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    • By NASA
      On Feb. 22, 2024, Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus lunar lander captures a wide field of view image of Schomberger crater on the Moon approximately 125 miles (200 km) uprange from the intended landing site, at approximately about 6 miles (10 km) altitude. Credit: Intuitive Machines For the first time in more than 50 years, new NASA science instruments and technology demonstrations are operating on the Moon following the first successful delivery of the agency’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative.
      Intuitive Machines’ Nova-C lander, called Odysseus, completed a seven-day journey to lunar orbit and executed procedures to softly land near Malapert A in the South Pole region of the Moon at 5:24 p.m. CST on Feb. 22. The lander is healthy, collecting solar power, and transmitting data back to the company’s mission control in Houston. The mission marks the first commercial uncrewed landing on the Moon.
      Carrying six NASA science research and technology demonstrations, among other customer payloads, all NASA science instruments completed transit checkouts en route to the Moon. A NASA precision landing technology demonstration also provided critical last-minute assistance to ensure a soft landing. As part of NASA’s Artemis campaign, the lunar delivery is in the region where NASA will send astronauts to search for water and other lunar resources later this decade.
      “For the first time in more than half a century, America returned to the Moon. Congratulations to Intuitive Machines for placing the lunar lander Odysseus carrying NASA scientific instruments to a place no person or machine has gone before, the lunar South Pole,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “This feat from Intuitive Machines, SpaceX, and NASA demonstrates the promise of American leadership in space and the power of commercial partnerships under NASA’s CLPS initiative. Further, this success opens the door for new voyages under Artemis to send astronauts to the Moon, then onward to Mars.” 
      During the journey to the Moon, NASA instruments measured the quantity of cryogenic engine fuel as it has been used, and while descending toward the lunar surface, teams collected data on plume-surface interactions and tested precision landing technologies.
      Odysseus’ surface operations are underway and expected to take place through Thursday, Feb. 29.
      New lunar science, technology
      NASA’s Navigation Doppler Lidar for Precise Velocity and Range Sensing (NDL) guidance system for descent and landing ultimately played a key role in aiding the successful landing. A few hours ahead of landing, Intuitive Machines encountered a sensor issue with their navigation system and leaned on NASA’s guidance system for an assist to precisely land. NASA’s instrument operates on the same principles of radar and uses pulses from a laser emitted through three optical telescopes. It measures speed, direction, and altitude with high precision during descent and touchdown.
      “We are thrilled to have NASA on the Moon again, and proud of the agency’s contribution to the successful landing with our NDL technology. Congratulations for completing this first lunar delivery for NASA, paving the way for a bright future for our CLPS initiative,” said Nicky Fox. “Some of the NASA science instruments on this mission will bring us insight on lunar plume interactions and conduct radio astronomy. The valiant efforts and innovation demonstrated by Intuitive Machines is exemplary and we are excited for the upcoming lunar deliveries that will follow this first mission.”  
      Now that they are on the lunar surface, NASA instruments will focus on investigating lunar surface interactions and radio astronomy. The Odysseus lander also carries a retroreflector array that will contribute to a network of location markers on the Moon for communication and navigation for future autonomous navigation technologies.
      Additional NASA hardware aboard the lander includes:
      Lunar Node 1 Navigation Demonstrator: A small, CubeSat-sized experiment that will demonstrate autonomous navigation that could be used by future landers, surface infrastructure, and astronauts, digitally confirming their positions on the Moon relative to other spacecraft, ground stations, or rovers on the move. Laser Retroreflector Array: A collection of eight retroreflectors that enable precision laser ranging, which is a measurement of the distance between the orbiting or landing spacecraft to the reflector on the lander. The array is a passive optical instrument and will function as a permanent location marker on the Moon for decades to come.    Radio Frequency Mass Gauge: A technology demonstration that measures the amount of propellant in spacecraft tanks in a low-gravity space environment. Using sensor technology, the gauge will measure the amount of cryogenic propellant in Nova-C’s fuel and oxidizer tanks, providing data that could help predict fuel usage on future missions.    Radio-wave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the Photoelectron Sheath: The instrument will observe the Moon’s surface environment in radio frequencies, to determine how natural and human-generated activity near the surface interacts with and could interfere with science conducted there. Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies: A suite of four tiny cameras to capture imagery showing how the Moon’s surface changes from interactions with the spacecraft’s engine plume during and after descent. NASA is committed to supporting its U.S. commercial vendors as they navigate the challenges of sending science and technology to the surface of the Moon.
