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Hubble Celebrates the 15th Anniversary of Servicing Mission 4

NASA - Breaking News - Fri, 05/10/2024 - 10:00am
8 Min Read Hubble Celebrates the 15th Anniversary of Servicing Mission 4

Michael Good (on the end of the shuttle’s Remote Manipulator System) works to refurbish and upgrade Hubble during Servicing Mission 4.

Credits:
NASA

Fifteen years ago, human hands touched NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope for the last time.

As astronauts performed finishing tasks on the telescope during its final servicing mission in May 2009, they knew they had successfully concluded one of the most challenging and ambitious series of spacewalks ever conducted. But they couldn’t have known at the time what an impact they had truly made.

I had high hopes that Hubble would last at least five years more, and maybe even a little more to overlap with Webb. Here we are at 15 years and Hubble is going strong. The science from Hubble has been phenomenal.

John Grunsfeld

NASA Astronaut

“I had high hopes that Hubble would last at least five years more, and maybe even a little more to overlap with Webb,” said astronaut and former associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate John Grunsfeld, who participated in three Hubble servicing missions and was lead mission specialist on SM4. “Here we are at 15 years and Hubble is going strong. The science from Hubble has been phenomenal.”

Today, more than three decades after its launch in 1990, Hubble continues to send stunning images back to Earth and conduct groundbreaking science. Much of the credit for the last 15 years belongs to Servicing Mission 4 (SM4), the fifth mission to repair and upgrade the telescope.

A Momentous Mission

Launched on May 11, 2009 and spanning 12 days, Servicing Mission 4 was unlike any that had gone before, with stakes higher than they had been since the first mission to repair the telescope’s flawed vision. It would be the last space shuttle mission to Hubble, with the retirement of the shuttle announced in 2004. In addition to installing two new instruments and replacing and upgrading key components, astronauts would make repairs never envisioned when the telescope was designed.

Astronauts Michael Good and Mike Massimino work to replace one of Hubble’s Rate Sensor Units, which contains two gyroscopes, during SM4. NASA

For Megan McArthur, SM4 astronaut and primary operator of the shuttle’s robotic arm during the mission, the importance of the mission hit home before it even started, when the crew attended an event with people who worked on and with Hubble. Expecting a casual meet-and-greet to kick off the start of their Hubble training, they walked into an auditorium packed with people, who gave the astronauts a wild standing ovation.

“We hadn’t done a single thing yet other than show up,” she recalled. “And I looked at one of my crewmates and we both teared up in that moment because it was such a powerful reminder of how important this was, and how meaningful it was for this huge community of engineers and scientists around the world who use that telescope to unlock the mysteries of the universe.”

…it was such a powerful reminder of how important this was, and how meaningful it was for this huge community of engineers and scientists around the world who use that telescope to unlock the mysteries of the universe.

Megan McArthur

NASA Astronaut

As the crew of seven astronauts headed toward Hubble on the space shuttle Atlantis, a second shuttle, Endeavour, waited on the launchpad in case a rescue was needed. After the loss of the space shuttle Columbia in 2003, Servicing Mission 4 was canceled due to safety concerns. Public support for the mission surged, and two years later it was reinstated and scheduled for 2008, only to be delayed for another year after the telescope’s critical Science Instrument Command and Data Handler suffered a failure. With the added time, engineers were able to add a replacement to the mission. By the time the SM4 launched, two instruments ― the Advanced Camera for Surveys (ACS) and the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) ― had also experienced failures.

Hubble was designed and built for servicing in space, with modular, plug-and-play style components that could be easily swapped out. Astronauts had visited it four previous times leading up to SM4. (Servicing Mission 3 was split into two missions (3A and 3B) to get urgent repairs to Hubble quickly.) But during SM4, for the first time, astronauts cracked into two of the instruments to perform surgery in orbit. Using tools specially designed for the task, they opened up the ACS and STIS, swapped out components, rerouted power, and restored the instruments to their full capabilities.

The repairs were so effective that the two instruments have now gone more than twice as long without needing servicing than they achieved in the years prior to Servicing Mission 4.

Astronauts removed two older scientific instruments and added Wide Field Camera 3 (WFC3), a powerful camera that sees some ultraviolet and infrared wavelengths as well as visible light, and the Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (COS), which breaks ultraviolet light from cosmic objects into its component colors for analysis.

As this was certain to be the final shuttle mission to Hubble, the telescope had to be left in prime condition. Among other tasks, astronauts installed a new science computer and insulation. They replaced the telescope’s 19-year-old batteries and all of its gyroscopes, which determine how fast Hubble is turning and in what direction, with improved versions. Three of those gyroscopes have now operated longer than any gyroscopes previously installed on Hubble, and one has now been running continuously for 15 years, completing over 9 trillion revolutions.

The work could be challenging and intense. At one point, a bolt locking the Wide Field and Planetary Camera 2 into place wouldn’t turn. At another, a stripped screw on one of Hubble’s handrails blocked access to STIS and brought work to a standstill for hours, finally forcing astronaut Michael Massimino to physically wrench the handrail free.

“On each of my three trips to Hubble, the difficulty and scope of the work increased from mission to mission,” Grunsfeld said. “When we completed the final spacewalk on HST-SM4 in 2009, I was on top of the world ― figuratively, as we were in orbit around the Earth ― that we’d met and exceeded all expectations. The hard work and talent of the whole team is why we have an operating and productive observatory today.”

When the astronauts bid Hubble farewell, they left behind a telescope operating at peak performance ― and one that would energize humanity’s quest to understand the universe.

The Servicing Mission 4 crew pose for a photograph aboard the space shuttle Atlantis. Pictured in the front row (left to right) are astronauts Gregory C. Johnson, pilot; Scott Altman, commander; and Megan McArthur, mission specialist. Pictured in the back row (left to right) are astronauts Michael Good, Mike Massimino, John Grunsfeld, and Andrew Feustel, all mission specialists. NASA

The resurrection of STIS and ACS and installation of WFC3 and COS provided by Servicing Mission 4 turned Hubble into a powerhouse that surpassed its previous capabilities. Since Hubble’s launch, its data have been the source of over 21,000 scientific papers. Over 6,000 of those ― around 30 percent ― arose from the new instruments installed on SM4 alone.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that the new and repaired instruments on Hubble are enabling scientific productivity like we’ve never seen before,” said Dr. Jennifer Wiseman, Hubble Space Telescope senior project scientist. “Being able to observe in wavelengths ranging from ultraviolet through the visible and into the near-infrared gives us a toolbox that is enabling new science in powerful ways that we never fully had before. Research by the scientific community is thriving based on Hubble data that have been taken since SM4.”

A Host of New Discoveries

Since SM4, Hubble has charted its own path of discovery through the universe. It also works closely with other missions ― like the infrared-viewing James Webb Space Telescope ― to capture a complete picture of the cosmos.

Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3, installed during Servicing Mission 4, captured this image of star cluster Westerlund 2, which contains some of the Milky Way galaxy’s hottest, brightest, and most massive stars. NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage Team (STScI/AURA), A. Nota (ESA/STScI) and the Westerlund 2 Science Team

This image of NGC 5468, a galaxy located about 130 million light-years from Earth, combines data from the Hubble and James Webb space telescopes. This is the farthest galaxy in which Hubble has identified Cepheid variable stars. These are important milepost markers for measuring the expansion rate of the universe. The distance calculated from Cepheids has been cross-correlated with a type Ia supernova in the galaxy. Type Ia supernovae are so bright they are used to measure cosmic distances far beyond the range of the Cepheids, extending measurements of the universe’s expansion rate deeper into space.

Hubble’s sensitivity to ultraviolet light revealed radiation from super-heated gas falling onto a world called PDS 70b. The glare of the star was blocked, allowing Hubble to directly observe PDS 70b accumulating mass. Located some 370 light-years from Earth, the planet is about five times the mass of Jupiter and growing at a snail’s pace. Researchers found that the planet is growing so slowly that if the rate remains steady for another million years, its bulk will increase by only about 1/100th of Jupiter’s mass

This Hubble image showcases the host galaxy of an exceptionally powerful fast radio burst, FRB 20220610A. Hubble’s sensitivity and sharpness allow it to observe the locations of these strange, fleeting, enormous blasts of energy ― including the farthest yet found. This compact group of multiple galaxies may be in the process of merging. They existed when the universe was only 5 billion years old.

Hubble’s many years of observing Jupiter reveal that the planet’s trademark Great Red Spot is shrinking and its wind velocities are acceleration.

Hubble found the farthest individual star ever spotted, whose light has traveled 12.9 billion years to reach Earth. This detailed view highlights the star Earendel’s position along a ripple in space-time (dotted line) that magnifies it and makes it possible for the star to be detected over such a great distance. Also indicated is a cluster of stars that is mirrored on either side of the line of magnification. The distortion and magnification are created by the mass of a huge galaxy cluster located in between Hubble and Earendel. The mass of the galaxy cluster is so great that it warps the fabric of space, and looking through that region of space is like looking through a magnifying glass — along the edge of the glass or lens, the appearance of things on the other side are warped as well as magnified.

Hubble observations linked Neptune’s clouds to the solar cycle, showing that clouds increase every two years after the peak of an 11-year cycle, despite Neptune’s distance from the Sun.

This Hubble image reveals a dense globular cluster called Messier 4. The cluster holds several hundred thousand stars and Hubble observations lead astronomers to suspect that an intermediate-mass black hole, weighing as much as 800 times the mass of our Sun, is lurking, unseen, at its core.

This animated GIF combines three of the images Hubble captured after NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) intentionally impacted Dimorphos, a moonlet asteroid in the double asteroid system of Didymos. Hubble regularly works with other missions to make discoveries about our universe.

Hubble’s observations of galaxies have helped us better understand their origins and evolution. This Hubble image of galaxy cluster Abell 370, located approximately 4 billion light-years away, also reveals more distant galaxies that are behind the large cluster. They form curves and arcs as their light is magnified and warped by the powerful gravitational lens created by the galaxy cluster.






“Webb is really tuned to seeing the infrared wavelengths of light beyond what Hubble can pick up, but Webb cannot see the visible light and the ultraviolet light that Hubble can see, and we need all of those wavelengths of light for studying almost anything ― whether that’s planets, exoplanets, star systems, galaxies, the interstellar medium or cosmology,” Wiseman said. “So many proposals from scientists now involve both Hubble and Webb, because they are crucial partners for addressing some of the hottest topics in astrophysics.”

As Hubble starts its 35th year in orbit, the legacy of Servicing Mission 4 is on display in the telescope’s scientific bounty. “Hubble is more scientifically productive now than it’s ever been before, and it is playing a critical role in the portfolio of NASA’s flagship missions for science,” Wiseman said, noting that Hubble’s instruments have certain capabilities unmatched by anything else in orbit. “There are three big, strategic questions that NASA wants to address ― are we alone, how did we get here, and how does the universe work ― and Hubble is a primary facility for addressing them.”

Those scientific discoveries and the astounding images are the primary reason Hubble is celebrated around the globe, but its lasting presence in space is also a reminder of something even more profound.

McArthur recalled the moments after SM4 ended, when the crew had time to watch Hubble after it was released from the robotic arm. “There was nothing to do but gaze at it, and the feeling that I had at that point was a kind of awe or joy at the audacity of humans,” she said. “We have these amazing ideas like, let’s build a telescope and put it in orbit around the Earth to unlock the mysteries of the universe ― these very grand visions. And then here I am actually looking at it with my own eyes, this marvel of engineering that does exactly that. It gives me faith in humanity that when we put our minds to it, we can do just about anything, as long as we’re willing to work together.”

In May 2009, a brave team of astronauts embarked on a daring journey aboard Space Shuttle Atlantis. Their mission? To breathe new life into Hubble, ensuring its legacy of discovery could continue for years to come.
Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; Lead Producer: Paul Morris

Media Contact:

Claire Andreoli
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbelt, MD
claire.andreoli@nasa.gov

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NASA Glenn Looking to Lease Facilities

NASA - Breaking News - Fri, 05/10/2024 - 8:03am

3 min read

Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater) NASA Glenn Research Center’s iconic Flight Research Building (hangar).Credit: NASA/Jef Janis

As NASA advances its aviation and spaceflight missions, its facilities and infrastructure need to evolve along with them. NASA centers, including Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, must find ways to reduce the cost of maintaining assets they aren’t currently using.

Toward this goal, NASA Glenn is offering opportunities to lease assets it no longer uses. These Enhanced Use Lease (EUL) agreements will allow space, aeronautics, and other related industry to use Glenn land and facilities in direct support of NASA’s mission. It’s an arrangement that could bring some of the best minds in aerospace closer together, spurring innovation.

“We want to strategically align Glenn’s unique aircraft and spacecraft testing assets with the aviation industry and emerging commercial market,” said Carlos Flores, NASA Glenn’s Strategic Planning Branch chief. “Our hope is to expand partnerships, accelerate innovation, and create regional economic opportunities.”

The Altitude Combustion Stand facility at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland provides a system to test combustion components at a simulated altitude. Credit: NASA

Flores said there are many advantages for commercial entities to lease NASA facilities. These partners will have more access to resources—such as other facilities and technical expertise— than those outside the gate.

“Once a company or university gets a foot in the door, it is very possible they will discover other assets and expertise they can leverage,” Flores said.

Glenn identified four facilities in Cleveland and one in Sandusky, Ohio, that will be considered under the EUL authority. They include:

In March, Glenn released an Announcement for Proposal, or AFP, to the public soliciting offers for the use of the Cryogenics Components Laboratory at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky. An AFP is expected for the Altitude Combustion Stand in Cleveland within a couple of months.

Glenn and other NASA centers continually work to align their facilities and infrastructure with the Agency Master Plan, which serves as a roadmap for future development and redevelopment of agency property.

The Cryogenic Test Complex at NASA’s Neil Armstrong Test Facility in Sandusky, Ohio, allows large-scale liquid hydrogen (LH2) experiments to be conducted safely. Credit: NASA

To align with the Agency Master Plan, Glenn must reduce its “maintenance gap,” which is the amount of property owned versus the amount of property the center can afford to maintain.

“The maintenance gap is one of the realities we face in an environment of current and future budget constraints,” Flores said. 

While demolition is sometimes the easiest way to reduce square footage and maintenance costs, leasing can be a viable option for buildings that do not fit the demolition criteria.

“EULs will not only reduce the maintenance gap and the square footage we are responsible to maintain, but they will also enable us to create strategic partnerships and utilize revenue from the base rent for repairs to infrastructure,” Flores said.

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APOD - Fri, 05/10/2024 - 8:00am

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Hubble Glimpses a Star-Forming Factory

NASA - Breaking News - Fri, 05/10/2024 - 7:18am

2 min read

Hubble Glimpses a Star-Forming Factory This image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope highlights the spiral galaxy UGC 9684.

The celestial object showcased in this image from the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope is the spiral galaxy UGC 9684, which lies around 240 million light-years from Earth in the constellation Boötes. This image shows an impressive example of several classic galactic features, including a clear bar in the galaxy’s center, and a halo surrounding its disk.

The data for this Hubble image came from a study of Type-II supernovae host galaxies. These cataclysmic stellar explosions take place throughout the universe, and are of great interest to astronomers, so automated surveys scan the night sky and attempt to catch sight of them. The supernova which brought UGC 9684 to Hubble’s attention occurred in 2020. It has since faded from view and is not visible in this image, which was taken in 2023.

Remarkably, the 2020 supernova isn’t the only one that astronomers have seen in this galaxy – UGC 9684 has hosted four supernova-like events since 2006, putting it up there with the most active supernova-producing galaxies. It turns out that UGC 9684 is a quite active star-forming galaxy, calculated as producing one solar mass worth of stars every few years! The most massive of these stars are short-lived, a few million years, and end their days as supernova explosions. This high level of star formation makes UGC 9684 a veritable supernova factory, and a galaxy to watch for astronomers hoping to examine these exceptional events.

Text Credit: European Space Agency (ESA)


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Media Contact:

Claire Andreoli
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight CenterGreenbelt, MD
claire.andreoli@nasa.gov

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NASA Invites Social Creators for Launch of NOAA Weather Satellite 

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 4:54pm
The mission insignia of NOAA’s Geostationary Operation Environmental Satellite-U (GOES-U) mission is pictured in front of the satellite in a vertical position on Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2024, at the Astrotech Space Operations Facility near the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Part of a collaborative NOAA and NASA program, GOES-U is the fourth in a series of four advanced geostationary weather satellites. Data from the GOES satellite constellation – consisting of the GOES-R, GOES-S, GOES-T and GOES-U spacecraft – enables forecasters to predict, observe, and track local weather events that affect public safety like thunderstorms, hurricanes, and wildfires.NASA/Ben Smegelsky

Registration is open for digital content creators to attend the launch of NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) GOES-U (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite U) satellite, a mission to help improve weather observing and environmental monitoring capabilities on Earth, as well as improve space weather observations.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting a two-hour launch window opening at 5:16 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 25, for the GOES-U launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NOAA’s GOES-U satellite will carry a suite of instruments for advanced imagery, atmospheric measurements, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and detecting approaching space weather hazards, including a new compact coronagraph that will image the outer layer of the Sun’s atmosphere to detect and characterize coronal mass ejections.

If your passion is to communicate and engage the world online, then this is the event for you! Seize the opportunity to see and share the #ReadyToGOES mission launch.

A maximum of 50 social media users will be selected to attend this two-day event and will be given access similar to news media.

NASA Social participants will have the opportunity to:

  • View the launch of the GOES-U satellite on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket.
  • Tour NASA facilities at Kennedy Space Center.
  • Meet and interact with GOES-U subject matter experts.
  • Meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media.

NASA Social registration for the GOES-U launch opens on Thursday, May 9, and the deadline to apply is 3 p.m. EDT Tuesday, May 14. All social applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

APPLY NOW

Do I need to have a social media account to register?

Yes. This event is designed for people who: 

  • Actively use multiple social networking platforms and tools to disseminate information to a unique audience. 
  • Regularly produce new content that features multimedia elements. 
  • Have the potential to reach a large number of people using digital platforms, or reach a unique audience, separate and distinctive from traditional news media and/or NASA audiences. 
  • Must have an established history of posting content on social media platforms. 
  • Have previous postings that are highly visible, respected, and widely recognized. 

Users on all social networks are encouraged to use the hashtag #NASASocial and #ReadyToGOES. Updates and information about the event will be shared via @NASASocial and @NASAKennedy on X and via posts to Facebook and Instagram

How do I register?

Registration for this event opens Thursday, May 9, and closes at 3 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 14. Registration is for one person only (you) and is nontransferable. Each individual wishing to attend must register separately. Each application will be considered on a case-by-case basis. 

Can I register if I am not a U.S. citizen?

Because of the security deadlines, registration is limited to U.S. citizens. If you have a valid permanent resident card, you will be processed as a U.S. citizen. 

When will I know if I am selected?

After registrations have been received and processed, an email with confirmation information and additional instructions will be sent to those selected. We expect to send the acceptance notifications by May 31. 

What are NASA Social credentials?

All social applications will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Those chosen must prove through the registration process that they meet specific engagement criteria. 

If you do not make the registration list for this NASA Social, you still can attend the launch offsite and participate in the conversation online. Find out about ways to experience a launch here. 

What are the registration requirements?

Registration indicates your intent to travel to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and attend the two-day event in person. You are responsible for your own expenses for travel, accommodations, food, and other amenities. 

Some events and participants scheduled to appear at the event are subject to change without notice. NASA is not responsible for loss or damage incurred as a result of attending. NASA, moreover, is not responsible for loss or damage incurred if the event is cancelled with limited or no notice. Please plan accordingly. 

Kennedy is a government facility. Those who are selected will need to complete an additional registration step to receive clearance to enter the secure areas. 

IMPORTANT: To be admitted, you will need to provide two forms of unexpired government-issued identification; one must be a photo ID and match the name provided on the registration. Those without proper identification cannot be admitted

For a complete list of acceptable forms of ID, please visit: NASA Credentialing Identification Requirements

All registrants must be at least 18 years old. 

What if the launch date changes?

Many different factors can cause a scheduled launch date to change multiple times. If the launch date changes, NASA may adjust the date of the NASA Social accordingly to coincide with the new target launch date. NASA will notify registrants of any changes by email. 

If the launch is postponed, attendees will be invited to attend a later launch date. NASA cannot accommodate attendees for delays beyond 72 hours. 

NASA Social attendees are responsible for any additional costs they incur related to any launch delay. We strongly encourage participants to make travel arrangements that are refundable and/or flexible. 

What if I cannot come to the Kennedy Space Center?

If you cannot come to the Kennedy Space Center and attend in person, you should not register for the NASA Social. You can follow the conversation online using #NASASocial.  

You can watch the launch on NASA Television or www.nasa.gov/nasatv/. NASA will provide regular launch and mission updates on @NASA and @NASAKennedy. 

If you cannot make this NASA Social, don’t worry; NASA is planning many other Socials in the near future at various locations! Check back here for updates.

Categories: NASA

NASA Invites Media to NOAA’s Advanced Weather Satellite Launch

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 4:15pm
GOES-U spacecraft rendering. Credit: NOAA/Lockheed Martin

NASA is preparing to launch NOAA’s (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) GOES-U (Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite U), a mission to help improve weather observing and environmental monitoring capabilities on Earth, as well as advance space weather observations.

NASA and SpaceX are targeting a two-hour launch window opening at 5:16 p.m. EDT Tuesday, June 25. The mission will launch on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

The satellite will carry a suite of instruments for advanced imagery, atmospheric measurements, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and detecting approaching space weather hazards, including a new compact coronagraph that will image the outer layer of the Sun’s atmosphere to detect and characterize coronal mass ejections.

Media interested in covering the GOES-U launch must apply for media accreditation. Deadlines for accreditation are as follows:

  • U.S. media and U.S. citizens representing international media must apply for accreditation by 11:59 p.m., Friday, June 7.
  • International media without U.S. citizenship must apply by 11:59 p.m., Tuesday, May 28.

Media requiring special logistical arrangements, such as space for satellite trucks, tents, or electrical connections, should email ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov by May 28.

A copy of NASA’s media accreditation policy is available online. For questions about accreditation, please email: ksc-media-accreditat@mail.nasa.gov. For other mission questions, please contact NASA Kennedy’s newsroom at: 321-867-2468.

Accredited media will have the opportunity to participate in a series of prelaunch briefings and interviews with key mission personnel. Details regarding the media event schedule will be communicated to accredited members as the launch date approaches.

NASA will post updates on launch preparations to prepare the spacecraft on the GOES blog.

As the fourth and final satellite in the GOES-R Series, GOES-U will enhance the nation’s ability to monitor and forecast weather, ocean, and environmental dynamics in real-time. The satellite has seven instruments that will provide advanced imagery and atmospheric measurements of Earth’s Western Hemisphere, real-time mapping of lightning activity, and advanced monitoring of solar activity and space weather. Following a successful launch and on-orbit checkout, NOAA will redesignate GOES-U as GOES-19. Working in tandem with GOES-18, the satellites will continuously observe Earth from the west coast of Africa to New Zealand, providing data for weather forecasting, severe storm tracking, and environmental monitoring. The GOES constellation helps protect the one billion people who live and work in the Americas.

NASA and NOAA collaborate on various missions to enhance our understanding of Earth, its climate, and its environment, enhancing the safety and well-being of all humanity. NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy, manages the launch service for the GOES-U mission. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, oversees the acquisition of the spacecraft and instruments. Lockheed Martin designs, builds, and tests the GOES-R series satellites. L3Harris Technologies provides the primary instrument, the Advanced Baseline Imager, along with the ground system, which includes the antenna system for data reception.

For further details about the GOES-U mission and updates on launch preparations, visit:

https://go.nasa.gov/48httvm

-end-

Liz Vlock
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1600
elizabeth.a.vlock@nasa.gov

Peter Jacobs
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
301-286-0535
peter.jacobs@nasa.gov

Leejay Lockhart
Kennedy Space Center, Florida
321-747-8310
leejay.lockhart@nasa.gov

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NASA Field Geology Training Prepares Artemis Mission Support Teams  

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 3:44pm

4 min read

Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater) A small team of participants in the Geology 101 field training gather on a large pile of rocks from a lava flow. NASA/Robert Markowitz

NASA engineers, managers, and flight directors recently traded their cubicles and conference rooms for an ancient volcanic field in the northern Arizona desert to participate in a field geology course aimed at arming them with first-hand experience in what Artemis astronauts will do when they explore the Moon. 

The two-and-a-half-day exercise for Artemis mission support teams was a condensed version of the rigorous training astronauts receive to prepare for Artemis missions to the lunar South Pole region, but shares an important purpose.  

“We are building a common language and a common understanding of what it will be like to do field geology on the surface of the Moon,” said Cindy Evans, Artemis geology training lead at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. “This is so the people who are building spacesuits, building tools, building software systems, the people who will be flight controllers, and the managers who direct and fund all of this, can all understand the interlocking parts of surface exploration.” 

We are building a common language and a common understanding of what it will be like to do field geology on the surface of the Moon.

Cindy Evans

Artemis Geology Training Lead at NASA’s Johnson Space Center

Small teams led by geology experts from NASA, the USGS (U.S. Geological Survey), and academia studied maps, built hypotheses about the geologic history of the area, and trekked for miles to test whether those hypotheses match reality. This field test required smashing rocks with hammers to study their mineral makeup, and carefully selecting a few to examine further after returning from the field in the same way Artemis astronauts will return samples from the Moon.  

Geology studies help uncover the rich physical history of an area. Each rock type represents a process and the order of layering of those rocks reveals a story that could unlock a planet’s secrets, offering clues for how it was formed and evolved over time.  

“The Moon doesn’t have an atmosphere or flowing water like we have here on Earth, and doesn’t have plate tectonics, which are processes that erase a lot of the evidence from the early Earth,” said Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist in the Exploration Systems Development Mission directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The Moon still has that evidence, so we can go to the Moon and learn lessons about our home planet that we can’t learn here on the Earth.”  

Artemis curation lead Juliane Gross, left, NASA flight controller Grant Harman, center, and imagery scientist Marco Lozano collect and examine samples during the Geology 101 field course.NASA/Robert Markowitz

In the desert, as the mission support team members practiced the fundamental methods used by geologists to study an environment, they pieced together the story of the region. The planned walking paths, known as traverses, frequently changed based on what they were finding. Teams embraced the principle of “flexecution” – or flexible execution – a practice that could come into play as astronauts explore the lunar surface and report findings to a backroom of scientists supporting the mission in the Mission Control Center at Johnson, referred to as the science evaluation room.  

“The geologists will be the science evaluation room during Artemis missions, assimilating real-time mission data to understand the observations, tracking the samples, going back to the maps that they’ve built trying to understand how all those pieces fit together on a day-by-day and traverse-by-traverse basis,” said Evans. “When the astronauts return home with the samples and with their full observations, the scientists can hit the ground running to address key science questions.” 

With Artemis, NASA will study the history of the Moon and its relationship with Earth and build a blueprint for deeper space exploration. 

NASA Flight Director Diane Dailey examines a rock at the Geology 101 field training for Artemis mission support teams in the northern Arizona desert.NASA/Robert Markowitz

“What we’re doing now is laying the groundwork for long-term exploration at the Moon,” Bleacher said. “Laying that groundwork will then help us explore other destinations like Mars. The Moon is a part of everything that we understand here on the Earth. It’s also an anchor point to help us understand how to interpret everything else in the solar system.” 

NASA conducts field tests in locations on Earth that have lunar-like landscapes to test a variety of operations and procedures, as well as new technologies, before leaving Earth for Artemis missions on the Moon. In addition to this geology training to build a foundation for mission support teams, another team will conduct simulated moonwalks in the Arizona desert this spring with mockup spacesuits to test hardware and new capabilities, like a heads-up display using augmented reality, for future Artemis missions.  

Through Artemis, NASA will send astronauts – including the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut – to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before prepare for human missions to Mars for the benefit of all. 

Rachel Barry  
Johnson Space Center 

 

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I Am Artemis: Lauren Fisher

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 3:22pm
Fisher stands in front of the launch vehicle stage adapter for NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket. The hardware will be used for the agency’s Artemis III mission that will land astronauts on the lunar surface. Fisher works with a number of teams across the agency and believes her background in music education has been an asset to her work as an engineer: “Teaching skills help you look at things from a different perspective and helps with understanding how others might approach a situation – all very helpful when I’m working with teams.”

Not many music majors get to be hands-on with building a Moon rocket, but Lauren Fisher has always enjoyed the unusual.

Now a structural materials engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, Fisher works on a key adapter for NASA’s SLS (Space Launch System) rocket for the first crewed missions of NASA’s Artemis campaign.

Manufactured at Marshall by NASA, lead contractor Teledyne Brown Engineering, and the Jacobs Space Exploration Group’s ESSCA contract, the cone-shaped launch vehicle stage adapter partially encloses the rocket’s interim cryogenic propulsion stage and connects it to the core stage below and the Orion stage adapter above. The launch vehicle stage adapter also protects avionics and electrical devices from extreme vibration and acoustic conditions during launch and ascent.

Fisher and the thermal protection system team develop and apply the spray-on foam that acts as insulation and protects the adapter and all its systems from the extreme pressures and temperatures it’ll face during flight. The thermal protection system for the component, unlike other parts of the rocket, is applied by hand using a spray gun. When first applied, the insulation is yellow, but after time and exposure to the Sun, it turns orange.

“We’re taking the same stuff someone might use to insulate their attic, except making it for cryogenic atmospheres, and spraying it all over a giant piece of hardware that will help launch us to the Moon,” Fisher said. “With my work for NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, I get to play with foam and glue. I like to call it arts and crafts engineering!”

Although engineering runs in her family, Fisher initially graduated from University of Southern Mississippi with a Bachelor of Arts in music performance and an interest in music education. She developed an interest in carbon-based polymers, and decided to go back to school, completing a chemical engineering degree with a polymeric materials track from the University of Alabama in Huntsville. Her new degree led to an opportunity to work for the thermal protection system team at Marshall.

When Fisher isn’t in the office, she likes travelling to unusual places and checking items off her self-described “Bizarre Bucket List.” Recently, she went to Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to watch the famous groundhog predict an early spring.

Being part of the Artemis Generation is incredibly inspiring for Fisher, who takes pride in her work supporting the first three Artemis missions, including Artemis II, the first crewed mission under Artemis, in 2025.

“I’m literally building the hardware that will send the first woman to deep space,” Fisher says. “Watching our rocket take shape, I’m like ‘you see that thing? I did that; that’s mine. See that one? My team did that one. We did that, and see this?’” She beams with pride. “You can do that, too. Just being a part of the generation that’s changing the workforce and changing the space program — it gives me goosebumps.”

NASA is working to land the first woman, first person of color, and its first international partner astronaut on the Moon under Artemis. SLS is part of NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration, along with the Orion spacecraft and Gateway in orbit around the Moon and commercial human landing systems, next-generational spacesuits, and rovers on the lunar surface. SLS is the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts, and supplies to the Moon in a single launch.

Categories: NASA

Spitzer Space Telescope Captures Galactic Snack

NASA Image of the Day - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 2:09pm
This image of the Andromeda galaxy uses data from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope. Multiple wavelengths are shown, revealing stars (in blue and cyan), dust (red), and areas of star formation.
Categories: Astronomy, NASA

Spitzer Space Telescope Captures Galactic Snack

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 2:07pm
NASA-JPL/Caltech; image processing by IPAC/Robert Hurt

This image, released on May 9, 2024, from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope shows streams of dust flowing toward the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Andromeda Galaxy. These dust streams can help explain how black holes billions of times the mass of our Sun can satiate their big appetites but remain “quiet” eaters.

Read on to learn how data from Spitzer helped shed light on how some black holes consume gas and dust.

Image Credit: NASA-JPL/Caltech

Categories: NASA

Arizona, New York Students to Hear from NASA Astronauts Aboard Station

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 1:56pm
(March 26, 2024) — Five NASA astronauts wear eye-protecting specs in anticipation of viewing the April 8 solar eclipse from the International Space Station’s cupola. Credits: NASA

Students from Arizona and New York will have separate opportunities next week to hear from astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

At 12:10 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, May 14, NASA astronauts Jeanette Epps and Tracy C. Dyson will answer prerecorded student questions from Sunnyside Unified School District in Tucson, Arizona, in partnership with the TRiO Upward Bound Program, PIMA Community College, Desert Vista Campus. Participating students are first-generation college bound students from underserved communities, and this opportunity is intended to help spread awareness of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) careers and inspire students to pursue related degrees.

The space-to-Earth call will stream live on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

Media interested in covering the Arizona event should RSVP no later than 5 p.m. on Friday, May 10, by contacting Danny Pacheco at dapacheco@pima.edu or 520-286-7771.

At 11:40 a.m. on Thursday, May 16, NASA astronaut Jeanette Epps will answer prerecorded student questions from P.S. 28 The Thomas Emanuel Early Childhood Center in Corona, New York, in partnership with the New York Hall of Science. Following the live event, the center will host 200 first and second grade students for a one-hour interactive “Living in Space” learning opportunity.

Media interested in covering the New York event should RSVP no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 14, by contacting Nicole Casamento at ncasamento@nysco.org or 917-302-9242.

The space-to-Earth call will air live on NASA+, NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.

For more than 23 years, astronauts have continuously lived and worked aboard the space station, testing technologies, performing science, and developing skills needed to explore farther from Earth. Astronauts living aboard the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through SCaN (Space Communications and Navigation) Near Space Network.

Important research and technology investigations taking place aboard the International Space station benefits people on Earth and lays the groundwork for other agency missions. As part of NASA’s Artemis campaign, the agency will send astronauts to the Moon to prepare for future human exploration of Mars. Inspiring Artemis Generation explorers and ensuring the United States will continue to lead in space exploration and discovery.

See videos and lesson plans highlighting space station research at:

https://www.nasa.gov/stemonstation

-end-

Gerelle Dodson
Headquarters, Washington
202-384-4861
gerelle.q.dodson@nasa.gov

Sandra Jones 
Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111
sandra.p.jones@nasa.gov

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NASA Invites Media to Arizona Simulated Artemis Moonwalking Site  

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 1:12pm
NASA astronaut Kate Rubins (right) takes a photo of NASA astronaut Andre Douglas (left) as he raises an American flag during a simulated moonwalk in a rock yard at NASA’s Johnson Space Center. Credit: NASA/Josh Valcarcel

Media are invited to interact with the NASA team members practicing Artemis moonwalking operations Saturday, May 18, in the San Francisco Volcanic Fields near Flagstaff, Arizona. NASA’s in-person only event includes an opportunity to speak with subject matter experts and view various hardware stations.

