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    • By NASA
      4 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      This image shows an aviation version of a smartphone navigation app that makes suggestions for an aircraft to fly an alternate, more efficient route. The new trajectories are based on information available from NASA’s Digital Information Platform and processed by the Collaborative Departure Digital Rerouting tool.NASA Just like your smartphone navigation app can instantly analyze information from many sources to suggest the best route to follow, a NASA-developed resource is now making data available to help the aviation industry do the same thing.
      To assist air traffic managers in keeping airplanes moving efficiently through the skies, information about weather, potential delays, and more is being gathered and processed to support decision making tools for a variety of aviation applications.
      Appropriately named the Digital Information Platform (DIP), this living database hosts key data gathered by flight participants such as airlines or drone operators. It will help power additional tools that, among other benefits, can save you travel time.
      Ultimately, the aviation industry… and even the flying public, will benefit from what we develop.
      Swati Saxena
      NASA Aerospace Engineer
      “Through DIP we’re also demonstrating how to deliver digital services for aviation users via a modern cloud-based, service-oriented architecture,” said Swati Saxena, DIP project manager at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
      The intent is not to compete with others. Instead, the hope is that industry will see DIP as a reference they can use in developing and implementing their own platforms and digital services.
      “Ultimately, the aviation industry – the Federal Aviation Administration, commercial airlines, flight operators, and even the flying public – will benefit from what we develop,” Saxena said.
      The platform and digital services have even more benefits than just saving some time on a journey.
      For example, NASA recently collaborated with airlines to demonstrate a traffic management tool that improved traffic flow at select airports, saving thousands of pounds of jet fuel and significantly reducing carbon emissions.
      Now, much of the data gathered in collaboration with airlines and integrated on the platform is publicly available. Users who qualify can create a guest account and access DIP data at a new website created by the project.
      It’s all part of NASA’s vision for 21st century aviation involving revolutionary next-generation future airspace and safety tools.
      Managing Future Air Traffic
      During the 2030s and beyond, the skies above the United States are expected to become much busier.
      Facing this rising demand, the current National Airspace System – the network of U.S. aviation infrastructure including airports, air navigation facilities, and communications – will be challenged to keep up. DIP represents a key piece of solving that challenge.
      NASA’s vision for future airspace and safety involves new technology to create a highly automated, safe, and scalable environment.
      What this vision looks like is a flight environment where many types of vehicles and their pilots, as well as air traffic managers, use state-of-the-art automated tools and systems that provide highly detailed and curated information.
      These tools leverage new capabilities like machine learning and artificial intelligence to streamline efficiency and handle the increase in traffic expected in the coming decades.
      Digital Services Ecosystem in Action
      To begin implementing this new vision, our aeronautical innovators are evaluating their platform, DIP, and services at several airports in Texas. This initial stage is a building block for larger such demonstrations in the future.
      “These digital services are being used in the live operational environment by our airline partners to improve efficiency of the current airspace operations,” Saxena said. “The tools are currently in use in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and will be deployed in the Houston airspace in 2025.”
      The results from these digital tools are already making a difference.
      Proven Air Traffic Results
      During 2022, a NASA machine learning-based tool named Collaborative Digital Departure Rerouting, designed to improve the flow of air traffic and prevent flight delays, saved more than 24,000 lbs. (10,886 kg.) of fuel by streamlining air traffic in the Dallas area.
      If such tools were used across the entire country, the improvements made in efficiency, safety, and sustainability would make a notable difference to the flying public and industry.
      “Continued agreements with airlines and the aviation industry led to the creation and expansion of this partnership ecosystem,” Saxena said. “There have been benefits across the board.”
      DIP was developed under NASA’s Airspace Operations and Safety Program.
      Learn about NASA’s Collaborative Digital Departure Rerouting tool and how it uses information from the Digital Information Platform to provide airlines with routing options similar to how drivers navigate using cellphone apps. About the Author
      John Gould
      Aeronautics Research Mission DirectorateJohn Gould is a member of NASA Aeronautics' Strategic Communications team at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. He is dedicated to public service and NASA’s leading role in scientific exploration. Prior to working for NASA Aeronautics, he was a spaceflight historian and writer, having a lifelong passion for space and aviation.
      Facebook logo @NASA@NASAaero@NASA_es @NASA@NASAaero@NASA_es Instagram logo @NASA@NASAaero@NASA_es Linkedin logo @NASA Explore More
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      Last Updated Jul 12, 2024 EditorJim BankeContactJim Bankejim.banke@nasa.gov Related Terms
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    • By NASA
      Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin poses for a photograph beside the deployed United States flag during an Apollo 11 moonwalk on July 20, 1969. The Lunar Module is on the left, and the footprints of the astronauts are clearly visible in the soil of the moon.Credit: NASA As the agency explores more of the Moon than ever before under the Artemis campaign, NASA will celebrate the 55th anniversary of the first astronauts landing on the Moon through a variety of in-person, virtual, and engagement activities nationwide between Monday, July 15, and Thursday, July 25.
      Events will honor America’s vision and technology that enabled the Apollo 11 crewed lunar landing on July 20, 1969, as well as Apollo-era inventions and techniques that spread into public life, many of which are still in use today. Activities also will highlight NASA’s Artemis campaign, which includes landing the first woman, first person of color, and first international astronaut on the Moon, inspiring great achievements, exploration, and scientific discovery for the benefit of all.
      NASA’s subject matter experts are available for a limited number of interviews about the anniversary. To request an interview virtually or in person, contact Jessica Taveau in the newsroom: jessica.c.taveau@nasa.gov.
      During the week of July 15, the agency also will share the iconic bootprint image and the significance of Apollo 11 to NASA’s mission, as well as use the #Apollo11 hashtag, across its digital platforms online.
      Additional activities from NASA include:
      Monday, July 15 and Tuesday, July 16, NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana: NASA will host the rollout of the agency’s Artemis II SLS (Space Launch System) core stage. Friday, July 19, NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston: In a dedication and ribbon cutting, the center will name its building 12 the ‘Dorothy Vaughan Center in Honor of the Women of Apollo.’ Vaughan was a mathematician, computer programmer, and NASA’s first Black manager. Sunday, July 21, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland: NASA Goddard will host a model rocket contest conducted by the National Association of Rocketry Headquarters Astro Modeling Section. This free contest is open to all model rocketeers and the public.  Other activities include:
      Tuesday, July 16 through Wednesday, July 24, Space Center Houston: The center will host pop-up science labs, mission briefings, special tram tours that feature the Mission Control Center at NASA Johnson, and more. Friday, July 19 through Saturday, July 20, National Cathedral in Washington: The cathedral will host a festival marking the 50th anniversary of its Space Window, which contains a piece of lunar rock that was donated by NASA and the crew of Apollo 11. Thursday, July 25, San Diego Comic-Con: NASA representatives will participate in a panel entitled ‘Exploring the Moon: the Artemis Generation.’ Panelists are:Stan Love, NASA astronaut A.C. Charania, NASA chief technologist Dionne Hernandez-Lugo, NASA’s Gateway Program Jackelynne Silva-Martinez, NASA Human Health and Performance For more details about NASA’s Apollo Program, please visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/the-apollo-program
      -end-
      Cheryl Warner / Jessica Taveau
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-356-1600
      cheryl.m.warner@nasa.gov / jessica.c.taveau@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Jul 12, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
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    • By Space Force
      Air Marshal Paul Godfrey took the position June 17 and will serve the U.S. Space Force as assistant chief of Space Operations for Future Concepts and Partnerships after three years as the first commander of the U.K. Space Command.

