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nasa · 6 days
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A Laboratory for Star Formation
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Location: In the Carina spiral arm of our Milky Way Galaxy
Distance from Earth: About 20,000 light-years
Object type: Nebula and open star cluster
Discovered by: Sir John Herschel in 1834
Imaged here by the Hubble Space Telescope, NGC 3603 is a collection of thousands of large, hot stars, including some of the most massive stars known to us. Scientists categorize it as an “open cluster” because of its spread-out shape and low density of stars. Surrounding the bright star cluster are plumes of interstellar gas and dust, which comprise the nebula part of this cosmic object. New stars are formed from the gaseous material within these clouds! NGC 3603 holds stars at a variety of life stages, making it a laboratory for scientists to study star evolution and formation. Astronomers estimate that star formation in and around the cluster has been occurring for 10 to 20 million years.
Read more information about NGC 3603 here.
Right now, the Hubble Space Telescope is delving into its #StarrySights campaign! Find more star cluster content and breathtaking new images by following along on Hubble’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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nasa · 9 days
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Follow NASA’s Artemis I Moon Mission: Live Tracker, Latest Images, and Videos
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On Nov. 16, 2022, the Artemis I mission officially began with the launch of the Orion spacecraft atop the Space Launch System rocket. The rocket and spacecraft lifted off from historic Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
Now, the Orion spacecraft is about halfway through its journey around the Moon. Although the spacecraft is uncrewed, the Artemis I mission prepares us for future missions with astronauts, starting with Artemis II.
Stay up-to-date with the mission with the latest full-resolution images, mission updates, on-demand and live video.
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Imagery:
Find full-resolution images from the Orion spacecraft as they are released here.
Launch imagery can be found here. When Orion splashes down in the Pacific Ocean on Dec. 11, the images will be available here, as well!
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Videos:
This playlist contains informational videos, as well as upcoming and past live events, about Artemis I.
You can watch a livestream of the Artemis I mission here. (Just a note: the livestream may cut off during moments when the Orion team needs higher bandwidth for activities.)
Keep yourself updated on the upcoming broadcasts of Artemis milestones with the NASA TV schedule.
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Trackers:
Our Artemis I Tracker uses live telemetry data streamed directly from Mission Control Center in Houston to show Orion position, attitude, solar array positions, and thruster firings throughout the mission.
“Eyes on the Solar System” shows Orion's position along the Artemis I trajectory and in relation to other NASA spacecraft and objects in the solar system.
“DSN Now” shows which antenna on Earth’s Deep Space Network is communicating with Orion.
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Updates:
Read up on where Orion is and what’s next in the Artemis I mission with the Mission Blog.
Thank you so much for following with us on this historic mission. Go Artemis!
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nasa · 18 days
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We are going to the Moon!
At 1:47 a.m. EST on Nov. 16, 2022, our Orion spacecraft launched aboard the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket from historic Launch Complex 39B at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on a path to the Moon, officially beginning the Artemis I mission.
This mission is the first integrated test of NASA’s deep space exploration systems: the Orion spacecraft, the SLS rocket, and Kennedy ground systems. This is the very first time this rocket and spacecraft have flown together, and it’s the first of many Artemis missions to the Moon. Artemis I is uncrewed, but it lays the groundwork for increasingly complex missions that will land humans on the lunar surface, including the first woman and the first person of color to do so.
With Artemis, we will build a long-term human presence on the Moon and prepare humanity for future exploration plans to Mars and beyond.
See more photos of Artemis I on our Flickr.
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nasa · 25 days
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What Makes the Artemis Moon Mission NASA's Next Leap Forward?
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When NASA astronauts return to the Moon through Artemis, they will benefit from decades of innovation, research, and technological advancements. We’ll establish long-term lunar science and exploration capabilities at the Moon and inspire a new generation of explorers—the Artemis Generation.
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Meet the Space Launch System rocket, or SLS. This next-generation super heavy-lift rocket was designed to send astronauts and their cargo farther into deep space than any rocket we’ve ever built. During liftoff, SLS will produce 8.8 million pounds (4 million kg) of maximum thrust, 15 percent more than the Saturn V rocket.
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SLS will launch the Orion spacecraft into deep space. Orion is the only spacecraft capable of human deep space flight and high-speed return to Earth from the vicinity of the Moon. More than just a crew module, Orion has a launch abort system to keep astronauts safe if an emergency happens during launch, and a European-built service module, which is the powerhouse that fuels and propels Orion and keeps astronauts alive with water, oxygen, power, and temperature control.
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Orion and SLS will launch from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida with help from Exploration Ground Systems (EGS) teams. EGS operates the systems and facilities necessary to process and launch rockets and spacecraft during assembly, transport, launch, and recovery.
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The knowledge we've gained while operating the International Space Station has opened new opportunities for long-term exploration of the Moon's surface. Gateway, a vital component of our Artemis plans, is a Moon-orbiting space station that will serve as a staging post for human expeditions to the lunar surface. Crewed and uncrewed landers that dock to Gateway will be able to transport crew, cargo, and scientific equipment to the surface.
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Our astronauts will need a place to live and work on the lunar surface. Artemis Base Camp, our first-ever lunar science base, will include a habitat that can house multiple astronauts and a camper van-style vehicle to support long-distance missions across the Moon’s surface. Apollo astronauts could only stay on the lunar surface for a short while. But as the Artemis base camp evolves, the goal is to allow crew to stay at the lunar surface for up to two months at a time.
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The Apollo Program gave humanity its first experience traveling to a foreign world. Now, America and the world are ready for the next era of space exploration. NASA plans to send the first woman and first person of color to the lunar surface and inspire the next generation of explorers.
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Our next adventure starts when SLS and Orion roar off the launch pad with Artemis I. Together with commercial and international partners, NASA will establish a long-term presence on the Moon to prepare for missions to Mars. Everything we’ve learned, and everything we will discover, will prepare us to take the next giant leap: sending the first astronauts to Mars.
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nasa · 1 month
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What is Artemis I?