The activities are the fifth in a series since April 2022 of simulated moonwalks for Artemis Generation astronauts and teams planning for future exploration of the lunar surface. The full training will take place Monday, May 13, through Monday, May 20, with NASA astronauts Kate Rubins and Andre Douglas serving as the crew.

There are four simulated moonwalks and six advanced technology runs scheduled for this set. The media day schedule includes (all times MST):

  • 2:30 p.m.: Arrival
  • 2:45 p.m.: Local overview news conference and demonstrations
  • 3:30 p.m.: Walk through stations and speak to subject matter experts

Reporters interested in attending must request accreditation by 5 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 15, by contacting Victoria Ugalde at 281-483-5111 or victoria.d.ugalde@nasa.gov.

Teams continue to evolve astronaut training, and crew will wear mockup spacesuits as they test hardware, capabilities, and technologies to conduct operations in a simulated lunar environment for the Artemis III mission and beyond.

Through Artemis, NASA will send astronauts – including the first woman, the first person of color, and the first international partner astronaut – to explore the Moon for scientific discovery, technology evolution, economic benefits, and to build the foundation for crewed missions to Mars. Mission simulations on Earth help prepare humans for the challenges of deep space exploration and journeying farther into the cosmos.

Learn more about NASA’s Artemis campaign:

https://www.nasa.gov/artemis/

-end-

Kathryn Hambleton
NASA Headquarters, Washington
301-286-0213
kathryn.hambleton@nasa.gov

Victoria Ugalde
NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston
281-483-5111
victoria.d.ugalde@nasa.gov

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NASA Images Help Explain Eating Habits of Massive Black Hole

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 12:00pm

4 min read

Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater) This image of the Andromeda galaxy uses data from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope. Multiple wavelengths are shown, revealing stars, dust, and areas of star formation.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech In this image of the Andromeda galaxy, also made with data from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope, only dust is visible, making it easier to see the galaxy’s underlying structure.Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Data from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope has given scientists new insights into why some supermassive black holes shine differently than others.

In images from NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope, streams of dust thousands of light-years long flow toward the supermassive black hole at the heart of the Andromeda galaxy. It turns out these streams can help explain how black holes billions of times the mass of our Sun satiate their big appetites but remain “quiet” eaters.

As supermassive black holes gobble up gas and dust, the material gets heated up just before it falls in, creating incredible light shows — sometimes brighter than an entire galaxy full of stars. When the material is consumed in clumps of different sizes, the brightness of the black hole fluctuates.

But the black holes at the center of the Milky Way (Earth’s home galaxy) and Andromeda (one of our nearest galactic neighbors) are among the quietest eaters in the universe. What little light they emit does not vary significantly in brightness, suggesting they are consuming a small but steady flow of food, rather than large clumps. The streams approach the black hole little by little, and in a spiral, similar to the way the water swirls down a drain.

Hunting for Andromeda’s Food Source

A study published earlier this year took the hypothesis that a quiet supermassive black hole feeds on a steady stream of gas and applied it to the Andromeda galaxy. Using computer models, the authors simulated how gas and dust in proximity to Andromeda’s supermassive black hole might behave over time. The simulation demonstrated that a small disk of hot gas could form close to the supermassive black hole and feed it continuously. The disk could be replenished and maintained by numerous streams of gas and dust.

But the researchers also found that those streams have to stay within a particular size and flow rate; otherwise, the matter would fall into the black hole in irregular clumps, causing more light fluctuation.

This close-up view of the center of the Andromeda galaxy, taken by NASA’s retired Spitzer Space Telescope, is annotated with blue dotted lines to highlight the path of two dust streams flowing toward the supermassive black hole at the galaxy’s center (indicated by a purple dot). Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

When the authors compared their findings to data from Spitzer and NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, they found spirals of dust previously identified by Spitzer that fit within these constraints. From this, the authors concluded that the spirals are feeding Andromeda’s supermassive black hole.

“This is a great example of scientists reexamining archival data to reveal more about galaxy dynamics by comparing it to the latest computer simulations,” said Almudena Prieto, an astrophysicist at the Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands and the University Observatory Munich, and a co-author on the study published this year. “We have 20-year-old data telling us things we didn’t recognize in it when we first collected it.”

A Deeper Look at Andromeda

Launched in 2003 and managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Spitzer studied the universe in infrared light, which is invisible to human eyes. Different wavelengths reveal different features of Andromeda, including hotter sources of light, like stars, and cooler sources, like dust.

By separating these wavelengths and looking at the dust alone, astronomers can see the galaxy’s “skeleton” — places where gas has coalesced and cooled, sometimes forming dust, creating conditions for stars to form. This view of Andromeda revealed a few surprises. For instance, although it is a spiral galaxy like the Milky Way, Andromeda is dominated by a large dust ring rather than distinct arms circling its center. The images also revealed a secondary hole in one portion of the ring where a dwarf galaxy passed through.

Andromeda’s proximity to the Milky Way means it looks larger than other galaxies from Earth: Seen with the naked eye, Andromeda would be about six times the width of the Moon (about 3 degrees). Even with a field of view wider than Hubble’s, Spitzer had to take 11,000 snapshots to create this comprehensive picture of Andromeda.

More About the Mission

JPL managed the Spitzer Space Telescope mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington until the mission was retired in January 2020. Science operations were conducted at the Spitzer Science Center at Caltech. Spacecraft operations were based at Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado. Data are archived at the Infrared Science Archive operated by IPAC at Caltech. Caltech manages JPL for NASA.

For more information about Spitzer, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/spitzer

News Media Contact

Calla Cofield
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
626-808-2469
calla.e.cofield@jpl.nasa.gov

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A close-up of the head of the rover’s remote sensing mast. The mast head contains the SuperCam instrument. (Its lens is in the large circular opening.) In the gray boxes beneath mast head are the two Mastcam-Z imagers. On the exterior sides of those imagers are the rover’s two navigation cameras.NASA/JPL-Caltech The Navigation Cameras, or Navcams, aboard NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover captured this view of the rover’s deck on Feb. 20, 2021.NASA/JPL-Caltech
Categories: NASA

MAF EAP – Trauma-Informed Workplace

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 11:57am

Trauma-Informed Workplace

Organized by Health 4 Life.

In today’s dynamic professional landscape, understanding and addressing the impacts of trauma is essential for fostering a supportive and inclusive work culture. Join us as we explore the principles of trauma-informed care and their practical applications within organizational settings. We will share strategies for recognizing signs of trauma, implementing trauma-sensitive policies and practices, and cultivating resilience among employees. 

This webinar is open to ALL NASA employees. To join, please click here. 

