NASA MARS Rover Landing Coin Space Program Bronze Sci Fi Science Moon Red Planet

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Seller: Top-Rated Seller notinashyway (16.706) 99.6%, Location: Look at my other Items, Ships to: Worldwide, Item: 303138403752 NASA Mars Rover Coin This is a Souvenir Medalion which was created to Commerate the Mars Rover Landing on Mars The Coin has an image of the Rover with the words "Mars Curisoity Rover"7 It also has the date it landed on Mars August 5th 2012 The Other side has the NASA Logo and an image of Mars With the words "Mars Exploration" and "NASA Offical Commerative" It also states "This Medallion was minted with Test Metal Used During the Engineering of Curisity" It Weights 37gwith a Diameter of 45mmThe Thickness is 3.2mm Comes in air-tight acrylic coin holder In Excellent Condition Would make an Excellent Present or Collectable Keepsake souvineer of a truelly great and remarkable lady I have a lot of Space Memorabilia on Ebay so Please CLICK HERE TO VISIT MY SHOP Bid with Confidence - Check My Almost 100% Positive Feedback from over 12,000 Satisfied Customers I have over 10 years of Ebay Selling Experience - So Why Not Treat Yourself? I have got married recently and need to raise funds to meet the costs also we are planning to move into a house together I always combined postage on multiple items so why not > Check out my other items! Instant Feedback Automatically Left Immediately after Receiving Payment All Items Sent out within 24 hours of Receiving Payment. Overseas Bidders Please Note Surface Mail Delivery Times > Western Europe takes up to 2 weeks, Eastern Europe up to 5 weeks, North America up to 6 weeks, South America, Africa and Asia up to 8 weeks and Australasia up to 12 weeks Also if bidding from overseas and you want your item tracked please select the International Signed for Postage Option For that Interesting Conversational Piece, A Birthday Present, Christmas Gift, A Comical Item to Cheer Someone Up or That Unique Perfect Gift for the Person Who has Everything....You Know Where to Look for a Bargain! 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The Countries I Send to Include Afghanistan * Albania * Algeria * American Samoa (US) * Andorra * Angola * Anguilla (GB) * Antigua and Barbuda * Argentina * Armenia * Aruba (NL) * Australia * Austria * Azerbaijan * Bahamas * Bahrain * Bangladesh * Barbados * Belarus * Belgium * Belize * Benin * Bermuda (GB) * Bhutan * Bolivia * Bonaire (NL) * Bosnia and Herzegovina * Botswana * Bouvet Island (NO) * Brazil * British Indian Ocean Territory (GB) * British Virgin Islands (GB) * Brunei * Bulgaria * Burkina Faso * Burundi * Cambodia * Cameroon * Canada * Cape Verde * Cayman Islands (GB) * Central African Republic * Chad * Chile * China * Christmas Island (AU) * Cocos Islands (AU) * Colombia * Comoros * Congo * Democratic Republic of the Congo * Cook Islands (NZ) * Coral Sea Islands Territory (AU) * Costa Rica * Croatia * Cuba * Curaçao (NL) * Cyprus * Czech Republic * Denmark * Djibouti * Dominica * Dominican Republic * East Timor * Ecuador * Egypt * El Salvador * Equatorial Guinea * Eritrea * Estonia * Ethiopia * Falkland Islands (GB) * Faroe Islands (DK) * Fiji Islands * Finland * France * French Guiana (FR) * French Polynesia (FR) * French Southern Lands (FR) * Gabon * Gambia * Georgia * Germany * Ghana * Gibraltar (GB) * Greece * Greenland (DK) * Grenada * Guadeloupe (FR) * Guam (US) * Guatemala * Guernsey (GB) * Guinea * Guinea-Bissau * Guyana * Haiti * Heard and McDonald Islands (AU) * Honduras * Hong Kong (CN) * Hungary * Iceland * India * Indonesia * Iran * Iraq * Ireland * Isle of Man (GB) * Israel * Italy * Ivory Coast * Jamaica * Jan Mayen (NO) * Japan * Jersey (GB) * Jordan * Kazakhstan * Kenya * Kiribati * Kosovo * Kuwait * Kyrgyzstan * Laos * Latvia * Lebanon * Lesotho * Liberia * Libya * Liechtenstein * Lithuania * Luxembourg * Macau (CN) * Macedonia * Madagascar * Malawi * Malaysia * Maldives * Mali * Malta * Marshall Islands * Martinique (FR) * Mauritania * Mauritius * Mayotte (FR) * Mexico * Micronesia * Moldova * Monaco * Mongolia * Montenegro * Montserrat (GB) * Morocco * Mozambique * Myanmar * Namibia * Nauru * Navassa (US) * Nepal * Netherlands * New Caledonia (FR) * New Zealand * Nicaragua * Niger * Nigeria * Niue (NZ) * Norfolk Island (AU) * North Korea * Northern Cyprus * Northern Mariana Islands (US) * Norway * Oman * Pakistan * Palau * Palestinian Authority * Panama * Papua New Guinea * Paraguay * Peru * Philippines * Pitcairn Island (GB) * Poland * Portugal * Puerto Rico (US) * Qatar * Reunion (FR) * Romania * Russia * Rwanda * Saba (NL) * Saint Barthelemy (FR) * Saint Helena (GB) * Saint Kitts