vendredi 30 novembre 2018

Charting a Course for Astronaut Safety as NASA Launches to the Moon and to Mars

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center logo.

Nov. 30, 2018

In the next decade, NASA aims to launch humankind toward the Moon and on to Mars — a monumental step in crewed space travel. Such a journey is filled with challenges and perils, not unlike those faced by the first explorers to cross the ocean. However, instead of stormy seas, these explorers will set sail amid the hazards of the heliosphere — the magnetic environment emanating out from the Sun and encompassing the solar system. The risks of travelling through this realm ultimately ride on how well we can understand the dynamics therein.

 Moon, Mars and beyond... Image Credit: NASA

“In order to get to Mars, spacecraft and humans will be immersed in the heliosphere and will have to contend with it,” said Terry Onsager, program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C. “That environment can be a harsh one, but one we’re ready for.”

To safely navigate the heliosphere, NASA scientists and missions have been mapping the region for decades. Recent results, from near-Earth to far across the solar system, are helping us engineer a safe path for future space explorers abroad.

Staying Safe En Route to Mars

As astronauts leave the protective magnetic bubble around Earth ­— the magnetosphere — they become exposed to damaging energetic particle radiation from the Sun. Continually streaming out from the solar surface, these solar energetic particles, as they are known, can reach levels that can damage electronics and harm living tissue in space.

Animation above: This simulation of a July 14, 2000, coronal mass ejection shows the CME and subsequent solar energetic particles streaming out away from the Sun. The Sun’s magnetic field lines are shown in magenta and white. The flux of protons with energies greater than 50 MeV is shown in color. Animation Credits: Predictive Science Inc./University of New Hampshire/NASA Goddard/Joy Ng.

“Periodically, solar eruptions on the Sun’s surface can generate enormous increases in the energetic particle radiation environments, and when that occurs, systems need to be able to handle that,” Onsager said.

Spacecraft are being designed with radiation-hardened equipment and safe areas for the astronauts to hide during solar storms -- which can last hours to days. In addition to these protective securities, having a reliable warning system is paramount to astronaut safety.

NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory — SDO — has kept constant vigil on the Sun for eight years. The images it takes in visible and ultraviolet light allow scientists to continually monitor surface conditions and understand what activity might be roiling just below, ready to emerge. Once an eruption is seen on the Sun’s surface, astronauts can typically be given about a half-hour advance warning before the incoming radiation reaches peak levels. While this provides astronauts with some time to take action, ultimately improvements in space weather forecasting are needed to provide more advanced warning.

Improving Space Weather Forecasting

Predicting space weather — the billowing solar wind and solar energetic particles it carries — is not unlike terrestrial weather forecasting. It starts with observing the Sun — which SDO and other NASA heliophysics missions do around the clock. Data about the Sun’s activity is then fed into physics-based computer models that make statistical predictions about the probability of a solar eruption. This then allows scientists to give warning when such an event may occur.

“Forecasting space weather phenomena, whether at Earth or in deep space, is very, very complex,” said Jingnan Guo, heliophysicist at the University of Kiel in Germany. “We have to consider scales from the Sun-Earth distance — about 93 million miles, at which waves and erupted material propagate across space — to below a few meters, at which scale you see the turbulence and kinematics of the particles.”

As of now, our understanding of the complex dynamics at play in the heliosphere is incomplete, making predictions difficult; the best models are still in the early stages of development. Scientists who model space weather depend on NASA’s many heliophysics missions to improve their forecasts.

“If you have just a single point observation, it’s very hard to model or even, sometimes, interpret the data. If you have multiple points, than you can constrain your model and make sure the underlying theories are capable of reproducing that event,” said Leila Mays, a space weather scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Last year, a strong solar energetic particle event was observed by multiple NASA missions. The results, which record the first particle event seen at ground level on both Mars and Earth, were recently published in the journal Space Weather. In this event, high-energy particles accelerated by an intensive shock driven by a coronal mass ejection — a violent blast on the solar surface that spews out gas and energetic particles ­— were first detected as they left the Sun with SDO. The scientists used ground-based instruments and models to track how material moved through the heliosphere and to measure their intensity upon reaching Earth and Mars.

The CME Heard 'Round the Solar System

Video above: The Sept. 10, 2017, coronal mass ejection event — shown here by the largest red blast — was seen by multiple missions across the solar system, helping scientists understand how this type of potentially harmful radiation may impact future space explorers as they travel to the Moon and Mars. Video Credits: CCMC/NASA Goddard/Tom Bridgman.

Such multi-point observations are essential in understanding how particles blasted off the Sun travel through the solar system. This knowledge of how radiation spreads ultimately helps improve models — giving astronauts more advanced warning of potentially dangerous space weather events.

“Although this is the biggest solar energetic particle event we’ve observed on the surface of Mars, it would not have been hazardous for astronauts there,” said Guo, who authored the paper. “However, much larger solar energetic particle events are possible and this event helps us understand what that might look like.”

Scientists will continue to study space weather from Earth with ground-based instruments as well as NASA’s heliophysics fleet of spacecraft, but future missions will provide new viewpoints.

“Ultimately, more data is needed and we’re hoping to get some from Parker Solar Probe, since it’s going so close to the Sun, where these harmful particles are accelerated to high energies,” Mays said. “We have assumptions of how this acceleration works that go into the models, but measurements from Parker would really help improve our theories.”

Already, the Radiation Assessment Detector Instrument aboard the Curiosity Rover has been measuring high-energy radiation on the Martian surface — data that is helping scientists understand how much radiation humans will be exposed to when visiting the red planet. NASA and NOAA’s joint Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite Program has been measuring energetic particle measurements for current astronauts since the 1980s. Instruments to study particle radiation will also be aboard future flights and the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway, the proposed outpost to orbit the Moon.

“Future deep-space human exploration vehicles provide not only the ability to safeguard the crew onboard, but simultaneously do new scientific experiments,” said Antti Pulkkinen, scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. “They will serve this dual purpose.”

