In a major test flight of SpaceX largest rocket, the massive Starship took off from a launch pad in southern Texas today. However, the rocket exploded before reaching space and cut short the flight. In a recent launch attempt, Starship and its booster successfully lifted off from the launch pad and ascended to a height of 39 kilometers. However, the spacecraft unexpectedly lost control and unfortunately exploded just four minutes into the flight before the planned separation could occur. During a webcast of the launch attempt, John Insprucker, the principal integration engineer for SpaceX, which constructed Starship, stated that the situation was not normal.

SpaceX has achieved a significant milestone with its most ambitious rocket. It successfully launched from the pad with up to 33 engines firing in synchrony. This achievement is a major step forward for the company. According to Insprucker, the Starship provided a remarkable conclusion to an already remarkable test.

SpaceX has set the upcoming Starship flights to usher in a fresh era of space exploration, which includes transporting people to the Moon and Mars. This development could also pave the way for novel forms of astrophysics and planetary science. The rocket had no crew on its inaugural test flight.

The rocket with the highest power:

In a recent development, it has been revealed that Starship boasts of almost double the power of NASA’s latest deep-space rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS), which took its maiden flight in November. Until now, Starship had only undergone a few tests at low altitudes above SpaceX’s spaceport in Boca Chica, Texas. Today’s mission was to achieve space travel and orbit most of the planet before landing in the ocean near Hawaii.

According to Laura Forczyk, the executive director of Astralytical, a space consulting company in Atlanta, Georgia, the successful demonstration of Starship’s ability to reach orbit by SpaceX would have a significant impact on future developments.

SpaceX has announced its plans to utilize the Starship spacecraft to establish a human settlement on the planet Mars. NASA has set its sights on utilizing the vehicle to assist in landing astronauts on the Moon’s surface soon as a component of its proposed Artemis missions. Scientists are envisioning the potential of utilizing Starship’s vast size to transport large telescopes for planetary missions into the depths of space.

During the Space Symposium held in Colorado Springs, Colorado on April 18th, Julianna Scheiman, the director of NASA satellite missions at SpaceX, expressed her enthusiasm for the potential of utilizing Starship to advance scientific research.

Crafts that can be reused:

The Starship spacecraft resembles a colossal metal tube. It stands at a towering height of 120 meters. When combined with its Super Heavy rocket booster, it becomes even taller. Moreover, scientists have developed a new spacecraft that can transport up to 150 tonnes of equipment into space. The designers have innovatively crafted a fully reusable transportation system for future space missions, making it cost-effective. In a bid to reduce the expenses of space travel, SpaceX has announced its intention to recover and reuse its components.

According to Jennifer Heldmann, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, the limitations of space flight have always been mass, volume, and cost. Starship effectively removes all of these limitations.

Between 1981 and 2011, NASA completed 135 missions to low Earth orbit with its space shuttles. These shuttles were designed for routine space access. NASA has decided to retire the shuttle. Instead, they will focus on developing a more advanced SLS. This will enable deeper space exploration.

SpaceX has successfully created smaller rockets that are partially reusable, including the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy series. Various users, including governments and companies, frequently use these rockets to launch satellites. SpaceX plans to utilize its Starship spacecraft for the deployment of larger objects, including the upcoming Starlink communications satellites. However, some astronomers have raised concerns about the potential impact of these satellites on nighttime observations.

Challenges Faced by Rockets:

By Forczyk, the ability of SpaceX to deliver on its commitment to frequent and also cost-effective Starship flights remains uncertain. The potential of Starship to deliver smaller rockets is advantageous for the spacecraft. NASA has endorsed it as a crucial component of their Moon exploration initiative, which further strengthens its potential.

As demonstrated by today’s flight, the development of any new rocket remains a difficult task. Shortly, it is highly probable that SpaceX will conduct tests on several other Starships that have already been constructed. According to Forczyk, there is a possibility of witnessing substantial advancements this year. The possibility remains uncertain.

 

Published by: Sky Headlines

Virgin Galactic flight is one of the most fascinating events for space enthusiasts! Therefore, it announced on Monday that it’s planning its third commercial spaceflight. The name of this space flight is Galactic 03. Virgin Galactic’s next flight 2023 would be as early as September 8. Moreover, this flight will carry three passengers who bought their tickets in the early 2000s.

 If it happens in September, it will be Virgin Galactic’s fourth spaceflight in four months. It will be showing their quick pace after a long break. It also puts them ahead of Blue Origin, which has been grounded for almost a year since a launch accident.

Virgin galactic spaceship

Virgin Galactic Space Flight 2023:

The ‘Galactic 03’ crew are among Virgin Galactic’s first customers, known as ‘Founder’ astronauts. What is more important is their assistance in this project. They have helped turn the idea of regular commercial spaceflights of Virgin Galactic into reality with their early ticket purchases.

Furthermore, crew members got their tickets back in 2005 and have been active in Virgin Galactic’s Future Astronaut community. Which has around 800 members from over 60 countries. This community offers unique experiences to inspire and enhance their spaceflight journey.

The Virgin Galactic flight 03 pilots are Nicola Pecile and Michael Masucci for VSS Unity. Besides this, Jameel Janjua is the VMS Eve Commander, assisted by Pilot Kelly Latimer.

Virgin Galactic will Have Its First Privately Funded Space Tourists!

Virgin Galactic achieved a remarkable milestone as it flew beyond the 50-mile space threshold. Besides these, it will be carrying its very first group of privately funded adventurers and lucky space sweepstakes winners. Among the passengers was Keisha Schahaff, whose exciting journey began with a win in an online contest organized by the Omaze charity.

