This Week @NASA: Following the Shadow of the Total Solar Eclipse, Astronaut Returns, VIPER Moon Rover

2024 Total Solar Eclipse 1

Bailey’s Beads and solar prominences are seen just after totality in Dallas, Texas on Monday, April 8, 2024. A total solar eclipse swept across a narrow portion of the North American continent from Mexico’s Pacific coast to the Atlantic coast of Newfoundland, Canada. A partial solar eclipse was visible across the entire North American continent along with parts of Central America and Europe. Credit: NASA/Keegan Barber

Following the shadow of the total solar eclipse…

A NASA astronaut returns safely from the space station…

And NASA’s lunar-roving robot gets some new hardware…

A few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

Covering the 2024 Total Solar Eclipse

NASA provided extensive coverage of the April 8 total solar eclipse from various locations across North America as the Moon’s shadow traveled from Mexico, across the U.S. from Texas to Maine, and through parts of Canada. In addition to views from the ground, views of Earth from a NASA science aircraft, and even from the International Space Station showed the Moon’s shadow passing over cities and towns situated along the path of totality.

A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun.

Expedition 70 Soyuz Landing NASA Astronaut Loral O’Hara

Expedition 70 NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara is seen outside the Soyuz MS-24 spacecraft after she, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Novitskiy, and Belarus spaceflight participant Marina Vasilevskaya landed in a remote area near the town of Zhezkazgan, Kazakhstan on Saturday, April 6, 2024. O’Hara is returning to Earth after logging 204 days in space as a member of Expeditions 69-70 aboard the International Space Station and Novitskiy and Vasilevskaya return after having spent the last 14 days in space. Credit: NASA/Bill Ingalls

NASA Astronaut Loral O’Hara Returns From Space Station

On April 5, NASA astronaut Loral O’Hara and two crewmates boarded a Soyuz spacecraft and undocked from the International Space Station. The next day, the trio made a safe, parachute-assisted landing in Kazakhstan.

O’Hara spent six months aboard the station supporting NASA’s Artemis campaign and working on various scientific activities. This was her first spaceflight.

NASA VIPER Robotic Moon Rover Mast Install

A team of engineers lifts the mast into place atop NASA’s VIPER robotic Moon rover in a clean room at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. Credit: NASA/Helen Arase Vargas

VIPER Robotic Moon RoverTeam Raises Its Mighty Mast

The team building NASA’s lunar-roving VIPER robot recently installed its mast. Rover drivers and researchers will use the suite of instruments affixed to the mast, along with several science payloads, to scout the South Pole region of the Moon during the rover’s upcoming mission.

VIPER seeks to help us better understand the origin of water and other resources in that region prior to sending astronauts to the Moon as part of NASA’s Artemis campaign.

DC-8 Aircraft Retirement

The DC-8 aircraft returned to NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center Building 703 in Palmdale, California, on April 1, 2024, after completing its final mission supporting Airborne and Satellite Investigation of Asian Air Quality (ASIA-AQ). The aircraft and crew were welcomed back with a celebratory water salute by the U.S. Air Force Plant 42 Fire Department. Credit: NASA/Steve Freeman

NASA’s DC-8 Completes Final Mission

NASA’s DC-8 aircraft was welcomed back to the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center recently after completing its final mission. As the largest flying science laboratory in the world, the DC-8 has been used to support the agency’s Airborne Science missions since 1987.

It has helped collect data for countless scientific projects conducted by the global scientific community. The DC-8 will be retired to Idaho State University, where it will be used to train future aircraft technicians.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA!

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