These measurements will benefit more than just space weather forecasting. They will also help us understand things closer to home — like the Moon.

New Insight at the Moon

Returning to the Moon will undoubtedly unlock new doors to understanding our nearest neighbor in space. After all, it wasn’t until we first stepped foot on the Moon that we were able to understand its origins. Today we are still discovering new things and NASA missions like the Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of Moon’s Interaction with the Sun — ARTEMIS — are uncovering new insights into the Moon’s tenuous atmosphere.

The Moon is, in fact, not airless. It has a thin atmospheric layer — the exosphere — composed mainly of hydrogen, helium, neon and argon, extends about a hundred miles above the surface. Mixed on the upper edge of the exosphere is a tenuous and ephemeral secondary layer — the ionosphere — created by sunlight energizing atoms in the exosphere.

Image above: The moon has a tenuous atmosphere, called an exosphere, extending a few hundred miles above the surface. Sunlight ionizes a portion of this exosphere, producing an ionosphere roughly one million times weaker than Earth’s. Image Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Mary Pat Hrybyk-Keith.

“The ionosphere is a million times less dense than the ionosphere of Earth so it’s really hard to directly measure those charged particles,” said Jasper Halekas, ARTEMIS scientist at the University of Iowa in Iowa City, and lead author on a new study of the Moon’s ionosphere.

Using a new technique to analyze data from ARTEMIS, Halekas and his team were able to measure the ionosphere directly. They noted the ionosphere enlarged every full Moon and became coupled with Earth’s ionosphere — meaning charged particles are likely able to travel back and forth between the two bodies’ ionospheres.

“The presence of the Moon may actually affect Earth’s magnetosphere,” Halekas said. “It might actually perturb that local environment.”

New missions to the Moon would allow the study of the ionosphere and exosphere from the surface, giving us a better understanding of that coupling and how our atmosphere may be linked with the Moon’s.

The new results might also help us better understand how atmospheres are created and sustained on small bodies.

“The same technique could be applied to lots of other bodies in the solar system, which should have a tenuous atmosphere like the Moon’s,” Halekas said. “This would include: moons around the outer planets, big bodies in the asteroid belt, things in the Kuiper belt, and even objects outside the solar system.”

Setting Off with Confidence

It is hard to foretell the discoveries that will be made as humankind voyages to the Moon and Mars, though certainly they will be innumerable. What is certain is the starring role heliophysics will play in helping us get there. Studying heliophysics and space weather are invaluable to protecting our astronauts and assets in space. And, undoubtedly, this journey across the solar system will help us uncover new discoveries about the heliosphere we call home, making the roads of space safer for future generations of space explorers.

Related Links

Learn more about NASA’s Moon to Mars Program:

Learn more about NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory:

Learn more about NASA’s research on the Sun-Earth environment:

Learn more about NASA’s ARTEMIS mission:

GOES (Geostationary Environmental Operational Satellites):

Mars Science Laboratory or MSL (Curiosity):

Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway:

Space Weather:

Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC):

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Rob Garner/Goddard Space Flight Center, by Mara Johnson-Groh.


jeudi 29 novembre 2018

Spacewalk Preps and Muscle Research Keep Crew Busy

ISS - Expedition 57 Mission patch.

November 29, 2018

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

A Russian spacewalk is planned before three Expedition 57 crew members return to Earth aboard a Soyuz spacecraft just before Christmas. Meanwhile, in the middle of the spacewalk and departure preparations, the International Space Station residents today also explored how living in space impacts the human muscle system.

Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev will work outside the space station Dec. 11 to inspect the Soyuz MS-09 crew vessel. The first-time spacewalker will join veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko for a scheduled 6-hour inspection on the outside of the spaceship that will return the Expedition 57 crew home Dec. 19 U.S. time.

Image above: Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor researches the complex process of cement solidification in space. Results may impact possible construction processes and designs for space habitats on the surface of the Moon and Mars. Image Credit: NASA.

Prokopyev checked the Orlan spacesuits today that he and Kononenko will wear during the eighth spacewalk of the year. Expedition 57 Commander Alexander Gerst and Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor assisted Prokopyev checking the Russian spacesuits for leaks.

Gerst and Auñón-Chancellor then moved on to a study that has been ongoing aboard the orbital lab since September of 2017 observing how muscles adapt to outer space. The duo set up the Columbus lab module for research operations and scanned their head and foot muscles with an ultrasound device. The data may help doctors improve fitness in space and develop treatments for muscle and aging problems on Earth.

Image above: Flying over South Indian Ocean, seen by EarthCam on ISS, speed: 27'564 Km/h, altitude: 421,18 Km, image captured by Roland Berga (on Earth in Switzerland) from International Space Station (ISS) using ISS-HD Live application with EarthCam's from ISS on November 29, 2018 at 23:22 UTC. Image Credits: Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Back on Earth, on opposite sides of the globe, a pair of rockets are getting ready to send a new crew and more science and supplies to the space station. Russia’s Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft will launch Kononenko and fellow crew members Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques from Kazakhstan to the station on Monday at 6:31 a.m. EST. The following day at 1:38 p.m. in Florida, the SpaceX Dragon will blast off to the station to deliver more than 5,600 pounds of cargo to resupply the station residents.

Related links:

Expedition 57:

Columbus lab module:

SpaceX Dragon:


Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Marck Garcia/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Best regards,

Hubble Explores the Coma Cluster's More Than 1,000 Galaxies

NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Nov. 29, 2018

This Hubble Space Telescope mosaic is of a portion of the immense Coma cluster of over 1,000 galaxies, located 300 million light-years from Earth. Hubble's incredible sharpness was used to conduct a comprehensive census of the cluster's most diminutive members: a whopping 22,426 globular star clusters. Among the earliest homesteaders of the universe, globular star clusters are snow-globe-shaped islands of several hundred thousand ancient stars. The survey found the globular clusters scattered in the space between the galaxies. They have been orphaned from their home galaxies through galaxy tidal interactions within the bustling cluster. Astronomers will use the globular cluster field for mapping the distribution of matter and dark matter in the Coma galaxy cluster.