But what makes this voyage even more captivating is that it etched its name in history by allowing a mother-and-daughter duo, Keisha Schahaff, and her daughter Anastasia Mayers. Therefore it is quite an amazing experience for Virgin Galactic to fly in space together for the very first time. Moreover, this extraordinary feat also marked a significant moment for the Caribbean nation of Antigua and Barbuda. These intrepid travelers became the first to represent their island nation in the realm of space exploration.

“I kind of feel like I was born in this life for this,” Schahaff, a wellness coach, told NBC’s “Today” show.

Her daughter is a college student who aims to become an astrobiologist.

Virgin Galactic Flight Number 2- Passenger Details:

Jon Goodwin, is an 80-year-old British adventurer and former Olympic canoeist from 1972. He did something extraordinary on the Galactic 02 flight today. He reserved a spot with Virgin Galactic back in 2005 when tickets cost $200,000. Despite being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease nearly a decade ago, he became only the second person with Parkinson’s to go to space today in a Virgin Galactic flight. Besides this, the flight is following NASA shuttle astronaut Rich Clifford.

What is the Virgin Galactic flight?

Virgin Galactic’s VSS Unity, a rocket-powered space plane, had a successful launch and landing on Thursday. This mission, called Galactic 02, took off just after 11 a.m. Eastern Time from Spaceport America in New Mexico, carrying the company’s first group of tourists into space.

Galactic 02 flight
A view of VSS Unity’s nozzle after the Galactic 02 flight. Credit: Eric Berger

How far is Virgin Galactic?

The VSS Unity rocket plane separated from the carrier plane over New Mexico at about 9:20 a.m. local time. It then took the four passengers, consisting of a company instructor and three tourists, to an altitude of roughly 55 miles (88.51 km).

How fast does Virgin Galactic go?

On Virgin Galactic flight 02, the space plane reached a speedy Mach 3, three times the speed of sound, and reached an altitude of 55 miles (88.5 kilometers) before returning to Earth. Virgin Galactic confirmed a smooth landing on the runway at Spaceport America at 11:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time (1530 GMT).

Who flew on the Virgin Galactic Space flight?

Galactic 02, the flight, took off from Spaceport America in New Mexico. Furthermore, let us tell you about the customers too. Onboard Galactic 02 were three customers: British former Olympian Jon Goodwin and two passengers from the Caribbean, Keisha Schahaff and Anastasia Mayers.

How many people can fit in Virgin Galactic?

Virgin Galactic launched the VSS Unity spaceplane 50 miles above Earth on Thursday. This spaceplane has windows all around the cabin and can carry four tourists in its 60-foot long, 27-foot wingspan frame. Additionally, the cabin inside of Virgin Galactic Flight is designed to be minimalistic and is described as providing an elegant yet forward-looking, experience-focused concept.

What makes Virgin Galactic unique?

Virgin Galactic proudly stands as the world’s pioneer in commercial space travel, with a mission that transcends boundaries. Besides these, the aim is to unite people from all corners of the world with the boundless love, wonder, and awe that space exploration can offer. They firmly believe that spaceflight possesses a remarkable power to alter our viewpoints, advance our technology, and chart a new course for our journey as a species.

Why did Virgin Galactic drop so much?

In the second quarter, Virgin Galactic Holdings (SPCE 2.38%) certainly made significant strides. However, despite all their efforts, the results didn’t align with Wall Street’s high expectations. Following the release of the company’s financial figures and less-than-enthusiastic forecasts for the upcoming quarters, the stock of this space startup experienced a roughly 5% decline. It’s a clear example of anticipation not quite matching reality in the dynamic realm of space ventures.

How long does Virgin Galactic stay in space?

Key Details Information:

  • Flight Duration 60 minutes
  • Altitude Reached 55 miles (88km) above Earth
  • Notable Passengers Former Olympian, Mother-daughter pair
  • Founder Sir Richard Branson

What is the aim of Virgin Galactic?

The mission is to make human spaceflight accessible to people worldwide. Therefore, working at Virgin Galactic lets many astronomers have an inspiration present and future generations by shaping the future of space travel.

Can you go to space with Virgin Galactic?

The flight window officially opened Thursday morning, and tickets are up to $450,000.

Discover the most fascinating information about space facts and cosmic space. We’re sure that most of the information listed here will make you jaw-dropping!

Take a look at the information and broaden your knowledge. The realm of space remains one of the most interesting topics to study.

Carl Sagan, an American astronomer, and planetary scientist, says:

“The universe is infinite that we humans seem so small and fleeting.”

In a world as vast and as largely unexplored as space, be aware that these are facts to the extent that our current understanding and knowledge about the universe as well as physics. With more research and improved technology, we can come up with discoveries, and facts about space that could change everything.

Mind Blowing Space Facts!

We will cover some of the best space facts for kids, as well as for adults in this section.

1- The space between different planets of our solar system

This list of space facts with a well-known one. Many people believe that it’s possible to fit every planet between Moon as well as the Earth However, this isn’t always the case.

It can be hard to comprehend just how vast the distances between us are. If you were to take all of the planets that are part of the Solar System, Earth excluded they could be positioned in between Moon as well as the Earth at the point that they are the furthest from each other (known as the apogee).

It is difficult to get around when the Moon as well as Earth are closer, and you would require rotating the planets in order to get them in. If you consider that the Moon as well as Earth are close together (perigee) you don’t be able to squeeze them all together.

space between different planets of our solar system

2- The Sun isn’t the center of Jupiter’s orbit- One of the Amazing Space Facts

It’s not as insane as it sounds. The planets all revolve around the Sun Most have their center of orbit (barycenter) within the Sun.