      “In daring to confront one of humanity’s greatest challenges, Intuitive Machines created an entire lunar program that has ventured farther than any American mission to land on the Moon in over 50 years,” said Altemus. “This humbling moment reminds us that pursuing the extraordinary requires both boldness and resilience.”
      For more information about CLPS, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/clps
      -end-
      Faith McKie / Karen Fox
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1600
      faith.d.mckie@nasa.gov / karen.c.fox@nasa.gov
      Nilufar Ramji / Laura Sorto
      Johnson Space Center, Houston 
      281-483-5111 
      nilufar.ramji@nasa.gov / laura.g.sorto@nasa.gov
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      Last Updated Feb 23, 2024 EditorJennifer M. DoorenLocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Missions Artemis Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) View the full article
    • By NASA
      (Left to right) Roscosmos Cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin and NASA Astronauts Michael Barratt, Matthew Dominick, and Jeanette Epps pose for a photo during their Crew Equipment Interface Test at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The goal of the training is to rehearse launch day activities and get a close look at the spacecraft that will take them to the International Space Station. Credit: SpaceX NASA will provide coverage of the upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for the agency’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission with astronauts to the International Space Station.
      The launch is targeted for 12:04 a.m. EST, Friday, March 1, from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The targeted docking time is about 7 a.m. on Saturday, March 2.
      Crew arrival will be available on Kennedy’s streaming channels including YouTube and X. Coverage of launch, the postlaunch news conference, and docking will be available on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, YouTube, and the agency’s website. NASA also will host an audio-only post-Flight Readiness Review news teleconference. Learn how to stream NASA TV through a variety of platforms including social media.

      The Crew-8 launch will carry NASA astronauts Matthew Dominick, Michael Barratt, and Jeanette Epps, as well as Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin.

      As part of the agency’s Commercial Crew Program, the mission marks the eighth crew rotation mission and the ninth human spaceflight mission for NASA to the space station supported by a SpaceX Dragon spacecraft since 2020. Endeavour is the name of this Dragon spacecraft.

      The deadline for media accreditation for in-person coverage of this launch has passed. The agency’s media credentialing policy is available online. For questions about media accreditation, please email: ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov.
      NASA’s mission coverage is as follows (all times Eastern and subject to change based on real-time operations):

      Sunday, Feb. 25:
      2 p.m. – Crew arrival media event at Kennedy streaming on the center’s social accounts with the following participants:
      Jennifer Kunz, associate director, technical, NASA Kennedy Dana Hutcherson, deputy program manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy NASA astronaut Matthew Dominick NASA astronaut Michael Barratt NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps Roscosmos cosmonaut Alexander Grebenkin The event is limited to in-person media only. Follow Commercial Crew and Kennedy Space Center for the latest arrival updates.
      6 p.m. (approximately) – Flight Readiness Review media teleconference (no earlier than one hour after completion of the Flight Readiness Review) with the following participants:
      Ken Bowersox, associate administrator, Space Operations Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson William Gerstenmaier, vice president, Build and Flight Reliability, SpaceX Eric van der Wal, Houston office team leader, ESA (European Space Agency) Takayoshi Nishikawa, director, JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) Houston Office Media may ask questions via phone only. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 3 p.m. Friday, Feb. 23, at: ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.
      Wednesday, Feb. 28:
      9:15 a.m. – NASA Social panel live stream event at Kennedy with the following participants:
      NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free Carla Koch, mission manager, Commercial Crew Program, NASA Kennedy Jennifer Buchli, chief scientist, International Space Station Program, NASA Johnson Kristin Fabre, deputy chief scientist, Human Research Program, NASA Johnson Members of the public may ask questions online by posting questions to the YouTube, Facebook, and X livestreams using #AskNASA.
