NASA satellite data are giving scientists insight into how large-scale deforestation in the Amazon Basin in South America is affecting regional climate. Researchers found during the Amazon dry season last August, there was a distinct pattern of higher rainfall and warmer temperatures over deforested regions.

According to researchers, “The effects here are rather subtle and appear to be limited to the dry season. The overall effect of this deforestation on annual and daily rainfall cycles is probably small and requires more study,” Future research will use numerical models for investigating the linkage between deforested land surface and the cloud-precipitation components of the water cycle.
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Perspective view of Melas Chasma

On 2 May 2004, the High-Resolution Stereo Camera (HRSC) on board the ESA Mars Express spacecraft obtained images from the central area of the Mars canyon called Valles Marineris. The images were taken at a resolution of approximately 16 metres per pixel. The displayed region is located at the southern rim of the Melas Chasma at Mars latitude 12°S and Mars longitude 285°E. The images were taken on orbit 360 of Mars Express.

This perspective view was created by using the stereo channels of the HRSC to produce a digital model of the terrain.

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NASA’s Mars Opportunity rover began its latest adventure today inside the martian crater informally called Endurance. Opportunity will roll in with all six wheels, then back out to the rim to check traction by looking at its own track marks.

“We’re going in, but we’re doing it cautiously,” said Jim Erickson, deputy project manager for the Mars Exploration Rovers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Pasadena, Calif. Barring any surprises, Opportunity will enter the stadium-sized crater Wednesday for two to three weeks of scientific studies.
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The crewmembers aboard the International Space Station (ISS) are busy getting ready for their spacewalk this month to replace a faulty circuit breaker. They also spent this week unpacking a Russian resupply spacecraft.

Gennady Padalka, Expedition 9 commander, and Mike Fincke, the NASA ISS science officer and flight engineer, spent several days unloading about 2.5 tons of food, water, spare parts and supplies. The supplies were on board the Progress spacecraft that docked to the aft end of the Zvezda Service Module at 9:55 a.m. EDT May 27. Flight controllers will transfer fuel from the Progress tanks to the ISS Russian modules.
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NASA has decided the potential science value gained by sending Opportunity into a martian impact crater likely outweighs the risk of the intrepid explorer not being able to get back out.

Opportunity has been examining the rim of stadium-sized “Endurance” crater since late May. The rover team used observations of the depression to evaluate potential science benefits of entering the crater and the traversability of its inner slopes.
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Students from nine states are taking their quest for exploration to new levels, as they launch school science experiments aboard a NASA suborbital rocket on June 9.

The single stage rocket will carry the experiments nearly 27 miles above the Earth. During the flight the experiments will be exposed to the rigors of space including temperature changes, radiation exposure and forces 15 times greater than Earth’s gravity.
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NASA’s Centennial Challenges program will feature prominent speakers and panelists during its inaugural workshop, June 15 and 16, at the Hilton Hotel, Washington.

Centennial Challenges is a new NASA prize competition program designed to tap the nation’s ingenuity to make revolutionary advances to support the Vision for Space Exploration and NASA goals. The 2004 Centennial Challenges Workshop is also an opportunity for potential participants to provide input to NASA about future competitions.
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