NASA – Jenam 2011 Tue, 28 Jun 2022 19:22:03 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NASA – Jenam 2011 32 32 NASA Invites Media to Meet Astronaut at Silver Snoopy Awards Ceremony Tue, 28 Jun 2022 18:14:00 +0000

WASHINGTON, June 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — NASA astronaut Shannon Walker will join the center’s acting director, Dr. jimmy kenyon to present 27 employees with the coveted Silver Snoopy Award on Thursday June 30at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

Walker will be available to speak briefly to the media about his career, as well as the importance of centers like Glenn to flight safety and mission success, at 12:30 p.m. The awards ceremony will begin at 1 p.m. with remarks from Kenyon and Walker ahead of the awards show.

To participate, media should contact John Witry at 216-433-5466 or [email protected] and plan to arrive at the main gate for badging no later than 12:10 p.m.

Walker served as a mission specialist on the Crew-1 SpaceX Crew Dragon, named Resilience, which landed May 2, 2021. She also served as a flight engineer on the International Space Station for Expedition 64 and Expedition 24/25, a long-duration mission that lasted 163 days. She was selected by NASA to be an astronaut in 2004.

An astronaut always presents the Silver Snoopy as it is the astronauts’ award for outstanding performance contributing to flight safety and mission success. Less than one percent of the aerospace program workforce receives it each year, making it a special honor. Recipients must have made a significant contribution to the human spaceflight program.

The prize is a sterling silver Snoopy lapel pin that flew into space, as well as a certificate of appreciation and a letter of congratulations for the employee, both signed by the astronaut.

For more information on Glenn, visit:


]]> NASA’s Marshall Team Delivers Tiny, Powerful “Moon Flashlight” Propulsion System – Parabolic Arc Sat, 25 Jun 2022 10:01:00 +0000

Lunar Flashlight is an innovative and inexpensive CubeSat set to study the dark surface of the Moon’s south pole. The Lunar Flashlight mission was developed and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. (Credits: NASA)

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (NASA PR) – Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, have built some of the biggest rocket engines ever to light up the icy expanses of space. Now, Marshall and his business partners have delivered one of the smallest propulsion systems in its history, designed to help propel an upcoming NASA mission to shed new light on the Moon’s south pole – in search of a much more useful type of ice cream.

Lunar Flashlight, no bigger than a briefcase, is an innovative, low-cost CubeSat developed and maintained by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. As the spacecraft orbits the Moon, its near-infrared lasers will illuminate the permanently shadowed surface of the lunar pole, while its onboard reflectometer will measure surface reflection and composition to identify large deposits of ice.

Scheduled to launch later in 2022 via a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, Lunar Flashlight will search for water ice on the lunar surface, which could be collected and purified for drinking water or converted into breathable oxygen or even fuel for life. rocket.

NASA is looking for lunar ice deposits to answer long-standing questions about the composition, quantity, and distribution of frozen water on the Moon. The mission will help determine where it exists on the surface – and if there is enough to support future lunar colonies and to power advanced lunar habitats and laboratories.

Daniel Cavender, lunar flashlight manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, shows off the CubeSat to investigate the dark surface of the Moon’s south pole. Marshall led the team responsible for developing the Lunar Flashlight propulsion system. (Credits: NASA)

The Lunar Flashlight propulsion system was accelerated for design, manufacturing and testing in July 2019. “We had to reduce the propulsion technology to something that could fit in a backpack, but with the same challenges as larger propulsion systems,” said Daniel Cavender, project manager at Marshall. “This has been facilitated by our strategic investments in small satellite propulsion technologies over the past few years.”

The work has also benefited from new partnerships with industry and academia. Marshall led the design of the compact propulsion system and oversaw hardware development at its in-house facilities and at Plasma Processes LLC of Huntsville and Flight Works of Irvine, California. Researchers from the Space Systems Design Laboratory at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta built the fuel tank and electrical controller and led system integration and testing.

The tiny craft is powered by a chemical monopropellant — a fuel capable of burning on its own without a separate oxidizer — known as Advanced Spacecraft Energetic Non-Toxic, or ASCENT. Developed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and first tested on NASA’s Green Propellant Infusion mission, which ended in 2020, ASCENT is a low-toxic “green” alternative to conventional hydrazine monpropellant .

“CubeSats like this are ideal tools for demonstrating new technologies while enabling compelling science and exploration,” Cavender said. “They have a relatively short design life cycle and modest cost, but the scientific return can be enormous.”

