NASA is finally saying goodbye to its Opportunity rover on Mars after spending nearly a year trying to reestablish communication with the silent robot. A team of engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) sent one final radio command to the rover last night but did not receive a response. Now, NASA will stop trying to communicate with Opportunity, effectively bringing the rover’s 15-year mission on Mars to an end.
NOAA’S National Centers for Environmental Information has updated the World Magnetic Model to reflect the change. “Typically, a new and updated version of the WMM is released every five years. With the last release in 2015, the next version is scheduled for release at the end of 2019,” it explained, in a statement. “Due to unplanned variations in the Arctic region, scientists have released a new model to more accurately represent the change of the magnetic field between 2015 and now.”
Some 4.5 billion years ago, a Mars-sized rock is theorized to have collided with the proto-Earth. The collision is one of the only ways to create an Earth-Moon system with the properties we observe today. It also may have partially re-liquefied Earth’s surface, destroyed Chaotian property values, and created an atmosphere of plasma metal vapor around both our planet and the enormous cloud of angry debris that now surrounded it.
On Jan. 19, 2019, just 161 days after its launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida, NASA’s Parker Solar Probe completed its first orbit of the Sun, reaching the point in its orbit farthest from our star, called aphelion. The spacecraft has now begun the second of 24 planned orbits, on track for its second perihelion, or closest approach to the Sun, on April 4, 2019.
Science got a nod early on in Tuesday’s 2019 State of the Union address. “In the 20th century, America transformed science,” President Donald Trump said, emphasizing the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first humans on the moon. Here are the other science and health topics he commented on during his second SOTU, in which he was tasked with reporting to Congress “such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.”
Hacking NASA’s Curiosity rover let it measure Martian gravity, even though it has no scientific instruments designed to do so. The measurements revealed a surprise at Gale crater. We can use gravity to probe the interior structure of a planet because the gravitational pull of a particular area depends on the type and density of the rocks there.
The National Photonics Initiative (NPI)--a broad-based collaborative alliance among industry, academia, and government to raise awareness of optics, photonics and quantum science and technology-- is commending the U.S. House of Representatives for approving the final version of the National Quantum Initiative (NQI) Act, H.R. 6227. The Senate passed the legislation last week and it will now head to President Trump for his signature.
The government shutdown, which is over for at least a few weeks while Congress and the administration negotiate border security legislation, cost the U.S. economy several billion dollars, according to the Congressional Budget Office. In addition, the 35-day shutdown imposed economic hardships for federal workers, contractors, and others.
University of Arkansas researchers have found limited evidence of racial or gender bias in the National Institutes of Health’s grant process. These researchers have investigated the institution’s process of awarding grant funding in a new study. According to a UA press release, the National Institutes of Health is the “world’s largest public funder of biomedical research [and]…one of the most important ways science is funded.
Newly declassified documents from the Pentagon reveal the Department of Defense funded projects that investigated UFOs, wormholes, alternate dimensions and a host of other subjects that are often the topics of conspiracy theorists. The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) released 38 research titles on Jan. 18, following a Freedom of Information Act request from Steven Aftergood, director of the Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy.