And an Earthly assist for a NASA spacecraft … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Webb’s New Star-Filled “Pillars of Creation” Image
A new Webb Space Telescope image of the iconic Pillars of Creation – a star factory of sorts – is visually stunning and could help us better understand how stars form within clouds of gas and interstellar dust.
Astronaut Scott Tingle takes a closer look at rock formations at Black Point Lava Flow, Arizona during a simulated spacewalk on day 5 of NASA’s Desert Research and Technology Studies (D-RATS) in 2011. The upcoming DRATS mission is a reboot of a program that conducted analog missions from 1997-2012. Credit: NASA/Regan Geeseman
Practicing Artemis Moonwalks in the Arizona Desert
On October 16, 2022, Lucy flew by the Earth like a partner in a swing dance, boosting its speed and elongating its orbit around the Sun. At 7:04 am, Eastern Time, Lucy made its closest approach at just 219 miles above the planet: lower than the International Space Station. This exceptionally close shave will increase its velocity by four-and-a-half miles per second, setting Lucy on track to gain even more speed when it returns to Earth for its second gravity assist in December 2024. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
Lucy Spacecraft Gets Gravity Assist from Earth
NASA’s Lucy spacecraftswung back by Earth on October 16, exactly one year after its launch. The close flyby also gave Lucy the first of several gravity assists it needs from Earth to reach the never-before-visited Trojan asteroids that share an orbit with Jupiter.
With 14 electric motors turning propellers and all of them integrated into a uniquely-designed wing, NASA will test new propulsion technology using an experimental airplane now designated the X-57 and nicknamed “Maxwell.” Credit: NASA Langley/Advanced Concepts Lab, AMA, Inc.
Astronaut James A. McDivitt, shown here in his official 1971 portrait, died on October 13, 2022. McDivitt commanded Gemini IV, the second crewed Gemini flight, and Apollo 9, which tested the first lunar module in Earth orbit. Credit: NASA
NASA Astronaut James McDivitt Dies at Age 93
Former NASA astronaut Jim McDivitt, who commanded the Gemini IV and Apollo 9 missions, died on October 13. Jim McDivitt was 93 years old.