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On November 14, NASA is set to launch the uncrewed Artemis I flight test to the Moon and back. Artemis I is the first integrated flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket, the Orion spacecraft, and Exploration Ground Systems at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. These are the same systems that will bring future Artemis astronauts to the Moon.
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Standing 322 feet (98 meters) tall, the SLS rocket comprises of a core stage, an upper stage, two solid boosters, and four RS-25 engines. The SLS rocket is the most powerful rocket in the world, able to carry 59,500 pounds (27 metric tons) of payloads to deep space — more than any other vehicle. With its unprecedented power, SLS is the only rocket that can send the Orion spacecraft, astronauts, and cargo directly to the Moon on a single mission.
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Before launch, Artemis I has some big help: the Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB) at KSC is the largest single-story building in the world. The VAB was constructed for the assembly of the Apollo/Saturn V Moon rocket, and this is where the SLS rocket is assembled, maintained, and integrated with the Orion spacecraft. 
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The mobile launcher is used to assemble, process, and launch the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. The massive structure consists of a two-story base and a tower equipped with a number of connection lines to provide the rocket and spacecraft with power, communications, coolant, and fuel prior to launch.
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Capable of carrying 18 million pounds (8.2 million kg) and the size of a baseball infield, crawler-transporter 2 will transport SLS and Orion the 4.2 miles (6.8 km) to Launch Pad 39B. This historic launch pad was where the Apollo 10 mission lifted off from on May 18, 1969, to rehearse the first Moon landing.
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During the launch, SLS will generate around 8.8 million pounds (~4.0 million kg) of thrust, propelling the Orion spacecraft into Earth’s orbit. Then, Orion will perform a Trans Lunar Injection to begin the path to the Moon. The spacecraft will orbit the Moon, traveling 40,000 miles beyond the far side of the Moon — farther than any human-rated spacecraft has ever flown.
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The Orion spacecraft is designed to carry astronauts on deep space missions farther than ever before. Orion contains the habitable volume of about two minivans, enough living space for four people for up to 21 days. Future astronauts will be able to prepare food, exercise, and yes, have a bathroom. Orion also has a launch abort system to keep astronauts safe if an emergency happens during launch, and a European-built service module that fuels and propels the spacecraft.
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While the Artemis I flight test is uncrewed, the Orion spacecraft will not be empty: there will be three manikins aboard the vehicle. Commander Moonikin Campos will be sitting in the commander’s seat, collecting data on the vibrations and accelerations future astronauts will experience on the journey to the Moon. He is joined with two phantom torsos, Helga and Zohar, in a partnership with the German Aerospace Center and Israeli Space Agency to test a radiation protection vest.
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A host of shoebox-sized satellites called CubeSats help enable science and technology experiments that could enhance our understanding of deep space travel and the Moon while providing critical information for future Artemis missions.
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At the end of the four-week mission, the Orion spacecraft will return to Earth. Orion will travel at 25,000 mph (40,000 km per hour) before slowing down to 300 mph (480 km per hour) once it enters the Earth’s atmosphere. After the parachutes deploy, the spacecraft will glide in at approximately 20 mph (32 km per hour) before splashdown about 60 miles (100 km) off the coast of California. NASA’s recovery team and the U.S. Navy will retrieve the Orion spacecraft from the Pacific Ocean.
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With the ultimate goal of establishing a long-term presence on the Moon, Artemis I is a critical step as NASA prepares to send humans to Mars and beyond.
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nasa · 1 month
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Boo! Did we get you? 🎃
This solar jack-o-lantern, captured by our Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) in October 2014, gets its ghoulish grin from active regions on the Sun, which emit more light and energy than the surrounding dark areas. Active regions are markers of an intense and complex set of magnetic fields hovering in the sun’s atmosphere.
The SDO has kept an unblinking eye on the Sun since 2010, recording phenomena like solar flares and coronal loops. It measures the Sun’s interior, atmosphere, magnetic field, and energy output, helping us understand our nearest star.
Grab the high-resolution version here.
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nasa · 1 month
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Scary Space Stories to Tell in the Dark
The universe is full of dazzling sights, but there’s an eerie side of space, too. Nestled between the stars, shadowy figures lurk unseen. The entire galaxy could even be considered a graveyard, full of long-dead stars. And it’s not just the Milky Way – the whole universe is a bit like one giant haunted house! Our Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope will illuminate all kinds of spine-chilling cosmic mysteries when it launches in 2027, but for now settle in for some true, scary space stories.
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Flickering Lights
One of the first signs that things are about to get creepy in a scary movie is when the lights start to flicker. That happens all the time in space, too! But instead of being a sinister omen, it can help us find planets circling other stars.
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Roman will stare toward the heart of our galaxy and watch to see when pairs of stars appear to align in the sky. When that happens, the nearer star – and orbiting planets – can lens light from the farther star, creating a brief brightening. That’s because every massive object warps the fabric of space-time, changing the path light takes when it passes close by. Roman could find around 1,000 planets using this technique, which is called microlensing.
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The mission will also see little flickers when planets cross in front of their host star as they orbit and temporarily dim the light we receive from the star. Roman could find an additional 100,000 planets this way!
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Galactic Ghosts
Roman is going to be one of the best ghost hunters in the galaxy! Since microlensing relies on an object’s gravity, not its light, it can find all kinds of invisible specters drifting through the Milky Way. That includes rogue planets, which roam the galaxy alone instead of orbiting a star…
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…and solo stellar-mass black holes, which we can usually only find when they have a visible companion, like a star. Astronomers think there should be 100 million of these black holes in our galaxy.
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Stellar Skeletons
Black holes aren’t the only dead stars hiding in the sky. When stars that aren’t quite massive enough to form black holes run out of fuel, they blast away their outer layers and become neutron stars. These stellar cores are the densest material we can directly observe. One sugar cube of neutron star material would weigh about 1 billion tons (or 1 trillion kilograms) on Earth! Roman will be able to detect when these extreme objects collide.
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Smaller stars like our Sun have less dramatic fates. After they run out of fuel, they swell up and shrug off their outer layers until only a small, hot core called a white dwarf remains. Those outer layers may be recycled into later generations of stars and planets. Roman will explore regions where new stars are bursting to life, possibly containing the remnants of such dead stars.