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    • By NASA
      5 Min Read NASA’s Hubble Traces Dark Matter in Dwarf Galaxy Using Stellar Motions
      This NASA Hubble Space Telescope image reveals a section of the Draco dwarf galaxy. Credits:
      NASA, ESA, Eduardo Vitral, Roeland van der Marel, and Sangmo Tony Sohn (STScI); Image processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI) The qualities and behavior of dark matter, the invisible “glue” of the universe, continue to be shrouded in mystery. Though galaxies are mostly made of dark matter, understanding how it is distributed within a galaxy offers clues to what this substance is, and how it’s relevant to a galaxy’s evolution.
      While computer simulations suggest dark matter should pile up in a galaxy’s center, called a density cusp, many previous telescopic observations have indicated that it is instead more evenly dispersed throughout a galaxy. The reason for this tension between model and observation continues to puzzle astronomers, reinforcing the mystery of dark matter.
      A team of astronomers has turned toward NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to try and clarify this debate by measuring the dynamic motions of stars within the Draco dwarf galaxy, a system located roughly 250,000 light-years from Earth. Using observations that spanned 18 years, they succeeded in building the most accurate three-dimensional understanding of stars’ movements within the diminutive galaxy. This required scouring nearly two decades of Hubble archival observations of the Draco galaxy.
      A team of astronomers analyzed observations by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope taken over a span of 18 years to measure the dynamic motions of stars within the Draco dwarf galaxy. The telescope’s extensive baseline and data archive enabled the team to build the most accurate three-dimensional map of the stars’ movements within the system. These improved measurements are helping to shed “light” on the mysterious qualities and behavior of dark matter, the universe’s invisible “glue.” The left image is from the Digitized Sky Survey (DSS). It presents a wider view of the region. The two right-side images are Hubble views. NASA, ESA, Eduardo Vitral, Roeland van der Marel, and Sangmo Tony Sohn (STScI), DSS; Image processing: Joseph DePasquale (STScI)
      Download this image

