Space

September 7, 2012

NASA Mars exploration rover team to be honored

The mission team for NASA’s long-lived Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity will be awarded the Haley Space Flight Award.

The team will receive the award Sept. 12 during the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Space 2012 Conference and Exposition in Pasadena, Calif.

The award is presented for outstanding contributions by an astronaut or flight test personnel to the advancement of the art, science or technology of astronautics.

Past recipients include Alan Shepherd, John Glenn, Thomas Stafford, Robert Crippen, Kathryn Sullivan and the crew of space shuttle mission STS-125, which flew in 2009 on the last shuttle mission to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope.

The award citation praises this project’s “new techniques in extraterrestrial robotic system operations to explore another world and extend mission lifetime.” Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena will accept the award for the team.

“On behalf of the many hundreds of scientists and engineers who designed, built and operate these rovers, it is a great honor to accept this most prestigious award,” Callas said. “It is especially gratifying that this comes right as Opportunity is conducting one of the most significant campaigns in the eight-and-a-half years since landing. We still are going strong, with perhaps the most exciting exploration still ahead.”

In its eighth year operating on Mars, Opportunity is surveying a crater-rim outcrop of layered rock in search of clay minerals that could provide new information about a formerly wet environment. Spirit worked for more than six years – until 2010 – 24 times longer than its original three-month prime mission.

In just the past two months, Opportunity has driven about a third of a mile (more than 525 meters), extending its total overland travel distance to 21.76 miles (35 kilometers). Recent drives along the inner edge of the Cape York segment of the western rim of Endeavour Crater have brought the rover close to a layered outcrop in an area where clay minerals have been detected from orbit. These minerals could offer evidence of ancient, wet conditions with less acidity than the ancient, wet environments recorded at sites Opportunity visited during its first seven years on Mars.

Opportunity’s position overlooking 14-mile-wide (22-kilometer-wide) Endeavour Crater is about 5,200 miles (8,400 kilometers) from where Curiosity, NASA’s next-generation Mars rover, landed inside Gale Crater a month ago.

JPL manages the Mars Exploration Rover Project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 

 

Lockheed Martin solar ultraviolet imager installed on GOES-R weather satellite

Lockheed Martin has delivered a new solar analysis payload that will help scientists measure and forecast space weather, which can damage satellites, electrical grids and communications systems on Earth. The Solar Ultraviolet Imager instrument was integrated with the first flight vehicle of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administrationís next-generation Geostationary Operational Environm...
 
 
Lockheed Martin photograph

NASA’s Orion Spacecraft powers through first integrated system testing

Lockheed Martin photograph Engineers in the Operations and Checkout Building at NASAís Kennedy Space Center in Florida, perform avionics testing on the Orion spacecraft being prepared for its first trip to space later this yea...
 
 

NASA signs agreement with SpaceX for use of historic launch pad

NASA Kennedy Space Center’s historic Launch Complex 39A, the site from which numerous Apollo and space shuttle missions began, is beginning a new mission as a commercial launch site. NASA signed a property agreement with Space Exploration Technologies Corporation (SpaceX) of Hawthorne, Calif., on Monday for use and occupancy of the seaside complex along Florida’s...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>