Did you know Earth has a second moon? Kamooalewa, the second moon of Earth, is a captivating phenomenon that adds to the marvels of our universe. Delve into the mysteries of Kamooalewa, its unique orbit, and its role as Earth’s second moon.
Understanding Kamooalewa: Second moon of Earth
Earth’s Second Moon Kamooalewa is a lunar-like astral body that accompanies Earth during our astral cycles. It is more accurately classified as a quasi-satellite, a space object orbiting the sun in proximity to our planet. Visible for a few weeks each April, Kamooalewa has an orbit similar to Earth’s, with a slightly longer year. Its name holds various interpretations, from “oscillating celestial fragment” to alluding to a chant about offspring.
Decoding the Enigma
The nature of Kamooalewa continues to intrigue researchers. It is speculated to be either an asteroid or a fragment of our own moon resulting from a significant impact event. Kamooalewa has maintained its orbit for around 500 years, with an estimated 300 more to go. Unraveling the mysteries of this second moon holds the key to understanding the complexities of our cosmic neighborhood.
Implications and Further Exploration
The discovery of Kamooalewa challenges our understanding of Earth’s moon system and sheds light on celestial dynamics. Exploring the characteristics and behavior of this second moon provides valuable insights into our cosmic environment. Scientists and astronomers employ advanced observation techniques and theoretical models to unravel the secrets held by Kamooalewa.
Kamooalewa, the second moon of Earth, brings an extra dimension of wonder to our universe. As a quasi-satellite, it accompanies Earth on its journey around the sun, following an orbit similar to our planet’s. While the true nature and origin of Kamooalewa remain subject to speculation, its enduring presence for the past 500 years sparks curiosity and invites further exploration. Through unraveling the mysteries of this celestial companion, we deepen our understanding of Earth’s place in the cosmos and the extraordinary phenomena that surround us.
The Beehive open cluster, also known as M44, astounds with its spectacular presence in the winter and spring skies. In 2023, it presents an exciting challenge for observers as it becomes the focal point for the two major planets, Mars and Venus. Prepare for a rendezvous with Mars, coinciding with the optimal visibility of the Beehive Cluster in early June. Additionally, from June 12 to 14, witness the celestial marvel as Venus gracefully passes just north of the iconic cluster.
On the evening of June 1st, equip yourself with binoculars to spot Mars. As Venus descends and twilight darkens, Mars will be positioned approximately 10 degrees to the left and slightly higher. Its distinctive pink-orange color and a magnification of +1.6 make it an enchanting spectacle. Notably, Mars resides on the western side of the captivating Beehive Cluster, allowing binoculars to reveal the brilliance of its brighter stars.
Observing Mars and the Beehive Cluster
For a more comprehensive observation, direct your telescope towards Mars while attaching a camera. This setup enables you to capture the mesmerizing combination of Mars and the Beehive Cluster in a single frame. On the evening of June 2nd, immerse yourself in the extraordinary line-of-sight alignment as Mars emerges within the cluster’s boundaries. On June 3rd evening, Mars will be situated slightly to the east of the cluster, providing a captivating perspective. Although challenging, the gratification derived from witnessing this cosmic convergence is immeasurable.
Observing Venus and the Beehive Cluster
Precise timing is essential when observing Venus alongside the Beehive Cluster. Depending on your location in the UK, patiently wait until Venus reaches an altitude slightly above 2 degrees. With binoculars, ensure Venus is centered within a 5-degree field of view, with the horizon visible at the lower edge. Experience the remarkable encounter from June 12 to 14, as Venus gracefully passes just north of this awe-inspiring celestial marvel. Be prepared for the inherent difficulties arising from the bright twilight and the cluster’s low altitude, adding to the challenge of this observation.
Embark on a celestial adventure as Mars and Venus gracefully encounter the resplendent Beehive Cluster. Embrace the challenge and immerse yourself in the allure of observing these celestial wonders, allowing the cosmic dance to capture your imagination. Remember, clear skies play a pivotal role in optimizing your viewing experience. Engage in the gratifying struggle of witnessing this extraordinary alignment, and marvel at the captivating display that unfolds before your eyes, showcasing the breathtaking beauty of the Beehive Cluster.