      “Our models tend to agree more with a cusp-like structure, which aligns with cosmological models,” said Eduardo Vitral of the Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore and lead author of the study. “While we cannot definitively say all galaxies contain a cusp-like dark matter distribution, it’s exciting to have such well measured data that surpasses anything we’ve had before.”
      Charting the Movements of Stars
      To learn about dark matter within a galaxy, scientists can look to its stars and their movements that are dominated by the pull of dark matter. A common approach to measure the speed of objects moving in space is by the Doppler Effect – an observed change of the wavelength of light if a star is approaching or receding from Earth. Although this line-of-sight velocity can provide valuable insight, only so much can be gleaned from this one-dimensional source of information.
      Besides moving closer or further away from us, stars also move across the sky, measured as their proper motion. By combining line-of-sight velocity with proper motions, the team created an unprecedented analysis of the stars’ 3D movements.
      “Improvements in data and improvements in modeling usually go hand in hand,” explained Roeland van der Marel of STScI, a co-author of the paper who initiated the study more than 10 years ago. “If you don’t have very sophisticated data or only one-dimensional data, then relatively straightforward models can often fit. The more dimensions and complexity of data you gather, the more complex your models need to be to truly capture all the subtleties of the data.”
      A Scientific Marathon (Not a Sprint)
      Since dwarf galaxies are known to have a higher proportion of dark matter content than other types of galaxies, the team honed in on the Draco dwarf galaxy, which is a relatively small and spheroidal nearby satellite of the Milky Way galaxy.
      “When measuring proper motions, you note the position of a star at one epoch and then many years later measure the position of that same star. You measure the displacement to determine how much it moved,” explained Sangmo Tony Sohn of STScI, another co-author of the paper and the principal investigator of the latest observational program. “For this kind of observation, the longer you wait, the better you can measure the stars shifting.”
      The team analyzed a series of epochs spanning from 2004 to 2022, an extensive baseline that only Hubble could offer, due to the combination of its sharp stable vision and record time in operation. The telescope’s rich data archive helped decrease the level of uncertainty in the measurement of the stars’ proper motions. The precision is equivalent to measuring an annual shift a little less than the width of a golf ball as seen on the Moon from Earth.
      With three dimensions of data, the team reduced the amount of assumptions applied in previous studies and considered characteristics specific to the galaxy – such as its rotation, and distribution of its stars and dark matter – in their own modeling efforts.
      An Exciting Future
      The methodologies and models developed for the Draco dwarf galaxy can be applied to other galaxies in the future. The team is already analyzing Hubble observations of the Sculptor dwarf galaxy and the Ursa Minor dwarf galaxy.
      Studying dark matter requires observing different galactic environments, and also entails collaboration across different space telescope missions. For example, NASA’s upcoming Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will help reveal new details of dark matter’s properties among different galaxies thanks to its ability to survey large swaths of the sky.
      “This kind of study is a long-term investment and requires a lot of patience,” reflected Vitral. “We’re able to do this science because of all the planning that was done throughout the years to actually gather these data. The insights we’ve collected are the result of a larger group of researchers that has been working on these things for many years.”
      These results are accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal.
      The Hubble Space Telescope has been operating for over three decades and continues to make ground-breaking discoveries that shape our fundamental understanding of the universe. Hubble is a project of international cooperation between NASA and ESA (European Space Agency). NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages the telescope and mission operations. Lockheed Martin Space, based in Denver, Colorado, also supports mission operations at Goddard. The Space Telescope Science Institute (STScI) in Baltimore, Maryland, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, conducts Hubble science operations for NASA.
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      All image products for this article

