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NASA to Soon Start Testing ‘quiet’ Supersonic Flights over Texas

NASA recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to build the highly anticipated aircraft

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NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
The Rover mission is scheduled to launch in July 2020 as NASA's next step in exploration of the Red Planet. Flickr
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NASA has announced of testing “quiet” supersonic flights over Texas that could revolutionise air travel.

The space agency said on Tuesday that it will publicly demonstrate its technology near the coastal resort city of Galveston to ensure that its prototype really will be barely audible when it crosses the sound barrier, reports CNN.

If NASA’s experimental project — formerly known as the X-plane or “Low-Flight Flight Demonstrator” but recently renamed X-59 QueSST — works, it should help make supersonic flight more economical.

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From November, the US space agency will use supersonic F/A-18 Hornet jets over Galveston to mimic the sonic profile of the X-59 while a group of around 500 residents document the noise levels.

By performing dives at the speed of sound, the jets will produce two types of sonic boom in order to truly determine the sound they produce on the ground.

According to NASA, Galveston was chosen as the testing area as it is located near the Gulf of Mexico, allowing the fighter jets keep louder sonic booms out to sea, while hurling quieter sonic “thumps” into the city.

NASA recently awarded Lockheed Martin a $247.5 million contract to build the highly anticipated aircraft. (IANS)

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NASA Chooses Landing Site For Mars 2020 Rover

The Rover mission is scheduled to launch in July 2020 as NASA's next step in exploration of the Red Planet

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NASA selects landing site for Mars 2020 Rover. Flcikr

NASA has chosen Jezero Crater delta, where the sediments contain clays and carbonates, as the landing site for its upcoming Mars 2020 Rover mission, the US space agency said.

Jezero Crater, 45 kilometres in size, is located on the western edge of Isidis Planitia — a giant impact basin just north of the Martian equator.

Its ancient lake-delta system offers many promising sampling targets of at least five different kinds of rock, including clays and carbonates that have high potential to preserve signatures of past life.

“The landing site in Jezero Crater offers geologically rich terrain, with land forms reaching as far back as 3.6 billion years, that could potentially answer important questions in planetary evolution and astrobiology,” Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate, said in a statement on Monday.

“Getting samples from this unique area will revolutionize how we think about Mars and its ability to harbour life,” he added.

The crater, once home to an ancient river delta, could have collected and preserved ancient organic molecules and other potential signs of microbial life from the water and sediments that flowed into the crater billions of years ago.

NASA, Hubble, Keplar, asteroids
The Rover mission is scheduled to launch in July 2020 as NASA’s next step in exploration of the Red Planet. Flickr

In addition, the site contains numerous boulders and rocks to the east, cliffs to the west, and depressions filled with aeolian bedforms (wind-derived ripples in sand that could trap a rover) in several locations.

Selecting a landing site this early allows the Rover drivers and science operations team to optimise their plans for exploring Jezero Crater once the Rover is safely on the ground.

The Rover mission is scheduled to launch in July 2020 as NASA’s next step in exploration of the Red Planet.

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It will not only seek signs of ancient habitable conditions and past microbial life but will also collect rock and soil samples and store them in a cache on the planet’s surface.

Earlier in November, ExoMars rover — the European Space Agency (ESA) and Russian Roscosmos’ joint venture to the Red Planet that will set out in 2020 — also chose a landing site on Mars’ equator called Oxia Planum, which had in the prehistoric era housed a massive pool of water. (IANS)