Beyond the obvious value of finding drinking water for astronauts, the ability to convert lunar water ice into hydrogen and oxygen – the basic requirements for making rocket fuel – could help establish a permanent fuel depot on the Moon, enabling lunar launches of future deep space missions to Mars and other destinations.

“The mission will demonstrate our ability to use powerful and compact propulsion CubeSats for a variety of science missions to the Moon and across the Solar System,” Cavender said. “It’s a game-changing capability for planetary exploration and science.”

Marshall delivered the propulsion system to the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in May 2021 for spacecraft integration. Lunar Flashlight will return to Marshall to refuel before being transported to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida to be launched as a secondary payload on the same rocket as Intuitive Machines’ first mission as part of the NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative. Once launched, Lunar Flashlight will take about six months to reach the Moon, where it will achieve polar orbit and begin its two-month primary mission.

Selected by NASA’s Artemis Campaign Development Division in 2014, the Lunar Flashlight CubeSat mission is funded by NASA’s Small Spacecraft Technology program, part of the agency’s Space Technology Missions Directorate, through a NASA Small Business Innovation Research Grant. Dr. Barbara Cohen, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is its measurement manager.

NASA set to launch rocket for student projects Friday in Virginia Thu, 23 Jun 2022 01:10:53 +0000

Did you know that NASA launches rockets in different parts of the county?

A few hours south of the Delaware Valley, NASA sends rockets with science experiments from Wallops Island, Virginia. Wallops Island is about an hour south of Ocean City, Maryland, and adjacent to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, an area famous for its wild ponies.

A rocket was scheduled to launch around sunrise Thursday morning, but weather conditions delayed the launch until Friday.

Sometimes we can see the exhaust clouds from those rocket launches in our area, but that won’t be the case with the Friday morning launch for most of us. The rocket is too small for us to see the exhaust clouds in Pennsylvania, NJ, or even most of Del. You will need to be in South Sussex County, Delaware to see exhaust clouds.

This rocket will send information for various student projects, and these student projects will measure data as the rocket climbs to the edge of space. The rocket will eventually rise about 75 miles from the ground before falling back to earth and into the Atlantic Ocean. At this point, NASA scientists will retrieve the student projects and data measuring devices.

Two local universities will send experiments: Temple University and University of Delaware.

Temple students want to understand how less gravity affects the interaction of sound and light. Students at the University of Delaware will study some meteorological data and use it to examine the thickness of the air higher up. NASA explains these projects in much more detail.

If you want to see the rocket launch, NASA will be streaming live on its YouTube.

You can also hop off and watch the rocket launch from the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge. There will also be more rocket launches this summer at Wallops Island.

]]> NASA data supercharges forecast in Bangladesh Mon, 20 Jun 2022 22:10:11 +0000

Bangladesh has a long history of deadly and costly storms. Among the most worrying are kalbaishakhismall but powerful storm cells that tend to hit the country in the spring. Kalbaishakhi were responsible for a 1989 tornado said to be the deadliest in world history, as well as a 2021 wedding party lightning strike that killed 17 people. Because these storms are so localized, they can be notoriously difficult to predict, especially without access to the most advanced weather forecasting technology.

“Bangladesh is a hotspot for high-impact weather events – intense rainfall, destructive wind and hail, frequent lightning strikes and cyclones,” said Azizur Rahman, director of the Bangladesh Meteorological Department (BMD). “And the science is clear: Due to climate change, these high-impact weather events will be more frequent and intense in the future.”

Researchers have created a new tool to strengthen the country’s ability to predict kalbaishakhi and other bad weather. The US SERVIR program and the BMD recently launched the High-Impact Weather Assessment Toolkit (HIWAT), a web-based tool (shown below) that integrates data from NASA Earth observation satellites with local observations from the BMD to improve weather forecasts. . The project was led by Patrick Gatlin, a research meteorologist at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, with SERVIR’s Hindu-Kush Himalaya team at the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

The reliability of weather forecasts largely depends on the quality of geographical coverage of weather stations. If a country has only a few weather stations, and if those stations don’t have long records, meteorologists don’t have as much context to guide future forecasts.

Bangladesh has a short history of weather data collection, and until recently the country lacked public funding for the satellites and powerful computers needed to run advanced prediction models. Without these resources, BMD forecasters were looking for additional data.

