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NASA Launches New Mission to Explore Universe’s Most Dramatic Objects


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    • By NASA
      2 min read
      Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater)
      An image of a new lodge on Anishnaabe lands in Ontario, Canada, 2023. NASA NASA has been selected by the International Astronautical Federation to receive its 2024 “3G” Diversity Award, which recognizes organizations for their contributions to fostering geographic, generational, and gender diversity in the space sector.
      NASA’s Indigenous Community-Based Education (CBE) Program is a consortium of partnerships between NASA and numerous, diverse Indigenous communities which co-create unique educational programs for the youth. Through these partnerships, which have been cultivated for the past two decades, Indigenous Knowledge and Western science come together in a community-based way to support the development of learners’ cultural and science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) identities.
      The Indigenous CBE Program is part of NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project (MUREP) American Indian and Alaska Native STEM Engagement activity and is supported by NASA’s Astrobiology Program and Planetary Science Division.
      The Indigenous CBE Program also works toward more equitable practices in science and supports a diverse workforce by offering working groups that connect Indigenous and Western scientists and educators, as well as mentoring for emerging Indigenous STEM scholars.
      “Relationships and collaboration are at the heart of this work,” said Daniella Scalice, NASA lead for the Indigenous CBE Program. “This award is shared with all my community-based partners. The women I work with who are serving their youth and community every day – they are the real heroes.”
      “NASA has had a longstanding commitment to equity in STEM education and research.” said Torry Johnson, deputy associate administrator of STEM Engagement Programs at NASA Headquarters. “MUREP American Indian and Alaska Native STEM Engagement provides avenues for NASA to build and nurture relationships, new partnerships, and collaborations with Indigenous communities, and to empower the next generation of Indigenous STEM leaders.”
      Starting in January, awardees were nominated to the International Astronautical Federation by representatives from other member organizations. NASA will receive the award during the International Astronautical Federation’s annual conference in October.
      For more information on NASA’s MUREP American Indian and Alaska Native STEM Engagement program, visit:
      https://go.nasa.gov/3vEyhOp
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      Last Updated Jul 17, 2024 Related Terms
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    • By NASA
      4 min read
      Discovery Alert: With Six New Worlds, 5,500 Discovery Milestone Passed!
      NASA’s Exoplanet Archive confirmed four new worlds, bringing the total past 5,500. On Aug. 24, 2023, more than three decades after the first confirmation of planets beyond our own solar system, scientists announced the discovery of six new exoplanets, stretching that number to 5,502. From zero exoplanet confirmations to over 5,500 in just a few decades, this new milestone marks another major step in the journey to understand the worlds beyond our solar system.
      The Discovery
      With the discovery of six new exoplanets, scientists have tipped the scales and surpassed 5,500 exoplanets found (there are now 5,502 known exoplanets, to be exact).
      Just about 31 years ago, in 1992, the first exoplanets were confirmed when scientists detected twin planets Poltergeist and Phobetor orbiting the pulsar PSR B1257+12. In March 2022, just last year, scientists celebrated passing 5,000 exoplanets discovered.
      Key Facts 
      Scientists have discovered six new exoplanets — HD 36384 b, TOI-198 b, TOI-2095 b, TOI-2095 c, TOI-4860 b, and MWC 758 c — this has pushed the total number of confirmed exoplanets discovered to 5,502.
      Details
      HD 36384 b is a super-Jupiter that orbits an enormous M giant star.
      This planet was discovered using the radial velocity method, which measures the “wobble” of far-off stars that is caused by the gravitational tug of orbiting planets. Orbits a star so large that it clocks in at nearly 40 times the size of our Sun. TOI-198 b is a potentially rocky planet that orbits on the innermost edge of the habitable zone around its star, an M dwarf.
      This planet was discovered using the transit method, which detects exoplanets as they cross the face of their stars in their orbit, causing the star to temporarily dim. TOI-2095 b and TOI-2095 c are both large, hot super-Earths that orbit in the same system around a shared star, an M dwarf.
      Planets were both discovered using the transit method. Are close enough to their star that they are likely more similar to Venus than Earth. TOI-4860 b is a Jupiter-sized gas giant, or a “hot Jupiter,” that orbits an M dwarf star.
      This planet was discovered using the transit method. Completes an orbit every 1.52 days, meaning it is very close to its star. While it is extremely rare for giant planets like this to orbit so closely to Sun-like stars, it is even rarer for them to orbit M-dwarf stars as is the case here. MWC 758 c is a giant protoplanet that orbits a very young star. This star still has its protoplanetary disk, which is a rotating disc of gas and dust that can surround a young star.