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Cosmic Cobwebs
If we zoom out far enough, the structure of space looks like a giant cobweb! The cosmic web is the large-scale backbone of the universe, made up mainly of a mysterious substance known as dark matter and laced with gas, upon which galaxies are built. Roman will find precise distances for more than 10 million galaxies to map the structure of the cosmos, helping astronomers figure out why the expansion of the universe is speeding up.
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Learn more about the exciting science this mission will investigate on Twitter and Facebook.
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nasa · 1 month
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Comin’ in Hot: Seven Things to Know About our New Heat Shield
What goes up, must come down, and from space, without burning up in an atmosphere. That’s why we’re pumped for the Low-Earth Orbit Flight Test of an Inflatable Decelerator, or LOFTID. Launching on Nov. 1, 2022, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Joint Polar Orbiting Satellite System-2 (JPSS-2) mission, this technology demonstration marks the next step in advancing an innovative heat shield design that could one day be used to land heavy payloads – including humans – on Mars!
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Here are seven things to know about this innovative re-entry system: 
1. LOFTID is the first-ever in-orbit test of this technology. 
Inflatable heat shields, called Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerators (HIADs), have been in the works for more than a decade. In 2012, the third of the Inflatable Re-entry Vehicle Experiments (IRVE) launched on a suborbital sounding rocket from the Wallops Flight Facility, demonstrating a 3-meter (10-foot) diameter inflatable heat shield.
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But the LOFTID re-entry vehicle, at 19.7 feet (6 meters) in diameter, will be the largest blunt body aeroshell to ever go through atmospheric entry. Designed to withstand temperatures as high as 2900°F (1600°C), this first-ever in-orbit test of this technology will prove if it can successfully slow down large payloads – such as crewed spacecraft, robotic explorers, and rocket components – enabling them to survive the heat of re-entry at planetary destinations with an atmosphere.
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2. You can find out how this tech works in real-time.  
LOFTID is unique in that all operations will happen within a few hours of launch. After the JPSS-2 satellite safely reaches orbit, the LOFTID vehicle will separate from the upper stage of the Atlas V rocket and begin re-entry into Earth’s atmosphere. If all goes as planned, the technology will help the vehicle decelerate from hypersonic (more than 25 times faster than the speed of sound) down to subsonic flight, less than 609 miles per hour for a safe splash down and recovery from the Pacific Ocean. 
While in flight, engineers at NASA’s Langley Research Center will receive location data every 20 seconds and onboard sensors and cameras will record more comprehensive data about the technology’s performance. You can get a behind-the-scenes look at Langley’s Flight Mission Support Center where the LOFTID project team will be monitoring the flight test at NASA.gov/live following the launch.
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3. A lemon-sized capsule ejected into the Pacific Ocean will hold key flight data. 
The LOFTID re-entry vehicle will record both sensor and camera data during its flight. The data will include the temperatures and pressures experienced by the heat shield and will illustrate how well the technology performed during the demonstration.
Although the goal is to retrieve the LOFTID re-entry vehicle after it splashes down in the Pacific Ocean, the team wanted a back-up option just in case they can’t recover it. Enter the tiny yellow package called an ejectable data module (EDM) which will also record flight data. The EDM will be released from the spacecraft at an altitude of about 50,000 feet. It will free fall into the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Hawaii and should land within 10 miles of the spacecraft’s splash down location. A recovery team, that has practiced hide-and-seek of the EDM on land and sea, will use GPS to search an approximately 900-mile area of the Pacific Ocean to find their “lemon.”
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4. This heat shield packs a punch. 
Although NASA has historically relied on rigid aeroshells, parachutes, and retro-propulsion (rockets) to decelerate people, vehicles, and hardware during entry, descent, and landing operations, a benefit of inflatable heat shields is that they take up less space in a rocket, allowing more room for other hardware or payloads. LOFTID’s aeroshell has been folded and tightly packed down to 4 by 1.5 feet for launch and stacked in the United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket payload fairing.
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5. LOFTID is dedicated in honor of one of its innovators.  
LOFTID was developed as a partnership with ULA and is dedicated to the memory of Bernard Kutter, ULA manager of advanced programs, who passed away in August 2020. Kutter was instrumental in advancing the inflatable heat shield design and developing the plan to test the system on an Atlas V rocket. He was an advocate for both space technology and expanding access to space. Kutter’s NASA and ULA counterparts agree that LOFTID is unlikely to have made it to space without his vision and passion.
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6. LOFTID is made of tough stuff. 
Synthetic fibers make up the inflatable structure, braided into tubes that are, by weight, 10 times stronger than steel. The tubes are coiled so that they form the shape of a blunt cone when inflated. The thermal protection system that covers the inflatable structure can survive searing entry temperatures up to 2,900 degrees Fahrenheit. Researchers used the same heat-shielding materials to create a fire shelter prototype for firefighters battling forest fires.
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7. You can make your own LOFTID Halloween costume! 
Still looking for an out-of-this world Halloween costume? With a few commonly found materials, like orange pool noodles and duct tape, you can create your own LOFTID costume. However, we make no promises of protecting or slowing you down from becoming the life of the party.
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Follow @NASA_Technology for the latest updates on LOFTID. Don’t miss our live coverage leading up to launch from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California. The NASA Edge JPSS-2 Tower Rollback Show airs live on NASA TV and YouTube on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 12 a.m. EDT, and NASA TV live launch coverage will begin at 4:45 a.m. EDT. 
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nasa · 2 months
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A Dusty Fingerprint in Space
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A new image from NASA's James Webb Space Telescope reveals a remarkable cosmic sight: at least 17 concentric dust rings emanating from a pair of stars. Just 5,300 light-years from Earth, the star duo are collectively known as Wolf-Rayet 140. Each ring was created when the two stars came close together and their stellar winds (streams of gas they blow into space) collided so forcefully that some of the gas was compressed into dust. The stars' orbits bring them together about once every eight years, and forms a half-shell of dust that looks like a ring from our perspective. Like a cosmic fingerprint, the 17 rings reveal more than a century of stellar interactions—and the "fingerprint" belonging to Wolf-Rayet 140 may be equally unique. Other Wolf-Rayet stars produce dust, but no other pair are known to produce rings quite like Wolf-Rayet 140.
