Monday, NASA’s Ingenuity Mars Helicopter became the first aircraft in history to make a powered, controlled flight on another planet. The Ingenuity team at the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California confirmed the flight succeeded after receiving data from the helicopter via NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover at 6:46 a.m. EDT (3:46 a.m. PDT).
“Ingenuity is the latest in a long and storied tradition of NASA projects achieving a space exploration goal once thought impossible,” said acting NASA Administrator Steve Jurczyk. “The X-15 was a pathfinder for the space shuttle. Mars Pathfinder and its Sojourner rover did the same for three generations of Mars rovers. We don’t know exactly where Ingenuity will lead us, but today’s results indicate the sky – at least on Mars – may not be the limit.”
If spaceflight used to be viewed as a race between the Soviet Union and the United States, the language today tilts toward imperfect diversity.
Yuri Gagarin’s Vostok-1 mission roared into space from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in what’s now Kazakhstan 60 years ago today (April 12) in 1961, ushering in a brief-yet-intense competition between the Soviets and the Americans for space supremacy that today we call the “space race.” Simply put, during an incredible decade of innovation, government-funded well-chiseled astronauts rode early rockets to Earth orbit and — for a select few — to the moon’s surface.
But framing the “space race” in those terms ignores a more nuanced reality. For example, U.S. President John F. Kennedy did call for Soviet collaboration on lunar missions before his assassination in 1963. An independent group of female test pilots who came to be known as the Mercury 13 unsuccessfully attempted to infiltrate NASA’s astronaut corps in the same decade, while female cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova made it to space in 1963.
The Mars helicopter Ingenuity has unlocked its two rotor blades as preparations continue for the vehicle’s first flight, due to occur no earlier than Sunday (April 11).
Ingenuity arrived on Mars Feb. 18 along with NASA’s Perseverance rover, having made the long trek out to the Red Planet tucked inside the rover’s belly. As of April 4, the little chopper has parted ways with Perseverance, preparing to take to the skies during a month-long test campaign. If Ingenuity’s Sunday sortie is successful, it will be the first powered, guided flight on another planet.
By Stefanie Jackson –Arcadia Middle School students met NASA “modern figure” Christyl Johnson, deputy director for technology and research investments for Goddard Space Flight Center, at a virtual event March 24.
The movie “Hidden Figures” was released in 2016, about three African American women who were NASA mathematicians in the 1950s and 1960s and helped the U.S. win the space race.
Following the film’s debut, Johnson was named a NASA modern figure, someone “paving the way for the next generation of scientists and engineers, especially those young girls and boys that look like me,” said Johnson, who is African American.
“Our symposium celebrates current students, alumni and partners who offer insight for career pathways,” notes Susan White, NC Space Grant’s executive director.
Cardman is among the alumni for the program. While an undergraduate and graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she was a Space Grant scholar, with funding support for research and internships. Cardman was selected by NASA to join the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class.
A computer system developed by Montana State University researchers that has been in the works for more than a decade has taken its next step toward a NASA moon launch.
Known as the RadPC, the technology is designed to withstand increased radiation in outer space and may replace more expensive and cumbersome computers used now by NASA scientists. MSU researchers recently learned the technology is scheduled for launch on a lunar rover, most likely aboard a SpaceX rocket, in summer 2023.
The mission may be an intensive test of the technology to see if it can survive a trip to the moon and the conditions once it arrives, according to Brock LaMeres, professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. LaMeres has led the research into a radiation-tolerant computer for the past 10 years.
Women are underrepresented in almost every industry and underappreciated, which is the same case within the scientific field even though numerous female scientists have made significant contributions to the different branches of science.
In celebration of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2021, Science Times presents some of the most notable female scientists throughout history, whether from the past century or today.
n the 1960s, Mercury astronauts Alan Shepard, Gus Grissom, John Glenn and others absorbed the accolades of being the first men in space. Behind the scenes, they were supported by hundreds of unheralded NASA workers, including “human computers” who did the calculations for their orbital trajectories. “Hidden Figures,” a 2016 book by Margot Lee Shetterly and a movie based on the book, celebrates the contributions of some of those workers.
Beginning in 1935, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), a precursor of NASA, hired hundreds of women as computers. The job title described someone who performed mathematical equations and calculations by hand, according to a NASA history. The computers worked at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory in Virginia.
WASHINGTON — NASA will carry out a second hotfire test of the Space Launch System core stage, a move that makes it more likely the vehicle will miss its scheduled launch date of late this year.
NASA announced late Jan. 29 that it will re-run the static-fire test of the core stage’s four RS-25 engines no earlier than the final week of February at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. That test is the last step in the Green Run test campaign that started one year ago.