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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 6 miles (10 km) altitude. Credit: Intuitive Machines NASA and Intuitive Machines will co-host a televised news conference at 2 p.m. EST Wednesday, Feb. 28, from the agency’s Johnson Space Center in Houston to highlight the company’s first mission, known as IM-1.
The lander, called Odysseus, carried six NASA science instruments to the South Pole region of the Moon as part of the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, and Artemis campaign. The IM-1 mission is the first U.S. soft landing on the Moon in more than 50 years, successfully landing on Feb. 22.
The news conference will air on NASA+, NASA Television, and the agency’s website
Learn how to stream NASA TV on a variety of platforms, including social media.
Participants in the news conference include:
Joel Kearns, deputy associate administrator, Exploration, Science Mission Directorate, NASA Headquarters in Washington Sue Lederer, CLPS project scientist, NASA Johnson Steve Altemus, chief executive officer and co-founder, Intuitive Machines Tim Crain, chief technology officer and co-founder, Intuitive Machines Media interested in participating in person must RSVP no later than 11 a.m. on Feb. 28. To participate by telephone, media must RSVP no later than one hour before the start of the news conference. Submit either request to the NASA Johnson newsroom at 281-483-5111 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The agency’s media accreditation policy is online.
For more information about the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, visit:
Cheryl Warner / Karen Fox
Nilufar Ramji / Laura Sorto
Johnson Space Center, Houston
Intuitive Machines, Houston
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NASA’s X-59 quiet supersonic research aircraft is dramatically lit for a “glamour shot,” captured before its Jan. 12, 2024, rollout at Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works facility in Palmdale where the airplane was constructed.Credit: Lockheed Martin / Michael Jackson NASA has issued new grants to five universities to help develop education plans for the community overflight phase of the agency’s Quesst mission, which aims to demonstrate the possibility of supersonic flight without the typical loud sonic booms.
The new grants, from NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement, will provide each university team with $40,000 to develop science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) engagement strategic implementation plans for those Quesst community overflights. The awards will focus on plans for engaging with students and educators in the communities that NASA will eventually select for overflights. This will help ensure communities are accurately informed about this phase of Quesst and what involvement in the mission will look like for their community.
“The Quesst mission is unique at NASA, with community input playing a major part in its success,” said Eric Miller, deputy mission integration manager for Quesst. “These new awards will allow NASA to learn from other STEM professionals, informing us as we develop a framework to effectively engage with students and educators.”
The selected institutions and their projects, are:
Carthage College, Kenosha, Wisconsin – STEM Quesst, Wisconsin Space Grant Cornell University, Ithaca, New York –Quesst Community Overflight STEM Engagement New York Space Grant Consortium Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia – Engaging the National NASA Space Grant Network in Support of the Quesst Community Overflight STEM Engagement University of Puerto Rico, San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico – Space Grant Quesst Community Overflight STEM Engagement: Sounds of Our World University of California, San Diego, San Diego, California – California Space Grant Planning Support for the Quesst Community Overflight STEM Engagement The deliverables from the awards will help inform a student engagement approach that can be implemented in any community, state, and region that may be selected. NASA has yet to select communities for the overflights.
Through Quesst, NASA is developing its X-59 experimental aircraft, which will fly faster than the speed of sound while producing only a quiet sonic “thump.” After the X-59 completes a series of flight tests, NASA will fly it over a number of communities across the country, gathering data about what people below hear.
For more information about Quesst, visit:
Last Updated Feb 27, 2024 LocationNASA Headquarters Related Terms
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Meredith Patterson, front row, center right, poses with her teammates in the High-Powered Rocketry Club at North Carolina State University on the day they launched the rocket they built for NASA’s 2023 Student Launch. The experience and knowledge Patterson gained from her years participating in the annual competition helped pave the way for a career at NASA after graduation. High-Powered Rocketry Club at NC State By Jessica Barnett
Sometimes, all it takes is a few years and the right people to completely change a person’s career trajectory. One such example is Meredith Patterson, an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, who went from knowing little to nothing about rockets to being part of the team that is working to put humans back on the Moon.
She credits her success in large part to NASA’s Student Launch, which not only helped her uncover her passion for aerospace engineering but gave her the knowledge and experience she needed to get where she is today.
