A NASA research center confirmed that a large, car-sized meteoroid landed on Tuesday in the Great Australian Bight just off the coast of South Australia. The Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at the California Institute of Technology analyzes the impact time, location, and amount of energy generated by meteors and asteroids that approach earth using high-precision orbit solutions of the space objects to predict the risk of impact and supports NASA’s Planetary Defense Coordination Office. Read more for another video from another angle and additional information.
NASA’s next mission to the Red Planet will be a special one, and not just for the space agency, as they announced today that boarding passes will display names submitted by internet users etched onto microchips and carried aboard the Mars 2020 rover. It’s scheduled to launch as early as July 2020, with the spacecraft expected to touch down on Mars in February 2021. This 1,000-kg rover is designed to search for signs of past microbial life, characterize the planet’s climate as well as geology, collect samples, and pave the way for human exploration. Read more for another video and additional information.
Ever wonder what the kitchen and / or cooking is like aboard the ISS? Well, according to retired NASA astronaut Clayton C. Anderson, the International Space Station doesn’t have a traditional “kitchen” as many of on Earth might relate to, but rather an area called the “galley” which serves the purpose of allowing for food preparation and consumption. It basically consists of a table for three, a water system used to hydrate food packages with warm or hot water, and lastly, a food warmer. Read more for another video and additional information.
NASA has just released a new video showing a fly-over of Mount Sharp, where Curiosity rover is currently exploring and the path that it will take over the next few years as it wends its way up the mountain to learn more about the planet’s geology as well as history. This 3D model was made using data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), which carries a host of instruments, like the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), and the Context Camera (CTX). Read more to watch the video and for additional information.
NASA has just completed its first hardware test for Bumble, one of three Astrobee robots designed to research automated caretaking aboard the International Space Station. It arrived on April 17th, and will perform automated tasks in the spring, including recharging at its docking station, Kibo. Read more for a video and additional information.
The Trump administration has requested an additional $1.6 billion for NASA’s $21 billion 2020 budget request to kick start plans to return American astronauts to the moon by 2024, four years earlier than previously planned. The space agency is developing plans for the lunar “Gateway” space station that will be assembled in orbit around the moon to serve as a staging base for eventual piloted flights down to the surface using commercially landers and ascent vehicles. “Our charge is to go quickly and to stay, to press our collective efforts forward with a fervor that will see us return to the Moon in a manner that is wholly different than 50 years ago. We turn towards the Moon now not as a conclusion but as preparation, as a check point toward all that lies beyond,” he adds. “Our greatest adventures remain ahead of us. We are going,” said William Shatner in the newly released video. Read more for a selection of fascinating images from around the web.
New York-based AI SpaceFactory has taken home the top prize in NASA’s “Centennial Challenge,” defeating 60 other teams during the course of the competition. Called “MARSHA,” this 15-foot-tall habitat was 3D-printed using an advanced robotic process that uses biodegradable basalt composite derived from Mars’ naturally-occurring sediment. Its vertical design focuses on letting in natural light, while sticking with renewable, plant-based bioplastics, and an ecosystem that thrives under the Red Planet’s sometimes unhospitable conditions. Read more for another video, additional pictures and information.
Astronomers have stitched together the most detailed image yet of our evolving universe. The mosaic you see above consists of thousands of individual photographs taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, or more than a quarter of a million galaxies, which is 30 times more than previous “deep field” photos. “The galaxies are scattered across time, from 550 million years ago to 13 billion years ago. Their light is just arriving at Earth now, after crossing space for billions of years,” said Garth Illingworth, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and the leader of the team that created the image, to NBC News MACH. Read more for another image and additional information.
NASA researchers are currently experimenting with soft robotics that could one day help explore other worlds. These have a large advantage over their metal counterparts because they’re very flexible and much better in adapting to new environments, all the while offering a range of motion similar to living organisms, thus making it easier to manipulate in tight spots. “When you actuate the soft robot, it changes how you use the material properties. A piece of rubber going from flat to the shape of a finger, it changes the material into something else,” said NASA intern Jack Fitzpatrick. Read more for another video and additional information.
If the price is right, you’ll be able to get your hands on the original Apollo 11 mission used by NASA astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. This historic piece of space memorabilia heads to Christie’s auctions in July. Officially called the ‘Lunar Module Timeline Book’, it was one of the most important components of the historic lunar landing on July 20, 1969. It’s estimated to fetch between $7 – $9 million at Christie’ ‘One Giant Leap: Celebrating Space Exploration 50 Years after Apollo 11’ sale on July 18 in New York. Read more for additional pictures and information.