Denver -- The U.S. space agency is exhibiting a lunar robot rover equipped with a drill, designed to find water and oxygen-rich soil on the moon.
The robot, designed to explore the moon's craters, is being demonstrated in Denver this week during the third Space Exploration Conference.
The rover must operate in continual darkness in extremely cold conditions with little power, NASA said, noting lunar soil -- known as regolith -- is abrasive and compact, so any ice the rover encounters would likely have the consistency of concrete.
Engineers demonstrated a drill capable of digging samples of regolith last year. That demonstration used a laser light camera to select a site for drilling, then commanded the four-wheeled rover to lower the drill and collect three-foot samples of soil and rock.
Washington -- The U.S. space agency has obtained the highest-resolution terrain mapping to date of a possible landing site at the moon's south polar region.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said the new images, containing a resolution to about 66 feet per pixel, were obtained using the Goldstone Solar System Radar located in California's Mojave Desert.
NASA said the imagery has been incorporated into animation depicting the descent to the lunar surface of a future human lunar lander and a flyover of Shackleton Crater.
The data indicates Shackleton Crater is much more rugged than previously understood, NASA said, noting the crater's rim area is considered a candidate landing site for a future human mission to the moon.
Doug Cooke, deputy associate administrator for NASA's exploration systems mission directorate, said the imagery shows the lunar south pole has peaks as high as Mount McKinley and crater floors four times deeper than the Grand Canyon.
Daytona Beach, Fla. -- The National Aeronautics and Space Administration presented its highest honor for quality and technical performance to four U.S. companies.
NASA's George M. Low Award, given in recognition of innovative management, process quality and customer service, was presented Tuesday during the space agency's fifth annual Project Management Challenge Conference in Daytona Beach, Fla.
The winners, each receiving a trophy with a medallion alloyed with material flown to the moon on Apollo 11, were Lockheed Martin Mission Services of Houston; Sierra Lobo Inc. of Milan, Ohio; Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne Inc. of Canoga Park, Calif.; and the ASRC Aerospace Corp. of Cape Canaveral, Fla..
The award is named for George M. Low, NASA's deputy administrator from 1969-76 and a leader in the early development of U.S. space programs.
Washington -- The U.S. space agency and the Northrop Grumman Corp. signed an agreement to develop systems to explore life and climate on Earth and other planets.
Researchers from Grumman's electronic systems division and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Goddard Space Flight Center are to collaborate in developing advanced civil radar system architectures that can be leveraged into new space-based remote sensing instruments.
The new systems are expected to revolutionize the study of other planets and to provide a leap forward in helping scientists understand climate change and the carbon cycle on Earth, officials said.
"The current state of the art for measuring carbon biomass in forests involves measuring tree-trunk diameters with tape measures," said Peter Hildebrand, Goddard's lead investigator for the project. "Since forests are huge, we obviously have a sampling problem.
Washington-- The U.S. space agency has issued a draft environmental assessment on potential impacts resulting from the space shuttle's retirement in 2010.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's assessment concludes that, because of the use of shuttle components and facilities by that program's successor, the Constellation project, potential environmental impacts from disposing of the shuttle program's property will be minimal to moderate, depending on the property disposition method.
Federal law requires agencies to consider the potential environmental consequences of their proposed actions before deciding whether and how to proceed.
Options for disposal of property include reuse by other NASA programs, storing for future NASA use, demolition or release to the General Services Administration for disposition.
WASHINGTON, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- The U.S. space agency has named John Shannon as its new space shuttle program manager.
Shannon succeeds N. Wayne Hale Jr., who becomes the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's deputy associate administrator for strategic partnerships. Shannon has been Hale's deputy since November 2005.
Hale has served as the manager of the space shuttle program since September 2005. In his new position, he will work in Houston as a senior NASA official in the space operations directorate, creating public and private sector alliances with the space agency, NASA said.
As the manager of the shuttle program, Shannon will be responsible for overall management, integration and operations. He began his NASA career as a flight control officer in 1988.
Tokyo -- Japan says a satellite launched into orbit Saturday could deliver Internet service many times faster than cable or DSL.
