Monthly Archives: March 2020

NASA dubs next Mars rover “Perseverance”

NASA today announced that they have named their next Mars rover, due to launch in July, “Perseverance.”

The name was announced Thursday by Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate, during a celebration at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. Zurbuchen was at the school to congratulate seventh grader Alexander Mather, who submitted the winning entry to the agency’s “Name the Rover” essay contest, which received 28,000 entries fromK-12 students from every U.S. state and territory.

“Alex’s entry captured the spirit of exploration,” said Zurbuchen. “Like every exploration mission before, our rover is going to face challenges, and it’s going to make amazing discoveries. It’s already surmounted many obstacles to get us to the point where we are today – processing for launch. Alex and his classmates are the Artemis Generation, and they’re going to be taking the next steps into space that lead to Mars. That inspiring work will always require perseverance. We can’t wait to see that nameplate on Mars.”

I truly hope that the rover is well-named, and lives a very long life on Mars, long enough that it is still in use the day an human arrives to touch it again.

Share

Coronavirus and the madness of crowds

Yesterday I got a bit of frustrating and disappointing news. The 51st Lunar and Planetary Science Conference (LPSC-51) to be held in the Houston suburbs beginning on March 15 (to which I was planning to attend) had been canceled due to coronavirus/COVID-19 fears. From the organizers’ email:

We regret to inform you that LPSC 51 will be cancelled due to concerns about COVID-19. This difficult decision has been made after a careful assessment of the risks as determined by the CDC and WHO; consultation with NASA PSD leadership; and consideration of community feedback. We are fully committed to ensuring that our conference attendees remain safe and well.

The organizers had earlier in the week sent out an email stating that they were considering their options because of the epidemic, and would announce a decision on March 6. That they pushed forward the cancellation decision by two days was almost certainly prompted by the revelation yesterday that a case of coronavirus had been confirmed in Houston.

To say this is a disappointment is an understatement. I was very much looking forward to meeting face-to-face many of the planetary scientists I have been corresponding with during the past few years. I was also eagerly anticipating getting an up-front look at the most recent discoveries in the exploration of the solar system, and to pass those discoveries on to my readers.

My disappointment however must pale in comparison to the disappointment of the scientists involved, especially the younger ones trying to establish themselves in the field. They need conferences like this to not only promote their work, but to network and to learn for themselves what others in their field are doing.

What makes this decision more appalling to me is how completely pointless and fear-driven it is. While it makes sense to try to slow the spread of the disease while scientists scramble to understand it and possibly develop a vaccine, it also makes no sense to stop living and to cease all effort out of mindless fear and ignorant panic.

And what we have today is the latter. This planetary conference was not the only one cancelled this week. On March 2 the American Physical Society panicked and cancelled its only annual convention, only 36 hours before it was about to begin, out of a fear that a gathering of 11,000 scientists from all over the world would help spread the disease.

This decision was absurd, however, as a large bulk of the conference’s attendees had already arrived. The cancellation thus accomplished practically nothing to stop coronavirus, while succeeding ably in stymying the spread of knowledge.

The simple fact is that though COVID-19 is a concern and must not be ignored, it is hardly the worldwide crisis being touted by our mindless press, odious politicians, and largely politically correct intellectual community.

A rational look at the facts give a bit of context that deflates the balloon of this madness. Several facts, both good and bad:
» Read more

Share

DARPA finally picks Northrop Grumman for satellite servicing

Capitalism in space: Following the successful docking of Northrop Grumman’s Mission Extension Vehicle-1 (MEV) to a decommissioned commercial communications satellite on February 27, 2020, DARPA has finally selected that company as its partner in its government-funded satellite servicing program.

For reasons that have been puzzling, DARPA previously rejected the MEV and chose in 2017 as its partner what was then a mostly Canadian company, causing legal protests. That company however backed out of the program in January, and with the success of MEV, DARPA could no longer justify its strange aversion to Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman had planned to market MEV to commercial companies. The infusion of support from DARPA will accelerate that process.

Share

Florida to reconfigure Cape Canaveral roads to accommodate New Glenn

Capitalism in space: Because the first stages of Blue Origin’s New Glenn rocket will be so large and heavy, Florida is instituting a project to widen roads and move light and utility poles in order to accommodate the transport from the factory to the launchpad.