The study, published in the November 9, 2018, issue of The Astrophysical Journal, will allow for astronomers to use the globular cluster field to map the distribution of matter and dark matter in the Coma galaxy cluster.

Hubble Space Telescope (HST)

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Image, Animation, Credits: NASA, Yvette Smith, ESA, J. Mack (STScI) and J. Madrid (Australian Telescope National Facility).


PSLV-C43 successfully launches HysIS and 30 satellites

ISRO - Indian Space Research Organisation logo.

Nov 29, 2018

Launch of PSLV-C43/HysIS

PSLV-C43 lifted off at 09:57 hrs (IST) on November 29, 2018 from the First Launch Pad (FLP) of Satish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikota and successfully launched India’s Hyper spectral Imaging Satellite (HysIS) and 30 international co-passenger satellites (including two ESA's nanosatellites).

Lift-off and Onboard Camera View of PSLV-C43/HysIS Launch

Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) is a four stage launch vehicle with alternating solid and liquid stages. PSLV-C43 is the Core Alone version of PSLV, without the six strap-ons.

HysIS satellite description

 HysIS satellite deployment

HysIS, the primary satellite of PSLV-C43 mission, weighing about 380 kg, is an earth observation satellite configured around ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 (IMS-2) bus. The primary goal of HysIS is to study the earth’s surface in the visible, near infrared and shortwave infrared regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.

ISRO’s Mini Satellite-2 (IMS-2)

The co-passengers of HysIS include 1 Micro and 29 Nano satellites from  8 different countries. These satellites have been commercially contracted for launch through Antrix Corporation Limited, the commercial arm of ISRO.

Related article:

Lift off for Pioneering nanosats

Related links:



Images, Video, Text, Credit: ISRO/SciNews.


mercredi 28 novembre 2018

Station Crews Ramping Up for Busy December

ISS - Expedition 57 Mission patch.

November 28, 2018

International Space Station (ISS). Image Credits: NASA/STS-130

December is shaping up to be a heavy traffic period at the International Space Station. Two crews will swap places before Christmas and a U.S. spaceship will deliver new supplies and science. A Russian spacewalk is also planned for a crew vehicle inspection.

The Expedition 57 crew onboard the station today continued preparing for the upcoming missions while researching space science. Commander Alexander Gerst cleaned cooling loops in U.S. spacesuits as Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev prepared the Soyuz MS-09 crew vessel for next month’s undocking. Astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor worked on commercial science gear, semiconductor crystal observations and space gardening.

Image above: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor is pictured in the Japanese Kibo lab module mixing protein crystal samples to help scientists understand how they work. Image Credit: NASA.

Monday and Tuesday are launch days for a new crew and a cargo delivery. Two new astronauts and a veteran cosmonaut are set to blast off first on Monday at 6:31 a.m. EST aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft. Soyuz Commander Oleg Kononenko flanked by new Expedition 58 Flight Engineers Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques will dock to the station’s Poisk module just six hours and five minutes later.

The very next day, the SpaceX Dragon commercial resupply ship will launch on its 16th mission to the orbital laboratory with a variety of new science experiments at 1:38 p.m. Dragon will orbit Earth for two days before reaching a point about 10 meters from the station where it will be captured with the Canadarm2 robotic arm.

Image above: Flying over South Austral Ocean, seen by EarthCam on ISS, speed: 27'553 Km/h, altitude: 426,21 Km, image captured by Roland Berga (on Earth in Switzerland) from International Space Station (ISS) using ISS-HD Live application with EarthCam's from ISS on November 29, 2018 at 01:56 UTC. Image Credits: Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Following those two critical arrivals at the orbital laboratory, cosmonauts Prokopyev and Oleg Kononenko will exit the station for the third Russian spacewalk of the year on Dec. 11. The duo will wear their Orlan spacesuits for about six hours of inspection work on the Soyuz MS-09 crew craft docked to the Rassvet module.

After the vehicle inspection, the Soyuz MS-09 will return to Earth Dec. 20 bringing home the Expedition 57 crew after six and a half months in space. Auñón-Chancellor and Gerst will sit on either side of Soyuz Commander Prokopyev as he leads the trio to a parachuted landing in Kazakhstan at 12:03 a.m.

Related links:

Expedition 57:

Expedition 58:

Commercial science gear:

Semiconductor crystal:

Space gardening:

New science experiments:



SpaceX Dragon:


Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Marck Garcia/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.


First full satellite tested in CERN’s CHARM facility

CERN - European Organization for Nuclear Research logo.

28 November, 2018

Image above: The CELESTA micro satellite, carrying a space version of the radiation-monitoring system RadMon, has been tested at CERN’s CHARM (CERN High-Energy AcceleRator Mixed field) facility. (Image: CERN).

CHARM, a unique facility at CERN to test electronics in complex radiation environments, has now tested its first full space system: CELESTA (CERN Latchup and radmon Experiment STudent sAtellite). The micro-satellite was successfully tested and qualified in July under a range of radiation conditions that it can expect to encounter in space.

The CELESTA cubesat, measuring just 10 cm3, is a technological demonstrator and educational project. It will play a key role in validating potential space applications of an existing CERN technology called RadMon, which was developed to monitor radiation levels in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). By using RadMon sensors to measure radiation levels in low-Earth orbit, CELESTA will test if RadMon could be used in space missions that are sensitive to radiation, ranging from telecom satellites to navigation and Earth-observation systems.

CELESTA microsatellite

Video above: CELESTA (CERN Latchup and radmon Experiment STudent sAtellite) is an educational microsatellite project facilitated by CERN Knowledge Transfer in collaboration with the University of Montpellier and the European Space Agency. (Video: CERN).

