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Topic: Moon

NASA Goddard Technologists and Scientists Prepare for a New Era of Human Exploration

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA scientists, engineers, and technologists are preparing for a new era of human exploration at the Moon, which includes a new launch system, capsule, and lunar-orbiting outpost that will serve as the jumping-off point for human spaceflight deeper into the Solar System.

NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is playing a vital role in these initiatives, particularly in the areas of communications and instrument development as evidenced by the recent award of five proposals under NASA’s Development and Advancement of Lunar Instrumentation (DALI) to advance spacecraft-based instrument for use in lunar-landing missions.

The technologies needed for sustainable exploration at the Moon will have to be powerful, multipurpose, and fast, said Jake Bleacher, Chief Scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate.

Goddard will provide laser communications services to NASA’s Orion vehicle, shown in this artist concept. (NASA)

Goddard will provide laser communications services to NASA’s Orion vehicle, shown in this artist concept. (NASA)

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NASA’s Plans for traveling to the Moon Coming Together

 

NASA Headquarters  

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA will soon return humans to the Moon for decades to come, and the system that will transport astronauts from Earth to the Gateway Lunar Outpost near the Moon is literally coming together.

Building on progress in 2018, most of the major manufacturing for the first mission is complete, and this year, teams will focus on final assembly, integration, and testing, as well as early work for future missions.

NASA's Space Launch System (SLS). (NASA)

NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS). (NASA)

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NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter observes Water Movement on the Moon

 

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Using an instrument aboard NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), scientists have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the Moon.

A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters describes how Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) measurements of the sparse layer of molecules temporarily stuck to the surface helped characterize lunar hydration changes over the course of a day.

Up until the last decade or so, scientists thought the Moon was arid, with any water existing mainly as pockets of ice in permanently shaded craters near the poles.

View of the Moon. (NASA)

View of the Moon. (NASA)

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NASA Mars InSight Lander’s heat probe stops hammering

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars InSight lander has a probe designed to dig up to 16 feet (5 meters) below the surface and measure heat coming from inside the planet.

After beginning to hammer itself into the soil on Thursday, February 28th, 2019 the 16-inch-long (40-centimeter-long) probe – part of an instrument called the Heat and Physical Properties Package, or HP3 – got about three-fourths of the way out of its housing structure before stopping.

No significant progress was seen after a second bout of hammering on Saturday, March 2nd. Data suggests the probe, known as a “mole,” is at a 15-degree tilt.

NASA's InSight lander set its heat probe, called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3), on the Martian surface on Feb. 12, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR)

NASA’s InSight lander set its heat probe, called the Heat and Physical Properties Package (HP3), on the Martian surface on Feb. 12, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR)

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NASA partners with Canada for Journey to the Moon, Mars

 

NASA Headquarters 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA is going back to the Moon to stay. It’s part of a bold directive from the President for the U.S. to lead a worldwide endeavor to open a new era of space exploration in a measured, sustainable way. This work is going to take collaboration with international partners, industry, and other stakeholders, and I’m delighted by Canada’s commitment today to join us in our work to go forward to the Moon and Mars.

We are excited that Canada will be a vital ally in this lunar journey as they become the first international partner for the Gateway lunar outpost with their 24 year commitment to deep space exploration and collaboration.

In this illustration, NASA's Orion spacecraft approaches the Gateway in lunar orbit. (NASA)

In this illustration, NASA’s Orion spacecraft approaches the Gateway in lunar orbit. (NASA)

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NASA, SpaceX make History with Launch of Crew Dragon Spacecraft

 

NASA Headquarters 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – For the first time in history, a commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket, which launched from American soil, is on its way to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off at 1:49am CST Saturday on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

“Today’s successful launch marks a new chapter in American excellence, getting us closer to once again flying American astronauts on American rockets from American soil,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. 