The road widening will make room for the stage, which must follow a route not usually used. The more direct route however requires the stage to cross a bridge that cannot take its weight. If New Glenn does begin to fly regularly, however, I would expect money will eventually be found to rebuild that bridge.

Share

India’s next lunar landing attempt set for 2021

The Indian government has confirmed that the launch of Chandrayaan-3, India’s next attempt to land a lander and a rover on the Moon, has been delayed until the first half of 2021.

This delay is not really a surprise. After the failure of Vikram to land on the Moon in November 2019, they immediate initiated Chandrayaan-3 with the hope it could launch only one year later. Considering it took almost a decade to build Vikram, that short schedule seemed unrealistic, though getting it done much more quickly using what they learned is not unreasonable. A launch in 2021 is entirely doable for India. I hope they make it happen.

Share

Japan suspends funding to TMT

The Japanese government has confirmed that it has suspended payment of its annual contribution to the budget of the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) because of the project’s inability to begin construction on Mauna Kea in Hawaii.

Japanese astronomers strongly prefer placing TMT on Mauna Kea because it is relatively close to Japan, unlike the proposed replacement site in the Grand Canary Islands in the Atlantic.

I would say this is the next nail in the coffin for TMT in Hawaii. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has money to fund construction of a big telescope for U.S. astronomers, but has not been able to decide on whether to give the money to TMT, or to the Giant Magellan Telescope (GMT), already under construction in Chile, or to both.

Astronomers have been lobbying for dual funding, using the argument that the two telescopes are in the opposite north and south hemispheres. Moving TMT to the Grand Canaries, at a higher latitude than Hawaii, strengthens this argument. With the apparent exit of Japan it could be that the way is now cleared to give up on Hawaii and for TMT to make the move to a more welcoming site.

Hawaii’s protesters, supported by the state’s Democratically-controlled government, will of course celebrate. What they will be celebrating however will be the death-knell of science in Hawaii.

Share

OSIRIS-REx makes closest reconnaissance of Bennu yet

The spacecraft OSIRIS-REx yesterday made its closest reconnaissance yet of the asteroid Bennu, sweeping past its primary touch-and-go landing site Nightingale by a distance of only 820 feet.

The main goal of yesterday’s low flyover was to collect high-resolution imagery of the site’s surface material. The spacecraft’s sample collection mechanism is designed to pick up small rocks less than 0.8 inches (2 cm) in size, and the PolyCam images from this low pass are very detailed, allowing the team to identify and locate rocks of this size. Several of the spacecraft’s other instruments also took observations of the Nightingale site during the flyover event, including the OSIRIS-REx Thermal Emissions Spectrometer (OTES), the OSIRIS-REx Visual and InfraRed Spectrometer (OVIRS), the OSIRIS-REx Laser Altimeter (OLA), and the MapCam color imager.

After completing the flyover, the spacecraft returned to orbit – but for the first time, OSIRIS-REx reversed the direction of its safe-home orbit and is now circling Bennu clockwise (as viewed from the Sun). This shift in orbital direction positioned the spacecraft for its next close encounter with the asteroid – its first rehearsal for the sample collection event.

The touch-and-go sample grab is targeted to take place in August.

Share

Protein molecules found in meteorite

Scientists have discovered bits of a protein molecule inside a meteorite that fell in Algeria in 1990 and was quickly recovered.

The protein is called hemolithin.

For hemolithin to have formed naturally in the configuration found would require glycine to form first, perhaps on the surface of grains of space dust. After that, heat by way of molecular clouds might have induced units of glycine to begin linking into polymer chains, which at some point, could evolve into fully formed proteins. The researchers note that the atom groupings on the tips of the protein form an iron oxide that has been seen in prior research to absorb photons—a means of splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen, thereby producing an energy source that would also be necessary for the development of life.

The real significance of this find is what it reveals we do not know. Most asteroid material from the very beginnings of the solar system (the type of material that would contain such a protein) is very fragile, and does not survive the journey though the Earth’s atmosphere. Thus, our meteorite sample obtained here on Earth, which is our entire sample, is very biased.

When we start getting samples back from asteroids (as both Hayabusa-2 and OSIRIS-REx are about to do), our understanding of the early solar system, as well as that of asteroids, will change radically. This story only gives us a hint of that fact.

Hat tip reader and fellow caver John Harman.

