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    • By NASA
      NASA is moving forward with ten studies to examine more affordable and faster methods of bringing samples from Mars’ surface back to Earth as part of the agency’s Mars Sample Return Program. As part of this effort, NASA will award a firm-fixed-price contract for up to $1.5 million to conduct 90-day studies to seven industry proposers.
      Additionally, NASA centers, CalTech’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and Johns Hopkins’ Applied Physics Laboratory are producing studies. Once completed, NASA will assess all studies to consider alterations or enhancements to the Mars Sample Return architecture.
      “Mars Sample Return will be one of the most complex missions NASA has undertaken, and it is critical that we carry it out more quickly, with less risk, and at a lower cost,” said Nelson. “I’m excited to see the vision that these companies, centers and partners present as we look for fresh, exciting, and innovative ideas to uncover great cosmic secrets from the Red Planet.”
      Over the last quarter century, NASA has engaged in a systematic effort to determine the early history of Mars and how it can help us understand the formation and evolution of habitable worlds, including Earth. As part of that effort, Mars Sample Return has been a long-term goal of international planetary exploration for the past two decades. NASA’s Perseverance rover has been collecting samples for later collection and return to Earth since it landed on Mars in 2021.
      The following companies and proposals were selected from among those that responded to an April 15 request for proposals:
      Lockheed Martinin Littleton, Colorado: “Lockheed Martin Rapid Mission Design Studies for Mars Sample Return” SpaceX in Hawthorne, California: “Enabling Mars Sample Return With Starship” Aerojet Rocketdyne in Huntsville, Alabama: “A High-Performance Liquid Mars Ascent Vehicle, Using Highly Reliable and Mature Propulsion Technologies, to Improve Program Affordability and Schedule” Blue Origin in Monrovia, California: “Leveraging Artemis for Mars Sample Return” Quantum Space, in Rockville, Maryland: “Quantum Anchor Leg Mars Sample Return Study” Northrop Grumman in Elkton, Maryland: “High TRL MAV Propulsion Trades and Concept Design for MSR Rapid Mission Design” Whittinghill Aerospace in Camarillo, California: “A Rapid Design Study for the MSR Single Stage Mars Ascent Vehicle” NASA’s Mars Sample Return is a strategic partnership with ESA (the European Space Agency). Returning scientifically selected samples to Earth for study using the most sophisticated instruments around the world can revolutionize our understanding of Mars and would fulfill one of the highest priority solar system exploration goals as identified by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.
      For more information on Mars Sample Return, visit:
      Dewayne Washington
      Headquarters, Washington
      Last Updated Jun 07, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters View the full article
    • By NASA
      The four crew members of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 mission are seated inside the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft after landing in the Gulf of Mexico on March 12, 2024.Credits: NASA/Joel Kowsky After spending 199 days in space, NASA’s SpaceX Crew-7 crew members will discuss their science mission aboard the International Space Station during a news conference at 2:30 p.m. EDT Monday, March 25, at the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
      NASA astronaut Jasmin Moghbeli, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Andreas Mogensen, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) astronaut Satoshi Furukawa, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Konstantin Borisov returned to Earth aboard a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft, splashing down at 5:47 a.m., March 12, off the coast of Pensacola, Florida, before flying back to Houston. Crew will answer media questions about their mission aboard the space station and their return to Earth.
      Event coverage will stream live on NASA+, NASA Television, and the agency’s website. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.
      Media are invited to attend in-person or virtually. Media must RSVP to the Johnson newsroom no later than 12:30 p.m. March 25 at jsccommu@mail.nasa.gov or 281-483-5111. Media should dial-in to the news conference by 2 p.m. the day of the event to ask a question. Questions also may be submitted on social media using #AskNASA. A copy of NASA’s media accreditation policy is online.
      The crew spent six-and-a-half months in space, with 197 days total aboard the space station. During the mission, Moghbeli completed a spacewalk, a first in her career, alongside NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara. It was the first spaceflight for Moghbeli and Borisov, and the second for Furukawa and Mogensen.
      The crew lived and worked aboard the station since Aug. 26, 2023. During the mission, crew contributed to hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations, including studying plant immune function in microgravity, testing materials in the space environment, and observing thunderstorms to understand the effects of lightning and electrical activity on Earth’s climate and atmosphere. These experiments are helping to prepare for exploration beyond low Earth orbit and to benefit life on Earth.
      They spent five days with the newly arrived crew of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission, who docked to the station on March 5, and conducted a direct handover introducing three first-time flyers to the space station, discussing ongoing tasks and system statuses.
      Get the latest NASA space station news, images and features on Instagram, Facebook, and X.
      Learn more about NASA’s Commercial Crew Program:
      Josh Finch / Claire O’Shea
      Headquarters, Washington
      joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov / claire.a.o’shea@nasa.gov
      Chelsey Ballarte
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      Last Updated Mar 20, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      International Space Station (ISS) Astronauts Humans in Space ISS Research Jasmin Moghbeli Johnson Space Center View the full article
    • By European Space Agency
      Video: 00:03:01 After more than 6 months on the International Space Station, ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen returned to Earth, marking the end of his Huginn mission. It was his second mission to the Space Station and his first long-duration, where he was the pilot of Crew-7, which consisted of Jasmin Moghbeli (NASA), Satoshi Furukawa (JAXA), and Konstantin Borisov (Roscosmos).
      View the full article
    • By European Space Agency
      After more than six months on the International Space Station,  ESA astronaut Andreas Mogensen and the rest of Crew-7 will undock and make their way down to Earth on 11 March 2024 at 13:15 GMT/14:15 CET, splashing down off the coast the Florida on 12 March, at 09:35 GMT / 10:35 CET. Watch the undocking and splashdown on ESA WebTV. 
      View the full article
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