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Pasadena, CA, United States

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is a federally funded research and development center and NASA field center located in La Cañada Flintridge, California, United States.The JPL is managed by the nearby California Institute of Technology for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The laboratory's primary function is the construction and operation of robotic planetary spacecraft, though it also conducts Earth-orbit and astronomy missions. It is also responsible for operating NASA's Deep Space Network.Among the laboratory's current major active projects are the Mars Science Laboratory mission , the Cassini–Huygens mission orbiting Saturn, the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the Dawn mission to the dwarf planet Ceres and asteroid Vesta, the Juno spacecraft en route to Jupiter, the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array X-ray telescope, and the Spitzer Space Telescope.The JPL's Space Flight Operations Facility and Twenty-Five-Foot Space Simulator are designated National Historic Landmarks. Wikipedia.


Turyshev S.G.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Living Reviews in Relativity | Year: 2010

Radio-metric Doppler tracking data received from the Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft from heliocentric distances of 20 - 70 AU has consistently indicated the presence of a small, anomalous, blue-shifted frequency drift uniformly changing with a rate of ~ f6×10-9Hz/s. Ultimately, the drift was interpreted as a constant sunward deceleration of each particular spacecraft at the level of ap=(8.74±1.33)×10-10m/s2. This apparent violation of the Newton's gravitational inverse-square law has become known as the Pioneer anomaly; the nature of this anomaly remains unexplained. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge of the physical properties of the anomaly and the conditions that led to its detection and characterization. We review various mechanisms proposed to explain the anomaly and discuss the current state of efforts to determine its nature. A comprehensive new investigation of the anomalous behavior of the two Pioneers has begun recently. The new efforts rely on the much-extended set of radio-metric Doppler data for both spacecraft in conjunction with the newly available complete record of their telemetry files and a large archive of original project documentation. As the new study is yet to report its findings, this review provides the necessary background for the new results to appear in the near future. In particular, we provide a significant amount of information on the design, operations and behavior of the two Pioneers during their entire missions, including descriptions of various data formats and techniques used for their navigation and radio-science data analysis. As most of this information was recovered relatively recently, it was not used in the previous studies of the Pioneer anomaly, but it is critical for the new investigation. Source


Years of sequence feature curation by UniProtKB/Swiss-Prot, PIR-PSD, NCBI-CDD, RefSeq and other database biocurators has led to a rich repository of information on functional sites of genes and proteins. This information along with variation-related annotation can be used to scan human short sequence reads from next-generation sequencing (NGS) pipelines for presence of non-synonymous single-nucleotide variations (nsSNVs) that affect functional sites. This and similar workflows are becoming more important because thousands of NGS data sets are being made available through projects such as The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA), and researchers want to evaluate their biomarkers in genomic data. BioMuta, an integrated sequence feature database, provides a framework for automated and manual curation and integration of cancer-related sequence features so that they can be used in NGS analysis pipelines. Sequence feature information in BioMuta is collected from the Catalogue of Somatic Mutations in Cancer (COSMIC), ClinVar, UniProtKB and through biocuration of information available from publications. Additionally, nsSNVs identified through automated analysis of NGS data from TCGA are also included in the database. Because of the petabytes of data and information present in NGS primary repositories, a platform HIVE (High-performance Integrated Virtual Environment) for storing, analyzing, computing and curating NGS data and associated metadata has been developed. Using HIVE, 31 979 nsSNVs were identified in TCGA-derived NGS data from breast cancer patients. All variations identified through this process are stored in a Curated Short Read archive, and the nsSNVs from the tumor samples are included in BioMuta. Currently, BioMuta has 26 cancer types with 13 896 small-scale and 308 986 large-scale study-derived variations. Integration of variation data allows identifications of novel or common nsSNVs that can be prioritized in validation studies. Database URL: BioMuta: http://hive.biochemistry.gwu.edu/tools/biomuta/index.php; CSR: http://hive.biochemistry.gwu.edu/dna.cgi?cmd=csr; HIVE: http://hive.biochemistry.gwu.edu. Source