Share

Birth of a planetary nebula

Beginnings of a planetary nebula

Astronomers, using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope in Chile have created a multi-spectral radio image of a dying star in its very initial stages of becoming a beautiful planetary nebula.

[Using ALMA,] the team obtained a very detailed view of the space around W43A. “The most notable structures are its small bipolar jets,” says Tafoya, the lead author of the research paper published by the Astrophysical Journal Letters. The team found that the velocity of the jets is as high as 175 km per second, which is much higher than previous estimations. Based on this speed and the size of the jets, the team calculated the age of the jets to be less than a human life-span.

“Considering the youth of the jets compared to the overall lifetime of a star, it is safe to say we are witnessing the ‘exact moment’ that the jets have just started to push through the surrounding gas,” explains Tafoya. “The jets carve through the surrounding material in as little as 60 years. A person could watch their progress throughout their lifetime.”

Over time those jets, thought to be caused by the interaction of the central star with a smaller secondary star that orbits it, will interact increasingly with the surrounding gas. The result will be a quite spectacular planetary nebula.

Share

Upgrades to Deep Space Network to block commands to Voyager 2

A scheduled eleven month upgrade to one of the three Deep Space Network antennas used to communicate with planetary missions will prevent scientists from sending commands to Voyager 2 during that time period.

Data will still be downloaded, but if anything should go wrong, such as happened in January, it will be impossible to do anything about it. In January engineers were able to troubleshoot the problem and upload corrections. During these upgrades a fix will have to wait. To reduce the chance of serious issue, engineers will put Voyager 2 into a more dormant state during this time period.

The repairs are essential however, even if it means we lose Voyager 2. This network must work for all the other Moon and Mars missions planned for the next few decades, and an upgrade has been desperately needed for years.

Share

Mars rover Update: March 4, 2020

Panorama looking south and uphill
Click for full resolution.

Curiosity

[For the overall context of Curiosity’s travels, see my March 2016 post, Pinpointing Curiosity’s location in Gale Crater.

For the updates in 2018 go here. For a full list of updates before February 8, 2018, go here.]

Map of Curiosity's travels

Since my last rover update on January 13, 2020, Curiosity has finally moved on from the base of Western butte, where it spent more than a month drilling a hole and gathering a great deal of geological data. Rather than head downhill and around the plateau and back to its planned route (as indicated by the red line in the map to the right), the Curiosity science team decided to push upward and onto the Greenheugh Piedmont (as indicated by the yellow line).

They had always planned to reach the top of this plateau, but not for several years. First they were going to head east to study a recurring slope lineae (see my October 2019 update), an example of a dark streak that darkens and fades seasonally and could provide evidence of water seepage from below ground.

Instead, they decided the close proximity of the top of the piedmont and its geology was too tempting. The piedmont is apparently made up of a layer that is very structurally weak, and breaks up easily, as you can see by the panorama above. It also appears to sit on softer, more easily eroded material, which thus accentuates this break up. If you look at the left part of the panorama you can see what I mean. The piedmont layer there is the thin unbroken layer sitting on what looks like sand. As that sand erodes away the layer quickly breaks into small pieces, as shown in the rest of panorama.

Traveling on the piedmont will likely be difficult and threaten Curiosity’s wheels. I suspect this reality prompted them to choose to get to the top and obtain data now, rather than wait several more years of rough travel that might have made access to the piedmont difficult if not impossible.

They presently sit just below the top, and are studying their options before making that last push.
» Read more

Share

Stalemate continues in Israel

With 99% of the votes counted from this week’s election Israel, it appears that the stalemate between the right and left party coalitions (that has forced three elections in the past year) will continue, with neither obtaining sufficient seats in the Knesset (Israel’s parliament) to form a majority.

The stalemate this past year has forced some consolidation in the number of parties, but not enough. Netanyahu’s conservative block remains the largest at 58 seats, but it needs 61 to form a government.

The problem remains the small party Yisrael Beytenu, which was once part of the conservative block but pulled out last year. Their leader, Avigdor Liberman, has repeatedly demanded the formation of a unity government, comprised of Netanyahu’s conservative Likud party with the liberal Blue-and-White party, thereby cutting out the smaller religious parties that form the rest of Netanyahu’s block.

Though this position appears to have caused Yisrael Beytenu to lose one seat in the most recent election, its base, made up mostly of Russian immigrants, has remained firm. These votes, while tending to be conservative, seem also hostile to religion, thus explaining Liberman’s demands.