      10:30 a.m. – NASA Administrator briefing from Kennedy with the following participants:
      NASA Administrator Bill Nelson NASA Associate Administrator Jim Free Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program Media may ask questions in person and via phone. Limited auditorium space will be available for in-person participation. For the dial-in number and passcode, media should  contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, at ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.
      12:30 p.m. – One-on-one media interviews at Kennedy with various mission subject matter experts. Sign-up information will be emailed to media accredited to attend this launch in person.
      Thursday, Feb. 29:
      8 p.m. – NASA TV launch coverage begins
      Friday, March 1:
      12:04 a.m. – Launch
      Following conclusion of launch and ascent coverage, NASA coverage will continue with audio only, with full coverage resuming at the start of the rendezvous and docking broadcast. The audio link and details will be available nearer to the mission.
      NASA Television will resume continuous mission coverage prior to docking and continue through hatch open and the welcome ceremony. For NASA TV downlink information, schedules, and links to streaming video, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/nasatv/
      2 a.m. (approximately) – Postlaunch news conference on NASA TV
      Steve Stich, manager, Commercial Crew Program Joel Montalbano, manager, International Space Station Program Sarah Walker, director, Dragon Mission Management, SpaceX Media may ask questions in person and via phone. Limited auditorium space will be available for in-person participation. For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom no later than 12 a.m. Friday, March 1, at ksc-newsroom@mail.nasa.gov.
      Saturday, March 2:
      5 a.m. – NASA TV arrival coverage begins (or about two hours prior to docking)
      7 a.m. – Targeted docking to the forward-facing port of the station’s Harmony module
      Hatch opening will be approximately one-hour-and-forty-five minutes after docking followed by welcome remarks aboard station. All times are estimates and could be adjusted based on operations after launch. Follow the space station blog for the most up-to-date operations information.
      Audio Only Coverage
      Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240 or -7135. On launch day, “mission audio,” countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135.
      Launch audio also will be available on Launch Information Service and Amateur Television System’s VHF radio frequency 146.940 MHz and KSC Amateur Radio Club’s UHF radio frequency 444.925 MHz, FM mode, heard within Brevard County on the Space Coast.
      Live Video Coverage Prior to Launch
      NASA will provide a live video feed of Launch Complex 39A approximately 48 hours prior to the planned liftoff of the Crew-8 mission. Pending unlikely technical issues, the feed will be uninterrupted until the prelaunch broadcast begins on NASA TV, approximately four hours prior to launch. Once the feed is live, find it here: 
      http://youtube.com/kscnewsroom.
      NASA Website Launch Coverage
      Launch day coverage of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission will be available on the agency’s website. Coverage will include live streaming and blog updates beginning no earlier than 8 p.m. Feb. 29, as the countdown milestones occur. On-demand streaming video and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff.
      For questions about countdown coverage, contact the Kennedy newsroom at 321-867-2468. Follow countdown coverage on the commercial crew or Crew-8 blog.
      Attend the Launch Virtually
      Members of the public can register to attend this launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for this mission also includes curated launch resources, notifications about related opportunities or changes, and a stamp for the NASA virtual guest passport following a successful launch.
      Watch and Engage on Social Media
      Let people know you’re following the mission on X, Facebook, and Instagram by using the hashtags #Crew8 and #NASASocial. You can also stay connected by following and tagging these accounts:
      X: @NASA, @NASAKennedy, @NASASocial, @Space_Station, @ISS_Research, @ISS National Lab, @SpaceX, @Commercial_Crew
      Facebook: NASA, NASAKennedy, ISS, ISS National Lab
      Instagram: @NASA, @NASAKennedy, @ISS, @ISSNationalLab, @SpaceX
      Coverage en Espanol
      Did you know NASA has a Spanish section called NASA en Espanol? Make sure to check out NASA en Espanol on X, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube for more coverage on Crew-8.