You will be surprised to know that a new, and giant sunspot solar flare is currently visible, and to put the icing on the cake, it’s four times bigger than the size of the Earth and can be seen with the naked eye.
Yes, it is!
If you are an astrology person and love to gaze moon, and stars, then to your surprise, you can see this sunspot with the human eye. So, witness it before it’s too late.
Now, let’s get a deep overview of this crisp news, by seeing how you can see this giant sunspot, what is the largest-ever solar flare in history, and much other significant information that you will find worth reading.
Sun Activity May 31st, 2023. Giant Sunspot Solar Flare Today!
It should be known that the central point of solar activity remains concentrated in the southwest region of our sun.
The area where remarkable phenomena like prominences and exploding filaments continue to occur. So, if you are wondering how giant sunspot solar flares and prominences are related, then it is quite understood.
Solar prominences are just like plasma pools, that connect two sunspots.
And it is worth noting that sunspot AR3310, which had previously moved away from our view on the southwest limb, has shown a reappearance in the activity beyond the visible solar horizon.
On May 31, at 01:17 UTC, we witnessed a filament eruption from this area. Additionally, the southwest region also witnessed the most significant flare in the past day: an M1.4 eruption originating from the giant sunspot region AR3315 at 13:38 UTC on May 30.
You can effortlessly observe this sunspot with the naked eye, but obviously with the right, and appropriate eye protection. As this giant sunspot will soon rotate out of view in a matter of days, you should hurry, if you want to see it!
But, what are the Solar Flares? Do Solar Flares Come From Sunspots?
Over the next two weeks, as these active regions rotate across the surface of the sun, so there is a possibility of significant eruptions referred to as “solar flares.”
It is important to note that these eruptions can have potential impacts on satellite and spacecraft operations, power systems, radio communications, and navigation systems here on Earth, leading to possible disruptions.
Anticipating the current situation, let’s dig deep into the scientific, and updated information on solar flares causing disturbances.
How Will Giant Sunspots Affect the Earth? Will it Have Some Aftereffects too?
One thing that you should keep in mind is that during periods of sunspot activity, an escalation in solar flares is expected, leading to heightened geomagnetic storm activity affecting Earth.
Consequently, during maximum sunspots, there will be a boom in the occurrence of the Northern and Southern Lights, also known as auroras, along with potential disruptions in radio transmissions and power grids.
Hold on, yes we know you got stuck at “awe-inspiring Auroras”, but let’s see if something hazardous occurs if any sunspot explodes.
What Happens if Giant Sunspot Explodes?
If any disturbing thing happened, and this explosion occurred while the sunspot was directed towards Earth, there is a potential for a G5-class solar storm to occur.
Such a powerful solar storm can damage satellites, disrupt mobile networks and internet connectivity, and even result in power grid failures.
So, let’s see if our Earth has been ever hit by any giant sunspot in history. Let’s uncover some truth, and surprising backgrounds too!
Has the Massive Solar Flare Ever Hit the Earth?
It would be to your surprise that Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs) and their less potent counterparts, solar flares, occur frequently and have impacted our planet on multiple occasions!
One notable instance took place in September 1859 when a powerful solar storm hit Earth, causing significant damage to emerging communication technologies.
And if you are worrying about the effect of Earth, and not just on Earth, but humans too, let us unveil a fact here too!
As solar flares emit high-energy particles and radiation that can be hazardous to living organisms. So, if you are wondering about solar flares’ effects on humans, then fortunately, the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere protect against the effects of solar flares!
Now, let’s move toward the most commonly asked question that is sure also hitting you!
Will a Solar Flare Hit the Earth in 2025?
According to Berger, a senior space editor:
“There is a possibility of a significant eruption from the sun impacting Earth anytime from now until 2028 or 2029”
While this occurrence is unlikely to have a direct impact on everyday life, it emphasizes the need for NASA and satellite operators to remain vigilant and closely monitor solar activity!