“Due to process limitations as well as BMD’s facilities, we were unable to provide lightning forecasts appropriately,” said Abdul Mannan, meteorologist at BMD’s Storm Warning Center. The map above, derived from HIWAT data, shows a lightning forecast for May 16-19, 2022, during a storm in Bangladesh.

HIWAT feeds data from NASA’s Global Precipitation Measurement Mission and other sources into the forecasting process, providing BMD meteorologists with a more comprehensive and detailed data set. These inputs can help produce more reliable forecasts and allow scientists to predict hazards that were previously more difficult to anticipate, such as lightning and hail. At the time of the launch of HIWAT, the Bangladeshi government also announced that it would provide BMD with powerful computer servers to further improve the speed and reliability of the forecasts.

SERVIR is a joint program of NASA and the United States Agency for International Development. Researchers collaborate with geospatial organizations in Asia, Africa, and Latin America to support decision-making in climate adaptation and natural resource management. SERVIR also helps partners design satellite tools to solve problems such as air quality and disaster management.

Because forecasts are essential for decision-making in many sectors, especially agriculture or disaster management, weather and climate services are essential to SERVIR’s mission. SERVIR and BMD want HIWAT to not only enable better forecasts, but also better public safety warnings as communities prepare for climate change.

NASA Earth Observatory image by Lauren Dauphin, using data from NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) High Impact Weather Assessment Toolkit (HIWAT) team and the SERVIR Applied Science Team from NASA. Story by Jake Ramthun, SERVING, with Mike Carlowicz.

Beating NASA by 10 times, China plans to develop giant telescope to search for ‘things that matter’ Sun, 19 Jun 2022 02:18:57 +0000

To gain an advantage over US space agency NASA, Chinese scientists aim to develop a next-generation space observatory to search for dark matter. The ambitious project – known as the Very Large Area Gamma-Ray Space Telescope, or VLAST – is currently in its early stages of development.

Scientists plan to put the telescope into orbit by the end of the decade. They are, however, awaiting approval from the Chinese government, according to media reports.

Researchers from Nanjing Purple Mountain Observatory, Hefei University of Science and Technology and Lanzhou Institute of Modern Physics collaborated on the project.

With the development of this telescope, scientists hope to achieve ten times the sensitivity of NASA’s Fermi Large Area Telescope.

NASA’s Fermi Large Area Telescope is the most sensitive gamma-ray telescope in the world. It is the successor to NASA’s Compton-Gamma-ray Observatory, which operated from 1991 to 1999.

NASA’s Fermi Large Area Telescope is currently the most sensitive gamma-ray telescope in the world. Photo: NASA

According to NASA, Fermi’s field of view and its ability to study the sky were twice as large and 30 times more sensitive than any of Compton’s instruments. NASA defined Fermi as “a partnership of astrophysics and particle physics”, NASA having developed it in collaboration with the United States Department of Energy.

The project also included international partners from France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and Sweden, as well as other institutions in the United States.

Why gamma rays?

Gamma rays are the most energetic form of light, with over a billion times the energy of visible light, and are extremely difficult to detect. Phenomena such as the explosion of stars and black holes frequently emit gamma rays.

Gamma rays allow researchers to peer into the outer reaches of the universe and witness a variety of phenomena, including rapidly rotating neutron stars and super-dense black holes.

They are also indirect evidence for dark matter, which accounts for the majority of matter in the universe but has puzzled scientists for decades.

Illustration of NASA's Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope in orbit.  (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)
Illustration of NASA’s Fermi Gamma Ray Space Telescope in orbit. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center)

Astronomers believe that dark matter must exist to provide the gravitational pull needed to hold galaxies and clusters together. When dark matter particles collide, they theoretically decay or annihilate, producing gamma rays that telescopes can observe.

According on the NASA website, “Gamma rays sent out by objects embedded within galaxies greatly affect the space around those objects and how those galaxies evolve. By studying gamma rays, NASA can better understand how the laws of physics work in the extreme environments of the distant universe.

How will the Chinese telescope work?

VLAST will use exceptional energy resolution to search for signs of dark matter particles in the cosmic gamma-ray spectrum between 0.3 giga-electron volts and 20 tera-electron volts, according to the report.

The Chinese journal Acta Astronomica Sinica unveiled the project on May 26. They also said that VLAST would focus on our galactic center to investigate “a puzzling surplus of gamma radiation, which could be explained by the presence of self-annihilating dark matter.”