      Facebook logo @NASAHubble @NASAHubble Instagram logo @NASAHubble Media Contacts:
      Claire Andreoli
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD
      claire.andreoli@nasa.gov
      Abigail Major and Ray Villard
      Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD
      Science Contacts:
      Eduardo Vitral, Roeland van der Marel, and Sangmo Tony Sohn
      Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD
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      Last Updated Jul 11, 2024 Editor Andrea Gianopoulos Location NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Related Terms
      Astrophysics Astrophysics Division Dark Matter Dark Matter & Dark Energy Goddard Space Flight Center Hubble Space Telescope Missions The Universe Keep Exploring Discover More Topics From NASA
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      Since its 1990 launch, the Hubble Space Telescope has changed our fundamental understanding of the universe.


      Shining a Light on Dark Matter



      Dark Matter & Dark Energy



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    • By NASA
      5 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      An aerial view of Palmyra Atoll, where animal tracking data now being studied by NASA’s Internet of Animals project was collected using wildlife tags by partners at The Nature Conservancy, the U.S. Geological Survey, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and several universities.The Nature Conservancy/Kydd Pollock Anchoring the boat in a sandbar, research scientist Morgan Gilmour steps into the shallows and is immediately surrounded by sharks. The warm waters around the tropical island act as a reef shark nursery, and these baby biters are curious about the newcomer. They zoom close and veer away at the last minute, as Gilmour slowly makes her way toward the kaleidoscope of green sprouting from the island ahead.
      Gilmour, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, conducts marine ecology and conservation studies using data collected by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) from animals equipped with wildlife tags. Palmyra Atoll, a United States marine protected area, provides the perfect venue for this work.
      A juvenile blacktip reef shark swims toward researchers in the shallow waters around Palmyra Atoll.The Nature Conservancy/Kydd Pollock A collection of roughly 50 small islands in the tropical heart of the Pacific Ocean, the atoll is bursting with life of all kinds, from the reef sharks and manta rays circling the shoreline to the coconut crabs climbing palm branches and the thousands of seabirds swooping overhead. By analyzing the movements of dolphins, tuna, and other creatures, Gilmour and her collaborators can help assess whether the boundaries of the marine protected area surrounding the atoll actually protect the species they intend to, or if its limits need to shift.
      Launched in 2020 by The Nature Conservancy and its partners – USGS, NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), and several universities – the project team deployed wildlife tags at Palmyra in 2022, when Gilmour was a scientist with USGS.
      Now with NASA, she is leveraging the data for a study under the agency’s Internet of Animals project. By combining information transmitted from wildlife tags with information about the planet collected by satellites – such as NASA’s Aqua, NOAA’s GOES (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite) satellites, and the U.S.-European Jason-3 – scientists can work with partners to draw conclusions that inform ecological management.
      The Palmyra Atoll is a haven for biodiversity, boasting thriving coral reef systems, shallow waters that act as a shark nursery, and rich vegetation for various land animals and seabirds. In the Landsat image above, a small white square marks the research station, where scientists from all over the world come to study the many species that call the atoll home.NASA/Earth Observatory Team “Internet of Animals is more than just an individual collection of movements or individual studies; it’s a way to understand the Earth at large,” said Ryan Pavlick, then Internet of Animals project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, during the project’s kickoff event.

      The Internet of Animals at Palmyra

      “Our work at Palmyra was remarkably comprehensive,” said Gilmour. “We tracked the movements of eight species at once, plus their environmental conditions, and we integrated climate projections to understand how their habitat may change. Where studies may typically track two or three types of birds, we added fish and marine mammals, plus air and water column data, for a 3D picture of the marine protected area.”
      Tagged Yellowfin Tuna, Grey Reef Sharks, and Great Frigatebirds move in and out of a marine protected area (blue square), which surrounds the Palmyra Atoll (blue circle) in the tropical heart of the Pacific. These species are three of many that rely on the atoll and its surrounding reefs for food and for nesting.NASA/Lauren Dauphin Now, the NASA team has put that data into a species distribution model, which combines the wildlife tracking information with environmental data from satellites, including sea surface temperature, chlorophyll concentration, and ocean current speed. The model can help researchers understand how animal populations use their habitats and how that might shift as the climate changes.
      Preliminary results from Internet of Animals team show that the animals tracked are moving beyond the confines of the Palmyra marine protected area. The model identified suitable habitats both in and around the protected zone – now and under predicted climate change scenarios – other researchers and decisionmakers can utilize that knowledge to inform marine policy and conservation.
      Research scientist Morgan Gilmour checks on a young great frigatebird in its nest. The marine protected area around Palmyra Atoll protects these birds’ breeding grounds.UC Santa Barbara/Devyn Orr Following a 2023 presidential memorandum, NOAA began studying and gathering input on whether to expand the protected areas around Palmyra and other parts of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument. Analysis from NASA’s Internet of Animals could inform that and similar decisions, such as whether to create protected “corridors” in the ocean to allow for seasonal migrations of wildlife. The findings and models from the team’s habitat analysis at Palmyra also could help inform conservation at similar latitudes across the planet.
      Beyond the Sea: Other Internet of Animals Studies
      Research at Palmyra Atoll is just one example of work by Internet of Animals scientists.
      Claire Teitelbaum, a researcher with the Bay Area Environmental Research Institute based at NASA Ames, studies avian flu in wild waterfowl, investigating how their movement may contribute to transmission of the virus to poultry and other domestic livestock.
      Teams at Ames and JPL are also working with USGS to create next-generation wildlife tags and sensors. Low-power radar tags in development at JPL would be lightweight enough to track small birds. Ames researchers plan to develop long-range radio tags capable of maximizing coverage and transmission of data from high-flying birds. This could help researchers take measurements in hard-to-reach layers of the atmosphere.
      With the technology brought together by the Internet of Animals, even wildlife can take an active role in the study of Earth’s interacting systems, helping human experts learn more about our planet and how best to confront the challenges facing the natural world.
      To learn more about the Internet of Animals visit: https://www.nasa.gov/nasa-earth-exchange-nex/new-missions-support/internet-of-animals/
      The Internet of Animals project is funded by NASA and managed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. The team at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley is part of the NASA Earth Exchange, a Big Data initiative providing unique insights into Earth’s systems using the agency’s supercomputers at the center. Partners on the project include the U.S. Geological Survey, The Nature Conservancy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Yale Center for Biodiversity and Global Change, Stanford University, University of Hawaii, University of California Santa Barbara, San Jose State University, University of Washington, and the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior.


      For Researchers
      The research collaboration’s dataset from Palmyra is available in open access: Palmyra Bluewater Research Marine Animal Telemetry Dataset, 2022-2023 Related research from Morgan Gilmour’s team was published in the journal Global Ecology and Conservation in June 2022: “Evaluation of MPA designs that protect highly mobile megafauna now and under climate change scenarios.”
      Media Contacts
      Members of the news media interested in covering this topic should reach out to the NASA Ames newsroom.
      About the Author
      Milan Loiacono
      Science Communication SpecialistMilan Loiacono is a science communication specialist for the Earth Science Division at NASA Ames Research Center.
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      Last Updated Jul 10, 2024 Related Terms
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