Giant sunspot solar flare 2023 has been amazing, and before direct gazing at the sun, it is important to make sure that you have properly donned solar glasses, and it is equally important to avoid your direct eyes from the sun before removing the glasses.
Even minimal exposure to the sun’s unfiltered light can result in lasting harm to your eyes. So, fellas, safety first!
There’s a fascinating exoplanet 400 light-years away that’s so intriguing that astronomers have been researching it since its discovery in 2009. WASP-18 b takes only 23 hours to complete one orbit around its star (which is slightly larger than our Sun). Nothing like it exists in our solar system. WASP-18 b, an extrasolar planet ten times the mass of Jupiter, has been detected by NASA’s Hubble, Chandra, TESS, and Spitzer satellite telescopes as well as ground-based observatories. Astronomers are already looking via NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, and the ”firsts” keep arriving.
The discovery: Scientists discovered water vapor in extrasolar planet’s (WASP-18 b) atmosphere and created a temperature map of the planet as it disappeared behind and resurfaced from its star. This is referred to as a secondary eclipse. Scientists can read the combined light from the star and the planet, then refine the measurements from the star alone when the planet travels behind it.
The same side of WASP-18 b, known as the dayside, always faces the star, just as the same side of the Moon always faces Earth. The temperature, or brightness, map depicts a large temperature shift – up to 1,000 degrees – from the warmest point facing the star to the terminator, where the day and night sides of the tidally-locked planet meet in perpetual twilight.
‘‘JWST is giving us the sensitivity to make much more detailed maps of extrasolar planets like WASP-18 b than ever before. This is the first time a planet has been mapped with JWST, and it’s really exciting to see that some of what our models predicted, such as a sharp drop in temperature away from the point on the planet directly facing the star, is actually seen in the data!’’ said Megan Mansfield, a Sagan Fellow at the University of Arizona, and one of the authors of the paper describing the results.
Temperature gradients were mapped over the planet’s dayside by the researchers. Given how much cooler the globe is at the terminator, something is most certainly preventing winds from efficiently dispersing heat to the night side. But what is influencing the winds remains a mystery.
‘‘The brightness map of WASP-18 b shows a lack of east-west winds that is best matched by models with atmospheric drag. One possible explanation is that this planet has a strong magnetic field, which would be an exciting discovery!’’ said co-author Ryan Challener, of the University of Michigan.
According to one interpretation of the eclipse map, magnetic factors cause winds to blow from the planet’s equator up over the North pole and down over the South pole, rather than east-west as we would expect.
Temperature fluctuations were measured at various elevations of the gas giant planet’s atmospheric layers. Temperatures rose with altitude and varied by hundreds of degrees.
Despite tremendous temperatures of over 5,000 degrees Fahrenheit (2,700 degrees Celsius), the spectrum of the planet’s atmosphere indicates many small but accurately measured water structures. It’s so hot that most water molecules would be ripped apart, thus recognizing its presence speaks to Webb’s amazing sensitivity to detect leftover water. The levels of water vapor detected in the atmosphere of WASP-18 b show that it exists at varied heights.
‘‘It was a great feeling to look at WASP-18 b’s JWST spectrum for the first time and see the subtle but precisely measured signature of water,’’ said Louis-Philippe Coulombe, a graduate student at the University of Montreal and lead author of the WASP-18 b paper. ‘‘Using such measurements, we will be able to detect such molecules for a wide range of planets in the years to come!’’
Extrasolar planet WASP-18 b was observed for around six hours by researchers using one of Webb’s instruments, the Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS), which was donated by the Canadian Space Agency.
‘‘Because the water features in this spectrum are so subtle, they were difficult to identify in previous observations. That made it really exciting to finally see water features with these JWST observations,’’ said Anjali Piette, a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science and one of the authors of the new research.
