Voyager’s Space Micro Completes Delivery of Seven Flight Level Single Board Computers to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory for SunRISE

SAN DIEGO (Voyager Space PR) — Space Micro Inc., powered by Voyager Space, recently delivered a total of seven (7) flight-level Single Board Computers (SBCs) to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) of Pasadena, CA for the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE). 

Slated for a 2024-2025 launch, SunRISE will collect data obtained by a small-sat array to help scientists better understand how the Sun generates and releases solar particle storms into space and how these storms influence the interplanetary environment. Space Micro’s SBCs contribute to the mission by performing on-board data processing.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures Video of Solar Eclipse on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used its Mastcam-Z camera to shoot video of Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons, eclipsing the Sun. It’s the most zoomed-in, highest-frame-rate observation of a Phobos solar eclipse ever taken from the Martian surface. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/SSI)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has captured dramatic footage of Phobos, Mars’ potato-shaped moon, crossing the face of the Sun. These observations can help scientists better understand the moon’s orbit and how its gravity pulls on the Martian surface, ultimately shaping the Red Planet’s crust and mantle.

(more…)

Webb’s Coldest Instrument Reaches Operating Temperature

MIRI, the mid-infrared camera and spectrograph (left), was installed in the science payload module of the James Webb Space Telescope (right) on 29 April 2013 at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

PARIS (ESA PR) — With help from a cryocooler, Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument has dropped down to just a few degrees above the lowest temperature matter can reach and is ready for calibration.

The James Webb Space Telescope will see the first galaxies to form after the Big Bang, but to do that its instruments first need to get cold – really cold. On 7 April, Webb’s Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) – a joint development by ESA and NASA – reached its final operating temperature below 7 kelvins (minus 266 degrees Celsius).

(more…)

US Space Force Releases Decades of Bolide Data to NASA for Planetary Defense Studies

This photograph taken by an International Space Station astronaut shows a bright meteor from the Perseid meteor shower in Earth’s atmosphere. The brightest meteors are known as fireballs, or bolides. (Credit: NASA)

Hosted by JPL’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies, the data can be used by the science community to better understand how asteroids break up when entering the atmosphere.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — An agreement between NASA and the U.S. Space Force recently authorized the public release of decades of data collected by U.S. government sensors on fireball events (large bright meteors also known as bolides) for the benefit of the scientific and planetary defense communities. This action results from collaboration between NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office (PDCO) and the U.S. Space Force to continue furthering our nation’s efforts in planetary defense, which include finding, tracking, characterizing, and cataloguing near-Earth objects (NEOs). The newly released data is composed of information on the changing brightness of bolides as they pass through Earth’s atmosphere, called light curves, that could enhance the planetary defense community’s current ability to model the effects of impacts by larger asteroids that could one day pose a threat to Earth.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

NASA System Predicts Impact of Small Asteroid

This animation shows asteroid 2022 EB5’s predicted orbit around the Sun before impacting into the Earth’s atmosphere on March 11, 2022. The asteroid – estimated to be about 6 ½ feet (2 meters) wide – was discovered only two hours before impact. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Asteroid 2022 EB5 was too small to pose a hazard to Earth, but its discovery marks the fifth time that any asteroid has been observed before impacting into the atmosphere.

A small asteroid hit Earth’s atmosphere over the Norwegian Sea before disintegrating on March 11, 2022. But this event wasn’t a complete surprise: Astronomers knew it was on a collision course, predicting exactly where and when the impact would happen.

(more…)

NASA Funds Research to Use Smallsats to Improve Storm Predictions

Graphic depiction of Starburst: A Revolutionary Under-Constrained Adaptable Deployable Structure Architecture. (Credits: Jonathan Sauder)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

NASA is funding research into the development of a constellation of small satellites (smallsats) capable of measuring a storm from start to finish in order to improve weather forecasting.

(more…)

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.

(more…)

Thawing Permafrost Could Leach Microbes, Chemicals Into Environment

Thawing permafrost can result in the loss of terrain, as seen in this image where part of the coastal bluff along Drew Point, Alaska, has collapsed into the ocean. (Credits: Benjamin Jones, USGS)

Scientists are turning to a combination of data collected from the air, land, and space to get a more complete picture of how climate change is affecting the planet’s frozen regions.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Trapped within Earth’s permafrost – ground that remains frozen for a minimum of two years – are untold quantities of greenhouse gases, microbes, and chemicals, including the now-banned pesticide DDT. As the planet warms, permafrost is thawing at an increasing rate, and scientists face a host of uncertainties when trying to determine the potential effects of the thaw.

(more…)

NASA, FEMA, Other U.S. Partners Simulate Asteroid Impact Response

Credits: NASA

LAUREL, Md. (NASA PR) — This past month, NASA, FEMA, the United States Space Command, and other federal, state and local agencies convened for the fourth iteration of a Planetary Defense Interagency Tabletop Exercise to inform and assess our nation’s ability to respond effectively to a (simulated) asteroid impact threat to Earth. While there are no predicted asteroid impact threats to our planet for the foreseeable future, this exercise—sponsored by NASA and FEMA and hosted by the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Maryland—focused extensively on federal and state government coordination that would be necessary to respond to such a threat should one ever be discovered.

(more…)

This Week on The Space Show

This week on The Space Show with Dr. David Livingston:

Tuesday, March 08 — 7 PM PST (9 PM CST; 10 PM EST): We welcome back JOE CARROLL re his guest post on the David Brin blog. See our blog for his post which forms the discussion for tonight.

Wednesday, March 09 — Hotel Mars pre-recorded. See the Upcoming Show Menu at www.thespaceshow.com for details.

Friday, March 25 — 9:30-11 AM PST; 11:30 AM-1 PM CST; 12:30-2 PM EST: We welcome NATHAN HIRSCH & JONATHAN ZARATE of JPL to discuss LPL, its history, past and current projects, and plans.

Sunday, March 13 — 12-1:30 PM PST, (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST): This program is under construction at this time due to Space Show book writing schedules. Check the Upcoming Menu on our website for updates later in the week.