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NASA’s Fermi Mission Nets 300 Gamma-Ray Pulsars … and Counting
A new catalog produced by a French-led international team of astronomers shows that NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope has discovered 294 gamma-ray-emitting pulsars, while another 34 suspects await confirmation. This is 27 times the number known before the mission launched in 2008.
This visualization shows 294 gamma-ray pulsars, first plotted on an image of the entire starry sky as seen from Earth and then transitioning to a view from above our galaxy. The symbols show different types of pulsars. Young pulsars blink in real time except for the Crab, which pulses slower than in real time because its rate is only slightly lower than the video’s frame rate. Millisecond pulsars remain steady, pulsing too quickly to see. The Crab, Vela, and Geminga were among the 11 gamma-ray pulsars known before Fermi launched. Other notable objects are also highlighted. Distances are shown in light-years (abbreviated ly). Download high-resolution video and images from NASA’s Scientific Visualization Studio. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center “Pulsars touch on a wide range of astrophysics research, from cosmic rays and stellar evolution to the search for gravitational waves and dark matter,” said study coordinator David Smith, research director at the Bordeaux Astrophysics Laboratory in Gironde, France, which is part of CNRS (the French National Center for Scientific Research). “This new catalog compiles full information on all known gamma-ray pulsars in an effort to promote new avenues of exploration.”
The catalog was published on Monday, Nov. 27, in The Astrophysical Journal Supplement.
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Narrow beams of energy emerge from hot spots on the surface of a neutron star in this artist’s concept. When one of these beams sweeps past Earth, astronomers detect a pulse of light. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab Pulsars are a type of neutron star, the city-sized leftover of a massive sun that has exploded as a supernova. Neutron stars, containing more mass than our Sun in a ball less than 17 miles wide, represent the densest matter astronomers can study directly. They possess strong magnetic fields, produce streams of energetic particles, and spin quickly – 716 times a second for the fastest known. Pulsars, in addition, emit narrow beams of energy that swing lighthouse-like through space as the objects rotate. When one of these beams sweeps past Earth, astronomers detect a pulse of emission.
The new catalog represents the work of 170 scientists across the globe. A dozen radio telescopes carry out regular monitoring of thousands of pulsars, and radio astronomers search for new pulsars within gamma-ray sources discovered by Fermi. Other researchers have teased out gamma-ray pulsars that have no radio counterparts through millions of hours of computer calculation, a process called a blind search.
More than 15 years after its launch, Fermi remains an incredible discovery machine, and pulsars and their neutron star kin are leading the way.
Fermi Project Scientist
Of the 3,400 pulsars known, most of them observed via radio waves and located within our Milky Way galaxy, only about 10% also pulse in gamma rays, the highest-energy form of light. Visible light has energies between 2 and 3 electron volts. Fermi’s Large Area Telescope can detect gamma rays with billions of times this energy, and other facilities have observed emission thousands of times greater still from the nearby Vela pulsar, the brightest persistent source in the sky for Fermi.
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This movie shows the Vela pulsar in gamma rays detected by the Large Area Telescope aboard NASA’s Fermi observatory. A single pulsar cycle is repeated. Bluer colors indicate gamma rays with higher energies. Credit: NASA/DOE/Fermi LAT Collaboration The Vela pulsar and its famous sibling in the Crab Nebula are young, solitary objects, formed about 11,000 and 970 years ago, respectively. Their emissions arise as their magnetic fields spin through space, but this also gradually slows their rotation. The younger Crab pulsar spins nearly 30 times a second, while Vela clocks in about a third as fast.
The Old and the Restless
Paradoxically, though, pulsars that are thousands of times older spin much faster. One example of these so-called millisecond pulsars (MSPs) is J1824-2452A. It whirls around 328 times a second and, with an age of about 30 million years, ranks among the youngest MSPs known.
Thanks to a great combination of gamma-ray brightness and smooth spin slowdown, the MSP J1231-1411 is an ideal “timer” for use in gravitational wave searches. By monitoring a collection of stable MSPs, astronomers hope to link timing changes to passing low-frequency gravitational waves – ripples in space-time – that cannot be detected by current gravitational observatories. It was discovered in one of the first radio searches targeting Fermi gamma-ray sources not associated with any known counterpart at other wavelengths, a technique that turned out to be exceptionally successful.
