This Week @NASA Sept. 8, 2023
- Our SpaceX Crew-6 mission safely returns to Earth …
- The tech demo hitching a ride on our Psyche spacecraft …
- And studying ancient life on Earth to better understand Mars … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Our SpaceX Crew-6 Mission Safely Returns to Earth
On Sept. 3, the four-person crew of our SpaceX Crew-6 mission, including NASA astronauts Stephen Bowen and Woody Hoburg, climbed aboard their SpaceX Dragon spacecraft and undocked from the International Space Station. They returned to Earth very early the next morning – splashing down safely in the waters off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. The international crew contributed to hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations during its six months in orbit.
Psyche Asteroid Mission Will Also Carry Optical Communications Demo
The no earlier than Oct. 5 targeted launch date of our Psyche mission to a metal-rich asteroid is less than a month away. The Psyche spacecraft will have a hitchhiker on the trip – a laser transceiver for our Deep Space Optical Communications or DSOC technology demonstration. DSOC, the agency’s first test of high-bandwidth optical communications beyond the Moon, aims to show how lasers could increase data transmission rates far beyond the capacity of current radio frequency systems used on spacecraft today.
NASA, Partners Study Ancient Life in Australia to Inform Mars Search
Members of our Mars Exploration Program and several international partners recently went on a field expedition to the Western Australian Outback to study some of the oldest confirmed fossilized lifeforms on Earth that may be relatable to Mars. Both planets may have had similar pasts, so learning more about the evolution of Earth may help us understand what we find now, and in the future as we search for signs of ancient microbial life on Mars.
Boeing Transports Aircraft for Conversion into NASA’s New X-Plane
An MD-90 airplane was recently flown to Boeing’s Palmdale, California facility, to be converted into the X-66A experimental aircraft for NASA’s Sustainable Flight Demonstrator project. The X-66A, which will utilize a fuel-efficient Transonic Truss-Braced Wing configuration, supports the U.S. goal of achieving net-zero aviation greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
That’s what’s up this week @NASA … For more on these and other stories, follow us on the web at nasa.gov/twan.