The Downlink: Southern Sky from Space, Apollo Moon Sample Opened
NASA / MIT / TESS
TESS Panorama of Southern Sky
This image of the southern sky as seen by TESS, NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, was created by NASA postdoctoral fellow Ethan Kruse using 208 images taken during the mission’s first year of operations. You can download various formats of the image here, including versions with constellations labeled.
Welcome to issue 6 of The Downlink, a planetary exploration news roundup from The Planetary Society! Here's everything that crossed our radar this week.
Scientists at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston opened a Moon sample that has been sealed since Apollo 17 astronauts returned it to Earth in 1972. NASA had placed several such samples in long-term storage, anticipating that future laboratory technologies would be able to perform more advanced examinations. The samples may shed light on how the building blocks of life were distributed in the early solar system, and how the surface of the Moon has changed over time.
Engineers at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in Louisiana installed the second and third engines on the first Space Launch System core stage. The engines, which originally powered the Space Shuttle, were designed to be reusable but will be ditched in the ocean during SLS flights. The second engine was used to return astronaut John Glenn to space in 1998. Learn more about NASA’s back-to-the-Moon Artemis program here.
NASA’s twin Voyager spacecraft, which launched in 1977, continue to return science from beyond our solar system. Five new research papers released in the journal Nature Astronomy describe what happened when Voyager 2 crossed into interstellar space on 5 November 2018.