“Before Fermi, we didn’t know if MSPs would be visible at high energies, but it turns out they mostly radiate in gamma rays and now make up fully half of our catalog,” said co-author Lucas Guillemot, an associate astronomer at the Laboratory of Physics and Chemistry of the Environment and Space and the University of Orleans, France.
Along Come the Spiders
The presence of MSPs in binary systems offers a clue to understanding the age-spin paradox. Left to itself, a pulsar’s emissions slow it down, and with slower spin its emissions dim. But if closely paired with a normal star, the pulsar can pull a stream of matter from its companion that, over time, can spin up the pulsar.
“Spider” systems offer a glimpse of what happens next. They’re classified as redbacks or black widows – named for spiders known for consuming their mates. Black widows have light companions (less than about 5% of the Sun’s mass), while redbacks have heavier partners. As the pulsar spins up, its emissions and particle outflows become so invigorated that – through processes still poorly understood – it heats and slowly evaporates its companion. The most energetic spiders may fully evaporate their partners, leaving only an isolated MSP behind.
J1555-2908 is a black widow with a surprise – its gravitational web may have ensnared a passing planet. An analysis of 12 years of Fermi data reveals long-term spin variations much larger than those seen in other MSPs. “We think a model incorporating the planet as a third body in a wide orbit around the pulsar and its companion describes the changes a little better than other explanations, but we need a few more years of Fermi observations to confirm it,” said co-author Colin Clark, a research group leader at the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics in Hannover, Germany.
Other curious binaries include the so-called transitional pulsars, such as J1023+0038, the first identified. An erratic stream of gas flowing from the companion to the neutron star may surge, suddenly forming a disk around the pulsar that can persist for years. The disk shines brightly in optical light, X-rays, and gamma rays, but pulses become undetectable. When the disk again vanishes, so does the high-energy light and the pulses return.
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This artist’s concept illustrates a possible model for the transitional pulsar J1023. When astronomers can detect pulses in radio (green), the pulsar’s energetic outflow holds back its companion’s gas stream. Sometimes the stream surges, creating a bright disk around the pulsar that can persist for years. The disk shines brightly in X-rays, and gas reaching the neutron star produces jets that emit gamma rays (magenta), obscuring the pulses until the disk eventually dissipates. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center Some pulsars don’t require a partner to switch things up. J2021+4026, a young, isolated pulsar located about 4,900 light-years away, underwent a puzzling “mode change” in 2011, dimming its gamma rays over about a week and then, years later, slowly returning to its original brightness. Similar behavior had been seen in some radio pulsars, but this was a first in gamma rays. Astronomers suspect the event may have been triggered by crustal cracks that temporarily changed the pulsar‘s magnetic field.
Farther afield, Fermi discovered the first gamma-ray pulsar in another galaxy, the neighboring Large Magellanic Cloud, in 2015. And in 2021, astronomers announced the discovery of a giant gamma-ray flare from a different type of neutron star (called a magnetar) located in the Sculptor galaxy, about 11.4 million light-years away.
“More than 15 years after its launch, Fermi remains an incredible discovery machine, and pulsars and their neutron star kin are leading the way,” said Elizabeth Hays, the mission’s project scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Explore the Fermi gamma-ray pulsar catalog on WorldWide Telescope
Max Planck Institute release
By Francis Reddy
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.
Last Updated Nov 28, 2023 Editor Francis Reddy Location Goddard Space Flight Center Related Terms
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NASA Administrator Bill Nelson delivers remarks before the ribbon cutting ceremony to open NASA’s Earth Information Center, Wednesday, June 21, 2023, at the Mary W. Jackson NASA Headquarters building in Washington. The Earth Information Center is new immersive experience that combines live data sets with cutting-edge data visualization and storytelling to allow visitors to see how our planet is changing. NASA/Joel Kowsky NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and other agency leaders will participate in the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) beginning Thursday, Nov. 30, through Tuesday, Dec. 12, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
This global conference brings together countries committed to addressing climate change, which is a key priority for the Biden-Harris Administration and NASA. For the first time, a NASA administrator will attend, joining an expected 70,000 participants, world leaders, and representatives from nearly 200 countries.
Throughout the conference, parties will review the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and, also for the first time, provide a comprehensive assessment of progress since adopting the Paris Agreement.
