NASA

0

NASA prototype rover can split in two, could climb down deep Mars craters

Posted on

NASA JPL took the DuAxel out for a test run in the Mojave Desert.


NASA/JPL-Caltech/J.D. Gammell

NASA’s car-size Mars rovers are awesome, versatile machines capable of traversing rugged terrain. But they’re not made to descend down the sides of craters. For that, NASA would need something like its DuAxel prototype rover, a wild concept that is two rovers in one.

When all together, DuAxel is a four-wheeled rover. The rear can anchor itself to the ground while the front goes free on two wheels. A tether holds the pieces together while the front section rappels down a steep slope. This could work well for exploring currently inaccessible crater walls on Mars.

NASA put a DuAxel prototype through its paces in the Mojave Desert in California. “DuAxel performed extremely well in the field, successfully demonstrating its ability to approach a challenging terrain, anchor, and then undock its tethered Axel rover,” robotics technologist Issa Nesnas said in a statement from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Tuesday.

A video shows the clever rover in action and how it can use onboard instruments to get a close look at what’s under its wheels.

One of the motivations for developing DuAxel is to one day get a closer look at enigmatic dark streaks called recurring slope lineae that appear on the side of some martian craters. Scientists are trying to figure out if these have a watery origin.

The craters are too steep for a rover like Curiosity or Perseverance (which is currently on its way to Mars), but a transforming rappelling machine like DuAxel could handle the challenge.

It’s not just Mars science that could

0

NASA animation tracks the end of Tropical Storm Delta

Posted on

NASA animation tracks the end of Tropical Storm Delta  
NASA’s Terra satellite provided a visible image to forecasters of Tropical Storm Delta moving through the southeastern U.S. on Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. At the time of the image, the storm was centered over northern Alabama. Credit: NASA Worldview, Earth Observing System Data and Information System (EOSDIS).

NASA’s Terra satellite obtained visible imagery as Tropical Storm Delta made landfall in Louisiana and moved northeastward soaking the U.S. southeast and Mid-Atlantic states.


NASA satellite view: Delta’s organization

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer or MODIS instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured a visible image of Tropical Storm Delta on Oct. 11 at 1:30 p.m. EDT. The storm still appeared circular in imagery. At the time, it was centered over northern Alabama. At the time Terra passed overhead, Delta had weakened to a tropical depression with maximum sustained winds near 25 mph (35 kph).

Visible imagery from NASA’s Terra satellite captured from Oct. 9 to Oct. 12 were compiled into an animation. The animation showed the landfall and movement of Tropical Storm Delta. Delta dissipated over the southeastern U.S. and its remnants moved into the Atlantic states. The animation was created using NASA’s Worldview product at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

Delta’s landfall on Oct. 9

National Weather Service Doppler radar imagery, Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunter aircraft data, and surface observations indicated on Oct. 9 that Delta made landfall near Creole, Louisiana, around 7 p.m. EDT with estimated maximum sustained winds of 100 mph (155 kph). Delta was a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.

NASA animation tracks the end of Tropical Storm Delta
This animation of visible imagery from NASA Terra satellite shows the landfall and movement of Tropical Storm Delta from Oct. 9 to Oct. 12. Delta dissipated over the southeastern U.S. and its remnants moved into the Atlantic

0

NASA astronaut set to launch on Russian rocket as US transitions to private spacecraft

Posted on

A new crew of three astronauts are launching to the International Space Station late tonight, blasting off on a Russian Soyuz rocket out of Kazakhstan. The trio are heading to the station about a month ahead of SpaceX’s next crewed Dragon launch, which will bring another set of four astronauts aboard the ISS in mid-November.

Heading up on this Soyuz flight are two Russian cosmonauts — Sergey Ryzhikov and Sergey Kud-Sverchkov — and NASA astronaut Kate Rubins, on her second trip to space. The trio will join three crew members who have been living on the ISS since April: Russian cosmonauts Anatoly Ivanishin and Ivan Vagner and NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy. However, their living arrangement won’t last long. Cassidy and his cosmonaut crew mates are slated to head back to Earth on October 21st, riding inside the Soyuz capsule that brought them to the space station.

