From the Grand Canyon to Mars

Grand Canyon (Credit: Douglas Messier)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

If the Grand Canyon were an animal, it would probably be a mountain lion that waits patiently for its prey to arrive before ambushing it with overwhelming force.

That’s what it feels to visit the South Rim. There’s a long drive from Flagstaff through high plains and lightly forested areas as mountains tower in the distance. The scenery isn’t much different from most of Northern Arizona. After paying the fee at the entrance gate, you drive threw a forest where deer are quietly feeding. Find a parking space, walk down the trail, and…

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NASA Invites Comment on Initial Plans for Mars Sample Return Program

Lockheed Martin will lead development of the Mars Ascent Vehicle (pictured), cruise stage for the Mars Sample Retrieval Lander, and the Earth Entry System that will help return the first ever Martian rock samples to Earth. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA is requesting public comment on the scope of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the agency’s proposed Mars Sample Return (MSR) campaign. Comments will be accepted through the mail and online through Monday, May 16, 2022.

The agency also is hosting two virtual public meetings about the proposed program at 3 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, May 4, 2022, and 8 p.m. on Thursday, May 5, 2022, at:

https://jpl.webex.com/meet/msr

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NASA’s Mars Helicopter Spots Gear That Helped Perseverance Rover Land

Perseverance’s backshell, supersonic parachute, and associated debris field is seen strewn across the Martian surface in this image captured by NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter during its 26th flight on April 19, 2022. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

Eyeing some of the components that enabled the rover to get safely to the Martian surface could provide valuable insights for future missions.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter recently surveyed both the parachute that helped the agency’s Perseverance rover land on Mars and the cone-shaped backshell that protected the rover in deep space and during its fiery descent toward the Martian surface on Feb. 18, 2021. Engineers with the Mars Sample Return program asked whether Ingenuity could provide this perspective. What resulted were 10 aerial color images taken April 19 during Ingenuity’s Flight 26.

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NASA’s Perseverance Rover Captures Video of Solar Eclipse on Mars

NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover used its Mastcam-Z camera to shoot video of Phobos, one of Mars’ two moons, eclipsing the Sun. It’s the most zoomed-in, highest-frame-rate observation of a Phobos solar eclipse ever taken from the Martian surface. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS/SSI)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has captured dramatic footage of Phobos, Mars’ potato-shaped moon, crossing the face of the Sun. These observations can help scientists better understand the moon’s orbit and how its gravity pulls on the Martian surface, ultimately shaping the Red Planet’s crust and mantle.

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NASA Extends Ingenuity Helicopter Mission

The Ingenuity Mars Helicopter’s carbon fiber blades can be seen in this image taken by the Mastcam-Z instrument aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover on April 8, 2021, the 48th Martian day, or sol, of the mission. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU)

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — With its recent 21st flight complete, the Red Planet rotorcraft is on its way to setting more records during its second year of operations.

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Motiv Space Systems and Blue Origin Announce ModuLink

Credit: Motive Space Systems

Motiv and Blue Origin awarded DIU contract to develop modular and scalable space robotics

PASADENA, Calif. (Motiv Space PR) — Motiv Space Systems announced today it has been awarded a contract under the Defense Innovation Unit’s (DIU’s) Modularity for Space Systems Program (M4SS) together with sub-contractor Blue Origin. The contract leverages Motiv’s advanced space robotics technology to enable a new age of space utilization in which deployed spacecraft can be repaired, augmented, or modified to make them more resilient and modular.

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NASA Selects Lockheed Martin Space to Build Rocket to Retrieve First Samples from Mars

This illustration shows a concept for a set of future robots working together to ferry back samples collected on the surface of Mars by NASA’s Perseverance rover. (Credits: NASA/ESA/JPL-Caltech)

WASHINGTON, DC (NASA PR) — NASA has awarded a contract to Lockheed Martin Space of Littleton, Colorado, to build the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV), a small, lightweight rocket to launch rock, sediment, and atmospheric samples from the surface of the Red Planet. The award brings NASA a step closer to the first robotic round-trip to bring samples safely to Earth through the Mars Sample Return Program.

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Institute of Space Commerce Announces Its Awardees for Space Commerce Events and Film 2021

AUSTIN, Texas, January 31, 2022 (Institute of Space Commerce PR) — In the science fiction movie category, the Institute of Space Commerce (ISC) has the pleasure to announce “Don’t Look Up” as the best space motion picture entertainment of 2021.

“Dinosaurs became extinct because they didn’t have a space program, and if we become extinct because we don’t have a space program, it will serve us right.” quoted Larry Niven, renowned SciFi author and Patron of the Institute of Space Commerce.