Traub W.A.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Astrophysical Journal | Year: 2012

Data from Kepler's first 136 days of operation are analyzed to determine the distribution of exoplanets with respect to radius, period, and host-star spectral type. The analysis is extrapolated to estimate the percentage of terrestrial, habitable-zone (HZ) exoplanets. The Kepler census is assumed to be complete for bright stars (magnitude <14.0) having transiting planets >0.5 Earth radius and periods <42 days. It is also assumed that the size distribution of planets is independent of orbital period and that there are no hidden biases in the data. Six significant statistical results are found: there is a paucity of small planet detections around faint target stars, probably an instrumental effect; the frequency of mid-size planet detections is independent of whether the host star is bright or faint; there are significantly fewer planets detected with periods <3 days, compared to longer periods, almost certainly an astrophysical effect; the frequency of all planets in the population with periods <42 days is 29%, broken down as terrestrials 9%, ice giants 18%, and gas giants 3%; the population has a planet frequency with respect to period which follows a power-law relation dN/dP P β - 1, with β ≃ 0.71 0.08; and an extrapolation to longer periods gives the frequency of terrestrial planets in the HZs of FGK stars as η⊕ ≃ (34 14)%. Thus about one-third of FGK stars are predicted to have at least one terrestrial, HZ planet. © 2012. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved. Source


Erkmen B.I.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory | Shapiro J.H.,Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Advances in Optics and Photonics | Year: 2010

Ghost-imaging experiments correlate the outputs from two photodetectors: a high-spatial-resolution (scanning pinhole or CCD array) detector that measures a field that has not interacted with the object to be imaged, and a bucket (singlepixel) detector that collects a field that has interacted with the object.We give a comprehensive review of ghost imaging-within a unified Gaussian-state framework-presenting detailed analyses of its resolution, field of view, image contrast, and signal-to-noise ratio behavior. We consider three classes of illumination: thermal-state (classical), biphoton-state (quantum), and classicalstate phase-sensitive light. The first two have been employed in a variety of ghost-imaging demonstrations. The third is the classical Gaussian state that produces ghost images that most closely mimic those obtained from biphoton illumination. The insights we develop lead naturally to a new, single-beam approach to ghost imaging, called computational ghost imaging, in which only the bucket detector is required. We provide quantitative results while simultaneously emphasizing the underlying physics of ghost imaging. The key to developing the latter understanding lies in the coherence behavior of a pair of Gaussian-state light beams with either phase-insensitive or phase-sensitive cross correlation. © 2010 Optical Society of America. Source


Russell M.J.,Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences | Year: 2013

Life is evolutionarily the most complex of the emergent symmetry-breaking, macroscopically organized dynamic structures in the Universe. Members of this cascading series of disequilibria-converting systems, or engines in Cottrell's terminology, become ever more complicated-more chemical and less physical-as each engine extracts, exploits and generates ever lower grades of energy and resources in the service of entropy generation. Each one of these engines emerges spontaneously from order created by a particular mother engine or engines, as the disequilibrated potential daughter is driven beyond a critical point. Exothermic serpentinization of ocean crust is life's mother engine. It drives alkaline hydrothermal convection and thereby the spontaneous production of precipitated submarine hydrothermal mounds. Here, the two chemical disequilibria directly causative in the emergence of life spontaneously arose across the mineral precipitate membranes separating the acidulous, nitrate-bearing CO2-rich, Hadean sea from the alkaline and CH4/H2-rich serpentinization-generated effluents. Essential redox gradients-involving hydrothermal CH4 and H2 as electron donors, CO2 and nitrate, nitrite, and ferric iron from the ambient ocean as acceptors-were imposed which functioned as the original 'carbon-fixing engine'. At the same time, a post-critical-point (milli)voltage pH potential (proton concentration gradient) drove the condensation of orthophosphate to produce a high energy currency: 'the pyrophosphatase engine'. Source

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