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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Lunar Power System Team Wins President’s Award

In preparation of establishing a sustainable presence on the Moon by 2028, NASA is developing new technologies that will let astronauts land, live and explore the surface. In this video, Marc Gibson of NASA’s Glenn Research Center in Cleveland describes Kilopower, a power system to enable long-duration stays on planetary surfaces, including the Moon and …Read More

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ASU Researchers Find Water In Samples From Asteroid Itokawa

Two cosmochemists at Arizona State University have made the first-ever measurements of water contained in samples from the surface of an asteroid. The samples came from asteroid Itokawa and were collected by the Japanese space probe Hayabusa. The team’s findings suggest that impacts early in Earth’s history by similar asteroids could have delivered as much …Read More

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Meteoroid Strikes Eject Precious Water From Moon

Researchers from NASA and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, report that streams of meteoroids striking the Moon infuse the thin lunar atmosphere with a short-lived water vapor. The findings will help scientists understand the history of lunar water – a potential resource for sustaining long term operations on the Moon …Read More

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OSIRIS-REx Captures Laser 3D View Of Bennu

This colorful new glimpse of asteroid Bennu is the first 3D lidar map created since the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft’s arrival at the asteroid in December 2018. The three-dimensional shape model is based on data gathered by the Canadian Space Agency’s OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA) instrument. To create the image, over 11 million laser pulses were fired …Read More

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SwRI-Led Team Discovers Surprisingly Old Surface On Near-Earth Asteroid

A Southwest Research Institute-led team has discovered that the surface geology on asteroid Bennu is older than expected. Early observations of the near-Earth asteroid (NEA) by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission indicate a surface that is between 100 million and 1 billion years old. “We expected small, kilometer-sized NEAs to have young, frequently refreshed surfaces,” said SwRI’s …Read More

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Hayabusa2 Probes Asteroid For Secrets

The first data received from the Hayabusa2 spacecraft in orbit of asteroid Ryugu helps space scientists explore conditions in the early solar system. The space probe gathered vast amounts of images and other data which gives researchers clues about Ryugu’s history, such as how it may have formed from a larger parent body. These details …Read More

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SwRI-Led Team Identifies Water-Bearing Minerals On Asteroid Bennu

A Southwest Research Institute-led team discovered evidence of abundant water-bearing minerals on the surface of the near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu. Using early spectral data from NASA’s OSIRIS-REx spacecraft orbiting the asteroid, the team identified infrared properties similar to those in a type of meteorite called carbonaceous chondrites. “Scientists are interested in the composition of Bennu …Read More

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