Just a few weeks later, in early- to mid-November, Rubins and her team are set to welcome the four-member crew of SpaceX’s first operational Crew Dragon mission, called Crew-1. That flight will carry three NASA astronauts — Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, and Shannon Walker — and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the ISS for a six-month stay. Their arrival on SpaceX’s new passenger vehicle will bring the total population of the ISS to seven — a larger cohort than usual for the ISS, which has typically held six-person crews since the end of the Space Shuttle program.

Rubins’ flight on the Soyuz comes amid a time of transition in NASA’s human spaceflight program. Since the last flight of the Space Shuttle in 2011, the only way NASA astronauts could get to the station was on Russia’s Soyuz rocket. But through NASA’s Commercial Crew

0

Mini moon called 2020 SO to orbit Earth may be NASA Surveyor 2 rocket

Posted on

CLOSE

One cosmic rock a half-mile wide could change our planet forever, unless we spot it well-ahead of time.

USA TODAY

An asteroid likely to get caught in Earth’s orbit and become a “mini moon” for several months may in fact not be an asteroid at all.

Dubbed 2020 SO, the object is on track to be pulled into Earth’s orbit in the coming weeks and circle the planet until it returns to its own track.

But instead of being space rock, experts think it is actually part of a rocket from a failed moon-landing mission in 1966.

“I’m pretty jazzed about this,” Paul Chodas, director of the Center for Near-Earth Object Studies at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, told The Associated Press. “It’s been a hobby of mine to find one of these and draw such a link, and I’ve been doing it for decades now.”

Mini moons – objects that temporarily orbit Earth – are rare. While more have likely occurred over history, only two have been confirmed: one from 2006 to 2007 and another discovered earlier this year that was in orbit from 2018 to 2020, according to space and astronomy news outlet Universe Today.

While those mini moons were space rocks, 2020 SO has a few characteristics that make scientists skeptical.

Its orbit is nearly a circle, similar to Earth’s, and is not tilted, on the same plane as Earth. The object is also moving much slower than scientists would expect a similar asteroid to move.

“The velocity seems to be a big one,” space archaeologist Alice Gorman of Flinders University in Australia told science news outlet ScienceAlert. “What I’m seeing is that it’s just moving too slowly, which reflects its initial velocity. That’s essentially a big giveaway.”

The object was discovered by a telescope in Hawaii

0

Blue Origin launches, lands NASA moon landing sensor experiment

Posted on

Oct. 13 (UPI) — Blue Origin successfully launched a NASA moon landing experiment aboard the company’s reusable New Shepard rocket Tuesday morning in Texas.

Liftoff took place from the company’s launch facilities about 150 miles east of El Paso.

The capsule separated from the rocket minutes into the flight and spent about three minutes at the height of an arc just over the Kármán line, the altitude at which space begins.

The rocket booster, with NASA sensors mounted on the exterior, landed smoothly about 7 minutes, 30 seconds after launch. The capsule landed with the aid of parachutes a few minutes later, kicking up a cloud of dust and sand.

The NASA experiment is part of the agency’s Tipping Point program, which seeks to demonstrate technology that can be adopted by private industry.

The project includes a collection of sensors designed to help locate a safe site on the moon for upcoming landings, according to NASA and Blue Origin’s mission description. Some of the sensors use LIDAR, or Light Detection and Ranging technology, which uses laser light to map out the surface.

“A NASA-developed sensor suite could allow robotic and crewed missions to land precisely on the lunar surface within half the distance of a football field,” NASA said of the project. “The rocket’s flight path is relevant to lunar landings, providing a unique opportunity to mature sensors and algorithms for potential use on Artemis [moon] missions.”

Those sensors require clear skies to function properly, which is why the mission had been delayed once in September due to cloudy weather at the launch site. But Tuesday’s weather was ideal, Blue Origin CEO Bob Smith said.

“It’s a great day for us to actually try that new type of experimentation on the outside of the vehicle,” Smith said during a prelaunch

1 2 3 6