However, when it is about Jupiter and the Sun the barycenter is just a little bit outside of the Sun. Although every thing in the Solar System indeed orbits the Sun, however, the situation is slightly more complicated. Planets as well as those of the Sun (and the other stars) are orbiting around their common centers of mass. Since Jupiter is huge, the barycenter of Jupiter and the Sun isn’t inside it. The sun is also huge. Jupiter isn’t in the Sun but is outside. The barycenter’s position is slightly different based on the position of the other planets. 

Space Facts img 2

3- The Sun holds about 99.86% of all mass of our Solar System

Talk about the massive. Solar System includes everything, the moons, the planets asteroids, dwarf planets, and comets. Moreover, if we talk about the sun of our solar system, then it holds 99.8% of all the solar system, Which means the mass of our sun is no much big than our Earth, and other planets. Jupiter is the largest of planets in the Solar System, and is 2.5 times bigger than all the other planets.

Space Facts img 3

4- If teleportation was possible and you could teleport anywhere in space, you could look at our past- One of the Scary Space Facts

In a fantasy world where instant teleportation can be achieved and astoundingly high-quality telescopes are commonplace, it would be possible to see back into time.

Let’s imagine that you travel to a planet that is only a light-year away. If you aim your telescope towards Earth it will look at the past for a year. If you’re only at a distance of one light year away the light that leaves the Earth takes about a year to reach you.

The farther you move, the more into the past you’d be able to look (with your mega zoom telescope). If you travel far enough, you might even be able to see dinosaurs. This is one of the scary space facts because if we would be able to look into our past, and travel. It would surely be very disturbing and terrifying!

CREDIT: ARTWORK-MATT DAVIDSON

5- Some of the stars you see in the sky might not exist anymore

The stars that are visible in the sky range between a few thousand light years from us (with an eye without) or millions of light years away (with the aid of a telescope). And it takes that much time for the light of those stars to be able to reach us. If the star 10,000 light years away from us exploded today, it would require 10.000 for the explosion to be visible from Earth. If you look up at the night sky’s stars, you are looking at their previous history.

stars you see in the sky might not exist anymore

According to Christa McAuliffe, a US Teacher and astronaut:

Space is for everybody. It’s not just for a few people in science or math, or a select group of astronauts. That’s our new frontier out there, and it’s everybody’s business to know about space”. 

Why is space silent?

The space vacuum contains essentially no air. Since sound is simply vibrational air, it does not have air to move and, therefore, there is no sound. If you were on a spacecraft and another spaceship exploded, there would be absolutely nothing.

What is space made of?

The outer space isn’t empty. It is a nearly perfect vacuum, containing particles with a very low density that are mostly plasmas of helium and hydrogen and magnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation neutrinos, dust, as well as cosmic radiation.

Why is space dark?

Since space is a nearly perfect vacuum — which means it contains the tiniest amount of particles it’s nearly impossible for the space between the planets and stars to scatter light towards our eyes. With no light entering our eyes, we are nothing but black.

Is space infinite?

Cosmologists don’t know whether it is truly large or if it is simply extremely big. To determine the size of the universe Astronomers look at the curvature of the universe. They have also discovered some of the scary space facts, and they are still discovering. The geometric curve of large scales of the universe can tell us about the overall shape of the universe. If our universe can be geometrically flat, it could be infinite.

Who visited space first?

Yuri Gagarin from the Soviet Union was the first person to be in space. His spacecraft, Vostok 1 circled Earth at 27,400 kilometers per hour, with the flight lasting for 108 minutes.

Who visited space first?

The Great Attractor – One of the Scary Space Facts!

We’re wrapping up this list of space facts by introducing “The Great Attractor. There are a lot of mysteries in space however one of the most significant can be found in the Great Attractor. This Great Attractor is a central gravitational anomaly and is the gravitational center in the Laniakea Supercluster which comprises around 100,000 galaxies that including the Milky Way.

The existence of the Great Attractor is known to us, and we can detect its effects on galaxies. But it is not visible to us because the Great Attractor itself is obscured by our galaxy. Our galaxy blocks our view and we’d need to be at the opposite end of it to be able to see it.

If you are wondering is there any need of space agriculture, then your concern is right. Astronauts, and employees who work in space can’t simply make a quick visit to the grocery store, if they need any good range of healthy meal choices. That is why there is a need to have the farming concept in space too.

 And this is done to have a fresh, and healthy diet during long space missions. Astronauts must have nutrient-packed food available. Till today, they bring the majority of their needed food from Earth. And as its very common that space missions got prolonged. That is why it has become important for the researchers to cultivate plants. This cultivation will serve to enhance their diet and provides a good atmosphere like home to them too.

Today, we will highlight some of the major projects by NASA & ESA when it comes to the space agriculture research.

What Backgrounded Study has been Provided by SpaceX?

As SpaceX’s 25th cargo resupply mission for NASA (SpX-25) is all ready towards the International Space Station. It will be transporting an important space agricultural and its biology study. Furthermore, this investigation also holds the potential to revolutionize the methods that we use to cultivate and sustain crops. That is why both in the space environment and on our home planet Earth will have a better point of view about agriculture.

How SpaceX has Conduct a Study on Space Agriculture?

This experiment is known as Dynamics of Microbiomes in Space” (DynaMoS). And it centers around the investigation of small organisms that we don’t know. Moreover, the initial indications of life on Earth trace back more than three billion years.

These microorganisms that is also known as microbe. They will eventually paved the way for all the life forms thriving on our planet today. With the passage of time, these microbes have evolved to effectively to the  available resources. And soil stands out as one of the most common, and opted ecosystems that has diverse microbial communities.

Microbes that stays in the soil plays a crucial role in the carbon cycle. And that is why the circulation of other essential nutrients, which in turn supports the growth of plants. Which is an important factor for the quality sustain of all life.

