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May 16, 2013
Planet-hunting scientists were dealt a major blow Wednesday when NASA officials announced that a crucial wheel on the Kepler space telescope had ceased to function and that the craft had been placed in safe mode. Even as NASA officials raised the possibility that they could get the telescope back up and running, scientists began mourning the potential loss of a spacecraft that they said had fundamentally altered our understanding of alien planets in the Milky Way - and Earth's place in an increasingly crowded galaxy.
NEWS
By Bill Kisliuk, bill.kisliuk@latimes.com | July 8, 2011
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) this week said he plans to go to battle for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge and the nation’s space program after seeing NASA’s budget trimmed by the House Commerce, Justice and Science Committee. “The proposed appropriations bill for NASA makes dramatic cuts to space technology research and development and other vital efforts,” Schiff, a member of the committee, said. “I’m going to move to try to restore those funds next week.” The committee budgeted $16.8 billion for NASA, $1.6 billion less than last year and $1.9 billion less than what President Obama requested.
NEWS
By Amy Hubbard | November 18, 2013
MAVEN is on schedule for its launch to Mars today. The NASA spacecraft will explore how the Red Planet went from wet and "friendly" to dry and dusty, the Los Angeles Times reported . Teams prepping for liftoff had thumbs pointed up Monday as the countdown continued. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution -- MAVEN -- will launch aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The window for launch is 10:28 a.m. to 12:28 p.m. PST.  You can watch it live in the stream below.
THE818NOW
January 17, 2012
NASA is scheduled to announce which of the names submitted by more than 11,000 students from across the nation will be picked for two lunar space probes that will map the moon like never before. The solar-powered GRAIL twins will give scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory an unprecedented amount of data on the moon, such as its gravitational field, which will allow them to better understand how Earth and other planets in the solar system came to be. More than 11,000 students from 45 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia, took part in a contest to name the twin orbiters, according to NASA.
NEWS
February 26, 2014
The Kepler mission, developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, has discovered 715 new planets, NASA announced Wednesday. The newly verified planets orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems like the Earth's solar system. The discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more like Earth than previously identified planets outside of the solar system, according to the space exploration agency. "That these new planets and solar systems look somewhat like our own, portends a great future when we have the James Webb Space Telescope in space to characterize the new worlds,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
NEWS
July 23, 2005
The House of Representatives Friday approved a bill raising the spending cap for NASA and its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Canada Flintridge, Rep. David Dreier announced. H.R. 3070, sponsored by Rep. Ken Calvert (R-Corona), establishes spending levels for the agency and its programs and authorizes an increase from $6.87 billion to $7.33 billion for the Science Directorate, which funds large portion of the laboratory's budget. "JPL has been the hero here as far as keeping NASA propped up with its deep impact and robotic space programs," Calvert said.
NEWS
June 18, 2013
Perhaps it was only a matter of time before NASA 's Mars Curiosity rover got its own official Lego avatar. The Mars Science Laboratory robot was picked by thousands of fans to be designed in toy brick form, and it joins a pantheon of other Red Planet spacecraft that have become popular playthings over the years. The rover was picked after thousands of people voted to have it turned into a Lego set at a company website that lets layfolk submit their own ideas for Lego sets.
NEWS
September 28, 2012
At Wilson Middle School on Friday, a lesson in engineering took students outside where they launched hand-made bottle rockets into the sky. “I've always dreamed of building a rocket,” said 13-year-old Arthur Nanvelyan. Now in his first year of the school's MESA program - which cultivates interest in math, science and engineering - Arthur had an opportunity he didn't anticipate. “I couldn't believe that we could fly rockets,” he said. With help from The Rocket Owls - a six-member team from Citrus College - 60 Wilson students fashioned rockets out of empty two-liter bottles, cardboard and string.
NEWS
November 28, 2002
Janine Marnien The California Institute of Technology has a new five-year contract with an estimated worth of more than $8 billion to continue managing Jet Propulsion Laboratory. NASA awarded Caltech the contract Tuesday, continuing a significant relationship between the three agencies, said Albert Horvath, vice president for business and finance at Caltech. "From our perspective, there's a historical sense of ownership and pride toward JPL," he said.
NEWS
December 23, 2002
JPL to develop NASA technology LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE -- Jet Propulsion Laboratory will develop four of nine new technologies for the next generation of NASA orbiting environmental research satellites. The technology is meant to form the foundation of NASA research, and revolves around Earth remote-sensing devices. The projects will help glean information on the Earth's atmosphere, oceans and continents. JPL was selected by NASA as the developer of the technologies, which could provide a greater amount of detailed information than past inventions.
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NEWS
By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times | March 28, 2014
NASA's Mars rover Opportunity recently passed its 10th anniversary exploring the Red Planet and embarked on what scientists called a brand new mission, but the trusty little rover's funding has been thrust onto uncertain terrain. In the $17.5-billion 2015 budget proposal, NASA's core budget includes funding for several long-standing missions. But two were excluded from the lineup: Opportunity, the surviving half of the Mars Exploration Rover mission, as well as the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in 2009.