An additional goal of CELESTA is to demonstrate that the CHARM facility is capable of reproducing the low-Earth orbit radiation environment. This would provide a confirmation that CHARM can be used beyond its original use for high-energy physics, in this case for space applications. “CHARM benefits from CERN’s unique accelerator facilities and was originally created to answer a specific need for radiation testing of CERN’s electronic equipment,” explains Markus Brugger, deputy head of the engineering department and initiator of both the CHARM and CELESTA projects in the frame of the R2E (Radiation to Electronics) initiative.

The radiation field at CHARM is generated through the interaction of a 24 GeV/c proton beam extracted from the Proton Synchrotron with a cylindrical copper or aluminium target. Different shielding configurations and testing positions allow for controlled tests to account for desired particle types, energies and fluences. It is the use of mixed fields that makes CHARM unique compared to other test facilities, which typically use mono-energetic particle beams or sources. For the latter, only one or a few discrete energies can be tested, which is usually not representative of the authentic and complex radiation environments encountered in aerospace missions. Most testing facilities also use focused beams, limiting tests to individual components, whereas CHARM has a homogenous field extending over an area of least one square metre, which allows complete and complex satellites and other systems to be tested.

CELESTA has been developed by CERN in collaboration with the University of Montpellier and the European Space Agency (ESA). It was made possible with funding from the CERN Knowledge Transfer fund. “This is a very important milestone for the CELESTA project, as well as an historical validation of the CHARM test facility for satellites,” says Enrico Chesta, CERN’s aerospace application coordinator.

Now fully calibrated, CELESTA will be launched as soon as a launch window is provided. When in orbit, its in-flight data will be used to validate the CHARM test results for authentic space conditions.

Editor note:

This article is based on a CERN Courier article. Read more about how CERN bridges the gap between science and industry via the CERN Knowledge Transfer website.

CERN Courier article:

CERN Knowledge Transfer website:


CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, is one of the world’s largest and most respected centres for scientific research. Its business is fundamental physics, finding out what the Universe is made of and how it works. At CERN, the world’s largest and most complex scientific instruments are used to study the basic constituents of matter — the fundamental particles. By studying what happens when these particles collide, physicists learn about the laws of Nature.

The instruments used at CERN are particle accelerators and detectors. Accelerators boost beams of particles to high energies before they are made to collide with each other or with stationary targets. Detectors observe and record the results of these collisions.

Founded in 1954, the CERN Laboratory sits astride the Franco–Swiss border near Geneva. It was one of Europe’s first joint ventures and now has 22 Member States.

Related links:

Large Hadron Collider (LHC):

Proton Synchrotron:

For more information about European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Visit:

Image (mentioned), Video (mentioned), Text, Credits: CERN/Simon Olofsson.

Best regards,

Space Station Science Highlights: Week of November 19, 2018

ISS - Expedition 57 Mission patch.

Nov. 28, 2018

Crew members aboard the International Space Station had a lot to celebrate as they observed the station’s 20th anniversary and enjoyed a traditional Thanksgiving meal together before returning to scientific operations.

The launch of the station’s first element, the Zarya module, occurred on Nov. 20, 1998. The three-person Expedition 57 crew commemorated the beginning of the orbital lab’s construction during a Facebook Live event and answered questions submitted via social media.

Image above: NASA astronaut Serena M. Auñón-Chancellor performed the pressurization of the Japanese Experiment Module - Exposed Facility (JEM-EF), a constantly exposed platform located outside of the Japanese Experiment Module. Image Credit: NASA.

Here’s a look at some of the science conducted last week aboard the orbiting lab:

Crew members record cultural experiences in space

The station serves as home, office and recreation room for astronauts. They share this confined space far above the Earth with crew members from different countries and cultures for as long as six months or more. Maintaining individual well-being and crew harmony is important for the crew and mission success.

The Culture, Values, and Environmental Adaptation in Space (At Home In Space) investigation, sponsored by the Canadian Space Agency, looks at changes in perceptions about home in space and the ways a unique culture may develop aboard the station during a mission.

The crew completed an At Home in Space questionnaire, noting things like individual and culturally-related differences, family functioning, values and coping skills.

New drive activated on Earth-observation platform

Orbiting approximately 250 miles above the Earth, the Multiple User System for Earth Sensing Facility (MUSES) offers researchers a unique vantage point from the outside of the station for tasks like Earth observation, disaster response, maritime domain awareness, agricultural/land use applications, food security, air quality, oil and gas exploration, mining, atmospheric investigations and fire detection.

Image above: NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Alexander Gerst captured Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus space freighter this week. Image Credit: NASA.

MUSES provides low-cost access to space for instrument developers. MUSES and the ability to return payloads from the space station to Earth provides an excellent platform for technology demonstration and the space qualification of hardware.

Due to degradation observed in one of the facility’s boot drives, the crew switched the MUSES server to use one of the platform’s other drives.  

Investigation stowed for return

Binary Colloidal Alloy Test - Cohesive Sediment (BCAT-CS) studies dynamic forces between sediment particles that cluster together. For the study, scientists sent mixtures of quartz and clay particles to the space station and subjected them to various levels of simulated gravity. Conducting the experiment in microgravity makes it possible to separate out different forces that act on sediments and look at the function of each.

Image above: Crew members continued to maintain the plants growing as a part of the VEG-03G investigation. Image Credit: NASA.

Understanding how sediments behave has a range of applications on Earth, including predicting and mitigating erosion, improving water treatment, modeling the carbon cycle,  sequestering contaminants and more accurately finding deep sea oil reservoirs.

The crew performed the final set of sample photos and stowed hardware for return. Due to the data produced from the investigation, the experiment was extended substantially past the original two to four-week run to around 90 days in order to observe the continued evolution of the aggregates.

