Science & Technology

This Week @NASA: Artemis Systems Are Ready To Fly Astronauts to the Moon

Illustrations of the Space Launch System rocket and Orion spacecraft on the launch pad. NASA has demonstrated that its deep space rocket, spacecraft, and ground systems required for launch and recovery have been successfully tested and are now prepared to transport astronauts on lunar missions, following the uncrewed Artemis I flight test. Credit: NASA

Artemis systems are ready to fly astronauts …

A hot fire test of an Artemis rocket engine …

And educating and inspiring the Artemis generation …

A few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

After extensively reviewing data since last year’s successful uncrewed Artemis I flight test around the Moon and back, NASA has confirmed initial observations that the agency’s Space Launch System rocket, Orion spacecraft, and ground systems are ready to fly astronauts on missions to the Moon. The agency plans to do just that on Artemis II – by sending an astronaut crew around the Moon and back.

A mounted field camera offers a close-up view as NASA conducts an RS-25 hot fire test on the Fred Haise Test Stand at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in south Mississippi on March 8, 2023. Credit: NASA/Stennis

On March 8, engineers at NASA’s Stennis Space Center conducted this year’s third hot fire test in the current test series to certify the redesigned RS-25 rocket engines. Four of the engines will help power NASA’s Space Launch System rocket on future Artemis missions to the Moon.

Nearly 100 East Bay kids and their families got to experience the thrill of “launching a rocket” and “making clouds” at a fun-filled STEM event hosted in honor of Women’s History Month at the East Oakland Youth Development Center in Oakland, California on March 3, 2023. Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff along with NASA Ames Research Center Director Dr. Eugene Tu and NASA astronaut Dr. Yvonne Cagle joined kids for the hands-on activities and helped distribute STEM Artemis Learning Lunchboxes aimed to inspire the Artemis generation to learn about NASA’s Artemis Program, which will land the first woman and person of color on the Moon. They were joined by representatives from the National Space Council and other Bay Area STEM organizations. Credit: NASA

Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff, NASA astronaut Yvonne Cagle, and NASA Ames center director Eugene Tu joined students and their families at an Oakland, California educational event, hosted in honor of Women’s History Month. The event featured hands-on STEM activities, and NASA items to inspire the students to learn about NASA’s Artemis Program, which will land the first woman and person of color on the Moon.

This image shows the Vela pulsar wind nebula. Light blue represents X-ray polarization data from NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer. Pink and purple colors correspond to data from NASA’s Chandra X-Ray observatory, which has observed Vela several times previously. NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope contributed the stars in the background. Credit: X-ray: (IXPE) NASA/MSFC/Fei Xie & (Chandra) NASA/CXC/SAO; Optical: NASA/STScI Hubble/Chandra processing by Judy Schmidt; Hubble/Chandra/IXPE processing & compositing by NASA/CXC/SAO/Kimberly Arcand & Nancy Wolk

NASA’s Imaging X-ray Polarimetry Explorer, or IXPE captured the light blue color in this new image of a pulsar wind nebula in the constellation Vela. The light blue represents the first-ever X-ray polarization data for Vela. The pulsar itself is near the center of the image. Measuring polarization could improve our understanding of how cosmic objects like pulsars accelerate particles to high speeds.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA!

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