VLAST will also study hot topics in high-energy astronomy, such as gamma-ray bursts, X-ray binary stars, the origin of cosmic rays, and the search for dark matter.

According to its preliminary design, VLAST will have three types of detectors. They would separate the gamma photons from other particles entering the telescope, then precisely measure the energy and trajectory of the gamma photons. The sensors could weigh 16 tons, much more than a typical space telescope.

“We would need a Long March 5 rocket to send it into orbit,” Fan Yizhong of the Purple Mountain Observatory was quoted by the South China Morning Post as saying. Chinese researchers are currently working on the core technology for the project. “From the electronics to the detectors and the satellite platform, it has been difficult,” Fan had observed during an online event.

“We will need at least ten years to prepare – if the government decides to fund us,” he added. In March, the researchers submitted their VLAST proposal to the Chinese Academy of Sciences, which has yet to issue a judgment.

The three main methods of searching for dark matter are collider, direct and indirect detection. China is already employing the third way with its first dark matter probe, the Dark Matter Particle Explorer, known as Wukong or Monkey King. For more than six years, it has been operating in low Earth orbit.

The project is the result of a collaboration between Italian, Swiss and Chinese research organizations and universities led by researchers from the Purple Mountain Observatory.

He found a spectral break at about 0.9 tera-electron-volts, which provided information about the demolition or destruction of dark matter particles.

NASA’s The Color of Space Documentary Celebrates Dark Space Explorers – Parabolic Arc Fri, 17 Jun 2022 15:02:24 +0000
Black astronauts address the audience at Space Center Houston, Building 9NW, Rocket Park for The Color of Space documentary. (Image credit: Bill Stafford/NASA)

WASHINGTON (PR of NASA headquarters) – Members of the public are invited to watch the free online premiere of The Color of Space, an inspirational NASA documentary that tells the stories of black Americans determined to reach for the stars.

The documentary will premiere on June 19, Sunday, June 19, a federal holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. The 50-minute documentary will be available for viewing beginning at noon EDT on NASA TV, the NASA app, NASA social media channels, and the agency’s website.

The anchor of the documentary is a powerful and thought-provoking conversation between seven current and former black astronauts, each of whom was selected to serve in NASA’s astronaut corps and train for missions in space. Current NASA astronauts Stephanie Wilson, Victor Glover, Jeanette Epps, along with retired astronauts Leland Melvin, Bernard Harris, Robert Curbeam and Bobby Satcher, spoke about their travels and motivations during a panel hosted by NASA Johnson Space Center Director Vanessa Wyche, the first black woman to lead a NASA center.

Originally held at Space Center Houston on March 25, the roundtable marks the first time the seven astronauts have come together for an official NASA event.

The agency is committed to a culture of diversity and inclusion in its astronaut corps, which increasingly reflects the American public. As America embarks on a new era of lunar exploration missions through the Artemis program, NASA has pledged to send the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface.

The documentary also features recordings of conversations between astronauts and college students, as well as students enrolled in historically black colleges and universities. The astronauts spoke with the students about the unique path taken by black explorers within NASA, told personal stories of hope and resilience, and offered advice to the future generation of scientists, engineers and scientists. explorers.

“At NASA, we explore space and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity. To do that, we need to attract the brightest minds that reflect the American public,” Wyche said. “In this documentary, our former and current black astronauts share their space travels and offer personal stories of courage and resilience. I hope this film inspires all future NASA engineers, scientists and explorers to reach for the stars, as we work to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis.

The documentary also includes rare archival footage and interviews with Guion ‘Guy’ Bluford, the first black man in space; Charlie Bolden, retired astronaut and NASA’s first black administrator; former astronauts Alvin Drew and Joan Higginbotham; and Ed Dwight, the first African American American astronaut candidate.

Black Americans contributed to the US space program before the agency was established. Although unsung heroes like the Hidden Figures have made invaluable contributions to NASA’s space program and global mission, it took many years for the first black American to break the color barrier and hold the title of astronaut. Painting a vivid picture of the tenacity and depth within the black community, the documentary’s title pays direct homage to the remarkable men and women who set out and claimed space travel.

A free, in-person screening of the documentary will take place on Saturday, June 18 at Howard University in Washington. The event will begin with a family reception and hands-on activities at 5:30 p.m., followed by the screening of the documentary at 7 p.m. Registration is required to attend and guests will be confirmed on a first come, first served basis. . For more details on how to register, click here.