The DynaMoS project has a aim to dissect the impact of microgravity in space agriculture. And other variables on the metabolic plays important role among communities of soil microorganisms. This study will particularly highlight the soil microorganism groups which is known as  chitin. It is basically a carbon polymer that ranks as the second most prevalent on our planet.

Results from the Dynamics of Microbiomes in Space (DynaMoS) investigation will compare soil samples full of microbes flown aboard the International Space Station and ground control samples at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC).

How Space Agriculture Pave a Way in Science Inventions & Discoveries?

As we all know that consistent efforts plays an important role in the plant growth. And they holds a good significant in space exploration. This is why paving into the microorganism communities that are found within soil takes on fundamental role in our many space explorations.

What is BPS & How it Contributes to Space Agriculture?

NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences Division takes the lead in driving scientific revelations. And it further facilitates the science exploration. They do it by harnessing space environments for conducting studies that is not possible on Earth.

We all know that investigating biological and physical phenomena within extreme conditions provides researchers with so much knowledge.  With the means to push forward the important scientific insights necessary for extending our reach and duration in space missions.  Aside from this, the future space agriculture’s research yield valuable insights that have practical applications here on Earth.

Dynamics of Microbiomes in Space
Four bags containing 13 tubes each, like this one filled with soil, will fly to the International Space Station as part of the Dynamics of Microbiomes in Space (DynaMoS) investigation.

Important Words by a Scientist of BPS (Biological and Physical Sciences)

Dr. Mamta Patel Nagaraja. Who is a deputy program scientist for space biology for NASA’s Biological and Physical Sciences (BPS) division. He said:

“Farmers on Earth face challenges with weather changes, balancing carbon levels in soil, and other unpredictable forces, but growing crops in space is a whole different playing field.

One factor that is key is understanding how soil microbes perform and function in microgravity since they heavily affect the carbon and nutrient levels. Understanding the behavior of these microbes in spaceflight has the potential to improve agricultural production for long duration space travel. Which includes to other planets, and of course, farming right here on Earth.”

What is APH & How it Contributes to Space Agriculture?

The Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) also serves as a growth chamber into the station which helps in the plant research. This system has LED lights and a micro clay substrate. That is couple with control release fertilizer. It effectively provide water, nutrients, and oxygen to the plant roots.

However, what sets APH apart is its enclosed and automated design. Which is equipped with cameras and over 180 sensors. They maintain constant communication with a ground-based team stationed at Kennedy.

Space Agriculture
John “JC” Carver, a payload integration engineer with Kennedy’s Test and Operations Support Contract, opens the door to the growth chamber of the Advanced Plant Habitat Flight Unit No. 1 for a test harvest of half of the Arabidopsis thaliana plants growing within.
Credits: NASA/Leif Heimbold

Furthermore, it demands less day-to-day attention from the crew. Automation handles aspects such as water recovery and distribution, atmospheric composition, moisture levels, and temperature regulation. APH features an expanded palette of LED light colors compared to Veggie, including red, green, blue, white, far red, and even infrared. Which further benefits the nighttime imaging capabilities.

What is BRIC LED Lights?

The Biological Research in Canisters (BRIC) serves as a facility that help out in investigating the impact of space conditions on tiny organisms. Which can be cultivate in petri dishes. These organisms encompass entities like yeast and microbes. The latest iteration, known as BRIC-LED, has introduced light-emitting diodes (LEDs) to cater to biological specimens such as plants, mosses, algae, and cyanobacteria that rely on light to produce their sustenance.

Currently, BRIC-LED is undergoing tests to validate its hardware. Scientists are diligently ensuring that the LEDs remain within suitable temperature ranges for the plants while also conducting various system checks. In the near future, researchers like Dr. Simon Gilroy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison will utilize this facility to carry out their studies.

When did NASA start growing plants in space?

The timeline of these space-based projects of space agriculture is as follows:

  • Advanced Plant Habitat. It commenced its journey aboard the ISS in April 2017.
  • Bion Satellites. That stary back in 1973.
  • Biomass Production System. Which embarked on its mission in April 2002 aboard the ISS.
  • Vegetable Production System (Veggie). And it took off in May 2014, finding its place aboard the ISS.

How does NASA help agriculture?

NASA Acres collaborates with various stakeholders within the agricultural domain to create data and tools derived from Earth observatories. These resources are aims at enhancing production levels. While protecting the land, water, the atmosphere, and human well-being.

What food did NASA grow in space?

NASA has achieved successful cultivation of plants. That includes lettuce and radishes, and has examined their reactions to the space environment in space agriculture research. This has a comprehensive analysis ranging from gene expression to even assessing the spiciness of the plants. NASA’s Plant Habitat-04 experiment further builds upon prior endeavors, extending to the growth of peppers within the confines of the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH).

Farming Projects by NASA
The first growth test of crops in the Advanced Plant Habitat aboard the International Space Station yielded great results. Arabidopsis seeds – small flowering plants related to cabbage and mustard – grew for about six weeks, and dwarf wheat for five weeks.
Credits: NASA

What is the NASA Veggie program?

The Vegetable Production System (Veggie) stands as a plant growth setup developed and employed by NASA within the context of outer space conditions. Veggie holds a dual purpose: to furnish astronauts with a self-sustaining and lasting food source, while also offering a platform for leisure and relaxation through therapeutic gardening activities.

Space Agriculture
Zinnia plants from the Veggie ground control system are being harvested in the Flight Equipment Development Laboratory in the Space Station Processing Facility at Kennedy. A similar zinnia harvest was conducted by astronaut Scott Kelly on the International Space Station. Credits: NASA/Bill White

What is the Role of ESA in Space Agriculture?

