after a successful primary mission on Mars, NASA's Spirit rover has sighted possibly layered rock in hills just ahead, while twin Opportunity has extended its arm to pockmarked stones on a crater rim to gather clues of a watery past.

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Galaxy Centaurus A's last big meal

June 1, 2004

Spitzer Spies Parallelogram-Shaped Galactic Meal

Peering into the "gut" of the galaxy Centaurus A, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured in unprecedented detail this massive galaxy's last big meal: a spiral galaxy twisted into a parallelogram-shaped structure of dust.

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infrared image of patch of sky in Great Observatories Origins Deep Survey

June 1, 2004

Spitzer Leads NASA's Great Observatories to Uncover Black Holes, Other Hidden Objects

Astronomers unveiled the deepest images from NASA's new Spitzer Space Telescope today and announced the detection of distant objects -- including several supermassive black holes -- that are nearly invisible in even the deepest images from telescopes operating at other wavelengths.

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galaxy Centaurus A

June 1, 2004

Spitzer Spies Parallelogram-Shaped Galactic Meal

Peering into the "gut" of the galaxy Centaurus A, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured in unprecedented detail this massive galaxy's last big meal: a spiral galaxy twisted into a parallelogram-shaped structure of dust.

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artist's concept of Spitzer Space Telescope

May 31, 2004

Spitzer Space Telescope Sets Infrared Eyes on Dark Matter

Ten years ago, a group of astronomers set out to find invisible, or dark, matter in the outer fringes of our galaxy.

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artist's concept of Cassini at Saturn

May 28, 2004

Cassini-Huygens Mission Status Report

The Cassini spacecraft successfully performed a critical six- minute trajectory correction maneuver May 27 to put it on course with its first encounter, Saturn's outermost moon Phoebe, set for June 11.

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Artist's concept showing a possible newfound planet spinning

May 27, 2004

Raw Ingredients for Life Detected in Planetary Construction Zones

NASA has announced new findings from the Spitzer Space Telescope, including the discovery of significant amounts of icy organic materials sprinkled throughout several "planetary construction zones," or dusty planet-forming discs, which circle infant stars.

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artist's concept of Mars Exploration Rover

May 26, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

NASA's solar-powered Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity is beginning on Thursday what controllers expect to be frequent use of an overnight "deep sleep" mode to stretch the robot's power supply.

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Saturn

May 26, 2004

Saturn Seen From Far and Near

As Saturn grows closer through the eyes of the Cassini spacecraft, which is hurtling toward a rendezvous with the ringed world on June 30 (July 1, Universal Time), both Cassini and the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope snapped spectacular pictures of the planet and its magnificent rings.

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artist's concept of Jupiter Icy Moons Orbiter

May 26, 2004

NASA Releases Mission Requirements for Proposed Jupiter Mission

NASA has issued its mission design requirements to three industry teams for a proposed mission to Jupiter and its three icy moons.

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Bonneville Crater

May 18, 2004

Programs Will Share Excitement of Mars Rovers

Two free public programs in Pasadena this week will present the dramatic story of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers.

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artist's concept of Aura spacecraft

May 17, 2004

NASA Plans to Put an Aura Around the Earth

On June 19, NASA will launch Aura, a next generation Earth- observing satellite. Aura will supply the best information yet about the health of Earth's atmosphere.

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image showing mineralogy at Endurance Crater

May 17, 2004

Mars Rover Inspects Stone Ejected From Crater

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has begun sampling rocks blasted out from a stadium-sized impact crater the rover is circling, and the very first one may extend our understanding about the region's wet past.

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The massive, buried stars of the cloudy region called Sharpless 140

May 11, 2004

NASA Spitzer Shares The Wealth

Like a philanthropist donating a prized collection to a museum, NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has opened a virtual vault rich with scientific data.

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Artist’s concepts of TPF-I

May 10, 2004

Two Architectures Chosen for Terrestrial Planet Finder

Included in the nation's new vision for space is a plan for NASA to "conduct advanced telescope searches for Earth-like planets and habitable environments around other stars."

