Amending the budget to support humans on the Moon in 2024 …
What may be causing possible Moonquakes …
And a virtual flight over an area of scientific interest on Mars … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!
Budget Amendment Supporting Humans on Moon in 2024
During an agencywide town hall at our headquarters on May 14, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine and other senior agency leaders discussed the President’s proposed amendment to NASA’s 2020 budget – to support accelerated plans to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024.
NASA Administrator, Jim Bridenstine: “I think, in a very a very strong vote of confidence for this agency, the administration decided to give us $1.6 billion of new spending. That is a – I think – a very strong indicator that this administration is committed to achieving the end state in a bipartisan way.”
Under the President’s Space Policy Directive -1, we are sending astronauts to the Moon and then on to Mars, in a measured, sustainable way – as part of an innovative program of exploration with commercial and international partners, to enable human expansion across the solar system. For more on our Moon to Mars effort, go to nasa.gov/moontomars.
Shrinking Moon May Be Generating Moonquakes
According to a study, data from seismometers placed on the Moon by Apollo astronauts have provided the first evidence that shifting of the lunar surface, known as thrust faults, is still active and likely producing moonquakes – some believed to be around a magnitude of 5 on the Richter scale. Thrust faults – where a section of the Moon’s crust is pushed up over another – happen because the gradual cooling of the Moon’s interior is causing the Moon to shrink.
NASA’s New Horizons Team Publishes First Kuiper Belt Flyby Science Results
The May 17 issue of the journal Science includes the first peer-reviewed scientific results and interpretations of the Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule, based on data gathered during our New Horizons spacecraft’s historic flyby on New Year’s Day 2019. The initial data summarized in Science reveal much about the object’s development, geology and composition. In addition to being the farthest exploration of an object in history – four billion miles from Earth – the flyby of Ultima Thule was also the first investigation by any space mission of a well-preserved planetesimal – an ancient relic from the era of planet formation.
Humans to Mars Summit
On May 14, Administrator Bridenstine delivered the keynote at The Humans to Mars Summit 2019 at The National Academy of Sciences Building, in Washington, D.C. The annual event addresses the technical, scientific and policy challenges of making human exploration of Mars a reality.
New Animated Video Fly Over of Mount Sharp on Mars
A new animated video shows what it would be like to soar over Mount Sharp, which NASA's Curiosity rover has been climbing since 2014. The aerial tour highlights several regions on the mountain that are intriguing to Curiosity's scientists, because those regions could provide more insight into why water — one of the most critical resources for life — disappeared from Mars billions of years ago.
Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Reaches 60,000 Orbits
Our Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, or MRO has circled the Red Planet 60,000 times – and counting. MRO completed that milestone on May 15. Since entering orbit in March 2006, the spacecraft has been collecting daily science about the planet that can be used to define future missions that bring humans to Mars. In addition to sending back its own data, the spacecraft is part of a network that relays data back to Earth from our Mars rovers and landers on the surface. In fact, MRO is expected to reach another milestone later this month, when it will have relayed 1 terabit of data, largely from our Curiosity rover.