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NEWS
February 26, 2014
The Kepler mission, developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, has discovered 715 new planets, NASA announced Wednesday. The newly verified planets orbit 305 stars, revealing multiple-planet systems like the Earth's solar system. The discovery marks a significant increase in the number of known small-sized planets more like Earth than previously identified planets outside of the solar system, according to the space exploration agency. "That these new planets and solar systems look somewhat like our own, portends a great future when we have the James Webb Space Telescope in space to characterize the new worlds,” said John Grunsfeld, associate administrator for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
NEWS
By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com | January 23, 2014
NASA astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson told a large group of La Crescenta Elementary students on Thursday what it's like to be in space, sharing everything from what type of food she ate to how she exercised in zero-gravity. The Arcadia-born astronaut, who visited the school with Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank), has been launched into space twice - once in 2007 and another time in 2010. PHOTOS: Astronaut Tracy Caldwell Dyson speaks at La Crescenta Elementary During her presentation before the school's third-, fourth- and fifth-graders, she showed them a video from her time aboard the International Space Station, where she and fellow astronauts from Japan and Russia enjoyed sushi dinners, completed space walks to fix a failed pump and exercised while tethered to a treadmill.
NEWS
By Amina Khan | December 9, 2013
Scientists working on NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission have been somewhat sparing until now when describing exactly how the rocks drilled, gobbled and cooked by the Curiosity rover paint a picture of a life-friendly environment. Well, no more. In a suite of findings announced Monday, the scientists are painting a vivid picture of Gale Crater: filled with a modest lake of water, rich in the chemical ingredients for life, theoretically able to support a whole Martian biosphere based on Earth-like microbes called chemolithoautotrophs, the Los Angeles Times reported . “Ancient Mars was more habitable than we imagined,” Caltech geologist John Grotzinger, the mission's lead scientist, said of the findings described in six papers in the journal Science and at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
NEWS
December 5, 2013
Ed Stone, former director of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and scientist on the long-running Voyager mission, got a surprise at the end of his appearance on the Colbert Report this week. Stone was a guest on the show Tuesday night and chatted with host Stephen Colbert about the La Cañada Flintridge facility and Voyager 1's achievement of reaching interstellar space. And the end of the show, Colbert floated onto stage wearing a silver spacesuit and presented Stone with a NASA Distinguished Public Service Medal.
NEWS
By Tiffany Kelly, tiffany.kelly@latimes.com | November 19, 2013
Mars is a cold and dusty place with no known life. But scientists believe that the planet was once more like Earth, with a warm climate that supported oceans and lakes. The NASA spacecraft MAVEN will explore the Mars' atmosphere in a quest to find out how the planet could have experienced such a drastic change in climate. MAVEN, or Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN, launched into space on Monday from Cape Canaveral, Fla. at 10:28 a.m. PST from an Atlas V rocket. The spacecraft is expected to reach Mars orbit in September 2014.
NEWS
By Amy Hubbard | November 18, 2013
MAVEN is on schedule for its launch to Mars today. The NASA spacecraft will explore how the Red Planet went from wet and "friendly" to dry and dusty, the Los Angeles Times reported . Teams prepping for liftoff had thumbs pointed up Monday as the countdown continued. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution -- MAVEN -- will launch aboard an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Fla. The window for launch is 10:28 a.m. to 12:28 p.m. PST.  You can watch it live in the stream below.
NEWS
By Amy Hubbard | October 24, 2013
Using a laser, NASA has beamed data between the moon and Earth -- 239,000 miles -- at a record-shattering rate. The download rate that got NASA scientists so excited was 622 megabits per second.  We asked an expert to break it down, the Los Angeles Times reported. "This download rate is six times faster than the most recent state-of-the-art radio system from the moon," Don Cornwell, manager of the Lunar Laser Communication Demonstration told The Times by email on Wednesday.
NEWS
By Amina Khan | September 27, 2013
A series of discoveries from NASA's Curiosity rover are giving scientists a picture of Mars that looks increasingly complex, with small bits of water spread around the surface and an interior that could have been more geologically mature than experts had previously thought. Curiosity's formidable arsenal of scientific instruments has detected traces of water chemically bound to the Martian dust that seems to be covering the entire planet. The finding, among several in the five studies published online Thursday by the journal Science, may explain mysterious water signals picked up by satellites in orbit around the Red Planet, the Los Angeles Times reported . The soil that covers Mars' surface in Gale Crater, where Curiosity landed last year, seems to have two major components, according to data from the rover's laser-shooting Chemistry and Camera instrument.
NEWS
By Amina Khan | September 26, 2013
NASA engineers have built a device that uses radar to detect heartbeats in the rubble of collapsed buildings, with technology typically used to explore other planets. The FINDER device, developed with the Department of Homeland Security, could help search-and-rescue teams find survivors trapped underneath the wreckage - even when those victims can't call for help.  Identifying people who are still alive in a collapsed building is a major challenge for urban rescue missions, said Jim Lux, task manager at Jet Propulsion Laboratory for FINDER (short for Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response)
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