      Para obtener información sobre cobertura en español en el Centro Espacial Kennedy o si desea solicitar entrevistas en español, comuníquese con Antonia Jaramillo: 321-501-8425;antonia.jaramillobotero@nasa.gov; o Messod Bendayan: 256-930-1371; messod.c.bendayan@nasa.gov.
      NASA’s Commercial Crew Program has delivered on its goal of safe, reliable, and cost-effective transportation to and from the International Space Station from the United States through a partnership with American private industry. This partnership is changing the arc of human spaceflight history by opening access to low Earth orbit and the International Space Station to more people, more science, and more commercial opportunities. The space station remains the springboard to NASA’s next great leap in space exploration, including future missions to the Moon and, eventually, to Mars.
      For NASA’s launch blog and more information about the mission, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/commercialcrew
      -end-
      Joshua Finch / Claire O’Shea
      Headquarters, Washington
      202-358-1100
      joshua.a.finch@nasa.gov / claire.a.o’shea@nasa.gov
      Steven Siceloff / Danielle Sempsrott
      Kennedy Space Center, Florida
      321-867-2468
      steven.p.siceloff@nasa.gov / danielle.c.sempsrott@nasa.gov
      Leah Cheshier
      Johnson Space Center, Houston
      281-483-5111
      leah.d.cheshier@nasa.gov
      Share
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      Last Updated Feb 23, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
      Humans in Space Astronauts Commercial Space International Space Station (ISS) ISS Research Jeanette J. Epps Matthew Dominick NASA Headquarters View the full article
    • By NASA
      5 Min Read NASA’s Planetary Protection Team Conducts Vital Research for Deep Space Missions
      Cassilly examines fungal growth obtained from a space environmental exposure study, part of the Planetary Protection team’s work to understand the ability of microbes to survive conditions in deep space. Credits: NASA/Charles Beason By Celine Smith
      As NASA continues its exploration of the solar system, including future crewed missions to Mars, experts in the agency’s Office of Planetary Protection are developing advanced tactics to prevent NASA expeditions from introducing biological contaminants to other worlds.
      At NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, the Planetary Protection team is contributing to this work – pursuing new detection, cleaning, and decontamination methods that will protect alien biospheres, safeguard future planetary science missions, and prevent potentially hazardous microbes from being returned to Earth. The Planetary Protection team is a part of the Space Environmental Effects (SEE) team in Marshall’s Materials and Processes Laboratory.
      Chelsi Cassilly, lead of Marshall Space Flight Center’s Planetary Protection Laboratory, researches microbes and their behaviors to preserve the environment of other planetary bodies after future missions. NASA/Charles Beason Planetary Protection microbiologist Chelsi Cassilly said much of Planetary Protection focuses on “bioburden” which is typically considered the number of bacterial endospores (commonly referred to as “spores”) found on and in materials. Such materials can range from paints and coatings on robotic landers to solid propellants in solid rocket motors. NASA currently requires robotic missions to Mars meet strict bioburden limits and is assessing how to apply similar policies to future, crewed missions to the Red Planet.
      “It’s impossible to eliminate microbes completely,” Cassily said. “But it’s our job to minimize bioburden, keeping the probability of contamination sufficiently low to protect the extraterrestrial environments we explore.”
      Currently, Marshall’s Planetary Protection research supports NASA’s Mars Ascent Vehicle, a key component of the planned Mars Sample Return campaign, and risk-reduction efforts for the Human Landing System program.
      Critically, Planetary Protection prevents the introduction of microbes from Earth onto planetary bodies where they might proliferate and subsequently interfere with scientific study of past or current life there. If Earth’s microbes were to contaminate samples collected on Mars or Europa, the scientific findings would be an inaccurate depiction of these environments, potentially precluding the ability to determine if life ever existed there. Preserving the scientific integrity of these missions is of the utmost importance to Cassilly and her team.
