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NASA's Perseverance Rover Is Looking for Life on Mars

WSJ.com: WSJD - Technology

NASA's latest Mars rover is done with its testing and is ready to embark upon its first scientific mission. After landing on the planet in February, the Perseverance rover has been busy trying out its many instruments--converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen that would be needed for manned missions, flying a helicopter and taking photos. Now, it will begin its mission: looking for evidence of life. Over the coming months, it will use a variety of sophisticated instruments to scan the planet's Jezero Crater for places of interest, drill into rocks and soil, and collect specimens to be retrieved and brought to Earth by future spacecraft. The rover is packed with 23 cameras, sensors, a laser and a drill-equipped robotic arm.


NASA's Insight Mars lander is not getting power and could end its mission in the less than a year

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's InSight lander is struggling to retain power as it explores Mars as dust is accumulating on its solar panels, which could result in its mission ending within the next year. The American space agency announced Tuesday that 80 percent of the solar panels are obstructed by dust, leaving less than 700 watt-hours of power per Martian day. It was hoped that winds would clean the lander and allow it to continue to collect seismic data on its extended mission, which was supposed to last until the end of 2022. NASA attempted to remove dust from the top on InSight earlier this month using the lander's robotic arm, which trickled sand near one solar panel with the hopes wind would carry off the panel's dust. NASA's InSight lander is struggling to retain power as it explores Mars due to Martian dust accumulating on its solar panels, which could result in its mission within the next year The death of InSight was discussed at a June 21 meeting of NASA's Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group, SpaceNews reports.


How astronauts deal with the boring parts of being in space

MIT Technology Review

Is there training at NASA or elsewhere for this kind of stuff? There are analogues of the space station and the modules to prepare you for how to handle things. You go see how you're going to do the so-called mundane things you'll be doing in space. And when it comes to figuring out how you'll do these things in space, there's the parabolic flights you go on, where you experience weightlessness for 25 seconds at a time. But we never really take weightlessness training to do other things, like cleaning your teeth.


Nasa says newly discovered 'weird' planet with 'unknown' atmosphere is remarkably similar to Earth

The Independent - Tech

A'weird' planet recently discovered has excited scientists in their hunt for extraterrestial life. Researchers from Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the University of New Mexico discovered exoplanet TOI-1231 b orbiting an M dwarf star – otherwise known as a red dwarf. Scientists were able to characterise that star, and measure both the radius and the mass of TOI-1231 b. This then gave them the necessary data to calculate density, and hypothesise what the atmosphere is made of. The planet, a temperate sub-Neptune sized body with a 24-day orbit, is eight times closer to its star than the Earth is to the sun, but its temperature is similar to our home planet because the red dwarf itself is less potent. Its atmosphere is approximately 330 Kelvin or 140 degrees Fahrenheit, making TOI-1231b one of the coolest, small exoplanets accessible for atmospheric studies discovered yet.


NASA picks Venus for two new robotic missions

USATODAY - Tech Top Stories

NASA is returning to Venus, our closest yet perhaps most overlooked neighbor, after decades of exploring other worlds. Bill Nelson, NASA's new administrator, on Wednesday announced two new robotic missions to the solar system's hottest planet. (June 2)


NASA marks Perseverance's 100th day on Mars in tweet celebrating its biggest achievements

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Perseverance celebrated its 100th Martian day on Tuesday since the rover put its massive wheels in the dusty landscape of the Red Planet on February 18. Perseverance, nicknamed Perky, has since hit a number of milestones that could not only help NASA find life, but also pave the way for humans to one-day walk on Mars. These achievements include recording sounds on Mars, making oxygen using carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and sending back more than 75,000 pictures of the Martian world. The car-sized vehicle also helped the US space agency fly the first powered drone, Ingenuity, on another world and is currently on a mission, exploring the Jezero Crater, to find signs of ancient microbial life. World's first all-electric AI speedboat appears to float Dominique Samuels claims it's'psychotic' to unfriend an anti-vaxxer NASA's Perseverance celebrated its 100th Martian day on Tuesday since the rover put its massive wheels in the dusty landscape of the Red Planet on February 18 Perseverance embarked on its 239 million-mile journey to Mars on July 30, 2020 from Florida's Space Coast facility. Strapped atop an Atlas V-541 rocket, the rover and its travel companion, Ingenuity, took off from Launch Complex 41 at 4:50am ET. NASA held a live briefing on February 18, as the world waited to learn if the rover and helicopter survived the'seven minutes of terror.'


ISS' Robotic Arm Damaged After Getting Hit By Orbital Debris

International Business Times

An important part of the International Space Station (ISS) been damaged after getting hit by orbital debris. The damage doesn't appear to be substantial, but it shows the threat posed by such "junk." The damage was discovered during an inspection of the ISS' Canadarm2 on May 12, the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) said in a statement. Canadarm2 is the CSA's contribution to the ISS and is essentially a robotic arm that performs various important tasks, from moving supplies and even astronauts to grabbing visiting vehicles then berthing them to the ISS. Images of the hit show small damage, but it was quite a "lucky strike," considering that Canadarm2 only has a diameter of 14 inches.


Mars: Nasa's Perseverance rover's first 100 days in pictures

BBC News

Since touching down on 18 February, the robot has captured some amazing images from around its landing site, Jezero Crater, a 49km (30 mile) wide impact depression just north of the Red Planet's equator.


Japan is going to put a baseball-sized robot that transforms on the moon in 2022

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo and goddess of the Moon in Greek mythology. NASA has chosen her to personify its path back to the Moon, which will see astronauts return to the lunar surface by 2024 - including the first woman and the next man. Artemis 1, formerly Exploration Mission-1, is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions that will enable human exploration to the Moon and Mars. Artemis 1 will be the first integrated flight test of NASA's deep space exploration system: the Orion spacecraft, Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the ground systems at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Artemis 1 will be an uncrewed flight that will provide a foundation for human deep space exploration, and demonstrate our commitment and capability to extend human existence to the Moon and beyond.


NASA's Ingenuity helicopter completes a sixth flight despite some 'unexpected motion'

Daily Mail - Science & tech

NASA's Ingenuity Mars helicopter has survived its sixth flight on the Red Planet, but not everyone went to plan, with some'unexpected motion' in the final few feet. This motion was from an'image processing issue' but the 4lb copter'muscled through' the final 213ft of its 703ft flight over the Martian surface, NASA JPL tweeted. The flight happened last week, on May 22, but NASA said it would be taking more time to review each flight before releasing data after the fifth flight was over, so information on it surviving the'wobble' weren't released until Thursday. Despite the issue the helicopter, currently in a new phase where it is helping Perseverance scout for locations, 'landed safely and is ready to fly again.' The latest trip was designed to expand the flight envelope and demonstrate aerial-imaging capabilities by taking stereo images of a region of interest to the west. Ingenuity climbed 33ft, moved 492ft southwest at 9 mph, travelled 49ft south while capturing images towards the west, before going another 164ft to its landing site.