Learn more about Wolf-Rayet 140.
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nasa · 3 months
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Why Do X-Ray Mirrors Look So Unusual?
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Does the object in this image look like a mirror? Maybe not, but that’s exactly what it is! To be more precise, it’s a set of mirrors that will be used on an X-ray telescope. But why does it look nothing like the mirrors you’re familiar with? To answer that, let’s first take a step back. Let’s talk telescopes.
How does a telescope work?
The basic function of a telescope is to gather and focus light to amplify the light’s source. Astronomers have used telescopes for centuries, and there are a few different designs. Today, most telescopes use curved mirrors that magnify and focus light from distant objects onto your eye, a camera, or some other instrument. The mirrors can be made from a variety of materials, including glass or metal.
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Space telescopes like the James Webb and Hubble Space Telescopes use large mirrors to focus light from some of the most distant objects in the sky. However, the mirrors must be tailored for the type and range of light the telescope is going to capture—and X-rays are especially hard to catch.
X-rays versus mirrors
X-rays tend to zip through most things. This is because X-rays have much smaller wavelengths than most other types of light. In fact, X-rays can be smaller than a single atom of almost every element. When an X-ray encounters some surfaces, it can pass right between the atoms!
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Doctors use this property of X-rays to take pictures of what’s inside you. They use a beam of X-rays that mostly passes through skin and muscle but is largely blocked by denser materials, like bone. The shadow of what was blocked shows up on the film.
This tendency to pass through things includes most mirrors. If you shoot a beam of X-rays into a standard telescope, most of the light would go right through or be absorbed. The X-rays wouldn’t be focused by the mirror, and we wouldn’t be able to study them.
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X-rays can bounce off a specially designed mirror, one turned on its side so that the incoming X-rays arrive almost parallel to the surface and glance off it. At this shallow angle, the space between atoms in the mirror's surface shrinks so much that X-rays can't sneak through. The light bounces off the mirror like a stone skipping on water. This type of mirror is called a grazing incidence mirror.
A metallic onion
Telescope mirrors curve so that all of the incoming light comes to the same place. Mirrors for most telescopes are based on the same 3D shape — a paraboloid. You might remember the parabola from your math classes as the cup-shaped curve. A paraboloid is a 3D version of that, spinning it around the axis, a little like the nose cone of a rocket. This turns out to be a great shape for focusing light at a point.
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Mirrors for visible and infrared light and dishes for radio light use the “cup” portion of that paraboloid. For X-ray astronomy, we cut it a little differently to use the wall. Same shape, different piece. The mirrors for visible, infrared, ultraviolet, and radio telescopes look like a gently-curving cup. The X-ray mirror looks like a cylinder with very slightly angled walls.
The image below shows how different the mirrors look. On the left is one of the Chandra X-ray Observatory’s cylindrical mirrors. On the right you can see the gently curved round primary mirror for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy telescope.
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If we use just one grazing incidence mirror in an X-ray telescope, there would be a big hole, as shown above (left). We’d miss a lot of X-rays! Instead, our mirror makers fill in that cylinder with layers and layers of mirrors, like an onion. Then we can collect more of the X-rays that enter the telescope, giving us more light to study.
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Nested mirrors like this have been used in many X-ray telescopes. Above is a close-up of the mirrors for an upcoming observatory called the X-ray Imaging and Spectroscopy Mission (XRISM, pronounced “crism”), which is a Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)-led international collaboration between JAXA, NASA, and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The XRISM mirror assembly uses thin, gold-coated mirrors to make them super reflective to X-rays. Each of the two assemblies has 1,624 of these layers packed in them. And each layer is so smooth that the roughest spots rise no more than one millionth of a millimeter.
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Why go to all this trouble to collect this elusive light? X-rays are a great way to study the hottest and most energetic areas of the universe! For example, at the centers of certain galaxies, there are black holes that heat up gas, producing all kinds of light. The X-rays can show us light emitted by material just before it falls in.
Stay tuned to NASA Universe on Twitter and Facebook to keep up with the latest on XRISM and other X-ray observatories.
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nasa · 3 months
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NASA Photographers Share Their Favorite Photos of the SLS Moon Rocket
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NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket is on the launch pad at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and in final preparations for the Artemis I mission to the Moon. Now that our Moon rocket is almost ready for its debut flight, we wanted to take a look back at some of the most liked photographs of our SLS rocket coming together over the years.