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Endurance Crater

May 6, 2004

Mars Rover Arrival at Deeper Crater Provides a Tempting Eyeful

Scientists and engineers celebrated when they saw the first pictures NASA's Opportunity sent from the rim of a stadium- sized crater that the rover reached after a six-week trek across martian flatlands.

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This artist's conception shows the Genesis spacecraft in collection mode, opened

May 5, 2004

NASA Genesis Spacecraft on Final Lap Toward Home

NASA's Genesis spacecraft flew past Earth on Saturday in a loop that puts it on track for home - and a dramatic mid-air recovery Sept. 8.

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ambassador event

May 5, 2004

NASA Ambassadors 2004, Now Coming to a Forum Near You

While two rovers roam Mars and the Cassini spacecraft nears Saturn, NASA's Solar System Ambassadors find themselves busier than ever this year, leading events across the nation in malls, classrooms and on the radio to share the wonders of space exploration with the public.

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NASA

May 4, 2004

JPL to Hold Symposium for Small Business in Nation's Capital

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will host the 8th annual Space Science Symposium for Small Business on June 10, 2004, at the Hamilton Crowne Plaza in Washington, D.C.

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depiction of double pulsar

April 28, 2004

Published Paper Probes Pulsar Pair

The only known gravitationally bound pair of pulsars -- extremely dense, spinning stars that beam radio waves -- may be pirouetting around each other in an intricate dance.

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hollow Spirit passed on its way to Columbia Hills

April 28, 2004

Mars Rovers Finish Primary Mission and Roll Onward

Both of NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers have completed their originally planned mission and are tackling extra-credit assignments.

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part of series depicting atoms at ultra-cold temperatures

April 27, 2004

Proof of New State of Matter Is in the Jelly

In the community of very tiny particles that make up all matter in the universe, there are two main citizens: bosons and fermions.

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model rover drives over kids

April 26, 2004

JPL Open House Takes Visitors to the Planets and Beyond

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., will hold an open house on Sat. and Sun., May 15 and 16, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., taking visitors on a virtual ride through the solar system with this year's theme, "The Spirit of Exploration."

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Bonneville Crater

April 26, 2004

Black Magic or a Bag of Tricks?

In his office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Optics Engineer Larry Scherr sits before a buzzing computer, sketching geometrical shapes on a sheet of graph paper.

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polar bear atop glacier in the Arctic.

April 23, 2004

Arctic Ozone Loss More Sensitive to Climate Change Than Thought

A cooperative study involving NASA scientists quantifies, for the first time, the relationship between Arctic ozone loss and changes in the temperature of Earth's stratosphere.

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Map of Arctic Ocean.

April 22, 2004

NASA Arctic Sea Ice Study May Stir Up Climate Models

Contrary to historical observations, sea ice in the high Arctic undergoes very small, back and forth movements twice a day, even in the dead of winter.

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Entrance to Goldstone

April 16, 2004

Virtual Visit: Dishes in the Desert

Get a little closer to space exploration -- and the Mojave Desert -- with our new virtual tour of NASA's Deep Space Network at Goldstone, Calif. Use your computer mouse to see 360-panoramic views of the huge dishes that serve as one of three vital communications links between spacecraft and the Earth-bound teams that command them.

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Bounce rock

April 15, 2004

Mars Rover Finds Rock Resembling Meteorites That Fell to Earth

NASA's Opportunity rover has examined an odd volcanic rock on the plains of Mars' Meridiani Planum region with a composition unlike anything seen on Mars before, but scientists have found similarities to meteorites that fell to Earth.

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part of data used to discover planet orbiting another star

April 15, 2004

Cosmic Magnifying Glass: Distant Star Reveals Planet

Like Sherlock Holmes holding a magnifying glass to unveil hidden clues, modern day astronomers used cosmic magnifying effects to reveal a planet orbiting a distant star.

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stellar nursery DR21

April 13, 2004

Invisible Giants Exposed in New Spitzer Image

Hidden behind a curtain of dusty darkness lurks one of the most violent pockets of star birth in our galaxy.

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Saturn, imaged by Cassini

April 8, 2004

Two Storms Caught in the Act on Saturn

Three months before Saturn arrival, the Cassini spacecraft has observed two storms in the act of merging into one larger storm. This is only the second time this phenomenon has been observed on the ringed planet.