and Nevis * Saint Lucia * Saint Martin (FR) * Saint Pierre and Miquelon (FR) * Saint Vincent and the Grenadines * Samoa * San Marino * Sao Tome and Principe * Saudi Arabia * Senegal * Serbia * Seychelles * Sierra Leone * Singapore * Sint Eustatius (NL) * Sint Maarten (NL) * Slovakia * Slovenia * Solomon Islands * Somalia * South Africa * South Georgia (GB) * South Korea * South Sudan * Spain * Sri Lanka * Sudan * Suriname * Svalbard (NO) * Swaziland * Sweden * Switzerland * Syria * Taiwan * Tajikistan * Tanzania * Thailand * Togo * Tokelau (NZ) * Tonga * Trinidad and Tobago * Tunisia * Turkey * Turkmenistan * Turks and Caicos Islands (GB) * Tuvalu * U.S. Minor Pacific Islands (US) * U.S. Virgin Islands (US) * Uganda * Ukraine * United Arab Emirates * United Kingdom * United States * Uruguay * Uzbekistan * Vanuatu * Vatican City * Venezuela * Vietnam * Wallis and Futuna (FR) * Yemen * Zambia * Zimbabwe Curiosity is a car-sized rover designed to explore Gale Crater on Mars as part of NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission (MSL).[3] Curiosity was launched from Cape Canaveral on November 26, 2011, at 15:02 UTC aboard the MSL spacecraft and landed on Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater on Mars on August 6, 2012, 05:17 UTC.[7][8][13] The Bradbury Landing site was less than 2.4 km (1.5 mi) from the center of the rover's touchdown target after a 560 million km (350 million mi) journey.[9][14] The rover's goals include an investigation of the Martian climate and geology; assessment of whether the selected field site inside Gale Crater has ever offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life, including investigation of the role of water; and planetary habitability studies in preparation for human exploration.[15][16] In December 2012, Curiosity's two-year mission was extended indefinitely.[17] On August 5, 2017, NASA celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Curiosity rover landing and related exploratory accomplishments on the planet Mars.[18][19] The rover is still operational, and as of January 30, 2019, Curiosity has been on Mars for 2305 sols (2368 total days) since landing on August 6, 2012. (See current status.) Curiosity's design will serve as the basis for the planned Mars 2020 rover. Mission type Mars rover Operator NASA COSPAR ID 2011-070A SATCAT no. 37936 Website Mission duration Primary: 668 sols (687 days) Current: 2305 sols (2368 days) since landing[1] Spacecraft properties Manufacturer JPL Boeing Lockheed Martin Dry mass Rover only: 899 kg (1,982 lb)[2] Start of mission Launch date November 26, 2011, 15:02:00 UTC[3][4][5] Rocket Atlas V 541 (AV-028) Launch site Cape Canaveral LC-41[6] Orbital parameters Reference system Heliocentric (transfer) Mars rover Spacecraft component Rover Landing date August 6, 2012, 05:17:57 UTC SCET[7][8] Landing site Aeolis Palus ("Bradbury Landing"[9]) in Gale Crater (4.5895°S 137.4417°E)[10][11] Distance covered 19.75 km (12.27 mi)[12] as of 10 September 2018 As established by the Mars Exploration Program, the main scientific goals of the MSL mission are to help determine whether Mars could ever have supported life, as well as determining the role of water, and to study the climate and geology of Mars.[15][16] The mission will also help prepare for human exploration.[16] To contribute to these goals, MSL has eight main scientific objectives:[20] Biological Determine the nature and inventory of organic carbon compounds Investigate the chemical building blocks of life (carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur) Identify features that may represent the effects of biological processes (biosignatures and biomolecules) Geological and geochemical Investigate the chemical, isotopic, and mineralogical composition of the Martian surface and near-surface geological materials Interpret the processes that have formed and modified rocks and soils Planetary process Assess long-timescale (i.e., 4-billion-year) Martian atmospheric evolution processes Determine present state, distribution, and cycling of water and carbon dioxide Surface radiation Characterize the broad spectrum of surface radiation, including galactic and cosmic radiation, solar proton events and secondary neutrons. As part of its exploration, it also measured the radiation exposure in the interior of the spacecraft as it traveled to Mars, and it is continuing radiation measurements as it explores the surface of Mars. This data would be important for a future crewed mission.[21] About one year into the surface mission, and having assessed that ancient Mars could have been hospitable to microbial life, the MSL mission objectives evolved to developing predictive models for the preservation process of organic compounds and biomolecules; a branch of paleontology called taphonomy.