2016 marked record-breaking progress in NASA’s exploration objectives. The agency advanced the capabilities needed to travel farther into the solar system while increasing observations of our home and the universe, learning more about how to continuously live and work in space and, of course, inspiring the next generation of leaders to take up our Journey to Mars and make their own discoveries.
China is NASA's biggest rival in space exploration with plans to land "taikonauts" on the moon by 2036 and Mars thereafter. Along the way, President Xi Jinping hopes the space missions will spawn a wave of Chinese innovation in robotics, aviation and artificial intelligence, among other leading 21st-century technologies.
A NASA mission's GPS prowess is now part of the record books: The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission just broke a Guinness World Record for highest altitude fix of a GPS signal. The four MMS satellites set the new space record by using GPS navigation at an altitude of 43,500 miles above Earth's surface.
Starting later this month, NASA plans to launch a group of very tiny satellites into space. These cutting-edge devices will orbit the Earth, taking atmospheric measurements, monitoring storms, and studying factors associated with climate change.
China just launched its Long March-5 heavy rocket into orbit in the country’s latest step on a path to establishing a manned space station and building a lunar base on the surface of the moon. Despite Beijing’s push into orbit, China is still playing catch up with the United States, but America could wind up losing the space race if it can’t recommit to STEM education and funding NASA.
NASA Goddard video producer David Ladd asked the musicians to write a song that captured the inspirational nature of studying the moon and encouraged STEM learning. "I wanted to create a unique production for the LRO mission that centered around music as a way to engage kids, parents, and educators," says Ladd in a statement. "A major focus was also to convey an important and encouraging message to kids -- particularly children of color -- that nothing is beyond their reach.
President Barack Obama wants NASA to send astronauts to Mars by the 2030s and eventually into deep space, he wrote in a CNN op-ed published (Oct. 11). "We have set a clear goal vital to the next chapter of America's story in space: sending humans to Mars by the 2030s and returning them safely to Earth, with the ultimate ambition to one day remain there for an extended time," Obama wrote in the op-ed.
NASA is developing the RASSOR mining robot to collect soil, or regolith, on the moon or Mars so it can be processed into rocket fuel, breathable air and other commodities. By using materials available at other locations in the solar system, astronauts don't have to carry it all from Earth.
Mars is the future. It’s after all NASA’s current overarching goal to send humans to the Red Planet. But even as early as the 1950s, aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun had published his vision of a mission to Mars in his book The Mars Project. We’ve also heard visions of settling the Red Planet under the leadership of a private organisation before. So why does Elon Musk get so much attention? And how feasible are his ideas?
The exploration of Europa begins under the ice in Antarctica. That’s where a team of researchers, led by the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), has been testing a variety of robotic subs in recent years to learn about what technologies will work best when NASA eventually launches a mission to Jupiter’s icy moon.