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This image was taken from the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity's

April 8, 2004

NASA Extends Mars Rovers' Mission

NASA has approved an extended mission for the Mars Exploration Rovers, handing them up to five months of overtime assignments as they finish their three-month prime mission.

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Artist's concept of Aura

April 5, 2004

NASA'S Aura Satellite Delivered to Launch Site

NASA's Aura spacecraft, the latest in the Earth Observing System series, has arrived at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., to begin launch preparations.

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Artist's concept of Genesis

April 5, 2004

NASA Spacecraft Locks the Vault on its Sapphire, Diamond

Since October 2001 NASA's Genesis spacecraft has exposed specially designed collector arrays of sapphire, silicon, gold and diamond to the Sun's solar wind.

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San Clemente is the southernmost of California's Channel Islands

April 5, 2004

NASA Radar Aids High-Tech Digs

History can be hard to find. A forgotten letter molders in an attic. An ancient temple hides beneath jungle greenery. Even knowing that something is there doesn't necessarily make it easier to find - the classic needle in the haystack.

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Approximate true-color image taken by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit

April 1, 2004

Spirit Finds Multi-Layer Hints of Past Water at Mars' Gusev Site

Clues from a wind-scalloped volcanic rock on Mars investigated by NASA's Spirit rover suggest repeated possible exposures to water inside Gusev Crater, scientists said Thursday.

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Genesis Spacecraft

April 1, 2004

Here Comes the Sun

Little did the Beatles know their metaphor would be taken literally one day.

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Goldstone Dish

March 31, 2004

NASA's Deep Space Network Celebrates 40 Years of Service

"Station 14 - this is Stardust. We have a command load to send to the spacecraft. Can we verify your command system?"

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This image shows the rocky road the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit will travel to reach its ultimate destination - the Columbia Hills.

March 26, 2004

New Phase of Exploration Beginning for Mars Rovers

NASA's Spirit will begin trekking toward hills on its eastern horizon in the next few days, entering a new phase of the rover's exploration of Mars just before its prime three-month mission ends and its extended mission begins, rover team members said today.

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Artist's concept

March 25, 2004

Rover and Track

The engineers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, home of some of the best six-wheeled exo-atmospheric off-roaders anywhere, have really done it this time.

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magnified image of rock showing fine layers

March 23, 2004

Standing Body of Water Left Its Mark in Mars Rocks

NASA's Opportunity rover has demonstrated some rocks on Mars probably formed as deposits at the bottom of a body of gently flowing saltwater.

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This illustration shows where the five naked-eye planets and the Moon will lie in the sky just after sunset on March 22.

March 19, 2004

'Fab Five' Make Rare Appearance in Night Sky

Like a busy urban family, planets rarely get together all at once. Later this month, however, the five so-called naked-eye planets - Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn - will reunite in the night sky, giving spectators a unique chance to see Earth's closest companions in one easy sitting.

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spherules

March 18, 2004

Mineral in Mars 'Berries' Adds to Water Story

A major ingredient in small mineral spheres analyzed by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity furthers understanding of past water at Opportunity's landing site and points to a way of determining whether the vast plains surrounding the site also have a wet history.

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Image of Venus

March 17, 2004

Webcast Links Venus Event and Planet-Hunting

Students, teachers and others are invited to join as NASA scientists preview a rare astronomical event involving Venus and the Sun during a live webcast.

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Dr. William Pickering

March 16, 2004

William H. Pickering, Former Director of JPL, Dies

Dr. William H. Pickering, a central figure in the U.S. space race and former director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., from 1954 to 1976, has died.

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Dr. Jorge Vazquez

March 16, 2004

Dr. Jorge Vazquez, Oceanographer

When a friend asked Jorge Vazquez to speak eight years ago to a group of high school students about his job and Earth science, the JPL oceanographer reluctantly said yes.

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part of panel showing Sedna

March 15, 2004

Most Distant Object in Solar System Discovered

NASA-funded researchers have discovered the most distant object orbiting Earth's Sun.