[22] Specifications Curiosity comprised 23 percent of the mass of the 3,893 kg (8,583 lb) Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) spacecraft, which had the sole mission of delivering the rover safely across space from Earth to a soft landing on the surface of Mars. The remaining mass of the MSL craft was discarded in the process of carrying out this task. Dimensions: Curiosity has a mass of 899 kg (1,982 lb) including 80 kg (180 lb) of scientific instruments.[23] The rover is 2.9 m (9.5 ft) long by 2.7 m (8.9 ft) wide by 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in height.[24] Radioisotope within a graphite shell that goes into the generator Power source: Curiosity is powered by a radioisotope thermoelectric generator (RTG), like the successful Viking 1 and Viking 2 Mars landers in 1976.[25][26] Radioisotope power systems (RPSs) are generators that produce electricity from the decay of radioactive isotopes, such as plutonium-238, which is a non-fissile isotope of plutonium. Heat given off by the decay of this isotope is converted into electric voltage by thermocouples, providing constant power during all seasons and through the day and night. Waste heat can be used via pipes to warm systems, freeing electrical power for the operation of the vehicle and instruments.[25][26] Curiosity's RTG is fueled by 4.8 kg (11 lb) of plutonium-238 dioxide supplied by the U.S. Department of Energy.[27] Curiosity's RTG is the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), designed and built by Rocketdyne and Teledyne Energy Systems under contract to the U.S. Department of Energy,[28][29] and assembled and tested by the Idaho National Laboratory.[30] Based on legacy RTG technology, it represents a more flexible and compact development step,[31] and is designed to produce 110 watts of electrical power and about 2,000 watts of thermal power at the start of the mission.[25][26] The MMRTG produces less power over time as its plutonium fuel decays: at its minimum lifetime of 14 years, electrical power output is down to 100 watts.[32][33] The power source will generate 9 MJ (2.5 kWh) each day, much more than the solar panels of the Mars Exploration Rovers, which can generate about 2.1 MJ (0.58 kWh) each day. The electrical output from the MMRTG charges two rechargeable lithium-ion batteries. This enables the power subsystem to meet peak power demands of rover activities when the demand temporarily exceeds the generator's steady output level. Each battery has a capacity of about 42 ampere-hours. Heat rejection system: The temperatures at the landing site can vary from −127 to 40 °C (−197 to 104 °F); therefore, the thermal system will warm the rover for most of the Martian year. The thermal system will do so in several ways: passively, through the dissipation to internal components; by electrical heaters strategically placed on key components; and by using the rover heat rejection system (HRS).[34] It uses fluid pumped through 60 m (200 ft) of tubing in the rover body so that sensitive components are kept at optimal temperatures.[35] The fluid loop serves the additional purpose of rejecting heat when the rover has become too warm, and it can also gather waste heat from the power source by pumping fluid through two heat exchangers that are mounted alongside the RTG. The HRS also has the ability to cool components if necessary.[35] Computers: The two identical on-board rover computers, called Rover Computer Element (RCE) contain radiation hardened memory to tolerate the extreme radiation from space and to safeguard against power-off cycles. The computers run the VxWorks real-time operating system (RTOS). Each computer's memory includes 256 kB of EEPROM, 256 MB of DRAM, and 2 GB of flash memory.[36] For comparison, the Mars Exploration Rovers used 3 MB of EEPROM, 128 MB of DRAM, and 256 MB of flash memory.[37] The RCE computers use the RAD750 CPU, which is a successor to the RAD6000 CPU of the Mars Exploration Rovers.[38][39] The RAD750 CPU, a radiation-hardened version of the PowerPC 750, can execute up to 400 MIPS, while the RAD6000 CPU is capable of up to only 35 MIPS.[40][41] Of the two on-board computers, one is configured as backup and will take over in the event of problems with the main computer.[36] On February 28, 2013, NASA was forced to switch to the backup computer due to an issue with the then active computer's flash memory, which resulted in the computer continuously rebooting in a loop. The backup computer was turned on in safe mode and subsequently returned to active status on March 4.