In addition to Nelson, NASA participants in the conference include:
Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor Susie Perez Quinn, NASA’s chief of staff Karen St. Germain, director, NASA Earth Science Division Nadya Vinogradova Shiffer, program scientist, ocean physics, NASA Earth Science Division Laura Rogers, associate program manager, ecological conservation, NASA Langley Research Center Wenying Su, senior research scientist, climate science, NASA Langley Research Center Ben Hamlington, research scientist, sea level and ice, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory During the conference, Nelson will participate in the first Space Agency Leaders’ Summit, which aims to demonstrate a collective commitment toward strengthening global climate initiatives and promoting sustainable space operations.
Throughout the conference, NASA leaders also will participate in additional events and presentations at the NASA Hyperwall, a main attraction at the U.S. Center showing how the agency’s climate science and research helps model and predict ocean health, heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and droughts, among its other Earth-related research. NASA will provide a hyperwall presentation every day, some with interagency partners, between Sunday, Dec. 3, and Monday, Dec. 11.
Climate adaptation and mitigation efforts require robust climate observations and research. NASA’s unique vantage point from space provides critical information to advance understanding of our changing planet. With more than two dozen satellites and instruments in orbit, NASA’s climate data – which is openly and freely available to anyone – provides insight on how the planet is changing and measure key climate indicators, such as greenhouse gas emissions, rising sea level and clouds, and precipitation.
A full schedule of U.S. Center events at COP28 is available at:
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NASA to Showcase Earth Science Data at COP28
This illustration shows the international Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) satellite in orbit over Earth. SWOT’s main instrument, KaRIn, helps survey the water on more than 90% of Earth’s surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech. NASA/JPL-Caltech With 26 Earth-observing satellite missions, as well as instruments flying on planes and the space station, NASA has a global vantage point for studying our planet’s oceans, land, ice, and atmosphere and deciphering how changes in one drive change in others.
The agency will share that knowledge and data at the 28th U.N. Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28), which brings international parties together to accelerate action toward the goals of the Paris Agreement and the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. COP28 will be held at the Expo City in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from Thursday, Nov. 30 to Tuesday, Dec. 12.
All U.S. events at COP28 are open to the local press and will be live-streamed on the U.S. Center at COP28 website and the U.S. Center YouTube channel.
NASA takes a full-picture approach to understanding all areas of our home planet using our vast satellite fleet and the data collected from their observations. The agency’s data is open-source and available for the public and scientists to study. NASA is showcasing the data at COP28 to share the different ways it can be used globally. The agency’s complete collection of Earth data can be found here.
The scientific research and understanding developed from NASA’s Earth observations are made into predictive models. Those models can be used to develop applications and actionable science to inform individuals including civic leaders and planners, resource managers, emergency managers, and communities looking to mitigate and adapt to climate change.
These satellites and models are augmented by the observations made from the International Space Station. The inclined, low Earth orbit from the station provides variable views and lighting over more than 90 percent of the inhabited surface of the Earth, a useful complement to sensor systems on satellites in higher-altitude polar orbits.
Closer to the surface, NASA’s aviation research is focused on advancing technologies for more efficient airplane flight, including hybrid-electric propulsion, advanced materials, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. Technological advances in these areas have the potential to reduce human impacts on climate and air quality.
At the U.S. Center at COP28, in-person visitors can see the NASA Hyperwall where NASA scientists will provide live presentations showing how the agency’s work supports the Biden-Harris Administration’s agenda to encourage a governmentwide approach to climate change. During the hyperwall talks, NASA leaders, scientists and interagency partners will discuss the agency’s end-to-end research about our planet. This includes designing new instruments, satellites, and systems to collect and freely distribute the most complete and precise data possible about Earth’s land, ocean, and atmospheric system. A full schedule of NASA’s hyperwall talks is available.
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Your home. Our Mission. And the one planet that NASA studies more than any other.