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interior of Bonneville crater

March 11, 2004

Spirit Looks Down Into Crater After Reaching Rim

NASA's Spirit has begun looking down into a crater it has been approaching for several weeks, providing a view of what's below the surrounding surface.

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Quikscat image showing Santa Ana winds

March 11, 2004

NASA Satellite Finds Something Fishy About Santa Ana Winds

Southern California's legendary Santa Ana winds wreak havoc every year, creating hot, dry conditions and fire hazards. Despite their often-destructive nature, a study of the "Devil Winds," conducted using data from NASA's Quick Scatterometer (Quikscat) spacecraft and its SeaWinds instrument shows the winds have some positive benefits.

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Opportunity failed to complete the first big climb of the outcrop on February 8 due to the wheels slipping up the martian slope.

March 9, 2004

Slip Sliding Away

On February 9, the wake up song for Opportunity was “Slip Sliding Away” by Simon and Garfunkel in honor of the experience the prior day when Opportunity first tried to scoot up the crater slope at Meridiani Planum.

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solar eclipses of Mars' moons

March 8, 2004

NASA Rovers Watching Solar Eclipses by Mars Moons

NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers have become eclipse watchers.

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Henize 206

March 8, 2004

NASA Creates Portrait of Life and Death in the Universe

In a small nearby galaxy lies a luminous cloud of gas and dust, called a nebula, which houses a family of newborn stars.

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Students got some hands-on fun

March 8, 2004

Getting Down to Earth on Mars

What can scientists learn about Mars by studying Earth? How do the ocean planet and the red planet differ, and how are they alike? These are some of the questions posed by students during a recent field trip to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif.

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hole in Humphrey made by Spirit

March 5, 2004

Volcanic Rock in Mars' Gusev Crater Hints at Past Water

NASA's Spirit has found hints of a water history in a rock at Mars' Gusev Crater, but it is a very different type of rock than those in which NASA's Opportunity found clues to a wet past on the opposite side of the planet.

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Bunny Ears on Mars

March 5, 2004

Sheddings from Opportunity Lead Rover Fans on a "Bunny" Chase

Like a rabbit in a hat, the identity of an oddity that looks like "bunny ears" in a picture from Mars has eluded the science and engineering teams.

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tumbleweed rover in Antarctica

March 3, 2004

Tumbleweed Rover Goes on a Roll at South Pole

A balloon-shaped robot explorer that one day could search for evidence that water existed on other planets has survived some of the most trying conditions on planet Earth during a 70-kilometer (40-mile), wind-driven trek across Antarctica.

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view of South America's Patagonia ice fields

March 3, 2004

NASA Embarks on a Sweeping Airborne Expedition

An international team of scientists from NASA and other research institutions embarked on a three-week expedition of discovery that will take them from the lush, dense rain forests of Central America to the frigid isolation of Antarctica.

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microscopic image of Guadalupe

March 2, 2004

Opportunity Rover Finds Strong Evidence Meridiani Planum Was Wet

Scientists have concluded the part of Mars that NASA's Opportunity rover is exploring was soaking wet in the past.

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artist's concept of a smart lander

February 27, 2004

JPL Announces New Exploration Office, Management Changes

In a move designed to align the lab with NASA's new exploration agenda outlined by President George W. Bush, Dr. Charles Elachi, director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., has announced personnel changes and the formation of a new office at JPL.

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Saturn, imaged by Cassini

February 27, 2004

Cassini Captures Stunning View of Saturn

Four months before its scheduled arrival at Saturn, the Cassini- Huygens spacecraft sent its best color postcard back to Earth of the ringed world.

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 Spirit's view of its landing site.

February 27, 2004

Spirit Science Advances on Multiple Levels

Just past the halfway point of its three-month prime mission, NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has achieved several scientific firsts, but may still have its best "Eureka!" moments in front of it.

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sunset on Mars

February 26, 2004

Mars Sunset Clip from Opportunity Tells Dusty Tale

Dust gradually obscures the Sun during a blue-sky martian sunset seen in a sequence of newly processed frames from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity.

