November could be a hectic month for launches to the moon.
Yes, that’s “launches,” plural.
If there were any skepticism on whether the world has entered a new space race, the dueling lunar-bound liftoffs coming next month could be the smoking gun. After NASA waived-off two launch attempts in late August and early September — followed by a delay courtesy of Hurricane Ian — the U.S. space agency will try again to send up its first Artemis mission on Nov. 14, with backup dates of Nov. 16 and 19.
NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft is set to slam into an asteroid on Monday (Sept. 26), in the first ever test of humanity’s ability to deflect life-threatening space rocks before they collide with Earth.
The 1,210-pound (550 kilograms) DART craft, a squat cube-shaped probe consisting of sensors, an antenna, an ion thruster and two 28-foot-long (8.5 meters) solar arrays, will smash into the asteroid Dimorphos while traveling at roughly 13,420 mph (21,160 km/h).
NASA will not slingshot a spacecraft around the moon this week following two previous called-off launch attempts, officials confirmed at a news conference Saturday evening.
That means the team will likely haul the gigantic, 322-foot Space Launch System rocket back to its hangar, the Vehicle Assembly Building, and perhaps take another shot at the moon in October. The U.S. space agency is bumping up against a launch blackout period and can’t conflict with a SpaceX flight carrying astronauts to the International Space Station in a few weeks.
The impressive feat — most flights are spaced out at least a full day apart, with many averaging between five and seven days — made it the fastest three-flight series for orbital rockets in the history of space exploration.
The company’s Falcon 9 rocket is also breaking records, as it was used for the 13th time this weekend, making it SpaceX’s most launched spaceship.
SpaceX launched 53 Starlink satellites from the NASA Kennedy Space Center in Florida Friday, followed by a launch out of Vandenberg Space Force Base in California Saturday for the German military. The final mission was back in Florida Sunday at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, carrying a satellite to orbit for communications company Globalstar.
This week, a SpaceX Cargo Dragon spacecraft will travel to the International Space Station (ISS), carrying supplies and scientific research equipment to the astronauts there. NASA will livestream the launch, and we’ve got the details on how you can watch the event from home.
On Friday, June 10 at 10:22 a.m. ET (7:22 a.m. PT), a SpaceX Dragon will lift off from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It will carry 4,500 pounds of cargo to the space station, which it is scheduled to arrive at on Sunday, June 12 at 6:20 a.m. ET (3:20 a.m. PT). When it arrives at the Harmony module of the space station, NASA astronauts Kjell Lindgren and Bob Hines will oversee its docking with the station.
An enormous asteroid four times the size of the Empire State Building will make a close approach to Earth on May 27, according to NASA’s Center for Near Earth Object Studies (CNEOS).
Fear not: the asteroid, named 7335 (1989 JA), will soundly miss our planet by about 2.5 million miles (4 million kilometers) — or nearly 10 times the average distance between Earth and the moon. Still, given the space rock’s enormous size (1.1. miles, or 1.8 km, in diameter) and relatively close proximity to Earth, NASA has classified the asteroid as “potentially hazardous,” meaning it could do enormous damage to our planet if its orbit ever changes and the rock impacts Earth.
Officials at NASA are no doubt both excited and nervous as the agency gets ready for the debut of its most powerful rocket ever, dubbed the “Mega Moon rocket.” The vehicle is officially known as the Space Launch System (SLS) and is part of NASA’s Artemis program. It is being prepped for a rollout towards the launch pad at Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Thursday (March 17) for prelaunch testing of the Artemis I mission.
We here at Live Science are always over the moon about any new launch vehicle, but NASA’s upcoming spaceship makes us especially giddy. Here are a few reasons why.
If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to live on Mars, now is your chance to find out. NASA is recruiting crew members for a simulation mission who will live on a Mars-like environment on Earth for one year.
Simulated missions help agencies figure out what the psychological response to a year of isolation and potentially stressful tasks will be. This is particularly important for a future mission to Mars, which will be farther away from Earth than any human has traveled before.
NASA has returned with its monthly update on the viewable treats in the night sky during May 2021.
Moon, Saturn, Jupiter triangle
First up, early on Tuesday, May 4, you’ll be able to spot a large triangle formation comprising the moon, Saturn, and Jupiter. With clear skies and a body clock that keeps you awake in the small hours, you’ll be able to spot the formation in the east-southeast, with Saturn rising first at 2:17 a.m. ET. The moon and Jupiter will appear to the lower left of Saturn at around the same time, at 3:01 and 3:02 a.m., respectively, with Jupiter about 10 degrees further to the left of the moon.
If you’re looking for something more interesting to do in quarantine than restream a show on Netflix, consider helping scientists map the world’s coral reefs. In a new video game from NASA called NeMO-Net, you can virtually dive in waters around the world, classifying corals in 3D images from satellites to help train a NASA supercomputer to map the rest of the world’s coral at a scale that’s never been done before.