NASA's SLS beast completed, loaded for Transport

nasa

The first Space Launch System (SLS) rocket core stage for NASA’s Artemis program finished the major build work at Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. It was loaded onto the agency’s Pegasus barge on Jan. 8 for delivery to Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. The core stage for the SLS rocket was rolled out for Pegasus, in preparation for the Green Run test series, the final test campaign ahead of the agency’s first Artemis launch.

Crux of the Matter
  • Pegasus was modified to ferry SLS rocket hardware from Michoud to Stennis. This was for the core stage Green Run test series, that is a comprehensive test campaign of the stage.
  • NASA Deputy Administrator Jim Morhard believes the Artemis program to be a national asset and says the SLS rocket was built to deliver American astronauts and maximum payloads to the Moon and deep space destinations.
  • The core stage, which will provide more than 2 million pounds of thrust to help power the first Artemis mission to the Moon, will be shipped to NASA’s Stennis Space Center.
  • The SLS rocket’s core stage is the largest stage NASA has ever built at its Louisiana factory including the Saturn V rocket stages for the agency’s first Moon missions.
  • With a design featuring some of the most sophisticated hardware ever built for spaceflight, the core stage is the powerhouse of the SLS rocket.
  • NASA is now working to land the first woman and the next man on the Moon by 2024. SLS, along with Orion and the Gateway in orbit around the Moon, is NASA’s backbone for deep space exploration. It is currently the only rocket that can send Orion, astronauts and supplies to the Moon on a single mission.
Curiopedia

SLS or The Space Launch System is a US super heavy-lift expendable launch vehicle, which has been under development since its announcement in 2011. It is the primary launch vehicle of NASA’s deep space exploration plans, including the planned crewed lunar flights of the Artemis program and a possible follow-on human mission to Mars. SLS replaces the Constellation program’s Ares V launch vehicle of 2005, which never left the development phase. The initial variant of SLS, Block 1, was required by the US Congress to lift a payload of 70 metric tons (150,000 lb)to low Earth orbit (LEO) but exceeded that requirement with a rated payload capacity of 95 metric tons (209,000 lb). As of December 22, 2019, this variant is planned to launch Artemis 1, 2, and 3. NASA plans to add an autonomous flight termination system to the SLS in-time for the flight of Artemis 3. The later Block 1B is intended to debut the Exploration Upper Stage and launch the notional Artemis 4 through Artemis 7. More Info

NASA's TESS 'unearths' the first Earth-size planet

TESS

NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has stumbled upon two major discoveries of the Universe. One is a first Earth-size planet called TOI 700 d orbiting in the host star’s habitable zone and the other is the first circumbinary planet, that orbits two stars. The finds were confirmed with the Spitzer Space Telescope. Both revelations were discussed during the winter meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Honolulu.

Crux of the Matter
  • By astronomical naming conventions, TOI 700 d is the fourth most distant planet from its star. The letters b and c are the planets closer to the star.It is about 100 light years away from Earth and orbits TOI 700, a M-dwarf (red dwarf) star in the constellation Dorado.
  • Planets are searched by monitoring large swaths of the sky for 27 days at a time.The drop in starlight is detected when an exoplanet passes between us and the star. Each time a planet passes in front of its star it’s called a transit. In this case, TESS caught the three planets in the TOI 700 system transiting multiple times.
  • In order to solidify the findings, a team of scientists led by Joseph Rodriguez, from the Center for Astrophysics – Harvard & Smithsonian, requested a follow-up and confirmed the observations subsequently with Spitzer.
  • This is a key discovery for TESS, since it was designed to ferret out Earth-size planets in other solar systems and to allow other telescopes to do follow-up observations.It is expected to observe hundreds of thousands of eclipsing binaries over the course of its two-year mission.
  • Emily Gilbert, one of the researchers at the University of Chicago, was quoted as saying “When we corrected the star’s parameters, the sizes of its planets dropped, and we realized the outermost one was about the size of Earth and in the habitable zone.”
Curiopedia

NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It was established in 1958, succeeding the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency was to have a distinctly civilian orientation, encouraging peaceful applications in space science.Since then, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. It is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for no crew NASA launches. NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System. More Info

NASA’s Parker Probe sends new updates on sun's mysteries

solar

NASA’s Solar Probe which was launched to space in August 2018, is set to become the nearest spacecraft to the Sun. The first set of observations were published in the recent issue of a leading science journal Nature. They include the discovery of a new phenomenon: the bizarre ‘switchbacks’ in the solar wind that flows off the surface of the Sun. This further gives insights into the processes that drive solar wind and how it couples with solar rotation.

Crux of the Matter
  • During the switchbacks observed, the solar magnetic field swings back until it points directly back at the Sun, which scientists suggest can change our past theories of the corona and solar wind.
  • With cutting-edge scientific instruments, this NASA probe is designed to use Venus’s gravity using seven flybys over nearly seven years to gradually inch closer to the Sun in order to study it up and close.
  • Reports say that this shall help the researchers predict the space weather around the Earth and can be crucial in protecting astronauts and technology in space.
  • As this news piece is being written, Parker is revolving the Sun from a distance of 126 million kilometres while completing its fourth orbit around it.
Curiopedia

NASA or National Aeronautics and Space Administration s an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. Established in 1958, succeeding the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), it is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. It is also responsible for the Launch Services Program which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for uncrewed NASA launches. More Info

NASA Confirms Vikram Lander Debris Location Hinted by Indian Techie

NASA has confirmed the assumed location of the crash of India’s Chandrayan 2 Vikram Lander. The tip regarding the debris of the Lander received from Indian techie Shanmuga Subramanian had helped NASA explore the moon’s surface using the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) to locate the debris of the lander.

Crux of the Matter
  • At the time of the landing on the moon’s surface, India’s Chandrayan 2 Vikram Lander started deviating from its trajectory and then lost communication with ISRO.
  • Since then, attempts were being made by ISRO and NASA to set-up communication with the lander. NASA’s LRO had captured images of the surface near the expected landing site.
  • Indian techie, Shanmuga Subramaniam compared the newly released images by NASA’s LRO with pictures of moon’s surface as old as 9 years. He later reached out to NASA after spotting slight differences in the northwestern region, about 750 metres, from the landing spot.
  • NASA has confirmed the presence of what they believe to be the Vikram Lander debris close to the landing site. The image released by NASA seems to indicate three huge debris pieces, each represented by spots of 2×2 pixels on the image.
  • The LRO camera’s best case resolution is around 0.5 metres – 1 pixel corresponds to 0.5 metres length.
Curiopedia

Mission Chandrayaan-2 is the second lunar exploration mission developed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), after Chandrayaan-1. It consisted of a lunar orbiter, the Vikram lander, and the Pragyan lunar rover, all of which were developed in India. The main scientific objective is to map and study the variations in lunar surface composition, as well as the location and abundance of lunar water. More Info