Author Archives: Linda Chappell

Name New Features on Pluto Campaign Extended


The public has until Friday, April 24 to help name new features on Pluto and its orbiting satellites as they are discovered by NASA’s New Horizons mission. Announced in March, the agency wants to give the worldwide public more time to participate in the agency’s mission to Pluto that will make the first-ever close flyby of the dwarf planet on July 14. The campaign extension, in partnership with the International Astronomical Union (IAU) in Paris, was due to the overwhelming response from the public.

NASA’s Earth Day #NoPlaceLikeHome Project


This Earth Day, April 22, NASA is asking people around the world to share pictures and videos on social media that show there is no place like home – planet Earth. NASA’s Earth Day #NoPlaceLikeHome project seeks to get the public involved in highlighting the great diversity of the places, landscapes and ecosystems of our home planet. Participants are invited to post photos and videos that answer a simple question: What is your favorite place on Earth?

Vesta Trek


NASA has announced the release of Vesta Trek, a free, web-based application that provides detailed visualizations of Vesta, one of the largest asteroids in our solar system. Data gathered from multiple instruments aboard Dawn have been compiled into Vesta Trek’s user-friendly set of tools, enabling citizen scientists and students to study the asteroid’s features. The application includes interactive maps, 3-D printer-exportable topography, and standard keyboard gaming controls to maneuver a first-person visualization of “flying” across the surface of the asteroid.

Ask an Astronomer About the Lunar Eclipse on April 4


On Saturday morning, April 4, 2015, not long before sunrise, the bright full moon over North America should turn a lovely shade of celestial red during a total lunar eclipse. The lunar eclipse will be visible from all parts of the United States, and a telescope is not needed to view it– just find the Moon in the sky and enjoy. That morning, NASA astronomer Mitzi Adams will take questions via Twitter @NASA_Marshall. For Twitter questions, use the hashtag #eclipse2015. The question and answer via twitter will begin at 6 am EDT and continue through the end of the eclipse (approximately 8:00 am EDT).

Three Rovers Exhibit at National Air and Space Museum


If in the Washington DC area, check out the new “Three Rovers” exhibit at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM). Located in NASM’s Explore the Planets Gallery, the exhibit features full scale replicas of three generations of rovers that have successfully landed on Mars, including Curiosity, a Sojourner flight spare named the Marie Curie, and Opportunity.

Cosmic Explorations Lecture Registration Now Open


Registration is now open for the next Cosmic Explorations Speaker Series presentation. Dr. Britney Schmidt of the Georgia Institute of Technology will present “The Europa Report: A Report” on April 9 at 7:30 pm. This event is free and open to the public, but registration is required to attend. Join us at the LPI for this educational and entertaining event.