Other work was done on these investigations:

- Team Task Switching studies whether or not crew members have difficulty in switching tasks and determines the impacts of these switches in order to both reduce any negative consequences and improve individual and team motivation and effectiveness:

- The Probiotics investigation studies the impact of continuous consumption of beneficial bacteria (probiotics) on immune function and intestinal microbiota in astronauts in a closed microgravity environment:

- The MVP facility is used to conduct research with a wide variety of sample types, such as fruit flies, flatworms, plants, fish, cells, protein crystals and many others. It includes internal carousels that simultaneously can produce up to 2 g of artificial gravity. MVP Cell-05 investigates the complex process of cement solidification at gravity levels of interest:

- Food Acceptability examines changes in how food appeals to crew members during their time aboard the station. Acceptability of food – whether crew members like and actually eat something – may directly affect crew caloric intake and associated nutritional benefits:

- The Veg-03 investigation expands on previous validation tests of the new Veggie hardware, which crew members used to grow cabbage, lettuce and other fresh vegetables in space:

Space to Ground: The Beginning of Tomorrow: 11/23/2018

Related links:

Expedition 57:

At Home In Space:

Multiple User System for Earth Sensing Facility (MUSES):

Binary Colloidal Alloy Test - Cohesive Sediment (BCAT-CS):

MVP Cell-05:


Facebook Live:

Canadian Space Agency (ASC-CSA):

Spot the Station:

Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Video (NASA), Text, Credits: NASA/Michael Johnson/Vic Cooley, Lead Increment Scientist Expeditions 57/58.

Best regards,

NASA Hears MarCO CubeSats Loud and Clear from Mars

NASA - MARCO Mission patch.

November 28, 2018

NASA's MarCO mission was built to see whether two experimental, briefcase-sized spacecraft could survive the trip to deep space, and the two CubeSats proved more than able. After cruising along behind NASA's InSight for seven months, they successfully relayed data back down to Earth from the lander during its descent to the Martian surface on Monday, Nov. 26.

Nicknamed "EVE" and "WALL-E" after the stars of the 2008 Pixar film, MarCO-A and MarCO-B used experimental radios and antennas, providing an alternate way for engineers to monitor the landing. The CubeSats provided information to InSight's landing team in just 8 minutes - the time it took for radio signals to travel from Mars to Earth. That was much faster than waiting on NASA's Mars orbiters, which weren't positioned to be able to observe the entire event and send data back to Earth immediately.

Image above: MarCO-B, one of the experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, took this image of Mars from about 4,700 miles (7,600 kilometers) away during its flyby of the Red Planet on Nov. 26, 2018. MarCO-B was flying by Mars with its twin, MarCO-A, to attempt to serve as communications relays for NASA's InSight spacecraft as it landed on Mars. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

"WALL-E and EVE performed just as we expected them to," said MarCO chief engineer Andy Klesh of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which built the CubeSats. "They were an excellent test of how CubeSats can serve as 'tag-alongs' on future missions, giving engineers up-to-the-minute feedback during a landing."

Landing on Mars is exceptionally difficult: Before InSight, only about 40 percent of all attempts by various nations had succeeded. Even if a spacecraft doesn't survive landing, having a "black box" - or a pair of them, as with MarCO - to record the event can help engineers design better landing technology.

Neither of the MarCO CubeSats carry science instruments, but that didn't stop the team from testing whether future CubeSats could perform useful science at Mars. As MarCO-A flew by, it conducted some impromptu radio science, transmitting signals through the edge of Mars' atmosphere. Interference from the Martian atmosphere changes the signal when received on Earth, allowing scientists to determine how much atmosphere is present and, to some degree, what it's made of.

"CubeSats have incredible potential to carry cameras and science instruments out to deep space," said John Baker, JPL's program manager for small spacecraft. "They'll never replace the more capable spacecraft NASA is best known for developing. But they're low-cost ride-alongs that can allow us to explore in new ways."

MarCO CubeSats Relaying InSight Data: Image Credit: NASA

As a bonus, some consumer-grade cameras aboard MarCO provided "drive-by" images as the CubeSats sailed past Mars. MarCO-B was programmed to turn so that it could image the planet in a sequence of shots as it approached Mars (before launch, MarCO-A's cameras were found to be either non-functioning or too blurry to use).

After the landing, MarCO-B turned backward to take a farewell shot of the Red Planet. It also attempted to snap some photos of Mars' moons, Phobos and Deimos.

"WALL-E sent some great postcards from Mars!" said Cody Colley of JPL, MarCO's mission manager, who led the work to program each CubeSat to take images. "It's been exciting to see the view from almost 1,000 miles (1,600 kilometers) above the surface."

With the mission's objectives reached, the MarCO team will spend the next couple of weeks collecting additional data on each CubeSat. Of interest will be how much fuel is left in each CubeSat and detailed analyses of how their relay capability performed.

There's also sure to be more celebrating among the team.

"MarCO is mostly made up of early-career engineers and, for many, MarCO is their first experience out of college on a NASA mission," said Joel Krajewski of JPL, MarCO's project manager. "We are proud of their accomplishment. It's given them valuable experience on every facet of building, testing and operating a spacecraft in deep space."

For more about MarCO, visit this link:

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/JPL/Andrew Good.


mardi 27 novembre 2018

Russian, U.S. Spaceships Get Ready for Launch Ahead of Spacewalk

ISS - Expedition 57 Mission patch.

Nov. 27, 2018

In a replay similar to the weekend before Thanksgiving, two rockets on the opposite sides of the world are poised to launch one day after another to replenish the International Space Station with a new crew and cargo.

Three new Expedition 58 crew members are preparing to blast off to the space station on a Russian Soyuz crew ship early next week. The following day, SpaceX will launch its Dragon cargo craft to the orbital lab atop a Falcon 9 rocket.

Image above: In Baikonur, Kazakhstan, Expedition 58 crew members (from left) Anne McClain, Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques pose for pictures Nov. 27 as part of traditional pre-launch activities. Image Credit: ROSCOSMOS.

New astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques with veteran cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko will take a six-hour ride to the station on Monday Dec. 3. The trio will lift off inside their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft at 6:31 a.m. EST from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. About six hours later they will reach their new home in space and dock to the Poisk module beginning a six-and-a-half-month mission.