On January 25, 2023, the European Space Agency (ESA) has a collaboration with the German Aerospace Centre (DLR) and the German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE). They held an event that united the research of space agriculture in space exploration and agri-food sectors. The goal was to collaboratively address common challenges and lay out a shared trajectory for progress.

The brave Ingenuity Mars helicopter might return to the air in the next two weeks.

How was the 52nd flight of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter?

The 52nd flight of NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter was a success. This is now written in the mission record. The breakout happened on April 26, but mission controllers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California lost touch with the helicopter as it landed. The Ingenuity team knew that contact would break down. It was for the reason that a hill stood between where the chopper landed and where the Perseverance rover was, making it hard for the two to talk to each other. The rover sends radio signals from the airplane to the mission managers at JPL.

How did the contact with Ingenuity Mars Helicopter recover?

The Ingenuity Mars helicopters’ team had already made plans for getting back in touch with the rover when it drove back into range before the communication broke down. On June 28, when Perseverance came over the hill and could see Ingenuity again, contact was made again.

The goal of Flight 52, which lasted 139 seconds and covered 1,191 feet (363 meters), was to move the chopper and take pictures of the surface of Mars for the science team working on the rover.

What was the viewpoint of the Ingenuity team lead on the situation?

Josh Anderson, the Ingenuity team lead at JPL, said,

“The part of Jezero Crater that the rover and helicopter are currently exploring has a lot of rough terrains, which makes it more likely that communications will drop.”

“The team’s goal is to keep Creativity ahead of Persistence, which sometimes means briefly going beyond the limits of communication. We’re glad to be able to talk to Ingenuity Mars helicopter again and hear that Flight 52 has taken off.”

Mars Helicopter
NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter is seen in shadow in an image captured by its navigation camera during the rotorcraft’s 52nd flight on April 26. This image was finally received after Perseverance and Ingenuity were out of communication for 63 days. Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Sixty-three days is a long time to wait for the results of a flight. But the information shows that the first plane on another world is doing fine. If the rest of Ingenuity’s health checks are just as good, the chopper could be ready to fly again in a couple of weeks.

Flight 53 will go to a temporary airport in the west. From there, the team will take another westward flight to a new base of operations. This base lies near a rocky outcrop that the Perseverance team wants to explore.

More keen details on the Ingenuity of Mars helicopter planning

JPL built the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter and also ran the project for NASA Headquarters. The Science Mission Directorate at NASA helps with it. During the creation of Ingenuity, NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley and NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, helped with flight performance analysis and technical help. AeroVironment Inc., Qualcomm, and SolAero also helped with the concept and made essential parts for the car. Lockheed Space was involved in creating and producing the Mars Delivery System.

On Saturday,1st July at around 11:11 a.m. EDT, a new space telescope named Euclid spacecraft is ready to go to space. Let’s dive in further to know about the amazing journey of this spacecraft;

What the Euclid spacecraft actually is?

It is a European Space Agency (ESA) project, but NASA, the American space agency, also helped a lot. Its main job is to discover why the universe is getting bigger faster and faster. Scientists are curious about the strange force causing this, calling it “dark energy.”

Two of the greatest contemporary enigmas about the cosmos, dark matter and dark energy, will be clarified by the ESA project Euclid spacecraft, to which NASA will also contribute.

Nancy Grace Telescope collaborating with Euclid spacecraft

By May 2027, another NASA telescope called the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will team up with Euclid. Together, they will try to solve this mystery in new ways. Jason Rhodes, a top research scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California and a key person in both the Roman and Euclid spacecraft projects, said that;

“Even though we learned about the universe’s fast expansion 25 years ago, we still don’t understand it”.

He said;

“These new telescopes would help us measure dark energy much better than before, starting a new exploration period.”

Scientists are curious to know if the universe’s speedy expansion is because of some extra energy or if it means that we need to change how we understand gravity. Astronomers will use Roman and Euclid to look into both of these theories. They think both of these projects will give us important information about the universe’s workings.

How will the Roman and Euclid will work?

Euclid and Roman are made to study the universe’s speedy expansion, but they’ll do it in different ways that complement each other. Both will make 3D maps of the universe to answer big questions about its history and structure. Together, they’ll be much more powerful than they would be alone.

Euclid spacecraft will look at a much bigger area of the sky – around 15,000 square degrees, or about a third – using infrared and optical light but will see less detail than Roman. It will look back 10 billion years to when the universe was about 3 billion years old.

Roman can look at the universe with more detail and precision but will cover a smaller area – about 2,000 square degrees, or one-twentieth of the sky. Its infrared vision will see the universe when it was 2 billion years old, showing more fainter galaxies. While Euclid spacecraft will only look at the universe’s structure, Roman will also study closer galaxies, find and study planets throughout our galaxy, look at objects at the edges of our solar system, and much more.

Some crucial aspects of the ESA's Euclid and NASA's Roman spacecraft are compared in this infographic.

The Hunt for Dark Energy

The universe has grown since it was born, a fact discovered by Belgian astronomer Georges Lemaître in 1927 and Edwin Hubble in 1929. But scientists thought that the universe’s gravity would gradually slow this growth. In the 1990s, by looking at a specific kind of supernova, scientists found out that about 6 billion years ago, dark energy started to have a bigger effect on the universe, and we don’t know how or why. The fact that the universe’s expansion is speeding up means that we don’t understand something about the universe.

What will Euclid and Roman projects will study?

