NASA at American Geophysical Union Meeting

December 10, 2007

NASA researchers will present new findings to the media on a wide range of Earth and space science topics during the 2007 Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). The meeting runs Mon., Dec. 10 through Fri., Dec. 14 at the Moscone Convention Center, San Francisco. All press briefings will take place in the AGU Press Room, Moscone West, Room 2010.

For a complete list of NASA-related press briefings, with links to supporting materials, and other noteworthy presentations by NASA scientists, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/agu2007.html




Mon., Dec. 10, 9 a.m. PST

AIM SATELLITE CAPTURES BRIGHTEST MYSTERIOUS "NIGHT-SHINING CLOUDS" DURING 2007 NORTHERN HEMISPHERE WINTER
RELATED SESSIONS: SA13B, SA14A, SA21A

NASA's Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite has captured the first global-scale view of polar mesospheric clouds over the entire 2007 Northern Hemisphere summer season with an unprecedented horizontal resolution of three square miles. Media will learn about the brightest clouds ever observed, how widespread they are, and how their brightness changes and builds as a result of changes going on in the Earth's mesosphere. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/aim/mystery_clouds.html




Mon., Dec. 10, 11 a.m. PST

VOYAGER 2 PROVES THAT THE SOLAR SYSTEM IS SQUASHED
RELATED SESSION: SH11A

NASA's Voyager 2 spacecraft has followed Voyager 1 into the solar system's final frontier, a vast region at the edge of our solar system where the solar wind runs up against the thin gas between the stars. Voyager 2 took a different path than Voyager 1, entering this region, called the heliosheath, on Aug. 30, 2007. Voyager 2 crossed the heliosheath boundary, 10 billion miles away from Voyager 1 and almost a billion miles closer to the sun. By doing so, it confirmed that our solar system is "squashed" or "dented," that the bubble carved into interstellar space by the solar wind is pushed in closer to the sun by the local interstellar magnetic field where Voyager 2 made its crossing. Researchers will discuss new details of the solar wind termination shock still being pondered. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/voyager/termination_shock.html




Mon., Dec. 10, 3 p.m. PST

MARS ROVERS SURVIVE THE DUST, FOLLOW THE WATER
RELATED SESSION: P21C

Researchers will discuss how the durable NASA rovers Spirit and Opportunity, nearly four years into missions originally planned for three months, continue collecting evidence about water's role in past Martian environments. This fall, Spirit examined the top of a low plateau in the vicinity of silica-rich deposits that may have formed in hydrothermal environments similar to ones that support microbial ecosystems on Earth. Opportunity is inspecting layered deposits inside a half-mile-wide crater in the Meridiani Region. The combined vantage points tell a long history of how hydrology of this region evolved. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mer/news/mars_water.html




Tues., Dec. 11, 9 a.m. PST

NASA THEMIS SPACECRAFT MAKE NEW DISCOVERIES ABOUT NORTHERN LIGHTS
RELATED SESSIONS: SM11A, SM14A SM21C, SM22A, SM23A

Where does all the energy needed to create a vigorous substorm come from" THEMIS may have found the answer. NASA's five Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) spacecraft have observed the dynamics of a rapidly developing substorm, confirmed the existence of giant magnetic ropes and witnessed small explosions in the outskirts of Earth's magnetic field that affect the solar wind. Researchers will discuss details of vivid auroras that surged westward twice as fast as thought possible, crossing 15 degrees of longitude in less than one minute, and the unprecedented power of the March 23, 2007, substorm. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/themis/auroras/northern_lights.html




Tues., Dec. 11, 10 a.m. PST

NEW FRONTIERS IN PREDICTING PRECIPITATION
RELATED SESSIONS: H24C/H31B

Will it rain tomorrow" Next month" Scientists are close to breakthroughs in predicting precipitation. Researchers from the Global Energy and Water Cycle EXperiment (GEWEX) will report on recent major achievements and planned future activities. The Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM) mission scientist will discuss the next generation of weather and climate studies. Panelists will also outline the need for information on such factors as in-cloud precipitation processes and microphysical variables that would enhance precipitation predictability.


Tues., Dec. 11, 11 a.m. PST

NEW MARS ORBITER REVEALS DETAILS OF CANYON SYSTEM AND 'SPIDERS'
RELATED SESSIONS: P23D and P24A

Panelists will discuss new images that reveal that layered deposits inside Mars' Candor Chasma, part of the largest canyon system in the solar system, are younger than the canyon. These deposits contain abundant chemical evidence of water-driven processes. Earlier studies had left ambiguity about whether the deposits formed within the near-equatorial canyon system or were deposited after the canyon opened. Imagery from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment allows researchers to interpret the geological history of the site. The same camera and the orbiter's Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars aid in understanding the so-called "cryptic terrain" near Mars' permanent southern polar cap. This unearthly landscape with landforms reminiscent of spiders, lacework and lizard skin textures, bears evidence of gas jets bursting upward from seasonal vents and depositing bright and dark fans downwind. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/MRO/news/mars_canyon.html




Wed., Dec. 12, 9 a.m. PST

CHANGES IN THE ARCTIC
RELATED SESSION: U33B

This year was a remarkable year for dramatic changes in environmental conditions in the Arctic. The extent of the sea ice cover fell to a record minimum in September, breaking the previous record by 23 percent. Changes in the Arctic system go far beyond the sea ice. Summer 2007 Arctic Ocean surface temperatures were much warmer than in previous years by up to about 5 degrees Celsius. In this briefing, NASA's Marco Tedesco and other researchers discuss their findings confirming that this large and extensive ice melt, and ocean warming was largely the result of solar heating of the upper ocean.