The SpaceX Dragon is targeted to begin its ascent to space from the launch pad at the Kennedy Space Center on Dec. 4. Dragon will orbit Earth for two days loaded with new science before it is captured with the station’s Canadarm2 and installed to the Harmony module.

Back in space, three Expedition 57 crew members are getting ready for the arrival of both spacecraft while staying focused on microgravity science and spacewalk preparations.

International Space Station (ISS). Animation Credit: NASA

Commander Alexander Gerst and Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor trained for next week’s Dragon rendezvous and capture on a computer today. The duo also continued working on more life science and physics research. Gerst once again studied how protein crystals impact Parkinson’s disease to possibly improve treatments on Earth. Serena researched how cement hardens in space and continued setting up hardware for a semiconductor crystal experiment.

Cosmonaut Sergey Prokopyev is configuring the station’s Russian segment for a spacewalk targeted for Dec. 11. He and Kononenko will inspect the Soyuz MS-09 spacecraft docked to the Rassvet module before the Expedition 57 trio returns to Earth on Dec. 20.

Related links:

Expedition 57:

Expedition 58:

Protein crystals:

Semiconductor crystal experiment:


Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Marck Garcia.

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Behind the Scenes of Recovering Hubble Space Telescope

NASA - Hubble Space Telescope patch.

Nov. 27, 2018

In the early morning of October 27, the Hubble Space Telescope targeted a field of galaxies not far from the Great Square in the constellation Pegasus. Contained in the field were star-forming galaxies up to 11 billion light-years away. With the target in its sights, Hubble’s Wide Field Camera 3 recorded an image. It was the first picture captured by the telescope since it closed its eyes on the universe three weeks earlier, and it was the result of an entire team of engineers and experts working tirelessly to get the telescope exploring the cosmos once again.

“This has been an incredible saga, built upon the heroic efforts of the Hubble team,” said Hubble senior project scientist Jennifer Wiseman at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Thanks to this work, the Hubble Space Telescope is back to full science capability that will benefit the astronomical community and the public for years to come.”

Image above: The first image captured by Hubble after returning to science on October 27, 2018, shows a field of galaxies in the constellation Pegasus. The observations were taken with the Wide Field Camera 3 to study very distant galaxies in the field. Image Credits: NASA, ESA and A. Shapley (UCLA).

On the evening of Friday, October 5, the orbiting observatory had put itself into “safe mode” after one of its gyroscopes (or “gyros”) failed. Hubble stopped taking science observations, oriented its solar panels toward the Sun, and waited for further instructions from the ground.

It was the beginning of a three-day holiday weekend when members of the spacecraft’s operations team started receiving text messages on their phone, alerting them that something was wrong with Hubble. In less than an hour, more than a dozen team members had gathered in the control room at Goddard to assess the situation. After unsuccessfully reviving the failed gyro, they activated a backup gyro on the spacecraft. However, the gyro soon began reporting impossibly high rotation rates — around 450 degrees per hour, when Hubble was actually turning less than a degree per hour.

“This is something we’ve never seen before on any other gyros — rates this high,” said Dave Haskins, Hubble’s mission operations manager at Goddard.

Hubble has six gyros aboard, and it typically uses three at a time to collect the most science. However, two of its six gyros had previously failed. This was Hubble’s final backup gyro. The operations team either had to figure out how to get it working, or turn to a previously developed and tested “one-gyro mode,” which is proven to work but would limit Hubble’s efficiency and how much of the sky the telescope could observe at a given time of the year — something both the operations team and astronomers want to avoid until there is no other choice.

As they decided what to do next, team members stayed in the control center continuously to monitor the health and safety of the spacecraft. Because Hubble’s control center had switched to automated operations back in 2011, there were no longer people in place to monitor Hubble 24 hours a day.

“The team pulled together to staff around the clock, something we haven’t done in years,” Haskins said. Team members stepped in to take shifts — several of Hubble’s systems engineers, others who help run tests and checkouts of Hubble’s ground systems and some who used to staff Hubble’s control room but hadn’t in a long time. “It’s been years since they’ve been on console doing that kind of shift work. To me it was seamless. It shows the versatility of the team.”

Meanwhile, during the holiday weekend, Hubble Project Manager Pat Crouse was busy recruiting a team of experts from Goddard and around the country to analyze the backup gyro’s unusual behavior and determine whether it could be corrected. This anomaly review board met for the first time that Tuesday, October 9, and contributed valuable insight throughout Hubble’s recovery.

Image above: Astronauts captured this photo of the Hubble Space Telescope orbiting Earth in 2002 during STS-109, the fourth Hubble Telescope servicing mission.​ Image Credit: NASA.

It took weeks of creative thinking, continuous tests and minor setbacks to solve the problem of the misbehaving gyro. Members of the operations team and of the review board suspected there might be some sort of obstruction in the gyro affecting its readings. Attempting to dislodge such a blockage, the team repeatedly tried switching the gyro between different operational modes and rotating the spacecraft by large amounts. In response, the extremely high rotation rates from the gyro gradually fell until they were close to normal.

Encouraged but cautious, the team uploaded new software safeguards on Hubble to protect the telescope in case the gyro reports unduly high rates again, and then sent the telescope through some practice maneuvers to simulate real science observations. They kept a close watch to make sure everything on the spacecraft performed correctly. It did.

“Early on we had no idea whether we’d be able to resolve that issue or not,” Hubble’s deputy mission operations manager, Mike Myslinski, said about the high gyro rates.

In the background, other team members at Goddard and the Space Telescope Science Institute had begun preparing in case Hubble would have to switch to using just a single gyro, with the other working gyro held in reserve as a backup. Fortunately, the results of their efforts weren’t needed this time, but their work wasn’t for naught. “We know that we’ll have to go to one gyro someday, and we want to be as prepared as possible for that,” Myslinski said. “We’d always said that once we got down to three gyros we would do as much up-front work as possible for one-gyro science. That day has come.”