We asked NASA photographers to share their favorite photos of the SLS rocket for Artemis I at different phases of testing, manufacturing, and assembly. Here are their stories behind the photos:
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“On this day in March 2018, crews at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, transported the intertank structural test article off NASA’s Pegasus barge to the Load Test Annex test facility for qualification testing.” —Emmett Given, photographer, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
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“This is the liquid oxygen tank structural test article as it was moved from the Pegasus barge to the West Test Area at our Marshall Space Flight Center on July 9, 2019. The tank, which is structurally identical to its flight version, was subsequently placed in the test stand for structural testing several days later. I remember it being a blazing hot day!” —Fred Deaton, photographer, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
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“The large components of the SLS rocket’s core stage can make you forget that there are many hands-on tasks required to assemble a rocket, too. During the mating of the liquid hydrogen tank to the forward section of the rocket’s 212-foot-tall core stage in May 2019, technicians fastened 360 bolts to the circumference of the rocket. Images like this remind me of all the small parts that have to be installed with care, expertise, and precision to create one huge Moon rocket. Getting in close to capture the teammates that work tirelessly to make Artemis a success is one of the best parts of my job.” —Eric Bordelon, photographer, NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility
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“An incredible amount of precision goes into building a rocket, including making sure that each of our SLS rocket’s four RS-25 engines is aligned and integrated into the core stage correctly. In this image from October 2019, I attempted to illustrate the teamwork and communication happening as technicians at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans do their part to help land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon through the Artemis missions. It’s rare to see the inside of a rocket – not as much for the NASA and Boeing engineers who manufacture and assemble a rocket stage!” —Jared Lyons, photographer, NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility
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“When the fully assembled and completed core stage left the Michoud factory in January 2020, employees took a “family photo” to mark the moment. Crews transported the flight hardware to NASA’s Pegasus barge on Jan. 8 in preparation for the core stage Green Run test series at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. When I look at this photo, I am reminded of all of the hard work and countless hours the Michoud team put forth to build this next-generation Moon rocket. I am honored to be part of this family and to photograph historic moments like this for the Artemis program.” —Steven Seipel, MAF multimedia team lead, NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility
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“This photo shows workers at Stennis prepare to lift the SLS core stage into the B-2 Test Stand for the SLS Green Run test series in the early morning hours of Jan. 22, 2020. I started shooting the lift operation around midnight. During a break in the action at about 5:30 a.m., I was driving my government vehicle to the SSC gas station to fuel up, when I saw the first light breaking in the East and knew it was going to be a nice sunrise. I turned around and hurried back to the test stand, sweating that I might run out of gas. Luckily, I didn’t run out and was lucky enough to catch a beautiful Mississippi sunrise in the background, too.” —Danny Nowlin, photographer, NASA’s Stennis Space Center
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“I like the symmetry in the video as it pushes toward the launch vehicle stage adapter. Teams at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, loaded the cone-shaped piece of flight hardware onto our Pegasus barge in July 2020 for delivery to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The one-point perspective puts the launch vehicle stage adapter at the center of attention, but, if you pay attention to the edges, you can see people working. It gives a sense of scale. This was the first time I got to walk around Pegasus and meet the crew that transport the deep space rocket hardware, too.” —Sam Lott, videographer, SLS Program at Marshall Space Flight Center
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“This was my first time photographing a test at our Stennis Space Center, and I wasn't sure what to expect. I have photographed big events like professional football games, but I wasn't prepared for the awesome power unleashed by the Space Launch System’s core stage and four RS-25 engines during the Green Run hot fire test. Watching the sound wave ripple across the tall grass toward us, feeling the shock wave of ignition throughout my whole body, seeing the smoke curling up into the blue sky with rainbows hanging from the plume; all of it was as unforgettable as watching a football player hoist a trophy into the air.” —Michael DeMocker, photographer, NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility
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“When our SLS Moon rocket launches the agency’s Artemis I mission to the Moon, 10 CubeSats, or small satellites, are hitching a ride inside the rocket’s Orion stage adapter (OSA). BioSentinel is one of those CubeSats. BioSentinel’s microfluidics card, designed at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley, will be used to study the impact of interplanetary space radiation on yeast. To me, this photo is a great combination of the scientific importance of Artemis I and the human touch of more than 100 engineers and scientists who have dedicated themselves to the mission over the years.” —Dominic Hart, photographer, NASA’s Ames Research Center
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“I was in the employee viewing area at Kennedy when the integrated SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft was rolled out to the launchpad for its wet dress rehearsal in March 2022. I really like this photo because the sun is shining on Artemis I like a spotlight. The giant doors of the Vehicle Assembly Building are the red curtain that opened up the stage -- and the spotlight is striking the SLS because it’s the star of the show making its way to the launchpad. I remember thinking how cool that NASA Worm logo looked as well, so I wanted to capture that. It was so big that I had to turn my camera sideways because the lens I had wasn’t big enough to capture the whole thing.” —Brandon Hancock, videographer, SLS Program at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center
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“I made this image while SLS and Orion atop the mobile launcher were nearing the end of their four-mile trek to the pad on crawler-transporter 2 ahead of launch. Small groups of employees were filtering in and out of the parking lot by the pad gate to take in the sight of the rocket’s arrival. The “We Are Going!” banner affixed to the gate in the foreground bears the handwritten names of agency employees and contractors who have worked to get the rocket and spacecraft ready for the Artemis I flight test. As we enter the final days before launch, I am proud to have made my small contribution to documenting the historic rollout for this launch to the Moon.” —Joel Kowsky, photographer, NASA Headquarters
More Photo-worthy Moments to Come!
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NASA photographers will be on the ground covering the Artemis I launch. As they do, we’ll continue to share their photos on our official NASA channels.
Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space!
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nasa · 4 months
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NASA Photographers Share Their #NASAMoonSnap
We’re getting ready to launch Artemis I, the first test flight of the rocket and spacecraft that will take future astronauts to the Moon! As we prepare for the lunar voyage of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and Orion spacecraft launching as early as Aug. 29, 2022, we would like you to share your excitement with us. Share all types of Moon-inspired content with us with the hashtag #NASAMoonSnap, and we will choose some entries to share on our social media platforms and during the launch broadcast. Get creative! We’re looking for Moon paintings, Moon poetry, Moon pottery, Moon latte foam art — the sky is not the limit.
Since we have the full Moon coming up on Aug. 11, we wanted to share our handy dandy Moon photography guide and inspire you with some of our NASA imagery experts’ stories on capturing the Moon.
