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Curiosity Rover Completes 6 Years On Mars: NASA

Based on the longevity of a 2001 global storm, NASA scientists estimate it may be September before the haze has cleared enough for Opportunity to power up and call home.

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NASA Curiosity rover has completed 6 years on Mars. Pixabay

NASA’s Curiosity rover is celebrating its sixth anniversary on Mars which is currently experiencing a global storm.

“I touched down on #Mars six years ago. Celebrating my 6th landing anniversary with the traditional gift of iron oxide. (It puts the red in Red Planet.),” said a tweet sent out by the rover on Sunday.

Curiosity, which landed on Mars in 2012, was designed to assess whether Mars ever had an environment able to support small life forms called microbes. In other words, its mission is to determine the planet’s “habitability.”

The rover is currently keeping its “eyes” on a dust event that had gone global by June 20.

The rover is currently keeping its "eyes" on a dust event that had gone global by June 20. Flickr
The rover is currently keeping its “eyes” on a dust event that had gone global by June 20. Flickr

Most of NASA’s spacecraft are studying the dust storm from above. But the Curiosity rover has a unique perspective: the nuclear-powered science machine is largely immune to the darkened skies, allowing it to collect science from within the beige veil enveloping the planet.

Curiosity has a number of “eyes” that can determine the abundance and size of dust particles based on how they scatter and absorb light, NASA said in a statement in July.

That includes its Mastcam, ChemCam, and an ultraviolet sensor on REMS, its suite of weather instruments.

NASA lost contact with its Opportunity rover due to the storm.

Also Read: NASA: No Contact Made With Storm-Hit Mars Rovers, Till Now

Based on the longevity of a 2001 global storm, NASA scientists estimate it may be September before the haze has cleared enough for Opportunity to power up and call home. (IANS)

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NASA Cancels First All-Female Spacewalk Due to Lack of Small Spacesuit

"An all-woman spacewalk WILL eventually happen"

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U.S. astronaut Anne McClain waves before the launch of Soyuz MS-11 space ship at the Russian-leased Baikonur cosmodrome, Kazakhstan, Dec. 3, 2018. VOA

What should have been a giant leap for womankind has turned into a stumble on the path to equality after U.S. space agency NASA canceled the first all-female spacewalk due to a lack of a spacesuit in the right size.

Anne McClain and Christina Koch had been due to step into history books in a spacewalk Friday, during the final week of Women’s History Month.

But McClain will now give up her place on the mission to her male colleague Nick Hague, NASA announced late Monday.

“Mission managers decided to adjust the assignments, due in part to spacesuit availability on the station,” NASA said in a statement.

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FILE – U.S. astronaut Christina Koch attends her final exam at the Gagarin Cosmonauts’ Training Center in Star City outside Moscow, Russia, Feb. 20, 2019. VOA

“McClain learned during her first spacewalk that a medium-size hard upper torso — essentially the shirt of the spacesuit — fits her best. Because only one medium-size torso can be made ready by Friday, March 29, Koch will wear it.”

Nearly 60 years after the first human blasted off into space, less than 11 percent of the 500 plus people who have traveled to space have been women, and spacewalk teams have either been all-male or male-female.

McClain and Koch were both part of the 2013 NASA class that was 50 percent women.

NASA said the decision to change the plan was made in consultation with McClain after a spacewalk last week.

“Anne trained in M and L and thought she could use a large but decided after Friday’s spacewalk a medium fits better,” wrote spokeswoman Stephanie Schierholz on Twitter.

nasa, women, space walk
The NASA announcement was met with disappointment and anger by many following the much-anticipated mission on social media, with some arguing an all-female spacewalk was overdue. Pixabay

“In this case, it’s easier (and faster!) to change spacewalkers than reconfigure the spacesuit.”

The NASA announcement was met with disappointment and anger by many following the much-anticipated mission on social media, with some arguing an all-female spacewalk was overdue.

ALSO READ: Possibilities of UN Banning Killer Robots Looking Growingly Remote

Others said they were sad that a milestone moment on women’s space exploration had been deferred, but safety came first.

“I’m super disappointed about the all-woman spacewalk not happening as scheduled this Friday but I’m also super supportive of astronauts having the authority to say ‘I would be safer using a different piece of equipment’,” wrote Emily Lakdawalla, a senior editor at the U.S. nonprofit The Planetary Society.

“An all-woman spacewalk WILL eventually happen.” (VOA)