Share

Trump refuses to renew FISA without changes

President Trump yesterday once again told Congressional leaders that he will let the law that authorizes the FISA court to expire rather than sign a renewal with no changes in the law.

The surveillance provisions are set to expire on March 15, and the White House indicated to Republican leaders Tuesday that it would support only a temporary, 30-day extension to allow Congress to iron out the reforms.

House Democratic leaders have indicated publicly they are open to bipartisan compromise.

“Just got back from the White House. @realDonaldTrump made it abundantly clear that he will NOT accept a clean reauthorization of the Patriot Act without significant FISA reform! I agree with him!” Kentucky GOP Sen Rand Paul tweeted Tuesday.

Paul has been pushing for some fundamental changes, and it is very clear now that he has Trump backing him.

As far as I am concerned, we will be better off letting this unconstitutional law expire entirely. It was specifically designed to to give the courts and federal agencies a method for violating the Constitution in order to allow them more freedom for providing us better security. The result however has been that those agencies did a poor job of protecting us even as they misused the law in an effort to overthrow a legal election.

That Congress was even contemplating a renewal without changes illustrates once again how little they care about the interests of the American people, or the Constitution. They apparently like such violations, and want the ability to allow them to continue. Trump (and Senator Paul) are forcing them to do their proper jobs.

Share

Primary turnout numbers for Trump

While most of the press has been focused entirely on the results to the Democratic Party’s presidential primary elections, few have noticed that President Trump has actually been getting a very large turn-out of voters in those same primary states, sometimes exceeding the entire Democrat total, even though his opponents stand no chance of gaining the nomination and there is really no reason to come out to vote for him.

The article at the link posts the numbers in every state that has so far held a primary election. In three of those eleven elections Trump topped all Democrats combined. In three other states his numbers exceeded 90% of the Democratic total, and in a fourth it was within 80%.

Of the four remaining states, three are so solidly Democratic (California, Massachusetts, and Vermont) that no one expects Trump to win them. Yet, Trump’s numbers in California were still 60% of the Democratic totals.

What does this tell us? It suggests that Trump’s support remains very passionate, and very large. It also suggests that in the November election Trump can expect a strong turn-out. Whether that turn-out can give him the majority in the total vote remains unknown, as he would still need to draw a lot of votes from the populous coastal Democratic strongholds in New York and California.

The totals here also strongly suggest that Trump will not lose any of the states he won in 2016, and might gain a few, meaning he is on track to win the election easily. That the Democratic candidate is likely going to be either communist Bernie Sanders or senile Joe Biden further reinforces that conclusion.

Share

Jupiter in glorious color

Jupiter in glorious color
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photograph on the right, reduced to post here, was color enhanced by citizen scientist Emma Walimaki from the original Juno image in order to bring out the features and storms visible in the upper storm layers of Jupiter.

The photo was taken during Juno’s 25th close fly-by of the gas giant, and thus we are only seeing a small portion of Jupiter’s sphere.

In comparing this image with the original, it appears that Walimaki simply made the colors that were already there brighter and more distinctive. Thus, these colors represent real data. Jupiter’s cloud tops are really blue, orange, tan, and brown, unlike Earth’s consistently and boringly white water clouds.

Share

Blue Origin update on New Shepard and New Glenn

Capitalism in space: Blue Origin officials today provided an update on both its suborbital New Shepard spacecraft as well as its New Glenn orbital rocket.

First, the company’s CEO, Bob Smith, was quoted as saying that New Shepard would fly three more flights unmanned prior to its first manned flight, and that manned flight will occur before the end of this year.

Smith has made similar promises in the past, so if you are skeptical it is entirely understandable. They have already flown their second New Shepard craft six times successfully. It is unclear if they are they going with a new craft for these manned flights, or using this older test vehicle.

Second, the company released two short public relations videos touting the completion of the first fairing for their orbital New Glenn rocket. In addition, they still expect production of that rocket’s BE-4 engine to begin this year, with a first maiden flight next year.

That predicted launch date still fits the revamped schedule they announced back in October 2018, which suggests they have not experienced any major issues. The next year however will tell the tale.

Share

Summer at the Martian North Pole

Buzzell pedestal crater in context with polar icecap scarp
Cool image time! The image above, cropped, reduced, and brighten-enhanced to post here, was taken by the high resolution camera of Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) on December 26, 2019 of the dunes just below the 1,500 to 3,000 foot high scarp that marks the edge of the Martian north polar icecap. I have brought up the brightness of the dune area to bring out the details.

