Elizebeth Friedman, The Most Awesome Codebreaker in World War II Was a Woman
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black and white image of husband and wife coders from world war II

One married couple was responsible for the foundations of modern code breaking, and the principles that gave the NSA a head start in cryptanalysis. Though the husband, William Friedman, is usually apportioned the lion’s share of the credit, his wife Elizebeth Friedman was in every way his equal.

During World War II, both worked under total secrecy, and only now are we learning about Elizebeth’s critical work uncovering the secrets of Nazi spies—and cracking the codes of the notorious “Doll Lady” suspected of working for the Japanese.

Velvalee Dickinson whirled around on the two FBI men and tried to scratch out their eyes. It was January 21, 1944. The agents had staked out the vault at the Bank of New York, waiting for Dickinson to walk in and open her safe-deposit box, and as soon as she did, unlocking a drawer that contained $15,900 in cash, the FBI agents said they had a warrant for her arrest. Dickinson shouted that she didn’t know why. She was fifty years old, a widow, a frail-looking ninety-four pounds, with brunette hair. She made such a kicking commotion that the men had to pick her up by the armpits and carry her away.

The FBI arrested Dickinson because of five suspicious letters that had been previously intercepted by postal inspectors and forwarded to the bureau. The letters talked about dolls and the condition of dolls, some of which were damaged: “English dolls,” “foreign dolls,” a “doll hospital,” and a “Siamese dancer” doll “tore in middle.” The first of the five letters read in part, “You asked me to tell you about my collection. A month ago I had to give a talk to an art club, so I talked about my dolls and figurines. The only new dolls I have are these three lovely new Irish dolls. One of these three dolls is an old Fishermen with a Net over his back. Another is an old woman with wood on her back and the third is a little boy.” The letter had been addressed to Señora Inéz Lopez Molinari in Buenos Aires. No such person existed; the letter was returned to the address listed on the envelope, the address of one of Dickinson’s customers, a Mrs. Mary E. Wallace in Springfield, Ohio, who was confused to read the letter, as she had not written it.

Read the full article at Wired.

NASA Invites Public to Share Thrill of Mars Perseverance Rover Landing
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wide shot of a rover landing on a planet

NASA is inviting the public to take part in virtual activities and events as the agency’s Mars 2020 Perseverance rover nears entry, descent, and landing on the Red Planet, with touchdown scheduled for approximately 3:55 p.m. EST Thursday, Feb. 18.

Live coverage and landing commentary from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California will begin at 2:15 p.m. on the NASA TV Public Channel and the agency’s website, as well as the NASA App, YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitch, Daily Motion, and THETA.TV.

Photo: An illustration of NASA’s Perseverance rover landing safely on Mars. Hundreds of critical events must execute perfectly and exactly on time for the rover to land safely on Feb. 18, 2021.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Among the many firsts with this mission is the agency’s first-ever Spanish-language show for a planetary landing. On Thursday, Feb. 18, at 2:30 p.m., NASA will air “Juntos perseveramos,” a show that will give viewers an overview of the mission to Mars and highlight the role Hispanic NASA professionals have had in its success.

During landing, the rover will plunge through the thin Martian atmosphere at more than 12,000 mph (about 20,000 kph). A parachute and powered descent will slow the rover down to about 2 mph (3 kph). During what is known as the sky crane maneuver, the descent stage will lower the rover on three cables to land softly on six wheels at Jezero Crater.

Perseverance also is carrying a technology experiment – the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter – that will attempt the first powered, controlled flight on another planet.

“If there’s one thing we know, it’s that landing on Mars is never easy,” said NASA Associate Administrator for Communications Marc Etkind. “But as NASA’s fifth Mars rover, Perseverance has an extraordinary engineering pedigree and mission team. We are excited to invite the entire world to share this exciting event with us!”

NASA is offering many ways for the public to participate and stay up to date on landing information, mission highlights, and interaction opportunities.

Watch and Participate Virtually

Connect with like-minded space enthusiasts, receive a NASA Social badge, ask questions, and take part in other virtual activities by signing up for the Perseverance Rover Virtual NASA Social event.

NASA also will provide a virtual guest experience for members of the public during landing, with notifications about mission updates, curated mission resources, and a virtual passport stamp available after landing.

Stay connected and let people know you’re following the mission on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Join the conversation, ask questions, and get answers online by using #CountdownToMars.