      Contamination mitigation tactics used in the past also may not work with modern hardware and materials. For the Viking missions to Mars, NASA employed a total spacecraft “heat microbial reduction” (HMR) process, a prolonged exposure to high temperatures to kill off or minimize microbes. As spacecrafts advance, NASA is more discerning, using HMR for components and/or subassemblies instead of the entire spacecraft.
      According to Cassilly, HMR may not always be an ideal solution because, extended time at high temperatures required to kill microbes can degrade the integrity of certain materials, potentially impacting mission success. While this is not a problem for all materials, there is still a need to expand NASA’s repertoire of acceptable microbial reduction techniques to include ones that may be more efficient and sustainable.
      This mold from the genus Cladosporium was collected from the surface of a cleanroom table at Marshall. This and other microbes within cleanrooms pose the biggest threat to spacecraft cleanliness and meeting Planetary Protection requirements. Jacobs Engineering/Chelsi Cassilly To contribute to NASA’s Planetary Protection efforts, Cassilly undertook a project – funded by a Jacobs Innovation Grant – to build a microbial library that could better inform and guide mitigation research. That meant visiting cleanrooms at Marshall to collect prevalent microbes, extracting DNA, amplifying specific genes, and submitting them for commercial sequencing. They identified 95% of the microbes within their library which is continually growing as more microbes are collected and identified.
      The Planetary Protection team is interested in taking this work a step further by exposing their microbial library to space-like stressors—including ultraviolet light, ionizing radiation, temperature extremes, desiccation, and vacuum—to determine survivability.
      Understanding the response of these microbes to space environmental conditions, like those experienced during deep space transit, helps inform our understanding of contamination risks associated with proposed planetary missions.
      Chelsi Cassilly
      Planetary Protection microbiologist
      “The research we’re doing probes at the possibility of using space itself to our advantage,” Cassilly said.
      Cassilly and Marshall materials engineers also supported a study at Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, to determine whether certain manufacturing processes effectively reduce bioburden. Funded by a NASA Research Opportunity in Space and Earth Sciences (ROSES) grant, the project assessed the antimicrobial activity of various additives and components used in solid rocket motor production. The team is currently revising a manuscript which should appear publicly in the coming months.
      This Bacillus isolate with striking morphology was collected from a sample of insulation commonly used in solid rocket motors. Cassilly studies these and other material-associated microbes to evaluate what could hitch a ride on spacecraft. Jacobs Engineering/Chelsi Cassilly Cassilly also supported research by Marshall’s Solid Propulsion and Pyrotechnic Devices Branch to assess estimates of microbial contamination associated with a variety of commonly used nonmetallic spacecraft materials. The results showed that nearly all the materials analyzed carry a lower microbial load than previously estimated – possibly decreasing the risk associated with sending these materials to sensitive locations.
      Such findings benefit researchers across NASA who are also pursuing novel bioburden reduction tactics, Cassilly said, improving agencywide standards for identifying, measuring, and studying advanced planetary protection techniques.
      “Collaboration unifies our efforts and makes it so much more possible to uncover new solutions than if we were all working individually,” she said.
      NASA’s Office of Planetary Protection is part of the agency’s Office of Safety and Mission Assurance at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The Office of Planetary Protection oversees bioburden reduction research and development of advanced strategies for contamination mitigation at Marshall Space Flight Center; NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California; NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston.
      For more information about NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, visit:
      https://www.nasa.gov/centers/marshall/home/index.html
      Share
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      Last Updated Feb 22, 2024 LocationMarshall Space Flight Center Related Terms
      Marshall Space Flight Center Explore More
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    • By NASA
      From left, NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Barry “Butch” Wilmore, Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) pilot and commander, respectively, exit the Astronaut Crew Quarters at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida during a crew validation test on Oct. 18, 2022. The astronauts, with assistance from the Boeing team, successfully completed the validation test during which they suited up and tested out the pressurized crew module to ensure seat fit, suit functionality, cabin temperature, audio system, and day of launch operations.NASA/Kim Shiflett Digital content creators are invited to register to attend the launch of NASA’s Boeing Crew Flight Test (CFT) mission to the International Space Station. The mission will be the first crewed launch of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft as part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program.
