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Topic: NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope observes conditions on Rocky Planet

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope data has been used in a new study to provide a rare glimpse of conditions on the surface of a rocky planet orbiting a star beyond the Sun. The study, published today in the journal Nature, shows that the planet’s surface may resemble those of Earth’s Moon or Mercury:

The planet likely has little to no atmosphere and could be covered in the same cooled volcanic material found in the dark areas of the Moon’s surface, called mare.

This artist's illustration depicts the exoplanet LHS 3844b, which is 1.3 times the mass of Earth and orbits an M dwarf star. The planet's surface may be covered mostly in dark lava rock, with no apparent atmosphere, according to observations by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

This artist’s illustration depicts the exoplanet LHS 3844b, which is 1.3 times the mass of Earth and orbits an M dwarf star. The planet’s surface may be covered mostly in dark lava rock, with no apparent atmosphere, according to observations by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/R. Hurt (IPAC))

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NASA confirms mission to Jupiter’s Moon, Europa

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has announced the mission to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa is a go.

An icy ocean world in our solar system that could tell us more about the potential for life on other worlds is coming into focus with confirmation of the Europa Clipper mission’s next phase. The decision allows the mission to progress to completion of final design, followed by the construction and testing of the entire spacecraft and science payload.

A 2016 artist's concept of the Europa Clipper spacecraft. The design is changing as the spacecraft is developed. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A 2016 artist’s concept of the Europa Clipper spacecraft. The design is changing as the spacecraft is developed. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover gains Bit Carousel

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Mars 2020 rover now has the bit carousel installed, a mechanism that will play a key role in the acquisition, containment and eventual return to Earth of humanity’s first samples from another planet.

“The bit carousel is at the heart of the sampling and caching subsystem,” said Keith Rosette, Mars 2020 sample handling delivery manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “It contains all of the tools the coring drill uses to sample the Martian surface and is the gateway for the samples to move into the rover for assessment and processing.”

In this August 5, 2019 image, the bit carousel - the heart of sampling and caching subsystem of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission - is attached to the front end of the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In this August 5, 2019 image, the bit carousel – the heart of sampling and caching subsystem of NASA’s Mars 2020 mission – is attached to the front end of the rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory robots take part in Subterranean Challenge

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – On August 15th through the 22nd, robots from all over the world will compete to find objects in the DARPA Subterranean Challenge Systems Competition held in mining tunnels under Pittsburgh.

Among them will be a team led by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, that features wheeled rovers, drones and climbing robots that can rise on pinball-flipper-shaped treads to scale obstacles.

JPL and its university partners are competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's Subterranean Challenge in Pittsburgh August 15th-22nd, 2019, with a fleet of robots built to search tunnels, caves and other subterranean environments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

JPL and its university partners are competing in the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Subterranean Challenge in Pittsburgh August 15th-22nd, 2019, with a fleet of robots built to search tunnels, caves and other subterranean environments. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Apollo 11, Mars 2020 have same goal, collect Samples

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Apollo 11 command module Columbia splashed down in the Pacific Ocean, fulfilling President John F. Kennedy’s goal to land a man on the Moon and return him safely to Earth on July 24th, 1969.

Among the mission’s many firsts was the acquisition and return of the first samples from another celestial body. Findings based on the 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of lunar rock and soil rewrote the textbooks on both the Moon and solar system, and the samples are still being studied today by researchers using new and more sensitive instruments.

From left to right: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon; 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of samples were brought back to Earth from that mission; the Mars 2020 rover, seen here in an artist's concept rover, will be taking the first planetary samples at Jezero Crater, Mars (on right). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

From left to right: Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin stands on the Moon; 47 pounds (21.5 kilograms) of samples were brought back to Earth from that mission; the Mars 2020 rover, seen here in an artist’s concept rover, will be taking the first planetary samples at Jezero Crater, Mars (on right). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Curiosity Rover continues exploring Martian Surface

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity rover has come a long way since touching down on Mars seven years ago. It has traveled a total of 13 miles (21 kilometers) and ascended 1,207 feet (368 meters) to its current location. Along the way, Curiosity discovered Mars had the conditions to support microbial life in the ancient past, among other things.

