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Topic: Red Planet

NASA InSight Lander’s Arm helps it’s Mole get buried, resumes Science Activities

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s InSight lander has been using its robotic arm to help the heat probe known as the “mole” burrow into Mars. The mission is providing the first look at the Red Planet’s deep interior to reveal details about the formation of Mars and, ultimately, all rocky planets, including Earth.

Akin to a 16-inch-long (40-centimeter-long) pile driver, the self-hammering mole has experienced difficulty getting into the Martian soil since February 2019. It’s mostly buried now, thanks to recent efforts to push down on the mole with the scoop on the end of the robotic arm.

The movement of sand grains in the scoop on the end of NASA InSight's robotic arm suggests that the spacecraft's self-hammering "mole," which is in the soil beneath the scoop, had begun tapping the bottom of the scoop while hammering on June 20, 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The movement of sand grains in the scoop on the end of NASA InSight’s robotic arm suggests that the spacecraft’s self-hammering “mole,” which is in the soil beneath the scoop, had begun tapping the bottom of the scoop while hammering on June 20, 2020. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover is set to launch soon

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is just over a month from its July 20th, 2020 targeted launch date. The rover’s astrobiology mission will seek signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the geology of the Jezero Crater landing site, and demonstrate key technologies to help prepare for future robotic and human exploration.

And the rover will do all that while collecting the first samples of Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) for return to Earth by a set of future missions.

In a clean room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA's Mars 2020 rover on Dec. 17, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

In a clean room at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, engineers observed the first driving test for NASA’s Mars 2020 rover on Dec. 17, 2019. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Curiosity Rover sees Earth, Venus from Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover occasionally stops to stargaze. Recently, it captured a shot of Earth and Venus in the Red Planet’s night sky.

Curiosity aimed its Mast Camera, or Mastcam, at the heavens about 75 minutes after sunset on June 5th, 2020, the 2,784th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. A two-image twilight panorama reveals Earth in one frame and Venus in the other.

Both planets appear as mere pinpoints of light, owing to a combination of distance and dust in the air; they would normally look like very bright stars.

Two images of the night sky were combined to show Earth and Venus as seen by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover on June 5, 2020, the mission's 2,784th Martian day, or sol. The planets appear as pinpoints of light owing to a combination of distance and dust in the air. Mars' Tower Butte is visible at bottom. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Two images of the night sky were combined to show Earth and Venus as seen by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on June 5, 2020, the mission’s 2,784th Martian day, or sol. The planets appear as pinpoints of light owing to a combination of distance and dust in the air. Mars’ Tower Butte is visible at bottom. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Perseverance Rover will bring it’s on Detective to Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Mars is a long way from 221B Baker Street, but one of fiction’s best-known detectives will be represented on the Red Planet after NASA’s Perseverance rover touches down on February 18th, 2021.

SHERLOC, an instrument on the end of the rover’s robotic arm, will hunt for sand-grain-sized clues in Martian rocks while working in tandem with WATSON, a camera that will take close-up pictures of rock textures.

As seen in this artist's concept, the SHERLOC instrument is located on the end of the robotic arm of NASA's Perseverance Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

As seen in this artist’s concept, the SHERLOC instrument is located on the end of the robotic arm of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA flies Mars Perseverance Rover to Florida to prepare for Launch

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Progress continues to speed along as NASA’s Perseverance rover readies for its launch this summer. On May 11th, the rover team at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida received the tubes tasked with holding the first samples collected at Mars for eventual return to Earth.

A week later, the Atlas V launch vehicle that will hurl Perseverance to the Red Planet arrived at the launch site. Working together, personnel from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and United Launch Alliance in Centennial, Colorado, were also able to extend the rover’s launch period by six days, from July 17th-August 5th to July 17th-August 11th.

Some of the nearly 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of Perseverance mission flight hardware, test gear and equipment delivered to Kennedy Space Center on May 11, 2020, is unloaded from a NASA Wallops C-130. (NASA)

Some of the nearly 5,000 pounds (2,270 kilograms) of Perseverance mission flight hardware, test gear and equipment delivered to Kennedy Space Center on May 11, 2020, is unloaded from a NASA Wallops C-130. (NASA)

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover being put through Tough Tests before trip to Mars

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – While auto manufacturers built over 92 million motor vehicles for this world in 2019, NASA built just one for Mars. The Perseverance Mars rover is one of a kind, and the testing required to get it ready to roll on the mean (and unpaved) streets of the Red Planet is one of a kind as well.