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9 Min Read Spacelab 1: A Model for International Cooperation
Astronaut John W. Young (left), STS-9 crew commander; and Ulf Merbold, payload specialist, enjoy a meal in the middeck of the Earth-orbiting Space Shuttle Columbia. Merbold is a physicist from the Federal Republic of Germany, representing the European Space Agency (ESA) on this 10-day flight. Credits: NASA Forty years ago, in 1983, the Space Shuttle Columbia flew its first international spaceflight, STS-9. The mission included—for the first time—the European Space Agency’s Spacelab pressurized module and featured more than 70 experiments from American, Canadian, European, and Japanese scientists. Europeans were particularly proud of this “remarkable step” because “NASA, the most famous space agency on the globe,” included the laboratory on an early Shuttle mission. NASA was equally thrilled with the Spacelab and called the effort “history’s largest and most comprehensive multinational space project.” The Spacelab became a unifying force for all the participating nations, scientists, and astronauts. As explained by one of the mission’s payload specialists, Ulf Merbold, while the principal investigators for the onboard experiments might be British or French, “there is no French science, and no British science [on this flight]. Science in itself is international.” Scientists flying on the mission, and those who had experiments on board, were working cooperatively for the benefit of humanity. As then Vice-President George H. W. Bush explained, “The knowledge Spacelab will bring back from its many missions will belong to all mankind.”1
The knowledge Spacelab will bring back from its many missions will belong to all mankind.
George H. W. Bush
U.S. Vice President (1981–1989)
Training for the flight required international cooperation on an entirely new scale for the American space program. Today it is not unusual to hear about an astronaut training for spaceflight at many different locations and facilities across the globe. NASA’s astronauts have grown accustomed to training outside of the United States for months at a time before flying onboard the International Space Station, but that was not the experience for most of NASA’s flight crews in the agency’s early spaceflight programs. Mission training mainly took place in Houston at the Manned Spacecraft Center (now Johnson Space Center) and in Florida at the Cape. The Apollo-era featured only one international flight, the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), with astronauts training in the two participating nations: the USSR and the United States.
Pictured from the left are astronaut Owen K. Garriott, Vice President George Bush, and Ulf Merbold of West Germany, inside Spacelab in the Operations and Checkout Building at Kennedy Space Center. This European-built orbital laboratory was formally dedicated on February 5, 1982. Merbold was one of the payload specialists on the first Spacelab flight STS-9, that launched November 28, 1983. Spacelab was a reusable laboratory that allowed scientists to perform various experiments in microgravity while orbiting Earth. Designed by the European Space Agency (ESA) and mounted in NASA’s Space Shuttle cargo bay, Spacelab flew on missions from 1983 to 1997.NASA It also rarely makes news these days when someone who is not a professional astronaut or cosmonaut flies in space. In the past, flying in space was a professional occupation. This all changed with the development of the Space Shuttle and Spacelab, which birthed a new space traveler: the payload specialist. The individuals selected for these positions were not career astronauts. The payload specialists were experts on a specific payload or an experiment, and during the early years of the Space Shuttle program came from a wide variety of backgrounds: the Air Force, Congress, industry, and even the field of education. The principal investigators for this science-based mission selected the payload specialists who flew in space and operated their experiments. Spacelab 1 was unique in providing the first opportunity for a non-American, a European, to fly onboard a NASA spacecraft.
In the summer of 1978, NASA chose scientist-astronauts Owen K. Garriott and Robert A. R. Parker as mission specialists for the Spacelab 1 crew. Garriott, who had been selected as an astronaut in 1965, had flown on America’s first space station as a member of the Skylab 3 crew, a team that exceeded all expectations of flight planners and principal investigators. Parker had also applied to be a scientist-astronaut and was selected in 1967. His class jokingly called themselves the “XS-11” [pronounced excess-eleven], because they had been told there was no room for them in the corps and they would not fly in space, not immediately anyway. Parker worked on Skylab as the program scientist, but once the program ended, he accepted a new title: chief of the Astronaut Office Science and Applications Directorate, where he spent the next few years working on Spacelab matters. It was perfect timing for the astronaut to turn his attention to this international program. Once Skylab ended in 1974, representatives of Europe’s Space Research Organization (ESRO) and members of ERNO, the Spacelab contractor, started traveling to Houston and Huntsville to give the two NASA centers updates on the development of the Spacelab and to hold discussions on the module. In a 1974 press conference, ESRO’s Heinz Stoewer emphasized the “very intense cooperation,” he witnessed “with our friends here in the United States in making this program come true.”2
