Topic: NASA Artemis Program
Mountain View, CA – A new era of human spaceflight is set to begin as American astronauts once again launch on an American rocket from American soil to the International Space Station as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program – the first time since the retirement of the Space Shuttle Program in 2011.
Commercial crew partner SpaceX will carry humans to the space station, like a taxi or a rideshare service, shuttling people to their destination and home again.
Pasadena, CA – While auto manufacturers built over 92 million motor vehicles for this world in 2019, NASA built just one for Mars. The Perseverance Mars rover is one of a kind, and the testing required to get it ready to roll on the mean (and unpaved) streets of the Red Planet is one of a kind as well.
Because hardware cannot be repaired once the rover is on Mars, the team has to build a vehicle that can survive for years on a planet with punishing temperature shifts, constant radiation and ever-present dust.
Pasadena, CA – When it launches this summer, NASA’s Perseverance rover will have the most advanced pair of “eyes” ever sent to the Red Planet’s surface: Its Mastcam-Z instrument packs a next-gen zoom capability that will help the mission make 3D imagery more easily. Rover operators, who carefully plan out each driving route and each movement of a rover’s robotic arm, view these stereo images through 3D goggles to see the contours of the landscape.
Washington, D.C. – Destined to become the first aircraft to attempt powered flight on another planet, NASA’s Mars Helicopter officially has received a new name: Ingenuity.
Vaneeza Rupani, a junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Alabama, came up with the name and the motivation behind it during NASA’s “Name the Rover” essay contest.
“The ingenuity and brilliance of people working hard to overcome the challenges of interplanetary travel are what allow us all to experience the wonders of space exploration,” Rupani wrote in her contest submission. “Ingenuity is what allows people to accomplish amazing things, and it allows us to expand our horizons to the edges of the universe.”
Pasadena, CA – As astronauts explore the Moon during the Artemis program, they may need to make use of the resources that already exist on the lunar surface. Take water, for instance: Because it’s a heavy and therefore expensive resource to launch from Earth, our future explorers might have to seek out ice to mine.
Once excavated, it can be melted and purified for drinking and used for rocket fuel. But how much water is there on the Moon, and where might we find it?
Pasadena, CA – With 13 weeks to go before the launch period of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover opens, final preparations of the spacecraft continue at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. On April 8th, 2020 the assembly, test and launch operations team completed a crucial mass properties test of the rover.
Precision mass properties measurements are essential to a safe landing on Mars because they help ensure that the spacecraft travels accurately throughout its trip to the Red Planet – from launch through its entry, descent and landing.
Mountain View, CA – NASA says that Moon dust is a formidable adversary – the grains are as fine as powder and as sharp as tiny shards of glass.
During the Apollo 17 mission to the Moon, the astronauts lamented how the dust found its way into everything, coating their spacesuits and jamming the shoulder joints, getting inside their lunar habitat and even causing symptoms of a temporary “lunar dust hay fever” in astronaut Harrison Schmitt. Those symptoms fortunately went away quickly – but the problem of Moon dust remains for future missions.
Pasadena, CA – With the launch period of NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover opening in 14 weeks, final preparations of the spacecraft continue at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
In the past week, the assembly, test and launch operations team completed important milestones, fueling the descent stage – also known as the sky crane – and attaching the Mars Helicopter, which will be the first aircraft in history to attempt power-controlled flight on another planet.
Over the weekend, 884 pounds (401 kilograms) of hydrazine monopropellant were loaded into the descent stage’s four fuel tanks.
Washington, D.C. – NASA has selected Masten Space Systems of Mojave, California, to deliver and operate eight payloads – with nine science and technology instruments – to the Moon’s South Pole in 2022, to help lay the foundation for human expeditions to the lunar surface beginning in 2024.
The payloads, which include instruments to assess the composition of the lunar surface, test precision landing technologies, and evaluate the radiation on the Moon, are being delivered under NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative as part of the agency’s Artemis program.
Washington, 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.
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