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Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)

Anabel Falcon

Portrait of Anabel Falcon.
Anabel Falcon, Center Operations Directorate, retired Nov. 30, 2023, with 34 years of NASA service. 
Credit: NASA

Tom Parkey

Portrait of Tom Parkey.
Tom Parkey, Program Planning and Control Office, retired Nov. 30, 2023 ,with 35 years of federal service, including 20 years with NASA. 
Credit: NASA

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      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
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    • By NASA
      15 Min Read The Marshall Star for November 29, 2023
      Artemis II Crew Enjoys Visit with Marshall Team Members
      By Wayne Smith
      From talking about continuing the legacy of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in space exploration to describing their roles in an upcoming historic mission, Artemis II astronauts enjoyed visiting with center team members Nov. 27.
      The crew will be the first to ride aboard NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket and Orion spacecraft. They will launch atop the rocket to venture around the Moon on Artemis II, the first crewed flight for Artemis. Their mission around the Moon will verify capabilities for humans to explore deep space and pave the way for long-term exploration and science on the lunar surface. Marshall manages the SLS Program.
      From left, Artemis II astronauts Jeremy Hansen, Christina Koch, and Victor Glover listen as Commander Reid Wiseman talks during an employee event at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Nov. 27. NASA/Charles Beason The four-member crew answered questions from a standing-room only crowd for about an hour inside Activities Building 4316 before taking photos with Marshall team members. The crew consists of NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, who will be the Artemis II commander, Victor Glover (pilot) and Christina Koch (mission specialist), and Canadian Space Agency astronaut Jeremy Hansen (mission specialist).
      They even took the time to send a personalized Christmas greeting to the grandmother of Corey Walker, an atmospheric science programmer at Marshall with Jacobs, who said it would be the perfect gift for her. During the question and answer portion of the event, the astronauts had Walker join them on stage and made a short greeting for his grandmother, Brenda Lowery, who lives on Sand Mountain.
      “I can’t wait to give this to her because she loves the space program,” Walker said. “She was young when the astronauts went to the Moon the first time. She has lots of mementos at her house of the space program.”
      After acting Center Director Joseph Pelfrey welcomed team members to the event, SLS Program Manager John Honeycutt talked about Marshall’s reputation of excellence in rocket propulsion and the success of Artemis I before introducing the astronauts.
      Glover, third from left, makes a point during the Artemis II crew event with Marshall team members. NASA/Charles Beason “Since the beginning, NASA astronauts have launched on historic missions and on rockets designed, developed, and built right here at Marshall Space Flight Center and our Michoud Assembly Facility,” Honeycutt said. “… It seems only fitting that when a new era of human space flight launches on a rocket developed here, that that’s the way it should be. We’ve been entrusted not just with an incredibly powerful and capable rocket, but with the lives of four astronauts. Their safety and return are chief among our responsibilities.”
      Wiseman acknowledged Marshall’s rocket excellence, but also pointed out the center’s role in research for future missions to the Moon and working in the lunar environment. The Payload Operations Integration Center at Marshall is the control center for scientific operations on the International Space Station.
      “(Marshall) means a lot more to us than getting us off this planet,’ Wiseman said. “It’s also our human research side when we are off the planet. When we are working sustainably in the lunar area, and we see humans on Mars, it’s built on the shoulders of POIC (Payload Operations Integration Center), of human research in orbit. That is the bread and butter of what we’re doing. We’re launching humans and living in space, and that is built right here at Marshall.”
      Glover, who will be the first African American on a lunar mission, thanked Marshall team members for their work with SLS and the space station. He spent 168 days in space as a flight engineer aboard the space station for Expedition 64.
      SLS Program Manager John Honeycutt, left, and acting Center Director Joseph Pelfrey, right, join the Artemis II crew for a photo at the employee event in Activities Building 4316. NASA/Charles Beason “Thank you for your work supporting our friends who are working on the space station now and for that amazing legacy that we’ve all had the opportunity to be a part of in one facet or another,” Glover said. “We’re here to do the work and be a part of this team. We hope that what we’re doing makes you proud.”
      Koch and Hansen also will make history with the Artemis II mission. Koch will be the first woman on a lunar mission, while Hansen will be the first Canadian.
