NASA preparing Ingenuity helicopter for flight on Mars after finding airfield
The helicopter, nicknamed Ingenuity, arrived on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, hitching along for the ride with NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover. During a media briefing Tuesday, Ingenuity and Perseverance team members revealed they are targeting around April 8 for the first flight. [MORE COVERAGE: NASA rover gets rolling on Mars from its landing spot named for late author Octavia Butler | Mars rover sends back grinding, squealing sounds of driving]NASA's Ingenuity helicopter airfield on Mars within the Jezero Crater. (Image: NASA JPL) (WKMG 2021)“We really scoured this area. The Mars Helicopter Delivery System holds the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to the underside of Perseverance.
Mars rover sends back grinding, squealing sounds of driving
7, 2021 photo provided by NASA shows tire tracks left by the Mars Perseverance rover. The rover has sent back the first-ever sounds of driving on the red planet. “If I heard these sounds driving my car, I’d pull over and call for a tow,” Dave Gruel, an engineer on the rover team, said in a written NASA statement. This second mike didn't pick up any sounds of the rover's arrival at Mars, but managed to record the first test drive March 4. The driving audio contains a unexpected high-pitched scratching noise, according to NASA.
NASA rover gets rolling on Mars from its landing spot named for late author Octavia Butler
This image was captured while NASA’s Perseverance rover drove on Mars for the first time on March 4, 2021. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover is now wheeling around on the red planet and stretching its robotic limbs, the rover’s team said in the most recent update just two weeks after landing. Already the space agency released the first ever sound recorded on Mars taken by Percy and the first photos taken from the rover’s jetpack as it landed. Since then there have been many more firsts for the six-wheeled robot.. Two weeks into the mission, Percy has already sent back about 7,000 images. “Butler’s protagonists embodies determination and inventiveness, making her a perfect fit for the Perseverance rover mission, and its theme of overcoming challenges.”The spot where @NASAPersevere began its journey on Mars now bears the name “Octavia E. Butler Landing."
China’s Mars craft enters parking orbit before landing rover
China says its Tianwen-1 spacecraft has entered a temporary parking orbit around Mars in anticipation of landing a rover on the red planet in the coming months. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)BEIJING – China says its Tianwen-1 spacecraft has entered a temporary parking orbit around Mars in anticipation of landing a rover on the red planet in the coming months. A successful bid to land Tianwen-1 would make China only the second country after the U.S. to place a spacecraft on Mars. AdTianwen, the title of an ancient poem, means “Quest for Heavenly Truth.”Landing a spacecraft on Mars is notoriously tricky. In 2011, a Mars-bound Chinese orbiter that was part of a Russian mission didn’t make it out of Earth orbit.
LISTEN: NASA rover sends back first sounds ever recorded on Mars
Gentle wind and a robotic hum might not sound like much to celebrate but those were the first sounds ever recorded on Mars taken by NASA’s Perseverance rover after landing on another world. NASA released the first few recordings taken by the rover that landed on the red planet Thursday following a 300-million-mile journey. “We can sit here now and actually tell you that we have recorded sound from the surface of Mars,” Gruel said after playing one of those recordings. “We actually have gotten requests from instrument teams wanting to turn on the microphone to observe their instrument functioning,” Maki said. Similar to hearing something wrong with mechanics on Earth, NASA teams could do the same on mars.
Photos show NASA’s Mars rover coming in for landing
Following the touchdown on Mars Thursday NASA’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover team are already getting back images taken during the entry, descent and landing also known as “seven minutes of terror” that happened about 300 million miles away from Earth. [NASA is expected to share more images, including video the Mars landing during a news briefing at 2 p.m. Monday. This image captured by a spacecraft shows NASA's Perseverance rover midair, floating over Mars while hanging from its parachute during the final moments before landing. The first color image from NASA's Perseverance rover taken right after landing on Mars Feb. 18, 2021. The rover is equipped with microphones designed to capture the landing and then the sounds on the ground from Mars.
Mars 2020 landing timeline: From 12,500 mph to wheels down
NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance is set to complete its most dangerous part of the mission Thursday as it barrels through the Martian atmosphere and plops down on the red planet. But as NASA Mars 2020 entry, descent and landing lead Allen Chen explained on Jan. 27, “the parachute alone isn’t enough to slow down Perseverance for landing. Ad3:53 p.m. Terrain Relative Navigation begins and landing selectionThis animation depicts the Terrain-Relative Navigation technique incorporated into entry, descent, and landing for the Mars 2020 rover. 3:54:48 p.m. Rover separationAdHow NASA rover Perseverance will try to land on MarsThe rover drops from the descent stage and is lowered using 20-foot cables. Follow updates on News 6 and ClickOrlando.com/space on Feb. 18 as NASA lands the Perseverance rover on the red planet.
