Tuesday March 26, 2019
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NASA Planning To Restore Its Communication With Rover Opportunity

We will not give up on #Oppy even after the 45 days of plan we have put in place!

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NASA to use Blockchain technology for air traffic management. Pixabay

US space agency NASA is planning to start its effort to restore communication with the Mars rover Opportunity.

In a recent statement, NASA said it would begin a 45-day campaign of active efforts to restore communications with Opportunity once skies above the rover cleared to a sufficient level, Xinhua reported.

The rover has been out of contact since early June, when a major dust storm deprived the rover of solar power and the storm is fading.

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NASA’s plan attracted criticism. Wikimedia Commons

“The dust haze produced by the Martian global dust storm of 2018 is one of the most extensive on record, but all indications are it is finally coming to a close,” said Rich Zurek, project scientist for the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Zurek said in the statement that there had been no signs of dust storms within 3,000 km of Opportunity “for some time.”

John Callas, Opportunity project manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, said in a statement that “assuming that we hear back from Opportunity, we will begin the process of discerning its status and bringing it back online.”

However, NASA’s plan attracted criticism because it limited the active part of the recovery to 45 days.

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NASA’s Opporutnity Rover. Flickr

Mike Seibert, a former flight director and rover driver for Opportunity said that Jet Propulsion Laboratory under NASA once attempted “active listening” of Spirit, the twin of Opportunity, for 10 months in 2010 and 2011 when that rover stopped transmitting before giving up.

Also Read: ISRO’s First Manned Space Mission to Cost $1.4 Billion

Callas said that if Opportunity did not respond to communications attempts after that 45-day campaign, it likely meant the spacecraft had suffered a mission-ending malfunction.

“We will keep trying to get our Martian friend back online. We will not give up on #Oppy even after the 45 days of plan we have put in place!” tweeted Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA associate administrator for science. (IANS)

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NASA Astronauts Spacewalk to Change ISS Batteries

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 55 days, 21 hours and 39 minutes working outside the station

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NASA researchers have created the atmosphere of a super-hot planet outside our solar system, here on Earth. Pixabay

Two NASA astronauts – Nick Hague and Anne McClain – have successfully completed an over six hour spacewalk and replaced the ageing batteries on the International Space Station (ISS).

During the six hour, 39 minute spacewalk, Hague and McClain replaced nickel-hydrogen batteries with newer, more powerful lithium-ion batteries for the power channel on one pair of the station’s solar arrays, NASA said in a statement on Friday.

They also installed adapter plates and hooked up electrical connections for three of the six new lithium-ion batteries installed on the station’s starboard truss.

These new batteries provide an improved power capacity for operations with a lighter mass and a smaller volume than the nickel-hydrogen batteries.

The batteries store power generated by the station’s solar arrays to provide power to the station when the station is not in the sunlight, as it orbits the Earth during orbital night.

In addition, the astronaut duo also removed debris from outside of the station, securing a tieback for restraints on the Solar Array Blanket Box, NASA said.

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NASA will also have its first all-female spacewalk at the end of the month, when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space. The spacewalk will last about seven hours, according to the US space agency. Pixabay

McClain will again take a spacewalk on March 29 along with flight engineer Christina Koch to work on a second set of battery replacements on a different power channel in the same area of the ISS.

This would be the first-ever spacewalk with all-female spacewalkers, NASA said.

A third spacewalk on April 8 by Hague and David Saint-Jacques of the Canadian Space Agency will lay out jumper cables between the Unity module and the S0 truss, at the midpoint of the ISS’s backbone.

Also Read- Should Live Broadcast on Social Media Platforms be Banned?

This work will establish a redundant path of power to the Canadian-built robotic arm, known as Canadarm2. They will also install cables to provide for more expansive wireless communications coverage outside the orbital complex, as well as for enhanced hardwired computer network capability.

Space station crew members have until now conducted 214 spacewalks in support of assembly and maintenance of the orbiting laboratory.

Spacewalkers have now spent a total of 55 days, 21 hours and 39 minutes working outside the station. (IANS)