Wed., Dec. 12, 11 a.m. PST

THE SECRET LIFE OF CLOUDS: NEW FINDINGS FROM NASA'S CLOUDSAT AND A-TRAIN
RELATED SESSIONS: A14A-10 and A42C-06

A little more than a year and a half into its primary mission, NASA's CloudSat satellite, working in tandem with the other Earth-observing satellites in NASA's "A-Train," is now yielding a treasure trove of new data that are helping scientists better understand the enormous influence clouds have on Earth's weather, climate and energy balance. Researchers present results that include discovery of a link between observed decreases in polar clouds last summer and a corresponding loss of Arctic sea ice; surprising new global estimates of how frequently clouds rain over Earth's oceans that suggest the need to reassess the intensity of Earth's water cycle and its impact on climate models; and the first global evidence that the small aerosol particles in our atmosphere may be polluting clouds, making them more reflective. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cloudsat/news/secret_clouds.html




Wed., Dec. 12 at 2 p.m. PST

SATURN'S RECYCLING RINGS

Sustainability through recycling may be the reason why Saturn's rings persist. Support is mounting for theories that the rings may be a permanent feature of the solar system. Ring scientists once thought the rings were no older than the dinosaurs, a temporary feature destined to dissipate over time. Panelists will discuss new observations from the Cassini mission that show that even when ring particles fragment into groups of smaller particles, those broken families tend to come back together, re-clumping to maintain the overall ring structure. http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/cassini/media/saturn_recycle.html




Thurs., Dec. 13, 9 a.m. PST

EARTH'S "TIPPING POINTS": HOW CLOSE ARE WE"
RELATED SESSION: GC44A

Abrupt changes in climate are now an established phenomenon in Earth's history and there is growing concern that our planet may be at a "tipping point" of dramatic climate change due this time to anthropogenic influences. Scientists from across different disciplines are now looking at many parts of the Earth system for signs of such pivotal shifts either already underway or likely to happen in this century. Researchers will present the latest results from the perspective of global climate as well as potential impacts on three key regions of the globe. James Hansen discusses the "unrealized" global warming of Earth's climate system and the resulting need for urgent action to cut emissions beyond carbon dioxide. Richard Alley discusses the possibility that sustained warming of a few decades could produce major ice sheet losses that would last centuries. Peter Webster reports on a societal tipping point along three heavily populated Asian river basins when climate-induced changes to river flows collide with population growth. Joey Comiso reports that this year's large Arctic sea ice decline may be the tipping point for perennial ice and a recovery may not be possible in the foreseeable future. http://www.nasa.gov/topics/earth/tipping_points.html




Thurs, Dec. 13, 10 a.m. PST

NEW HORIZONS EXAMINES JUPITER'S ENORMOUS MAGNETOSPHERE
RELATED SESSIONS: SM44A, P53C

When NASA's New Horizons spacecraft flew past Jupiter on its way to Pluto in spring 2007, its trajectory took it down the center of the tail of Jupiter's magnetosphere, which is roughly 100 times larger than that of Earth and encompasses the orbits of the Galilean moons. The innermost moon, Io, ejects about a ton per second of volcanic gases that become ionized, trapped, and accelerated in Jupiter's strong magnetic field. The New Horizons particle detectors measured bursts of these iogenic charged particles streaming away from the planet for about three months, as the spacecraft made an unprecedented flight down Jupiter's magnetotail.


Thurs., Dec. 13, 3 p.m. PST

PREPARING TO EXPLORE EUROPA
RELATED SESSIONS: P51E, P52A, P53B

The space science community is now ready to explore Jupiter's icy moon Europa, especially its presumed ice-covered ocean. McKinnon will describe the current view of Europa and address the question of habitability. Blankenship will report on new research that has improved our understanding of Europa, focusing on radar sounding to search for water. Doran will report on plans for a February 2008 field demonstration and ultimate Antarctic deployment of an autonomous underwater robotic vehicle, designed as a prototype ocean explorer for Europa
-end-
Written by:

Gretchen Cook-Anderson
Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

Related Mars Articles from Brightsurf:

Water on ancient Mars
A meteorite that originated on Mars billions of years ago reveals details of ancient impact events on the red planet.

Surprise on Mars
NASA's InSight mission provides data from the surface of Mars.

Going nuclear on the moon and Mars
It might sound like science fiction, but scientists are preparing to build colonies on the moon and, eventually, Mars.

Mars: Where mud flows like lava
An international research team including recreated martian conditions in a low-pressure chamber to observe the flow of mud.

What's Mars made of?
Earth-based experiments on iron-sulfur alloys thought to comprise the core of Mars reveal details about the planet's seismic properties for the first time.

The seismicity of Mars
Fifteen months after the successful landing of the NASA InSight mission on Mars, first scientific analyses of ETH Zurich researchers and their partners reveal that the planet is seismically active.

Journey to the center of Mars
While InSight's seismometer has been patiently waiting for the next big marsquake to illuminate its interior and define its crust-mantle-core structure, two scientists, have built a new compositional model for Mars.

Getting mac and cheese to Mars
Washington State University scientists have developed a way to triple the shelf life of ready-to-eat macaroni and cheese, a development that could have benefits for everything from space travel to military use.

Life on Mars?
Researchers from Hungary have discovered embedded organic material in a Martian meteorite found in the late 1970s.

New evidence of deep groundwater on Mars
Researchers at the USC Arid Climate and Water Research Center (AWARE) have published a study that suggests deep groundwater could still be active on Mars and could originate surface streams in some near-equatorial areas on Mars.

Read More: Mars News and Mars Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.