Date: Thursday, May 9, 2024 

Time: 11:00 – 12:00 PM CST 

Speakers / POCs: EAP Clinicians Dr. Carla Randolph (carla.e.randolph@nasa.gov) and Dr. Sophia Sills-Tailor (sophia.c.sills-tailor@nasa.gov

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NASA’s Chandra Notices the Galactic Center is Venting

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 10:08am
X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Chicago/S.C. Mackey et al.; Radio: NRF/SARAO/MeerKAT; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/N. Wolk

These images show evidence for an exhaust vent attached to a chimney releasing hot gas from a region around the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way, as reported in our latest press release. In the main image of this graphic, X-rays from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory (blue) have been combined with radio data from the MeerKAT telescope (red).

Previously, astronomers had identified a “chimney” of hot gas near the Galactic Center using X-ray data from Chandra and ESA’s XMM-Newton. Radio emission detected by MeerKAT shows the effect of magnetic fields enclosing the gas in the chimney.

The evidence for the exhaust vent is highlighted in the inset, which includes only Chandra data. Several X-ray ridges showing brighter X-rays appear in white, roughly perpendicular to the plane of the Galaxy. Researchers think these are the walls of a tunnel, shaped like a cylinder, which helps funnel hot gas as it moves upwards along the chimney and away from the Galactic Center.

A labeled version of the image gives the locations of the exhaust vent, the chimney, the supermassive black hole at the center of the Milky Way Galaxy (called Sagittarius A*, or Sgr A* for short) and the plane of the galaxy.

X-ray: NASA/CXC/Univ. of Chicago/S.C. Mackey et al.; Radio: NRF/SARAO/MeerKAT; Image Processing: NASA/CXC/SAO/N. Wolk

This newly discovered vent is located near the top of the chimney about 700 light-years from the center of the Galaxy. To emphasize the chimney and exhaust vent features the image has been rotated by 180 degrees from the conventional orientation used by astronomers, so that the chimney is pointed upwards.

The authors of the new study think that the exhaust vent formed when hot gas rising through the chimney struck cooler gas lying in its path. The brightness of the exhaust vent walls in X-rays is caused by shock waves — similar to sonic booms from supersonic planes — generated by this collision. The left side of the exhaust vent is likely particularly bright in X-rays because the gas flowing upwards is striking the tunnel wall at a more direct angle and with more force than other regions.

The researchers determined that the hot gas is most likely coming from a sequence of events involving material falling towards Sgr A*. They think eruptions from the black hole then drove the gas upwards along the chimneys, and out through the exhaust vent.

It is unclear how often material is falling onto Sgr A*. Previous studies have indicated that dramatic X-ray flares take place every few hundred years at or near the location of the central black hole, so those could play important roles in driving the hot gas upwards through the exhaust vent. Astronomers also estimate that the Galactic black hole rips apart and swallows a star every 20,000 years or so. Such events would lead to powerful, explosive releases of energy, much of which would be destined to rise through the chimney vent.

The paper describing these results is published in The Astrophysical Journal and a preprint is available online. The authors of the paper are Scott Mackey (University of Chicago), Mark Morris (University of California, Los Angeles), Gabriele Ponti (Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Merate ), Konstantina Anastasopoulou (Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Palermo), and Samaresh Mondal (Italian National Institute of Astrophysics in Merate).

NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center manages the Chandra program. The Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s Chandra X-ray Center controls science operations from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and flight operations from Burlington, Massachusetts.

Read more from NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

For more Chandra images, multimedia and related materials, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/mission/chandra-x-ray-observatory/

Visual Description:

This image shows a region near the center of our Milky Way galaxy in X-ray and radio light. At the bottom of the image, near the center, is a brilliant, tangled knot of material that resembles a paint splatter. This is the brightest region in the image, and it contains the supermassive black hole at center of our galaxy, known as Sagittarius A*.

The lower third of the image resembles an angry firestorm. Streaks of red and orange are scattered in every direction, as if a legion of embers from a fire crackled and popped into the air all at once. Flame-like structures lick toward the center from our right.

Much of the image is infused with wispy blue clouds showing X-rays detected by Chandra. At a few points, the wispy blue clouds seem to form into balls of teal colored light and are known as dust halos. They are caused by X-rays from bright X-ray sources reflecting off dust surrounding the sources. These dust halos resemble underwater lights glowing in a cloudy swimming pool at night.

Rising up from Sagittarius A* in the center of the image is a pillar of blue light referred to as a chimney. This chimney of hot gas is surrounded by red clouds that are filled with stars, presenting themselves as tiny red flecks. Near the top of the blue pillar is a streak of light blue, outlined by an illustrated, gray box. This streak is referred to as the chimney exhaust vent. Just to our left is another illustrated box that shows the close-up image of the chimney vent as observed by Chandra.

News Media Contact

Megan Watzke
Chandra X-ray Center
Cambridge, Mass.
617-496-7998

Jonathan Deal
Marshall Space Flight Center
Huntsville, Ala.
256-544-0034

Categories: NASA

NASA Administrator to Engage Officials in Italy, Vatican, Saudi Arabia

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 9:56am
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson gives remarks during a NASA town hall event, Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, at NASA Headquarters in Washington. Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Continuing his engagement to deepen international collaboration and the peaceful use of space, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson will travel to Italy and Vatican City, followed by Saudi Arabia, beginning Thursday.

Nelson will meet with key government and space officials in each country.

Italy is a longstanding partner in human spaceflight and Earth science. Nelson will meet with President Teodoro Valente, Italian Space Agency (ASI) and other officials to discuss current and future collaboration, including the Artemis campaign to return to the Moon, partnership on the International Space Station, the exploration of Mars and Venus, and Earth science missions to study our home planet.

In Saudi Arabia, Nelson will meet with Saudi Space Agency and other senior officials to discuss future collaboration and underscore the importance of civil space cooperation for the broader United States and Saudi Arabia relationship. Students will interact with Nelson about the importance of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education and their roles as members of the Artemis Generation.

For more information about NASA’s international partnerships, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/oiir/

-end-

Faith McKie
Headquarters, Washington
202-358-1600
faith.d.mckie@nasa.gov

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NASA Licenses 3D-Printable Superalloy to Benefit US Economy

NASA - Breaking News - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 8:14am

3 min read

Preparations for Next Moonwalk Simulations Underway (and Underwater) NASA superalloy GRX-810 will soon be available to aviation and space industry parts manufacturers as a result of new licensing agreements with four U.S. companies. Credit: NASA/Jef Janis

NASA’s investment in a breakthrough superalloy developed for the extreme temperatures and harsh conditions of air and spaceflight is on the threshold of paying commercial dividends.

The agency is licensing its invention, dubbed “GRX-810,” to four American companies, a practice that benefits the United States economy as a return on investment of taxpayer dollars.

GRX-810 is a 3D-printable high-temperature material that will lead to stronger, more durable airplane and spacecraft parts that can withstand more punishment before reaching their breaking point.

The co-exclusive license agreements will allow the companies to produce and market GRX-810 to airplane and rocket equipment manufacturers as well as the entire supply chain.

