Topic: NASA’s InSight Lander
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander’s heat-sensing spike deployed on the Martian surface is now visible. Last week, the spacecraft’s robotic arm successfully removed the support structure of the mole, which has been unable to dig, and placed it to the side. Getting the structure out of the way gives the mission team a view of the mole – and maybe a way to help it dig.
“We’ve completed the first step in our plan to save the mole,” said Troy Hudson of a scientist and engineer with the InSight mission at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Pasadena, CA – A historic moment, when a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024 will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.
When a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024, the historic moment will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape.
Pasadena, CA – NASA InSight’s heat probe has been unable to dig very far on the surface of Mars. Scientists and engineers have a new plan for getting the probe also known as the “mole,” digging again on Mars. Part of an instrument called the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3), the mole is a self-hammering spike designed to dig as much as 16 feet (5 meters) below the surface and record temperature.
But the mole hasn’t been able to dig deeper than about 12 inches (30 centimeters) below the Martian surface since February 28th, 2019.
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has discovered clay in the region on Mars it’s currently exploring, called the “clay-bearing unit,” is well deserving of its name.
Two samples the rover recently drilled at rock targets called “Aberlady” and “Kilmarie” have revealed the highest amounts of clay minerals ever found during the mission. Both drill targets appear in a new selfie taken by the rover on May 12th, 2019, the 2,405th Martian day, or sol, of the mission.
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter completed 60,000 loops around the Red Planet at 10:39am PDT (12:39 pm CDT) on Wednesday morning, May 15th, 2019. On average, MRO takes 112 minutes to circle Mars, whipping around at about 2 miles per second (3.4 kilometers per second).
Since entering orbit on March 10th, 2006, the spacecraft has been collecting daily science about the planet’s surface and atmosphere, including detailed views with its High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment camera (HiRISE). HiRISE is powerful enough to see surface features the size of a dining room table from 186 miles (300 kilometers) above the surface.
Pasadena, 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.
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter has captured Mar’s moon Phobos during a full moon phase for the first time. Each color in this new image represents a temperature range detected by Odyssey’s infrared camera, which has been studying the Martian moon since September of 2017.
Looking like a rainbow-colored jawbreaker, these latest observations could help scientists understand what materials make up Phobos, the larger of Mars’ two moons.
Pasadena, CA – Catastrophic dust storms have the potential to end a mission like NASA’ Insight Lander as it did with NASA’s Opportunity rover. The same winds that blanket Mars with dust can also blow that dust away. Far more often, passing winds cleared off the rover’s solar panels and gave it an energy boost. Those dust clearings allowed Opportunity and its sister rover, Spirit, to survive for years beyond their 90-day expiration dates.
Dust clearings are also expected for Mars’ newest inhabitant, the InSight lander. Because of the spacecraft’s weather sensors, each clearing can provide crucial science data on these events, as well – and the mission already has a glimpse at that.
Greenbelt, MD – NASA says that dust is not just a household nuisance; it’s a planetary one, particularly on Mars. Before astronauts visit the Red Planet, we need to understand how the dust particles that often fill the atmosphere could impact them and their equipment.
The global Martian dust storm of summer 2018 — the one that blotted out sunlight for weeks and put NASA’s beloved Opportunity rover out of business — offered an unprecedented learning opportunity. For the first time, humans had eight spacecraft orbiting Mars or roving its surface — the largest cadre of robotic explorers ever to watch a global dust storm unfold.
Pasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander takes several photos of the sunrise and sunset on Mars.
A camera on the spacecraft’s robotic arm snapped the photos on April 24th and 25th, the 145th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. In local Mars time, the shots were taken starting around 5:30am and then again starting around 6:30pm.
As a bonus, a camera under the lander’s deck also caught clouds drifting across the Martian sky at sunset.
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