BOZEMAN — On the launch pad at White Sands Missile Range, the 10-foot section of a NASA sounding rocket housing scientific instruments designed and built by a team at Montana State University to observe explosive events in the sun’s atmosphere was encased in Styrofoam to shield it from the New Mexico sun.
(CNN)A human hasn’t landed on the moon since 1972, but NASA’s Artemis program aims to land the first woman and the next man on the lunar surface by 2024. Part of that process involves upgrading the classic spacesuits worn by Apollo-era astronauts in the 1960s and 70s.
NASA revealed two new spacesuits for the Artemis astronauts on Tuesday with live demonstrations. The suit for the planned landing at the lunar south pole is called the Exploration Extravehicular Mobility Unit, or xEMU, because the red, white and blue suit itself is a bit like a spaceship in the way it protects the astronauts, NASA said. A second orange suit called the Orion Crew Survival System will be worn during launch and re-entry in the Orion spacecraft and provide thermal protection for the astronauts.
A Delta flight operated exclusively by women, and carrying 120 young females as passengers, took off this week to inspire more women to become aviators and advocate for equality in a “male-dominated industry.”
The Delta “WING” flight — Women Inspiring our Next Generation — took girls between the ages of 12 to 18 from Salt Lake City to NASA headquarters in Houston to draw attention to the need to close the gender gap in aviation and promote STEM careers, according to a press release from the airline on Sunday.
This year marks 50 years since NASA’s Apollo 11 landed on the moon. In 1969, the world watched in amazement as astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong took the first lunar steps while Michael Collins orbited the moon.
July 20 was the official anniversary, and to celebrate this unprecedented historical event, local students took to their STEM inventions to recreate the Apollo 11 mission in the form of a lunar module replica — a drone to carry it and a LEGO robot called Mindstorms EV3.
When the first men to walk on the moon splashed down in the Pacific Ocean on July 24, 1969 – 50 years ago this month – the first human being they encountered was Lt. Clancy Hatleberg, a 25-year-old Navy SEAL from Chippewa Falls. As the capsule bobbed on the choppy, shark-infested waters, Hatleberg opened the hatch, handed biological isolation suits to the astronauts, sprayed them with disinfectant to kill any “moon germs,” and helped get them hoisted into a waiting helicopter. “Being given a chance to participate in the first mission where men would actually walk on another planet … it was like a dream come true,” he said in an interview published in 2005. Hatleberg – whose wife, Sue, grew up in Eau Claire – went on to a two-decade career in the Navy.
NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir had been scheduled to venture outside the International Space Station (ISS) together next Monday (Oct. 21), as part of a series of excursions to install new batteries. But they’ve been retasked and fast-tracked, thanks to the failure of one of the orbiting lab’s power controllers over the weekend, NASA officials announced today (Oct. 15).
“@Space_Station update: our first all-female spacewalk with @Astro_Christina and @Astro_Jessica will be Thursday or Friday to replace a faulty battery charge-discharge unit,” NASA chief Jim Bridenstine said via Twitter. More details will be relayed during a press conference later today, he added.
When Lori Fraleigh unwrapped the present her husband had given her for her 38th birthday, she found a curious surprise: a model of a spaceship. It was cool, sure, but a toy would be better suited for her young children, then 5 and 1, not her.
Then she noticed the ticket. It took Fraleigh, a Silicon Valley executive, a moment to realize what her husband had purchased for her: a trip to space with Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic. “I went through a lot of crazy emotions, like, ‘Did you really buy this?’ ” she recalled of the moment in 2011. “ ‘Do we still have enough money to remodel the kitchen?’ ”
Today, her children are 13 and 9. The kitchen remodel has long since been completed. But Fraleigh is still waiting for her trip to space.
Autonomous robots will assist future astronauts during long-duration missions to other worlds by performing tedious, repetitive and even strenuous tasks. These robotic helpers will let crews focus on the more meticulous areas of exploring. To help achieve this, NASA’s Centennial Challenges program, along with Space Center Houston of Texas, opened the second phase of the NASA Space Robotics Challenge. This virtual challenge aims to advance autonomous robotic operations for missions on the surface of distant planets or moons.
“We believe the public has ideas that can help us advance the state-of-the-art in autonomous robotic operations on planetary surfaces,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. “The first phase of this competition demonstrated teams could create sophisticated autonomous software, and this second phase will push teams to pair those capabilities with tasks that will be critical to exploring the Moon and Mars.”
The National Space Grant Foundation (NSGF) (www.SpaceGrant.org) is pleased to announce the Grand Opening of our Space Grant Store at www.SpaceGrantStore.com, which has been carefully created to share and sell fun and educational STEM and Space Related merchandise. Visitors supporting www.SpaceGrantStore.com help fund our programming needs to reach more students to become involved in STEM and space related education and careers. NSGF intends for the SpaceGrantStore.com to be the Ultimate STEM and Space related merchandise Super Store for STEM and space enthusiasts around the world in the months and years ahead.
More products are arriving weekly at www.SpaceGrantStore.com so check back often, especially during holiday gift giving time and birthdays! Your generous donation at www.SpaceGrantStore.com helps NSGF fund our ability and programming to reach more students, with our goal to impact a million more STEM and Space Explorers by 2025, so please consider a donation to support our cause today!