The annual Student Launch competition invites student teams from across the U.S. to spend nine months designing, building, and testing a high-powered rocket carrying a scientific or engineering payload. The hands-on, research-based engineering activity culminates each year in a final launch in Huntsville. This year’s challenge conclusion is set for April 10-14, with the final launch date set for April 13 at Bragg Farms in Toney, Alabama.
While Student Launch is open to students as young as sixth grade, Patterson was in her junior year of high school when she learned about the competition during a tour of North Carolina State University.
“When I walked into the rocketry lab there, I knew then, however many years it was going to take, I wanted to be the person who was able to run that and help put together everything for us to be successful in Student Launch,” Patterson said.
Meredith Patterson, then-freshman at North Carolina State University, assembles the competition vehicle used by the school’s high-powered rocketry club in this photo from the NASA’s 2019 Student Launch. Patterson was a member of the club and a regular participant in Student Launch for five years before graduating and turning her experience into a full-time career as an aerospace engineer at NASA. High-Powered Rocketry Club at NC State She attended North Carolina State for five years, participating in each year’s Student Launch competition and leading the team to a fourth-place win during her final year. She received her Level I and Level II certifications from Tripoli Rocketry Association through Student Launch, and she was able to connect with mentors from Tripoli and the National Rocketry Association that helped her get the hands-on experience and technical know-how she believes are key to success in the aerospace industry.
“My leadership skills grew, my system engineering skills grew, and my technical writing skills grew,” Patterson said. “Having mentors through the competition allowed me to ask questions and learn on the technical side of things, too. I think I use more information from Student Launch day to day than from almost any of my classes in college.”
She said attending an engineering camp at 16 years old first unlocked her interest in spaceflight and rocketry, but it was through Student Launch that she got to really dive in and deepen her passion.
“It’s crazy to think that less than 10 years ago, I had never even built a rocket, and now I can build Level II-sized rockets on my own and I’m actively working on the biggest solid rocket boosters in the world,” Patterson said. “Just in the past year, I’ve gone from the L-class motor that we used for Student Launch to casting 11-inch motors to now actively watching the casting of the SLS (Space Launch System) boosters.”
Meredith Patterson, a former competitor in NASA’s Student Launch Challenge, now works as an aerospace engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.NASA Student Launch is part of NASA’s Artemis Student Challenges. Seventy teams representing 24 states and Puerto Rico were selected to compete in the 2024 Student Launch Challenge.
Marshall hosts the Student Launch challenge with management support provided by NASA’s Office of STEM Engagement – Southeast Region. Funding is provided, in part, by NASA’s Space Operations Mission Directorate and NASA’s Next Gen STEM project.
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NASA Student Launch Challenge
Middle/high school and college-level student teams design, build, test, and launch a high-powered rocket carrying a scientific or engineering payload.
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The International Space Station is a microgravity research lab hosting groundbreaking technology demonstrations and scientific investigations. More than 3,700 investigations conducted to date have generated roughly 500 research articles published in scientific journals. In 2023, the orbiting lab hosted more than 500 investigations.
See more space station research achievements and findings in the Annual Highlights of Results publication, and read highlights of results published between October 2022 and October 2023 below:
A New Spin on Pulsars
A view of NICER, attached to the space station’s exterior multipurpose payload shelving unit.NASA Neutron stars, ultra-dense matter left behind when massive stars explode as supernovas, are also called pulsars because they spin and emit X-ray radiation in beams that sweep the sky like lighthouses. The Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer (NICER) collects this radiation to study the structure, dynamics, and energetics of pulsars. Researchers used NICER data to calculate rotations of six pulsars and update mathematical models of their spin properties. Precise measurements enhance the understanding of pulsars, including their production of gravitational waves, and help address fundamental questions about matter and gravity.
Learning from Lightning
The space station’s robotic arm maneuvers the Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor, seen at the top of the image, for light testing. NASA Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) studies how upper-atmospheric electrical discharges generated by severe thunderstorms affect Earth’s atmosphere and climate. These events occur well above the altitudes of normal lightning and storm clouds. Using ASIM data, researchers reported the first detailed observations of development of a of negative leader, or initiation of a flash, from in-cloud lightning. Understanding how thunderstorms disturb the high-altitude atmosphere could improve atmospheric models and climate and weather predictions.