And the rover is far from done, having just drilled its 22nd sample from the Martian surface. It has a few more years before its nuclear power system degrades enough to significantly limit operations. After that, careful budgeting of its power will allow the rover to keep studying the Red Planet.

This panorama of a location called "Teal Ridge" was captured on Mars by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA's Curiosity rover on June 18th, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

This panorama of a location called “Teal Ridge” was captured on Mars by the Mast Camera, or Mastcam, on NASA’s Curiosity rover on June 18th, 2019, the 2,440th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

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NASA tests Mars 2020 rover arm, turret

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadenca, CA – NASA’s Mars 2020 rover’s robotic arm is able to curl heavy weights. On July 18th, 2019, the time-lapse video below was, taken in the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, the rover’s 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm handily maneuvers 88 pounds’ (40 kilograms’) worth of sensor-laden turret as it moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration.

The rover’s arm includes five electrical motors and five joints (known as the shoulder azimuth joint, shoulder elevation joint, elbow joint, wrist joint and turret joint).

In this image, taken July 19, 2019, in the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at JPL, the rover's 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm maneuvers its 88-pound (40-kilogram) sensor-laden turret as it moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In this image, taken July 19, 2019, in the clean room of the Spacecraft Assembly Facility at JPL, the rover’s 7-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) arm maneuvers its 88-pound (40-kilogram) sensor-laden turret as it moves from a deployed to a stowed configuration. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA creates Sensor Chip Electronics for ESA Dark Energy Mission, Euclid

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA says the European Space Agency’s Euclid mission, set to launch in 2022, will investigate two of the biggest mysteries in modern astronomy: dark matter and dark energy. A team of NASA engineers recently delivered critical hardware for one of the instruments that will fly on Euclid and probe these cosmic puzzles.

Based at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, the engineers designed, fabricated and tested 20 pieces of sensor-chip electronics (SCEs) hardware for Euclid (16 for the flight instrument and four backups).

The cryogenic (cold) portion of the Euclid space telescope's Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument. NASA led the procurement and delivery of the detectors for the NISP instrument. The gold-coated hardware is the 16 sensor-chip electronics integrated with the infrared sensors. (Euclid Consortium/CPPM/LAM)

The cryogenic (cold) portion of the Euclid space telescope’s Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument. NASA led the procurement and delivery of the detectors for the NISP instrument. The gold-coated hardware is the 16 sensor-chip electronics integrated with the infrared sensors. (Euclid Consortium/CPPM/LAM)

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NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory impact on Apollo Missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, 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:

Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad (pictured) and Alan Bean visit JPL's Surveyor 3 in the Ocean of Storms on November 20, 1969. The Apollo 12 astronauts had visited JPL earlier in the year, in part to try out tools to help remove parts of Surveyor 3 to return to Earth. Surveyor 3's camera now resides in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and its soil sampler scoop is on display in JPL's Visitor Center. (NASA)

Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad (pictured) and Alan Bean visit JPL’s Surveyor 3 in the Ocean of Storms on November 20, 1969. The Apollo 12 astronauts had visited JPL earlier in the year, in part to try out tools to help remove parts of Surveyor 3 to return to Earth. Surveyor 3’s camera now resides in the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, and its soil sampler scoop is on display in JPL’s Visitor Center. (NASA)
Requestor: J. Strand
Date Filed: 12/24/69

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Rover set to launch in One Year

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – One year from today, the NASA’s Mars 2020 rover launch period begins July 17th, 2020, and extends through August 5th, 2020. The mission will launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida and land at Mars’ Jezero Crater on February 18th, 2021.

“Back when we started this project in 2013, we came up with a timeline to chart mission progress,” said John McNamee, Mars 2020 project manager at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

Engineers at JPL install a sensor-filled turret on the end of the rover's seven-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) robotic arm. The image was taken on July 11, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Engineers at JPL install a sensor-filled turret on the end of the rover’s seven-foot-long (2.1-meter-long) robotic arm. The image was taken on July 11, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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