Around the same time, as Spacelab was being built, the European Space Agency (ESA) began considering who might fly on that first flight. Three days before Christmas in 1977, ESA released the names of their four payload specialist candidates: Wubbo Ockels, Ulf Merbold, Franco Malerba, and Claude Nicollier. Two Americans, Byron K. Lichtenberg and Michael L. Lampton, were selected in the summer of 1978 as potential payload specialists.3
The Spacelab 1 payload crew, which operated the module and the mission’s experiments in the payload bay of the Orbiter, included two mission specialists, Garriott and Parker, and two payload specialists, one from the United States and another from the European Space Agency. The payload crew and their backups began training many years before the Space Shuttle Columbia launched into space on STS-9. (The original launch date of December 1980 kept slipping so the crew ended up training for five years.)4 Training in Europe began in earnest in 1978, while training in the United States and Canada began in 1979.5 Merbold was eventually selected to fly on the mission along with Lichtenberg. The entire payload crew spent so much of their time travelling to Europe that John W. Young, who was then chief of the Astronaut Office, called their flight assignment and European training, which involved travel to exotic locations like Rome, Italy, “a magnificent boondoggle. In my next life,” he declared, “I’ll be an MS [mission specialist] on S Lab [Spacelab].”6
Spacelab-1 prime and back-up science crew members: Mission Specialists Robert Parker and Owen Garriott, with Payload Specialist-1 Ulf Merbold, backup Payload Specialist-2 Michael Lampton, backup Payload Specialist-1 Wubbo Ockels and Payload Specialist-2 Byron Lichtenberg. NASA Lichtenberg recalled the science crew, the prime and backup payload specialists and mission specialists, traveled the globe “like itinerant graduate students … to study at the laboratories of the principal investigators and their colleagues.” In these laboratories, universities, and at research centers across Europe, Canada, and Japan, they learned about the equipment and experiments, including how to repair the hardware if something broke or failed in flight. Lichtenberg felt like he was earning multiple advanced degrees in the fields of astronomy and solar physics, space plasma physics, atmospheric physics, Earth observations, life sciences, and materials science. The benefits of training were numerous, but perhaps the most important were the personal and professional relationships that were built with the investigators from across the world and with his crewmates.7
For the payload specialists, building relationships within the astronaut corps proved to be more complicated. Merbold recalled traveling to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and receiving a warm welcome. “But in Houston you could feel that not everyone was happy that Europe was involved. Some also resented the new concept of the payload specialist ‘astronaut scientist,’ who was not under their control like the pilots. We were perceived to be intruders in an area that was reserved for ‘real’ astronauts.” As an example, the European astronauts could not use the astronaut gym or take part in T-38 flight training. Over time, attitudes changed, and Garriott credited STS-9 Mission Commander John Young with the shift, and so did Merbold. As the crew was preparing to fly, the former moonwalker took Merbold on a T-38 ride, and when the payload specialist asked if he could fly the plane, Young willingly offered him the opportunity. After that flight, Merbold recalled that he “enjoyed John Young’s unqualified support.”8
Friendships blossomed on the six man-crew. Parker called Pilot Brewster H. Shaw and Commander Young “two of [his] best friends to this day.”9 For Merbold, the flight cemented a significant bond between the STS-9 astronauts. He had “no brothers, no sisters,” he was an only child, but the Columbia crew became his family. “My brothers are those guys with whom I trained and flew,” he said.10 Young and Merbold had an especially close bond. Garriott saw that relationship up close on the Shuttle, and later told an oral historian, “Young had no better friend on board our flight than Ulf Merbold.” The two remained close until Young’s death.11
Four of the STS-9 crewmembers enjoying a rare moment of collective fun inside the Spacelab module onboard the Columbia. Left to right are Byron K. Lichtenberg, Ulf Merbold, Robert A. R. Parker, and Owen K. Garriott. The “card table” here is the scientific airlock hatch, and the “cards” are the targets used in the Awareness of Position experiment. NASA Following landing, Flight Crew Operations Directorate Chief George W.S. Abbey told the crew that the science community was “very pleased.”12 The first international spaceflight since ASTP brought scientists, astronauts, and space agencies from across the globe together, laying the foundation for bringing Europe into human spaceflight operations and kicking off a different approach to training and performing science in space. As Spacelab 1 Mission Manager Henry G. Craft and Richard A. Marmann explained, the program “exemplified what can be accomplished when scientists and engineers from all over the world join forces, communicating and cooperating to further advance scientific intelligence.”13 Eventually, the international cooperation Craft and Marmann witnessed led to today’s highly successful International Space Station Program.
