NASA Selects Proposals to Study Stellar Explosions, Galaxies, Stars

WASHINGTON (NASA HQ PR) — NASA has selected four mission proposals submitted to the agency’s Explorers Program for further study. The proposals include missions that would study exploding stars, distant clusters of galaxies, and nearby galaxies and stars.

Two Astrophysics Medium Explorer missions and two Explorer Missions of Opportunity have been selected to conduct mission concept studies. After detailed evaluation of those studies, NASA plans to select one Mission of Opportunity and one Medium Explorer in 2024 to proceed with implementation. The selected missions will be targeted for launch in 2027 and 2028, respectively.

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NASA Awards Next-Generation Spaceflight Computing Processor Contract

(Image Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA HQ PR) — NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California has selected Microchip Technology Inc. of Chandler, Arizona, to develop a High-Performance Spaceflight Computing (HPSC) processor that will provide at least 100 times the computational capacity of current spaceflight computers. This key capability would advance all types of future space missions, from planetary exploration to lunar and Mars surface missions.

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Breakthrough NXM Autonomous Security Technology Protects Space Infrastructure and IoT Devices from Cyberattacks

Next generation zero-trust cybersecurity software eliminates network-wide device hacks and defends against critical IoT vulnerabilities

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. (NXM Labs, Inc. PR) — NXM Labs, Inc., a leader in advanced cybersecurity software for connected devices, today unveiled its NXM Autonomous Security™platform that prevents hackers from gaining unauthorized access to commercial, industrial, medical, or consumer internet of things (IoT) devices. Tested in collaboration with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology (Caltech), NXM successfully demonstrated the ability of its ground-breaking technology to enable future Mars rovers to automatically defend themselves and recover from cyberattacks. Caltech manages JPL on behalf of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

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NASA Announces Launch Delay for Psyche Asteroid Mission

This illustration depicts NASA’s Psyche spacecraft (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA announced Friday the Psyche asteroid mission, the agency’s first mission designed to study a metal-rich asteroid, will not make its planned 2022 launch attempt.

Due to the late delivery of the spacecraft’s flight software and testing equipment, NASA does not have sufficient time to complete the testing needed ahead of its remaining launch period this year, which ends on Oct. 11. The mission team needs more time to ensure that the software will function properly in flight.

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Planetary Defense Exercise Uses Apophis as Hazardous Asteroid Stand-In

Clockwise from top left are three of the observatories that participated in a 2021 planetary defense exercise: NASA’s Goldstone planetary radar, the Mount Lemmon telescope of the Catalina Sky Survey, and NASA’s NEOWISE mission. At bottom left is an illustration of the path of Apophis’ close approach in 2029. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona)

Over 100 participants from 18 countries – including NASA scientists and the agency’s NEOWISE mission – took part in the international exercise.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Watching the skies for large asteroids that could pose a hazard to the Earth is a global endeavor. So, to test their operational readiness, the international planetary defense community will sometimes use a real asteroid’s close approach as a mock encounter with a “new” potentially hazardous asteroid. The lessons learned could limit, or even prevent, global devastation should the scenario play out for real in the future.

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International Satellite to Track Impacts of Small Ocean Currents

SWOT’s solar panels unfold as part of a test in January at a Thales Alenia Space facility in Cannes, France, where the satellite is being assembled. SWOT will measure elevations of Earth’s ocean and surface water, giving researchers information with an unprecedented level of detail. (Credits: CNES/Thales Alenia Space)

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography mission will explore how the ocean absorbs atmospheric heat and carbon, moderating global temperatures and climate change.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Though climate change is driving sea level rise over time, researchers also believe that differences in surface height from place to place in the ocean can affect Earth’s climate. These highs and lows are associated with currents and eddies, swirling rivers in the ocean, that influence how it absorbs atmospheric heat and carbon.

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NASA’s Mars Helicopter Spots Gear That Helped Perseverance Rover Land

Perseverance’s backshell, supersonic parachute, and associated debris field is seen strewn across the Martian surface in this image captured by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 26th flight on April 19, 2022. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Eyeing some of the components that enabled the rover to get safely to the Martian surface could provide valuable insights for future missions.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter recently surveyed both the parachute that helped the agency’s Perseverance rover land on Mars and the cone-shaped backshell that protected the rover in deep space and during its fiery descent toward the Martian surface on Feb. 18, 2021. Engineers with the Mars Sample Return program asked whether Ingenuity could provide this perspective. What resulted were 10 aerial color images taken April 19 during Ingenuity’s Flight 26.

