The universe is a vast and mysterious place, full of wonders and surprises. NASA, the U.S. space agency, is constantly exploring and studying the cosmos, using cutting-edge technology and scientific methods. Here are some of the highlights of NASA’s recent achievements and discoveries in the field of space science.
- NASA’s OSIRIS-REx Capsule Arrives in Houston: On Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023, NASA’s OSIRIS-REx (Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification and Security – Regolith Explorer) mission successfully delivered a capsule containing the first-ever asteroid sample collected in space to Earth1. The capsule landed in the Utah desert and was transported to NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, where it will be opened and analyzed in a clean room. The sample was collected from asteroid Bennu, a near-Earth object that may hold clues to the origin of life and the formation of the solar system1.
- Artemis II SLS Rocket Booster Segments Arrive to Kennedy Space Center: NASA’s Artemis program aims to land the first woman and the first person of color on the Moon by 2024, and establish a sustainable human presence there by the end of the decade2. To achieve this goal, NASA is developing the Space Launch System (SLS), the most powerful rocket ever built, and the Orion spacecraft, which will carry astronauts to lunar orbit and beyond2. On Sept. 25, 2023, NASA announced that the booster segments for the SLS rocket that will launch Artemis II, the first crewed mission of the program, have arrived at Kennedy Space Center in Florida2. Artemis II will send four astronauts around the Moon and back to Earth in 20252.
- NASA Names New Head of Technology, Policy, Strategy: On Monday, Sept. 25, 2023, NASA Administrator Bill Nelson announced that Charity Weeden will serve as associate administrator for the agency’s Office of Technology, Policy, and Strategy (OTPS), effective immediately1. Weeden is a former Canadian Air Force officer and a space policy expert who has worked for various organizations in the public and private sectors1. She will oversee NASA’s efforts to foster innovation, collaboration, and commercialization in the space industry, as well as to align NASA’s technology development with national and international policies and strategies1.
- NASA Scientists to Discuss Oct. 14 ‘Ring of Fire’ Solar Eclipse: A solar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, casting a shadow on our planet. There are different types of solar eclipses, depending on how much of the Sun is obscured by the Moon. An annular solar eclipse happens when the Moon is too far from Earth to completely cover the Sun, leaving a ring of light around its edge3. On Saturday, Oct. 14, 2023, an annular solar eclipse will cross the U.S. from Oregon to Texas, with a partial solar eclipse visible throughout the contiguous U.S.3. NASA will host a media teleconference on Tuesday, Sept. 26, 2023, to discuss this rare celestial event and its scientific significance3.
- Record-Setting NASA Astronaut Soon Returns to Earth; Watch Live: NASA astronaut Frank Rubio is currently aboard the International Space Station (ISS), where he has been living and working since Sept. 27, 20224. He is now the record-holder for the longest single spaceflight by an American, surpassing Scott Kelly’s previous record of 340 days4. Rubio is scheduled to depart the ISS and return to Earth on Wednesday, Sept. 27, 2023, along with two cosmonauts4. NASA will provide full coverage from hatch closing through landing on its website and social media platforms4.
These are just some of the exciting news from NASA that showcase its achievements and discoveries in space science. To learn more about NASA’s missions and activities, visit NASA’s website or follow NASA on Twitter.