The discoverers are as follows: Through the Transiting Exoplanet Community Early Release Science Program, which is coordinated by Natalie Batalha, an astronomer at the University of California, Santa Cruz, who helped coordinate the new research, more than 100 scientists from across the world are working on early science from Webb. Young scientists like Coulombe, Challener, Piette, and Mansfield are doing a lot of innovative work.
WASP-18 b’s proximity to its star and us, as well as its massive mass, contributed to its appeal to scientists. WASP-18 b is one of the largest worlds whose atmospheres we can study. We’d like to know how such planets arise and end up where they are. This, too, has some early Webb responses.
‘‘By analyzing WASP-18b’s spectrum, we not only learn about the various molecules that can be found in its atmosphere but also about the way it formed. We find from our observations that WASP-18 b’s composition is very similar to that of its star, meaning it most likely formed from the leftover gas that was present just after the star was born,’’ Coulombe said. ‘‘Those results are very valuable to get a clear picture of how strange planets like WASP-18 b, which have no counterpart in our solar system, come to exist.’’
This NASA/ESA photograph of the Hubble Space Telescope shows the serenely drifting jellyfish galaxy JW39. This galaxy, one of many jellyfish galaxies Hubble has observed over the past two years, lies around 900 million light-years away in the constellation Coma Berenices.
What are the effects of galaxy clusters on the shape and gas content of galaxies?
Although it seems serene, this jellyfish galaxy is actually drifting in a galaxy cluster, which is an extremely dangerous environment. The gravitational attraction of larger companions frequently warps galaxies in galaxy clusters, twisting them into a variety of designs. Additionally, a searingly hot plasma known as the intracluster medium dominates the area between galaxies in a cluster. Despite the extreme thinness of this plasma, galaxies moving through it have an almost current-like sensation, and this interaction can deplete galaxies of star-forming gas.
What Phenomenon Creates the Distinctive Trailing Tentacles in Jellyfish Galaxies?
Ram-pressure stripping, or the interaction between the intracluster medium and the galaxies, is what causes the jellyfish galaxy’s trailing tentacles. As JW39 traveled through the cluster, the intracluster medium’s pressure sucked away gas and dust, creating long trailing ribbons of star formation that now extend away from the galaxy’s disk.
What is the impact of harsh environments on star formation in jellyfish galaxies?
Astronomers used Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 to investigate these trailing tendrils in great detail because they represent a particularly hostile environment for star formation. Surprisingly, researchers found little difference between star production in the galaxy disk and star formation in the ‘tentacles’ of jellyfish galaxies.
For the first time, NASA scientists have strong evidence of a polar cyclone on Uranus. By examining radio waves emitted from the ice giant, they detected the phenomenon at the planet’s north pole. The findings confirm a broad truth about all planets with substantial atmospheres in our solar system: Whether the planets are composed mainly of rock or gas, their atmospheres show signs of a swirling vortex at the poles.
How did the methane cloud tops at Uranus’ south pole behave according to Voyager 2 imaging?
Scientists have long known that Uranus’ south pole has a swirling feature. NASA’s Voyager 2 imaging of methane cloud tops there showed winds at the polar center spinning faster than over the rest of the pole. Voyager’s infrared measurements observed no temperature changes, but the new findings, published in Geophysical Research Letters, do.
Using huge radio antenna dishes of the Very Large Array in New Mexico, they peered below the ice giant’s clouds, determining that the circulating air at the north pole seems to be warmer and drier – the hallmarks of a strong cyclone. Collected in 2015, 2021, and 2022, the observations went deeper into Uranus’ atmosphere than any before.
“These observations tell us a lot more about the story of Uranus. It’s a much more dynamic world than you might think,” said lead author Alex Akins of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California. “It isn’t just a plain blue ball of gas. There’s a lot happening under the hood.”
How long does it take for Uranus to complete a full lap around the solar system?
Uranus is showing off more these days, thanks to the planet’s position in orbit. It’s a long haul around the solar system for this outer planet, taking 84 years to complete a full lap, and for the last few decades, the poles weren’t pointed toward Earth. Since about 2015, scientists have had a better view and have been able to look deeper into the polar atmosphere.