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"The first rollout of the SLS rocket with the Orion spacecraft aboard was a really exciting moment to capture. I was photographing at Kennedy Space Center in an area where many of the employees that had worked on different parts of the SLS were watching. It was so great to hear some of their stories and see their pride in helping to build this amazing rocket and spacecraft. Once the mobile launcher with SLS passed the crowds to head toward the launchpad, people began to line up in their cars to leave. I decided to stick around and try to get a closer image of the Moon with SLS. It was fairly dark by the time I made this image, so there isn’t any detail in the moon, but it’s still moving to see them next to one another and know that SLS will be closer to the Moon than Earth very soon, and will one day enable humans to land on the lunar surface again!" — Aubrey Gemignani, NASA contract Photo Archivist/Photographer, NASA Headquarters
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“I set up this shot when I saw the Moon was lined up perfectly with the X-1E in front of the main entrance to Armstrong Flight Research Center one morning last year. What captured my eye about this scene was that it showcased the past and the future of NASA in one image. The X-1 was a key piece of early NACA/NASA history, and it is pointing to the Moon showing us where we are going next with Artemis. I still remember walking around on my first day at NASA and seeing all the places where history was made. I was in awe as I walked these hallowed grounds. I know that there is still a great deal of history to be written here as we strive to go higher, further and faster and I’m glad that I get to be here to document it.” — Joshua Fisher, Photographer, NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center
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“While out capturing images of the Moon, the memories of my first day as a photographer for NASA came flooding back. One of my first memories is going to the exhibits department and getting to hold an actual Moon rock sample. That day changed my perception of the Moon forever. That moment made the Moon more than just something in the sky. It became tangible and real, and my part in all of this became clear. The honor and privilege I feel everyday is overwhelming.” — Jef Janis, Still Imaging Specialist, NASA’s Glenn Research Center
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“When I can, I like my Moon photos to have a sense of place. The trick is finding a shooting position and a landmark that will fit in with the Moon’s very stringent plans for rising. I went out to shoot the Sturgeon Moon, which was also a rare blue moon, last August. As I was shooting the moonrise from the riverbank in downtown New Orleans, I was lucky to have one of the city’s iconic riverboats turn a bend and head upriver to pass beneath the Moon. Happily the river was low and I was able to scramble down the high bank to reduce the vertical distance between the quickly rising moon and the slowly passing riverboat.” — Michael DeMocker, Photographer, NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility
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“I was excited to try to capture a waning crescent Moon at dawn, even though it was late February, 20 degrees Fahrenheit and 6:30 in the morning…Nonetheless, I decided to photograph on-site at Lewis Field, and ended up using my telephoto lens to really zoom in on the Moon. In a race against the sunrise and the Moon disappearing, I was able to capture a cool shot of the Moon with a couple planes making an appearance as well (The Cleveland Hopkins Airport is right next door). Although is it me, or does one of the planes look like a rocket taking off…?” — Jordan Salkin, Scientific Imaging Specialist, NASA’s Glenn Research Center
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“I have worked at NASA’s Glenn Research Center since 1990 and have enjoyed every second doing what I do to support NASA’s mission. On my first day back to work onsite after 22 months of telework I saw this beautiful sunrise with the snow, the Moon, and the hangar. It felt good to be at work seeing the landscape I was so used to seeing. I had to take these pictures to share with my colleagues. ” — Jeffrey F. Abbott, Media Support Specialist, NASA’s Glenn Research Center 
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“In creating this Moon image, I almost felt pressured to find the ‘perfect location.’ The more that I thought about that prospect, the more I was drawn to using only natural elements, in my own environment. I wanted to find an image in my own backyard. This image was captured just as the Sun dropped below the horizon. I had a very short window of time when these colors would be possible. Two minutes earlier or later would have produced a totally different image. The almost abstract lines of a Maple tree in the earliest stages of budding seemed to be in concert with the waxing crescent Moon, both preparing for full bloom. Nature on display in its simplicity.” — Marvin Smith, Still Imaging Specialist Lead, NASA’s Glenn Research Center
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“The lighthouse in Lorain, Ohio, has been photographed by amateur and professional photographers for decades, but I have never photographed it before. When I calculated that the path of the Moon was going to go over and past the lighthouse with a reflection over the water, I decided to give it a try. I encountered four other photographers on the same pier with me that early morning. They were huddled in the middle of the pier and I was at the end. I think I got the best photo.” — Quentin Schwinn, Scientific Photographer, NASA’s Glenn Research Center
Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space!
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nasa · 4 months
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“It’s Summer Camp for Aviation Geeks”: NASA Returns to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh
As a child fascinated with aviation, Michael Jorgensen, Public Affairs Specialist for the Electrified Powertrain Flight Demonstration project, attended EAA AirVenture Oshkosh (“Oshkosh” for short) multiple times. Now, he represents us there, sharing what we’ve been working on. Read on to see what going to Oshkosh is like as Michael takes us on a tour—and join us next time!
MICHAEL:
Every year, Wittman Regional Airport in the town of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, swells from 67,000 to 600,000 people, becoming a hotspot for aviation in the United States. The Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) began AirVenture in 1953 and is a ‘Must Do’ for any aviation geek.
My story with EAA AirVenture began in the late 1990s. As a fan of everything aviation, and having grown up near Chicago, Oshkosh was always on my radar – and I attended several times while I was growing up.
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Michael recreates a childhood image from EAA AirVenture 1998 at EAA AirVenture 2022. Credit: Michael Jorgensen
Coming back to the airport grounds this week, all my childhood memories came flooding back: the noises, the planes, the smells, and the pure excitement. As a kid, I could only dream of working for NASA, never imagining it would come true almost 25 years later.
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The airport traffic control tower at Wittman Regional Airport at EAA AirVenture 2022 in Oshkosh, WI. Credit: Michael Jorgensen
When driving in, you first see a lot of air traffic – ranging from hang gliders, to old warbirds, to stunt planes, to the newest military jets rumbling skyward. During the last full week in July, the airport control tower becomes the busiest one in the world, coordinating approximately 116 takeoffs/landings per hour throughout each day – almost 2 every minute! Last year saw more than 10,000 aircraft arrive at the airport. The excitement grows as you pull off the highway and are greeted by rows and rows of general aviation aircraft as far as the eye can see.
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The airport field at Wittman Regional Airport, featuring general aviation aircraft and camping tents, at EAA AirVenture 2022 in Oshkosh, WI. Credit: Michael Jorgensen
The constant propeller buzz in the background and crackling of fighter jets overhead is noticeable as you walk through the airport grounds. What makes this sight even more unique is camping tents under the wings of each aircraft, stretching along the entire grounds of the airport. AirVenture truly is a summer camp for #AvGeeks.
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Boeing Plaza, the central display area at AirVenture, featuring a C-5 Galaxy transport with its nose open, and a C-17 Globemaster III, at EAA AirVenture 2022 in Oshkosh, WI. Credit: Michael Jorgensen
The main tarmac at the airport is converted into Boeing Plaza, the central display area featuring the biggest and most exciting aircraft: C-17 Globetrotter III, SR-71 Blackbird, F-117 Nighthawk, DC-3, and many, many more. One year, I even got to see the Concorde fly into and out of this teeny regional airport in the middle of Wisconsin.