Breaking down the dangers NASA’s rover must survive to land on Mars
[MORE: NASA is about to land the first tiny helicopter on Mars]With so much money flowing into the new Perseverance rover you can’t help but wonder, could the mission fail? The rover’s landing has been dubbed “seven minutes of terror.”“Entry, Descent landing is the most critical and most dangerous part of the mission success is never assured. And that’s especially true when we’re trying to land the biggest heaviest and most complicated rover we’ve ever built,” Mars 2020 entry, descent and landing lead Allen Chen said. During the descent, NASA teams will be in the dark, hence the scariest seven minutes of the mission. “We certainly don’t want to land on that,” Erisa Stilley, Perseverance entry, descent and landing engineer said when referring to the cliff.
Bosnia village with link to Mars enthralled by rover landing
An aerial photograph shows the village of Jezero, Bosnia, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. It will be a historic day for the 1,000 villagers, who hope that the landing of the Perseverance rover in a crater on Mars will also bring them some earthly rewards. It will be a historic day for the 1,000 villagers, who hope that the landing of the Perseverance rover in Mars' Jezero crater will also bring them some earthly rewards. The rover named Perseverance is headed Thursday for a compact 5-mile-by-4-mile (8-kilometer-by-6.4-kilometer) patch on the edge of an ancient river delta. It seems that hardly anyone has anything bad to say about NASA’s mission to scour the dried-out Jezero crater for evidence of life.
Listen for these NASA engineers to call out Mars Perseverance rover landing events
While NASA’s Mars rover is coming in for landing Thursday, there are two engineers’ voices you’ll want to listen out for as the spacecraft carrying the rover completes a series of maneuvers to safely land on the red planet. During NASA’s last rover landing in 2012, livestream listeners would have heard Al Chen, who leads the entry, descent and landing into the Martian atmosphere, making the calls as the spacecraft barreled down through the Martian atmosphere. The GN&C system acts as the “eyes and ears” of the spacecraft, bringing the rover down to the ground, according to NASA. When asked Tuesday during a media briefing ahead of Thursday’s Mars arrival, Perseverance deputy project manager Jennifer Trosper explained Mohan is who everyone will want to listen out for during the seven-minute landing sequence. Ad“Entry, descent and landing is the most critical and most dangerous part of the mission.
Mars landing is just the beginning of a decade-long sample-return mission
This NASA illustration shows a concept for a Mars Ascent Vehicle (left) releasing a sample container (right) high above the Martian surface. It requires three rocket launches, another rover, a Mars lander, a Mars ascent vehicle and an orbiter spacecraft, most of which will be designed and managed by the ESA. AdThis NASA illustration of a Mars sample return mission concept shows a lander carrying a fetch rover as it touches down on the surface of Mars. (Image: NASA) (NASA 2021)Here’s how the sample collection will play out: NASA will deliver another Mars lander near Jezero Crater where Perseverance will have collected rock and soil samples. ESA's rendering of how the agency plans to collect samples from NASA's mars rover.
NASA is about to land the first tiny helicopter on Mars
Members of the NASA Mars Helicopter team inspect Ingenuity, inside the Space Simulator, a 25-foot-wide vacuum chamber at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, on Feb. 1, 2019. Nicknamed Ingenuity, the 4-pound tiny chopper is actually a test mission for NASA. Following the 300-million-mile journey and frightful landing on Mars, Ingenuity will be released from the rover’s under carriage for a short term-mission unrelated to its ride Perseverance. The Mars Helicopter Delivery System holds the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter to the underside of Perseverance. “The Ingenuity Mars helicopter has been fully tested, as much as we can on Earth, we have test flown it and we have tested for environment and next is time to demonstrate proof and learn how it operates at Mars,” NASA JPL Ingenuity project manager MiMi Aung said.
NASA to offer Mars rover landing coverage in Spanish for the first time
NASA will host its first-ever Spanish-language show for a planetary landing, marking another milestone for its Mars 2020 mission. ORLANDO, Fla. – There’s a lot of firsts when it comes to NASA’s Mars 2020 rover mission, including its first-ever Spanish-language show for a planetary landing. As NASA’s Perseverance rover prepares to attempt the riskiest part of its mission, landing on the red planet, NASA will host “Junto perseveramos,” together we persevere. The Spanish-language show will give viewers an overview of the Mars mission and introduce the role Hispanic NASA professionals have had in it. She will also offer live English-to-Spanish translation and commentary during the rover’s entry, descent and landing on Mars.