      This planet was discovered using direct imaging. Was found carving spiral arms into its star’s protoplanetary disk. Is one of the first exoplanets discovered in a system where the star has a protoplanetary disk. The field of exoplanet science has exploded since the first exoplanet confirmation in 1992, and with evolving technology, the future for this field looks brighter than ever.
      In March 2022, NASA passed 5,000 confirmed exoplanets. Tis data sonification allows us to hear the pace of the discovery of those worlds. In this animation, exoplanets are represented by musical notes played across decades of discovery. Circles show location and size of orbit, while their color indicates the detection method. Lower notes mean longer orbits, higher notes mean shorter orbits. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/M. Russo, A. Santaguida (SYSTEM Sounds) Watch this video in 3D There are a number of both space and ground-based instruments and observatories that scientists have used to detect and study exoplanets.
      NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) launched in 2018 and has identified thousands of exoplanet candidates and confirmed over 320 planets.
      NASA’s flagship space telescopes Spitzer, Hubble, and most recently the James Webb Space Telescope have also been used to discover and study exoplanets.
      NASA’s Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope is set to launch in May 2027. Roman will be carrying a technology demonstration called the Roman Coronagraph Instrument. This coronagraph will work by using a series of complex masks and mirrors to distort the light coming from far-away stars. By distorting this starlight, the instrument will reveal and directly-image hidden exoplanets.
      With the success of the Roman Coronagraph Instrument, NASA could push the envelope even further with is a concept for the mission the Habitable Worlds Observatory, which would search for “signatures of life on planets outside of our solar system,” according to the 2020 Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics.
      The Discoverers 
      These six exoplanets were discovered by different teams as part of five separate studies:
      TOI-4860 b TOI-2095 b & c HD 36384 b TOI-198 b MWC 758 c Share








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      Last Updated Jul 16, 2024 Related Terms
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    • By NASA
      NASA’s Galileo spacecraft took this image of Earth’s Moon on Dec. 7, 1992, on its way to explore the Jupiter system in 1995-97. The distinct bright ray crater at the bottom of the image is the Tycho impact basin.Credit: NASA NASA will hold a media teleconference at 4 p.m. EDT, Wednesday, July 17, to provide an update on a program within NASA’s Exploration Science Strategy and Integration Office.
      Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website at:
      https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv
      Participants in the teleconference include:
      Nicola Fox, associate administrator, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator for exploration, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters To ask questions during the teleconference, media must RSVP no later than two hours before the event to Erin Morton at: erin.morton@nasa.gov. NASA’s media accreditation policy is available online.
      The Exploration Science Strategy Integration Office in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate ensures science is infused into all aspects of lunar exploration. Through researching the Moon and its environment, and by using the Moon as an observation platform, NASA strives to gain a greater understanding of the Moon itself, the solar system, the universe, and the deep space environment.
      To learn more about NASA’s missions for lunar discovery, visit: 
      https://science.nasa.gov/lunar-science
      -end-
      Karen Fox / Erin Morton 
      Headquarters, Washington 
      202-358-1275 / 202-805-9393
      karen.fox@nasa.gov / erin.morton@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Jul 16, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Lunar Science Science & Research Science Mission Directorate View the full article
    • By NASA
      Move teams with NASA and Boeing, the SLS (Space Launch System) core stage lead contractor, position the massive rocket stage for NASA’s SLS rocket on special transporters to strategically guide the flight hardware the 1.3-mile distance from the factory floor onto the agency’s Pegasus barge on July 16. The core stage will be ferried to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where it will be integrated with other parts of the rocket that will power NASA’s Artemis II mission. Pegasus is maintained at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility. Credit: NASA NASA rolled out the SLS (Space Launch System) rocket’s core stage for the Artemis II test flight from its manufacturing facility in New Orleans on Tuesday for shipment to the agency’s spaceport in Florida. The rollout is key progress on the path to NASA’s first crewed mission to the Moon under the Artemis campaign.
      Using highly specialized transporters, engineers maneuvered the giant core stage from inside NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans to the agency’s Pegasus barge. The barge will ferry the stage more than 900 miles to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida, where engineers will prepare it in the Vehicle Assembly Building for attachment to other rocket and Orion spacecraft elements.
