THIS WEEK @NASA: Record-Tying Spacewalk to Upgrade ISS, NASA Discusses Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission

By  //  July 25, 2020

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ABOVE VIDEO: A record-tying spacewalk to upgrade the space station, the station crew receives a new shipment of supplies, and looking forward to seeing Ingenuity take flight on Mars … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

A Record-Tying Spacewalk to Upgrade the Space Station

On July 21, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Chris Cassidy conducted a nearly five-and-a-half hour spacewalk outside the International Space Station.

They upgraded station systems, and prepared the outpost for future equipment to deploy experiments into space. Behnken and Cassidy have joined Michael Lopez-Alegria and Peggy Whitson as the only other U.S. astronauts to complete 10 spacewalks.

Supply Spacecraft Delivers Cargo to Space Station

On July 23, an uncrewed Russian Progress supply spacecraft launched to the Station from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Several hours later it arrived with almost three tons of food, fuel, and supplies for the crew.

Ingenuity Mars Helicopter: Attempting the First Powered Flight on Mars

Our Mars 2020 mission is targeted for launch July 30 from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The mission will carry the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover to the Red Planet, and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. This technology demonstration, which has completed its series of testing on Earth, will make history’s first attempt at powered flight on another planet the very next time it spreads its wings.

Mimi Aung, Ingenuity Mars Helicopter project manager):
“Really our job isn’t done until we see the same test flight being performed at Mars. So, next time we fly it will be at Mars. But that’s our ultimate goal, that’s when we’ll go, ‘Yes!’”

You can learn more about Ingenuity at: go.nasa.gov/marshelicopter.

NASA Discusses Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Mission with Space Foundation

Jim Bridenstine/NASA Administrator:
“This is emblematic of greatness that comes from these kind of exploration initiatives.”

Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other NASA leaders joined a July 20 virtual discussion with the Space Foundation. The event highlighted how NASA’s Artemis program for the Moon and our Mars Perseverance rover mission are helping us prepare for human exploration of Mars.

Advancing Technologies to Send Humans to Mars

Technology development has already begun to enable a crewed Mars mission as early as the 2030s. Capabilities being worked on range from powerful propulsion systems, to next generation high-tech spacesuits, to pressurized rovers astronauts can live and work in for weeks. Check out go.nasa.gov/marstech for more about these and other space technologies NASA is working on to make Mars science fiction a reality.

Protecting Other Planets from Our Germs

NASA’s Planetary Protection Office tries to ensure that missions to Mars and other places in the solar system that might have life, do not carry too many spores — cells that could re-activate and transport Earthly bacteria. This is especially important for a mission such as Mars 2020 that will collect samples for possible return to Earth. The latest episode of our “Gravity Assist” podcast at go.nasa.gov/planetprotect has more about planetary protection, including what your hand sanitizer has in common with NASA’s clean rooms.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA

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