Tag: NASA

Second ‘Great Spot’ found at Jupiter, cold and high up

BY MARCIA DUNN CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Another “Great Spot” has been found at Jupiter, this one cold and high up. Scientists reported Tuesday that the dark expanse is 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) across and 7,500 miles (12,000 kilometers) wide. It’s in the upper atmosphere and much cooler than the hot surroundings, thus the name Great Cold Spot. And unlike the giant planet’s familiar Great Red Spot, this newly discovered weather system is continually changing in shape and size. It’s formed by the energy from Jupiter’s polar auroras. A British-led team used a telescope in Chile to chart...

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Jupiter extra close, extra bright this week

BY MARCIA DUNN CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Jupiter is extra close and extra bright this week, and that means some amazing, new close-ups. The Hubble Space Telescope zoomed in on the solar system giant Monday, and NASA released the pictures Thursday. Jupiter was a relatively close 415 million miles (668 million kilometers) away. The planet’s Great Red Spot is especially vivid. It’s a storm big enough to swallow Earth, but is mysteriously shrinking. Hubble’s ongoing observations may help explain why. Also visible in the photos is Red Spot Jr. On Friday, Jupiter will be in opposition. That’s when...

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Spacewalkers lose piece of shielding, use patch instead

BY MARCIA DUNN CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Spacewalking astronauts carried out an impromptu patch job outside the International Space Station on Thursday, after losing a vital piece of cloth shielding when it floated away. As the drama unfolded, Peggy Whitson set a record for the most spacewalks by a woman – eight – and the most accumulated time spent spacewalking – just over 53 hours. The bundled-up shield somehow came loose as Whitson and Shane Kimbrough worked to install micrometeorite protection over a spot left exposed when a new docking port was relocated. Mission Control monitored the shield...

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Spacewalking astronauts prep station for new parking spot

BY MARCIA DUNN CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — Spacewalking astronauts prepped the International Space Station on Friday for a new parking spot reserved for commercial crew capsules. The 250-mile-high complex already has one docking port in place for the SpaceX Crew Dragon and Boeing Starliner, which should start carrying up astronauts as early as next year. Friday’s spacewalk set the stage for a second docking location. A new docking device will fly up late this year or early next. NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough disconnected all four cables from an old docking port, using some extra force on one. He...

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Trump signs bill authorizing NASA funding, Mars exploration

BY DARLENE SUPERVILLE WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump signed a bill into law Tuesday that updates NASA’s mission to add exploration of Mars and authorizes $19.5 billion in spending for the U.S. space agency for the current budget year. It’s the first time in seven years that there has been an authorization bill for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, also known as NASA, said Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, a chief sponsor of the bill. Cruz joined several astronauts and other lawmakers in the Oval Office to watch Trump sign the bill. Last week, Trump sent Congress a...

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