THIS WEEK @NASA: Martian Skies Clearing Over Opportunity Rover, Dawn Spacecraft Nearing An End
By Space Coast Daily // September 9, 2018
ABOVE VIDEO: An update on our Mars rovers, continued progress for our Moon to Mars effort, and a look back at Dawn – in its twilight … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Martian Skies Clearing Over Opportunity Rover
The dust continues to settle on Mars from the massive dust storm that has shrouded the Red Planet since at least late May and halted operations for our Opportunity rover.
Engineers at our Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, are closely monitoring the nearly 15-year-old, solar-powered rover for signs that it is receiving enough energy from the sun to automatically initiate recovery procedures, if possible.
New Curiosity Panoramic Image on Mars
Our Curiosity rover has produced a new panoramic image on Mars. The panorama, taken on Aug. 9 while the rover explored a region known as Vera Rubin Ridge, includes a view of Curiosity’s latest drill hole, a view of the rover’s deck, and the fading dust storm in the skies over Gale Crater. A 360 degree version of the panorama is available on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory’s YouTube site at youtube.com/nasajpl.
Mobile Launcher Moves Toward Exploration Mission-1
The recent movement of our mobile launcher atop crawler-transporter 2 at Kennedy Space Center, in Florida is yet another sign of continued progress in the agency’s effort to send humans on missions to the Moon and eventually to Mars. The 380-foot-tall mobile launcher, which was recently modified for our Space Launch System or SLS rocket, is undergoing tests in preparation for the first launch of SLS with our Orion spacecraft.
RS-25 Engine Test at Stennis
On Sept. 6 engineers at our Stennis Space Center, in Mississippi conducted a certification hot fire test of an RS-25 engine flight controller unit. The flight controller will be used on a future flight of the SLS rocket. It was also the latest evaluation of a 3D-printed part that helps prevent forces that can cause the rocket to become unstable during flight. SLS will use four RS-25s to launch Orion on missions to deep space destinations, including the Moon and Mars.
Dawn Nearing End of Its Stellar Mission
Our Dawn spacecraft is expected to soon reach the end of a mission that has helped scientists characterize our early solar system and the processes that dominated its formation. During a Sept. 7 Science Chat at our Jet Propulsion Laboratory, experts discussed the mission. Launched in 2007, Dawn is the only spacecraft to orbit two deep-space destinations — asteroid Vesta and dwarf planet Ceres. These celestial bodies are believed to have formed early in the history of the solar system.
NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine:
“We helped two partners – namely Boeing and SpaceX – develop capability to fly our astronauts into space.”
During the latest episode of “Watch This Space”, our administrator, Jim Bridenstine visits with our Suni Williams and Boeing astronaut Chris Ferguson. Williams and Ferguson will each fly future Commercial Crew missions to the space station aboard Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner. You can check out episodes of “Watch This Space”, at nasa.gov/watchthisspace.
That’s what’s up this week @NASA
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