This Week @NASA: SpaceX Crew-6 Splashdown, Psyche Spacecraft Hitchhiker, Ancient Life on Earth

NASA SpaceX Crew-6 Dragon Endeavour Splashdown

Support teams work around the SpaceX Dragon Endeavour spacecraft shortly after it landed with NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Warren “Woody” Hoburg, UAE (United Arab Emirates) astronaut Sultan Alneyadi, and Roscosmos cosmonaut Andrey Fedyaev aboard in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, Monday, September 4, 2023. Credit: NASA/Joel Kowsky

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission safely returns to Earth …

The tech demo hitching a ride on NASA’s Psyche spacecraft …

And studying ancient life on Earth to better understand Mars

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

NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 Mission Safely Returns to Earth

On September 3, the four-person crew of NASA’s SpaceX Crew-6 mission, including NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, climbed aboard their SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and undocked from the International Space Station. They returned to Earth very early the next morning – splashing down safely in the waters off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. The international crew contributed to hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations during its six months in orbit.

Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) Flight Transceiver

The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) flight transceiver is inside a large tube-like sunshade and telescope on the Psyche spacecraft, as seen here inside a clean room at JPL. An earlier photo, inset, shows the transceiver assembly before it was integrated with the spacecraft. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Psyche Asteroid Mission Will Also Carry Optical Communications Demo

The no earlier than October 5 targeted launch date of NASA’s Psyche mission to a metal-rich asteroid is less than a month away. The Psyche spacecraft will have a hitchhiker on the trip – a laser transceiver for NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications or DSOC technology demonstration. DSOC, the agency’s first test of high-bandwidth optical communications beyond the Moon, aims to show how lasers could increase data transmission rates far beyond the capacity of current radio frequency systems used on spacecraft today.

Stromatolites Investigation Western Australia Pilbara Region

Members of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, the European Space Agency, the Australian Space Agency, and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization are in Western Australia’s Pilbara region to investigate “stromatolites,” the oldest confirmed fossilized lifeforms on Earth. They discuss the importance of geological context when choosing sampling sites and ensuring the integrity of a sample’s biological origin while considering plans for future missions to bring Mars samples to Earth. Credit: NASA/Mike Toillion

NASA, Partners Study Ancient Life in Australia to Inform Mars Search

Members of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program and several international partners recently went on a field expedition to the Western Australian Outback to study some of the oldest confirmed fossilized lifeforms on Earth that may be relatable to Mars. Both planets may have had similar pasts, so learning more about the evolution of Earth may help us understand what we find now, and in the future, as we search for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars.

NASA Boeing X-66A Aircraft

NASA, in partnership with Boeing, has introduced a new livery for the X-66A aircraft, a part of the Sustainable Flight Demonstrator initiative. Credit: Boeing

Boeing Transports Aircraft for Conversion into NASA’s New X-Plane

An MD-90 airplane was recently flown to Boeing’s Palmdale, California facility, to be converted into the X-66A experimental aircraft for NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project. The X-66A, which will utilize a fuel-efficient Transonic Truss-Braced Wing configuration, supports the U.S. goal of achieving net-zero aviation greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA!

Be the first to comment on "This Week @NASA: SpaceX Crew-6 Splashdown, Psyche Spacecraft Hitchhiker, Ancient Life on Earth"

Leave a comment

Email address is optional. If provided, your email will not be published or shared.