NASA’s new Mars lander has snapped its first selfie on the Red Planet.
The InSight spacecraft, which touched down on the flat equatorial plain Elysium Planitia on Nov. 26, took the selfie using the camera on its 5.9-foot-long (1.8 meters) robotic arm. The photo is a composite made up of 11 separate images, NASA officials said.
“This is the same imaging process used by NASA’s Curiosity rover mission, in which many overlapping pictures are taken and later stitched together,” the officials wrote in a statement describing the image, which was released today (Dec. 11). “Visible in the selfie are the lander’s solar panel and its entire deck, including its science instruments.” [NASA’s InSight Mars Lander: Amazing Landing Day Photos!]
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft is expected to rendezvous with asteroid Bennu on Monday after traveling more than 1 billion miles through space. The historic expedition will be the first U.S. mission to bring samples from an asteroid back to Earth.
And a deadly asteroid, larger than a two-story house has been named by NASA as Asteroid 2018 WN. Although NASA astronomers have calculated the asteroid is not on a trajectory to slam into our world, its destructive potential is nonetheless awe-inspiring.
During a public event held today (Nov. 29), the agency unveiled nine new partners that will be designing and building lunar landers aimed at facilitating scientific exploration of the moon. In addition to the specific companies chosen, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine also announced that the program running those contracts — the Commercial Lunar Payload Services program — is now part of the science section of NASA’s bureaucracy, not the human exploration section.
When Elon Musk appeared on Joe Rogan’s podcast and had a taste of the host’s joint, it was totally on-brand for the risk-taking CEO. Musk is a brilliant guy, but he also likes to push the envelope in ways that tend to worry those he does business with. He’s already gotten in hot water over Tesla drama, including tweeting his intention to take the stock private, and his pot smoking adventure appears to have made things worse.
Now, NASA is planning to review the workplace culture of Musk’s other darling, SpaceX, because some senior NASA officials didn’t like the look of Musk indulging in the devil’s lettuce.
A normally reliable Soyuz FG rocket malfunctioned two minutes after liftoff from Kazakhstan Thursday. The malfunction forced a Russian cosmonaut and his NASA crewmate to execute an emergency abort and a steep-but-safe return to Earth a few hundred miles from the launch site. Russian recovery crews reported the crew came through the ordeal in good shape.
“NASA astronaut Nick Hague and Russian cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin are in good condition following today’s aborted launch,” NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine tweeted from Kazakhstan. “I’m grateful that everyone is safe. A thorough investigation into the cause of the incident will be conducted.”
Now, as NASA notes in a statement, these aren’t necessarily all wildfires – but it’s still an impactful image.
Dozens of people in the Southeast U.S. were treated to a special cosmic show in the wee hours of Friday morning.
An exceedingly bright fireball meteor streaked above that part of the country at about 1:19 a.m. ET on Friday, and it was caught in the act by NASA’s all sky cameras in Alabama.
“Early results indicate the fireball, which was at least 40 times as bright as the Full Moon, was caused by a small asteroid 6 feet (2 meters) in diameter,” NASA said in a Facebook post.
It’s possible that some small pieces of the meteor made it to the ground — where they’re known as meteorites — but it’s unclear whether any small chunks made it all the way through the atmosphere, NASA added.
Near the Stony Tunguska River, Russia, back in 1908, a huge asteroid smashed into the a forest.
The rock, estimated as being between 200 to 620ft, left an enormous crater and knocked down 80 million trees.
A decades-old lunar mystery has now been solved thanks to the recovery of once lost data tapes and a massive amount of sleuthing.
The results confirm that inexplicable changes in the moon’s temperatures recorded in the 1970s were not the result of some strange inner heat source, but rather the by-product on astronauts stomping around and stirring up moon dust.