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artist's concept of Spitzer Space Telescope

February 24, 2004

'And the Laurel Goes to... the Spitzer Space Telescope'

Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine has honored the teams that built NASA's new Spitzer Space Telescope with a 2003 Aerospace Laurel award.

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Dr. Charles Elachi and students wear 3-D glasses

February 23, 2004

JPL Director Shares New Space Vision at Local School

Students at a San Fernando Valley elementary school heard firsthand about their opportunity to participate in the president's bold vision for exploring the solar system.

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Steps 1-3 for 3D images

February 23, 2004

How to Make Your Own Eye-Popping 3-D Pictures

Since settling in on the red planet, the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity have sent back a number of 3-D postcards to countless fans outfitted in red- and blue-tinted spectacles.

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trench dug by Spirit

February 20, 2004

Innovative Web Site Brings Mars Exploration to Desktops

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif., is enhancing the availability of all Mars rover images for students and the public by distributing them via the Internet.

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microscopic image of soil

February 19, 2004

Opportunity Examines Trench as Spirit Prepares to Dig One

By inspecting the sides and floor of a hole it dug on Mars, NASA's Opportunity rover is finding some things it did not see beforehand, including round pebbles that are shiny and soil so fine-grained that the rover's microscope can't make out individual particles.

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artist's concept of Rosetta

February 19, 2004

Spacecraft to Launch, Designed to Harpoon Cosmic 'Moby Dick'

Like the massive white whale in Herman Melville's 1851 classic "Moby Dick," comets have long been considered swift, elusive harbingers of change.

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trench marks left in martian soil by Opportunity

February 17, 2004

Opportunity Digs; Spirit Advances

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity has scooped a trench with one of its wheels to reveal what is below the surface of a selected patch of soil.

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artist's concept of Mars Exploration Rover

February 13, 2004

International Interplanetary Networking Succeeds

A pioneering demonstration of communications between NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit and the European Space Agency Mars Express orbiter succeeded.

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microscopic image of soil

February 12, 2004

Student Programs Tap Into Mars Rover Adventures

NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers are not only providing scientists a flood of information about Mars -- including new insights today about winds -- they are also adding excitement to classrooms throughout the nation.

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nebula that resembles a rosebud

February 12, 2004

Spitzer Telescope Sends a Rose for Valentine's Day

Out of the dark and dusty cosmos comes an unusual valentine — a stellar nursery resembling a shimmering pink rosebud.

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artist's concept depicting ozone being destroyed

February 9, 2004

Scientists Find Ozone-Destroying Molecule

Using measurements from a NASA aircraft flying over the Arctic, Harvard University scientists have made the first observations of a molecule that researchers have long theorized plays a key role in destroying stratospheric ozone, chlorine peroxide.

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microscopic image of rock dubbed

February 9, 2004

Mars Rover Pictures Raise 'Blueberry Muffin' Questions

NASA's Spirit rover has begun making some of its own driving decisions while its twin, Opportunity, is presenting scientists with decisions to make about studying small spheres embedded in bedrock, like berries in a muffin.

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Astrogeologist studying Mars-like features on Earth at the top of a volcano in Mauna Kea, Hawaii

February 8, 2004

A Day in the Life of a Martian Scientist

Wearing two watches, one for Mars time on the left wrist and one for Earth time on the right wrist, Jim Rice works in three time zones on two different planets simultaneously.

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Spirit instrument poised at Adirondack

February 6, 2004

Healthy Spirit Cleans a Mars Rock; Opportunity Rolls

NASA's Spirit has returned to full health and resumed doing things never attempted on Mars before.

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Opportunity looks back after its drive

February 5, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

NASA's Opportunity rover drove about 3.5 meters (11 feet) late Wednesday toward a rock outcrop in the wall of a small crater on Mars, and mission controllers plan to send it the rest of the way to the outcrop late Thursday.

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microscopic image of soil near Opportunity's landing site

February 4, 2004

Opportunity Sees Tiny Spheres in Martian Soil

NASA's Opportunity has examined its first patch of soil in the small crater where the rover landed on Mars and found strikingly spherical pebbles among the mix of particles there.

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Columbia crew

February 2, 2004

NASA Dedicates Mars Landmarks to Columbia Crew

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced the martian hills, located east of the Spirit Mars Exploration Rover's landing site, would be dedicated to the Space Shuttle Columbia STS-107 crew.

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panorama of Opportunity landing site

February 2, 2004

Opportunity and Spirit Reach Out

Each of NASA's two Mars Exploration Rovers is using its versatile robotic arm for positioning tools at selected targets on the red planet.

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This image shows Opportunity's view of the martian horizon after leaving its lander.

February 1, 2004

Mars Rover Spirit Restored to Health

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit is healthy again, the result of recovery work by mission engineers since the robot developed computer-memory and communications problems 10 days ago.

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Opportunity looks back at its lander

January 31, 2004

Opportunity Rolls Onto Martian Ground

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity drove down a reinforced fabric ramp at the front of its lander platform and onto the soil of Mars' Meridiani Planum this morning.

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images from Spirit

January 30, 2004

Two Working Rovers on Martian Soil Expected by Saturday Morning

Ground controllers plan to tell Opportunity to drive off its lander early Saturday, and with Spirit now back in working order, NASA should soon have two healthy rovers loose on Mars.

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This is a QuikSCAT image of winds on the surface of the Pacific Ocean on January 8, 2004.

January 29, 2004

NASA Satellites Help Improve Ocean Condition Forecasts

Freighters, cruise lines, marine rescuers and coastal managers are among those who could benefit from prototype three-dimensional, three- day ocean condition forecasts created with the assistance of NASA satellite data, computer models and on-site ocean measurements.

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Spirit arm

January 29, 2004

Healthier Spirit Gets Back to Work While Opportunity Prepares to Roll

NASA's Spirit rover on Mars has resumed taking pictures as engineers continue work on restoring its health.

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rock outcrop near Opportunity

January 28, 2004

Opportunity Rover Begins Standing Up

NASA's Opportunity rover has untucked its front wheels and latched its suspension system in place, key steps in preparing to drive off its lander and onto martian soil.

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A composite image reveals Challenger Memorial Station.

January 28, 2004

Space Shuttle Challenger Crew Memorialized on Mars

NASA announced plans to name the landing site of the Mars Opportunity rover in honor of the Space Shuttle Challenger's final crew.

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Jason data of the Pacific Ocean, Jan. 23, 2004

January 28, 2004

Pacific Dictates Droughts and Drenchings

The cooler and drier conditions in Southern California over the last few years appear to be a direct result of a long-term ocean pattern known as the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, according to research presented recently at the 2004 meeting of the American Meteorological Society.

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Apollo 1 Hills

January 27, 2004

Martian Landmarks Dedicated to Apollo 1 Crew

NASA memorialized the Apollo 1 crew -- Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee -- by dedicating the hills surrounding the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit's landing site to the astronauts.

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rock outcrop near Opportunity

January 27, 2004

Scientists Thrilled to See Layers in Mars Rocks Near Opportunity

New pictures from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reveal thin layers in rocks just a stone's throw from the lander platform where the rover temporarily sits.

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Opportunity inside a small crater

January 26, 2004

Gear on Opportunity Rover Passes Martian Health Check

During the second day on Mars for NASA's Opportunity rover, key science instruments passed health tests and the rover made important steps in communicating directly with Earth.

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first color image from Opportunity

January 25, 2004

First Images of Opportunity Site Show Bizarre Landscape

NASA's Opportunity rover returned the first pictures of its landing site early today, revealing a surreal, dark landscape unlike any ever seen before on Mars.

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outcrop near Opportunity

January 25, 2004

Opportunity Sits in a Small Crater, Near a Bigger One

A small impact crater on Mars is the new home for NASA's Opportunity rover, and a larger crater lies nearby.

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JPL's Rob Manning and Peter Theisinger celebrate Opportunity's landing on Mars

January 25, 2004

NASA Hears from Opportunity Rover on Mars

NASA's second Mars Exploration Rover successfully sent signals to Earth during its bouncy landing and after it came to rest on one of the three side petals of its four-sided lander.

