NASA Invests In Concepts Aimed At Exploring Craters, Mining Asteroids

Robotically surveying lunar craters in record time and mining resources in space could help NASA establish a sustained human presence at the Moon – part of the agency’s broader Moon to Mars exploration approach. Two mission concepts to explore these capabilities have been selected as the first-ever Phase III studies within the NASA Innovative Advanced …Read More

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Table Salt Compound Spotted On Europa

A familiar ingredient has been hiding in plain sight on the surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa. Using a visible-light spectral analysis, planetary scientists at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have discovered that the yellow color visible on portions of the surface of Europa is actually sodium chloride, a compound known on …Read More

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NASA’s Mars 2020 Will Blaze A Trail — For Humans

When a female astronaut first sets foot on the Moon in 2024, the historic moment will represent a step toward another NASA first: eventually putting humans on Mars. NASA’s latest robotic mission to the Red Planet, Mars 2020, aims to help future astronauts brave that inhospitable landscape. While the science goal of the Mars 2020 …Read More

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NASA’s Psyche Mission Has A Metal World In Its Sights

Designed to explore a metal asteroid that could be the heart of a planet, the Psyche mission is readying for a 2022 launch. After extensive review, NASA Headquarters in Washington has approved the mission to begin the final design and fabrication phase, otherwise known as Phase C. This is when the Psyche team finalizes the …Read More

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Mass Anomaly Detected Under The Moon’s Largest Crater

A mysterious large mass of material has been discovered beneath the largest crater in our solar system — the Moon’s South Pole-Aitken basin — and may contain metal from the asteroid that crashed into the Moon and formed the crater, according to a Baylor University study. “Imagine taking a pile of metal five times larger …Read More

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West Virginia University Takes Top Prize In NASA Competition To Extract Water On The Moon And Mars

Teams of university students from across the country ‘drilled’ into technology challenges that NASA needs to solve before establishing a sustained human presence on the Moon as part of the agency’s Artemis program. Similar solutions could eventually be used on Mars. Since 2017, NASA has engaged students in exploring ways to harvest water from existing …Read More

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NASA Invites Public To Help Asteroid Mission Choose Sample Site

NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission to the asteroid Bennu needs extra pairs of eyes to help choose its sample collection site on the asteroid – and to look for anything else that might be scientifically interesting. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has been at Bennu since December 3, 2018, mapping the asteroid in detail, while the mission team searches …Read More

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The LPI’s Lunar South Pole Atlas — A New Online Reference For Mission Planners

The Lunar and Planetary Institute (LPI), managed by Universities Space Research Association (USRA), has compiled and made available an atlas of the Moon’s south pole. Given NASA’s recent direction to implement Space Policy Directive-1 landing astronauts at the south pole by 2024, the LPI has compiled a series of maps, images, and illustrations designed to …Read More

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ASU Receives The First Extraterrestrial Mud Ball In 50 Years

On April 23 at 9:09 p.m. local time, residents of Aguas Zarcas, a small town in Costa Rica, saw a large “fireball” in the sky. The reported fireball was a meteor about the size of a washing machine. As it entered Earth’s atmosphere, it broke apart and rained hundreds of meteorites in and around the small …Read More

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Comet Inspires Chemistry For Making Breathable Oxygen On Mars

Science fiction stories are chock full of terraforming schemes and oxygen generators for a very good reason—we humans need molecular oxygen (O2) to breathe, and space is essentially devoid of it. Even on other planets with thick atmospheres, O2 is hard to come by. So, when we explore space, we need to bring our own …Read More

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