This one image shows a range a very active features at the Martian north pole. At this scarp scientists have routinely photographed avalanches every Martian spring, as they have been occurring, caused by the warmth of sunlight hitting this cliff wall and causing large sections to break off. As Shane Byrne of the Lunar and Planetary Lab University of Arizona explained in my September 2019 article,

On Mars half of the images we take in the right season contain an avalanche. There’s one image that has four avalanches going off simultaneously at different parts of the scarp. There must be hundreds to thousands of these events each day.

Buzzell dunes, March 19, 2019
Click for full image.

On the left side of the image is an area of dunes that Candice Hansen of the Planetary Science Institute in Arizona has dubbed “Buzzell.” As spring arrives here, she has MRO regularly take images of this site (as well as about a dozen others) to monitor the changes that occur with the arrival of sunlight on the vast dune seas that surround that polar icecap.

The image to the right zooms in on one particular distinct feature, a pedestal crater, surrounded by dunes, that I have labeled on the image above. This image was taken just as spring began, with the Sun only five degrees above the horizon. At that time the dunes and pedestal crater were mantled by a frozen layer of translucent carbon dioxide that had fallen as dry ice snow during the sunless winter and then sublimates away each Martian summer.

Since March I have periodically posted updates to monitor the disappearance of that CO2 layer. (See for example the posts on August 2019 and November 2019.) Below are two more images, showing the ongoing changes to this area from early to late summer.
» Read more

Share

ExoMars2020 parachute tests delayed until late March

The European Space Agency (ESA) has decided to delay until late March the next high altitude tests of the revamped ExoMars2020 parachutes, despite the success of recent ground tests.

The tests of the 15-meter-diameter supersonic and 35-meter-wide subsonic parachutes—an essential part of the entry, descent and landing phase of the mission—had been scheduled for December and February. The delay comes despite six ground tests demonstrating successful parachute extraction – the point at which damage was caused in earlier, failed high altitude tests.

Both tests need to be successful for the go-ahead for launch of 300-kilogram Rosalind Franklin rover during the July 25 to Aug. 13 Mars launch window. Any failure would mean a wait of 26 months for the next launch window, opening late 2022.

There will be a meeting next week of the project’s top management, from both Russia and Europe, and I strongly suspect that they are going to decide to delay launch to the 2022 launch window. Not only have the parachutes not been tested successfully at high altitude, they recently discovered an issue with the glue holding the solar panel hinges on the ExoMars Rosalind Franklin rover.

Share

Astra scrubs first orbital launch

Capitalism in space: Astra, competing for DARPA launch challenge, is about to attempt the first orbital launch of its Rocket 3.0. Live stream of launch embedded below.

The rocket is carrying three cubesats. DARPA’s goal is for the development of a rocket system that can very quickly go to launch. In this case Astra only found out what its payloads were about a month before launch, and had to proceed to launch in mere weeks. They will win $2 million. They can get another $10 million if they launch again by the end of March.

The launch went into an unplanned hold 53 seconds before launch. Their launch window extends to 6:30 pm (Eastern), so there is still a chance they can lift-off today.

They have now scrubbed the launch. No word yet on when they will reschedule. Their failure to launch today however means they will not win the $2 million launch challenge. It was unclear from the broadcast if they would win the $10 million if they manage two launches by the end of March. (According to this website, that award is also lost.) It was even unclear whether they would even try to launch their three cubesat payloads.

In fact, as I watched the post-scrub interviews, I began to get suspicious about this whole event. Astra has been very secretive about its work. They have never successfully launched before. Could this merely have been a demonstration that they could get a rocket set up on an empty concrete pad, with payload, in only a matter of weeks, knowing that the launch was simply impossible? I have no idea, but I do wonder.

My suspicions do not mean Astra won’t launch eventually. I just now have doubts they ever were ready today.

Share

OSIRIS-REx bypasses laser altimeter issue

The science team for OSIRIS-REx has figured out a bypass for the failure of one of the spacecraft’s laser altimeters, originally used during close flyovers of the surface of the rubble-pile asteroid Bennu.

