NASA News 2022.10.29

NASA Missions Detect Stunning Meteoroid Impact on Mars

On Dec. 24, 2021, our InSight Mars lander recorded a significant marsquake on the Red Planet. Only later did scientists discover the cause of the shaking: a meteoroid strike estimated to be one of the biggest seen on Mars since NASA began exploring the cosmos.  What’s more, the meteoroid’s impact kicked up boulder-size chunks of ice buried beneath the Martian surface–a discovery with big implications for NASA’s plans to send future astronauts to the Red Planet.  Data and images from two NASA spacecraft contributed to the discovery. InSight’s seismometer “heard” the quake that resulted from the meteoroid’s impact when it occurred last December, and the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE camera) aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter “saw” the new crater from orbit in February.  

Subsurface ice will be a vital resource for future human explorers, who could use it for a variety of needs, including drinking water, agriculture, and rocket propellant. Buried ice has never been spotted this close to the Martian equator, which, as the warmest part of Mars, is an appealing location for astronauts. “It’s unprecedented to find a fresh impact of this size,” said Ingrid Daubar, a planetary scientist who leads InSight’s Impact Science Working Group. “It’s an exciting moment in geologic history, and we got to witness it.”  Learn About the Discovery

JPSS-2 Launch & Inflatable Heat Shield Tech Demo – Take part in virtual activities and events ahead of the launch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) mission, and tech demonstration of NASA’s Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator, or LOFTID, scheduled to lift off Tues., Nov. 1, at 5:25 a.m. EDT. The NASA TV broadcast will stay live through LOFTID splashdown in the Pacific Ocean. Here’s How to WatchWatch a Cargo Launch – Rise and shine early to catch the launch of Northrop Grumman’s Antares rocket from our Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. Scheduled to launch on Sunday, Nov. 6, at 5:50 a.m. EST, the mission will bring approximately 8,200 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware to the International Space Station. Watch live coverage on NASA Television and the agency’s website, as well as YouTube, Twitter, and NASA’s App.Get Launch Updates
Tracking ‘Super-Emitters’ – Methane is far more effective than carbon dioxide at trapping heat in Earth’s atmosphere. Our new Earth Surface Mineral Dust Source Investigation, designed to measure atmospheric dust, has demonstrated another capability: mapping methane “super-emitters” around the planet.  Explore the ScienceSpritacular Citizen Science – NASA’s newest citizen science project, Spritacular, leverages the power of crowdsourcing to advance the study of sprites, one of the least-understood electrical phenomena in Earth’s upper atmosphere. Find out how you can contribute to this ground-breaking study: Join the Citizen Science Project

In Other News

Galaxy of Horrors – Take a tour of some of the most terrifying and mind-blowing destinations in our galaxy … and beyond. After a visit to these nightmare worlds, you may never want to leave Earth! You can also download our free posters, based on real NASA science, if you dare. Tour the Galaxy of HorrorsPreschool STEM Guide – Curiosity and the thrill of discovery can spark a lifelong love of exploration in even the youngest children. October is a great time to launch a love of space science for little ones, so here are some fun activities families can do together to “space out” this Halloween! Explore Our Pre-K Guide
JWST Pumpkin Carving – Want to carve your own James Webb Space Telescope-themed pumpkin? Try your hand at carving three different patterns with our downloadable stencils. Simply print one (or all of them!) out and get carving. And don’t forget to show off your creation– tag us on social media (@NASAWebb) and we may share them!Download the GuideDIY Costume, NASA Style – Looking for an out-of-this world Halloween costume? You’ll come in hot to every party dressed as NASA’s LOFTID. The heat shield works by creating drag in the atmosphere, acting like a giant brake…but being a drag is the last thing you’ll need to worry about in this show-stopping attire! Do It Yourself!

NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has snapped this eerie, extremely dusty view of the Pillars of Creation in mid-infrared light – showing us a new view of a familiar landscape. 

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