Showcasing our efforts to monitor Earth’s climate …
A spacecraft for an asteroid mission is close to its final configuration …
And assembly of NASA’s Europa Clipper spacecraft is underway … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Kerry Briefed on Climate-Related Efforts at Ames
On March 8, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, John Kerry visited our Ames Research Center in Northern California. While there, he toured the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex, the unique facility operated by the U.S. Air Force, which houses the world’s largest wind tunnel. Kerry was briefed on how the facility supports development of new wind turbine technologies and other climate-related innovations. He also learned how the agency uses supercomputers at Ames, remote sensing tools, and data from Earth-observing aircraft and spacecraft to study and monitor our climate.
Psyche Gets Huge Solar Arrays for Mission to Asteroid
Our Psyche spacecraft is a step closer to its final configuration ahead of its targeted launch this August to a metal-rich asteroid of the same name. Engineers at our Jet Propulsion Laboratory or JPL in Southern California recently attached the spacecraft’s solar arrays. They then tested the arrays by unfolding and restowing them. After a three-and-a-half-year solar-powered journey, the spacecraft will arrive at asteroid Psyche in 2026 and spend nearly two years making increasingly close orbits of the asteroid to study it.
NASA Begins Assembly of Europa Clipper Spacecraft
Assembly of our Europa Clipper spacecraft is also underway at JPL, with engineering components and science instruments being delivered from across the country and Europe. Most of the flight hardware is expected to be complete by year’s end. The mission is targeted for an October 2024 launch to Jupiter’s moon, Europa, to investigate whether the icy moon, with its subsurface ocean, is capable of supporting life.
NICER Telescope Sees Hot Spots Merge on a Magnetar
For the first time, NASA’s Neutron star Interior Composition Explorer or NICER instrument, mounted on the outside of the International Space Station, has observed the merging of multimillion-degree X-ray spots on the surface of a magnetar, a super-magnetized stellar core no larger than a city. NICER’s unique set of observations could help provide a more complete understanding of the interplay between the crust and magnetic field of these extreme objects.
Fly Your Name Around the Moon on Artemis I
No humans will fly on this year’s upcoming Artemis I mission, but your name could! Just go to nasa.gov/wearegoing to add your name to a list of names stored on a flash drive that will make the historic trip around the Moon and back. You’ll also be able to generate and download your very own boarding pass. Artemis I will be the first in a series of increasingly complex missions to build a long-term human presence at the Moon for decades to come.