Ames 75th Anniversary Living Museum

In partnership with our neighbors in Mountain View and Sunnyvale, the people of NASA Ames will display items from the center's past and present in a "living museum." Please stop by during business hours in the month of July 2014 to learn more about the excitement building in your community and in the outer reaches of space.

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67th CW welcomes new commander

The 67th Cyberspace Wing welcomed a new commander June 20 during a ceremony at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas.

Col. David W. Snoddy assumed command from Col. William J. Poirier, who led the unit since July 10, 2012.

The 67th CW operates, manages and defends Air Force networks around the world. In addition, the wing provides network operations and network warfare capabilities to Air Force, joint task force and combatant commanders.

Maj. Gen. J. Kevin McLaughlin, 24th Air Force commander, officiated the ceremony.

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NASA’s Commercial Crew Partners Focus on Testing, Analysis to Advance Designs

NASA’s aerospace industry partners are taking their designs and operational plans for the agency’s Commercial Crew Program (CCP) through a series of comprehensive tests, evaluations and review boards this summer as they move through important milestones – all with an eye on launching people into orbit from American soil by 2017.

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Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 Satellite at Launch Pad

The upper levels of the launch gantry, surrounding the United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket with the Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO-2) satellite onboard, are seen at Space Launch Complex 2, Sunday, June 29, 2014, Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. OCO-2 will measure the global distribution of carbon dioxide, the leading human-produced greenhouse gas driving changes in Earth’s climate. OCO-2 is scheduled to launch on July 1 at 5:56 a.m. EDT, 2:56 a.m. PDT. > About OCO-2 Image Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

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First detection of water vapour

Even when it is still about half way between Jupiter and Mars, some 583 million kilometres from the Sun, comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko is losing the equivalent of two 150 ml glasses of water a second (roughly the size of the plastic cups in vending machines and water coolers). At this rate, the comet would fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool in about 100 days. But, as the comet gets closer to the Sun, the water vapour production rate will increase significantly.

The observations were made on 6 June 2014 by Rosetta's MIRO microwave instrument, some 350 000 km from the comet.

The comet nucleus in this image is an artist impression.

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Saturn’s shadows

It may seem odd to think of planets casting shadows out in the inky blackness of space, but it is a common phenomenon. Earth’s shadow obscures the Moon during a lunar eclipse, and Jupiter’s moons cast small shadows onto their parent planet.  

One of the best places in our Solar System to spot intriguing and beautiful celestial shadows is at Saturn. On 1 July, the international Cassini mission celebrates 10 years of exploring Saturn, its rings and its moons, an endeavour that has produced invaluable science but also stunning images like this.

Drifting along in the foreground, small and serene, is Saturn’s icy moon Mimas. The blue backdrop may at first appear to be the gas giant’s famous and impressive set of rings, with pale and dark regions separated by long inky black slashes, but it is actually the northern hemisphere of Saturn itself. The dark lines slicing across the frame are shadows cast by the rings onto the planet.

Although we may not associate the colour blue with Saturn, when Cassini arrived at the planet the northernmost regions displayed the delicate blue palette shown in this image. As this region of Saturn is generally quite free of cloud, scattering by molecules in the atmosphere causes sunlight to take a longer path through the atmosphere. The light is scattered predominantly at shorter – bluer – wavelengths. This is similar to why the sky on Earth appears blue to our eyes.

Seasonal changes over the years since this photo was taken have turned the blue into Saturn's more familiar golden hue. The reverse is occurring in the south, which is slowly becoming bluer.

This image is composed of infrared, optical and ultraviolet observations from Cassini’s narrow-angle camera on 18 January 2005. The colours closely match what the scene would look like in true colour.

The Cassini–Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, ESA and Italy’s ASI space agency.

This image was first published on the NASA Cassini website, in 2005.

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