      Andy Buehler, a rocket propulsion engineer at Marshall with Boeing, asked Koch what her message to young girls is as they see a female going to the Moon for the first time.
      “Surround yourself with people who are encouraging,” Koch said. “Tell yourself you’re going to do great things one day. You can be that voice for yourself. Don’t just strive to be a part of something, strive to be excellent at what you’re doing.”
      Corey Walker, an atmospheric science programmer at Marshall with Jacobs, smiles with the astronauts as they record a video wishing Walker’s grandmother, Brenda Lowery, merry Christmas. During a question and answer session with the astronauts, Walker asked if he could get a video of them for his grandmother as a Christmas gift for her. Walker said his grandmother loves the space program. At far left is Lance D. Davis, Marshall’s news chief, who served as moderator for the event. NASA/Charles Beason Hansen said he is excited about the future of Artemis. He told Marshall team members they are part of something that brings value to the world with NASA’s leadership.
      “You’re doing that with partners around the world because you’re choosing to lead,” Hansen said. “We need that kind of leadership and that vision more than ever. We really need to be focused on things that lift up humanity. We have a lot of reason for hope for our future.”
      Learn more about the Artemis II crew.
      Smith, a Media Fusion employee and the Marshall Star editor, supports the Marshall Office of Communications.
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      Artemis II Crew Signs NASA Moon Rocket Hardware at Marshall
      Brent Gaddes, lead for the Orion stage adapter in the Spacecraft Payload Integration & Evolution Office in the SLS Program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, far left, talks with NASA astronauts Reid Wiseman, center, and Christina Koch near the SLS Orion stage adapter for the Artemis II mission during their visit to Marshall on Nov. 27.NASA/Charles Beason Artemis II astronauts Victor Glover, Reid Wiseman, and Christina Koch of NASA, and CSA (Canadian Space Agency) astronaut Jeremy Hansen signed the Orion stage adapter for the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on Nov. 27. The hardware is the topmost portion of the SLS rocket that they will launch atop during Artemis II when the four astronauts inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft will venture around the Moon.
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      From left, Artemis II astronauts Jeremy Hansen, Christina Koch, Victor Glover, and Reid Wiseman sign the SLS Orion stage adapter for the Artemis II mission.
      NASA/Charles Beason
      In addition to signing the Orion stage adapter, Wiseman and Koch also visited the Systems Integration Lab at Marshall prior to an employee event.
      Dan Mitchell, lead SLS integrated avionics and software engineer, talks with Wiseman and Koch as they visit the Systems Integration Lab at Marshall. NASA/Charles Beason NASA is working to land the first woman and first person of color on the Moon under Artemis. SLS is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft, advanced spacesuits and rovers, the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, and commercial human landing systems. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single mission. Through Artemis, NASA will explore more of the lunar surface than ever before and prepare for the next giant leap: sending astronauts to Mars.
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      He also talked about Marshall’s Lunar Regolith Terrain Facility – a 125-by-125-foot area covered in 500 tons of lunar regolith simulant that can be quickly modified as needed for robotics testing.
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      Materials test engineer Annette Gray, far left at table, explains how participants in Marshall’s MERCRII (Metallic Environmentally Resistant Coatings Rapid Innovation Initiative) worked with other centers and NASA partners to develop a radiation-resistant coating to improve the wear resistance of mechanism joints on the lunar or Martian surface. MMPACT is currently working to determine how best to build infrastructure on the lunar surface using the regolith and resources already available there. Edmunson shared how the project aims to build landing pads and even habitats on the Moon, but that it’s important to find ways of building that can withstand the extreme temperature variations, lengthy moonquakes, and other challenges that would be faced on the lunar surface.
      Joining Edmunson and Zanetti at the seminar was Annette Gray, a materials test engineer who was part of MERCRII (Metallic Environmentally Resistant Coatings Rapid Innovation Initiative). Gray explained how the early career initiative project worked with other centers and NASA partners to develop a radiation-resistant coating to improve the wear resistance of mechanism joints on the lunar or Martian surface.
      Part of the initiative included acquiring a Planetary, Lunar, and Asteroid Natural Environment Testbed, or PLANET. Gray said the PLANET was a 2-meter-by-3-meter chamber with up to 1 ton of regolith simulant inside that could test high vacuum, low-density plasma, and various atmospheric conditions.
      Attendees at Marshall’s first brown bag seminar check out lunar regolith samples, view informational displays, and further discuss the featured topics following the seminar.NASA/Ray Osorio The seminar ended with a question-and-answer session and a chance for in-person attendees to check out regolith simulant samples.
