“Liftoff!” –NASA’s Ingenuity Helicopter to Forever Change the Way We Explore Other Planets

 

 Ingenuity Mars Helicopter

 

NASA’s announced the first instance of powered, controlled flight on another planet when the solar-powered “Ingenuity Mars Helicopter first became airborne at 3:34 a.m. EDT (12:34 a.m. PDT) – 12:33 – a time the Ingenuity team determined would have optimal energy and flight conditions. Altimeter data indicate Ingenuity climbed to its prescribed maximum altitude of 10 feet (3 meters) and maintained a stable hover for 30 seconds. It then descended, touching back down on the surface of Mars after logging a total of 39.1 seconds of flight. Additional details on the test are expected in upcoming downlinks.”

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“Is There Life There, HAL?” –In a Visionary Step, NASA Plans to Install Artificial Intelligence Systems on Probes of Distant Planets

ExoMars Landing Map

 

In Space Odyssey 2001, HAL 9000, the Heuristically Programmed Algorithmic Computer, consigned the crew commander to his death by refusing to open the pod bay doors. Leaping forward to June, 2020, NASA announced a visionary step: that intelligent computer systems will be installed on space probes to direct the search for life on distant planets and moons. The AI program will start with the 2022/23 ESA ExoMars mission before moving beyond to moons such as Jupiter’s Europa and of Saturn’s Enceladus and Titan.

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“The Last Days of Hubble?” –A Crowning Glory of the Human Species

Hubble Deep Field

 

“Hubble isn’t just a satellite; it’s about humanity’s quest for knowledge,” said astronaut and former NASA Chief Scientist, John M. Grunsfeld about the iconic space telescope. Looking at Hubble’s ground-breaking “Deep Field” images that show the most distant galaxies that can be observed in visible light leaves us feeling like something else is going about its business out there.

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The Perseverance Mission –“May Change the Way We Think About Our Origins and Extraterrestrial Life”

Perseverance Rover

 

Seven minutes of harrowing descent to the Red Planet occured on February 18th when NASA’s Perseverance rover — a robotic “scientist” weighing 2,260 pounds–parachuted through the tenuous Martian air, marking a new era in red planet exploration. Once at the top of the Red Planet’s atmosphere, a science-fiction movie descent began as it dropped through temperatures equivalent to the surface of the Sun, along with a supersonic parachute inflation, and the first ever autonomous guided landing on Mars delivering the biggest, heaviest, cleanest, and most sophisticated six-wheeled robotic geologist ever launched into space north of the Martian equator.

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NASA’s 21st-Century “Nautilus” Will Probe the Depths of Titan’s Largest Sea

Saturn's Moon Titan

 

In the distant future, a billion miles from Earth, like a 21st-Century version of Jules Verne’s Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, a robotic, motor-less NASA submarine facsimile of Verne’s Nautilus, will probe the depths of Kraken Mare, the largest lake on Saturn’s, Earthlike moon, Titan, shrouded in a golden haze of gaseous nitrogen. This immense 1000-foot-deep body of methane is nearly the size of all five Great Lakes combined.

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“Someone is Looking Back at Us” –Three-Hundred-Million Earth-Like Worlds of the Milky Way

 

"Someone is Looking Back at Us" --Three-Hundred-Million Earth-Like Worlds of the Milky Way

 

“One in 200 stars has habitable Earth-like planets surrounding it – in the galaxy, half a billion stars have Earth-like planets going around them – that’s huge, half a billion. So when we look at the night sky, it makes sense that someone is looking back at us,” says physicist, Michio Kaku, author of The Future of Humanity.

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