Sunday July 22, 2018
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NASA to intensify focus on Earth’s frozen regions

Together the two missions will make critical, complementary measurements of Earth's glaciers and ice sheets, NASA said. Both missions will also make other key observations

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NASA to research more about Earth's frozen surfaces. IANS
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  • NASA to conduct more research about Earth’s frozen surfaces
  • It will enhance their understanding of Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, snow cover and permafrost
  • NASA will launch two new satellite missions for this purpose

To enhance understanding of Earth’s ice sheets, glaciers, sea ice, snow cover and permafrost, NASA will launch two new satellite missions and conduct an array of field research in 2018, the US space agency said on Tuesday.

These missions come at a time when decades of observations from the ground, air and space have revealed signs of change in these frozen regions of our planet, called the “cryosphere.”

NASA to release two missions focused on moon soon in 2022. Pixabay
NASA will conduct research by launching two new satellite missions. Pixabay

Ongoing changes with the cryosphere, while often occurring in remote regions, have impacts on people all around the world — sea level rise affects coastlines globally, more than a billion people rely on water from snowpack, and the diminishing sea ice that covers the Arctic Ocean plays a significant role in Earth’s climate and weather patterns.

This spring, NASA and the German Research Centre for Geosciences are scheduled to launch the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On (GRACE-FO) mission, twin satellites that will continue the original GRACE mission’s legacy of tracking fluctuations in Earth’s gravity field in order to detect changes in mass, including the mass of ice sheets and aquifers.

Also Read: Jupiter’s Great Red Spot grows taller: NASA

And in autumn, NASA is scheduled to launch the Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2), which will use a highly advanced laser instrument to measure the changing elevation of ice around the world, providing a view of the height of Earth’s ice with greater detail than previously possible.

This ice which was found can help scientists understand the climate history of Mars. IANS
It will also help scientists understand about Cryosphere. IANS

Together the two missions will make critical, complementary measurements of Earth’s glaciers and ice sheets, NASA said. Both missions will also make other key observations. For instance, GRACE-FO will measure groundwater reserves and deep ocean currents and ICESat-2 will measure sea ice thickness and vegetation height. NASA research shows that permafrost — permanently frozen ground in the Arctic that contains heat-trapping gases such as methane and carbon dioxide — is thawing at faster rates now than scientists have observed before. IANS

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NASA: No contact Made With Storm-Hit Mars Rover, Till Now

Because Opportunity runs on solar energy, scientists had to suspend science activities to preserve the rover's batteries.

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NASA
NASA said no response has been received from the rover as of July 18. Flickr

 NASA is yet to make contact with its Mars Opportunity Rover ever since a massive storm started on the Red Planet in June.

Based on the longevity of a 2001 global storm, NASA scientists estimate it may be September before the haze has cleared enough for Opportunity to power up and call home, the US space agency said this week.

Scientists first observed a smaller-scale dust storm on May 30. By June 20, it had gone global.

For the Opportunity rover, that meant a sudden drop in visibility from a clear, sunny day to that of an overcast one.

Because Opportunity runs on solar energy, scientists had to suspend science activities to preserve the rover’s batteries.

NASA said no response has been received from the rover as of July 18.

NASA
The nearly 15-year-old rover is not out of the woods yet as it could take weeks, or even months, for the dust to start settling. Pixabay

Luckily, all that dust acts as an atmospheric insulator, keeping nighttime temperatures from dropping down to lower than what Opportunity can handle.

But the nearly 15-year-old rover is not out of the woods yet as it could take weeks, or even months, for the dust to start settling.

When the skies begin to clear, Opportunity’s solar panels may be covered by a fine film of dust. That could delay a recovery of the rover as it gathers energy to recharge its batteries. A gust of wind would help, but is not a requirement for a full recovery, NASA said.

While the Opportunity team waits in earnest to hear from the rover, scientists on other Mars missions have gotten a rare chance to study this storm.

Also Read-Survival Of Mars Rover Is Under Threat Due To A sandstorm

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), Mars Odyssey, and Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) orbiters are all tailoring their observations of the Red Planet to study this global storm and learn more about Mars’ weather patterns.

Meanwhile, the Curiosity rover is studying the dust storm from the Martian surface, the US space agency added. (IANS)