Science & Technology

This Week @NASA: Orion Spacecraft Returns, Mars Sample Deposited, InSight Mars Lander Mission Ends

NASA Orion Spacecraft Returns Mars Sample

The Orion spacecraft is back in Florida after Artemis I, a direct deposit on Mars, and an insightful mission comes to an end. These are a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

The Orion spacecraft is back in Florida, after Artemis I …

A direct deposit on Mars …

And an insightful mission comes to an end…

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

At 12:40 p.m. EST, December 11, 2022, NASA’s Orion spacecraft for the Artemis I mission splashed down in the Pacific Ocean after a 25.5 day mission to the Moon. Orion will be recovered by NASA’s Landing and Recovery team, U.S. Navy and Department of Defense partners aboard the USS Portland. Credit: NASA

The Orion spacecraft that completed the 1.4-million-mile Artemis I mission beyond the Moon and back, has been safely retrieved from the Pacific Ocean and transported back to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The spacecraft will undergo post-flight analysis ahead of the first crewed flight of Orion on Artemis II.

NASA’s Perseverance rover deposited the first of several samples onto the Martian surface on December 21, 2022, the 653rd Martian day, or sol, of the mission. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

NASA’s Perseverance rover recently deposited a titanium tube, filled with a rock sample, onto the surface of Mars. It is the first of about 10 sample tubes the rover is expected to eventually leave at a location on Mars called “Three Forks.” Sample tubes dropped off there could be returned to Earth by the future Mars Sample Return campaign.

This is one of the last images ever taken by NASA’s InSight Mars lander. Captured on December 11, 2022, the 1,436th Martian day, or sol, of the mission, it shows InSight’s seismometer on the Red Planet’s surface. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Mission managers have ended the InSight mission on Mars after consecutive attempts to contact the spacecraft failed. InSight spent more than four years collecting unique science about the interior layers of Mars that is helping us better understand all rocky planets, including Earth.

NASA astronaut Walter Cunningham, Apollo 7 lunar module pilot, is photographed during the Apollo 7 mission. Credit: NASA

Former NASA astronaut Walter Cunningham passed away on January 3. Cunningham flew on the first crewed Apollo flight, and later served as chief astronaut for the Skylab program. Walt Cunningham was 90 years old.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA …

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