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Topic: NASA Headquarters

NASA successfully tests Orion Spacecraft’s Launch Abort System

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, 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.

Ascent Abort-2 successfully launched at 6:00am CDT from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (NASA)

Ascent Abort-2 successfully launched at 6:00am CDT from Space Launch Complex 46 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. (NASA)

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NASA selects Three Finalists for Future Small Satellites

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Three finalists have been selected by NASA from among a dozen concepts for future small satellites.

The finalists include a 2022 robotic mission to study two asteroid systems, twin spacecraft to study the effects of energetic particles around Mars, and a lunar orbiter managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, to study water on the Moon.

One of three finalists selected by NASA for future small satellites, Lunar Trailblazer will detect and map water on the lunar surface to study how its form, abundance and location relate to geology. The principal investigator is Caltech's Bethany Ehlmann. JPL will provide project management. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

One of three finalists selected by NASA for future small satellites, Lunar Trailblazer will detect and map water on the lunar surface to study how its form, abundance and location relate to geology. The principal investigator is Caltech’s Bethany Ehlmann. JPL will provide project management. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA looks to Advance Human Moon Landers with help from 11 American Companies

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA looks to put American astronauts, the first woman and next man, on the Moon’s south pole by 2024 and establish sustainable missions by 2028. In order to do so, NASA has picked 11 companies to conduct studies and produce prototypes of human landers for its Artemis lunar exploration program.

“To accelerate our return to the Moon, we are challenging our traditional ways of doing business. We will streamline everything from procurement to partnerships to hardware development and even operations,” said Marshall Smith, director for human lunar exploration programs at NASA Headquarters.

Illustration of a human landing system. (NASA)

Illustration of a human landing system. (NASA)

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NASA study reveals Earth’s Moon has active, changing surface

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the Earth’s Moon formed vast basins called “mare” (pronounced MAR-ay) over a billions of years ago. Scientists have long assumed these basins were dead, still places where the last geologic activity occurred long before dinosaurs roamed Earth.

But a survey of more than 12,000 images reveals that at least one lunar mare has been cracking and shifting as much as other parts of the Moon – and may even be doing so today. The study adds to a growing understanding that the Moon is an actively changing world.

New surface features of the Moon have been discovered in a region called Mare Frigoris, outlined here in teal. This image is a mosaic composed of many images taken by NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). (NASA)

New surface features of the Moon have been discovered in a region called Mare Frigoris, outlined here in teal. This image is a mosaic composed of many images taken by NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars InSight Lander records first ever likely Marsquake

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars InSight lander has measured and recorded for the first time ever a likely “marsquake.”

The faint seismic signal, detected by the lander’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, was recorded on April 6th, 2019 the lander’s 128th Martian day, or sol. This is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind. Scientists still are examining the data to determine the exact cause of the signal.

This image of InSight's seismometer was taken on the 110th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The seismometer is called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This image of InSight’s seismometer was taken on the 110th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. The seismometer is called Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure, or SEIS. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA picks New Technologies to Invest in

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Smart spacesuits and solar surfing may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but they are just two of the technology concepts NASA has selected for further research as part of the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) program. The program will fund 18 studies to determine the feasibility of early-stage technologies that could go on to change what’s possible in space.

The funded technologies have the potential to transform human and robotic exploration of other worlds, including the Moon and Mars.

NASA has selected two new concepts from JPL for future mission ideas, including a small satellite that could fly to the outer edges of the solar system. In this photo, a set of Earth-observing CubeSats launch from the International Space Station in 2014. (NASA)

NASA has selected two new concepts from JPL for future mission ideas, including a small satellite that could fly to the outer edges of the solar system. In this photo, a set of Earth-observing CubeSats launch from the International Space Station in 2014. (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Spacecraft undergoing detailed Vehicle Stacking

 

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – For the past few months, the clean room floor in High Bay 1 at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has been covered in parts, components and test equipment for the Mars 2020 spacecraft, scheduled for launch toward the Red Planet in July of 2020.

But over the past few weeks, some of these components – the spacecraft-rocket-laden landing system and even the stand-in for the rover (christened “surrogate-rover”) – have seemingly disappeared.

In the center of this image is the Mars 2020 spacecraft stack attached to the Spacecraft Assembly Rotation Fixture (SCARF) in the High Bay 1 clean room in JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In the center of this image is the Mars 2020 spacecraft stack attached to the Spacecraft Assembly Rotation Fixture (SCARF) in the High Bay 1 clean room in JPL’s Spacecraft Assembly Facility. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s SOFIA airborne observatory discovers First Type of Molecule that ever formed in the Universe

 

Written by Kassandra Bell and Alison Hawkes
NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says the first type of molecule that ever formed in the universe has been detected in space for the first time, after decades of searching. Scientists discovered its signature in our own galaxy using the world’s largest airborne observatory, NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, or SOFIA, as the aircraft flew high above the Earth’s surface and pointed its sensitive instruments out into the cosmos.

When the universe was still very young, only a few kinds of atoms existed. Scientists believe that around 100,000 years after the big bang, helium and hydrogen combined to make a molecule called helium hydride for the first time.

Illustration of planetary nebula NGC 7027 and helium hydride molecules. In this planetary nebula, SOFIA detected helium hydride, a combination of helium (red) and hydrogen (blue), which was the first type of molecule to ever form in the early universe. This is the first time helium hydride has been found in the modern universe. (NASA/SOFIA/L. Proudfit/D.Rutter)

Illustration of planetary nebula NGC 7027 and helium hydride molecules. In this planetary nebula, SOFIA detected helium hydride, a combination of helium (red) and hydrogen (blue), which was the first type of molecule to ever form in the early universe. This is the first time helium hydride has been found in the modern universe. (NASA/SOFIA/L. Proudfit/D.Rutter)

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NASA ready to take on Challenges of going back to the Moon

 

NASA Headquarters

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says space exploration brings humanity some of its greatest challenges and opportunities. We faced this hard fact on April 11th when the Beresheet spacecraft developed by Israel’s SpaceIL failed to successfully land on the Moon’s surface.

While the Beresheet spacecraft can claim many accomplishments, including being the first privately funded lunar spacecraft, we can learn many things from its failures. These are lessons we, too, must consider as NASA tries to conquer similar challenges as we move forward to the Moon with commercial and international partners.

NASA will send landers and robots to the Moon before sending Astronauts to explore. (NASA)

NASA will send landers and robots to the Moon before sending Astronauts to explore. (NASA)

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NASA lists 10 Things You Should Know About Planetary Defense

 

NASA Headquarters 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C.1. Why Asteroids Impact Earth: Why do asteroids and meteoroids collide with Earth?

NASA says these objects orbit the Sun just like the planets, as they have been doing for billions of years, but small effects such as gravitational nudges from the planets can jostle the orbits, making them gradually shift over million-year timescales or abruptly reposition if there is a close planetary encounter.

These three radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 were obtained on Dec. 15-17, by coordinating observations with NASA's 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California and the National Science Foundation's (NSF) 330-foot (100-meter) Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NSF/GBO)

These three radar images of near-Earth asteroid 2003 SD220 were obtained on Dec. 15-17, by coordinating observations with NASA’s 230-foot (70-meter) antenna at the Goldstone Deep Space Communications Complex in California and the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) 330-foot (100-meter) Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/GSSR/NSF/GBO)

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