Follow and tag these accounts:

Twitter: @NASA@NASAPersevere@NASAMars

Facebook: NASANASAPersevere

Instagram: NASA

At 7 p.m. EST Tuesday, Feb. 16, a NASA Social live show previewing landing day will stream live via the JPL YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter accounts.

You also can follow every step of entry, descent, and landing with this visualization, and get a preview of all the excitement with a new video.

Opportunities for Students, Teachers, Educators

Design, build, and land your own spacecraft – just like NASA scientists and engineers do. Join NASA’s Mission to Mars Student Challenge, where classrooms, informal education groups, families and individuals will be able to participate in landing week question-and-answer sessions with mission experts and submit student questions and work that could be featured during NASA broadcasts leading up to and on landing day.

A Mars 2020 STEM toolkit also is available, with stories on the students who named Perseverance and Ingenuity, opportunities to code your own Mars exploration games, and more.

Join scientists from NASA and JPL at a briefing of the National Academies Space Studies Board and Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board Wednesday, Feb. 17, at 11:30 am EST to hear more about Perseverance’s journey to Mars’ Jezero Crater, NASA’s Mars Sample Return, and the challenges the team has overcome. Participants include:

  • Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science
  • Lori Glaze, director of NASA’s Planetary Science Division
  • Bobby Braun, Mars Sample Return program manager at JPL
  • Matt Wallace, deputy project manager, Mars 2020 at JPL
  • Katie Stack Morgan, Mars 2020 deputy project scientist at JPL

Interactive Experiences

You also can try out a virtual photo booth that allows you to pose next to the Perseverance rover, listen to the differences between sounds on Mars and Earth, and check out other interactive experiences on the mission’s website.

Send Your Name to Mars, Again!

Perseverance is carrying three dime-size chips with 11 million names submitted by people all over the world. Anyone who missed the chance to send their name on Perseverance can sign up to send their name on a future Mars mission at:

https://mars.nasa.gov/participate/send-your-name/mars2020

Lighting Towns Red Around the World

To celebrate Perseverance’s Red Planet landing, the Empire State Building in New York will light its tower red on Tuesday, Feb. 16, starting at sunset until 2 a.m. the following morning. In addition, the Los Angeles International Airport gateway pylons will glow red from sundown on Wednesday, Feb. 17, through sunrise Friday, Feb. 19. Other sites in the United States recognizing the upcoming landing include select buildings along the Chicago skyline, such as the Adler Planetarium. NASA invites cities around the country and world to participate in “lighting the town red.”

Source: NASA

 

Tech Tent: Iron Man’s Climate Change Mission
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Robert Downey Jr close up, wearing glasses, with gradient orange and pink background

Robert Downey Jr is leading the Footprint Coalition, an investment fund that will try to spot fast-growing green technology businesses. He says much of his role will be about using his skills to tell a story about climate change, and the technology that can beat it, to his 100 million social media fans.

“I realised a few years ago that I’d amassed a pretty wide audience, I guess you call them followers nowadays. And it seemed like just posting more videos of me dancing with my alpaca wasn’t really moving the conversation on this existential threat.”

Speaking over a video link from his home in California, he says a key moment in his awakening to this threat came in the wildfires in Malibu in 2018.

“I had my hoses out trying to help my neighbour not lose his house. You kind of go – this is not the rhythm that was going on in California in the 80s or the 90s.”

The Footprint Coalition fund has already invested in a number of green businesses, including Cloud Paper – which makes toilet paper out of bamboo and has a mission to save a billion trees – and Ynsect, which turns mealworms into fertiliser and other products.

The Hollywood star, who played Iron Man Tony Stark in 10 Marvel films, says he had originally thought about focusing on AI and robotics, like his fictional counterpart: “I figured that was my strong suit, it was probably easiest to identify me with my namesake.”

But he says he is now looking at areas like transport, energy, and consumer products. There are some real challenges for this mission.

Green technology investment is a crowded field and plenty of ideas that look attractive for a while end up struggling to make a financial return. Then there is the debate over climate change in the United States, with many politicians and voters not convinced the threat is real.

He acknowledges this culture war, remembering that when the original Iron Man movie came out “all of my conservative friends said ‘you really stuck it to those lefties’ and all my liberal friends said ‘you really showed them'”.