The mission has made the decision to use OLA’s High Energy Laser Transmitter (HELT) to provide the ranging data to focus PolyCam during the Mar. 3 flyover of site Nightingale. OLA consists of two laser subsystems, the HELT and the Low-Energy Laser Transmitter (LELT). OLA’s LELT was originally scheduled to provide these data, however, as a result of the anomaly that occurred during the Recon B site Osprey flyover, the team has determined that the LELT system is no longer operable. Despite the LELT’s condition, the HELT system has continued to operate as expected, and will be used to focus PolyCam for the remaining reconnaissance passes.

According to Erin Morton, head of communications for OSIRIS-REx in the Principal Investigator’s Office, the failure of LELT will not impact the touch-and-go sample grab, presently scheduled for sometime in August.

We don’t need OLA [either the low or high energy transmitters] for the sample collection event. OLA’s main purpose was to collect the altimetry data needed to make topographical maps for the sample site decision. It successfully accomplished that last year – which means that the instrument has completed all of its primary mission requirements. OLA isn’t used for navigation.

Instead, they are using an autonomous system that compares previous high resolution images with images taken during descent. In addition, they have a lidar system available as well.

Share

Glacial breakup on Mars

glacial breakup on Mars
Click for full image.

Cool image time! The photograph to the right, cropped and reduced to post here, was taken by the high resolution camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter on December 22, 2019 and was titled “Contact Between Debris Apron and Upper Plains in Deuteronilus Mensae”.

The section of the full image that I have focused on shows what appears to be the downhill break-up of the surface debris covering an underlying water ice glacier. The grade is downhill to the south.

I am confident that this is buried glacial material based on recent research:

Both of these reports found lots of evidence of shallow ice in Deuteronilus Mensae, a region of chaos terrain in the transition zone between the Martian northern lowlands and the southern highlands.

With this image we see what appears to be the slippage of that ice downslope, causing breakage and cracks on the surface, with much of that surface made up of the dust and debris that covers the ice and protects it. Towards the bottom of the image it even appears that the disappearing ice is unveiling the existence of a bunch of buried bedrock mesas, typical of chaos terrain, previously hidden by the ice because it filled the surrounding canyons.

Below is a close-up of the photograph’s most interesting area of break-up.
» Read more

Share

SLS likely launch mid- to late-2021

According to comments by one NASA official last week, the first flight of SLS will likely not occur until the middle or late 2021, a further delay than the most recent prediction of April 2021.

NASA Associate Administrator Steve Jurczyk said on Friday that the first launch of the Space Launch System (SLS) with an uncrewed Orion spacecraft, Artemis I, will take place in mid-late 2021. He also said NASA will award contracts “within weeks” for the Human Landing System (HLS) as NASA strives to meet the Trump Administration’s goal of landing astronauts on the Moon by 2024 — the Artemis program. Embracing Artemis is the first step towards a trillion dollar cislunar space economy according to space industry executive Tory Bruno who spoke at the same conference in Laurel, MD. He urged everyone to stop “squabbling” and support the program.

There is a lot more in the article, including a lot of advocacy by Jurczyk and others for Lunar Gateway. I also found certain aspects of the Trump administration’s effort to make their 2024 target date for manned lunar landing, specifically related to the quick development of that Human Landing System (HLS), somewhat concerning:

We can’t thrash on the requirements. So on HLS, we said 90 days, we’re going to nail down the requirements. And if we can’t agree, NASA’s just going to tell you, use ours. We’re going to negotiate technical standards. Either use ours or show equivalency to yours, but after 90 days if we can’t get agreement, you’re going to use ours. … 90 days and we’re done with Human Landing System requirements.

I am all for doing it fast but one needs to also do it smart. I wonder about this approach.

Jurczyk noted that the administration and NASA are doing a lot of work outlining their plans for the whole Artemis exploration program following that lunar landing, and hope to reveal it by the end of March. Since this program still remains unfunded by Congress, that announcement will be part of the political campaign to obtain those funds.

Share

Chang’e-4 and Yutu-2 complete 15th lunar day on Moon

Chinese engineers have put both Chang’e-4 and Yutu-2 into sleep mode after successfully completing their fifteenth lunar day on the far side of the Moon.

According to the story from China’s state-run press, Yutu-2 has now traveled just under 400 meters, or about 1,311 feet. We do not have a map outlining its total path, though past data suggests it has generally traveled westward away from Chang’e-4. Other than this detail, the story provides little other information.

Share
1 3 4 5