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Topic: National Aeronautics and Space Administration

NASA Science continues from Home Offices, Video Conferencing in response to Coronavirus

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Across NASA’s many missions, thousands of scientists, engineers, and other experts and professionals all over the country are doing what they do best, but now from home offices and via video conferencing.

With most personnel supporting missions remotely to keep onsite staff at a minimal level in response to Coronavirus (COVID-19), the Agency is moving ahead strongly with everything from space exploration to using our technology and innovation to help inform policy makers.  

NASA missions continue during Coronavirus outbreak. (NASA)

NASA missions continue during Coronavirus outbreak. (NASA)

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NASA lays out concept for Lunar Surface Activities

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, 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.

Infographic showing the evolution of lunar activities on the surface and in orbit. (NASA)

Infographic showing the evolution of lunar activities on the surface and in orbit. (NASA)

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NASA puts Wheels, Air Brakes on Perseverance Mars Rover

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Final assembly and testing of NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover continues at Kennedy Space Center in Florida as the July launch window approaches. In some of the last steps required prior to stacking the spacecraft components in the configuration they’ll be in atop the Atlas V rocket, the rover’s wheels and parachute have been installed.

Perseverance received its six flight wheels on March 30th, 2020. While the rover took a test drive last December, it was on “flight spares” that wouldn’t be making the trip to Mars.

Three of the six flight wheels that will travel to Mars can be seen attached to NASA's Perseverance rover (which is inverted on a handling fixture) on March 30, 2020 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The protective antistatic foil covering the wheels will be removed before launch this summer. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Three of the six flight wheels that will travel to Mars can be seen attached to NASA’s Perseverance rover (which is inverted on a handling fixture) on March 30, 2020 at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The protective antistatic foil covering the wheels will be removed before launch this summer. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s WFRIST telescope to search for Exoplanets using Microlensing

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – NASA’s Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) will search for planets outside our solar system toward the center of our Milky Way galaxy, where most stars are. Studying the properties of exoplanet worlds will help us understand what planetary systems throughout the galaxy are like and how planets form and evolve.

Combining WFIRST’s findings with results from NASA’s Kepler and Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) missions will complete the first planet census that is sensitive to a wide range of planet masses and orbits, bringing us a step closer to discovering habitable Earth-like worlds beyond our own.

NASA's WFIRST will make its microlensing observations in the direction of the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The higher density of stars will yield more exoplanet detections. (NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab)

NASA’s WFIRST will make its microlensing observations in the direction of the center of the Milky Way galaxy. The higher density of stars will yield more exoplanet detections. (NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/CI Lab)

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How NASA’s Mars Helicopter came into being

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – The NASA Mars Helicopter is riding to the Red Planet this summer with NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover. The helicopter’s chief engineer, Bob Balaram, shares the saga of how it came into being.

Even before this interviewer can finish the question, “Did anyone ever tell you this was a crazy idea?” Bob Balaram jumps in: “Everyone. All the time.”

This “crazy idea” is the Mars Helicopter, currently at Kennedy Space Center waiting to hitch a ride to the Red Planet on the Mars Perseverance rover this summer.

Mars Helicopter's chief engineer Bob Balaram and the Mars Helicopter on a test stand. The technology demonstration will ride aboard NASA's Perseverance rover to the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Mars Helicopter’s chief engineer Bob Balaram and the Mars Helicopter on a test stand. The technology demonstration will ride aboard NASA’s Perseverance rover to the Red Planet. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope discovers evidence of Elusive Black Hole

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationGreenbelt, MD – Astronomers have found the best evidence for the perpetrator of a cosmic homicide: a black hole of an elusive class known as “intermediate-mass,” which betrayed its existence by tearing apart a wayward star that passed too close.

Weighing in at about 50,000 times the mass of our Sun, the black hole is smaller than the supermassive black holes (at millions or billions of solar masses) that lie at the cores of large galaxies, but larger than stellar-mass black holes formed by the collapse of a massive star.

This illustration depicts a cosmic homicide in action. A wayward star is being shredded by the intense gravitational pull of a black hole that contains tens of thousands of solar masses. The stellar remains are forming an accretion disk around the black hole. Flares of X-ray light from the super-heated gas disk alerted astronomers to the black hole's location; otherwise it lurked unknown in the dark. (NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI))

This illustration depicts a cosmic homicide in action. A wayward star is being shredded by the intense gravitational pull of a black hole that contains tens of thousands of solar masses. The stellar remains are forming an accretion disk around the black hole. Flares of X-ray light from the super-heated gas disk alerted astronomers to the black hole’s location; otherwise it lurked unknown in the dark. (NASA, ESA and D. Player (STScI))

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NASA SunRISE mission to use Six Spacecraft to study Giant Solar Particle Storms

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA has selected a new mission to study how the Sun generates and releases giant space weather storms – known as solar particle storms – into planetary space.

Not only will such information improve understanding of how our solar system works, but it ultimately can help protect astronauts traveling to the Moon and Mars by providing better information on how the Sun’s radiation affects the space environment they must travel through.

A new NASA mission called SunRISE will study what drives solar particle storms - giant surges of solar particles that erupt off of the Sun - as depicted in this illustration. Understanding how such storms affect interplanetary space can help protect spacecraft and astronauts. (NASA)

A new NASA mission called SunRISE will study what drives solar particle storms – giant surges of solar particles that erupt off of the Sun – as depicted in this illustration. Understanding how such storms affect interplanetary space can help protect spacecraft and astronauts. (NASA)

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NASA captures Nighttime Images showing Changes in China

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA says that beyond their beauty, images of Earth at night have a practical use. The nighttime lights of cities, highways, and other infrastructure are fingerprints of how civilization has spread across the planet. For some researchers, those lights not only speak to where we live, but how.

A team of scientists from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and Universities Space Research Association (USRA) has detected signs of the recent shutdown of business and transportation around Hubei province in central China.

Image of Wuhan China on January 19th, 2020. (NASA)

Image of Wuhan China on January 19th, 2020. (NASA)

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NASA’s view of Mobile Airspace expands with Advanced Air Mobility

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA’s aeronautical innovators are embracing a more inclusive vision for the future of air travel in at least one major research area, and the terminology they will use from now on will reflect that more comprehensive view of what’s on the horizon.

Bottom line: The thinking on Urban Air Mobility (UAM) has advanced so much that it was decided Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) was a better term to use.

Advanced Air Mobility, with its many vehicle concepts and potential uses in both local and intraregional applications, is shown in this illustration. (NASA)

Advanced Air Mobility, with its many vehicle concepts and potential uses in both local and intraregional applications, is shown in this illustration. (NASA)

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NASA selects SpaceX for Gateway Logistics Services Artemis Contract

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – NASA has selected SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, as the first U.S. commercial provider under the Gateway Logistics Services contract to deliver cargo, experiments and other supplies to the agency’s Gateway in lunar orbit. The award is a significant step forward for NASA’s Artemis program that will land the first woman and next man on the Moon by 2024 and build a sustainable human lunar presence.

At the Moon, NASA and its partners will gain the experience necessary to mount a historic human mission to Mars.

Illustration of the SpaceX Dragon XL as it is deployed from the Falcon Heavy's second stage in high Earth orbit on its way to the Gateway in lunar orbit. (SpaceX)

Illustration of the SpaceX Dragon XL as it is deployed from the Falcon Heavy’s second stage in high Earth orbit on its way to the Gateway in lunar orbit. (SpaceX)

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