Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has been busy serving as a communications base station for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter and documenting the rotorcraft’s historic flights. But the rover has also been busy focusing its science instruments on rocks that lay on the floor of Jezero Crater.
What insights they turn up will help scientists create a timeline of when an ancient lake formed there, when it dried, and when sediment began piling up in the delta that formed in the crater long ago. Understanding this timeline should help date rock samples – to be collected later in the mission – that might preserve a record of ancient microbes.
Washington, D.C. – For the first time, a spacecraft on another planet has recorded the sounds of a separate spacecraft. NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used one of its two microphones to listen as the Ingenuity helicopter flew for the fourth time on April 30th, 2021.
A new video combines footage of the solar-powered helicopter taken by Perseverance’s Mastcam-Z imager with audio from a microphone belonging to the rover’s SuperCam laser instrument.
Washington, D.C. – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter completed its fifth flight on the Red Planet with its first one-way journey from Wright Brothers Field to an airfield 423 feet (129 meters) to the south. After arrival above its new airfield, Ingenuity climbed to an altitude record of 33 feet (10 meters) and captured high-resolution color images of its new neighborhood before touching down.
The flight represents the rotorcraft’s transition to its new operations demonstration phase. This phase will focus on investigating what kind of capabilities a rotorcraft operating from Mars can provide.
Pasadena, CA – After years of development, the Lunar Crater Radio Telescope (LCRT) project has been awarded $500,000 to support additional work as it enters Phase II of NASA’s Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. While not yet a NASA mission, the LCRT describes a mission concept that could transform humanity’s view of the cosmos.
The LCRT’s primary objective would be to measure the long-wavelength radio waves generated by the cosmic Dark Ages – a period that lasted for a few hundred million years after the Big Bang, but before the first stars blinked into existence.
Washington, D.C. – NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter has a new mission. Having proven that powered, controlled flight is possible on the Red Planet, the Ingenuity experiment will soon embark on a new operations demonstration phase, exploring how aerial scouting and other functions could benefit future exploration of Mars and other worlds.
This new phase will begin after the helicopter completes its next two flights. The decision to add an operations demonstration is a result of the Perseverance rover being ahead of schedule with the thorough checkout of all vehicle systems since its February 18th landing, and its science team choosing a nearby patch of crater bed for its first detailed explorations.
Washington, D.C. – The growing list of “firsts” for Perseverance, NASA’s newest six-wheeled robot on the Martian surface, includes converting some of the Red Planet’s thin, carbon dioxide-rich atmosphere into oxygen.
A toaster-size, experimental instrument aboard the NASA Mars Perseverance rover called the Mars Oxygen In-Situ Resource Utilization Experiment (MOXIE) accomplished the task. The test took place April 20th, the 60th Martian day, or sol, since the mission landed February 18th.
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California is providing the instrument that will enable a nonprofit organization called Carbon Mapper to pinpoint and measure methane and carbon dioxide (CO2) point-sources from space.
The data collected by the instrument will help to find super-emitters – the small percentage of individual sources that are responsible for a significant fraction of global emissions of methane and carbon dioxide.
Washington, D.C. – NASA is getting ready to send astronauts to explore more of the Moon as part of the Artemis program, and the agency has selected SpaceX to continue the development of the first commercial human lander that will safely carry the next two American astronauts to the lunar surface.
At least one of those astronauts will make history as the first woman on the Moon.
Another goal of the Artemis program includes landing the first person of color on the lunar surface.
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover took a selfie with the Ingenuity helicopter, seen here about 13 feet (4 meters) away in this image from April 6th, 2021, the 46th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.
Perseverance captured the image using a camera called WATSON (Wide Angle Topographic Sensor for Operations and eNgineering), part of the SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman and Luminescence for Organics and Chemicals) instrument, located at the end of the rover’s robotic arm.
Pasadena, CA – Europa Clipper, NASA’s upcoming flagship mission to the outer solar system, has passed a significant milestone, completing its Critical Design Review. During the review, experts examined the detailed design of the spacecraft to ensure that it is ready to complete construction.
The mission is now able to complete hardware fabrication and testing, and move toward the assembly and testing of the spacecraft and its payload of sophisticated science instruments.
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