Walter Froehlich, Spacelab: An International Short-Stay Orbiting Laboratory (Washington, DC: NASA, 1983); St. Louis Post-Dispatch, November 28, 1983. JSC News Release, “Mission Specialists for Spacelab 1 Named at JSC,” 78-34, August 1, 1978; Robert A.R. Parker, interview by author, October 23, 2002, transcript, JSC Oral History Project; “Europeans To Fly Aboard Shuttle,” Roundup, March 29, 1974, 1. “Four European Candidates Chosen for First Spacelab Flight,” ESA Bulletin (February 1978), no. 12: 62; “Two US scientists selected Spacelab payload specialists,” Roundup, June 9, 1978, 4. In the crew report, Parker counted his time monitoring the Spacelab, so he concluded that the mission specialists trained even longer, from 5 to 9 years. “Spacelab Scientists Tour USA,” Space News Roundup, January 12, 1979, 1. Harry G. Craft, Jr. to George W.S. Abbey, February 25, 1982, Spacelab 1 Payload Crew Experiment Training Requirements, Robert A.R. Parker Papers II, Box 28, JSC History Collection, University of Houston-Clear Lake. Byron Lichtenberg, “A New Breed of Space Traveller [sic],” New Scientist, August 1984, 9. ESA, “Ulf Merbold: STS-9 Payload Specialist,” November 26, 2013; ESA, “Ulf Merbold: remembering John Young [1930-2018],” August 22, 2018. Parker interview. ESA Explores, “Time and Space: ESA’s first astronaut,” podcast, November 25, 2020. Owen K. Garriott, interview by Kevin M. Rusnak, November 6, 2000, transcript, JSC Oral History Project; ESA, “Ulf Merbold: remembering John Young.” Garriott interview. Henry G. Craft, Jr., and Richard A. Marmann, “Spacelab Program’s Scientific Benefits to Mankind,” Acta Astronautica 34 (1994): 304. Explore More
7 min read Marshall-Managed Spacelab Paved Critical Path to Space Station
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Article 5 years ago 8 min read Teresa Vanhooser: Spacelab Taught Us How to Do Science in an Orbital Lab
Article 10 years ago About the Author
NASA Human Spaceflight HistorianJennifer Ross-Nazzal is the NASA Human Spaceflight Historian. She is the author of Winning the West for Women: The Life of Suffragist Emma Smith DeVoe and Making Space for Women: Stories from Trailblazing Women of NASA's Johnson Space Center.
Last Updated Nov 27, 2023 Related Terms
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El astronauta de la NASA Frank Rubio, quien batió récords con su reciente misión, es el presentador de un video con el primer tour narrado en español del hogar de la humanidad en el espacio: la Estación Espacial Internacional.
Rubio da la bienvenida al público a bordo de este laboratorio científico en microgravedad para compartir una mirada tras bastidores a la vida y el trabajo en el espacio. El astronauta grabó el tour durante su misión de 371 días en la estación espacial, la cual constituyó el vuelo espacial individual más largo realizado por un estadounidense.
El video con el recorrido por la estación está disponible en el servicio de transmisión NASA+ de la agencia, en la aplicación de la NASA, en NASA Television, y en el canal de YouTube en español y el sitio web de la agencia.
Habitada de forma ininterrumpida desde hace más de 23 años, la estación espacial es una plataforma científica única donde los miembros de la tripulación realizan experimentos en diferentes disciplinas de investigación, incluyendo las ciencias de la Tierra y el espacio, la biología, la fisiología humana, las ciencias físicas y demostraciones tecnológicas que no podrían llevarse a cabo en la Tierra.
La tripulación que vive a bordo de la estación sirve como las manos de miles de investigadores en tierra quienes realizan más de 3.300 experimentos en microgravedad. Durante su misión récord, Rubio dedicó muchas horas a contribuir a las actividades científicas a bordo del laboratorio orbital, llevando a cabo desde estudios sobre la salud humana hasta investigaciones con plantas.
Rubio regresó a la Tierra en septiembre de 2023, después de haber completado unas 5.936 órbitas alrededor de la Tierra y un viaje de más de 253 millones de kilómetros (157 millones de millas) durante su primer vuelo espacial, una distancia más o menos equivalente a 328 viajes de ida y vuelta a la Luna.
Recibe las últimas noticias, imágenes y artículos de la NASA sobre la estación espacial a través de sus cuentas en inglés de Instagram, Facebook y X o sus cuentas en español de Instagram, Facebook y X de la agencia.
Mantente al día sobre la Estación Espacial Internacional, sus investigaciones y su tripulación en el sitio web en inglés:
María José Viñas
Centro Espacial Johnson, Houston
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