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      A Bright New Abrasion
      This image was acquired by the Front Right Hazard Avoidance Camera A on June 16, 2024 (Sol 1181) at the local mean solar time of 14:20:10. The image shows the area in front of the rover at Bright Angel with the arm extended as the PIXL instrument investigates the surface. NASA/JPL-Caltech Last week, Perseverance arrived at the long-awaited site of Bright Angel, named for being a light-toned rock that stands out in orbital data. The unique color here, as well as the surface characteristics and location on the edge of the ancient river channel Neretva Vallis, made Bright Angel a location of interest for the Mars 2020 Science Team.
      After capturing some stunning long-distance images of Bright Angel, Perseverance made the approach to the rocks. Closer camera images, Mastcam-Z, and SuperCam data showed intriguing surface textures on these light-toned rocks that the Science Team is actively working to understand.
      After a few days to process the beautiful images and exciting location, Perseverance executed a planned abrasion on the rocks in front of the rover, which can be seen in the above image if you look closely underneath the rover’s arm. This abrasion patch is named “Walhalla Glades” after an ancient archeological site in the Grand Canyon along the Colorado River, a tribute to Bright Angel’s location on the edge of the ancient Neretva Vallis river channel.
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      The Science Team will take time to understand all the new data obtained at Bright Angel, comparing it to the past rocks Perseverance has investigated and determining if the area should be included in the sample cache onboard Perseverance. Characterizing the rocks of Bright Angel, connecting them to the surrounding rocks and sediment of Neretva Vallis, and placing them in context with the Crater Rim and Margin units should write an exciting chapter of the history of Jezero crater!
      Written by Eleanor Moreland, Ph.D. Student Collaborator at Rice University
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      6 Min Read First of Its Kind Detection Made in Striking New Webb Image
      The Serpens Nebula from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. Alignment of bipolar jets confirms star formation theories
      For the first time, a phenomenon astronomers have long hoped to directly image has been captured by NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope’s Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam). In this stunning image of the Serpens Nebula, the discovery lies in the northern area (seen at the upper left) of this young, nearby star-forming region.
      Astronomers found an intriguing group of protostellar outflows, formed when jets of gas spewing from newborn stars collide with nearby gas and dust at high speeds. Typically these objects have varied orientations within one region. Here, however, they are slanted in the same direction, to the same degree, like sleet pouring down during a storm.
      Image: Serpens Nebula (NIRCam)
      In this image of the Serpens Nebula from NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, astronomers found a grouping of aligned protostellar outflows within one small region (the top left corner). Serpens is a reflection nebula, which means it’s a cloud of gas and dust that does not create its own light, but instead shines by reflecting the light from stars close to or within the nebula. The discovery of these aligned objects, made possible due to Webb’s exquisite spatial resolution and sensitivity in near-infrared wavelengths, is providing information into the fundamentals of how stars are born.
      “Astronomers have long assumed that as clouds collapse to form stars, the stars will tend to spin in the same direction,” said principal investigator Klaus Pontoppidan, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “However, this has not been seen so directly before. These aligned, elongated structures are a historical record of the fundamental way that stars are born.”
      So just how does the alignment of the stellar jets relate to the rotation of the star? As an interstellar gas cloud crashes in on itself to form a star, it spins more rapidly. The only way for the gas to continue moving inward is for some of the spin (known as angular momentum) to be removed. A disk of material forms around the young star to transport material down, like a whirlpool around a drain. The swirling magnetic fields in the inner disk launch some of the material into twin jets that shoot outward in opposite directions, perpendicular to the disk of material.
      In the Webb image, these jets are signified by bright clumpy streaks that appear red, which are shockwaves from the jet hitting surrounding gas and dust. Here, the red color represents the presence of molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide.
      “This area of the Serpens Nebula – Serpens North – only comes into clear view with Webb,” said lead author Joel Green of the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore. “We’re now able to catch these extremely young stars and their outflows, some of which previously appeared as just blobs or were completely invisible in optical wavelengths because of the thick dust surrounding them.”
      Astronomers say there are a few forces that potentially can shift the direction of the outflows during this period of a young star’s life. One way is when binary stars spin around each other and wobble in orientation, twisting the direction of the outflows over time.
      Stars of the Serpens
      The Serpens Nebula, located 1,300 light-years from Earth, is only one or two million years old, which is very young in cosmic terms. It’s also home to a particularly dense cluster of newly forming stars (~100,000 years old), seen at the center of this image. Some of these stars will eventually grow to the mass of our Sun.
      “Webb is a young stellar object-finding machine,” Green said. “In this field, we pick up sign posts of every single young star, down to the lowest mass stars.”
      “It’s a very complete picture we’re seeing now,” added Pontoppidan.
      So, throughout the region in this image, filaments and wisps of different hues represent reflected starlight from still-forming protostars within the cloud. In some areas, there is dust in front of that reflection, which appears here with an orange, diffuse shade.
      This region has been home to other coincidental discoveries, including the flapping “Bat Shadow,” which earned its name when 2020 data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope revealed a star’s planet-forming disk to flap, or shift. This feature is visible at the center of the Webb image.
      Future Studies
      The new image, and serendipitous discovery of the aligned objects, is actually just the first step in this scientific program. The team will now use Webb’s NIRSpec (Near-Infrared Spectrograph) to investigate the chemical make-up of the cloud.
      The astronomers are interested in determining how volatile chemicals survive star and planet formation. Volatiles are compounds that sublimate, or transition from a solid directly to a gas, at a relatively low temperature – including water and carbon monoxide. They’ll then compare their findings to amounts found in protoplanetary disks of similar-type stars.