      “It was an excellent way to showcase how the varied work we do at Marshall is enabling future NASA missions and addressing critical gaps,” said MMSTS Strategy Lead Shawn Maynor. “The excitement was palpable, and the discussion was lively. I truly feel that Marshall is in a unique position to capitalize on the evolving space industry.”
      The next brown bag seminar is set for January 2024, after the winter holiday season.
      Barnett, a Media Fusion employee, supports the Marshall Office of Communications.
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      NASA Releases Its First International Space Station Tour in Spanish
      Lee esta nota de prensa en español aquí.
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      NASA’s Dragonfly to Proceed with Final Mission Design Work
      NASA’s Dragonfly mission has been authorized to proceed with work on final mission design and fabrication – known as Phase C – during FY (fiscal year) 2024. The agency is postponing formal confirmation of the mission (including its total cost and schedule) until mid-2024, following the release of the FY 2025 President’s Budget Request.
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      Dragonfly is the fourth mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program, managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center for the Science Mission Directorate.
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      Webb Telescope: A Prominent Protostar in Perseus
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      Herbig-Haro objects are luminous regions surrounding newborn stars (known as protostars), and are formed when stellar winds or jets of gas spewing from these newborn stars form shockwaves colliding with nearby gas and dust at high speeds. HH 797, which dominates the lower half of the image, is located close to the young open star cluster IC 348, which is located near the eastern edge of the Perseus dark cloud complex. The bright infrared objects in the upper portion of the image are thought to host two further protostars.
      The NASA/ESA/CSA James Webb Space Telescope reveals intricate details of the Herbig Haro object 797, or HH 797. HH 797, which dominates the lower half of this image, is located close to the young open star cluster IC 348, which is located near the eastern edge of the Perseus dark cloud complex. The bright infrared objects in the upper portion of the image are thought to host two further protostars. This image was captured with Webb’s Near-InfraRed Camera (NIRCam).ESA/Webb, NASA & CSA, T. Ray (Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies) The image was captured with Webb’s NIRCam (Near-InfraRed Camera). Infrared imaging is powerful in studying newborn stars and their outflows, because the youngest stars are invariably still embedded within the gas and dust from which they are formed. The infrared emission of the star’s outflows penetrates the obscuring gas and dust, making Herbig-Haro objects ideal for observation with Webb’s sensitive infrared instruments. Molecules excited by the turbulent conditions, including molecular hydrogen and carbon monoxide, emit infrared light that Webb can collect to visualize the structure of the outflows. NIRCam is particularly good at observing the hot (thousands of degree Celsius) molecules that are excited as a result of shocks.
      Using ground-based observations, researchers have previously found that for cold molecular gas associated with HH 797, most of the red-shifted gas (moving away from us) is found to the south (bottom right), while the blue-shifted gas (moving towards us) is to the north (bottom left). A gradient was also found across the outflow, such that at a given distance from the young central star, the velocity of the gas near the eastern edge of the jet is more red-shifted than that of the gas on the western edge. Astronomers in the past thought this was due to the outflow’s rotation. In this higher resolution Webb image, however, we can see that what was thought to be one outflow is in fact made up of two almost parallel outflows with their own separate series of shocks (which explains the velocity asymmetries). The source, located in the small dark region (bottom right of center), and already known from previous observations, is therefore not a single but a double star. Each star is producing its own dramatic outflow. Other outflows are also seen in this image, including one from the protostar in the top right of center along with its illuminated cavity walls.
      HH 797 resides directly north of HH 211 (separated by approximately 30 arcseconds), which was the feature of a Webb image release in September 2023.
      The James Webb Space Telescope is the world’s premier space science observatory. Webb is solving mysteries in our solar system, looking beyond to distant worlds around other stars, and probing the mysterious structures and origins of our universe and our place in it. Webb is an international program led by NASA with its partners, ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency. Several NASA centers contributed to the project, including NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
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