Topic: NASA’s Science Mission Directorate
Pasadena, 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.
Pasadena, 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.
Washington, D.C. Two Proposals have been picked by NASA for concept studies that could help us better understand the fundamental nature of space and how it changes in response to planetary atmospheres, radiation from the Sun, and interstellar particles. The proposals will advance NASA’s heliophysics program and could lead to better protection for both technology and humans as we travel farther from home.
Each of these Heliophysics Science Mission of Opportunity proposals will receive $400,000 to conduct a nine-month mission concept study.
Pasadena, 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.”
Pasadena, 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.
Pasadena, CA – Equipped with visionary science instruments, the NASA Mars 2020 rover underwent an “eye” exam after several cameras were installed on it. The rover contains an armada of imaging capabilities, from wide-angle landscape cameras to narrow-angle high-resolution zoom lens cameras.
“We completed the machine-vision calibration of the forward-facing cameras on the rover,” said Justin Maki, chief engineer for imaging and the imaging scientist for Mars 2020 at JPL. “This measurement is critical for accurate stereo vision, which is an important capability of the vehicle.”
NASA’s Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) instrument to observe Coastal Ecosystems
Washington, D.C. – NASA has selected a space-based instrument under its Earth Venture Instrument (EVI) portfolio that will make observations of coastal waters to help protect ecosystem sustainability, improve resource management, and enhance economic activity.
The selected Geosynchronous Littoral Imaging and Monitoring Radiometer (GLIMR) instrument, led by principal investigator Joseph Salisbury at the University of New Hampshire, Durham, will provide unique observations of ocean biology, chemistry, and ecology in the Gulf of Mexico, portions of the southeastern United States coastline, and the Amazon River plume – where the waters of the Amazon River enter the Atlantic Ocean.
Washington, D.C. – NASA has announced the latest opportunity for industry to participate in its Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) efforts to deliver science and technology payloads to and near the Moon.
The newest announcement calls for companies to push the boundaries of current technology to support the next generation of lunar landers that can land heavier payloads on the surface of the Moon, including the South Pole, as part of the agency’s Artemis program, which will send the first woman and next man to the Moon by 2024, setting the stage for future human exploration of Mars.
Pasadenca, 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).
Pasadena, 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.
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