First, she got an asteroid named after her. Now she’s leading NASA’s mission to explore one. Wed, 15 Jun 2022 21:09:16 +0000

In less than 100 days, NASA plans to launch an unmanned spacecraft on a 4-year mission to asteroid 16 Psyche more than 250 million miles away. If the trip is successful, it will be the first exploration of a world not made of rock or ice but of metal.

The woman leading this effort is Professor Linda Elkins-Tanton, principal investigator of NASA’s Discovery program Psyche mission. The hard-earned effort took him six years to secure, with an ambitious program to explore the building blocks of planet formation.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences, she is only the second woman to lead a NASA mission. Fittingly, she even has an asteroid named after her, 8252 Elkins-Tanton.

Portrait of the Scientist as a Young Woman cover
Linda Elkins-Tanton published her memoir, “A Portrait of the Scientist as a Young Woman”, in June 2022.Harper Collins

The pioneering scientist – who also heads Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration – has published her first memoir, “A Portrait of the Scientist as a Young Woman”.

She recently spoke to Know Your Value about her unlikely journey in planetary science, overcoming personal struggles with childhood trauma, and shared tips for navigating gender bias in science leadership.

Know your worth: Who is this book for and why did you write it now?

Elkins-Tanton: This book aims to go beyond what people expect of you. When I was younger, I didn’t expect to be very efficient or able to make a difference.

At 30, I was a single, recently divorced mother with a 3-year-old son. I had two jobs and was thinking of going back to graduate school. I was not a model of success in scientific research; I was already 10 years late. But I put my nose to the grindstone, and when I looked up again, I was in a better place. I learned that determination and perseverance really matter, just like your grandmother told you.

Linda Elkins Tanton
Linda Elkins-Tanton, principal investigator of NASA’s Psyche mission, inspects her team’s spacecraft with Brian Bone, director of Psyche assembly, test and launch operations at JPL.NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

This story isn’t about the completion of NASA’s Psyche mission – it’s about the winding paths that have brought me and the team this far. It’s the story of one foot in front of the other, which I think we can all relate to.

Know Your Worth: Tell us about your non-traditional career path. Have you ever seen yourself in the field of space exploration?

Elkins-Tanton: Who knew that the path to the forefront of scientific leadership would go through desperation, a strong desire to be a good parent, and perhaps a little guilt and anger?

Some children know as soon as they look through a telescope and see Saturn, or watch “Star Trek,” that they want to study the solar system and the universe. Not me.

Rather than jumping straight from my undergraduate degree to my doctorate, which is necessary for the chairs and leadership positions I ended up holding in academia, I went into business. I realized, in retrospect, that much of my curiosity was about how teams of people could become more than the sum of individuals.

So I had a winding career path: I worked for the management consultancy Touche Ross, US News & World Report, and ran my own business consultancy before returning to scientific research.

But a winding career path can be a great asset, it’s the knowledge that most people in a field don’t have that can transform that field.

An example is my learning about budgets, forecasts, and teams while doing management consulting and then bringing that to academic science. I learned to believe that who I am and what I value is enough to bring to the table.

Eventually, I became too committed to education, too enamored of asking harder questions in research, and too enamored of discovery. I stayed in academia and had the good fortune to lead a space mission for NASA.

Know Your Worth: Have you experienced impostor syndrome?

Elkins-Tanton: Yes, I definitely had impostor syndrome, this feeling that I don’t really deserve the good things that happen professionally and that I doubt my abilities. I suspect that most people who are sensitive to the thoughts and actions of others have experienced these moments.

I largely solved it by being content with who I am and what I have to offer. If I inhabit myself authentically, what can go wrong? However, last year when I was elected to the National Academy of Sciences – a very big honor – I suddenly thought, “Wow, now I really am a scientist, forever. That’s a high bar to reach to feel authentically like a scientist! Perhaps there are still some hidden pockets of impostor syndrome.

Know your worth: What have been some of the challenges you have faced as a woman scientist?

Elkins-Tanton: As a young businesswoman and as a young scientist, I generally had good experiences. But I’ve also received cutting remarks that really stuck with me and made me doubt, like the time my high school math teacher told me that I didn’t really understand math and that I wouldn’t enter never at MIT.

And when I came to MIT in 1983, undergraduates generally thought women were less worthy of being there than men.

