NASA Selects Investigation Teams to Join Geospace Dynamics Mission

WASHINGTON, April 26, 2022 (NASA PR) — NASA has selected three investigation teams to join the agency’s Geospace Dynamics Constellation (GDC) mission science team in studying Earth’s upper atmosphere, as well as five additional investigations that will be under consideration for inclusion in the mission.

GDC is a coordinated group of satellites that will provide the first direct global measurements of the dynamic and complex region of space enveloping Earth – known as the ionosphere and thermosphere (I-T) region. The constellation’s ability to simultaneously study processes operating across a range of temporal and spatial scales will provide an unprecedented level of understanding of this region. GDC will fundamentally advance scientists’ understanding of this interface to Earth’s space environment much like early weather satellites did for global weather systems. The three GDC investigations selected for flight have a combined budget of $149 million to design and deliver their instruments to the mission.

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Astrobotic to Unveil Peregrine Lander Today

A rendering of Astrobotic’s Peregrine lunar lander is shown, with NASA’s three water-detecting payloads (MSolo, NSS, and NIRVSS) highlighted in blue. (Credit: Astrobotic Technology)

WATCH LIVE TODAY: APRIL 20
3:00 pm EST

WHAT: Tune in to see flight hardware from the never-before-seen Peregrine lunar lander.

WHO: Speakers include:

CEO, Astrobotic, John Thornton
Founding Board Chair, Keystone Space Collaborative, Justine Kasznica
PA-8th, Congressman Matt Cartwright
NASA Administrator, Senator Bill Nelson
NASA Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate, Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen
NASA Associate Administrator for Space Technology Mission Directorate, Mr. James L. Reuter

WHEN: Wednesday, April 20; 3:00-3:30 p.m. EST

TUNE IN

Astrobotic’s Peregrine will deliver a diverse suite of 24 payloads (cargo) to the Moon’s surface later this year.

Peregrine is set to be the first US lunar lander to touch down on the Moon since the Apollo missions nearly 50 years ago. You will also hear from local and national leaders in commercial space, who are gathering for the tri-state region’s first-ever space conference.

NASA to Participate in Space Symposium, Broadcast Select Panels

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy visited the agency’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans on Dec. 8, 2021 for tours and briefings on Michoud’s role in the Artemis program and other capabilities that enrich many facets of the nation’s space exploration endeavors. (Credits: NASA/Michael DeMocker)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Deputy Administrator Pam Melroy and Associate Administrator Bob Cabana are among the agency’s speakers at the Space Foundation’s 37th Space Symposium from Wednesday, April 5 to Thursday, April 7 in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Topics highlighted by NASA participants throughout the event include the agency’s Moon to Mars exploration approach including Artemis, technology, science, commercial partnerships, and more. A full agenda for the symposium is available online.

The agency will stream the following panels on NASA TV, the NASA app, and the agency’s website:

Tuesday, April 5

  • 12:25 p.m. EDT – Plenary session remarks from Melroy about NASA’s Moon to Mars strategy and updated current milestones
  • 1:15 p.m.: Artemis and Industry: Building the Space Economy. Panelists include:
    • Kenneth Bowersox, deputy associate administrator for Space Operations at NASA Headquarters in Washington
    • Jim Free, associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development at NASA Headquarters
    • James Reuter, associate administrator for Space Technology Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters
    • Dr. Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters

Wednesday, April 6

Members of the media registered for the symposium can attend “Small Satellites, Big Missions: Pathfinding CubeSats Exploring the Moon and Beyond,” a news conference featuring NASA leaders, at 6 p.m. EDT. The conference will take place in Media Room A of the event’s media center. To register for the symposium, media must email the Space Foundation at media@spacefoundation.org.

Participants in the news conference include:

  • NASA Associate Administrator Cabana
  • Elwood Agasid, deputy program manager for Small Spacecraft Technology at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, California, and Space Technology Hall of Fame inductee
  • Andres Martinez, program executive for small spacecraft in NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters
  • Bradley Cheetham, CEO, Advanced Space in Westminster, Colorado
  • Joe Shoer, engineer, Lockheed Martin, Denver

For more information about NASA, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/

NASA Mourns Passing of Visionary Heliophysicist Eugene Parker

Dr. Eugene Parker watches the launch of the spacecraft that bears his name – NASA’s Parker Solar Probe – early in the morning of Aug. 12, 2018. NASA Director of Heliophysics Dr. Nicky Fox stands behind him. Parker Solar Probe is humanity’s first mission to the Sun and will travel closer to our star than any spacecraft before. (Credits: NASA/Glenn Benson)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Dr. Eugene N. Parker, visionary of heliophysics and namesake of NASA’s Parker Solar Probe, has passed away. He was 94.

As a young professor at the University of Chicago in the mid-1950s, Parker developed a mathematical theory that predicted the solar wind, the constant outflow of solar material from the Sun. Throughout his career, Parker revolutionized the field time and again, advancing ideas that addressed the fundamental questions about the workings of our Sun and stars throughout the universe.

“We were saddened to learn the news that one of the great scientific minds and leaders of our time has passed,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “Dr. Eugene Parker’s contributions to science and to understanding how our universe works touches so much of what we do here at NASA. Dr. Parker’s legacy will live on through the many active and future NASA missions that build upon his work.”