How do cyclones on Uranus differ from hurricanes on Earth in terms of formation and location?
The cyclone on Uranus, compactly shaped with warm and dry air at its core, is much like those spotted by NASA’s Cassini at Saturn. With the new findings, cyclones (which rotate in the same direction their planet rotates) or anti-cyclones (which rotate in the opposite direction) have now been identified at the poles on every planet in our solar system except for Mercury, which has no substantial atmosphere.
What distinguishes cyclones on Uranus and Saturn from hurricanes on Earth?
But unlike hurricanes on Earth, cyclones on Uranus and Saturn aren’t formed over water (neither planet is known to have liquid water), and they don’t drift; they’re locked at the poles. Researchers will be watching closely to see how this newly discovered Uranus cyclone evolves in the coming years.
“Does the warm core we observed represent the same high-speed circulation seen by Voyager?” Akins asked. “Or are there stacked cyclones in Uranus’ atmosphere? The fact that we’re still finding out such simple things about how Uranus’ atmosphere works really gets me excited to find out more about this mysterious planet.”
What are the primary objectives of the National Academies’ 2023 Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey?
The National Academies’ 2023 Planetary Science and Astrobiology Decadal Survey prioritized exploring Uranus. In preparation for such a mission, planetary scientists are focused on bolstering their knowledge about the mysterious ice giant’s system.
Step into a breathtaking cosmic realm as you witness the mesmerizing beauty of four composite photos capturing the cosmic wonders obtained by NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory and James Webb Space Telescope. You can catch a glimpse of this cosmic wonder two galaxies within these frames, a nebula, and a star cluster. Each image combines Chandra’s X-rays — a type of high-energy light — with previously disclosed Webb infrared data, both of which are undetectable to the naked eye. Data from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope (optical light) and the decommissioned Spitzer Space Telescope (infrared) are used, as well as data from the European Space Agency’s XMM-Newton (X-ray) and the European Southern Observatory’s New Technology Telescope (optical). These cosmic beauties and details are made available by mapping the data to human-perceivable colors.
What is NGC 346 and how does the Webb telescope depict the gas and dust surrounding Cosmic Wonders?
About 200,000 light-years from Earth, in the Small Magellanic Cloud, is a star cluster known as NGC 346, showcasing cosmic wonders. Webb depicts plumes and arcs of gas and dust used as source material by stars and planets during their formation. The purple cloud seen with Chandra on the left is the remnants of a huge star’s supernova explosion. The Chandra data also indicates young, hot, huge stars with tremendous winds erupting from their surfaces. Along with supporting data from XMM-Newton and the ESO’s New Technology Telescope, additional Hubble, Spitzer, and data are included. (X-ray colors: purple and blue; infrared/optical colors: red, green, and blue)
What cosmic wonders does NGC 1672 hold?
Just like NGC 346 is also an NGC 1672 a spiral galaxy is one of the cosmic wonders, however, it is classified as a “barred” spiral by astronomers. The arms of barred spiral galaxies are typically in a straight band of stars across the center that encloses the core in regions close to their centers, in contrast to other spirals that have arms that twist all the way to their core. The Chandra data show compact objects such as neutron stars or black holes sucking material from partner stars as well as relics of exploding stars. Hubble data (optical light) fills in the spiral arms with dust and gas, while Webb data reveals dust and gas in the galaxy’s spiral arms. (X-ray is purple; optical is red, green, and blue; infrared is red, green, and blue)
What is M16 (Cosmic Wonders) and how does the Webb telescope depict the gas and dust surrounding it?
Messier 16, often recognized as the Eagle Nebula, unveils cosmic wonders in the form of the renowned “Pillars of Creation.” The Webb image depicts black columns of gas and dust enveloping the few remaining newborn stars. The Chandra sources, which appear as dots, are young stars that emit a lot of X-rays. (Infrared: red, green, blue; X-ray: red, blue)
What is the significance of Messier 74 and how does the Webb telescope reveal the characteristics of gas and dust within the galaxy?
