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.
When complete, Aquila will be able to circle a region up to 60 miles in diameter, beaming internet connectivity down from an altitude of more than 60,000 feet to people within a 60-mile communications diameter for up to 90 days at a time. It will be part of a future fleet of drones.
NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden was back on Capitol Hill during the week of March 13 for more Congressional hearings on the agency’s $19 billion dollar Fiscal Year 2017 budget proposal.
This new view of Pluto’s crescent -- taken by New Horizons’ wide-angle Ralph/Multispectral Visual Imaging Camera (MVIC) on July 14 and downlinked to Earth on Sept. 13 -- offers an oblique look across Plutonian landscapes with dramatic backlighting from the sun. It spectacularly highlights Pluto’s varied terrains and extended atmosphere. The scene measures 780 miles (1,250 kilometers) across.
A pockmarked, icy landscape looms beneath NASA's Cassini spacecraft in new images of Saturn's moon Dione taken during the mission's last close approach to the small, icy world. Two of the new images show the surface of Dione at the best resolution ever.
Cassini passed 295 miles (474 kilometers) above Dione's surface at 11:33 a.m. PDT (2:33 p.m. EDT) on Aug. 17.
NASA has selected four astronauts to train and prepare for commercial spaceflights that will return American launches to U.S. soil and further open up low-Earth orbit transportation to the private sector.
"Some 250 miles overhead, astronauts are conducting critical research not possible on Earth, which makes tremendous advances in our lives while helping to expand human presence beyond low Earth orbit," said William Gerstenmaier, NASA associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations.
Elon Musk is the CEO and CTO of SpaceX, CEO and chief product architect of Tesla Motors, and chairman of SolarCity. He is the founder of SpaceX and a cofounder of PayPal, Tesla Motors, and Zip2.
Dr. Valerie Wiesner is a materials research engineer at NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio. She is responsible for evaluating high-temperature interactions between Calcium-Magnesium Aluminosilicate and Environmental Barrier Coating materials for aircraft turbine engine development.
JPL engineers are working on a small helicopter that could ‘scout’ a trail for future Mars rovers, but getting a chopper that could fly in the Martian atmosphere is tricky.