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Odyssey image showing rover landing sites and other locations on Mars

January 24, 2004

Spirit Condition Upgraded as Twin Rover Nears Mars

Hours before NASA's Opportunity rover will reach Mars, engineers have found a way to communicate reliably with its twin, Spirit, and to get Spirit's computer out of a cycle of rebooting many times a day.

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artist's concept of Mars Exploration Rover

January 23, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

NASA's Spirit rover did not go to sleep today even after ground controllers sent commands twice for it to do so.

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Mount Ararat, Turkey

January 23, 2004

New NASA Data Release Invites You to Explore Two Vast Continents

Marco Polo. Alexander the Great. They were some of history's most prolific explorers, each trekking across sweeping stretches of Europe and Asia in their lifetimes.

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Part of image showing Spirit's landing pattern

January 23, 2004

Rover Team Readies for Second Landing While Trying to Mend Spirit

Some members of the flight team for NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers are preparing for this weekend's landing of the second rover, Opportunity, while others are focused on trying to restore the first rover, Spirit, to working order.

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artist's concept of Mars Exploration Rover

January 23, 2004

Updated Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

The flight team for NASA's Spirit received data from the rover in a communication session that began at 13:26 Universal Time (5:26 a.m. PST) and lasted 20 minutes at a data rate of 120 bits per second.

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artist's concept of Mars Exploration Rover

January 23, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

NASA's Spirit rover communicated with Earth in a signal detected by NASA's Deep Space Network antenna complex near Madrid, Spain, at 12:34 Universal Time (4:34 a.m. PST) this morning.

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Artist's concept of Mars Exploration Rover

January 22, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

Flight-team engineers for NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Mission were encouraged this morning when Spirit sent a simple radio signal acknowledging that the rover had received a transmission from Earth.

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Artist's concept of Mars Exploration Rover

January 21, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Mission Status

Ground controllers were able to send commands to the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit early Wednesday and received a simple signal acknowledging that the rover heard them, but they did not receive expected scientific and engineering data during scheduled communication passes during the rest of that martian day.

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Pleiades

January 21, 2004

Astronomers Measure Distance to Well-Known Star

The cluster of stars known as the Pleiades is one of the most recognizable objects in the night sky, and for millennia has been celebrated in literature and legend.

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Spirit's arm reaches out to Adirondack

January 20, 2004

NASA Mars Rover's First Soil Analysis Yields Surprises

The first use of the tools on the arm of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit reveals puzzles about the soil it examined and raises anticipation about what the tool will find during its studies of a martian rock.

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Adirondack

January 19, 2004

Spirit Drives to a Rock Called 'Adirondack' for Close Inspection

NASA's Spirit rover has successfully driven to its first target on Mars, a football-sized rock that scientists have dubbed Adirondack.

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artist's concept of Opportunity

January 16, 2004

Mars Rover Opportunity Mission Status

With barely a week before reaching Mars, NASA's Opportunity spacecraft adjusted its trajectory, or flight path, today for the first time in four months.

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Spirit's robotic arm

January 16, 2004

Spirit Flexes Its Arm to Use Microscope on Mars' Soil

NASA's Spirit rover reached out with its versatile robotic arm early today and examined a patch of fine-grained martian soil with a microscope at the end of the arm.

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Spirit looks back at lander

January 15, 2004

Spirit Rolls All Six Wheels onto Martian Soil

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit successfully drove off its lander platform and onto the soil of Mars early today.

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Spirit finishes its turn

January 14, 2004

Spirit Ready to Drive onto Mars Surface

NASA's Spirit completed a three-stage turn early today, the last step before a drive planned early Thursday to take the rover off its lander platform and onto martian soil for the first time.

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Spirit travel plan

January 13, 2004

Go To That Crater And Turn Right: Spirit Gets A Travel Itinerary

NASA's Spirit has begun pivoting atop its lander platform on Mars, and the robot's human partners have announced plans to send it toward a crater, then toward some hills, during the mission.

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Tarantula Nebula

January 13, 2004

Stormy Cloud of Star Birth Glows in New Spitzer Image

A dusty stellar nursery shines brightly in a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope, formerly known as the Space Infrared Telescope Facility.

