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.
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.
NASA's Hubble Space Telescope took direct ultraviolet images of the icy moon Europa transiting across the disk of Jupiter.
On July 4th 2016, the Juno spacecraft entered orbit around the planet Jupiter after leaving earth five years ago. The Juno probe will tell us what lies inside the mysterious gas giant and with this information we'll better understand the formation of our solar system. In this episode, find out how Jupiter wreaked havoc through the solar system during its early formation and how without it the Earth as we know it would not exist.
On June 28, the booster for NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket was fired up for a major two-minute full-duration qualification ground test at Orbital ATK Propulsion Systems’ test facilities in Promontory, Utah.
During a televised presentation to NASA employees, on May 25 from NASA Headquarters, Deputy Administrator Dava Newman and retired NASA astronaut Scott Kelly reflected on Kelly’s historic one-year mission aboard the International Space Station, which he and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko completed in March.
The planet Mercury’s transit of the sun on May 9 provided an opportunity for sky-watchers throughout the U.S. to witness a rare celestial event that happens only about 13 times a century.
Around 13 times per century, Mercury passes between Earth and the sun in a rare astronomical event known as a planetary transit. The 2016 Mercury transit occurred on May 9, between roughly 7:12 a.m. and 2:42 p.m. EDT.
On May 3, NASA's Wallops Flight Facility hosted Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and others for an employee town hall and a tour of the Virginia facility - including Pad 0A at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Preparations are underway there to conduct an engine test of Orbital ATK’s Antares rocket in anticipation of returning Antares to flight operations this summer following a launch mishap in 2014.
The telescope's mirrors are covered in a microscopically thin layer of gold, which optimizes them for reflecting infrared light, which is the primary wavelength of light this telescope will observe. To ensure the mirror is both strong and light, the team made the mirrors out of beryllium. Each mirror segment is about the size of a coffee table and weighs approximately 20 kilograms (46 pounds). A very fine film of vaporized gold coats each segment to improve the mirror's reflection of infrared light.