[42] The same issue happened in late March, resuming full operations on March 25, 2013.[43] The rover has an inertial measurement unit (IMU) that provides 3-axis information on its position, which is used in rover navigation.[36] The rover's computers are constantly self-monitoring to keep the rover operational, such as by regulating the rover's temperature.[36] Activities such as taking pictures, driving, and operating the instruments are performed in a command sequence that is sent from the flight team to the rover.[36] The rover installed its full surface operations software after the landing because its computers did not have sufficient main memory available during flight. The new software essentially replaced the flight software.[14] The rover has four processors. One of them is a SPARC processor that ran the rover's thrusters and descent-stage motors as it descended through the Martian atmosphere. Two others are PowerPC processors: the main processor, which handles nearly all of the rover's ground functions, and that processor's backup. The fourth one, another SPARC processor, commands the rover's movement and is part of its motor controller box. All four processors are single core.[44] Curiosity transmits to Earth directly or via three relay satellites in Mars orbit. Communications: Curiosity is equipped with significant telecommunication redundancy by several means – an X band transmitter and receiver that can communicate directly with Earth, and a UHF Electra-Lite software-defined radio for communicating with Mars orbiters.[34] Communication with orbiters is the main path for data return to Earth, since the orbiters have both more power and larger antennas than the lander allowing for faster transmission speeds.[34] Telecommunication includes a small deep space transponder on the descent stage and a solid-state power amplifier on the rover for X band. The rover also has two UHF radios,[34] the signals of which the 2001 Mars Odyssey satellite is capable of relaying back to Earth. An average of 14 minutes, 6 seconds will be required for signals to travel between Earth and Mars.[45] Curiosity can communicate with Earth directly at speeds up to 32 kbit/s, but the bulk of the data transfer should be relayed through the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and Odyssey orbiter. Data transfer speeds between Curiosity and each orbiter may reach 2000 kbit/s and 256 kbit/s, respectively, but each orbiter is able to communicate with Curiosity for only about eight minutes per day (0.56% of the time).[46] Communication from and to Curiosity relies on internationally agreed space data communications protocols as defined by the Consultative Committee for Space Data Systems.[47] JPL is the central data distribution hub where selected data products are provided to remote science operations sites as needed. JPL is also the central hub for the uplink process, though participants are distributed at their respective home institutions.[34] At landing, telemetry was monitored by three orbiters, depending on their dynamic location: the 2001 Mars Odyssey, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and ESA's Mars Express satellite.[48] Mobility systems: Curiosity is equipped with six 50 cm (20 in) diameter wheels in a rocker-bogie suspension. The suspension system also served as landing gear for the vehicle, unlike its smaller predecessors.[49][50] Each wheel has cleats and is independently actuated and geared, providing for climbing in soft sand and scrambling over rocks. Each front and rear wheel can be independently steered, allowing the vehicle to turn in place as well as execute arcing turns.[34] Each wheel has a pattern that helps it maintain traction but also leaves patterned tracks in the sandy surface of Mars. That pattern is used by on-board cameras to estimate the distance traveled. The pattern itself is Morse code for "JPL" (·--- ·--· ·-··).[51] The rover is capable of climbing sand dunes with slopes up to 12.5°.[52] Based on the center of mass, the vehicle can withstand a tilt of at least 50° in any direction without overturning, but automatic sensors will limit the rover from exceeding 30° tilts.[34] After two years of use, the wheels are visibly worn with punctures and tears.[53] Curiosity can roll over obstacles approaching 65 cm (26 in) in height,[54] and it has a ground clearance of 60 cm (24 in).[55] Based on variables including power levels, terrain difficulty, slippage and visibility, the maximum terrain-traverse speed is estimated to be 200 m (660 ft) per day by automatic navigation.[54] The rover landed about 10 km (6.2 mi) from the base of Mount Sharp,[56] (officially named Aeolis Mons) and it is expected to traverse a minimum of 19 km (12 mi) during its primary two-year mission.