NASA chose Axiom Space to create the spacesuits for Artemis III astronauts. (Image Credit: NASA)
NASA selected Axiom Space to design, certify, and develop the Extravehicular Activity Services (xEVAS) and equipment for astronauts when they explore the lunar surface during the Artemis III mission. Axiom has been granted an order worth $228.5 million for the task. These moonwalking spacesuits are meant to feature additional tools for exploration and accommodate varying crew members. Other vendors could compete for future orders, such as recurring moon landings and spacesuits for low-earth orbit.
This image shows a preview of the panorama. (Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)
On September 14th, NASA released an impressively massive 3.85GB detailed panorama of Mars' surface in 2.5 billion pixels captured by the Perseverance rover, showing sky, sand, rocks, and rover parts! The rover's Mastcam-Z camera system captured the view, composed of 1,118 snapshots taken between June 12th and 20th in the Jezero Crater, focusing on the ancient river delta region.
The DART spacecraft will target the Didymos system in the rectangular pop-up. (Image Credit: NASA JPL DART Navigation Team)
Dimorphos and Didymos are innocently moving through space, and NASA wants to bump Dimorphos off its orbital course via the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Mission) spacecraft. The objective is to determine if NASA could one day nudge a threatening asteroid away from Earth, preventing impacts on the planet.
DART expects to perform its mission on September 26th, and afterward, researchers will closely monitor post-impact changes to determine if Dimorphos' orbit around Didymos sped up. However, they won't be able to see the effects of DART's mission. Instead, LICIACube, with two optical cameras onboard, sits back and watches the scene unfold from 600 miles away. Then, it plans to move closer and capture impact and non-impact target images every ten minutes before transmitting the images to Earth.
The massive satellite could ultimately block out celestial body observations. (Image Credit: AST SpaceMobile)
Sadly, our night sky might get brighter thanks to BlueWalker 3, a new, massive internet satellite developed by AST SpaceMobile. It features a giant antenna and solar panels that reflect sunlight to Earth at night, potentially ruining the view for celestial body observations.
BlueWalker 3 launched on September 10th and unfolded into a 693-square-foot machine that provides internet access for those on Earth. Users need to sign up, and afterward, they can use a 4G or 5G phone to access the service as long as they're in coverage regions. AST expects to launch over 100 more of these satellites into orbit by the end of 2024. Even worse, these will be larger and reflect more sunlight than the first one.
Researchers say opacity models working with the JWST provide incorrect exoplanet atmosphere readings. (Image Credit: NASA)
According to researchers, the James Webb Telescope could be providing incorrect readings on exoplanets. This is based on models designed to interpret discoveries after the JWST makes an observation. These models, which aren't very accurate, help scientists understand opacity. If this issue isn't fixed, then it could lead to false positives for signs of life in an exoplanet's atmosphere.
So in the study, the team developed alternate opacity models that changed specific assumptions involving how light and matter interact in an exoplanet's atmosphere. The JWST then used these models and provided different results that fit the data. The team suggests that improving the opacity models to match Webb's optics could be achieved by performing lab experiments to ground models, refining models, and using a central database to update researchers' models.
In this photo, Perseverance collected two rock samples. (Image Credit: NASA, JPL-Caltech, ASU, MSSS)
NASA's Perseverance rover recently collected samples from the Wildcat Ridge rock in an ancient delta region of the Jezero Crater and discovered organic matter. The rover's SHERLOC instrument studied the rock and "registered the most abundant organic detections on the mission to date."
Researchers are looking at familiar signs in the analysis. "In the distant past, the sand, mud, and salts that now make up the Wildcat Ridge sample were deposited under conditions where life could potentially have thrived," said Perseverance project scientist Ken Farley. "The fact the organic matter was found in such a sedimentary rock -- known for preserving fossils of ancient life here on Earth -- is important."
Radio Astronomer Frank Drake passed away on September 2nd. (Image Credit: SETI)
Frank Drake, the radio astronomer who pioneered the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI), passed away on September 2nd. He came up with the Drake equation that estimates the amount of potentially detectable alien societies in the Milky Way. This was devised a year after finding Project Ozma, which relies on a radio telescope to search for signals from extraterrestrial societies.
In addition, Drake created the first map of the Milky Way's core and co-founded areas with active radiation around Jupiter, similar to Earth's Van Allen belts. He also contributed to measuring Venus' atmospheric temperature and density. He taught young researchers throughout his career.
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