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portion of first 360-view from Spirit

January 12, 2004

Spirit's Surroundings Beckon in Color Panorama

The first 360-degree color view from NASA's Spirit Mars Exploration Rover presents a range of tempting targets from nearby rocks to hills on the horizon.

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bird's eye view of Spirit's planned egress

January 11, 2004

Spirit Rover Nearly Ready to Roll

NASA's Spirit rover now has its arm and all six of its wheels free, and only a single cable must be cut before it can turn and roll off its lander onto the soil of Mars.

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Spirit Stretches Out

January 10, 2004

NASA's Spirit Stages Martian Stand-Up Performance

NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit has successfully completed its stand-up activities by extending the rear wheels.

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Spirit stands up

January 9, 2004

Spirit Lowers Front Wheels, Looks Around in Infrared

NASA's Spirit, the first of two Mars Exploration Rovers on the martian surface, has stood up and extended its front wheels while continuing to delight its human partners with new information about its neighborhood within Mars' Gusev Crater.

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Airbag trails from Spirit

January 8, 2004

High School Students Land on Mars

While their peers sweat out their next geometry quiz, high school students Courtney Dressing and Rafael Morozowski are sweating out the commencement of surface activities with the rest of the Mars Exploration Rover team.

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Airbag trails from Spirit

January 7, 2004

Rover Airbag to Get Another Tug

The engineers and scientists for NASA's Spirit are eager to get the rover off its lander and out exploring the terrain that Spirit's pictures are revealing, but caution comes first.

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first color image from Spirit

January 6, 2004

Mars Mania Lands Online

As the spacecraft flies, Mars is millions of miles away.

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artist's concept of Orbiting Carbon Observatory

January 6, 2004

NASA's New Studies of Earth's Seas, Skies and Soils

They're carbonated, salty, and alternately wet and dry. Exotic champagnes? No, they're NASA's three Earth System Science Pathfinder small-satellite program missions: Orbiting Carbon Observatory, Aquarius and Hydros.

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comet Wild 2

January 6, 2004

The Calm After The Cometary Storm

Having weathered its out-of-this-world sandblasting by cometary particles hurtling toward it at about six times the speed of a rifle bullet, NASA's Stardust spacecraft begins its two-year, 1.14 billion kilometer (708 million mile) trek back to its planet of origin.

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Columbia memorial plaque on Mars

January 6, 2004

Space Shuttle Columbia Crew Memorialized on Mars

NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe today announced plans to name the landing site of the Mars Spirit rover in honor of the astronauts who died in the tragic accident of the Space Shuttle Columbia in February.

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First color image from rover Spirit

January 6, 2004

Color Picture from Spirit is Most Detailed View of Mars Ever Seen

The people operating NASA's Spirit have received the first color pictures from the rover and a congratulatory call from the president.

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first 3-d view of landing site

January 5, 2004

Mars Team Energized About

Sleepy Hollow, a shallow depression in the Mars ground near NASA's Spirit rover, may become an early destination when the rover drives off its lander platform in a week or so.

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overhead view of Spirit

January 4, 2004

Healthy Rover Shows Its New Neighborhood on Mars

NASA's Spirit Rover is starting to examine its new surroundings, revealing a vast flatland well suited to the robot's unprecedented mobility and scientific toolkit.

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Mosaic image taken by the navigation camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Spirit.

January 4, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Mission Status

A traveling robotic geologist from NASA has landed on Mars and returned stunning images of the area around its landing site in Gusev Crater.

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Artist's concept of a Mars Exploration Lander

January 3, 2004

Mars Exploration Rover Spirit Mission Status

Navigators for NASA's Spirit Mars Exploration Rover put the spacecraft so close to a bull's-eye with earlier maneuvers that mission managers chose to skip the final two optional maneuvers for adjusting course before arrival at Mars.

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Comet Wild 2 is shown in this image taken by the Stardust navigation camera during the spacecraft's closest approach to the comet on January 2.

January 2, 2004

NASA Spacecraft Makes Great Catch...Heads for Touchdown

Team Stardust, NASA's first dedicated sample return mission to a comet, passed a huge milestone today by successfully navigating through the particle and gas-laden coma around comet Wild 2 (pronounced "Vilt-2").

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