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International Sea Level Satellite Takes Over From Predecessor

Meltwater from Greenland glaciers like the one pictured can contribute significantly to sea level rise. Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich monitors the height of Earth’s oceans so that researchers can better understand the amount and rate of sea level rise. (Credits: NASA Earth Observatory using Landsat data from USGS)

Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, the newest addition to a long line of ocean-monitoring satellites, becomes the reference satellite for sea level measurements.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — On March 22, the newest U.S.-European sea level satellite, named Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich, became the official reference satellite for global sea level measurements. This means that sea surface height data collected by other satellites will be compared to the information produced by Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich to ensure their accuracy.

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Cosmic Milestone: NASA Confirms 5,000 Exoplanets

What do planets outside our solar system, or exoplanets, look like? A variety of possibilities are shown in this illustration. Scientists discovered the first exoplanets in the 1990s. As of 2022, the tally stands at just over 5,000 confirmed exoplanets. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

The count of confirmed exoplanets just ticked past the 5,000 mark, representing a 30-year journey of discovery led by NASA space telescopes.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Not so long ago, we lived in a universe with only a small number of known planets, all of them orbiting our Sun. But a new raft of discoveries marks a scientific high point: More than 5,000 planets are now confirmed to exist beyond our solar system.

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Axiom Space Ax-1 Mission to Expand Health, Technology Researchers’ Access to ISS

The International Space Station, photographed by ESA astronaut Paolo Nespoli following the undocking of his Soyuz-TMA on 23 May 2011. (Credit: ESA/NASA)

Self-assembling technology for future space habitats, cancer research, and devices to purify air on space stations are among investigations headed to the International Space Station on first all-private astronaut mission to the orbiting laboratory  

HOUSTON, 17 March 2022 (Axiom Space PR) – Axiom Space, a leader in human spaceflight now building the first commercial space station, announced today further details on the groundbreaking research planned for the upcoming Ax-1 mission to the International Space Station (ISS) – including self-assembling technology for satellites and future space habitats, cancer stem cell study, and air purification. 

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NASA Extends Ingenuity Helicopter Mission

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s carbon fiber blades can be seen in this image taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on April 8, 2021, the 48th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — With its recent 21st flight complete, the Red Planet rotorcraft is on its way to setting more records during its second year of operations.

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NASA Begins Assembly of Europa Clipper Spacecraft

Clockwise from left: the propulsion module for NASA’s Europa Clipper, the ultraviolet spectrograph (called Europa-UVS), the high-gain antenna, and an illustration of the spacecraft. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Johns Hopkins APL)

Science instruments and other hardware for the spacecraft will come together in the mission’s final phase before a launch to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa in 2024.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — When it’s fully assembled, NASA’s Europa Clipper will be as large as an SUV with solar arrays long enough to span a basketball court – all the better to help power the spacecraft during its journey to Jupiter’s icy moon Europa. And just about every detail of the spacecraft will have been hand-crafted.

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NASA Statement on New Jet Propulsion Laboratory Director Appointment

Laurie Leshin formally assumes her roles as director of NASA JPL and vice president of Caltech in May. (Credits: Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on the appointment of Dr. Laurie Leshin as director of the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Southern California.

“NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory has a storied history of defying what was once thought impossible in the field of space exploration. In this new era of groundbreaking discoveries and constant innovation, it is clear that Dr. Laurie Leshin has a track record of scholarship and leadership needed to serve as director of JPL and cement the center’s status as a global leader in the 21st century.

“Under Dr. Leshin, the technology invented at JPL will continue to allow humans to explore the places in our universe that we cannot yet reach and spark the imaginations of future mathematicians, engineers, and pioneers in classrooms across America. I want thank Mike Watkins and Gen. Larry James for their contributions that the JPL team will build on for decades to come.”

For information about NASA’s missions, discoveries, and activities, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov

Caltech Names Laurie Leshin Director of JPL

Laurie Leshin formally assumes her roles as director of NASA JPL and vice president of Caltech in May. (Credits: Worcester Polytechnic Institute)

The distinguished geochemist and space scientist brings more than 20 years of leadership experience in academic and government service to JPL.

PASADENA, Calif. (Caltech PR) — Laurie Leshin, president of Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), has been appointed director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and vice president of Caltech. Leshin will formally assume her position on May 16, 2022, succeeding Michael Watkins, who retired in August 2021, and Lt. Gen. Larry D. James USAF (Ret.), who currently serves as JPL interim director.

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