      Starliner will launch atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, carrying NASA astronauts Barry “Butch” Wilmore and Suni Williams to the orbiting laboratory for a stay of about one to two weeks. Liftoff is targeted for mid-April 2024 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station’s Space Launch Complex-41 in Florida.
      If your passion is to communicate and engage the world online, then this is the event for you! Seize the opportunity to see and share the #Starliner mission launch.
      A maximum of 50 social media users will be selected to attend this two-day event and will be given access similar to news media.
      NASA Social participants will have the opportunity to:
      View a crewed launch of the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket and Starliner spacecraft. Tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center. Meet and interact with CFT subject matter experts. Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media. NASA Social registration for the CFT launch opens on Wednesday, Feb. 21, and the deadline to apply is at 3 p.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 27. All social applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
      APPLY NOW
      Do I need to have a social media account to register?
      Yes. This event is designed for people who:
      Actively use multiple social networking platforms and tools to disseminate information to a unique audience. Regularly produce new content that features multimedia elements. Have the potential to reach a large number of people using digital platforms, or reach a unique audience, separate and distinctive from traditional news media and/or NASA audiences. Must have an established history of posting content on social media platforms. Have previous postings that are highly visible, respected and widely recognized. Users on all social networks are encouraged to use the hashtag #NASASocial and #Starliner. Updates and information about the event will be shared on X via @NASASocial and @NASAKennedy, and via posts to Facebook and Instagram.
      How do I register?
      Registration for this event opens Wednesday, Feb. 21, and closes at 3 p.m. EST on Tuesday, Feb. 27. Registration is for one person only (you) and is non-transferable. Each individual wishing to attend must register separately. Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
      Can I register if I am not a U.S. citizen?
      Because of the security deadlines, registration is limited to U.S. citizens. If you have a valid permanent resident card, you will be processed as a U.S. citizen.
      When will I know if I am selected?
      After registrations have been received and processed, an email with confirmation information and additional instructions will be sent to those selected. We expect to send the acceptance notifications by March 1.
      What are NASA Social credentials?
      All social applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Those chosen must prove through the registration process they meet specific engagement criteria.
      If you do not make the registration list for this NASA Social, you still can attend the launch offsite and participate in the conversation online. Find out about ways to experience a launch here.
      What are the registration requirements?
      Registration indicates your intent to travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and attend the two-day event in person. You are responsible for your own expenses for travel, accommodations, food, and other amenities.
      Some events and participants scheduled to appear at the event are subject to change without notice. NASA is not responsible for loss or damage incurred as a result of attending. NASA, moreover, is not responsible for loss or damage incurred if the event is cancelled with limited or no notice. Please plan accordingly.
      Kennedy is a government facility. Those who are selected will need to complete an additional registration step to receive clearance to enter the secure areas.
      IMPORTANT: To be admitted, you will need to provide two forms of unexpired government-issued identification; one must be a photo ID and match the name provided on the registration. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted.
      For a complete list of acceptable forms of ID, please visit: NASA Credentialing Identification Requirements.
      All registrants must be at least 18 years old.
      What if the launch date changes?
      Many different factors can cause a scheduled launch date to change multiple times. If the launch date changes, NASA may adjust the date of the NASA Social accordingly to coincide with the new target launch date. NASA will notify registrants of any changes by email.
      If the launch is postponed, attendees will be invited to attend a later launch date. NASA cannot accommodate attendees for delays beyond 72 hours.
      NASA Social attendees are responsible for any additional costs they incur related to any launch delay. We strongly encourage participants to make travel arrangements that are refundable and/or flexible.
      What if I cannot come to the Kennedy Space Center?
      If you cannot come to the Kennedy Space Center and attend in person, you should not register for the NASA Social. You can follow the conversation online using #NASASocial.
      You can watch the launch on NASA Television or www.nasa.gov/nasatv/. NASA will provide regular launch and mission updates on @NASA, @NASAKennedy, and @Commercial_Crew.
