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Topic: Mars

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence Calls on NASA to Write the Next Chapter for America in Space

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – A rich history, 21st-century expertise and the technological leadership of a one-of-a-kind region stood front and center during U.S. Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on November 14th, 2019.

Touring with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, the vice president commended Ames’ innovators and visionaries for their role in building Silicon Valley into a technological powerhouse and in bringing expert knowledge and dedication to the center’s endeavors today. Pence learned about some of these during his time at Ames, with visits to facilities and projects critical for the Artemis program.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Vertical Motion Simulator facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (NASA/Dominic Hart)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence speaks at the Vertical Motion Simulator facility at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley on Thursday, Nov. 14, 2019. (NASA/Dominic Hart)

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NASA Mars Curiosity Rover finds new mystery, Oxygen

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – For the first time in the history of space exploration, NASA scientists have measured the seasonal changes in the gases that fill the air directly above the surface of Gale Crater on Mars.

As a result, they noticed something baffling: oxygen, the gas many Earth creatures use to breathe, behaves in a way that so far scientists cannot explain through any known chemical processes.

Over the course of three Mars years (or nearly six Earth years) an instrument in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) portable chemistry lab inside the belly of NASA’s Curiosity rover inhaled the air of Gale Crater and analyzed its composition.

NASA's Curiosity Mars rover imaged these drifting clouds on May 17, 2019, the 2,410th Martian day, or sol, of the mission, using its black-and-white Navigation Cameras (Navcams). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover imaged these drifting clouds on May 17, 2019, the 2,410th Martian day, or sol, of the mission, using its black-and-white Navigation Cameras (Navcams). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 rover to search for Ancient Life

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Scientists with NASA’s Mars 2020 rover have discovered what may be one of the best places to look for signs of ancient life in Jezero Crater, where the rover will land on February 18th, 2021.

A paper published today in the journal Icarus identifies distinct deposits of minerals called carbonates along the inner rim of Jezero, the site of a lake more than 3.5 billion years ago. On Earth, carbonates help form structures that are hardy enough to survive in fossil form for billions of years, including seashells, coral and some stromatolites – rocks formed on this planet by ancient microbial life along ancient shorelines, where sunlight and water were plentiful.

NASA's Mars 2020 Will Hunt for Microscopic Fossils Lighter colors represent higher elevation in this image of Jezero Crater on Mars, the landing site for NASA's Mars 2020 mission. The oval indicates the landing ellipse, where the rover will be touching down on Mars. (NASA)

NASA’s Mars 2020 Will Hunt for Microscopic Fossils Lighter colors represent higher elevation in this image of Jezero Crater on Mars, the landing site for NASA’s Mars 2020 mission. The oval indicates the landing ellipse, where the rover will be touching down on Mars. (NASA)

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Unopened Apollo Sample opened by NASA Ahead of Artemis Missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA scientists opened an untouched rock and soil sample from the Moon returned to Earth on Apollo 17, marking the first time in more than 40 years a pristine sample of rock and regolith from the Apollo era has been opened. It sets the stage for scientists to practice techniques to study future samples collected on Artemis missions.

The sample, opened November 5th, in the Lunar Curation Laboratory at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, was collected on the Moon by Apollo 17 astronauts Gene Cernan and Jack Schmitt, who drove a 4-centimeter-wide tube into the surface of the Moon to collect it and another sample scheduled to be opened in January.

Pictured from left: Apollo sample processors Andrea Mosie, Charis Krysher and Juliane Gross open lunar sample 73002 at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The Moon rocks inside this tube have remained untouched since they were collected on the surface and brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts nearly 50 years ago. (NASA/James Blair)

Pictured from left: Apollo sample processors Andrea Mosie, Charis Krysher and Juliane Gross open lunar sample 73002 at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The Moon rocks inside this tube have remained untouched since they were collected on the surface and brought to Earth by Apollo astronauts nearly 50 years ago. (NASA/James Blair)

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Northrop Grumman Mission sends NASA Science, Cargo International Space Station

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says on the 19th anniversary of the arrival of the first crew to live aboard the International Space Station, a Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft is on its way to the orbiting outpost with almost 8,200 pounds of science investigations and cargo after launching at 8:59am CDT Saturday, November 2nd, 2019 from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

The spacecraft launched on an Antares 230+ rocket from the Virginia Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport’s Pad 0A at Wallops and is scheduled to arrive at the space station around 3:10am Monday, November 4th.