One of the other cosmic wonders Messier 74, which we can view directly from Earth, is a spiral galaxy just like our own Milky Way. It is approximately 32 million light-years away. Messier 74 is known as the Phantom Galaxy because it is less visible with tiny telescopes than other galaxies in Charles Messier’s famous catalog from the 18th century. Infrared data from Webb highlights gas and dust, whereas X-ray data from Chandra highlights high-energy activity from stars. Additional stars and dust are visible in Hubble optical data along the dust lanes. (Optical: orange, cyan, blue; infrared: green, yellow, red, magenta; X-ray: purple)
Astronomers using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have discovered what they believe to be some of the greatest evidence yet for the presence of a rare type of “intermediate-sized” black hole lurking in the heart of the nearest globular star cluster to Earth, about 6,000 light-years distant.
What are the formation, distribution, and rarity of intermediate-mass black holes?
Almost all black holes appear to come in two sizes, similar to strong gravitational pits in the fabric of space: small and gargantuan. Our galaxy is thought to be strewn with 100 million tiny black holes (many times the mass of our Sun) formed by exploding stars. The cosmos is teeming with supermassive black holes, which are situated in the centers of galaxies and weigh millions or billions of times the mass of our Sun.
An intermediate-mass black hole, weighing between 100 and 100,000 solar masses, is a long-sought missing link.
How would they form, where would they congregate, and why do they appear to be so uncommon?
Using a variety of observational approaches, astronomers have detected more probable intermediate-sized black holes. Three of the finest possibilities — 3XMM J215022.4055108, discovered by Hubble in 2020, and HLX-1, discovered in 2009 — live in dense star clusters on the edges of neighboring galaxies. Each of these hypothetical black holes has tens of thousands of suns in mass and may have formerly resided in the centers of dwarf galaxies. NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory has also aided in the discovery of numerous probable intermediate black holes, including a large sample in 2018.
Much closer to home, a number of probable intermediate-sized black holes have been discovered in dense globular star clusters around our Milky Way galaxy. For example, Hubble researchers reported the possible presence of an intermediate-mass black hole in the globular cluster Omega Centauri in 2008. These and other intermediate-mass black hole discoveries remain inconclusive and do not rule out alternate hypotheses for a variety of reasons, including the need for further data.
Hubble’s unique capabilities have now been utilized to hone in on the core of the globular star cluster Messier 4 (M4), allowing for more precise black-hole hunting than prior efforts. “You can’t do this kind of science without Hubble,” said Eduardo Vitral, lead author of an article to be published in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.
What Vitral’s team discovered and what was its significance?
Vitral’s team discovered a probable 800 solar-mass intermediate-sized black hole. Although the alleged object cannot be seen, its mass can be determined by observing the motion of stars caught in its gravitational field, similar to bees swarming around a hive. Measuring their movement needs time and precision. This is where Hubble achieves something that no other modern telescope can. Astronomers examined 12 years of Hubble M4 data and resolved pinpoint stars.
His team believes the black hole in M4 could be 800 times the mass of our Sun. Alternative possibilities for this object, such as a compact center cluster of unresolved stellar remains like neutron stars or smaller black holes revolving around one other, are ruled out by Hubble’s observations.
“We are confident that we have a very small region with a large concentration of mass.” “It’s about three times smaller than the densest dark mass we’ve found in other globular clusters,” Vitral added. “When we consider a collection of black holes, neutron stars, and white dwarfs segregated at the cluster’s center, the region is more compact than what we can reproduce with numerical simulations.” They are not capable of forming such a dense concentration of mass.”
Credits: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; Lead Producer: Paul Morris
What is the nature of the central mass in the globular cluster and its impact on stellar motions?
A collection of closely packed objects would be dynamically unstable. If the object isn’t a single intermediate-sized black hole, the observed stellar motions would require an estimated 40 smaller black holes squeezed into an area only one-tenth of a light-year across. As a result, they would merge and/or be expelled in an interplanetary pinball game. “We measure the motions and positions of stars and apply physical models to try to reproduce these motions.”