The four co-exclusive licensees are:

  • Carpenter Technology Corporation of Reading, Pennsylvania
  • Elementum 3D, Inc. of Erie, Colorado
  • Linde Advanced Material Technologies, Inc. of Indianapolis
  • Powder Alloy Corporation of Loveland, Ohio

GRX-810 is one example of many new technologies NASA’s Technology Transfer Program managers review and file for patent protection. The team also works with inventors to find partners interested in commercialization. 

“NASA invests tax dollars into research that demonstrates direct benefit to the U.S. and transfers its technologies to industry by licensing its patents,” said Amy Hiltabidel, licensing manager at NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland.

New Approach to Developing Materials

NASA engineers designed GRX-810 for aerospace applications, including liquid rocket engine injectors, combustors, turbines, and hot-section components capable of enduring temperatures over 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

“GRX-810 represents a new alloy design space and manufacturing technique that was impossible a few years ago,” said Dr. Tim Smith, materials researcher at NASA Glenn.

Smith co-invented the superalloy along with his Glenn colleague Christopher Kantzos using a time-saving computer modeling and laser 3D-printing process that fuses metals together, layer-by-layer. Tiny particles containing oxygen atoms spread throughout the alloy enhance its strength.

Impacts and Benefits

Compared to other nickel-base alloys, GRX-810 can endure higher temperatures and stress and can last up to 2,500 times longer. It’s also nearly four times better at flexing before breaking and twice as resistant to oxidation damage.

Adoption of this alloy will lead to more sustainable aviation and space exploration,” said Dale Hopkins, deputy project manager of NASA’s Transformational Tools and Technologies project. “This is because jet engine and rocket components made from GRX-810 will lower operating costs by lasting longer and improving overall fuel efficiency.”

Research and development teams include those from Glenn, NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, The Ohio State University, and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where the most recent testing included 3D-printed rocket engine parts.

NASA develops many technologies to solve the challenges of space exploration, advance the understanding of our home planet, and improve air transportation. Through patent licensing and other mechanisms, NASA has spun off more than 2,000 technologies for companies to develop into products and solutions supporting the American economy.

The NASA insignia is 3D printed using the GRX-810 superalloy. Credit: NASA/Jordan Salkin Explore More 4 min read NASA Images Help Explain Eating Habits of Massive Black Hole Article 4 hours ago 4 min read Johnson Celebrates AA and NHPI Heritage Month: Kimia Seyedmadani Article 1 day ago 3 min read 1942: Engine Roars to Life in First Test at Future NASA Glenn Article 1 day ago

Categories: NASA

Temperatures on Exoplanet WASP 43b

APOD - Thu, 05/09/2024 - 4:00am

Temperatures on Exoplanet WASP 43b


Categories: Astronomy, NASA

Sols 4180-4182: Imaging fest!

NASA - Breaking News - Wed, 05/08/2024 - 6:54pm

3 min read

Sols 4180-4182: Imaging fest! This Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) image shows all the features and textures we have in the area ranging from laminae to little nodules. The image was taken on May 7, 2024, Sol 4178 of the Mars Science Laboratory Mission, at 23:20:40 UTC.NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Earth planning date: Wednesday, May 8, 2024

What a wonderful sight to see all the sedimentary structures. I am a geochemist, but I hear the excitement in the voices of my sediment-specialist colleagues, discussing all those textures and things to see. Generally, it is those features that allow us to determine what has happened in terms of the physics: Was it water or wind that brought the grains here? How fast was the flow? And then… what happened next? Well, that might be in my area of expertise, as it takes new minerals to grow between grains to make a loose sediment into a rock. And that’s what we can learn from the chemical investigations. And today’s plan once again has it all, but it is especially an imaging fest looking at all the structures and textures. Stay tuned for the images to make their way from Mars to Earth in the coming days.

Today’s plan starts with the chemistry: APXS will use the cool hours of the early morning for its investigations on the brushed target “Happy Isles.” MAHLI will get images of Happy Isles and then move to start the imaging fest at a target named “Laurel Mountain.” This is to peak underneath a piece of overhanging rock to see how the layers below are actually connected – or not – to the layers that form the overhang. Spying on rocks? I guess so!

The imaging fest then continues with over 170 Mastcam frames divided into four investigations. These are mosaics on the surrounding hills and slopes, namely on “Pinnacle Ridge,” “Milestone Peak” and “Tamarack Flats.” And Mastcam looks at the area closer to the rover, off the starboard side, an area where all the structures I talked about above are nicely visible from the rover mast’s vantage point. And if that’s not enough imaging, we will add some special imaging after the drive. We always take navigation camera images for navigation and imaging purpose during the next planning, but this time, we will also take additional Mastcam images in the drive direction. It’s a complex landscape … and I am still happy I can watch the rover drive through it and don’t have to hike myself!

There are also plenty of environmental investigations in the plan. The atmospheric investigations include the usual cadence of REMS activities and DAN looks at the water in the subsurface with passive measurements. In addition to that, Curiosity will look at its top surface to look at the dust levels currently accumulated there, and a look to the crater rim will investigate the current opacity of the atmosphere (yes, that’s more images, too!). Finally, Curiosity will be on the lookout for some dust devils. We’ve managed to get a few really nice captures of those in the course of the mission, one of my favourites is this one here, taken on sol 2847, over 1300 sols ago! If you want to see some in motion, here you go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k8lfJ0c7WQ8. Time flies when you are having fun!

Written by Susanne Schwenzer, Planetary Geologist at The Open University

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Sols 4178-4179: The Pinnacle Ridge Scarp

NASA - Breaking News - Wed, 05/08/2024 - 6:50pm

2 min read

Sols 4178-4179: The Pinnacle Ridge Scarp This image was taken by Left Navigation Camera onboard NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity on Sol 4176 (2024-05-05 22:50:10 UTC). NASA/JPL-Caltech

Earth planning date: Monday, May 6, 2024

Curiosity’s set of complex activities and drive over the weekend executed perfectly and we started our planning today directly in front of a scarp, or wall, along a section of the upper Gediz Valis ridge known as “Pinnacle Ridge.” The view along this scarp did not disappoint! 

Mastcam planned a large mosaic to image the top and bottom of the Pinnacle Ridge scarp, complementing the Mastcam mosaic that was acquired over the weekend. ChemCam included a long distance RMI image of the face of the ridge with intriguing tonal and textural variations. The targeted science block on sol 4178 also includes a MAHLI mosaic of an interesting layered rock in our workspace, “El Portal,” that will be characterized and imaged by ChemCam LIBS and Mastcam. Lastly, Mastcam will take a small mosaic of a rock in the workspace, “Bairs Creek,” to investigate interesting textures and features that were created by the wind. 

In the untargeted science block on sol 4179, the environmental theme group planned several activities including a Mastcam sky survey, a dust devil movie and survey, and a suprahorizon movie to observe dust and cloud activity in Gale. ChemCam included an AEGIS activity where the rover will pick and analyze a target in the workspace after Curiosity completes a ~32-meter drive. Although the large, tilted rocks ahead make for a challenging drive, excitement is running high as we continue our ascent along the margin of the upper Gediz Vallis ridge!

Written by Sharon Wilson Purdy, Planetary Geologist at Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum

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May 08, 2024

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