NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Highlights Moon and Mars Exploration | Summary and Q&A

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December 20, 2018
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NASA
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NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine Highlights Moon and Mars Exploration

TL;DR

NASA is partnering with commercial companies to send payloads to the Moon and is prioritizing scientific exploration. The Mars 2020 mission will include a helicopter to explore Mars' aerial dimension.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is NASA's approach to sending payloads to the Moon?

NASA is working with commercial companies to send payloads to the Moon and prioritize scientific exploration rather than owning and operating hardware. The goal is to have multiple providers competing to offer cost-effective and innovative services.

Q: Why is exploring the Moon's surface important?

The Moon's surface holds secrets about the formation of the solar system and contains samples that can provide insights into Earth's history. Analyzing these samples can help scientists understand the Moon's role in the solar system and its potential for supporting life.

Q: What instruments were developed for the Mars insight Lander?

Emily Manor Chapman worked on the auxiliary payload sensor suite, which includes environmental sensors to measure air temperature, wind speed, atmospheric pressure, and a magnetometer to measure the magnetic field at Mars.

Q: What is the purpose of the seismometer on the Mars insight Lander?

The seismometer measures quakes or "Mars quakes" on Mars. By studying the seismic activity, scientists can gain insights into how Mars formed and its composition.

Q: How does the Mars mole measure heat changes inside Mars?

The Mars mole is a large nail-like instrument that can hammer itself underneath the surface of Mars. It is accompanied by temperature sensors that can measure heat changes over time, providing information about Mars' composition and formation.

Q: What is the goal of selecting specific landing sites on Mars?

The landing sites need to demonstrate past liquid water and chemistry that could have supported life. This is essential for collecting samples that can be analyzed on Earth to understand the potential habitability of Mars and the presence of past life.

Q: Why is it important to cache samples on the surface of Mars?

Rover exploration has limitations in terms of the analysis that can be performed on Mars. Caching samples allows for in-depth analysis using sophisticated laboratories on Earth, revealing accurate evidence of ancient life and understanding Mars' history.

Q: What is the purpose of the helicopter on the Mars 2020 mission?

The helicopter aims to explore Mars' aerial dimension, providing forward reconnaissance ahead of rovers and potential astronauts. It can access areas that are inaccessible to rovers and collect samples from challenging locations, aiding in further exploration and research.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • NASA is partnering with commercial companies to send payloads to the Moon, focusing on scientific exploration rather than owning and operating hardware.

  • The Moon's surface holds many secrets that can only be discovered through analysis of samples.

  • The Mars 2020 mission will include a helicopter to explore Mars' aerial dimension and collect samples for further analysis on Earth.

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