There are countless opportunities to interact with the pilots and other aviation enthusiasts including sitting in cockpits, checking out the interiors and exteriors of various airplanes, and chances to fly in vintage aircraft including an original 1929 Ford Trimotor and a B-17 Flying Fortress from 1945. And, of course, no matter my age, I posed with anything and everything I found interesting, including a T-38 Talon stationed in front of the NASA pavilion and the inside of an ecoDemonstrator.
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Michael sitting in the cockpit of Boeing’s 777-200ER ecoDemonstrator at EAA AirVenture 2022 in Oshkosh, WI. Credit: Michael Jorgensen
Inside the various hangars are hundreds of aviation vendors, exhibitors, and storefronts, ranging from avionics manufacturers to social clubs/societies, wooden model companies, and all the pilot accessories imaginable.
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Michael standing in front of NASA’s SR22 aircraft at the NASA pavilion at EAA AirVenture 2022 in Oshkosh, WI. Credit: Michael Jorgensen
This year’s theme for the NASA pavilion was “Faces of Flight”. Throughout the week, we had meet-and-greets with leaders, researchers, engineers, and even an astronaut or two, hands-on educational experiences for guests of all ages, giveaways, and models of our aircraft, spacecraft, and more, including a model of the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter and the Space Launch System rocket.
Aside from the events in the NASA pavilion, we participated in a number of panels like [email protected], where women leaders from the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate talked about NASA’s aviation research portfolio, activities taking places at NASA centers, and their personal experiences as leaders.
If you’re interested in the future of aviation—supersonic flight, advanced air mobility, and so much more—come see us at Oshkosh!
Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space!
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nasa · 4 months
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Next Gen @ NASA: Celebrating National Intern Day
To celebrate National Intern Day, we asked interns to share how they got their internship and their perspective and advice to the next generation of prospective NASA interns.
Meet our interns and check out their suggestions for the next generation.
Sarah Kilpatrick, STDCE-2 Data Intern
Sarah is a summer Surface Tension Driven Convection Experiment Data Intern at NASA. Her inspiration for applying for an internship came from a passion for science from an early age. “I grew up in a family that liked, enjoyed and appreciated science and the fun of it all,” she recalls. “I grew up watching PBS, NOVA, and other science shows, so when I saw NASA had opportunities for students like me, I was very interested.” 
Sarah’s advice to the next generation of NASA interns is one of perseverance and resilience.
Nicholas Natsoulas, Attitude Control Engineering Intern
Nicholas is a summer Attitude Control Engineering Intern at NASA. He wants to contribute to scientific innovation and discovery. “Overall, what inspired me to apply and come to work here was to contribute to the scientific exploration of space while learning about unique perspectives and innovative space discoveries.”
Nicholas’s advice for prospective NASA interns is to make the most out of your time here and to be a curious and eager learner.
“Use all the resources that are at your center and ask questions about projects you are working on. Don’t be afraid to talk to your mentor about your plans for the future and ask for any advice you may need, as they are more than willing to help you during your time here,” says Nicholas.
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Nicholas and his mentor, Brent Faller, are using software to inform design decisions on a variety of spacecraft.
Nylana Murphy, former Additive Manufacturing Engineering Intern
As an American Indian College Fund ambassador and a Navajo engineer, Nylana Murphy hopes her internship story will inspire others to pursue a career in aerospace.
After attending the American Indian Science Engineering Society Conference, Nylana secured an internship in the additive manufacturing research laboratory at NASA Marshall.
 “My internships have helped me get to where I am,” she says, “There is a career for everyone, where their dreams can become reality. Those dreams WILL become a reality.”
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You might be wondering: what happens after a NASA internship Here’s what two of our former interns did.
Loral O’Hara, Astronaut, former intern
Lorel interned at NASA JPL in 2003, and at NASA Goddard in 2004. She earned science degrees from both the University of Kansas and Purdue University.
As a research and project engineer, O’Hara reported for duty in August 2017 and completed two years of training as an Astronaut Candidate. She is projected to fly in Soyuz missions as a NASA astronaut soon.
If she could go back in time, Loral says she would tell her younger self to enjoy the opportunities that come her way—and never stop looking for new ones. “Enjoy the whole journey of…figuring out what it is that you like to do and exploring all different kinds of things.”
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Jeff Carlson, Assembly, Test, Launch Operations Engineer
The “7 Minutes of Terror” video piqued Jeff Carlson’s interest in working at JPL. He thought, "That's the coolest thing I've ever heard of. I've got to go be a part of that in some way." While interning at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, he worked on Starshade, a sunflower-shaped device used to block starlight in order to reveal planets orbiting a star. Later, he went on to work on the team tasked with assembling and testing the “head” and “neck” (officially called the Remote Sensing Mast) for the Mars 2020 rover.
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Want to join us in exploring the secrets of the universe? Visit intern.nasa.gov to learn more about open opportunities and requirements!
Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space!
Credits: Isabel Rodriguez, Glenn Research Center intern and Claire O'Shea, Johnson Space Center intern
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nasa · 5 months
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Meet Our Superhero Space Telescopes!
While the first exoplanets—planets beyond our solar system—were discovered using ground-based telescopes, the view was blurry at best. Clouds, moisture, and jittering air molecules all got in the way, limiting what we could learn about these distant worlds.
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A superhero team of space telescopes has been working tirelessly to discover exoplanets and unveil their secrets. Now, a new superhero has joined the team—the James Webb Space Telescope. What will it find? Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
To capture finer details—detecting atmospheres on small, rocky planets like Earth, for instance, to seek potential signs of habitability—astronomers knew they needed what we might call “superhero” space telescopes, each with its own special power to explore our universe. Over the past few decades, a team of now-legendary space telescopes answered the call: Hubble, Chandra, Spitzer, Kepler, and TESS.
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Much like scientists, space telescopes don't work alone. Hubble observes in visible light—with some special features (superpowers?)—Chandra has X-ray vision, and TESS discovers planets by looking for tiny dips in the brightness of stars.
