Washington, D.C. – On Saturday, July 20th, 2019, at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, Vice President Mike Pence gave remarks in the Neil Armstrong Operations and Checkout Building to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the agency’s Apollo 11 Moon landing and announce to America the completion of NASA’s Orion crew capsule for the first Artemis lunar mission.
“Thanks to the hard work of the men and women of NASA, and of American industry, the Orion crew vehicle for the Artemis 1 mission is complete and ready to begin preparations for its historic first flight,” said Vice President Pence.
Houston, TX – NASA lands “Men Land On The Moon”.
Words such as these were emblazoned in dozens of languages on the front page of newspapers around the world, echoing the first part of President John F. Kennedy’s bold challenge to the nation, made more than eight years earlier – to land a man on the Moon.
That part was successfully accomplished on July 20th, 1969. The second part of the challenge, the safe return to Earth, would have to wait four more days.
Pasadena, CA – When Neil Armstrong became the first human to step onto the surface of the Moon, the giant leap for mankind 50 years ago, it imprinted on several generations.
Some savor that day as a treasured memory, while for others, it’s an inspirational chapter in history books. While NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has long been associated with robotic missions rather than ones involving astronauts, the Lab helped pave the way for the historic Apollo missions that took humans to the Moon.
Here are three contributions by JPL:
Greenbelt, MD – When President John F. Kennedy said going to the Moon was hard, he wasn’t kidding
Much of the technology needed to get to the lunar surface and return didn’t exist at the time of Kennedy’s famous 1962 speech. And much was unknown. As NASA’s Apollo missions were being planned, there was concern that the lunar module might sink right into the surface or become stuck in it.
Houston, TX – Around one million people gathered on the beaches of central Florida to witness first-hand the launch of NASA’s Apollo 11, while more than 500 million people around the world watched the event live on television.
Officially named as a crew just six months earlier, Commander Neil A. Armstrong, Lunar Module Pilot (LMP) Edwin E. “Buzz” Aldrin, and Command Module Pilot (CMP) Michael Collins were prepared to undertake the historic mission.
Pasadena, CA -NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers in Pasadena, California, have designed a four-limbed robot named LEMUR (Limbed Excursion Mechanical Utility Robot) can scale rock walls, gripping with hundreds of tiny fishhooks in each of its 16 fingers and using artificial intelligence (AI) to find its way around obstacles.
In its last field test in Death Valley, California, in early 2019, LEMUR chose a route up a cliff while scanning the rock for ancient fossils from the sea that once filled the area.
NASA Scientists test out new methods of discovering life in California lava tubes that could one day be used on other worlds.
Silicon Valley, CA – NASA says imagine descending into a cave carved out by lava to work alongside a rover about the size of Spirit and Opportunity on Mars, watching the pristine wilderness of a national park transition into tall pillars and stalactites, all in a search for subterranean microbes.
That was a typical day for NASA’s Biologic and Resource Analog Investigations in Low Light Environments project, also known as BRAILLE, while on deployment. Operated out of NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, the BRAILLE team is developing the capability to detect life on the walls of volcanic caves from afar.
Washington, D.C. – On Tuesday, July 2nd, 2019, NASA had a successful demonstration of how the Orion spacecraft’s launch abort system can outrun a speeding rocket and pull astronauts to safety during an emergency during launch. The test is another milestone in the agency’s preparation for Artemis missions to the Moon that will lead to astronaut missions to Mars.
During the approximately three-minute test, called Ascent Abort-2, a test version of the Orion crew module launched at 6:00am CDT from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida on a modified Peacekeeper missile procured through the U.S. Air Force and built by Northrop Grumman.
Pasadena, CA – Engineers have installed the SuperCam Mast Unit onto the Mars 2020 rover at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. The instrument’s camera, laser and spectrometers can identify the chemical and mineral makeup of targets as small as a pencil point from a distance of more than 20 feet (6 meters).
SuperCam is a next-generation version of the ChemCam instrument operating on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. It has been developed jointly in the U.S., France and Spain.
Pasadena, CA – During the first astronaut landing on the Moon, the view of the Sea of Tranquility rising up to meet Neil Armstrong was not what Apollo 11 mission planners had intended.
They had hoped to send the lunar module Eagle toward a relatively flat landing zone with few craters, rocks and boulders. Instead, peering through his small, triangular commander’s window, Armstrong saw a boulder field – very unfriendly for a lunar module.
So the Apollo 11 commander took control of the descent from the onboard computer, piloting Eagle well beyond the boulder field, to a landing site that will forever be known as Tranquility Base.
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