UpFront

Curiosity Update

For the first time, NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity used the camera on its arm to take photos at night, illuminated by white lights and ultraviolet lights on the instrument. The purpose of acquiring observations under ultraviolet illumination was to look for fluorescent minerals. Watch Tech Briefs TV for the latest videos of the mission at www.techbriefs.com/tv/mars. Keep up with Curiosity at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/.

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App of the Month: GRAIL Mission App

NASA’s GRAIL mission is comprised of a pair of mirror-identical spacecraft to the Earth’s Moon to perform precision gravity measurements. This app describes the science of the GRAIL Mission, and features daily mission news updates, images of the spacecraft, videos, and a countdown timer to launch. Download the free app for iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad at https://itunes.apple.com/app/grail/id459858462?mt=8.

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NASA Foam Spans Space and Industry

Two thermal insulation systems developed at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) may have applications for future exploration programs and the commercial world. Layered composite insulation (LCI), and the foam-aerogel composite material known as AeroFoam, are patented technologies. Recently, exclusive research licenses for these technologies were granted to Flexure LLC, which sees numerous applications and industry cross - overs, particularly in transportation and construction.

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Groundbreaking Air Cleaner Removes VOCs

Industries across Europe are threatened as European Union emission rules for Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are tightened. Now an aircleaning invention from the University of Copenhagen has proven its ability to remove these compounds. Atmospheric chemist Matthew Johnson invented and patented the air-cleaning method that is based on the natural ability of the Earth’s atmosphere to clean itself. In a process triggered by sunlight, polluting gasses rising into the sky start forming particles when they come across naturally occurring compounds such as ozone. The newly formed particles are washed out of the atmosphere by rain. Once the rain hits the ground, the atmosphere is clean again.

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Curiosity Update

The NASA Mars rover Curiosity recently drove within a shallow depression called “Yellowknife Bay,” providing information to help researchers choose a rock to drill. Using Curiosity’s percussive drill to collect a sample from the interior of a rock, a feat never before attempted on Mars, is the mission’s priority for early 2013. Yellowknife Bay is within a different type of terrain from what the rover has traversed since landing last August. Watch Tech Briefs TV for the latest videos of the mission at www.techbriefs.com/tv/mars. Keep up with Curiosity at http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl.

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App of the Month: NASA Earth As Art

Earth-observing environmental satellites have provided invaluable in formation, and the vantage point of space has provided new perspectives on Earth. This app celebrates Earth’s aesthetic beauty in the patterns, shapes, colors, and textures of the land, oceans, ice, and atmosphere. The app features stunning images of Earth from satellites, and draws on several images from the USGS Landsat image gallery while also introducing many new images. Download the iPad app at www.nasa.gov/connect/ebooks/earth_art_detail.html.

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Zapping Deadly Bacteria Using Space Technology

Using plasma — electrically charged gas — Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics director Gregor Morfill is developing ways to kill bacteria and viruses that can cause infections in hospitals. The research began on the International Space Station in 2001.

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