Science Magazines Honor Cutting-Edge NASA Programs

NASA's revolutionary planet-hunting Kepler space telescope has been honored with the 2009 Best of What's New Grand Award from Popular Science Magazine and a 2009 Breakthrough Award from Popular Mechanics Magazine.

"The Kepler Space Telescope is a stunning new tool that has a very targeted mission: studying planetary systems," the Popular Mechanics magazine editors wrote in recognizing Kepler. "It is the first instrument able to detect Earth-like planets, potentially capable of hosting life, as they circle distant suns. About 100,000 stars in our region of the Milky Way will be observed."

Popular Science also honored NASA's new moon mapping mission, the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, and the Orion Launch Abort System with Best of What's New awards in the aviation and space category. Popular Science announced the award winners in its December issue. Popular Mechanics made the announcement in its November issue.

"The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, launched in June, will use seven instruments to deliver the most detailed picture of the moon yet," Popular Science magazine editors wrote. "In addition to photographing the lunar surface in high resolution and creating a 3-D topographical map, it will beam back reams of information on surface radiation, surface temperature, soil composition, the presence of water ice and more."

Popular Science editors reviewed thousands of products before selecting 100 new products and technologies in 11 categories to receive Best of What's New awards. Award categories include automotive, aviation and space, computing, engineering, gadgets, green technology, home entertainment, security, home technology, personal health and recreation.

"For 22 years, Popular Science has honored the innovations that surprise and amaze us - those that make a positive impact on our world today and challenge our views of what's possible in the future." said Mark Jannot, editor-in-chief of Popular Science. "The Best of What's New Award is the magazine's top honor, and the 100 winners - chosen from among thousands of entrants - represent the highest level of achievement in their fields."

The Kepler Space Telescope is managed by NASA's Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif., and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. NASA's Orion Launch Abort System is managed by NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va. The Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter mission is managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

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