NASA Extends Exploration for 8 Planetary Science Missions

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Following a thorough evaluation, NASA has extended the planetary science missions of eight of its spacecraft due to their scientific productivity and potential to deepen our knowledge and understanding of the solar system and beyond.

The missions – Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, MAVEN, Mars Science Laboratory (Curiosity rover), InSight lander, Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter, OSIRIS-REx, and New Horizons – have been selected for continuation, assuming their spacecraft remain healthy. Most of the missions will be extended for three years; however, OSIRIS-REx will be continued for nine years in order to reach a new destination, and InSight will be continued until the end of 2022, unless the spacecraft’s electrical power allows for longer operations.

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NASA Statement on Meeting with US Ambassador to Poland

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson, right, and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski are seen during a meeting Feb. 4, 2022, at NASA Headquarters in Washington during which the two discussed a variety of topics related to NASA’s mission that are of importance to both the U.S. and Poland. (Credits: NASA/Justin Weiss)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The following is a statement from NASA Administrator Bill Nelson on U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski’s visit Friday, Feb. 4, to NASA Headquarters in Washington:

“It was a pleasure to welcome U.S. Ambassador to Poland Mark Brzezinski to NASA last week.

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Teledyne Imaging’s Infrared Sensors Launched Aboard the James Webb Space Telescope

For the last time on Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope’s sunshield was deployed and tensioned by testing teams at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California where final deployment tests were completed. Webb’s sunshield is designed to protect the telescope from light and heat emitted from the sun, Earth, and moon, and the observatory itself. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

Teledyne’s infrared detectors are the “eyes” of the world’s most advanced space telescope

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (Teledyne Technologies PR) — Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:TDY) congratulates NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on the successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Teledyne provided 15 extremely sensitive H2RG infrared detectors that are used in three of the four science instruments of JWST: the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), and the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). Ten Teledyne detectors in NIRCam will study the structure and morphology of the universe. Three Teledyne detectors in FGS will be used to point and stabilize the telescope. Two Teledyne detectors in NIRSpec will reveal information about chemical composition, temperature, and velocity of what JWST observes. Teledyne also provided the SIDECAR ASIC focal plane electronics that operate the H2RG detectors.

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Salts Could Be Important Piece of Martian Organic Puzzle, NASA Scientists Find

This look back at a dune that NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover drove across was taken by the rover’s Mast Camera (Mastcam) on Feb. 9, 2014, or the 538th Martian day, or sol, of Curiosity’s mission. For scale, the distance between the parallel wheel tracks is about 9 feet (2.7 meters). The dune is about 3 feet (1 meter) tall in the middle of its span across an opening called “Dingo Gap.” This view is looking eastward. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

By Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Greenbelt, Md. — A NASA team has found that organic salts are likely present on Mars. Like shards of ancient pottery, these salts are the chemical remnants of organic compounds, such as those previously detected by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Organic compounds and salts on Mars could have formed by geologic processes or be remnants of ancient microbial life.

Besides adding more evidence to the idea that there once was organic matter on Mars, directly detecting organic salts would also support modern-day Martian habitability, given that on Earth, some organisms can use organic salts, such as oxalates and acetates, for energy.

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NASA Invites Public to Take Flight With Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

NASA’s Ingenuity helicopter can be seen on Mars as viewed by the Perseverance rover’s rear Hazard Camera on April 4, 2021, the 44th Martian day, or sol of the mission. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The helicopter is scheduled to lift off close to the end of the day on April 11.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA is targeting no earlier than Sunday, April 11, for Ingenuity Mars helicopter’s first attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet. To mark a month of Ingenuity flights, the agency will host several events to bring people along for the ride.

A livestream confirming Ingenuity’s first flight is targeted to begin around 3:30 a.m. EDT Monday, April 12, on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website, and will livestream on multiple agency social media platforms, including the JPL YouTube and Facebook channels.

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NASA Aims to Fly Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on April 8

An illustration of NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter flying on Mars. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA is targeting no earlier than April 8 for the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to make the first attempt at powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet. Before the 4-pound (1.8-kilogram) rotorcraft can attempt its first flight, however, both it and its team must meet a series of daunting milestones.

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