United Arab Emirates publishes first photo from Mars probe
This Feb. 10, 2021 image taken by the United Arab Emirates' "Amal," or "Hope," probe was released Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021, shows Mars . The Hope space probe now circles the red planet. (Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center/UAE Space Agency, via AP)DUBAI – The United Arab Emirates on Sunday published the first image for its Mars probe now circling the red planet. It shows Mars' north pole, as well as Mars' largest volcano, Olympus Mons. The probe swung into orbit around Mars on Tuesday in a triumph for the Arab world’s first interplanetary mission.
UAE successfully puts spacecraft in Mars orbit on first try
Hope is designed to orbit Mars and study the Martian atmosphere using three scientific instruments on board the spacecraft. [RELATED: 3 spacecraft arriving in quick succession to Mars | NASA Mars rover coming in for landing during ‘most dangerous’ part of mission]AdThe UAE Space Agency offered a livestream of the spacecraft’s arrival. ET nearly half of the spacecraft’s fuel was spent to slow it down enough to capture Mars’ orbit. Just before 11 a.m. the UAE Space Agency confirmed the spacecraft had survived and was beginning it’s high orbit of the red planet. The Mars Orbit Insertion is now complete.#ArabsToMars — Hope Mars Mission (@HopeMarsMission) February 9, 2021The UAE hopes to inspire a new generation of scientists and space explorers with the $200 million mission.
Next stop Mars: 3 spacecraft arriving in quick succession
China’s first Mars mission, a joint effort with Russia in 2011, never made it past Earth’s orbit. The U.S. rover Perseverance, by contrast, will dive in straight away for a harrowing sky-crane touchdown similar to the Curiosity rover’s grand Martian entrance in 2012. Smashed Russian and European spacecraft litter the Martian landscape, meanwhile, along with NASA’s failed Mars Polar Lander from 1999. It even kept the European and Russian space agencies' joint Mars mission grounded until the next launch window in 2022. AdPerseverance's deputy project manager Matt Wallace, who’s working his fifth Mars rover mission, said the pandemic won’t dampen the mood come landing day.
What’s for dinner on Mars? NASA needs help creating a Martian menu
The U.S. space agency is looking for ideas to improve food production on the red planet that meet several important requirements. These technologies must require minimal resources and produce minimal waste while also providing astronauts the nutrients they need for long-duration missions. AdTo help find solutions to this problem, NASA launched the Deep Space Food Challenge where the potential winner could earn up to $500,000. Similar to other technologies developed for purposes in space, they often can be used to improve life on Earth, too. The NASA competition is only open to U.S. residents but Canada and other international partners are also looking for ideas.
NASA Mars rover coming in for landing during ‘most dangerous’ part of its mission
NASA is preparing to land the Perseverance Rover, along with the first small helicopter, on the red planet next month. Perseverance will be the fifth rover that NASA has attempted to land on Mars. While NASA has a successful record with landing its last few rovers on Mars, Matt Wallace, Mars 2020 deputy project manager, said this one is different. NASA Mars 2020 entry, descent and landing lead Allen Chen described this part of the mission as the “most critical and most dangerous” saying “mission success is never assured.”AdThere is a reason NASA engineers refer to minutes leading up to landing on Mars as “seven minutes of terror.” The spacecraft carrying Mars 2020 will hit the Martian atmosphere traveling at over 12,000 mph using its thrusters to steer toward its landing target. One is on Mars 2020′s SuperCam, the head of the rover, and another that will record the entry, descent and landing.
RIP: Mars digger bites the dust after 2 years on red planet
On Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021, NASA declared the craft dead after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature. (NASA via AP)CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – NASA declared the Mars digger dead Thursday after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature. But the 16-inch-long (40-centimeter) device that is part of NASA's InSight lander couldn’t gain enough friction in the red dirt. On Tuesday, the high was 17 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 degrees Celsius) and the low was minus 56 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 49 degrees Celsius) at Mars' Elysium Planitia, an equatorial plain. It will be joined by NASA's newest rover, Perseverance, which will attempt a touchdown on Feb. 18.
Space milestones, events to look forward to in 2021
Let’s take a look at just a few space milestones to be excited about in 2021. James Webb Space Telescope launchIn this photo from April 2015, NASA technicians lifted the James Webb Space Telescope using a crane and moved it inside a clean room at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The James Webb Space Telescope is led by NASA with its partners, the European Space Agency and Canadian Space Agency. Artemis-1 launch from Kennedy Space CenterNASA¹s Space Launch System rocket will launch with Orion atop it from Launch Complex 39B at NASA's modernized spaceport at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. (NASA)NASA is in the final stages of testing its mega rocket known as the Space Launch System with the Orion spacecraft, now classified under the Artemis moon program.
