How it looks to land on Mars
Previewing space station spacewalks
And supplies and cargo delivered for the station crew a few of
the stories to tell you about This Week at NASA!
Newly released high-definition videos captured by cameras onboard our Mars 2020 Perseverance rover
show the final seven miles of the spacecrafts entry, descent, and landing on Mars. The uniquely
amazing views, including the look down at the separation of the protective heat shield,
and the upward views during deployment of the most massive parachute ever sent to another world
Are the closest you can get to landing on Mars without putting on a pressure suit.
While a microphone on the rover did not collect any usable data during the landing,
after Perseverance touched down, it did pick up mechanical sounds made by the
rover operating on the surface, and even a few audible seconds of a Martian breeze.
Also released with the videos and audio was the first panorama of the rovers landing location,
taken by the two Navigation Cameras on its mast. These were all followed up three days
later with the release of the rovers first complete, high definition look
at its surroundings - a 360-degree panorama from its Mastcam-Z instrument. Perseverance
will use its suite of instruments to search for signs of past microbial life, collect and leave
samples of rock and soil for a future mission to bring back to Earth, and test technologies
to help pave the way for future human exploration of Mars. Find out more at nasa.gov/perseverance.
We previewed two
International Space Station spacewalks during a Feb. 24 briefing at our Johnson Space Center.
During the first spacewalk on Feb. 28, our Kate Rubins and Victor Glover will prep for solar array
upgrades later this year. Rubins will then go back outside on March 5 with Japans Soichi Noguchi
to vent ammonia from the stations thermal control system, along with other tasks.
The Northrop Grumman SS Katherine Johnson Cygnus cargo spacecraft arrived at the space
station Feb. 22, two days after launching from our Wallops Flight Facility. It delivered about
8,000 pounds of scientific research, crew supplies, and hardware to the station. The
spacecraft is named after late NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson one of the women featured in
the book and movie, Hidden Figures, who made significant technical contributions to some of
NASAs earliest and most historic spaceflights. On Feb. 26, our NASA Headquarters building in
Washington, D.C. was officially named in honor of Mary W. Jackson, the agencys first African
American female engineer, who was also featured in Hidden Figures. Acting NASA Administrator
Steve Jurczyk led the ceremony, joined by Jacksons family and other special guests,
with the on-site attendance limited due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The ceremony featured the unveiling of a building sign with Jacksons name, and several
video tributes including poet Nikki Giovanni reading from her poem Quilting the Black-Eyed
Pea, which is about space and civil rights. Learn more about the contributions of Jackson,
Katherine Johnson and other NASA hidden and modern figures at nasa.gov/modernfigures.
Our Parker Solar Probe captured some surprising views of Venus during a close flyby
in July 2020. The image shows Aphrodite Terra, the largest highland region on the Venusian surface.
The team is surprised because, based on the imaging devices capabilities, they only expected
to see clouds not clear down to the planets surface. They are now trying to determine if
the imager has unforeseen capabilities, which would provide new opportunities to study dust
around the Sun and in the inner solar system. The mission focus is on the Sun, but it makes several
passes of Venus using the planets gravity to help it fly closer and closer to the Sun.
Thats whats up this week @NASA For more on these and other stories,
follow us on the web at nasa.gov/twan.