      “With Artemis, we’ve set our sights on doing something big and incredibly complex that will inspire a new generation, advance our scientific endeavors, and move U.S. competitiveness forward,” said Catherine Koerner, associate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The SLS rocket is a key component of our efforts to develop a long-term presence at the Moon.”
      Technicians moved the SLS rocket stage from inside NASA Michoud on the 55th anniversary of the launch of Apollo 11 on July 16, 1969. The move of the rocket stage for Artemis marks the first time since the Apollo Program that a fully assembled Moon rocket stage for a crewed mission rolled out from NASA Michoud.
      The SLS rocket’s core stage is the largest NASA has ever produced. At 212 feet tall, it consists of five major elements, including two huge propellant tanks that collectively hold more than 733,000 gallons of super-chilled liquid propellant to feed four RS-25 engines. During launch and flight, the stage will operate for just over eight minutes, producing more than 2 million pounds of thrust to propel four astronauts inside NASA’s Orion spacecraft toward the Moon.
      “The delivery of the SLS core stage for Artemis II to Kennedy Space Center signals a shift from manufacturing to launch readiness as teams continue to make progress on hardware for all major elements for future SLS rockets,” said John Honeycutt, SLS program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “We are motivated by the success of Artemis I and focused on working toward the first crewed flight under Artemis.”
      After arrival at NASA Kennedy, the stage will undergo additional outfitting inside the Vehicle Assembly Building. Engineers then will join it with the segments that form the rocket’s twin solid rocket boosters. Adapters for the Moon rocket that connect it to the Orion spacecraft will be shipped to NASA Kennedy this fall, while the interim cryogenic propulsion stage is already in Florida. Engineers continue to prepare Orion, already at Kennedy, and exploration ground systems for launch and flight.
      All major structures for every SLS core stage are fully manufactured at NASA Michoud. Inside the factory, core stages and future exploration upper stages for the next evolution of SLS, called the Block 1B configuration, currently are in various phases of production for Artemis III, IV, and V. Beginning with Artemis III, to better optimize space at Michoud, Boeing, the SLS core stage prime contractor, will use space at NASA Kennedy for final assembly and outfitting activities.
      Building, assembling, and transporting the SLS core stage is a collaborative effort for NASA, Boeing, and lead RS-25 engines contractor Aerojet Rocketdyne, an L3Harris Technologies company. All 10 NASA centers contribute to its development with more than 1,100 companies across the United States contributing to its production. 
      NASA is working to land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the Moon under Artemis. SLS is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft, supporting ground systems, 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 launch.
      For more on NASA’s Artemis campaign, visit: 
      http://www.nasa.gov/artemis
      -end- 
      Madison Tuttle/Rachel Kraft
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      madison.e.tuttle@nasa.gov/rachel.h.kraft@nasa.gov
      Corinne Beckinger 
      Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. 
      256-544-0034  
      corinne.m.beckinger@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Jul 16, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Space Launch System (SLS) Artemis Artemis 2 Common Exploration Systems Development Division Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate Marshall Space Flight Center Michoud Assembly Facility View the full article
    • By NASA
      NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and senior NASA leaders conduct the first bilateral meeting with KASA’s administrator, Dr. Young-bin Yoon on Monday, July 15, 2024 in Busan, Korea. NASA/Amber Jacobson NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy conducted the first bilateral meeting on Monday with Dr. Young-bin Yoon, administrator of the newly established KASA (Korea AeroSpace Administration), which opened on May 27. The creation of KASA underscores the Republic of Korea’s commitment to advancing space exploration.
      The bilateral meeting marks a pivotal moment for a NASA’s relationship with KASA, building upon decades of bilateral ties with several Korean ministries and institutions. Melroy emphasized enhancing cooperation under the Artemis program and expanding science collaboration during discussions with Yoon. Looking ahead, NASA and KASA are exploring a wide range of opportunities and fostering innovation in new areas.
      Over the past year, the U.S.-Korea space relationship has seen significant progress, highlighted by increased engagements and collaborative initiatives across various space disciplines. These efforts include sharing data from the Korea Pathfinder Lunar Orbiter and leveraging NASA’s Deep Space Network, showcasing Korea’s commitment to open science, and enabling scientists globally to access valuable data for future lunar activities.
      Historically, NASA has collaborated across a wide range of disciplines with KARI (Korea Aerospace Research Institute) and KASI (Korea Astronomy and Space Science Institute). The establishment of KASA allows Korea to focus its space efforts under one agency, further enhancing space collaboration and cooperation.
      View the full article
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