Regenerating Tissue in Space
Tissue Regeneration-Bone Defect (Rodent Research-4 (CASIS)), sponsored by the ISS National Lab, examined wound healing mechanisms in microgravity. Researchers found that microgravity affected the fibrous and cellular components of skin tissue. Fibrous structures in connective tissue provide structure and protection for the body’s organs. This finding is an initial step to use connective tissue regeneration to treat disease and injuries for future space explorers.
Mighty Muscles in Microgravity
Installation of the Mouse Habitat Unit (MHU) in the station’s Cell Biology Experiment Facility. NASA/JAXA JAXA (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency) developed the Multiple Artificial-gravity Research System (MARS), which generates artificial gravity in space. Three JAXA investigations, MHU-1, MHU-4, and MHU-5, used the artificial-gravity system to examine the effect on skeletal muscles from different gravitation loads – microgravity, lunar gravity (1/6 g), and Earth gravity (1 g). Results show that lunar gravity protects against loss of some muscle fibers but not others. Different gravitational levels may be needed to support muscle adaptation on future missions.
Better Ultrasound Images
JAXA astronaut Akihiko Hoshide uses the station’s ultrasound device to image the femoral artery in his right leg. NASA Vascular Echo, an investigation from CSA (Canadian Space Agency), examined changes in blood vessels and the heart during and after spaceflight using ultrasound and other measures. Researchers compared 2D ultrasound technology with a motorized 3D ultrasound and found that 3D is more accurate. Better measurements could help maintain crew health in space and quality of life for people on Earth.
This is Your Brain in Space
ESA astronaut Thomas Pesquet with a preflight scan of his brain for the Brain-DTI investigation. ESA/NASA The Brain-DTI investigation from ESA (European Space Agency) tested whether the brain adapts to weightlessness by using previously untapped connections between neurons. MRI scans of crew members before and after spaceflight demonstrate functional changes in specific brain regions, confirming the adaptability and plasticity of the brain under extreme conditions. This insight supports the development of ways to monitor brain adaptations and countermeasures to promote healthy brain function in space and for those with brain-related disorders on Earth.
Improving Solar Materials
The MISSE-FF platform is used to test how exposure to space affects materials, including those used for solar power in space.NASA Metal halide perovskite (MHP) materials convert sunlight into electrical energy and show promise for use in thin-film solar cells in space due to low cost, high performance, suitability for in-space manufacturing, and defect and radiation tolerance. For Materials International Space Station Experiment-13-NASA (MISSE-13-NASA), which continues a series investigating how space affects various materials, researchers exposed perovskite thin films to space for ten months. Results confirmed their durability and stability in this environment. This finding could lead to improvements in MHP materials and devices for space applications such as solar panels.
Understanding Bubbles in Foams
A sample cell for the FOAM investigation on the space station.NASA Wet foams are dispersions of gas bubbles in a liquid matrix. An ESA investigation, FSL Soft Matter Dynamics or FOAM, examines coarsening, a thermodynamic process where large bubbles grow at the expense of smaller ones. Researchers determined the coarsening rates for various types of foams and found close agreement with theoretical predictions. A better understanding of foam properties could help scientists improve these substances for a variety of uses, including firefighting and water treatment in space and making detergents, food, and medicine on Earth.
Answering Burning Questions
A sample of composite cotton and fiberglass fabric burns during Saffire-IV.NASA Fire is a constant concern in space. The Saffire series of experiments studies flame conditions in microgravity using empty Cygnus resupply spacecraft that have undocked from the space station. Saffire-IV examined fire growth with different materials and conditions and showed that a technique called color pyrometry can determine the temperature of a spreading flame. The finding helps validate numerical models of flame properties in microgravity and provides insight into fire safety on future missions.
The Robot Hop
An Astrobee robot performs a self-tossing maneuver on the space station.NASA Astrobatics tests robotic movement using hopping or self-toss maneuvers by the station’s Astrobee robots. In low gravity, robots could move faster, use less fuel, and cover otherwise impassable terrain with these maneuvers, expanding their orbital and planetary capabilities. Results verified the viability of the locomotion method and showed that it provides a greater range of distance. The work is a step toward autonomous robotic helpers in space and on other celestial bodies, potentially reducing the need to expose astronauts to risky environments.
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