[57] It can travel up to 90 m (300 ft) per hour but average speed is about 30 m (98 ft) per hour.[57] Instruments Instrument location diagram The general sample analysis strategy begins with high-resolution cameras to look for features of interest. If a particular surface is of interest, Curiosity can vaporize a small portion of it with an infrared laser and examine the resulting spectra signature to query the rock's elemental composition. If that signature is intriguing, the rover will use its long arm to swing over a microscope and an X-ray spectrometer to take a closer look. If the specimen warrants further analysis, Curiosity can drill into the boulder and deliver a powdered sample to either the SAM or the CheMin analytical laboratories inside the rover.[58][59][60] The MastCam, Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), and Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) cameras were developed by Malin Space Science Systems and they all share common design components, such as on-board electronic imaging processing boxes, 1600×1200 CCDs, and an RGB Bayer pattern filter.[61][62][63][64][65][66] It has 17 cameras: HazCams (8), NavCams (4), MastCams (2), MAHLI (1), MARDI (1), and ChemCam (1).[67] Mast Camera (MastCam) The turret at the end of the robotic arm holds five devices. The MastCam system provides multiple spectra and true-color imaging with two cameras.[62] The cameras can take true-color images at 1600×1200 pixels and up to 10 frames per second hardware-compressed video at 720p (1280×720).[68] One MastCam camera is the Medium Angle Camera (MAC), which has a 34 mm (1.3 in) focal length, a 15° field of view, and can yield 22 cm/pixel (8.7 in/pixel) scale at 1 km (0.62 mi). The other camera in the MastCam is the Narrow Angle Camera (NAC), which has a 100 mm (3.9 in) focal length, a 5.1° field of view, and can yield 7.4 cm/pixel (2.9 in/pixel) scale at 1 km (0.62 mi).[62] Malin also developed a pair of MastCams with zoom lenses,[69] but these were not included in the rover because of the time required to test the new hardware and the looming November 2011 launch date.[70] However, the improved zoom version was selected to be incorporated on the upcoming Mars 2020 mission as Mastcam-Z.[71] Each camera has eight gigabytes of flash memory, which is capable of storing over 5,500 raw images, and can apply real time lossless data compression.[62] The cameras have an autofocus capability that allows them to focus on objects from 2.1 m (6 ft 11 in) to infinity.[65] In addition to the fixed RGBG Bayer pattern filter, each camera has an eight-position filter wheel. While the Bayer filter reduces visible light throughput, all three colors are mostly transparent at wavelengths longer than 700 nm, and have minimal effect on such infrared observations.[62] Chemistry and Camera complex (ChemCam) Main article: Chemistry and Camera complex The internal spectrometer (left) and the laser telescope (right) for the mast ChemCam is a suite of remote sensing instruments, and as the name implies, ChemCam is actually two different instruments combined as one: a laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) and a Remote Micro Imager (RMI) telescope. The ChemCam instrument suite was developed by the French CESR laboratory and the Los Alamos National Laboratory.[72][73][74] The flight model of the mast unit was delivered from the French CNES to Los Alamos National Laboratory.[75] The purpose of the LIBS instrument is to provide elemental compositions of rock and soil, while the RMI will give ChemCam scientists high-resolution images of the sampling areas of the rocks and soil that LIBS targets.[72][76] The LIBS instrument can target a rock or soil sample up to 7 m (23 ft) away, vaporizing a small amount of it with about 50 to 75 5-nanosecond pulses from a 1067 nm infrared laser and then observing the spectrum of the light emitted by the vaporized rock.[77] First laser spectrum of chemical elements from ChemCam on Curiosity ("Coronation" rock, August 19, 2012) ChemCam has the ability to record up to 6,144 different wavelengths of ultraviolet, visible, and infrared light.[78] Detection of the ball of luminous plasma will be done in the visible, near-UV and near-infrared ranges, between 240 nm and 800 nm.[72] The first initial laser testing of the ChemCam by Curiosity on Mars was performed on a rock, N165 ("Coronation" rock), near Bradbury Landing on August 19, 2012.[79][80][81] The ChemCam team expects to take approximately one dozen compositional measurements of rocks per day.