There’s more than 1 way to send a spacecraft to Venus
AdIt used to be -- in the U.S.-- NASA was the only way to fund and send a robotic mission to another world, but not anymore. The company wants to send the first robotic mission to Venus in 2023. (Image credit: Rocket Lab) (Rocket Lab)Meanwhile, NASA is considering funding its own missions to the planet considered Earth’s twin. Currently there are two Venus missions under consideration and two more equally fascinating missions, one designed to study Jupiter’s moon Io and another to Neptune’s moon Triton. AdHere’s what launching a robotic mission to another planet looks like, in a nutshell, according to Wagner:“This is what a typical NASA mission is.
Hubble Space Telescope is a gift of science that keeps giving
Some of the new Caldwell images include celestial gems that can be spotted with a telescope, binoculars or the naked eye. Originally, the space telescope was designed to last 15 years in orbit. This Hubble image captures Caldwell 78 (or NGC 6541), a globular star cluster roughly 22,000 light-years from Earth. When Hubble first began returning science data, astronomers did not see the clear images expected but fuzzy stars. The space agency is building another even more powerful telescope called the James Webb Space Telescope that will ultimately replace Hubble.
UCF science getting more time in zero-G with Virgin Galactic --and soon Virgin Orbit
Colwell and UCF planetary scientist Addie Dove are co-investigators on the project that has previously flown twice with Virgin Galactic. Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo will be carried by plane or “mothership” called VMS Eve taking off from New Mexico’s spaceport. Virgin Orbit, a sister Virgin company, is set to launch its first operational mission which includes science selected by NASA, including UCF’s Q-PACE small satellite. Q-PACE is another small payload with mighty research goals: to help scientists understand how planets formed. Virgin Orbit is targeting launch before the end of the year.
The curious tale of searching for signs of life on Venus
You can read her piece, “Promising sign of life on Venus might not exist after all”, at NationalGeographic.com. Listen to the full episode of Space Curious below to learn about the fascinating discovery and the process of fact-checking science. Next time on Space Curious: the possibilities and perils of sending robots to Venus. Space Curious is a podcast from WKMG and Graham Media that answers your intergalactic questions. Hosted by WKMG space reporter Emilee Speck, each episode is designed to inspire everyone, from the space curious to the space fanatics.
Lunar mission is latest milestone in China’s space ambitions
(AP Photo/Ng Han Guan, File)WENCHANG – China’s latest trip to the moon is another milestone in the Asian powerhouse’s slow but steady ascent to the stars. Future ambitions include a permanent space station and putting people back on the moon more than 50 years after the U.S. did. But even before the latest lunar mission lifted off before dawn Tuesday, a top program official maintained that China isn't competing with anyone. China's space program has at times been seen as recreating achievements attained years ago by others, primarily the U.S. and the former Soviet Union. Subscribe to a weekly newsletter to receive the latest in space news directly to your inbox here.
Mic check: Listen to NASA’s Mars rover traveling through space
More than halfway to the red planet after launching from Florida in July NASA’s Mars rover Perseverance is coming in hot -- on the microphone. Perseverance, also known as Mars 2020, launched from Cape Canaveral on a ULA Altas V rocket this July. The robot may look like NASA’s well-known rover, Curiosity, currently roving around on Mars but this bot has a whole new suite of instruments, cameras and two microphones on board. One mic is designed to listen to the pew-pew sounds from the rover’s laser on the SuperCam instrument, another will listen to the Mars atmosphere entry, descent down to the surface and touchdown. It will be a surprise come landing day what the mic picks up because it wasn’t originally designed for space travel.
How scientists know we’re not going to get squashed by an asteroid
In a recent episode of the podcast “Space Curious,” planetary scientists helped us understand why this is. They also explained how we know where asteroids are, and why we’re not all going to get squashed by one anytime soon. “The main reason we go to Bennu is because it is the most potentially hazardous asteroid,” Campins said. “It’s a primitive asteroid,” Campins said. Campins said when someone reads about an asteroid headed for Earth, it’s a good idea to do some fact checking.
