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NASA Makes Unprecedented Return To Mars, Advances Commercial Spaceflight And Adds To Its Amazing Research And Discoveries In 2012

Looking deeper into the universe also means peering further back in time. The universe is estimated to be 13.7 billion years old. The newly discovered galaxies are seen as they looked 350 to 600 million years after the big bang. Their light is just arriving at Earth now.

http://www.nasa.gov/hubble

ICE SHEET LOSS AT BOTH POLES INCREASING

An international team of experts supported by NASA and the European Space Agency combined data from multiple satellites and aircraft to produce the most comprehensive and accurate assessment to date of ice sheet losses in Greenland and Antarctica and their contributions to sea level rise.

The combined rate of melting for the ice sheets covering Greenland and Antarctica increased during the last 20 years. Together, these ice sheets are losing more than three times as much ice each year as they were in the 1990s. About two-thirds of the loss is coming from Greenland, with the rest from Antarctica.

The study announced in November was produced by an international collaboration -- the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise -- that combined observations from 10 satellite missions to develop the first consistent measurement of polar ice sheet changes. Satellite data from NASA's Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) and the NASA/German Aerospace Center's Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) missions were included in the study.

This activity was a major challenge involving cutting-edge, difficult research to produce the most rigorous and detailed estimates of ice loss from Greenland and Antarctica to date.

http://go.nasa.gov/TtJdjC

NASA'S AERONAUTICS RESEARCH WORKS TO MAKE A SILENT SONIC BOOM

NASA is continuing to learn more about how sound waves created by supersonic aircraft move through the atmosphere, all with an eye towards designing aircraft that generate sonic booms you can barely hear -- or can't hear at all -- on the ground below. This work could open a whole new segment of the economy for commercial aviation by making supersonic flight over land acceptable.

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