But he insists he can find a way to reach across the divide.

“I think there’s a way to appeal to my brothers and sisters in the heartland and my conservative friends, ” he says, “rather than saying, you’re wrong, you’re crazy and you’re bad.”

I tried to get Downey to talk about Elon Musk, seen by many of his admirers as the nearest thing to a real-world Tony Stark. But he was cautious.

“We have a very interesting history. I respect Elon a lot. But I have not really spoken to him in some while,” he said.

But then he started talking about the importance of putting principles before personality, and of team spirit, “rather than just thinking I will say and do as I feel”. The message seemed to be that Musk needed to be just a little more reflective before speaking out.

What then, does Downey hope he can achieve with his fund?

Well, first and foremost he’s clear about the commercial imperative: “I want people to have gotten a well above average return.”

But he also hopes that some of the businesses he backs will produce technology that has a real impact on the world – “and I would feel like I had some small part in that.”

Read the original article at BBC News.
9 epic space discoveries you may have missed in 2020
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Stock image of an asteroid in space with earth sitting behind it.

Medical discoveries dominated the news in 2020, but even under pandemic conditions, astronomers kept up their work. They hunted through radio waves for mystery signals, discovered new galaxies, and even figured out which alien star systems might be able to detect Earth.

Planets in the solar system emit radio waves, especially Jupiter with its intense magnetic fields. But no one had ever detected radio waves coming from a planet beyond the solar system until this year, when researchers picked up a signal from a gas giant in the Tau Boötes system, just 51 light years from Earth. That signal could help them learn more about that exoplanet’s magnetic field, which could offer clues to what’s going on in its atmosphere.

X-ray blobs bursting from the Milky Way. Millions of years ago, an explosion in the center of the Milky Way blasted energized material above and below the galactic disk. That material is still visible, glowing in the gamma ray spectrum in two clumps discovered in 2010, known as the Fermi Bubbles. In 2020, researchers found another pair of blobs in the same region, visible in the X-ray spectrum. Likely related to the Fermi bubbles, these dim, gargantuan features of the Milky Way tower over the 25,000-light year Fermi Bubbles, to a width of 45,000 light-years end to end. Researchers named them the “eROSITA bubbles.”

A long-lost rocket booster. Earth acquired a new “minimoon” in 2020, one of several objects that the planet encounters in space from time to time that end up in orbit around our planet. But closer examination by amateur and professional space watchers revealed this minimoon wasn’t a natural object at all, but rather a rocket booster NASA launched in the 1960s.

Ghostly radio circles. Scientists frequently find things in space that look like fuzzy blobs, but the newfound odd radio circles (ORCs), discovered in 2019 and reported in 2020, are special. The round blobs, visible in radio telescope data, don’t look like any known object. They’re not supernova remnants, or optical effects known as Einstein rings. Some scientists have even suggested they may be the throats of wormholes. But no one really knows what these newly discovered things are.
Read about 5 more space discoveries of 2020 at Live Science.
The ‘Last Mile’ for COVID-19 Vaccines Could Be The Biggest Challenge Yet
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Nurse's hand holding a syringe giving a vaccination to a patient

A race to develop a COVID-19 vaccine began almost the minute the coronavirus’s genetic makeup was revealed in January.

Already, two companies have announced that their vaccines appear safe and about 95 percent effective (SN: 11/18/20, SN: 11/16/20). Government regulators in the United Kingdom granted permission on December 2 for the emergency use of a vaccine made by the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and its German biotech partner BioNTech. The first doses could be delivered within days of the announcement. Emergency use authorization and even full approval of the vaccines are probably not far off in the United States and other countries.

But another race is just beginning. Ultimately, the vaccines won’t truly be successful until enough people have gotten them to stop the spread of the virus and prevent severe disease and death. And that will pose a logistical challenge unlike any other. In normal times, potential vaccines have only a 10 percent chance of making it from Phase II clinical trials — which test safety, dosing, and sometimes give hints about effectiveness — to approval within 10 years, researchers reported November 24 in the Annals of Internal Medicine. On average, it takes successful vaccines over four years to go from Phase II trials to full regulatory approval.

SpaceX capsule with 4 astronauts reaches space station
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The SpaceX Dragon Capsule crew appearing to the public before boarding

SpaceX’s newly launched capsule with four astronauts arrived Monday at the International Space Station, their new home until spring.