[82] Using the same collection optics, the RMI provides context images of the LIBS analysis spots. The RMI resolves 1 mm (0.039 in) objects at 10 m (33 ft) distance, and has a field of view covering 20 cm (7.9 in) at that distance.[72] Navigation cameras (navcams) First full-resolution navcam images Main article: Navcam The rover has two pairs of black and white navigation cameras mounted on the mast to support ground navigation.[83][84] The cameras have a 45° angle of view and use visible light to capture stereoscopic 3-D imagery.[84][85] Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) Main article: Rover Environmental Monitoring Station REMS comprises instruments to measure the Mars environment: humidity, pressure, temperatures, wind speeds, and ultraviolet radiation.[86] It is a meteorological package that includes an ultraviolet sensor provided by the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science. The investigative team is led by Javier Gómez-Elvira of the Center for Astrobiology (Madrid) and includes the Finnish Meteorological Institute as a partner.[87][88] All sensors are located around three elements: two booms attached to the rover's mast, the Ultraviolet Sensor (UVS) assembly located on the rover top deck, and the Instrument Control Unit (ICU) inside the rover body. REMS will provide new clues about the Martian general circulation, micro scale weather systems, local hydrological cycle, destructive potential of UV radiation, and subsurface habitability based on ground-atmosphere interaction.[87] Hazard avoidance cameras (hazcams) Main article: Hazcam The rover has four pairs of black and white navigation cameras called hazcams, two pairs in the front and two pairs in the back.[83][89] They are used for autonomous hazard avoidance during rover drives and for safe positioning of the robotic arm on rocks and soils.[89] Each camera in a pair is hardlinked to one of two identical main computers for redundancy; only four out of the eight cameras are in use at any one time. The cameras use visible light to capture stereoscopic three-dimensional (3-D) imagery.[89] The cameras have a 120° field of view and map the terrain at up to 3 m (9.8 ft) in front of the rover.[89] This imagery safeguards against the rover crashing into unexpected obstacles, and works in tandem with software that allows the rover to make its own safety choices.[89] Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) Main article: Mars Hand Lens Imager MAHLI is a camera on the rover's robotic arm, and acquires microscopic images of rock and soil. MAHLI can take true-color images at 1600×1200 pixels with a resolution as high as 14.5 micrometers per pixel. MAHLI has an 18.3 to 21.3 mm (0.72 to 0.84 in) focal length and a 33.8–38.5° field of view.[63] MAHLI has both white and ultraviolet LED illumination for imaging in darkness or fluorescence imaging. MAHLI also has mechanical focusing in a range from infinite to millimetre distances.[63] This system can make some images with focus stacking processing.[90] MAHLI can store either the raw images or do real time lossless predictive or JPEG compression. The calibration target for MAHLI includes color references, a metric bar graphic, a 1909 VDB Lincoln penny, and a stairstep pattern for depth calibration.[91] Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) See also: Alpha particle X-ray spectrometer The device irradiates samples with alpha particles and maps the spectra of X-rays that are re-emitted for determining the elemental composition of samples.[92] Curiosity's APXS was developed by the Canadian Space Agency.[92] MacDonald Dettwiler (MDA), the Canadian aerospace company that built the Canadarm and RADARSAT, were responsible for the engineering design and building of the APXS. The APXS science team includes members from the University of Guelph, the University of New Brunswick, the University of Western Ontario, NASA, the University of California, San Diego and Cornell University.[93] The APXS instrument takes advantage of particle-induced X-ray emission (PIXE) and X-ray fluorescence, previously exploited by the Mars Pathfinder and the Mars Exploration Rovers.[92][94] Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) Curiosity's CheMin Spectrometer on Mars (September 11, 2012), with sample inlet seen closed and open. First X-ray diffraction view of Martian soil (Curiosity at Rocknest, October 17, 2012).[95] Main article: CheMin CheMin is the Chemistry and Mineralogy X-ray powder diffraction and fluorescence instrument.[96] CheMin is one of four spectrometers. It can identify and quantify the abundance of the minerals on Mars. It was developed by David Blake at NASA Ames Research Center and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory,[97] and won the 2013 NASA Government Invention of the year award.