Because hardware cannot be repaired once the rover is on Mars, the team has to build a vehicle that can survive for years on a planet with punishing temperature shifts, constant radiation and ever-present dust.

This photo shows a successful test of the parachute that will be used to land NASA's Perseverance rover on Mars. The image were taken on Septe,ber 7th, 2018, during the third and final flight of the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) project. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

This photo shows a successful test of the parachute that will be used to land NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. The image were taken on Septe,ber 7th, 2018, during the third and final flight of the Advanced Supersonic Parachute Inflation Research Experiment (ASPIRE) project. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA develops Shape Memory Tire for future Mars, Moon Missions

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationCleveland, OH – It’s rocky. It’s sandy. It’s flat. It’s cratered. It’s cold. The surface of Mars is a challenging and inhospitable place, especially for rovers. As future missions to Mars become more complex, NASA’s robotic wanderers will need new technologies to look deeper into the history of the Red Planet.

One of those technologies is an innovative new tire in development at NASA’s Glenn Research Center using innovative shape memory alloys (SMA).

The new shape memory alloy rover tire developed for the harsh Martian landscape is tested at NASA Glenn’s Simulated Lunar Operations Laboratory. (NASA)

The new shape memory alloy rover tire developed for the harsh Martian landscape is tested at NASA Glenn’s Simulated Lunar Operations Laboratory. (NASA)

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NASA prepares Mars Perseverance Rover for Launch

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – Engineers working on NASA’s Perseverance rover mission at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida have begun the process of placing the Mars-bound rover and other spacecraft components into the configuration they’ll be in as they ride on top of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The launch period for the mission opens on July 17th, 2020 – just 70 days from now.

Called “vehicle stacking,” the process began on April 23rd with the integration of the rover and its rocket-powered descent stage. One of the first steps in the daylong operation was to lift the descent stage onto Perseverance so that engineers could connect the two with flight-separation bolts.

NASA's Mars Perseverance rover's descent stage was recently stacked atop the rover at Kennedy Space Center, and the two were placed in their back shell. The Ingenuity helicopter can be seen attached to the rover's underside (lower center of the image). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover’s descent stage was recently stacked atop the rover at Kennedy Space Center, and the two were placed in their back shell. The Ingenuity helicopter can be seen attached to the rover’s underside (lower center of the image). (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance Rover equipped with most advanced Cameras to date

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationPasadena, CA – When it launches this summer, NASA’s Perseverance rover will have the most advanced pair of “eyes” ever sent to the Red Planet’s surface: Its Mastcam-Z instrument packs a next-gen zoom capability that will help the mission make 3D imagery more easily. Rover operators, who carefully plan out each driving route and each movement of a rover’s robotic arm, view these stereo images through 3D goggles to see the contours of the landscape.

A close-up of the head of Perseverance Rover's remote sensing mast. The mast head contains the SuperCam instrument (its lens is in the large circular opening). In the gray boxes beneath mast head are the two Mastcam-Z imagers. On the exterior sides of those imagers are the rover's two navigation cameras. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A close-up of the head of Perseverance Rover’s remote sensing mast. The mast head contains the SuperCam instrument (its lens is in the large circular opening). In the gray boxes beneath mast head are the two Mastcam-Z imagers. On the exterior sides of those imagers are the rover’s two navigation cameras. (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

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NASA’s Mars Helicopter receives new name, Ingenuity

 

NASA - National Aeronautics and Space AdministrationWashington, D.C. – Destined to become the first aircraft to attempt powered flight on another planet, NASA’s Mars Helicopter officially has received a new name: Ingenuity.

Vaneeza Rupani, a junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Alabama, came up with the name and the motivation behind it during NASA’s “Name the Rover” essay contest.

“The ingenuity and brilliance of people working hard to overcome the challenges of interplanetary travel are what allow us all to experience the wonders of space exploration,” Rupani wrote in her contest submission. “Ingenuity is what allows people to accomplish amazing things, and it allows us to expand our horizons to the edges of the universe.” 

Vaneeza Rupani (inset), a junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Alabama, came up with the name Ingenuity for NASA's Mars Helicopter (an artist's impression of which is seen here) and the motivation behind it during NASA's "Name the Rover" essay contest. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/NIA/Rupani Family)

Vaneeza Rupani (inset), a junior at Tuscaloosa County High School in Northport, Alabama, came up with the name Ingenuity for NASA’s Mars Helicopter (an artist’s impression of which is seen here) and the motivation behind it during NASA’s “Name the Rover” essay contest. (NASA/JPL-Caltech/NIA/Rupani Family)

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