Category Archives: Astronomy

NASA Moves Up Psyche Mission Timetable

Image courtesy Space Systems Loral/Arizona State University/Peter Rubin

NASA’s mission to 16 Psyche, the solar system’s only known iron-nickel asteroid, will launch in the summer of 2022, one year earlier than originally planned.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
NASA’s Psyche Mission Will Launch a Year Early, Arrive at Target Four Years Sooner

NASA’s ShadowCam Hitches Ride to Moon on Korean Craft

Image courtesy Arizona State University / Malin Space Science Systems

NASA plans to send a new, light-sensitive camera to explore the moon’s most shadowed regions. ShadowCam will look for evidence of water ice in the permanently shadowed regions of the moon.

Lunar areas that never receive sunlight – frigid craters and mountain shadows – could conceal a treasure trove of water ice, especially near the poles.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Shadow-Piercing NASA Camera Rides To Moon Aboard Korean Craft

Mesa Verde Builders Possibly Used Geometry in Sun Temple

A plan view of Mesa Verde national Park's Sun Temple with geometric figures overlaid.
Photo courtesy of Sherry Towers.

A sacred site built in southwest Colorado around 800 years ago hints that the ancestral Pueblo people might have used geometry.

The analysis of the Sun Temple at Mesa Verde National Park offers the first hard evidence that a prehistoric North American society possibly employed such figures in construction.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Geometry Possibly Used In Mesa Verde Sun Temple Construction

A GRaND Discovery: Dwarf Planet Ceres is Well-Stocked With Water

Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA/PS.

After 4 billion years, the dwarf planet Ceres is still carrying a surprising amount of water weight — as much as 30 percent.

The finding, which was published in the Jan. 6 edition of the journal Science, is consistent with earlier models, and provides valuable clues to how Ceres formed.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
Dwarf Planet Ceres Up To 30 Percent Water

Arizona-Linked Programs Chosen by NASA

The Lucy spacecraft flies by a Jupiter Trojan asteroid. Illustration by Peter Rubin – SwRI and SSL)

NASA’s Discovery Program has selected two projects, both with Arizona ties, to delve into the ancient history of the solar system.

One craft, Psyche, will head to the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The other, Lucy, will explore six asteroids that share an orbit with Jupiter. Scientists believe that the targets embody different aspects of early solar system history.

Read/listen to my full story at KJZZ’s Arizona Science Desk:
NASA Funds 2 Asteroid Missions With Arizona Ties