Members Can Post Anonymously On This Site
NASA Science Live: Our First Commercial Science Delivery to the Moon
For the first time in more than 50 years, NASA was able to collect data from new science instruments and technology demonstrations on the Moon. The data comes from the first successful landing of a delivery through NASA’s CLPS (Commercial Lunar Payload Services) initiative and Artemis campaign.
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.
“This mission includes many firsts. This is the first time in over 50 years that an American organization has landed instruments on the surface of the Moon,” said Joel Kearns, deputy association administrator for exploration of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This mission also provides evidence of the Commercial Lunar Payload Services model, that NASA can purchase the service of sending instruments to the Moon and receiving their data back. Congratulations to the entire Intuitive Machines team and our NASA scientists and engineers for this next leap to advance exploration and our understanding of Earth’s nearest neighbor.”
During transit from Earth to the Moon, all powered NASA instruments received data and completed transit checkouts.
During descent, the Radio Frequency Mass Gauge and Navigation Doppler Lidar collected data during the lander’s powered descent and landing. After landing, NASA payload data was acquired consistent with the communications and other constraints resulting from the lander orientation. During surface operations, the Radio-wave Observations at the Lunar Surface of the Photoelectron Sheath and Lunar Node-1 were powered on, performed surface operations, and have received data. The Stereo Cameras for Lunar Plume-Surface Studies was powered on and captured images during transit and several days after landing but was not successfully commanded to capture images of the lander rocket plume interaction with the lunar surface during landing. The Laser Retroreflector Array is passive and initial estimates suggest it is accessible for laser ranging from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter’s Lunar Orbiter Laser Altimeter to create a permanent location marker on the Moon. “The bottom line is every NASA instrument has met some level of their objectives, and we are very excited about that,” said Sue Lederer, project scientist for CLPS. “We all worked together and it’s the people who really made a difference and made sure we overcame challenges to this incredible success – and that is where we are at today, with successes for all of our instruments.”
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:
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
Commercial Lunar Payload Services
Humans In Space
View the full article
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.
On Feb. 2, a large asteroid safely drifted past Earth at a distance of about 1.8 million miles (2.9 million kilometers, or 7 ½ times the distance between Earth and the Moon). There was no risk of the asteroid – called 2008 OS7 – impacting our planet, but scientists at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California used a powerful radio antenna to better determine the size, rotation, shape, and surface details of this near-Earth object (NEO). Until this close approach, asteroid 2008 OS7 had been too far from Earth for planetary radar systems to image it.
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:
News Media Contacts
Ian J. O’Neill
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Karen Fox / Charles Blue
email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org
Last Updated Feb 26, 2024 Related Terms
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
6 min read NASA Telescopes Find New Clues About Mysterious Deep Space Signals
Article 2 weeks ago 3 min read Team Assessing SHERLOC Instrument on NASA’s Perseverance Rover
Article 2 weeks ago 5 min read NASA’s New Experimental Antenna Tracks Deep Space Laser
Article 3 weeks ago View the full article
By Space Force
During his visit, Allvin discussed Great Power Competition and how Air Force leaders are implementing major changes centered on how they develop people, generate readiness, project power and develop integrated capabilities.
View the full article
Check out these Videos