For now, however, Hubble is back to exploring the universe with three working gyros, thanks to the hard work of a multitude of people on the ground.

“Many team members made personal sacrifices to work long shifts and off-shifts to ensure the health and safety of the observatory, while identifying a path forward that was both safe and effective,” Crouse said of the efforts to return to science. “The recovery of the gyro is not only vital for the life expectancy of the observatory, but Hubble is most productive in three-gyro mode, and extending this historic period of productivity is a main objective for the mission. Hubble will continue to make amazing discoveries when it is time to operate in one-gyro mode, but due to the tremendous effort and determination of the mission team, now is not the time.”

Related articles:

Hubble Moving Closer to Normal Science Operations

Update on the Hubble Space Telescope Safe Mode

Hubble in Safe Mode as Gyro Issues are Diagnosed

For more information about Hubble, visit:

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Karl Hille/Goddard Space Flight Center, by Vanessa Thomas.


Human Research in Space; Next Crew Preps for Launch on Earth

ISS - Expedition 57 Mission patch.

November 27, 2018

The Expedition 57 crew aboard the International Space Station conducted human research and space physics today while maintaining life support systems. The space trio also continued U.S. and Russian cargo operations as another crew on Earth prepared for its launch early next week.

Image above: Expedition 58 crew members (from left) Anne McClain, Oleg Kononenko and David Saint-Jacques pose Nov. 20 in front of their Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft during a vehicle fit check. Image Credit: NASA.

Commander Alexander Gerst started his day with astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor and scanned her eyes with an ultrasound device helping doctors understand how microgravity impacts vision. Gerst then observed protein crystals associated with Parkinson’s disease to help improve treatments on Earth. Auñón-Chancellor jotted down her space experiences for a psychological study then set up hardware for a semiconductor crystal experiment.

Gerst also gathered items to be packed inside the next SpaceX Dragon cargo vessel due to launch Dec. 4 and arrive at the station for capture Dec. 6. Flight Engineer Sergey Prokopyev transferred fluids for disposal aboard the Russian Progress 70 cargo craft which will depart from the Pirs docking compartment Jan. 25.

Image above: Flying over South Pacific Ocean, seen by EarthCam on ISS, speed: 27'606 Km/h, altitude: 406,16 Km, image captured by Roland Berga (on Earth in Switzerland) from International Space Station (ISS) using ISS-HD Live application with EarthCam's from ISS on November 27, 2018 at 20:58 UTC. Image Credits: Aerospace/Roland Berga.

Back on Earth in Kazakhstan, three Expedition 58 crew members are in their final week of mission preparations before beginning a six-and-a-half-month mission aboard the orbital lab. Astronauts Anne McClain and David Saint-Jacques will join Cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko for a six-hour ride aboard the Soyuz MS-11 spacecraft to the station. The new trio will launch Dec. 3 at 6:31 a.m. EST and dock to the Poisk module at 11:36 a.m. NASA TV will broadcast live the launch, docking and crew greeting.

Related links:

Expedition 57:

Expedition 58:

Protein crystals:

Semiconductor crystal experiment:


Space Station Research and Technology:

International Space Station (ISS):

Images (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Marck Garcia/ Aerospace/Roland Berga.

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InSight Is Catching Rays on Mars

NASA - InSight Mission logo.

Nov. 27, 2018

Image above: The Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC), located on the robotic arm of NASA's InSight lander, took this picture of the Martian surface on Nov. 26, 2018, the same day the spacecraft touched down on the Red Planet. The camera's transparent dust cover is still on in this image, to prevent particulates kicked up during landing from settling on the camera's lens. This image was relayed from InSight to Earth via NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, currently orbiting Mars. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

NASA's InSight has sent signals to Earth indicating that its solar panels are open and collecting sunlight on the Martian surface. NASA's Mars Odyssey orbiter relayed the signals, which were received on Earth at about 5:30 p.m. PST (8:30 p.m. EST). Solar array deployment ensures the spacecraft can recharge its batteries each day. Odyssey also relayed a pair of images showing InSight's landing site.

"The InSight team can rest a little easier tonight now that we know the spacecraft solar arrays are deployed and recharging the batteries," said Tom Hoffman, InSight's project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, which leads the mission. "It's been a long day for the team. But tomorrow begins an exciting new chapter for InSight: surface operations and the beginning of the instrument deployment phase."

InSight's twin solar arrays are each 7 feet (2.2 meters) wide; when they're open, the entire lander is about the size of a big 1960s convertible. Mars has weaker sunlight than Earth because it's much farther away from the Sun. But the lander doesn't need much to operate: The panels provide 600 to 700 watts on a clear day, enough to power a household blender and plenty to keep its instruments conducting science on the Red Planet. Even when dust covers the panels — what is likely to be a common occurrence on Mars — they should be able to provide at least 200 to 300 watts.

Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The panels are modeled on those used with NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander, though InSight’s are slightly larger in order to provide more power output and to increase their structural strength. These changes were necessary to support operations for one full Mars year (two Earth years).

In the coming days, the mission team will unstow InSight's robotic arm and use the attached camera to snap photos of the ground so that engineers can decide where to place the spacecraft's scientific instruments. It will take two to three months before those instruments are fully deployed and sending back data.

In the meantime, InSight will use its weather sensors and magnetometer to take readings from its landing site at Elysium Planitia — its new home on Mars.

About InSight

JPL manages InSight for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.

A number of European partners, including France's Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES), the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. CNES and IPGP provided the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland, Imperial College and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and JPL. DLR provided the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Spain’s Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) supplied the wind sensors.

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NASA InSight Lander Arrives on Martian Surface to Learn What Lies Beneath:

NASA’s InSight Spacecraft Has Touched Down on Mars:

For more information about InSight, visit:

Image (mentioned), Animation (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Tony Greicius/JPL/Andrew Good.


lundi 26 novembre 2018

NASA InSight Lander Arrives on Martian Surface to Learn What Lies Beneath

NASA - InSight Mission logo.