Crowd gathers to watch as NASA and SpaceX make history by launching the first commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off at 2:49 a.m. EST Saturday on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA)

Crowd gathers to watch as NASA and SpaceX make history by launching the first commercially-built and operated American crew spacecraft and rocket to the International Space Station. The SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft lifted off at 2:49 a.m. EST Saturday on the company’s Falcon 9 rocket at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA)

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NASA’s ARTEMIS mission data suggests Moon Swirls created by Solar Wind, Magnetic Field

 

Written by Sarah Frazier
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Every object, planet or person traveling through space has to contend with the Sun’s damaging radiation — and the Moon has the scars to prove it.

Research using data from NASA’s ARTEMIS mission — short for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun — suggests how the solar wind and the Moon’s crustal magnetic fields work together to give the Moon a distinctive pattern of darker and lighter swirls.

Research using data from NASA's ARTEMIS mission suggests that lunar swirls, like the Reiner Gamma lunar swirl imaged here by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, could be the result of solar wind interactions with the Moon's isolated pockets of magnetic field. (NASA LRO WAC science team)

Research using data from NASA’s ARTEMIS mission suggests that lunar swirls, like the Reiner Gamma lunar swirl imaged here by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, could be the result of solar wind interactions with the Moon’s isolated pockets of magnetic field. (NASA LRO WAC science team)

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NASA announces Israeli to send Lander to the Moon

 

Written by Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – The last screw is tightened and a private Moon lander is packed in the fairing atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. It took eight years to get there, plus significant dedication by a small group of scientists and engineers building Israel’s first machine to leave Earth’s orbit.

Now, the highly anticipated moment is here: a shot at the first private Moon landing, and NASA is contributing to the experiment.

An Israeli spacecraft from SpaceIL is scheduled to launch Thursday, February 21st, 2019 and is aiming to touch down on Mare Serenitatis two months later.

A false color view of the Moon's southern latitudes. The large blue area at the bottom of the frame is the South Pole-Aitken Basin, an enormous and very old impact feature on the far side of the Moon. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)

A false color view of the Moon’s southern latitudes. The large blue area at the bottom of the frame is the South Pole-Aitken Basin, an enormous and very old impact feature on the far side of the Moon. (NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio)

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NASA looks to advance Nanomaterial-Based Detector Platform

 

Written by Lori Keesey
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – A NASA technologist is taking miniaturization to the extreme.

Mahmooda Sultana won funding to advance a potentially revolutionary, nanomaterial-based detector platform. The technology is capable of sensing everything from minute concentrations of gases and vapor, atmospheric pressure and temperature, and then transmitting that data via a wireless antenna — all from the same self-contained platform that measures just two-by-three-inches in size.

Under a $2 million technology development award, Sultana and her team at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, will spend the next two years advancing the autonomous multifunctional sensor platform.

Technologist Mahmooda Sultana holds an early iteration of an autonomous multifunctional sensor platform, which could benefit all of NASA's major scientific disciplines and efforts to send humans to the Moon and Mars. (NASA/W. Hrybyk)

Technologist Mahmooda Sultana holds an early iteration of an autonomous multifunctional sensor platform, which could benefit all of NASA’s major scientific disciplines and efforts to send humans to the Moon and Mars. (NASA/W. Hrybyk)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover measures Gravity along Mount Sharp

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Apollo 17 astronauts drove a moon buggy across the lunar surface in 1972, measuring gravity with a special instrument. There are no astronauts on Mars, but a group of clever researchers realized they have just the tools for similar experiments with the Martian buggy they’re operating.

In a new paper in Science, the researchers detail how they repurposed sensors used to drive the Curiosity rover and turned them into gravimeters, which measure changes in gravitational pull.

Side-by-side images depict NASA's Curiosity rover (illustration at left) and a moon buggy driven during the Apollo 16 mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Side-by-side images depict NASA’s Curiosity rover (illustration at left) and a moon buggy driven during the Apollo 16 mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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