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Kepler and Spitzer are now retired, but we're still making discoveries in the space telescopes' data. Legends! All were used to tell us more about exoplanets. Spitzer saw beyond visible light into the infrared and was able to make exoplanet weather maps! Kepler discovered more than 3,000 exoplanets.
Three space telescopes studied one fascinating planet and told us different things. Hubble found that the atmosphere of HD 189733 b is a deep blue. Spitzer estimated its temperature at 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit (935 degrees Celsius). Chandra, measuring the planet’s transit using X-rays from its star, showed that the gas giant’s atmosphere is distended by evaporation.
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Adding the James Webb Space Telescope to the superhero team will make our science stronger. Its infrared views in increased ranges will make the previously unseen visible.
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Soon, Webb will usher in a new era in understanding exoplanets. What will Webb discover when it studies HD 189733 b? We can’t wait to find out! Super, indeed.
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nasa · 5 months
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Travel to Exotic Destinations in our Galaxy!
The planets beyond our solar system – exoplanets – are so far away, often trillions of miles, that we don’t have the technology to truly see them. Even the best photos show the planets as little more than bright dots. We’ve confirmed more than 5,000 exoplanets, but we think there are billions. Space telescopes like Hubble aren’t able to take photos of these far-off worlds, but by studying them in different wavelengths of light (colors), we’ve learned enough about conditions on these planets that we can illustrate them.
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We know, thanks to the now-retired Spitzer Space Telescope, that there is a thick atmosphere on a planet called 55 Cancri e about 40 light-years away. And Hubble found silicate vapor in the atmosphere of this rocky world. We also know it’s scorching-close to its Sun-like star, so … lava. Lots and lots of lava. This planet is just one of the many that the James Webb Space Telescope will soon study, telling us even more about the lava world!
You can take a guided tour of this planet (and others) and see 360-degree simulations at our new Exoplanet Travel Bureau.
Travel to the most exotic destinations in our galaxy, including:
Kepler-16b, a planet with two suns.
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Then there’s PSO J318.5-22, a world with no sun that wanders the galaxy alone. The nightlife would never end on a planet without a star.
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TRAPPIST-1e, which will also be studied by the Webb Space Telescope, is one of seven Earth-sized planets orbiting a star about 40 light-years from Earth. It’s close enough that, if you were standing on this exoplanet, you could see our Sun as a star in the Leo constellation! You can also see it on the poster below: look for a yellow star to the right of the top person’s eye.
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We haven’t found life beyond Earth (yet) but we’re looking. Meanwhile, we can imagine the possibility of red grass and other plants on Kepler-186f, a planet orbiting a red dwarf star.
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We can also imagine what it might be like to skydive on a super-Earth about seven times more massive than our home planet. You would fall about 35% faster on a super-Earth like HD 40307g, making for a thrilling ride!
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Any traveler is going to want to pick up souvenirs, and we have you covered. You can find free downloads of all the posters here and others! What are you waiting for? Come explore with us!
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Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space!
Image credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech
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nasa · 5 months
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See the Universe in a New Way with the Webb Space Telescope's First Images
Are you ready to see unprecedented, detailed views of the universe from the James Webb Space Telescope, the largest and most powerful space observatory ever made? Scroll down to see the first full-color images and data from Webb. Unfold the universe with us. ✨
Carina Nebula
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This landscape of “mountains” and “valleys” speckled with glittering stars, called the Cosmic Cliffs, is the edge of the star-birthing Carina Nebula. Usually, the early phases of star formation are difficult to capture, but Webb can peer through cosmic dust—thanks to its extreme sensitivity, spatial resolution, and imaging capability. Protostellar jets clearly shoot out from some of these young stars in this new image.
Southern Ring Nebula
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The Southern Ring Nebula is a planetary nebula: it’s an expanding cloud of gas and dust surrounding a dying star. In this new image, the nebula’s second, dimmer star is brought into full view, as well as the gas and dust it’s throwing out around it. (The brighter star is in its own stage of stellar evolution and will probably eject its own planetary nebula in the future.) These kinds of details will help us better understand how stars evolve and transform their environments. Finally, you might notice points of light in the background. Those aren’t stars—they’re distant galaxies.
Stephan’s Quintet
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Stephan’s Quintet, a visual grouping of five galaxies near each other, was discovered in 1877 and is best known for being prominently featured in the holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life.” This new image brings the galaxy group from the silver screen to your screen in an enormous mosaic that is Webb’s largest image to date. The mosaic covers about one-fifth of the Moon’s diameter; it contains over 150 million pixels and is constructed from almost 1,000 separate image files. Never-before-seen details are on display: sparkling clusters of millions of young stars, fresh star births, sweeping tails of gas, dust and stars, and huge shock waves paint a dramatic picture of galactic interactions.
WASP-96 b
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WASP-96 b is a giant, mostly gas planet outside our solar system, discovered in 2014. Webb’s Near-Infrared Imager and Slitless Spectrograph (NIRISS) measured light from the WASP-96 system as the planet moved across the star. The light curve confirmed previous observations, but the transmission spectrum revealed new properties of the planet: an unambiguous signature of water, indications of haze, and evidence of clouds in the atmosphere. This discovery marks a giant leap forward in the quest to find potentially habitable planets beyond Earth.
Webb's First Deep Field
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This image of galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, known as Webb’s First Deep Field, looks 4.6 billion years into the past. Looking at infrared wavelengths beyond Hubble’s deepest fields, Webb’s sharp near-infrared view reveals thousands of galaxies—including the faintest objects ever observed in the infrared—in the most detailed view of the early universe to date. We can now see tiny, faint structures we’ve never seen before, like star clusters and diffuse features and soon, we’ll begin to learn more about the galaxies’ masses, ages, histories, and compositions.
These images and data are just the beginning of what the observatory will find. It will study every phase in the history of our Universe, ranging from the first luminous glows after the Big Bang, to the formation of solar systems capable of supporting life on planets like Earth, to the evolution of our own Solar System.
Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space—and for milestones like this!
Credits: NASA, ESA, CSA, and STScI
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