Greater gender-related challenges have come to me in leadership positions. Senior management in most organizations is always a group of like-minded men with the same background and attitudes.

For high-level leadership, integration can be the final hurdle. To fit into the group closest to the highest leader, who almost always looks and acts like that highest leader. How to say the right things to fit in? How to dress correctly, sit correctly? It can be very, very difficult for women or people of color or different backgrounds to be selected to join these groups.

Know your worth: You are integrating some very difficult experiences from your youth, including being sexually abused as a child. How did you recover?

Elkins-Tanton: Writing the story of my childhood was a particular challenge. I can say this from the perspective of a happy child with pets and an interesting and eccentric family, enough money, good schools. Or I can say it as a chain of nightmares, anxiety and depression, health issues and sexual assault. But can’t each of us tell our story in at least two ways? It’s about how we behave and feel each day after, what we’ve learned, and our determination to move forward.

For me, talk therapy has been very effective. During this therapy, I took antidepressants and they helped me a lot. Once I resolved enough that my symptoms were gone, I stopped taking the prescription, and haven’t needed anything for 20 years now. These therapies really solved my problems, but I wasn’t ready to start this work until my late twenties.

Know your worth: The gender gap in college leadership is still surprisingly wide. Talk about changing the culture around gender bias in academia.

Elkins-Tanton: Gender gaps in positions of prestige or power are caused by prejudice. Explicit bias, where people are aware of their biases and voluntarily act on them, is bad enough. Implicit biases, the unconscious biases we all carry, are pernicious and surprisingly powerful, and dauntingly difficult to correct.

In 2021, Yuhao Dao, Jessica Nordell, and Kenneth Joseph built a simple model of how implicit biases applied during performance reviews create a deficit of women at the top of organizations.

They showed that even if you start with a 50:50 ratio of males to females in the C-suite, if female performance is devalued by only 3%, then after 10 years there are no females left to The direction.

Combine that with a 2020 United Nations report that showed 90% of men and women are biased against women, and you can see it’s an uphill battle.

I talk about bias in my teams to try to lift the taboo. And it’s not a zero-sum game; each person is part of the “outgroup” at some point in their life. To create change, in the organizations I have known, we need discussions between the ranks and support for good leadership. In leadership, we need determination and ethics, as well as support and a willingness to listen from the ranks. It takes everyone.

After three months in safe mode, NASA’s Maven spacecraft has been recovered Mon, 13 Jun 2022 22:04:11 +0000

Since 2014, NASA’s Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission has orbited Mars collecting data on its upper atmosphere, ionosphere, and interactions with the Sun and solar wind. In doing so, the mission showed how billions of years ago the Martian atmosphere was slowly stripped away by the solar wind. This caused Mars to undergo a major climate change, going from a warmer planet that had water flowing over its surface to the extremely frigid and parched place it is today.

In February, the mission encountered problems with its main inertial measurement unit (IMU) and entered safe mode. As of Saturday May 28, after the mission team successfully diagnosed the problem with these navigational instruments, MAVEN resumed normal science and relay operations. From now on, the satellite will use a system specially developed by the mission team to navigate by the stars. This could extend the scientific operations of the MAVEN mission (which has just been extended until 2024) into the next decade.

To determine its orientation in orbit around Mars, MAVEN’s IMUs measure the rotational speed of the spacecraft – IMU-1 is the main unit while IMU-2 is its backup. On Tuesday, February 22, the mission team lost contact with the spacecraft after performing a routine scheduled power cycle of the IMU-1. Once contact was restored, the spacecraft was unable to determine its attitude from the IMU and switched to its backup computer (which allowed it to get accurate readings from the IMU-2) .

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Artist’s impression of MAVEN orbiting Mars. Image Credit: NASA/GSFC

The spacecraft then entered “safe mode” and waited for further instructions from the ground. Shannon Curry, Principal Investigator of MAVEN at UC Berkeley, said in a recent NASA press release:

“This was a critical challenge for the mission, but through the work of our spacecraft and operations team, MAVEN will continue to produce important science data and function as a relay for surface assets until the end of the decade. I couldn’t be more proud of our team.