“Don’t Look Up” showed us just that. Its exaggerated portrayal of human selfishness and ignorance against

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Masten’s Reusable Rockets Prepare Spacecraft for Distant Landing on Other Worlds

Technology for spaceflight requires testing on Earth. Masten Space Systems built Xodiac to test terrain-relative navigation and hazard-avoidance systems for landings on Mars, the Moon, and more. (Credit: Masten Space Systems)

Rocket-powered vehicle for testing lander navigation systems supports space companies

MOJAVE, Calif. (Mojave PR) — How can a spacecraft land itself on alien terrain? NASA needed a better answer than “very carefully.” To spur innovation towards the first autonomous landings on the Moon, the agency presented the Lunar Lander Challenge. In 2009, a young company called Masten Space Systems earned one of the top prizes.

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Mars Perseverance Rover Update: Pebbles Before Mountains

Mars Perseverance Sol 320 — NASA’s Mars Perseverance rover acquired this image using its onboard SHERLOC WATSON imager. The camera is located on the turret at the end of the rover’s robotic arm. The image was acquired on Jan. 13, 2022 (Sol 320). (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

by Jennifer Trosper
Project Manager
NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory

NASA’s Mars 2020 mission team has been working methodically and thoroughly, making good progress on understanding the best path forward to remove the uninvited pebbles from Perseverance’s bit carousel. Over the previous weekend, and earlier this week, operational sequences were developed and tested to remove these rocky interlopers.

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Assessing Perseverance’s Seventh Sample Collection

Debris in Perseverance’s Bit Carousel: Pebble-sized debris can be seen in the bit carousel of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover in this Jan. 7, 2022, image. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

by Louise Jandura
Chief Engineer for Sampling & Caching
NASA/JPL

On Wednesday, Dec. 29 (sol 306) Perseverance successfully cored and extracted a sample from a Mars rock. Data downlinked after the sampling indicates that coring of the rock the science team nicknamed Issole went smoothly. However, during the transfer of the bit that contains the sample into the rover’s bit carousel (which stores bits and passes tubes to the tube processing hardware inside the rover), our sensors indicated an anomaly. The rover did as it was designed to do – halting the caching procedure and calling home for further instructions.

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Biggest Moments on Mars: NASA’s Perseverance Rover 2021 Year in Review

A new video looks back on the six-wheeled scientist’s first 10 months on the Red Planet and all that it’s accomplished so far.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Perseverance rover has been busy since its harrowing touchdown in Mars’ Jezero Crater this past February.

In the 10 months since, the car-size rover has driven 1.8 miles (2.9 kilometers), set a record for the longest rover drive in a Martian day, taken more than 100,000 images, and collected six samples of Martian rock and atmosphere that could eventually be brought to Earth for further study.

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NASA’s 2021 Achievements Included Mars Landing, First Flight, Artemis, More

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — In 2021, NASA completed its busiest year of development yet in low-Earth orbit, made history on Mars, continued to make progress on its Artemis plans for the Moon, tested new technologies for a supersonic aircraft, finalized launch preparations for the next-generation space telescope, and much more – all while safely operating during a pandemic and welcoming new leadership under the Biden-Harris Administration.

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Teledyne Imaging’s Infrared Sensors Launched Aboard the James Webb Space Telescope

For the last time on Earth, the James Webb Space Telescope’s sunshield was deployed and tensioned by testing teams at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California where final deployment tests were completed. Webb’s sunshield is designed to protect the telescope from light and heat emitted from the sun, Earth, and moon, and the observatory itself. (Credit: NASA/Chris Gunn)

Teledyne’s infrared detectors are the “eyes” of the world’s most advanced space telescope

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (Teledyne Technologies PR) — Teledyne Technologies Incorporated (NYSE:TDY) congratulates NASA, the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) on the successful launch of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST). Teledyne provided 15 extremely sensitive H2RG infrared detectors that are used in three of the four science instruments of JWST: the Near-Infrared Camera (NIRCam), the Fine Guidance Sensor (FGS), and the Near-Infrared Spectrograph (NIRSpec). Ten Teledyne detectors in NIRCam will study the structure and morphology of the universe. Three Teledyne detectors in FGS will be used to point and stabilize the telescope. Two Teledyne detectors in NIRSpec will reveal information about chemical composition, temperature, and velocity of what JWST observes. Teledyne also provided the SIDECAR ASIC focal plane electronics that operate the H2RG detectors.

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NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter Reaches a Total of 30 Minutes Aloft

Ingenuity sits on a slightly inclined surface with about 6-degree tilt at the center of the frame, just north of the southern ridge of “Séíitah” geologic unit. The Perseverance rover’s Mastcam-Z instrument took this image on Dec. 1, 2021, when the rotorcraft was about 970 feet (295 meters) away. (Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU/MSSS)

With its recent 17th flight, the Red Planet rotorcraft reaches an airborne milestone the team never considered achievable. Its 18th flight is scheduled for no earlier than today.

PASADENA, Calif. (NASA PR) — The 17th flight of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter on Dec. 5 pushed the total flight time past the 30-minute mark. The 117-second sortie brought history’s first aircraft to operate from the surface of another world closer to its original airfield, “Wright Brothers Field,” where it will await the arrival of the agency’s Perseverance Mars rover, currently exploring “South Séítah” region of Mars’ Jezero Crater.

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