Washington, Dec 16 (ANI): NASA has outlined its top ten science, exploration and discovery stories of 2008, the year in which the agency celebrated its 50th birthday.
The top ten accomplishments are:
International Space Station (ISS) nears completion on 10th anniversary:ASA completed four space shuttle missions in 2008 to deliver modules and hardware to the International Space Station, allowing it to grow in size, volume and science capability. The flights also prepared the station to house six crew members for long-duration missions and to expand scientific exploration.
Phoenix wraps up successful mission to Mars:
NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander ceased communications on November 2 after successfully returning unprecedented science data to Earth.
Ares I rocket passes important design milestone:
NASA successfully completed the preliminary design review for the new Ares I rocket in 2008. Starting in 2015, the rocket will launch the Orion crew exploration vehicle, its crew of four to six astronauts, and small payloads to the International Space Station.
Arctic sea ice decline continues:
In September, Arctic sea ice coverage reached the second-lowest level recorded since the dawn of the satellite era, according to observations from the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado.
Lighting up the night:
Researchers, using a fleet of five NASA satellites, discovered in 2008 that explosions of magnetic energy occurring a third of the way to the moon power substorms that cause sudden brightenings and rapid movements of the aurora borealis. The cause is magnetic reconnection, a common process that occurs throughout the universe when stressed magnetic field lines suddenly snap to a new shape.
Hubble finds planet circling a distant star:
Astronomers announced in 2008 that NASA's Hubble Space Telescope has taken the first visible-light snapshot of a planet circling another star.
NASA completes first tests on next-generation rocket engine:
NASA engineers successfully completed in 2008 the first series of tests in the early development of the J-2X engine that will power the upper stages of the Ares I and Ares V rockets.
NASA team a recipient of celebrated Collier trophy:
NASA was part of a team that received one of the most prestigious awards in aviation in June.
NASA returns to the moon with instruments on Indian spacecraft:
NASA has partnered with India to fly two science instruments aboard the country's first lunar explorer, Chandrayaan-1.
NASA tests help record-breaking Olympians rocket through water ASA know-how helped swimsuit designers create a body suit worn by an assortment of gold medalists and world record holders at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. (ANI)