FALLS CHURCH, Va. (Northrop Grumman PR) — This summer, Northrop Grumman is playing an important role in a historic phase of Mars exploration. Northrop Grumman’s LN-200S inertial measurement unit (IMU) will provide extended life inertial navigation for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s (JPL) Perseverance Mars Rover, a mission that will seek signs of ancient life on the Red Planet.
An overwhelming response to the competition will help advance the design of a mechanical rover concept that could one day explore the hellish surface of Venus.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — How do you design a vehicle that can withstand the furnace-like heat and crushing pressures of Venus? One idea being explored by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California is a wind-powered clockwork rover, and it’s just been given a boost by designers, the maker community, and citizen scientists from around the world.
In February, NASA launched a public competition to seek ideas for a mechanical obstacle-avoidance sensor that could be incorporated into the novel rover’s design. And today, the winners have been announced.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — A comet visiting from the most distant parts of our solar system is putting on a spectacular nighttime display. Named Comet C/2020 F3 NEOWISE, the comet made its once-in-our-lifetimes close approach to the Sun on July 3, 2020, and will cross outside Earth’s orbit on its way back to the outer parts of the solar system by mid-August.
NASA’s next rover to the Red Planet is slated to launch no earlier than July 30. These highlights will get you up to speed on the ambitious mission.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — In less than a month, NASA expects to launch the Mars 2020 Perseverance mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Loaded with scientific instruments, advanced computational capabilities for landing, and other new systems, the Perseverance rover is the largest, heaviest, most sophisticated vehicle NASA has ever sent to the Red Planet.
The mission to explore a metal-rich asteroid is pivoting from planning the details to building real pieces of the spacecraft puzzle.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — Psyche, the NASA mission to explore a metal-rock asteroid of the same name, recently passed a crucial milestone that brings it closer to its August 2022 launch date. Now the mission is moving from planning and designing to high-gear manufacturing of the spacecraft hardware that will fly to its target in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s InSight lander has been using its robotic arm to help the heat probe known as the “mole” burrow into Mars. The mission is providing the first look at the Red Planet’s deep interior to reveal details about the formation of Mars and, ultimately, all rocky planets, including Earth.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — As the time when NASA will begin sending humans back to the Moon draws closer, crewed trips to Mars are an enticing next step. But future space explorers will need new tools when traveling to such distant destinations. The Deep Space Atomic Clock mission is testing a new navigation technology that could be used by both human and robotic explorers making their way around the Red Planet and other deep space destinations.
Terrain-Relative Navigation (TRN) technology from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) enables pin-point landing and large hazard avoidance for crewed and robotic lander vehicles. A camera captures images during vehicle descent, which are subsequently matched to orbital maps stored onboard the lander. Matching images to multiple known terrain features enables automated determination of the lander’s position relative to the terrain.
The small craft will seek to prove that powered, controlled flight is possible on another planet. But just getting it onto the surface of Mars will take a whole lot of ingenuity.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter will travel with the Perseverance rover through 314 million miles (505 million kilometers) of interplanetary space to get to Mars. But for the team working on the first experimental flight test on another planet, engineering the final 5 inches (13 centimeters) of the journey has been among the most challenging of all. To safely navigate those 5 inches — the distance Ingenuity will travel from where it’s stowed on the rover to the surface of Mars — they came up with the ingenious Mars Helicopter Delivery System.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — When NASA’s Voyager 2 spacecraft flew by Neptune’s strange moon Triton three decades ago, it wrote a planetary science cliffhanger.
Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft ever to have flown past Neptune, and it left a lot of unanswered questions. The views were as stunning as they were puzzling, revealing massive, dark plumes of icy material spraying out from Triton‘s surface. But how? Images showed that the icy landscape was young and had been resurfaced over and over with fresh material. But what material, and from where?
The Red Planet’s surface has been visited by eight NASA spacecraft. The ninth will be the first that includes gathering Mars samples for future return to Earth.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is just over a month from its July 20 targeted launch date. The rover’s astrobiology mission will seek signs of past microscopic life on Mars, explore the geology of the Jezero Crater landing site, and demonstrate key technologies to help prepare for future robotic and human exploration. And the rover will do all that while collecting the first samples of Martian rock and regolith (broken rock and dust) for return to Earth by a set of future missions.
A team of engineers in the U.S. and Europe subjected the Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich spacecraft to a battery of trials to ready it for liftoff later this year.
Once the state-of-the-art Sentinel-6 Michael Freilich satellite launches in November, it will collect the most accurate data yet on sea level – a key indicator of how Earth’s warming climate is affecting the oceans, weather and coastlines. But first, engineers need to ensure that the spacecraft can survive the rigors of launch and of operating in the harsh environment of space. That’s where meticulous testing comes in.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — You may be able to help NASA’s Curiosity rover drivers better navigate Mars. Using the online tool AI4Mars to label terrain features in pictures downloaded from the Red Planet, you can train an artificial intelligence algorithm to automatically read the landscape.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — This month marks 25 years since scientists first produced a fifth state of matter, which has extraordinary properties totally unlike solids, liquids, gases and plasmas. The achievement garnered a Nobel Prize and changed physics.
A new study in the journal Nature builds on that legacy. In July 2018, NASA’s Cold Atom Lab became the first facility to produce that fifth state of matter, called a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC), in Earth orbit.
BROOKLYN, NY (Launcher PR) — We are excited to announce that NASA JPL & SpaceX veterans Kevin Watson and Rich Petras have joined Launcher to lead and start our avionics team. Kevin will head the team as Head of Avionics. Rich Petras has joined as Head of Avionics Software as part of Kevin’s team.