[98] The rover can drill samples from rocks and the resulting fine powder is poured into the instrument via a sample inlet tube on the top of the vehicle. A beam of X-rays is then directed at the powder and the crystal structure of the minerals deflects it at characteristic angles, allowing scientists to identify the minerals being analyzed.[99] On October 17, 2012, at "Rocknest", the first X-ray diffraction analysis of Martian soil was performed. The results revealed the presence of several minerals, including feldspar, pyroxenes and olivine, and suggested that the Martian soil in the sample was similar to the "weathered basaltic soils" of Hawaiian volcanoes.[95] The paragonetic tephra from a Hawaiian cinder cone has been mined to create Martian regolith simulant for researchers to use since 1998.[100][101] Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) First night-time pictures on Mars (white-light left/UV right) (Curiosity viewing Sayunei rock, January 22, 2013) Main article: Sample Analysis at Mars The SAM instrument suite analyzes organics and gases from both atmospheric and solid samples. It consists of instruments developed by the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, the Laboratoire Inter-Universitaire des Systèmes Atmosphériques (LISA) (jointly operated by France's CNRS and Parisian universities), and Honeybee Robotics, along with many additional external partners.[59][102][103] The three main instruments are a Quadrupole Mass Spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC) and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS). These instruments will perform precision measurements of oxygen and carbon isotope ratios in carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) in the atmosphere of Mars in order to distinguish between their geochemical or biological origin.[59][103][104][105][106] Dust Removal Tool (DRT) First use of Curiosity's Dust Removal Tool (DRT) (January 6, 2013); Ekwir1 rock before/after cleaning (left) and closeup (right) The Dust Removal Tool (DRT) is a motorized, wire-bristle brush on the turret at the end of Curiosity's arm. The DRT was first used on a rock target named Ekwir1 on January 6, 2013. Honeybee Robotics built the DRT.[107] Radiation assessment detector (RAD) Main article: Radiation assessment detector This instrument was the first of ten MSL instruments to be turned on. Its first role was to characterize the broad spectrum of radiation environment found inside the spacecraft during the cruise phase. These measurements have never been done before from the inside of a spacecraft in interplanetary space. Its primary purpose is to determine the viability and shielding needs for potential human explorers, as well as to characterize the radiation environment on the surface of Mars, which it started doing immediately after MSL landed in August 2012.[108] Funded by the Exploration Systems Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters and Germany's Space Agency (DLR), RAD was developed by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) and the extraterrestrial physics group at Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel, Germany.[108][109] Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) Main article: Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons A pulsed sealed-tube neutron source[110] and detector for measuring hydrogen or ice and water at or near the Martian surface, provided by the Russian Federal Space Agency,[111][112] and funded by Russia.[113] Mars Descent Imager (MARDI) MARDI camera MARDI was fixed to the lower front left corner of the body of Curiosity. During the descent to the Martian surface, MARDI took color images at 1600×1200 pixels with a 1.3-millisecond exposure time starting at distances of about 3.7 km (2.3 mi) to near 5 m (16 ft) from the ground, at a rate of four frames per second for about two minutes.[64][114] MARDI has a pixel scale of 1.5 m (4.9 ft) at 2 km (1.2 mi) to 1.5 mm (0.059 in) at 2 m (6.6 ft) and has a 90° circular field of view. MARDI has eight gigabytes of internal buffer memory that is capable of storing over 4,000 raw images. MARDI imaging allowed the mapping of surrounding terrain and the location of landing.[64] JunoCam, built for the Juno spacecraft, is based on MARDI.[115] Robotic arm First use of Curiosity's scooper as it sifts a load of sand at Rocknest (October 7, 2012) First drill tests (John Klein rock, Yellowknife Bay, February 2, 2013).[116] The rover has a 2.1 m (6.9 ft) long robotic arm with a cross-shaped turret holding five devices that can spin through a 350° turning range.