Monthly Archives: September 2012

Virtual Astronaut

The Virtual Astronaut (VA) is an interactive 3-D environment created using multi-source and multi-instrument data from orbital and landed missions. The VA, developed at the Geosciences Node of NASA’s Planetary Data System, allows the user to explore and view the Martian landscape as an astronaut cooperatively working with a rover, and to better understand and visualize the geomorphic and geologic contexts of Mars.

Live Video Webcast with Brooke Hsu

Join the MyMoon webcast on Wednesday, September 12 at 8 pm EDT for a discussion with Brooke Hsu about International Observe the Moon Night on Saturday, September 22.

Brooke Hsu serves as the Education and Public Outreach (E/PO) Lead for NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission. Brooke’s position as the LRO E/PO Lead has put her in contact with leading experts in the US lunar education community. Brooke leads the effort for International Observe the Moon Night on behalf of that lunar education community.

NASA Quest

It’s back-to-school time! NASA Quest is a fun and rich educational resource for educators, kids and space enthusiasts who are interested in meeting and learning about NASA people and the national space program. NASA Quest allows teachers, students, and the general public to share the excitement of NASA’s authentic scientific and engineering pursuits like working in the International Space Station, exploring distant planets with amazing spacecraft, and building the aircraft of the future. NASA Quest features:

Profiles of NASA experts and stories about their work days
Several live interactions with NASA experts per month
Audio/video programs over the Internet
Lesson plans and student activities
Collaborative activities in which kids work with one another
Background information and photo sections
A place where teachers can meet one another
A searchable Q&A area with over 3,000 previously asked questions
An e-mail service in which individual questions get answered
A calendar of events

Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin Issue 130 Now Available

The latest Lunar and Planetary Information Bulletin, issue 130, is now available.

Features in this issue include:
Feature article “Curiosity Gets the Better of Mars”

News From Space

Venus’ Transit and the Search for Other Worlds
NASA Lunar Spacecraft Completes Prime Mission Ahead of Schedule
NASA Spacecraft Reveals Ice Content in Moon Crater
Mars Spacecraft Detects Large Changes In Martian Sand Dunes
Dawn Mission Video Shows Vesta’s Coat of Many Colors
Cassini Shows Why Jet Streams Cross-Cut Saturn
Polar Vortex Churns on Titan
Cassini Finds Probable Subsurface Ocean on Titan
Data from Voyager 1 Point to Interstellar Future
Small Planets Don’t Need “Heavy Metal” Stars to Form

Meeting Highlights

Third International Conference on Early Mars
Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration
Third International Planetary Dunes Workshop
Comparative Climatology of Terrestrial Planets
Second Conference on the Lunar Highliands Crust

Resources for Researchers

Apollo Lunar Surface Experiment Package (ALSEP) Documents Available in Digital Format
LROC Feature Sites
3D Models of Future Lunar Landing Sites
A Compilation of Human Artifacts on the Moon
ADS Labs
USGS Meteor Crater Sample Collection

Spotlight on Education

Continuing the Year of the Solar System (YSS)
Mars for Earthlings GSA 2012 Workshop
Outer Planets Colloquium Series
Hasta La Vesta
International Observe the Moon Night (InOMN)
Eugene M. Shoemaker Impact Cratering Award
NOVA’s Finding Life Beyond Earth Collection
Discover Earth: Hands-On Science Activities

In Memoriam

John “Jack” McCauley
John Guest
James Ross Underwood Jr.
Forrest McCartney
Sally Ride
Neil Armstrong


Stuart Ross Taylor Receives 2012 Shoemaker Distinguished Lunar Scientist Award
Barringer Award Recipients Announced
John Glenn Selected for Presidential Medal of Freedom
NASA Announces 2012 Space Technology Research Fellowship Grants
NASA Announces 2012 Aeronautics Scholarship Recipients
NASA Administrator Receives Excellence in Public Service Award
President Honors NASA Scientists and Engineers
NASA Selects Innovative Museum Exhibits and Planetarium Shows
Future Female Explorers Hosted by NASA
NASA’s Social Media Team Receives Space Foundation Award
New NASA App 2.0 Released for iPhone, iPod Touch
NASA 3D App Gives Public Ability to Experience Robotic Space Travel
NASA History Now Available on iTunes U

New and Noteworthy

New products of interest to the community


Upcoming scientific conferences and workshops

Name that Asteroid!

The OSIRIS-REx mission is going to fly to an asteroid and bring back some pieces. Right now the asteroid’s name is 1999 RQ36, but students can do better! The Planetary Society, MIT’s Lincoln Laboratory, and the University of Arizona are asking students around the world to suggest names for the asteroid. Enter by December 2, 2012 to have a chance to name a piece of the solar system. Find out all about it.

Subscribe to the Planetary Exploration Newsletter

The Planetary Exploration Newsletter (PEN) provides an open conduit of news and announcements across the professional community of planetary science and related disciplines. It distributes messages from NASA officials, meeting announcements, job announcements, and submissions of news regarding or impacting solar system exploration, upcoming mission events, policy issues, and editorials. The PEN is distributed nominally once a week, although there are times when volume or events will require more frequent PEN distributions. The PEN website also hosts an extensive and up to date calendar for planetary meetings, conferences and workshops around the world.