The Dragon capsule pulled up and docked late Monday night, following a 27-hour, completely automated flight from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The linkup occurred 262 miles above Idaho.

“Oh, what a good voice to hear,” space station astronaut Kate Rubins called out when the Dragon’s commander, Mike Hopkins, first made radio contact.

“We can’t wait to have you on board,” she added after the two spacecraft were latched together.

This is the second astronaut mission for SpaceX. But it’s the first time Elon Musk’s company delivered a crew for a full half-year station stay. The two-pilot test flight earlier this year lasted two months.

The three Americans and one Japanese astronaut will remain at the orbiting lab until their replacements arrive on another Dragon in April. And so it will go, with SpaceX — and eventually Boeing — transporting astronauts to and from the station for NASA.

This regular taxi service got underway with Sunday night’s launch.

Hopkins and his crew — Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japan’s Soichi Noguchi — join two Russians and one American who flew to the space station last month from Kazakhstan. Glover is the first African-American to move in for a long haul. A space newcomer, Glover was presented his gold astronaut pin Monday.

The four named their capsule Resilience to provide hope and inspiration during an especially difficult year for the whole world. They broadcast a tour of their capsule Monday, showing off the touchscreen controls, storage areas and their zero gravity indicator: a small plush Baby Yoda.

Continue to Fox News to read the entire article.

Photo Credit: NASA/Kim Shiflett

NASA finally certified SpaceX to fly astronauts on its Crew Dragon spaceship, just days before its next launch
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Four Space X astronauts seated in SpaceX's Crew Dragon

SpaceX is about to launch four astronauts in the first human-rated commercial spacecraft.

This won’t be SpaceX’s first human mission. The NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley climbed aboard the company’s Crew Dragon spaceship this summer, rocketed into Earth’s orbit, and docked to the International Space Station. After two months of living and working at the space station, they climbed back into the Crew Dragon, screamed through the atmosphere, and safely parachuted back to Earth.

But that whole mission was considered a demo — a critical step for gaining NASA’s human-spaceflight certification.

On Tuesday, NASA announced it had finally certified SpaceX’s whole launch system for human spaceflight.

That decision was the result of the agency’s flight-readiness review, in which experts and officials spent two days reviewing SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, the Crew Dragon spaceship, the software, and mission operations.

The certification came just days before SpaceX’s next planned astronaut launch, which is scheduled for Saturday. The company has already perched a new Crew Dragon on the rocket in preparation for that mission, its longest and most critical yet. Called Crew-1, the round-trip mission to the space station is the first of six that Elon Musk’s rocket company has contracted with NASA.

“People tend to think it’s just the spacecraft, but it’s the spacecraft, it’s the launch vehicle, it’s all the processing on the ground, it’s how you do your mission operations. All that will safely fly our crew up to the International Space Station and back and then recover,” Kathy Lueders, who leads NASA’s human-spaceflight program, said in a Tuesday press briefing. “You’ve shown us the data, and we trust you to do that. It’s a big trust factor here.”

If weather permits, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 will launch the Crew Dragon into space on Saturday at 7:49 p.m. ET. On board will be astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker, and Soichi Noguchi. They should dock to the space station eight and a half hours later, where they will stay for about six months, marking the longest human spaceflight in US history.

When it’s time to come home, the astronauts will climb back into the Crew Dragon, which will remain attached to the space station during their stay, then weather a fiery fall through Earth’s atmosphere.

“The crew’s lives are in our hands — very important responsibility,” Lueders said.

Continue on to Business Insider to read the full article. 

Photo Credit: Space X via NASA

NASA finally makes contact with Voyager 2 after longest radio silence in 30 years
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Space satellite

By Peter Dockrill of Science Alert

There’s never been a radio silence quite like this one. After long months with no way of making contact with Voyager 2, NASA has finally reestablished communications with the record-setting interstellar spacecraft.

The breakdown in communications – lasting since March, almost eight months and a whole pandemic ago – wasn’t due to some rogue malfunction, nor any run-in with interstellar space weirdness (although there’s that too).

In this instance, it was more a case of routine maintenance. And yet, when you’re one of the farthest-flying spacecraft in history – leaving Earth and even the entire solar system behind you – nothing much is ever truly routine.