The WINDS satellite was launched aboard a rocket in a joint venture between the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, or JAXA, and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, CNN reported.
The satellite will test new technology that aims to deliver "super high-speed Internet" service around the world, said a statement from JAXA.
Initially, subscribers with small dishes in the Asia-Pacific region close to Japan would connect to the Internet through the satellite, CNN reported.
"Among other uses, this will make possible great advances in telemedicine, which will bring high-quality medical treatment to remote areas, and in distance education, connecting students and teachers separated by great distances," the statement said.
Honolulu -- China accused the United States of double standards Thursday after the U.S. Navy destroyed a dying spy satellite before it fell to Earth.
The People's Daily newspaper was critical of the mission, accusing the U.S. government of trying to win a military advantage in space, while criticizing other nations for their space ambitions, the Financial Times reported.
The Financial Times said the United States rejected suggestions it was using the failed satellite as an excuse to conduct an anti-satellite weapons test. The United States was sharply critical of China last year for destroying an aging weather satellite in space without providing advance notice.
Greenbelt, Md. -- A U.S. space agency study has confirmed the surface temperature of Greenland's massive ice sheet has been rising, stoked by increasing air temperatures.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration scientists used satellite technologies to explore the behavior of the ice sheet, revealing a relationship between changes occurring at the surface and those below.
"The relationship between surface temperature and mass loss lends further credence to earlier work showing rapid response of the ice sheet to surface meltwater," said Dorothy Hall, a senior researcher in cryospheric sciences at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and lead author of the study.
The scientists said they found the paired surface temperature and gravity data confirm a strong connection between surface melting in areas below 6,500 feet in elevation, and ice loss throughout the ice sheet's giant mass.
Cape Canaveral, Fla. -- The U.S. space agency has revised the date of the launch of space shuttle Discovery, targeting May 25 at 7:26 p.m. EDT for liftoff of the STS-124 mission.
The flight originally was targeted for an April 24 launch, but fuel sensor system repair work on STS-122 and STS-123 delayed final preparations of Discovery's external fuel tank, NASA said.
Officials also noted the shuttle cannot undertake a mission to the International Space Station May 7-25 because the angle of the sun with respect to the plane of the station's orbit is too high to generate sufficient solar power for the mission.
NASA said Discovery's revised launch date will not affect the remainder of the shuttle manifest. During the mission, the shuttle's seven-member crew will deliver the pressurized module and the robotic arm of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's Kibo laboratory.
Cape Canaveral, Fla. -- The first stage of the Delta II rocket to be used to launch the Gamma-Ray Large Area Space Telescope, or GLAST, has arrived at Cape Canaveral, Fla.
GLAST will explore the most extreme environments in the universe, where nature harnesses energies far beyond anything possible on Earth, said Kevin Grady, the GLAST project manager. He said the telescope will be used to search for signs of new laws of physics and what composes the mysterious dark matter, explain how black holes accelerate immense jets of material to nearly light speed and help solve the mysteries of the enormously powerful explosions known as gamma-ray bursts.
GLAST is to be launched May 16 from the Kennedy Space Center.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration plans to rename the observatory and has invited the public to submit name suggestions that can be an acronym but it isn't a requirement. The suggestions can be submitted through March 31 at http://glast.sonoma.edu/glastname.
Washington -- The U.S. space agency has selected the Orbital Sciences Corp. of Dulles, Va., to develop and demonstrate commercial orbital transportation services.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration said such services might open new markets and pave the way for contracts to launch and deliver crew and cargo to the International Space Station.
NASA and Orbital Sciences signed a contract under the Commercial Orbital
Transportation Services Project, known as COTS. Orbital will receive approximately $170 million in federal funds to supplement its privately funded efforts.
Through COTS, NASA said it is helping U.S. private industry develop reliable, cost- effective access to low Earth orbit. The intent is to create a market environment in which commercial space transportation services are available to government and private sector customers.
Disclaimer: The views and investment tips expressed by investment experts on themoneytimes.com are their own, and not that of the website or its management. TheMoneyTimes advises users to check with certified experts before taking any investment decision.