Tag: Mars

Neil deGrasse Tyson in Video for “The Martian”

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Video Caption: Our adventure is just beginning. Neil deGrasse Tyson examines the upcoming Ares 3 mission and their #JourneyToMars in this special episode of StarTalk.

During a manned mission to Mars, Astronaut Mark Watney (Matt Damon) is presumed dead after a fierce storm and left behind by his crew. But Watney has survived and finds himself stranded and alone on the hostile planet. With only meager supplies, he must draw upon his ingenuity, wit and spirit to subsist and find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive. Millions of miles away, NASA and a team of international scientists work tirelessly to bring “the Martian” home, while his crewmates concurrently plot a daring, if not impossible rescue mission. As these stories of incredible bravery unfold, the world comes together to root for Watney’s safe return. Based on a best-selling novel, and helmed by master director Ridley Scott, THE MARTIAN features a star studded cast that includes Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara, Michael Peña, Jeff Daniels, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover.

In Theaters – October, 2015

Send Your Name to Mars

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Mars InSight lander (Credit: NASA)

Mars InSight lander (Credit: NASA)

With NASA incapable of sending people to Mars for quite some time (hell, it can’t even send them to low Earth orbit at the moment), the space agency is offering people the opportunity to send their names to the Red Planet.

The names will be included on a silicon microchip that will be attached to NASA’s InSight lander, which is scheduled for launch to Mars in March.

Submissions will be accepted until Sept. 8. To send your name to Mars aboard InSight, go to:

http://go.usa.gov/3Aj3G

“Our next step in the journey to Mars is another fantastic mission to the surface,” said Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “By participating in this opportunity to send your name aboard InSight to the Red Planet, you’re showing that you’re part of that journey and the future of space exploration.”

The fly-your-name opportunity comes with “frequent flier” points to reflect an individual’s personal participation in NASA’s journey to Mars, which will span multiple missions and multiple decades. The InSight mission offers the second such opportunity for space exploration fans to collect points by flying their names aboard a NASA mission, with more opportunities to follow.

Last December, the names of 1.38 million people flew on a chip aboard the first flight of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, which will carry astronauts to deep space destinations including Mars and an asteroid. After InSight, the next opportunity to earn frequent flier points will be NASA’s Exploration Mission-1, the first planned test flight bringing together the Space Launch System rocket and Orion capsule in preparation for human missions to Mars and beyond.

InSight will launch from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California in March 2016 and land on Mars Sept. 28, 2016. The mission is the first dedicated to the investigation of the deep interior of the planet. It will place the first seismometer directly on the surface of Mars to measure Martian quakes and use seismic waves to learn about the planet’s interior. It also will deploy a self-hammering heat probe that will burrow deeper into the ground than any previous device on the Red Planet. These and other InSight investigations will improve our understanding about the formation and evolution of all rocky planets, including Earth.

For additional information about the InSight mission, visit:

http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/insight/main/index.html

You can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at:

https://www.facebook.com/NASAInSight

and

https://twitter.com/nasainsight

Video: Matt Damon Talks About The Martian at JPL

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VIDEO CAPTION: Matt Damon talks about science, NASA and the collaboration with Andy Weir on this “…Love letter to science” known as “The Martian” during a visit to NASA’s Mars Mission Control Center at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

NASA Developing Flying Drones for Other Worlds

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A prototype built to test Extreme Access Flyer systems in different environments. (Credits: NASA/Swamp Works)

A prototype built to test Extreme Access Flyer systems in different environments. (Credits: NASA/Swamp Works)

By Steven Siceloff
NASA’s Kennedy Space Center

Swamp Works engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida are inventing a flying robotic vehicle that can gather samples on other worlds in places inaccessible to rovers. The vehicles – similar to quad-copters but designed for the thin atmosphere of Mars and the airless voids of asteroids and the moon – would use a lander as a base to replenish batteries and propellants between flights.

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SpaceX’s Philosophy: Reliability Through Continual Upgrades

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falcon9_debris

Remains of a Falcon 9 rocket fall to Earth.

By Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

To succeed in the launch business, you need to be very, very good and more than a little bit lucky. Eventually, there comes a day when you are neither.

That is what happened to SpaceX on June 28. A string of 18 successful Falcon 9 launches was snapped as the company’s latest rocket broke up in the clear blues skies over the Atlantic Ocean. A Dragon supply ship headed for the International Space Station was lost, SpaceX’s crowded manifest was thrown into confusion, and the company’s reputation for reliability was shattered.