In March, NASA announced that Deep Space Station 43 (DSS-43) in Australia, the only antenna on Earth that can send commands to Voyager 2, required critical upgrades and would need to shut down for approximately 11 months for the work to be completed.

During this window, Voyager 2, which is currently over 18.7 billion kilometers (11.6 billion miles) away from Earth and getting farther all the time, wouldn’t be able to receive any communications from Earth, although its own broadcasts back to us would still be received by scientists.

As it stands, DSS-43’s renovation is still underway and on track to be finalized in February 2021, but enough of the upgrades have been installed for preliminary testing to start.

Last week, mission operators sent their first communications to Voyager 2 since March, issuing a series of commands, and NASA reports that Voyager 2 returned a signal confirming it had received the instructions, and executed the commands without issue.

Continue to LiveScience.com to read the full article. 

NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon
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The Moon

NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places.

SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon’s southern hemisphere. Previous observations of the Moon’s surface detected some form of hydrogen, but were unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH). Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million – roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water – trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface. The results are published in the latest issue of Nature Astronomy.

“We had indications that H2O – the familiar water we know – might be present on the sunlit side of the Moon,” said Paul Hertz, director of the Astrophysics Division in the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Now we know it is there. This discovery challenges our understanding of the lunar surface and raises intriguing questions about resources relevant for deep space exploration.”

As a comparison, the Sahara desert has 100 times the amount of water than what SOFIA detected in the lunar soil. Despite the small amounts, the discovery raises new questions about how water is created and how it persists on the harsh, airless lunar surface.

Water is a precious resource in deep space and a key ingredient of life as we know it. Whether the water SOFIA found is easily accessible for use as a resource remains to be determined. Under NASA’s Artemis program, the agency is eager to learn all it can about the presence of water on the Moon in advance of sending the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 and establishing a sustainable human presence there by the end of the decade.

SOFIA’s results build on years of previous research examining the presence of water on the Moon. When the Apollo astronauts first returned from the Moon in 1969, it was thought to be completely dry. Orbital and impactor missions over the past 20 years, such as NASA’s Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite, confirmed ice in permanently shadowed craters around the Moon’s poles. Meanwhile, several spacecraft – including the Cassini mission and Deep Impact comet mission, as well as the Indian Space Research Organization’s Chandrayaan-1 mission – and NASA’s ground-based Infrared Telescope Facility, looked broadly across the lunar surface and found evidence of hydration in sunnier regions. Yet those missions were unable to definitively distinguish the form in which it was present – either H2O or OH.

“Prior to the SOFIA observations, we knew there was some kind of hydration,” said Casey Honniball, the lead author who published the results from her graduate thesis work at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa in Honolulu. “But we didn’t know how much, if any, was actually water molecules – like we drink every day – or something more like drain cleaner.”

SOFIA offered a new means of looking at the Moon. Flying at altitudes of up to 45,000 feet, this modified Boeing 747SP jetliner with a 106-inch diameter telescope reaches above 99% of the water vapor in Earth’s atmosphere to get a clearer view of the infrared universe. Using its Faint Object infraRed CAmera for the SOFIA Telescope (FORCAST), SOFIA was able to pick up the specific wavelength unique to water molecules, at 6.1 microns, and discovered a relatively surprising concentration in sunny Clavius Crater.

“Without a thick atmosphere, water on the sunlit lunar surface should just be lost to space,” said Honniball, who is now a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “Yet somehow we’re seeing it. Something is generating the water, and something must be trapping it there.”

Continue on to NASA.GOV to read the full article.

This American Astronaut Voted from Space. Here’s how She did it.
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Astronaut Kate Rubins

NASA astronaut Kate Rubins casting her vote from some 200 miles above Earth should be all the motivation you need to make a plan to vote this year.

Rubins, the only American voter not currently on Earth, said she was able to vote from the International Space Station last week.
This isn’t the first time Rubins has cast her ballot from space: She voted in 2016 when she was also researching at the space station.
Rubins, along with two Russian cosmonauts, began their mission earlier this month and will spend a total of six months in space as part of the Expedition 63/64 crew. Rubins will research “the use of laser-cooled atoms for future quantum sensors” and conduct cardiovascular experiments from the space station, according to NASA.