Roman and Euclid will give us new data to help us understand this mystery. They’ll try to figure out what’s causing the universe’s speedy expansion in a few different ways. First, Roman and Euclid will look at how matter has accumulated over time using weak gravitational lensing. This happens because anything with mass bends space-time; the more mass, the more bending. The light that moves through these bends looks distorted. The background can look smeared or show multiple images when the bending objects are big galaxies or clusters of galaxies.

Less concentrated mass, like clumps of dark matter, can create smaller effects. Roman and Euclid spacecraft will create a 3D map of dark matter by studying these smaller distortions. This will give clues about the universe’s speedy expansion because the gravitational pull of dark matter, acting like a glue that holds galaxies and galaxy clusters together, fights against the universe’s expansion. By counting all the universe’s dark matter over time, scientists will better understand the push-and-pull causing the universe’s speedy expansion.

The two projects will also study how galaxies are grouped at different times in the universe. Scientists have seen a pattern in how galaxies gather from measurements of the nearby universe. For any galaxy today, we are about twice as likely to find another galaxy about 500 million light-years away than a little nearer or farther.

Observing the Expansion of universe

This distance has grown over time because of the universe’s expansion. By looking further into the universe via Euclid spacecraft, to earlier times, astronomers can study the preferred distance between galaxies in different periods. Seeing how it has changed will reveal the universe’s expansion history. Seeing how galaxy grouping varies over time will also allow a precise gravity test. This will help astronomers tell the difference between an unknown energy component and different theories about modified gravity as explanations for the universe’s speedy expansion.

Roman’s survey for Ia supernova

Apart from Euclid spacecraft, Roman will conduct an extra survey to discover many faraway type Ia supernovae – a special exploding star. These explosions have a similar brightness. Because of this, astronomers can determine how far away the supernovae are by measuring how bright they look.

Astronomers will use Roman to study the light of these supernovae to find out how fast they appear to be moving away from us. Scientists will trace the universe’s expansion over time by comparing how fast they’re moving away at different distances. This will help us better understand whether and how dark energy has changed throughout the universe’s history.

What is the significance of Roman and Euclid spacecraft project?

The two projects’ surveys will overlap, with Euclid likely looking at the entire area Roman will examine. Scientists can use Roman’s more detailed and precise data to correct Euclid’s and apply these corrections to Euclid’s larger area.

Mike Seiffert, a project scientist for the NASA contribution to Euclid at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said that Euclid spacecraft’s first look at the big area of sky it will study would inform the science, analysis, and survey approach for Roman’s more detailed examination.

Yun Wang, a senior research scientist at Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California, who has led galaxy grouping science groups for both Euclid and Roman, said,

“Together, Euclid and Roman will add up to much more than the sum of their parts.”

He said combining their observations will give astronomers a better idea of what’s happening in the universe.

Three science groups supported by NASA are contributing to the Euclid spacecraft project. Along with designing and making Euclid’s Near Infrared Spectrometer and Photometer (NISP) instrument sensor-chip electronics, JPL led the getting and delivery of the NISP detectors. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center tested those detectors. The Euclid NASA Science Center at IPAC (ENSCI) at Caltech will support U.S.-based studies using Euclid spacecraft data

News:

NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft project has taken two amazing pictures of Mars using ultraviolet light. This light can show us a lot about the planet’s air and surface.

Maven, a NASA spacecraft, enters orbit over Mars. According to NASA, the Maven spacecraft effectively completed an engine run to reach Martian orbit and start its journey to investigate the atmosphere of the Red Planet. The Martian ionosphere contains a thin film of metal ions as a consequence of entering interplanetary dust striking the upper atmosphere, and MAVEN delivered its inaugural direct observations of this layer.

MAVEN Spacecraft’s Mission

Originally an aspect of NASA’s now-cancelled Mars Scout Programme, the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) expedition was chosen to investigate the planet’s environment and aurora and how they are influenced by the Sun and the solar winds.
MAVEN spacecraft discovered that the Sun is the main cause of Mars’ atmosphere depletion. The solar wind is the aggregate name for the stream of hot, extremely energetic particles that the Sun releases.

MAVEN spacecraft’s tool for taking these pictures is the Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph (IUVS). It took these pictures in 2022 and 2023 when Mars was at different points in its path around the Sun.

UV Images by MAVEN Spacecarft

The IUVS tool takes pictures using light that we can’t usually see. To help us see it, the pictures show different light brightness levels as red, green, and blue. Using these colors, the air’s ozone looks purple, and clouds look white or blue. The surface can look tan or green, depending on the picture.

UV Images by MAVEN Spacecarft

The first picture by MAVEN spacecraft was taken in July 2022, when Mars was close to the Sun. It was summer in the southern part of Mars. In the picture, you can see a large area called the Argyre Basin, filled with a light pink haze. You can also see the white southern polar ice cap. It’s smaller because it’s summer and warmer. More water vapor is in the air because of the heat and dust storms. This is why Mars loses more hydrogen during this time.

MAVEN spacecraft took second picture which shows the northern part of Mars in January 2023. This was when Mars was farthest from the Sun. Many white clouds are near the north pole because the seasons change quickly. In this picture, the cold winter nights have caused more ozone to form. Then, the ozone goes away in the spring because of reactions with water vapor.

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MAVEN Spacecraft Project

The Pentagon’s Project termed as Maven spacecraft uses equipment algorithmic learning to sift through vast amounts of intelligence, spying, and reconnaissance information, including autonomous footage, document, hard drives for computer systems, thumb drives, and more, that have been gathered by the department and intelligence organisations for use operationally by the services.

Insights of MAVEN Spacecarft on Mars

MAVEN spacecraft was sent to space in November 2013 and started orbiting Mars in September 2014. The mission aims to study Mars’ upper atmosphere and how it interacts with the Sun and solar wind. This helps scientists learn more about how Mars’ atmosphere is escaping into space. Knowing this helps us learn about Mars’ past air, climate, and water and if it could have supported life. The MAVEN team is preparing for September 2024, when the probe will have been on Mars for ten years.