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A of NASA's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia November 2nd, 2019. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

A Northrop Grumman Antares rocket, with Cygnus resupply spacecraft onboard, launches from Pad-0A of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia November 2nd, 2019. (NASA/Bill Ingalls)

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NASA’s Mars InSight Lander’s Mole Has Backed Out half way of Its Hole

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – After making progress over the past several weeks digging into the surface of Mars, NASA’s InSight Lander’s mole has backed about halfway out of its hole this past weekend. Preliminary assessments point to unusual soil conditions on the Red Planet. The international mission team is developing the next steps to get it buried again.

A scoop on the end of the arm has been used in recent weeks to “pin” the mole against the wall of its hole, providing friction it needs to dig. The next step is determining how safe it is to move InSight’s robotic arm away from the mole to better assess the situation. The team continues to look at the data and will formulate a plan in the next few days.

NASA InSight Lander's heat probe, or "mole," is seen after backing about halfway out of the hole it had burrowed. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA InSight Lander’s heat probe, or “mole,” is seen after backing about halfway out of the hole it had burrowed. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 now sits on it’s Legs, Wheels

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On October 8th, 2019, at the NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, a photo was taken that captures the first time NASA’s Mars 2020 rover has carried its full weight on its legs and wheels.

“After years of design, analysis and testing, it is fantastic to see the rover on her wheels for the first time,” said Ben Riggs, a mechanical systems engineer working on Mars 2020 at JPL. “The whole team looks forward to seeing her in the same configuration on Mars in the not too distant future.”

This photo taken on October 8th, 2019, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, captures the first time the Mars 2020 rover carries its full weight on its legs and wheels. The rover was photographed in JPL's Simulator Building, where it underwent weeks of testing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This photo taken on October 8th, 2019, at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, captures the first time the Mars 2020 rover carries its full weight on its legs and wheels. The rover was photographed in JPL’s Simulator Building, where it underwent weeks of testing. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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Google, NASA Achieve Quantum Supremacy

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationMountain View, CA – Google, in partnership with NASA and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has demonstrated the ability to compute in seconds what would take even the largest and most advanced supercomputers thousands of years, achieving a milestone known as quantum supremacy.

“Quantum computing is still in its infancy, but this transformative achievement rockets us forward,” said Eugene Tu, center director at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. “Our missions in the decades to come to the Moon, Mars and beyond are all fueled by innovations like this one.”

The Pleiades supercomputer at NASA Ames is one of the many supercomputers used to find the limit of quantum supremacy. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Dominic Hart)

The Pleiades supercomputer at NASA Ames is one of the many supercomputers used to find the limit of quantum supremacy. (NASA/Ames Research Center/Dominic Hart)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover performs it’s second Chemistry Experiment

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover’s new selfie is breathtaking, but it’s especially meaningful for the mission’s team: Stitched together from 57 individual images taken by a camera on the end of Curiosity’s robotic arm, the panorama also commemorates only the second time the rover has performed a special chemistry experiment.

The selfie was taken on October 11th, 2019 (Sol 2,553) in a location named “Glen Etive” (pronounced “glen EH-tiv”), which is part of the “clay-bearing unit,” a region the team has eagerly awaited reaching since before Curiosity launched.

NASA's Curiosity rover took this selfie on Oct. 11, 2019, the 2,553rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission. The rover drilled twice in this location, which is nicknamed "Glen Etive. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA’s Curiosity rover took this selfie on Oct. 11, 2019, the 2,553rd Martian day, or sol, of its mission. The rover drilled twice in this location, which is nicknamed “Glen Etive. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA explains how the International Space Station is Helping Us Get to the Moon

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHouston, TX – The International Space Station is a stepping stone for NASA’s Artemis program that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024.

As the only place for conducting long-duration research on how living in microgravity affects living organisms, especially humans, as well as testing technologies to allow humans to work at the Moon, the space station serves as a unique asset in the effort establish a sustainable presence at the Moon.

The moon as seen from the International Space Station. (NASA)

The moon as seen from the International Space Station. (NASA)

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