How to vote from space

Astronauts registered to vote in Texas got the right to vote from space in 1997, when Texas lawmakers ruled they could electronically cast their ballot off-planet if they’d be on a spaceflight during the early-voting period or Election Day, according to the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum.
NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Spacecraft Successfully Touches Asteroid
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Stock image of an asteroid in space with earth sitting behind it.

NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft unfurled its robotic arm Tuesday, and in a first for the agency, briefly touched an asteroid to collect dust and pebbles from the surface for delivery to Earth in 2023.

This well-preserved, ancient asteroid, known as Bennu, is currently more than 200 million miles (321 million kilometers) from Earth. Bennu offers scientists a window into the early solar system as it was first taking shape billions of years ago and flinging ingredients that could have helped seed life on Earth. If Tuesday’s sample collection event, known as “Touch-And-Go” (TAG), provided enough of a sample, mission teams will command the spacecraft to begin stowing the precious primordial cargo to begin its journey back to Earth in March 2021. Otherwise, they will prepare for another attempt in January.

“This amazing first for NASA demonstrates how an incredible team from across the country came together and persevered through incredible challenges to expand the boundaries of knowledge,” said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. “Our industry, academic, and international partners have made it possible to hold a piece of the most ancient solar system in our hands.”

At 1:50 p.m. EDT, OSIRIS-REx fired its thrusters to nudge itself out of orbit around Bennu. It extended the shoulder, then elbow, then wrist of its 11-foot (3.35-meter) sampling arm, known as the Touch-And-Go Sample Acquisition Mechanism (TAGSAM), and transited across Bennu while descending about a half-mile (805 meters) toward the surface. After a four-hour descent, at an altitude of approximately 410 feet (125 meters), the spacecraft executed the “Checkpoint” burn, the first of two maneuvers to allow it to precisely target the sample collection site, known as “Nightingale.”

Ten minutes later, the spacecraft fired its thrusters for the second “Matchpoint” burn to slow its descent and match the asteroid’s rotation at the time of contact. It then continued a treacherous, 11-minute coast past a boulder the size of a two-story building, nicknamed “Mount Doom,” to touch down in a clear spot in a crater on Bennu’s northern hemisphere. The size of a small parking lot, the site Nightingale site is one of the few relatively clear spots on this unexpectedly boulder-covered space rock.

“This was an incredible feat – and today we’ve advanced both science and engineering and our prospects for future missions to study these mysterious ancient storytellers of the solar system,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s headquarters in Washington. “A piece of primordial rock that has witnessed our solar system’s entire history may now be ready to come home for generations of scientific discovery, and we can’t wait to see what comes next.”

“After over a decade of planning, the team is overjoyed at the success of today’s sampling attempt,” said Dante Lauretta, OSIRIS-REx principal investigator at the University of Arizona in Tucson. “Even though we have some work ahead of us to determine the outcome of the event – the successful contact, the TAGSAM gas firing, and back-away from Bennu are major accomplishments for the team. I look forward to analyzing the data to determine the mass of sample collected.”

All spacecraft telemetry data indicates the TAG event executed as expected. However, it will take about a week for the OSIRIS-REx team to confirm how much sample the spacecraft collected.

Real-time data indicates the TAGSAM successfully contacted the surface and fired a burst of nitrogen gas. The gas should have stirred up dust and pebbles on Bennu’s surface, some of which should have been captured in the TAGSAM sample collection head. OSIRIS-REx engineers also confirmed that shortly after the spacecraft made contact with the surface, it fired its thrusters and safely backed away from Bennu.

“Today’s TAG maneuver was historic,” said Lori Glaze, Planetary Science Division director at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “The fact that we safely and successfully touched the surface of Bennu, in addition to all the other milestones this mission has already achieved, is a testament to the living spirit of exploration that continues to uncover the secrets of the solar system.”

Continue on to NASA.GOV to read the full article. 

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Upcoming Events

  1. Commercial UAV Expo Americas, Las Vegas
    September 7, 2021 - September 9, 2021
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    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021
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    February 6, 2022 - February 8, 2022

Upcoming Events

  1. Commercial UAV Expo Americas, Las Vegas
    September 7, 2021 - September 9, 2021
  2. Wonder Women Tech
    October 26, 2021 - October 29, 2021
  3. AEC Next Technology Expo & Conference, International Lidar Mapping Forum, and SPAR 3D Expo & Conference
    February 6, 2022 - February 8, 2022