      If you cannot make this NASA Social, don’t worry; NASA is planning many other Socials in the near future at various locations! Check back here for updates.
      View the full article
    • By NASA
      Dr. Natasha Batalha, an astronomer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, says collaborating with her teams is one of the best parts of her job.UC Santa Cruz, UC Regents Science is often portrayed as a solitary affair, where discoveries are made by lone geniuses toiling in isolation. But Dr. Natasha Batalha, an astronomer at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, says solving problems with the people around her is one of the best parts of her job.
       “Oh, man, working with people is all I do!” said Batalha, whose current research involves using NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study exoplanets, planets outside our solar system that orbit other stars.
      Batalha’s work explores hot, Jupiter-like exoplanets; smaller, rocky exoplanets more similar to Earth; and brown dwarfs, mysterious objects smaller than a star but huge compared to the biggest planets. A single question has driven her since she was a kid: “Does life exist beyond Earth?”
      It’s a lofty question, bigger than any one scientist. And that’s the point.
      “I love being part of a larger community,” she said, “We’re working together to try to solve this question that people have been asking for centuries.”
      However, the particular joy of belonging wasn’t always present in Batalha’s life.
      When she was 10, her family moved from Brazil to the U.S., where she was met with culture shock, pressure to assimilate, and a language barrier. She thinks the latter is partly why she gravitated toward the universal language of math.
      Eventually, her interests and strengths took shape around astronomy. When she chose to study physics in college, followed by a dual PhD in astronomy and astrobiology, her parents – who are also scientists – helped fill in for the community she was otherwise lacking.
      “In high school, I watched female students drop out of my physics classes,” Batalha said. “The honors physics track in college was devoid of women and people of color. I didn’t feel I had a community in my college classes.”
      Her mother, Natalie Batalha, is an astronomer who served as project scientist for NASA’s Kepler space telescope– the mission that taught us there are more planets than stars. Natasha’s father is a LatinX physicist. Both her parents had already faced similar challenges in their careers, and having their example to look at of people who had successfully overcome those barriers helped her push on.  
      “I identify as female and LatinX, which are both underrepresented groups in STEM,” she said, “but I also have a ton of privilege because my parents are in the field. That gave me a dual perspective on how powerful community is.”
      I love being part of a larger community. We’re working together to try to solve this question that people have been asking for centuries.
      Natasha Batalha
      NASA Astronomer
      Since then, empowering her own science community has been a focus of Batalha’s work.
      She builds open-source tools, like computer programs for interpreting data, that are available to all. They help scientists use Webb’s exoplanet data to study what climates they may have, the behavior of clouds in their atmospheres, and the chemistry at work there.
      “I saw how limiting closed toolsets could be for the community, when only an ‘inner circle’ had access to them,” Batalha said. “So, I wanted to create new tools that would put everyone on the same footing.”
      Batalha herself recently used Webb to explore the skies of exoplanet WASP-39 b, a hot gas giant orbiting a star 700 light-years away. She is part of the team that found carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide there, marking the first time either was detected in an exoplanet atmosphere. Now, she is turning to the difficult-to-discern characteristics of smaller, cooler planets.
      Dr. Natasha Batalha has been hooked on the search for life beyond Earth since elementary school.UC Santa Cruz, UC Regents Batalha says she’s exactly where her 6th-grade self imagined she would be. In elementary school, she read a biography of NASA astronaut Sally Ride and was hooked by an idea it contained: that in 20 years the kids reading those words could be the ones pioneering the search for life on Mars.
      Today’s youth belong to the Artemis Generation, who will explore farther than people have ever gone before. The Artemis program will send the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface. Missions over time will build a presence at the Moon to unlock a new era of science and prepare for human missions to Mars and beyond. Along the way, scientists will continue to search for signs of life beyond Earth, an endeavor building on the work of many generations and relying on those in the future to carry on the search. 
      “That’s something really rewarding about my work at NASA,” she said. “These questions have been asked throughout human history and, by joining the effort to answer them, you’re taking the baton for a while, before passing it on to someone else.”
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