THIS WEEK @NASA: Major Milestone for James Webb Space Telescope, Preparing SLS Moon Rockets

By  //  January 15, 2022

latest happenings around NASA

ABOVE VIDEO: A major milestone for the James Webb Space Telescope, what astronomers could learn from a “mini” monster black hole, and the latest assessment of our planet’s global surface temperature … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Major Milestone for the James Webb Space Telescope

“And we have a fully deployed JWST observatory … (applause)”—Ground Controller

On Jan. 8, our James Webb Space Telescope team reached a major mission milestone when it finished deploying the telescope’s 21-foot primary mirror. That successfully completed the final stage of all major spacecraft deployments needed to prepare for science operations.

The next step is to begin moving the 18 primary mirror segments to align the telescope optics – a process that will take months to complete. For more details about the mission, visit: nasa.gov/webb.

“Mini” Monster Black Hole Could Hold “Big” Clues

Our Chandra X-ray Observatory has identified a supermassive, or monster black hole in the dwarf galaxy Mrk 462 that could help astronomers learn more about how the very largest black holes grow.

This is one of the first times that an obscured supermassive black hole has been found in a dwarf galaxy. Mrk 462 contains only several hundred million stars. By contrast, there are a few hundred billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy.

Annual Assessment of Global Temperatures

According to independent analyses done by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), our planet’s global average surface temperature in 2021 tied with 2018 as the sixth warmest on record.

This continues a long-term global warming trend during which the past eight years have been the warmest years on record. Tracking global temperature trends provides a crucial indicator of the impact human activities are having on the climate and quality of life on Earth. Learn more about NASA’s Earth science missions at nasa.gov/earth.

NASA’s New Chief Scientist/Climate Advisor

On Jan. 10, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that Dr. Katherine Calvin will serve as the agency’s new chief scientist and senior climate advisor. She replaces former chief scientist Jim Green, who recently retired and Gavin Schmidt, who was serving as the acting senior climate advisor.

The senior climate advisor position was established to ensure effective fulfillment of the Biden-Harris Administration’s climate science objectives for the agency.

Astronaut Candidates Report for Duty

Also, on Jan. 10, our ten newest astronaut candidates reported for duty at our Johnson Space Center and were sworn in – kicking off their two-year training schedule. When their training is complete, they could be assigned to missions aboard the International Space Station, launches from American soil on spacecraft built by commercial companies, or Artemis missions to the Moon with NASA’s Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System rocket.

Preparing SLS Moon Rockets for First Crewed Artemis Missions

As teams continue to prepare our Space Launch System or SLS rocket for this year’s uncrewed Artemis I flight test around the Moon, we and our partners across the country are also making progress building the rocket for Artemis II, the first Artemis Moon mission with astronauts. We are also busy manufacturing and testing major parts of rocket hardware for the Artemis III, IV and V missions.

With Artemis, we will land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon and establish long-term lunar exploration in preparation for human missions to Mars.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA