Test Hopper

 


In a series of tweets yesterday, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk confirmed that the space company is about to start testing an early prototype of its Starship spacecraft.

The so-called “hopper” test vehicle will feature only a single Raptor engine, as opposed to three for the final version. The test vehicle won’t enter orbit, but its low altitude test flights help prepare for future journeys as lengthy as a trip to Mars.

Starship Hopper in preparations to hop, “Ooh ah, just a little bit”.

📸@BocaChicaGal https://t.co/fk1cdRpyvm pic.twitter.com/VLW5ADBtgP

Mars Opportunity rover panorama

 


Mars sure is a lonely place

Recap:

Opportunity’s mission launched on July 7, 2003, and landed on the Red Planet on January 24, 2004. NASA hoped the rover would survive its 90-sols (Martian days) mission but to the surprise of everyone, it lasted 55 times longer than its designed lifespan (more than 14 years).

NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover – B, better known as Opportunity, stopped responding to commands in August 2018, prompting NASA to officially declare the mission’s end last month.

This week, the space agency released the final 360-degree panorama snapped by the rover.

Comprised of 354 individual images captured between May 13 and June 10 of last year, the panorama has been stitched together to highlight Perseverance Valley, a system of shallow troughs on the inner slope of the western rim of the Endurance Crater.

Opportunity’s twin, Spirit, touched down on the opposite side of Mars roughly three weeks earlier. Spirit got hung up by the rocky terrain in 2009 and stopped communicating with NASA in 2010.

NASA sent more than 1,000 commands to Opportunity in an attempt to reestablish connection following a planetary dust storm in 2018 but was unsuccessful suggesting the rover either encountered a catastrophic failure or had its solar panels covered by dust.

Hold on

 

“Hold on to what is good,
Even if it’s a handful of earth.

Hold on to what you believe,
Even if it’s a tree that stands by itself.

Support Hold on to what you must do,
Even if it’s a long way from here.

Hold on to your life,
Even if it’s easier to let go.

Hold on to my hand,
Even if someday I’ll be gone away from you.”

Moon Water

 


futurism

Moving Water

NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) just spotted “moving water molecules” on the near side of the Moon — which could be a big deal for future human missions to the Moon.

Scientists observed water molecules moving around as the lunar surface heated up during the Moon’s day cycle. Researchers had previously assumed that the main source of water — hydrogen ions from solar wind — would be cut off when the Earth travels between the Moon and the Sun. But the new findings didn’t see any decrease when the Earth cut off solar wind to the Moon, suggesting that it could harbor a more sustainable source of water than previously believed.

Hot Topic

The discovery is described in a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters by researchers from the John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory and NASA’s Goddard  Space Flight Center in Maryland. The data was collected by the LRO’s Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP), an ultraviolet spectrograph that was built to map ultralight wavelength reflections on the lunar surface.

“This is an important new result about lunar water, a hot topic as our nation’s space program returns to a focus on lunar exploration,” said Kurt Retherford, principal investigator of the LAMP instrument from Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, Texas, said in a statement. “We recently converted the LAMP’s light collection mode to measure reflected signals on the lunar dayside with more precision, allowing us to track more accurately where the water is and how much is present.”

The Shape Of Water

A groundbreaking 2017 study from Brown University suggested that there may be substantial amounts of water inside lunar rocks. At the time, the discovery was a major shift from the consensus view that most water on the Moon is located near its poles.

This year’s results discovered by LAMP seem to underline that the lunar water cycle could make water far more accessible to us during future missions to the Moon than we previously thought — the more water already exists on the Moon, the less time and resources we have to spend in trying to get it there.

READ MORE: LRO sheds light on lunar water movement [NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center]

More on water on the Moon: New Study Challenges Previous Conclusions About Water on the Moon

Facebook bloquea, sin “mira_mientos”

 


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