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NASA to Send 2 CubeSats to Mars

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NASA's two small MarCO CubeSats will be flying past Mars in 2016 just as NASA's next Mars lander, InSight, is descending through the Martian atmosphere and landing on the surface. MarCO, for Mars Cube One, will provide an experimental communications relay to inform Earth quickly about the landing. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

NASA’s two small MarCO CubeSats will be flying past Mars in 2016 just as NASA’s next Mars lander, InSight, is descending through the Martian atmosphere and landing on the surface. MarCO, for Mars Cube One, will provide an experimental communications relay to inform Earth quickly about the landing. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — When NASA launches its next mission on the journey to Mars – a stationary lander in 2016 – the flight will include two CubeSats. This will be the first time CubeSats have flown in deep space.  If this flyby demonstration is successful, the technology will provide NASA the ability to quickly transmit status information about the main spacecraft after it lands on Mars.

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Virginia, Orbital ATK Squabble Over Wallops Island Repairs

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An aerial view of the Wallops Island launch facilities taken by the Wallops Incident Response Team Oct. 29 following the failed launch attempt of Orbital Science Corp.'s Antares rocket Oct. 28. (Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach)

An aerial view of the Wallops Island launch facilities taken by the Wallops Incident Response Team Oct. 29 following the failed launch attempt of Orbital Science Corp.’s Antares rocket Oct. 28. (Credit: NASA/Terry Zaperach)

Virginia and Orbital ATK are squabbling who is going to finish paying for repairs of a Wallops Island launch pad that was severely damaged by the explosion of the company’s Antares rocket last October.

NASA has covered about $5 million of the repair tab, while Dulles, Virginia-based Orbital ATK provided another $3 million. Virginia contributed too, committing roughly $3 million of the state-funded spaceflight authority’s $16 million annual operating budget.

That leaves another $2 million or so to complete repairs of Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport, a state-leased corner of NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia. The pad was developed to support Orbital ATK’s cargo resupply missions to the International Space Station under the company’s eight-flight, $1.9 billion Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA….

“We believe Orbital is responsible for the damage to the pad,” Virginia Transportation Secretary Aubrey Layne said in a May 12 phone interview. “We do not see it as a primary obligation of the commonwealth.”

Read the full story.

Years of Failures Haunt Russian Space Program

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Holy shi'ski! The rocket...it go KABOOMSKI! (Credit: Tsenki TV)

Proton rocket falls to Earth at Baikonur in July 2013. (Credit: Tsenki TV)

Sixteen botched launches in six years.

That’s the Russian space program’s sad record since May 2009. The failure of a Proton rocket earlier today with the loss of a Mexican communications satellite was yet another sign of the prolonged crisis affecting Russia’s once powerful space program.

The crash came less than three weeks after a botched launch left a Progress supply freighter spinning end over end like an extra point before it burned up in Earth atmosphere. There was also news today that another Progress cargo ship attached to the International Space Station failed to fire its engine as planned to boost the station’s orbit.

The list of Russian launch accidents over the last six years includes:

  • 13 complete failures resulting in the loss of all payloads;
  • 3 partial failures that left spacecraft in the wrong orbits;
  • complete loss of 20 spacecraft;
  • 6 Russian GLONASS navigation satellites destroyed; and,
  • an ambitious Mars mission left stranded in Earth orbit.

The table below shows the full extent of the damage.

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Honeybee Robotics Developing Prospector Spacecraft That Can Refuel Itself

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honeybee_roboticsNASA has selected Honeybee Robotics for four Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and one Small Business Technology Transfer (SBIR) Phase I contracts, including one that would help develop a resource prospecting spacecraft capable of refueling itself using in-situ resources.

The five proposals include:

  • The World is Not Enough (WINE): Harvesting Local Resources for Eternal Exploration of Space (STTR)
  • Planetary Volatiles Extractor for In Situ Resource Utilization (SBIR)
  • Development of a Hermetically Sealed Canister for Sample Return Missions (SBIR)
  • Lunar Heat Flow Probe (SBIR)
  • Miniaturized System-in-Package Motor Controller for Spacecraft and Orbital Instruments (SBIR)

WINE, which is being done with the University of Central Florida in Orlando, involves a 3D-printed CubeSat that would be able to refuel itself by extracting in-situ resources. The spacecraft would be able to land on an asteroid or moon, examine the location, and fly to another location using the water it extracted in its thruster system.

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Getting the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) Vehicle to Test Altitude

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Crews from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility prepare the balloon for flight for the 2014 NASA Low Density Supersonic Decelerator test from the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii (Credit: NASA/Bill Rodman)

Crews from the Columbia Scientific Balloon Facility prepare the balloon for flight for the 2014 NASA Low Density Supersonic Decelerator test from the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility on Kauai, Hawaii (Credit: NASA/Bill Rodman)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — In June NASA will conduct the second flight of the Low-Density Supersonic Decelerator (LDSD) test vehicle from the U.S. Navy Pacific Missile Range Facility (PMRF) located on the Island of Kauai, Hawaii.

The test will begin at an altitude of about 120,000 feet. But what does it take to get a supersonic test vehicle to that altitude? It’s easier said than done.

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