The person in charge of MAVEN works at the University of California, Berkeley. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland runs the project. Lockheed Martin Space made the spacecraft and managed the mission. In Southern California, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory assists with tracking the spacecraft and the Deep Space Network. The Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics at the University of Colorado Boulder manages the science activities and talks to the public.

News:

Watch Mercury come out of the shadows as the ESA/JAXA BepiColombo spacecraft flew by the planet’s nightside on June 19, 2023, and enjoy a special flyover of geologically rich scenery and a bonus 3D scene.

In the first part of the movie, which is made up of 217 pictures taken by BepiColombo Spacecraft’s monitoring camera M-CAM 3, the lit side of the planet quickly appears in the spacecraft’s field of view, showing a lot of interesting geological features. From far away, the Terminator, which is the line between day and night, stands out more. This makes the picture series even more beautiful. Mercury seems to hang between the spacecraft’s body and antenna for a moment before the spacecraft speeds away.

BepiColombo’s Journey

The picture sequence begins at 19:46:25 UTC on June 19, 2023, when BepiColombo Spacecraft was 1,789 km above the surface of the planet. It ends at 20:34:25 UTC on June 20, 2023, when BepiColombo was 331 755 km away. Around the closest approach, images were taken about once every minute. In later stages, this rate slowed down a lot.

BepiColombo Spacecraft and Mercury’s Beauty

In the second part of the BepiColombo Spacecraft movie, there is a view of an interesting area with the 600 km-long curved cliff called Beagle Rupes and the 218 km-wide Manley Crater, which was named for the Jamaican artist Edna Manley by the International Astronomical Union. Beagle Rupes goes through Sveinsdóttir, which is a long impact hole.

BepiColombo Spacecraft’s Closest Approach

The flight starts with a vertical view down, with east at the top of the screen. The view then moves down and BepiColombo Spacecraft focus on Beagle Rupes and Sveinsdóttir Crater. The view then moves from east to south by turning around. It then moves south to put Manley Crater in the middle, with the straight scarp called Challenger Rupes to its left, and then turns the view so that north is at the top again. At the end, the animated terrain goes away and the projected picture used for 3D reconstruction shows. For BepiColombo’s main science goal, which is to learn more about Mercury’s natural past, places like these will be very important.

Shape From Shading Method

Using a method called “shape from shading,” the scene has been put back together. Galileo Galilei noticed more than 400 years ago that parts of the Moon’s surface that tilt away from the Sun look darker, while those that tilt toward the Sun look brighter. The method for getting shape from coloring is based on this fact. It uses how bright the pictures of Mercury taken by BepiColombo Spaccraft are to figure out how steep the surface is. With the surface slope, you can make geographic maps. This particular flight view is based on a picture from BepiColombo and a rougher digital elevation model from NASA’s Messenger. Shape from shading uses the picture to improve the original terrain, find small geological features, and suggest more accurate slopes. The heights can’t be reached.

BepiColombo Spacecraft and Music by Mima Group

Music and AI: IL wrote the music for the sequence with the help of AI tools made by the University of Sheffield’s Machine Intelligence for Musical Audio (MIMA) group. The creative director of Maison Mercury Jones, IL (formerly known as Anil Sebastian), and Ingmar Kamalagharan gave the AI tool music from the first two flyby movies as seeds for the new composition, the BepiColombo Spacecraft. IL then chose one of the seeds to edit and combine with other parts to make the BepiColombo third Mercury Flyby. The team at the University of Sheffield has made an Artificial Musical Intelligence (AMI), which is a large-scale general-purpose deep neural network that can be customized for each artist and use case.

BepiColombo_s_Mercury

The goal of the project with the University of Sheffield is to find out where the ethics of AI creation end and to highlight how important the (human) artist is.

BepiColombo Spacecraft’s Reconstruction of Mercury

In this picture of BepiColombo spacecraft, part of the area shown in the flyover scene has also been rebuilt as a 3D anaglyph. To get the most out of this view, wear red-green-blue glasses. The picture was taken from a distance of about 2,982 km, 17 minutes after closest approach. It shows an area of about 1,325.5 km x 642 km. Using the “shape from shading” method, the land at this spot has also been rebuilt. The geography is used to make anaglyphs that show what the land looks like. The heights are changed by a factor of 12.5 so that they look best on a computer or phone screen.

Roscosmos Spacewalk

Mark your calendars for Thursday, June 22, as NASA gears up to provide an exciting live broadcast of a spacewalk performed by two Roscosmos cosmonauts outside the International Space Station. In order to move stuff from the Rassvet segment to the new Nauka multifunctional research module, two Roscosmos cosmonauts will perform an array of spacewalks exterior to the International Space Station in the months of April and May. NASA will broadcast the space missions live.

NASA Broadcasting Roscosmos Live

Beginning at 9:45 a.m. EDT, you can tune in to NASA TV, the NASA app, or the agency’s website to catch all the action. The highly anticipated spacewalk of Roscosmos is slated to commence around 10:20 a.m. and is anticipated to extend for up to seven hours.

The orbital station has been dedicated to a continual American human population since the establishment of NASA, which has helped humanity learn how to survive and thrive in space for lengthy intervals of time. The space station will serve as a launching pad for NASA’s upcoming major exploration initiatives, such as the Artemis lunar expeditions and, eventually, manned missions to Mars.

Astronauts in Roscosmos Spacewalks

The skilled duo undertaking this mission of Roscosmos are Sergey Prokopyev and Dmitri Petelin, integral members of Expedition 69. Venturing through the Poisk airlock, their objectives include retrieving essential experimental items and setting up vital contact equipment.

