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Topic: Moon

NASA lays out concept for Lunar Surface Activities

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – When NASA sends astronauts to the surface of the Moon in 2024, it will be the first time outside of watching historical footage most people witness humans walking on another planetary body. Building on these footsteps, future robotic and human explorers will put in place infrastructure for a long-term sustainable presence on the Moon.

NASA recently proposed a plan to go from limited, short-term Apollo-era exploration of the 1960s, to a 21st Century plan in a report to the National Space Council. With the Artemis program, we will explore more of the Moon than ever before to make the next giant leap – sending astronauts to Mars.

Infographic showing the evolution of lunar activities on the surface and in orbit. (NASA)

Infographic showing the evolution of lunar activities on the surface and in orbit. (NASA)

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NASA puts Wheels, Air Brakes on Perseverance Mars Rover

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Final assembly and testing of NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover continues at Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the July launch window approaches. In some of the last steps required prior to stacking the spacecraft components in the configuration they’ll be in atop the Atlas V rocket, the rover’s wheels and parachute have been installed.

Perseverance received its six flight wheels on March 30th, 2020. While the rover took a test drive last December, it was on “flight spares” that wouldn’t be making the trip to Mars.

Three of the six flight wheels that will travel to Mars can be seen attached to NASA's Perseverance rover (which is inverted on a handling fixture) on March 30, 2020 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The protective antistatic foil covering the wheels will be removed before launch this summer. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Three of the six flight wheels that will travel to Mars can be seen attached to NASA’s Perseverance rover (which is inverted on a handling fixture) on March 30, 2020 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The protective antistatic foil covering the wheels will be removed before launch this summer. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA SunRISE mission to use Six Spacecraft to study Giant Solar Particle Storms

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has selected a new mission to study how the Sun generates and releases giant space weather storms – known as solar particle storms – into planetary space.

Not only will such information improve understanding of how our solar system works, but it ultimately can help protect astronauts traveling to the Moon and Mars by providing better information on how the Sun’s radiation affects the space environment they must travel through.

A new NASA mission called SunRISE will study what drives solar particle storms - giant surges of solar particles that erupt off of the Sun - as depicted in this illustration. Understanding how such storms affect interplanetary space can help protect spacecraft and astronauts. (NASA)

A new NASA mission called SunRISE will study what drives solar particle storms – giant surges of solar particles that erupt off of the Sun – as depicted in this illustration. Understanding how such storms affect interplanetary space can help protect spacecraft and astronauts. (NASA)

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NASA selects SpaceX for Gateway Logistics Services Artemis Contract

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, as the first U.S. commercial provider under the Gateway Logistics Services contract to deliver cargo, experiments and other supplies to the agency’s Gateway in lunar orbit. The award is a significant step forward for NASA’s Artemis program that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and build a sustainable human lunar presence.

At the Moon, NASA and its partners will gain the experience necessary to mount a historic human mission to Mars.

Illustration of the SpaceX Dragon XL as it is deployed from the Falcon Heavy's second stage in high Earth orbit on its way to the Gateway in lunar orbit. (SpaceX)

Illustration of the SpaceX Dragon XL as it is deployed from the Falcon Heavy’s second stage in high Earth orbit on its way to the Gateway in lunar orbit. (SpaceX)

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NASA Lunar Lander Thrusters hold up to Over 60 Hot-Fire Tests

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationHuntsville, AL – Future NASA Artemis lunar landers could use next-generation thrusters, the small rocket engines used to make alterations in a spacecraft’s flight path or altitude, to enter lunar orbit and descend to the surface. Before the engines make the trip to the Moon, helping deliver new science instruments and technology demonstrations, they’re being tested here on Earth.

NASA and Frontier Aerospace of Simi Valley, California, performed roughly 60 hot-fire tests on two thruster prototypes over the course of 10 days.

NASA and Frontier Aerospace are developing next-generation thrusters for use on Astrobotic's Peregrine lunar lander. In March 2020, thruster prototypes performed over 60 hot-fire tests in a vacuum chamber. (Frontier Aerospace)

NASA and Frontier Aerospace are developing next-generation thrusters for use on Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander. In March 2020, thruster prototypes performed over 60 hot-fire tests in a vacuum chamber. (Frontier Aerospace)

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NASA installs Sample Handling System on Mars Perseverance Rover

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – With the launch period for NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover opening in a little less than four months, the six-wheeler is reaching significant pre-launch milestones almost daily at the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The rover had some components removed prior to being shipped from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California to the Cape in early February.

This illustration depicts NASA's Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet's Jezero Crater a little after 2:40pm CST (12:40pm PST) on February 18th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration depicts NASA’s Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater a little after 2:40pm CST (12:40pm PST) on February 18th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA picks first two Science Instruments for Gateway

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected the first two scientific investigations to fly aboard the Gateway, an orbital outpost which will support Artemis lunar operations while demonstrating the technologies necessary to conduct a historic human mission to Mars. The instruments selected for Gateway will observe space weather and monitor the Sun’s radiation environment.

“Building the Gateway with our commercial and international partners is a critical component of sustainable lunar exploration and the Artemis program,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine.

NASA Gateway. (NASA)

NASA Gateway. (NASA)

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NASA works with Small Robots to be used in Future Moon Mission

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The newest edition of NASA’s small, foldable robots recently practiced their scouting skills and successfully traversed rugged terrain in the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California.

JPL developed the Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (A-PUFFER) to scout regions on the Moon and gain intel about locations that may be difficult for astronauts to investigate on foot, like hard-to-reach craters and narrow caves.

A shoebox-sized wheeled robot explores the rugged terrain on the surface of the Mars Yard at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory during recent tests of the Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (A-PUFFER) project. (NASA/JPL Caltech)

A shoebox-sized wheeled robot explores the rugged terrain on the surface of the Mars Yard at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory during recent tests of the Autonomous Pop-Up Flat Folding Explorer Robot (A-PUFFER) project. (NASA/JPL Caltech)

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NASA’s Voyager 2 Communications to be affected by Deep Space Antenna Upgrades

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Starting in early March, NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft will quietly coast through interstellar space without receiving commands from Earth. That’s because the Voyager’s primary means of communication, the Deep Space Network’s 70-meter-wide (230-feet-wide) radio antenna in Canberra, Australia, will be undergoing critical upgrades for about 11 months.

During this time, the Voyager team will still be able to receive science data from Voyager 2 on its mission to explore the outermost edge of the Sun’s domain and beyond.

DSS43 is a 70-meter-wide (230-feet-wide) radio antenna at the Deep Space Network's Canberra facility in Australia. It is the only antenna that can send commands to the Voyager 2 spacecraft. (NASA/Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex)

DSS43 is a 70-meter-wide (230-feet-wide) radio antenna at the Deep Space Network’s Canberra facility in Australia. It is the only antenna that can send commands to the Voyager 2 spacecraft. (NASA/Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover has a new name, Perseverance

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s next Mars rover has a new name – Perseverance.

The name was announced Thursday by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate, during a celebration at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. Zurbuchen was at the school to congratulate seventh grader Alexander Mather, who submitted the winning entry to the agency’s “Name the Rover” essay contest, which received 28,000 entries from K-12 students from every U.S. state and territory.

This illustration depicts NASA's Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet's Jezero Crater a little after 2:40pm CST (12:40pm PST) on February 18th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This illustration depicts NASA’s Perseverance rover operating on the surface of Mars. Perseverance will land at the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater a little after 2:40pm CST (12:40pm PST) on February 18th, 2021. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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