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.


 
 

 
Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

NASA spacecraft nears historic dwarf planet arrival

Image courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA NASA’s Dawn spacecraft took these images of dwarf planet Ceres from about 25,000 miles away Feb. 25, 2015. Ceres appears half in shadow because of the current position o...
 
 

Northrop Grumman’s AstroMesh reflector successfully deploys for NASA’s SMAP satellite

The NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory successfully deployed the mesh reflector and boom aboard the Soil Moisture Active Passive spacecraft, a key milestone on its mission to provide global measurements of soil moisture. Launched Jan. 31, SMAP represents the future of Earth Science by helping researchers better understand our planet. SMAP’s unmatched data capabilities are enabled...
 
 
NASA photograph by Brian Tietz

NASA offers space tech grants to early career university faculty

NASA photograph by Brian Tietz Tensegrity research is able to simulate multiple forms of locomotion. In this image, a prototype tensegrity robot reproduces forward crawling motion. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Director...
 

 

NASA releases first global rainfall, snowfall map from new mission

Like a lead violin tuning an orchestra, the GPM Core Observatory – launched one year ago on Feb. 27, 2014, as a collaboration between NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency – acts as the standard to unify precipitation measurements from a network of 12 satellites. The result is NASA’s Integrated Multi-satellite Retrievals for GPM...
 
 

New NASA Earth Science Missions expand view of our home planet

Four new NASA Earth-observing missions are collecting data from space with a fifth newly in orbit ñ after the busiest year of NASA Earth science launches in more than a decade. On Feb. 27, 2014, NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency launched the Global Precipitation Measurement Core Observatory into space from Japan. Data from...
 
 

NASA, ESA telescopes give shape to furious black hole winds

NASA’s Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array (NuSTAR) and ESA’s (European Space Agency) XMM-Newton telescope are showing that fierce winds from a supermassive black hole blow outward in all directions – a phenomenon that had been suspected, but difficult to prove until now. This discovery has given astronomers their first opportunity to measure the strength of these...
 




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>