UCF scientists working on NASA asteroid sample mission share experience with students
ORLANDO, Fla. – A member of NASA’s first asteroid sample collection mission team and UCF planetary scientist is teaching a class about asteroids and comets just hours before the mission he has been working on for a decade is set to collect a sample of the asteroid Bennu. [LIVE UPDATES: Follow along as NASA’s spacecraft picks up a piece of asteroid]“I just want them to be excited,” he said. And so this is very relevant.”Campins isn’t the only UCF faculty on the OSIRIS-REx team, Associate Prof. Kerri Donaldson Hanna also serves as a a participating scientist on the mission. A photo of the asteroid Bennu, taken by NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft from 85 miles away. If all goes well, the spacecraft will drop the capsule with the sample back on Earth in 2023 completing its mission to Bennu and back.
NASA spacecraft successfully ‘kisses’ asteroid to bring back sample to Earth
ORLANDO, Fla. – A NASA spacecraft briefly smooched the surface of a potentially hazardous asteroid more than 200 million miles away on Tuesday successfully conducting the first U.S. asteroid sample attempt but it will be a few days before we know how much it picked up. [RECAP: History made as NASA successfully tags asteroid Bennu to collect sample]“This mission has almost been like clockwork,” spacecraft science team member and UCF Associate Prof. Kerri Donaldson Hanna said. Donaldson Hanna is one of two University of Central Florida faculty serving on the NASA mission, including UCF planetary scientist Humberto Campins. This Aug. 11, 2020 photo shows the sampling arm of the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft during a rehearsal for an approach to the "Nightingale" sample site on the surface of the asteroid Bennu. Studying the asteroid in space up close and when the asteroid sample is dropped on Earth in 2023 will help scientists learn how to deflect a potentially hazardous asteroid like it.
RECAP: History made as NASA successfully tags asteroid Bennu to collect sample
Here is a full list of activities leading up to the asteroid “tag” and after to learn how it went. See a recap of the events leading up to the asteroid “tag” and for reaction from OSIRIS-REx team members after the main event. 🌍 pic.twitter.com/fP7xdOEeOs — NASA's OSIRIS-REx (@OSIRISREx) October 20, 20206:11 p.m. OSIRIS-REx ‘go’ to TAG asteroid, sampling happening nowTouchdown is happening and the sampling is in progress, per NASA. “This is history,” an emotional Principal Investigator Dante Dante Lauretta said. “Whatever has happened has already happened,” OSIRIS-REx Principal Investigator Dante Dante Lauretta said.
NASA spacecraft will swoop in, collect chunk of asteroid to bring home this week
The spacecraft name stands for Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer, a true mouthful even for a NASA acronym. The 500-meter-wide asteroid was chosen for several reasons, including that it could one day-- in a very long time-- hit our home planet. Beyond OSIRIS-REx NASA is only ramping up its study of asteroids. NASA’s Double Asteroid Re-direction Test mission, or DART, is designed to test technology to prevent an impact of a hazardous asteroid. Another spacecraft nicknamed Lucy, is slated to launch in October 2021, will be bound for the Trojan Asteroids.
Shoe box-size moon rover arrives at Kennedy Space Center for testing
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. – The most recent NASA Mars rover is about the weight of a compact car and jam-packed with science instruments and cameras. Astrobotic Technology, a Pittsburgh-based company, recently sent one of its CubeRovers to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to test out how the little wheeled-robot does on simulated lunar soil. A CubeRover, similar to a CubeSat or tiny satellite, is an affordable option for researchers to send mobile science payloads to the moon. When CubeRover is operational companies, governments and researchers can buy the space they need at $4.5 million per kilogram. Additionally, Astrobotic was awarded a $79.5 million CLPS contract from NASA to deliver 14 payloads to the moon on its Peregrine lunar lander in July 2021.
Salty ‘ponds’ discovered on Mars
Researchers say they have found evidence of salty ponds under the surface of Mars. They published their results in the journal Nature Astronomy this week. According to the study, Italian scientists searched the subsurface of the red planet with an instrument on the European space agency’s Mars Express spacecraft. The ponds are different sizes and strips of dry land separate them from the main lake. The scientists believe this once again raises the possibility there may be life on Mars.
New discovery adds to excitement for Rocket Lab’s mission to Venus
Private space company, Rocket Lab has had plans in the works to launch a spacecraft to Venus on its Electron rocket as soon as 2023. The announcement this week added to the excitement of a mission to the second planet from the sun coming up in the near future. So from a from a climate perspective, I think we have a lot to learn from Venus,” Beck said. “Don’t get me wrong, I like Mars to just not as much as Venus,” Beck said. Rocket Lab is known for its quirky mission names but Beck says they have still not decided to on a name for the mission to Venus.