“We end up with a measurement of a dark mass extension in the center of the cluster,” Vitral explained. “The stars move more randomly as they get closer to the central mass.” And, as the center mass increases, so do the stellar velocities.”
Because intermediate-mass black holes in globular clusters have been so difficult to find, Vitral warns, “While we cannot completely confirm that it is a central point of gravity, we can show that it is very small.” It’s too little for us to explain anything other than a solitary black hole. Alternatively, there could be a stellar mechanism that we are simply unaware of, at least in terms of present physics.”
NASA has chosen Blue Origin from Kent, Washington to create a human landing system for their Artemis V mission to the Moon. NASA’s Artemis mission is going to explore more of the Moon than ever before! This will help us discover new things about the Moon and prepare for future missions to Mars.
What role will Blue Origin play in NASA’s Artemis V mission to the Moon and the development of a human landing system?
For repeated astronaut trips to the lunar surface, including docking with Gateway, a space station where crew transfers take place in lunar orbit, Blue Origin will design, develop, test, and certify its Blue Moon lander to meet NASA’s requirements for human landing systems. The contract involves creating and testing a spacecraft for a trip to the moon. This will include a test run without any people on board, followed by a trip with a crew in 2029. The contract is worth $3.4 billion.
“Today we are excited to announce Blue Origin will build a human landing system as NASA’s second provider to deliver Artemis astronauts to the lunar surface,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson. “We are in a golden age of human spaceflight, which is made possible by NASA’s commercial and international partnerships. Together, we are making an investment in the infrastructure that will pave the way to land the first astronauts on Mars.”
Rocket and Spacecraft involved in the mission:
NASA’s Artemis V mission will send four astronauts to orbit the moon using the SLS rocket and the Orion spacecraft. After Orion docks with Gateway, two astronauts will take a weeklong trip to the Moon’s South Pole region using Blue Origin’s human landing system. They will conduct science and exploration activities during their time there. Artemis V is a mission that will help NASA explore the moon and prepare for future missions to Mars. It will show how we can explore the moon and set up systems to support more missions in the future.
What are the benefits of involving more partners in NASA’s Artemis program to land humans on the Moon?
NASA is looking for more partners to help them land humans on the Moon as part of their Artemis program. This will make things more competitive and save money for taxpayers. It will also mean more trips to the Moon and more investment in the lunar economy. All of this will help NASA get ready for sending astronauts to Mars in the future.
What is NASA’s strategy for expanding access to space and encouraging innovation in human landing system designs?
The agency hired SpaceX to create a system for humans to land on the moon for the Artemis III mission. The agency instructed SpaceX to update its design to meet its standards for sustainable exploration and to showcase the lander during Artemis IV under the contract. NASA has made a deal with Blue Origin to create a lander meeting certain Artemis V mission requirements. This lander will be able to carry more crew members, stay on the Moon for long periods of time, and transport more materials. This means that there will be more companies available to compete for future opportunities to help NASA with their missions to the Moon.
NASA will contribute to expanding access to space for the benefit of all by encouraging businesses to develop cutting-edge human landing system concepts and designs. This will help industries come up with better ideas and designs for landing systems.
“Having two distinct lunar lander designs, with different approaches to how they meet NASA’s mission needs, provides more robustness and ensures a regular cadence of Moon landings,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, manager of, the Human Landing System Program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “This competitive approach drives innovation, brings down costs, and invests in commercial capabilities to grow the business opportunities that can serve other customers and foster a lunar economy.”
What is Appendix P?
NASA released a request called Appendix P in September 2022. This is part of their work to create new and better ways to explore space. They’re looking for partners to help them with this project.
A brief introduction to the program:
NASA is planning to send astronauts to the Moon through a program called Artemis. This mission is significant because it will include the first woman and the first person of color to explore the Moon. The goal of the mission is to make scientific discoveries, reap economic benefits, and establish a base for future missions to Mars. NASA has a solid plan for exploring deep space. They’re using five important things to make it happen: the SLS rocket, Orion, Gateway, advanced spacesuits, and human landing systems.