Already they were working on a stellar navigation mode that would allow MAVEN to navigate without IMUs. This is common practice with aging orbiters beginning to experience equipment issues and was originally scheduled to be implemented in October 2022 after the mission team detected anomalies in the IMU-1. and the IMU-2. Switching to an all-stellar navigation mode is common practice when dealing with aging orbiters and deteriorating navigation units. This incident forced the Lockheed Martin mission team to speed up software development since the IMU-2 was not expected to remain in service until October. Micheal Haggard, the Lockheed Martin MAVEN spacecraft crew chief, explained:

“This was a situation that no one had originally anticipated, but the spacecraft behaved as expected. By the time we ended up on the standby computer, the spacecraft had attempted to resolve the issue with the ‘IMU-1 for about 78 minutes. We ended up on IMU-2, and the pressure was on to get All-Stellar mode ready as soon as possible.

Artistic depiction of a solar storm hitting Mars and flushing ions from the planet’s upper atmosphere. Credits: NASA/GSFC

On April 19, five months ahead of schedule, the spacecraft team completed the software patch and linked it to MAVEN. Since the all-stellar mode had not previously been tested in flight, a series of tests were required to verify the all-stellar mode. The mission team also turned off the IMU-2 to preserve its remaining battery power, just in case it was needed again before the end of the mission. Once the uplink was complete, space and science teams restored MAVEN’s instruments to full operating mode. Says Rich Burns, the MAVEN project manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center:

“The team really tackled an existential threat. When we recognized in the fall that the IMU-2 was degrading, we knew we were going to have to shorten the timeline for all-stellar mode. The spacecraft team rose to the challenge, working under intense pressure after the anomaly.

A minor hiccup was the fact that the spacecraft had to be kept pointed at Earth until the mission team finished testing the all-stellar mode. As a result, MAVEN’s science instruments were not oriented as they would be during regular science operations throughout the shutdown period. However, this had a very limited effect on the mission, and some scientific data was still possible, such as the coronal mass ejection observed by MAVEN hitting the Mars atmosphere less than two days after the instruments were powered on.

MAVEN has continued to operate successfully since using its all-stellar mode, although the mission team will need to find long-term solutions (as there are certain times of the year when IMUs need to be used) . This will ensure that MAVEN can continue to operate throughout its extended mission and observe the most extreme conditions of the Martian atmosphere it has encountered so far. This will continue to provide insight into the process of atmospheric loss that caused Mars to cease to be a hotter, wetter, and potentially habitable planet.

The MAVEN mission will also continue to operate as a communications relay satellite, linking surface missions to Earth via NASA’s Deep Space Network (DSN).

Further reading: Nasa

NASA sends yeast into space to assess the impact of electromagnetic radiation on DNA Sun, 12 Jun 2022 05:54:06 +0000

The American space agency NASA sends yeast into space to measure the impact of electromagnetic radiation on DNA. Instrumental in winemaking, baking and brewing since ancient times, sending the yeast variety “Saccharomyces cerevisiae” into space is part of an experiment to determine if humans can survive on lunar surfaces.

Since human beings have a lot more in common with yeast than you might think, scientists placed two strains of brewer’s yeast in canisters to fly on NASA’s next BioSentinel mission, which is tentatively scheduled for later this year.

According to Sergio Santa Maria, lead project scientist at BioSentinel, “Just imagine yourself sitting in free space, and you get hit from all directions all the time.”

As the reproduction of cosmic radiation in a laboratory is extremely difficult, but it is a significant danger for space travel, researchers must find a way to make longer space travel possible. without causing harm to the human body.

“The problem with solar protons is that there could be a lot of them, and they never stop,” according to Santa Maria.

“Saccharomyces cerevisiae”, which dates back to 3150 BC in an ancient Egyptian wine jar, repairs DNA damage and is a fantastic substitute for our cells according to NASA.

NASA’s Artemis 1 mission, the first big step in the space agency’s highly anticipated return to the Moon, will also host BioSentinel in a CubeSat.

The cereal box-sized satellite will detach from Artemis, which will take about three weeks, but BioSentinel will remain in space for much longer.

“Saccharomyces cerevisiae,” which will orbit the Sun, will be rehydrated and help the team get accurate deep-space exposure readings.

(With agency contributions)

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NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover has a ‘pet rock’ hitchhiker Fri, 10 Jun 2022 14:00:42 +0000

NASA’s Perseverance rover has picked up a rocky hitchhiker on Mars.

The rover recovered a “pet rock” hidden inside its left front wheel that has been rolling with Perseverance since early February. So far he has traveled 8.5 kilometers with the Perseverance rover as it passes through his Jezero Crater home on Mars.