“The field of heliophysics exists in large part because of Dr. Eugene Parker,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s associate administrator for science. “Honoring his work by giving Parker Solar Probe his name is one of the proudest accomplishments of my career. My work, my passion for science, and my drive to keep exploring is strongly influenced by this great man. Parker Solar Probe ‘touching the Sun,’ is a fitting accomplishment for his namesake mission.”

In 2018, Parker became the first person to witness the launch of a spacecraft bearing his name. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe continues its mission today in pursuit of the pioneering questions Parker first envisaged more than a half century ago.

“Anyone who knew Dr. Parker, knew that he was a visionary,” said Nicola Fox, director of the Heliophysics Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “I was honored to stand with him at the launch of Parker Solar Probe and have loved getting to share with him all the exciting science results, seeing his face light up with every new image and data plot I showed him. I will sincerely miss his excitement and love for Parker Solar Probe. Even though Dr. Parker is no longer with us, his discoveries and legacy will live forever.”

Learn more about Parker Solar Probe and its mission at:

https://www.nasa.gov/content/goddard/parker-solar-probe

NASA’s Webb Reaches Alignment Milestone, Optics Working Successfully

While the purpose of this image was to focus on the bright star at the center for alignment evaluation, Webb’s optics and NIRCam are so sensitive that the galaxies and stars seen in the background show up. At this stage of Webb’s mirror alignment, known as “fine phasing,” each of the primary mirror segments have been adjusted to produce one unified image of the same star using only the NIRCam instrument. This image of the star, which is called 2MASS J17554042+6551277, uses a red filter to optimize visual contrast. (Credits: NASA/STScI)

GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — Following the completion of critical mirror alignment steps, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team expects that Webb’s optical performance will be able to meet or exceed the science goals the observatory was built to achieve.

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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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New Sun Missions to Help NASA Better Understand Earth-Sun Environment

Parker Solar Probe near the sun. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA has selected two science missions – the Multi-slit Solar Explorer (MUSE) and HelioSwarm – to help improve our understanding of the dynamics of the Sun, the Sun-Earth connection, and the constantly changing space environment. These missions will provide deeper insights into our universe and offer critical information to help protect astronauts, satellites, and communications signals such as GPS. 

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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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OSIRIS-REx Mission Team Wins 2022 Swigert Award for Space Exploration

TUCSON, Ariz. (University of Arizona PR) — The NASA and University of Arizona OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission team has been selected to receive the 2022 John L. “Jack” Swigert Jr. Award for Space Exploration by the Space Foundation, a nonprofit organization that advocates for space exploration and space-inspired industries.

The award will be presented April 4 during the opening ceremony of the 37th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs.

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NASA’s Webb Telescope Reaches Major Milestone as Mirror Unfolds

Shown fully stowed, the James Webb Space Telescope’s Deployable Tower Assembly that connects the upper and lower sections of the spacecraft will extend 48 inches (1.2 meters) after launch. (Credits: Northrop Grumman)

BALTIMORE (NASA PR) — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope team fully deployed its 21-foot, gold-coated primary mirror, successfully completing the final stage of all major spacecraft deployments to prepare for science operations.

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Sunshield Successfully Deploys on NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope

The James Webb Space Telescope’s final sunshield deployment and tensioning tests were completed in December 2020. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — The James Webb Space Telescope team has fully deployed the spacecraft’s 70-foot sunshield, a key milestone in preparing it for science operations.

The sunshield – about the size of a tennis court at full size – was folded to fit inside the payload area of an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket’s nose cone prior to launch. The Webb team began remotely deploying the sunshield Dec. 28, 2021, three days after launch.

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NASA’s Webb Telescope Launches to See First Galaxies, Distant Worlds

The James Webb Space Telescope after separation from its Ariane 5 booster. (Credit; NASA)

KOUROU, French Guiana, December 25, 2021 (NASA PR) — NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope launched at 7:20 a.m. EST Saturday on an Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in French Guiana, South America.

A joint effort with ESA (European Space Agency) and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb observatory is NASA’s revolutionary flagship mission to seek the light from the first galaxies in the early universe and to explore our own solar system, as well as planets orbiting other stars, called exoplanets. 

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NASA Sets Coverage, Invites Public to View Webb Telescope Launch

With integration and testing formally concluded for the James Webb Space Telescope, NASA’s next giant leap into the cosmic unknown will soon be underway. (Credits: NASA/Chris Gunn)

KOUROU, French Guiana (NASA PR) — NASA will provide coverage of prelaunch, launch, and postlaunch activities for the James Webb Space Telescope, the world’s largest and most powerful space science telescope.

Webb is targeted to launch at 7:20 a.m. EST Friday, Dec. 24, on an Arianespace Ariane 5 rocket from Europe’s Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana, on the northeastern coast of South America.

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NASA Enters the Solar Atmosphere for the First Time, Bringing New Discoveries

Parker Solar Probe near the sun. (Credit: NASA)

By Mara Johnson-Groh
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

GREENBELT, Md. — For the first time in history, a spacecraft has touched the Sun. NASA’s Parker Solar Probe has now flown through the Sun’s upper atmosphere – the corona – and sampled particles and magnetic fields there. 

The new milestone marks one major step for Parker Solar Probe and one giant leap for solar science. Just as landing on the Moon allowed scientists to understand how it was formed, touching the very stuff the Sun is made of will help scientists uncover critical information about our closest star and its influence on the solar system. 

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