Nov. 26, 2018

Image above: NASA's InSight Mars lander acquired this image of the area in front of the lander using its lander-mounted, Instrument Context Camera (ICC). This image was acquired on Nov. 26, 2018, Sol 0 of the InSight mission where the local mean solar time for the image exposures was 13:34:21. Each ICC image has a field of view of 124 x 124 degrees. Image Credits: NASA/JPL-CalTech.

Mars has just received its newest robotic resident. NASA's Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport (InSight) lander successfully touched down on the Red Planet after an almost seven-month, 300-million-mile (458-million-kilometer) journey from Earth.

InSight’s two-year mission will be to study the deep interior of Mars to learn how all celestial bodies with rocky surfaces, including Earth and the Moon, formed.

Mars interior. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

InSight launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California May 5. The lander touched down Monday, Nov. 26, near Mars' equator on the western side of a flat, smooth expanse of lava called Elysium Planitia, with a signal affirming a completed landing sequence at approximately noon PST (3 p.m. EST).

"Today, we successfully landed on Mars for the eighth time in human history,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “InSight will study the interior of Mars, and will teach us valuable science as we prepare to send astronauts to the Moon and later to Mars. This accomplishment represents the ingenuity of America and our international partners and it serves as a testament to the dedication and perseverance of our team. The best of NASA is yet to come, and it is coming soon.”

The landing signal was relayed to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, via one of NASA's two small experimental Mars Cube One (MarCO) CubeSats, which launched on the same rocket as InSight and followed the lander to Mars. They are the first CubeSats sent into deep space. After successfully carrying out a number of communications and in-flight navigation experiments, the twin MarCOs were set in position to receive transmissions during InSight's entry, descent and landing.

Image above: Mars InSight team members Kris Bruvold, left, and Sandy Krasner react after receiving confirmation that the Mars InSight lander successfully touched down on the surface of Mars, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018 inside the Mission Support Area at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. Image Credits: NASA/Bill Ingalls.

From Fast to Slow

"We hit the Martian atmosphere at 12,300 mph (19,800 kilometers per hour), and the whole sequence to touching down on the surface took only six-and-a-half minutes," said InSight project manager Tom Hoffman at JPL. "During that short span of time, InSight had to autonomously perform dozens of operations and do them flawlessly — and by all indications that is exactly what our spacecraft did." 

Confirmation of a successful touchdown is not the end of the challenges of landing on the Red Planet. InSight's surface-operations phase began a minute after touchdown. One of its first tasks is to deploy its two decagonal solar arrays, which will provide power. That process begins 16 minutes after landing and takes another 16 minutes to complete.

InSight solar panels deployment. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The InSight team expects a confirmation later Monday that the spacecraft's solar panels successfully deployed. Verification will come from NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, currently orbiting Mars. That signal is expected to reach InSight's mission control at JPL about five-and-a-half hours after landing.

"We are solar powered, so getting the arrays out and operating is a big deal," said Hoffman. "With the arrays providing the energy we need to start the cool science operations, we are well on our way to thoroughly investigate what's inside of Mars for the very first time."

InSight will begin to collect science data within the first week after landing, though the teams will focus mainly on preparing to set InSight's instruments on the Martian ground. At least two days after touchdown, the engineering team will begin to deploy InSight's 5.9-foot-long (1.8-meter-long) robotic arm so that it can take images of the landscape.

"Landing was thrilling, but I'm looking forward to the drilling," said InSight principal investigator Bruce Banerdt of JPL. "When the first images come down, our engineering and science teams will hit the ground running, beginning to plan where to deploy our science instruments. Within two or three months, the arm will deploy the mission's main science instruments, the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) and Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) instruments."

InSight SEIS instrument deployment. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

InSight will operate on the surface for one Martian year, plus 40 Martian days, or sols, until Nov. 24, 2020. The mission objectives of the two small MarCOs which relayed InSight’s telemetry was completed after their Martian flyby.

"That's one giant leap for our intrepid, briefcase-sized robotic explorers," said Joel Krajewski, MarCOproject manager at JPL. "I think CubeSats have a big future beyond Earth's orbit, and the MarCO team is happy to trailblaze the way."

With InSight’s landing at Elysium Planitia, NASA has successfully soft-landed a vehicle on the Red Planet eight times.

"Every Mars landing is daunting, but now with InSight safely on the surface we get to do a unique kind of science on Mars," said JPL director Michael Watkins. "The experimental MarCO CubeSats have also opened a new door to smaller planetary spacecraft. The success of these two unique missions is a tribute to the hundreds of talented engineers and scientists who put their genius and labor into making this a great day."

Mars InSight Mission logo. Animation Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

JPL manages InSight for NASA's Science Mission Directorate. InSight is part of NASA's Discovery Program, managed by the agency's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. The MarCO CubeSats were built and managed by JPL. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the InSight spacecraft, including its cruise stage and lander, and supports spacecraft operations for the mission.

A number of European partners, including France's Centre National d'Études Spatiales (CNES) and the German Aerospace Center (DLR), are supporting the InSight mission. CNES, and the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris (IPGP), provided the SEIS instrument, with significant contributions from the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research (MPS) in Germany, the Swiss Institute of Technology (ETH) in Switzerland, Imperial College and Oxford University in the United Kingdom, and JPL. DLR provided the HP3 instrument, with significant contributions from the Space Research Center (CBK) of the Polish Academy of Sciences and Astronika in Poland. Spain's Centro de Astrobiología (CAB) supplied the wind sensors.

Related article:

NASA’s InSight Spacecraft Has Touched Down on Mars:

Related links:

Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS):

Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3):

For more information about InSight, visit:

For more information about MarCO, visit:

For more information about NASA's Mars missions, go to:

NASA's InSight Mars Lander:

Images (mentioned), Animations (mentioned), Text, Credits: NASA/Dwayne Brown/JoAnna Wendel/Sean Potter/JPL/DC Agle.

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