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Webb’s first year in images


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      The six instruments ceased science and technology operations eight days after landing in the lunar South Pole region aboard Intuitive Machines’ Odysseus, meeting pre-launch projected mission operations. Known as IM-1, this was the first U.S. soft landing on the Moon in decades, touching down on Feb. 22, proving commercial vendors can deliver instruments designed to expand the scientific and technical knowledge on the Moon.
      Aboard the lunar lander, NASA science instruments measured the radio noise generated by the Earth and Sun. Technology instruments, aided Intuitive Machines in navigating to the Moon and gathered distance and speed (velocity) of the lander as touched down on the lunar surface.
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      During transit from Earth to the Moon, all powered NASA instruments received data and completed transit checkouts.
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      NASA and Intuitive Machines co-hosted a news conference non Feb. 28 to provide a status update on the six NASA instruments that collected data on the IM-1 mission. Mission challenges and successes were discussed during the briefing, including more than approximately 500 megabytes of science, technology, and spacecraft data downloaded and ready for analysis by NASA and Intuitive Machines.
      The first images from this historical mission are now available and showcase the orientation of the lander along with a view of the South Pole region on the Moon. Odysseus is gently leaning into the lunar surface, preserving the ability to return scientific data. After successful transmission of images to Earth, Intuitive Machines continues to gain additional insight into Odysseus’ position on the lunar surface. All data gathered from this mission will aid Intuitive Machines in their next two CLPS contracts that NASA has previously awarded.
      For more information about the agency’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services initiative, visit: 
      https://www.nasa.gov/clps
      Odysseus’ landing captured a leg, as it performed its primary task, absorbing first contact with the lunar surface. With the lander’s liquid methane and liquid oxygen engine still throttling, it provided stability.Credit: Intuitive Machines Taken on Tuesday, Feb. 27, Odysseus captured an image using its narrow-field-of-view camera.Credit: Intuitive Machines Keep Exploring Discover More Topics From NASA
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      The day before asteroid 2008 OS7 made its close approach with Earth on Feb. 2, this series of images was captured by the powerful 230-foot (70-meter) Goldstone Solar System Radar antenna near Barstow, California.NASA/JPL-Caltech During the close approach of 2008 OS7 with Earth on Feb. 2, the agency’s Deep Space Network planetary radar gathered the first detailed images of the stadium-size asteroid.
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      The asteroid was discovered on July 30, 2008, during routine search operations for NEOs by the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey, which is headquartered at the University of Arizona in Tucson. After discovery, observations of the amount of light reflected from the asteroid’s surface revealed that it was roughly between 650 to 1,640 feet (200 and 500 meters) wide and that it is comparatively slow rotating, completing one rotation every 29 ½ hours.
      The rotational period of 2008 OS7 was determined by Petr Pravec, at the Astronomical Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Ondřejov, Czech Republic, who observed the asteroid’s light curve – or how the brightness of the object changes over time. As the asteroid spins, variations in its shape change the brightness of reflected light astronomers see, and those changes are recorded to understand the period of the asteroid’s rotation.
      During the Feb. 2 close approach, JPL’s radar group used the powerful 230-foot (70-meter) Goldstone Solar System Radar antenna dish at the Deep Space Network’s facility near Barstow, California, to image the asteroid. What scientists found was that its surface has a mix of rounded and more angular regions with a small concavity. They also found the asteroid is smaller than previously estimated – about 500 to 650 feet (150 to 200 meters) wide – and confirmed its uncommonly slow rotation.
      The Goldstone radar observations also provided key measurements of the asteroid’s distance from Earth as it passed by. Those measurements can help scientists at NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) refine calculations of the asteroid’s orbital path around the Sun. Asteroid 2008 OS7 orbits the Sun once every 2.6 years, traveling from within the orbit of Venus and past the orbit of Mars at its farthest point.
      CNEOS, which is managed by JPL, calculates every known NEO orbit to provide assessments of potential impact hazards. Due to the proximity of its orbit to that of the Earth and its size, 2008 OS7 is classified as a potentially hazardous asteroid, but the Feb. 2 close approach is the nearest it will come to our planet for at least 200 years.
      While NASA reports on NEOs of all sizes, the agency has been tasked by Congress with detecting and tracking objects 460 feet (140 meters) in size and larger that could cause significant damage on the ground if they should impact our planet.
      The Goldstone Solar System Radar Group and CNEOS are supported by NASA’s Near-Earth Object Observations Program within the Planetary Defense Coordination Office at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. The Deep Space Network receives programmatic oversight from Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program office within the Space Operations Mission Directorate, also at the agency’s headquarters.
      More information about planetary radar, CNEOS, and near-Earth objects can be found at:
      https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroid-watch
      News Media Contacts
      Ian J. O’Neill
      Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
      818-354-2649
      ian.j.oneill@jpl.nasa.gov
      Karen Fox / Charles Blue
      NASA Headquarters
      karen.c.fox@nasa.gov / charles.e.blue@nasa.gov
      2024-019
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      Asteroids Deep Space Network Jet Propulsion Laboratory Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) Planetary Defense Planetary Defense Coordination Office Potentially Hazardous Asteroid (PHA) Space Communications & Navigation Program Explore More
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