Sergey Prokopyev, a seasoned veteran, boasts an impressive track record of six previous spacewalks. He will be easily identifiable by his red-striped Orlan spacesuit. Dmitri Petelin, on the other hand, has successfully executed four spacewalks and will don the blue-striped spacesuit for this excursion. Attend this incredible event as these daring cosmonauts embark on their extravehicular journey to enhance the International Space Station and secure the necessary tools for ongoing operations.

Roscosmos and International Space Station

Among the key collaborators on the International Space Station (ISS) is Roscosmos. Within the ISS, there is constantly a minimum of one Russian cosmonaut. The Russian Soyuz spacecraft served as the sole path for astronauts to reach the International Space Station (ISS) between the termination of the American space travel mission in 2010 and the start of spaceflights with the Dragon capsules in 2020. At the conclusion of 2024, Roskosmos said it would stop working on the ISS mission and start building an independent orbital space station.

Roscosmos Extension in Space Lab

But later, Roscosmos declared that Russia will continue its involvement in the International Space Station as long as 2028, contradicting Yuri Borisov’s declaration from a year ago that Russia intended to withdraw from the space lab after 2024 and concentrate on developing its own orbiting outpost.

Director-General of Roscosmos Yuri Borisov claims that Russia is entering into satellites launching agreements with states in Africa, Europe, and Asia in order to promote the expansion of its aerospace sector and take all of the benefits of the aerospace sector for social and economic growth.

Roscosmos and NASA’s Deal

Russian cosmonauts will be permitted to fly on American-built spacecraft as a substitute for American astronauts being permitted to travel on Russia’s Soyuz. All this happened owing to a long-sought deal between NASA and Roscosmos regarding integrating missions to the International Space Station.

According to a declaration from Roscosmos, “the accord aligns with furtherance of the goals of Russia as well as the United States of America and will encourage the establishment of collaborative efforts under the confines of the ISS programme.” It will also make it easier to “explore the outer universe for constructive purposes,” the agency added.

 

The orion spacecraft mission’s laser communications system arrived at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with the Orion spacecraft, which will transport men around the Moon for the first time since the Apollo missions.

NASA Laser Communications Delivery
The O2O payload at Kennedy Space Center undergoing unpacking and examination. Credits: NASA / Isaac Watson

Onion Spacecraft Launching Date & Background

NASA launched the Artemis I mission on November 16, 2022, an uncrewed flight test that pushed the human-rated

Laser Communications for Artemis II
The Benefits of Laser Communications: Efficient, Lighter, Secure, and Flexible.
Credits: NASA / Dave Ryan

Orion spacecraft further into space than any previous mission.

 

The next mission, Artemis II will put all of Orion spaceflight systems to the test and pave the way for future lunar surface missions.

The Artemis II mission will also put new and improved technologies to the test, including laser communication capabilities.

The Orion Artemis II Optical Communications System, or O2O, is Orion’s laser communications terminal.

Sending & Receiving of Data Through Laser Communications 

Laser communications techniques, such as O2O, enable missions to send and receive more data in a single transmission than traditional radio wave systems, which are currently used by the majority of NASA missions. More information implies more discoveries.

Steve Horowitz, O2O project manager said,

“At 260 megabits per second, O2O is capable of sending down 4K high-definition video from the Moon,”

He added

“In addition to video and pictures, O2O will transmit and receive procedures, pictures, flight plans, and be a link between Orion spacecraft and mission control on Earth.”

After collecting data, O2O will transmit it through laser signals to one of two ground stations in Las Cruces, New Mexico, or Table Mountain, California, both of which were chosen for their low cloud coverage.

The quality of photographs and films sent from Orion via O2O will be determined in part by cloud coverage at ground stations.

Optical Infusion Effect | Orion Spacecraft

The O2O laser terminal is part of the optical infusion effort of the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN)

NASA's Laser Communications Roadmap
NASA’s Laser Communications Roadmap
Credits: NASA / Dave Ryan

program, which is testing laser communications on numerous missions.

A team of engineers from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Lincoln Laboratory (MIT-LL) created O2O.

This collaboration has resulted in several laser communications missions, including

  • Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration (LLCD) in 2013.
  • Laser Communications Relay Demonstration (LCRD) in 2021
  • Tera-Byte Infrared Delivery (TBIRD) payload in 2022.

Potential Benefits of Laser Communications Through Orion Spacecraft

The SCaN is demonstrating the benefits of laser communications for missions by testing this technology in several space regimes.

  • The O2O laser terminal underwent multiple stages of environmental testing before being sent to Kennedy to guarantee that the payload can work in the harsh environment of space.
  • O2O laser communications terminals will allow more data to reach Earth and aid scientists in their efforts to perform advanced investigations. Artemis II’s data will help NASA plan future lunar missions and build a long-term presence on the Moon and, eventually, Mars.
Artemis II Moon Mission
The O2O payload in a Kennedy Space Center cleanroom.
Credits: NASA / Isaac Watson

Now, let’s see the capability of Artemis II from different perspectives.

What Artemis II is Supposed to Do?

The approximately 10-day flight will test NASA’s foundational human deep space exploration capabilities. The Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft, for the first time with astronauts and will pave the way for lunar surface missions, including landing the first woman and first person of color on the Moon.

What is the Current Status of Artemis II as NASA’S Orion Spacecraft?

Artemis II stands as the second planned endeavor within NASA’s Artemis program and holds the distinction of being the initial crewed mission employing NASA’s Orion spacecraft.

The intended launch, scheduled for November 2024, will rely on the powerful Space Launch System (SLS).