      “At the most basic form, we are all made of matter that came from these volatiles. The majority of water here on Earth originated when the Sun was an infant protostar billions of years ago,” Pontoppidan said. “Looking at the abundance of these critical compounds in protostars just before their protoplanetary disks have formed could help us understand how unique the circumstances were when our own solar system formed.”
      These observations were taken as part of General Observer program 1611. The team’s initial results have been accepted in the Astrophysical Journal.
      The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and CSA (Canadian Space Agency).
      Downloads
      Right click any image to save it or open a larger version in a new tab/window via the browser’s popup menu.
      View/Download all image products at all resolutions for this article from the Space Telescope Science Institute.
      Science Paper: The science paper by J. Green et al., PDF (7.93 MB) 
      Media Contacts
      Laura Betz – laura.e.betz@nasa.gov, Rob Gutro – rob.gutro@nasa.gov
      NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
      Hanna Braun hbraun@stsci.edu Christine Pulliam – cpulliam@stsci.edu
      Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, Md.
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      Last Updated Jun 20, 2024 Editor Stephen Sabia Contact Laura Betz laura.e.betz@nasa.gov Related Terms
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    • By NASA
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      The spacecraft returned to science operations June 14 after being offline for several weeks due to an issue with one of its gyroscopes (gyros), which help control and orient the telescope.
      This new image features NGC 1546, a nearby galaxy in the constellation Dorado. The galaxy’s orientation gives us a good view of dust lanes from slightly above and backlit by the galaxy’s core. This dust absorbs light from the core, reddening it and making the dust appear rusty-brown. The core itself glows brightly in a yellowish light indicating an older population of stars. Brilliant-blue regions of active star formation sparkle through the dust. Several background galaxies also are visible, including an edge-on spiral just to the left of NGC 1546.
      Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 captured the image as part of a joint observing program between Hubble and NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope. The program also uses data from the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array, allowing scientists to obtain a highly detailed, multiwavelength view of how stars form and evolve.
      The image represents one of the first observations taken with Hubble since transitioning to the new pointing mode, enabling more consistent science operations. The NASA team expects that Hubble can do most of its science observations in this new mode, continuing its groundbreaking observations of the cosmos.
      “Hubble’s new image of a spectacular galaxy demonstrates the full success of our new, more stable pointing mode for the telescope,” said Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, senior project scientist for Hubble at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “We’re poised now for many years of discovery ahead, and we’ll be looking at everything from our solar system to exoplanets to distant galaxies. Hubble plays a powerful role in NASA’s astronomical toolkit.”
      Launched in 1990, Hubble has been observing the universe for more than three decades, recently celebrating its 34th anniversary. Read more about some of Hubble’s greatest scientific discoveries.
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      Facebook logo @NASAHubble @NASAHubble Instagram logo @NASAHubble Media Contact:
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      At NASA we always say that exploration enables science, and science enables exploration. During a recent, quick trip to Tokyo, Japan with our Associate Administrator for the Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate (ESDMD), Cathy Koerner, I had an opportunity to share this message with our partners at the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
      We explore for several reasons but primarily to benefit humanity. How exactly does exploration benefit humanity? By accepting audacious challenges like retuning to the Moon and venturing on to Mars, we inspire and motivate current and future generations of scientists, engineers, problem solvers, and communicators to contribute to our mission and other national priorities. By conducting scientific investigations in deep space, on the Moon, and on Mars, we enhance our understanding of the universe and our place in it. And finally, what we achieve when we explore, how it’s accomplished, and who participates benefits international partnerships and global cooperation that are essential for enhancing the quality of life for all.
      NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. Nicky Fox, and Associate Administrator for the Exploration systems Development Mission Directorate, Cathy Koerner, meet with the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in Tokyo, Japan on June 11, 2024. Credits: NASA In addition to bi-lateral meetings with our JAXA partners, Cathy and I co-presented at the International Space Exploration Symposium where I shared how every NASA Science division has a stake in Artemis. Cathy provided updates on the Orion spacecraft, SLS rocket, Gateway, human landing systems, and advanced spacesuits, and I talked about all of the incredible science we will conduct along the way. The Artemis campaign is a series of increasingly complex missions that provide ever-growing capabilities for scientific exploration of the Moon. From geology to solar, biological, and fundamental physics phenomena, exploration teaches about the earliest solar system environment: whether and how the bombardments of nascent worlds influenced the emergence of life, how the Earth and Moon formed and evolved, and how volatiles (like water) and other potential resources were distributed and transported throughout the solar system.
      Together with our partners like JAXA, NASA is working towards establishing infrastructure for long-term exploration in lunar orbit and on the surface. For example, on Artemis III, JAXA will provide the Lunar Dielectric Analyzer instrument, which once installed near the lunar South Pole, will help collect valuable scientific data about the lunar environment, it’s interior, and how to sustain a long-duration human presence on the Moon. In April, the U.S. and Japan were proud to make a historic announcement for cooperation on the Moon. Japan will design, develop, and operate a pressurized rover for crewed and uncrewed exploration on the Moon. NASA will launch and deliver the rover, and provide two opportunities for Japanese astronauts to travel to the lunar surface. This historic agreement was highlighted by President Biden and Prime Minister Kishida and is an example of the strong relationship between the United States and Japan. The enclosed and pressurized rover will be able to accommodate two astronauts on the lunar surface for 30 days, and will have a lifespan of about 10 years, enabling it to be used for multiple missions. It will enable longer-duration expeditions, so that astronauts can conduct more moonwalks and perform more science in geographically diverse areas near the lunar South Pole.
      Artemis is different than anything humanity has ever done before. The Artemis campaign will bring the world along for this historic journey, forever changing humanity’s perspective of our place in the universe. This is the start of a lunar ecosystem, where we’ll do more science than we can dream of, together.
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