This Week at NASA | This Week @ NASA: Our Newest Mission to Mars
Our newest mission to Mars is on its way …
Vice President Pence visits our Jet Propulsion Laboratory …
And observing our planet’s ever-changing water cycle – a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Launch of InSight Mission to Mars
Our InSight mission to Mars launched May 5 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. Set to land on Mars in November, InSight will be the first mission ever to probe deep beneath the surface of Mars to learn more about how all rocky planets and cosmic bodies, including Earth and its Moon, first formed. Also making the trip, is a first-of-its-kind deep space technology experiment that will use a pair of CubeSats to test new communications and navigation capabilities for future missions – and may even aid communications for the InSight mission. Following the launch, our new Administrator Jim Bridenstine called to congratulate the InSight team for a job well done.
Vice President Pence Visits Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Vice President Mike Pence and his family got a first-hand look at InSight’s former home on Earth — our Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, during a tour on April 28. During a stop at the center’s mission control, the Vice President’s daughter Charlotte sent a command to the Mars Curiosity Rover, 80-million miles away. Other tour stops included JPL’s ‘Mars Yard’ and a building where hardware for the next Mars rover, Mars 2020, is coming together.
Twin Spacecraft to Weigh in on Earth’s Changing Water
The Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Follow-On, or GRACE-FO mission is gearing up for a launch May 19 from California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base. The mission’s pair of new spacecraft will observe our planet’s ever-changing water cycle, ice sheets, and crust – continuing the work of the first GRACE mission, which ended 15-years of operations in 2017.
Successful Demonstration of New Space Exploration Power System
On May 2 we announced the successful demonstration of a new nuclear reactor power system designed for space. The prototype for the Kilopower Reactor Using Stirling Technology experiment converts heat from a reactor core into electricity – and could potentially produce enough electrical power to enable long duration crewed missions to the Moon, Mars and destinations beyond. The experiment was conducted in collaboration with the Department of Energy, from November 2017 through March 2018.
Old Data, New Tricks: Fresh Results from NASA’s Galileo Spacecraft
Our Galileo mission ended in 2003, but newly resurrected data from the mission’s first flyby of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede show that plasma rain impacts the moon’s icy surface, and strong flows of plasma are pushed between Jupiter and Ganymede due to an explosive magnetic event occurring between the two bodies’ magnetic environments. Scientists think these observations could be key to unlocking the secrets of Ganymede, such as why auroras on the moon are so bright.
That’s what’s up this week @NASA …(c)2018 NASA | SCVTV