[117][118] The arm makes use of three joints to extend it forward and to stow it again while driving. It has a mass of 30 kg (66 lb) and its diameter, including the tools mounted on it, is about 60 cm (24 in).[119] It was designed, built, and tested by MDA US Systems, building upon their prior robotic arm work on the Mars Surveyor 2001 Lander, the Phoenix lander, and the two Mars Exploration Rovers, Spirit and Opportunity.[120] Two of the five devices are in-situ or contact instruments known as the X-ray spectrometer (APXS), and the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI camera). The remaining three are associated with sample acquisition and sample preparation functions: a percussion drill; a brush; and mechanisms for scooping, sieving, and portioning samples of powdered rock and soil.[117][119] The diameter of the hole in a rock after drilling is 1.6 cm (0.63 in) and up to 5 cm (2.0 in) deep.[118][121] The drill carries two spare bits.[121][122] The rover's arm and turret system can place the APXS and MAHLI on their respective targets, and also obtain powdered sample from rock interiors, and deliver them to the SAM and CheMin analyzers inside the rover.[118] Since early 2015 the percussive mechanism in the drill that helps chisel into rock has had an intermittent electrical short.[123] On December 1, 2016, the motor inside the drill caused a malfunction that prevented the rover from moving its robotic arm and driving to another location.[124] The fault was isolated to the drill feed brake,[125] and internal debris is suspected of causing the problem.[123] By December 9, driving and robotic arm operations were cleared to continue, but drilling remained suspended indefinitely.[126] The Curiosity team continued to perform diagnostics and testing on the drill mechanism throughout 2017.[127] Comparisons to other Mars missions Two Jet Propulsion Laboratory engineers stand with three vehicles, providing a size comparison of three generations of Mars rovers. Front and center is the flight spare for the first Mars rover, Sojourner, which landed on Mars in 1997 as part of the Mars Pathfinder Project. On the left is a Mars Exploration Rover (MER) test vehicle that is a working sibling to Spirit and Opportunity, which landed on Mars in 2004. On the right is a test rover for the Mars Science Laboratory, which landed Curiosity on Mars in 2012. Sojourner is 65 cm (2.13 ft) long. The Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) are 1.6 m (5.2 ft) long. Curiosity on the right is 3 m (9.8 ft) long. Curiosity has an advanced payload of scientific equipment on Mars.[54] It is the fourth NASA unmanned surface rover sent to Mars since 1996. Previous successful Mars rovers are Sojourner from the Mars Pathfinder mission (1997), and Spirit (2004–2010) and Opportunity (2004–present) rovers from the Mars Exploration Rover mission. Curiosity is 2.9 m (9.5 ft) long by 2.7 m (8.9 ft) wide by 2.2 m (7.2 ft) in height,[24] larger than Mars Exploration Rovers, which are 1.5 m (4.9 ft) long and have a mass of 174 kg (384 lb) including 6.8 kg (15 lb) of scientific instruments.[23][128][129] In comparison to Pancam on the Mars Exploration Rovers, the MastCam-34 has 1.25× higher spatial resolution and the MastCam-100 has 3.67× higher spatial resolution.[65] The region the rover is set to explore has been compared to the Four Corners region of the North American west.[130] Gale Crater has an area similar to Connecticut and Rhode Island combined.[131] Colin Pillinger, leader of the Beagle 2 project, reacted emotionally to the large number of technicians monitoring Curiosity's descent, because Beagle 2 had only four people monitoring it.[132] The Beagle 2 team made a virtue out of necessity; it was known that there was no chance of obtaining funds in Europe, at that time, of the scale previously considered necessary for a Mars rover, so the team used innovative methods to reduce the cost to less than 4% of the cost of the Curiosity mission. They also had only one shot, with no funding for repeat missions (it was named Beagle 2 as a successor to HMS Beagle, not to an earlier rover).[132] It was considered a large risk, and, although Beagle 2 did successfully survive its entry, descent, and landing, incomplete deployment of the solar panels hampered communication back to Earth.[133] The team has proposed that a future launch might take multiple low-cost Beagle-type landers, with a realistic expectation that the vast majority would be successful, allowing exploration of several parts of Mars and possibly asteroids, all for considerably less cost than a single "normal" rover expedition.[134] See also: Comparison of embedded computer systems on board the Mars rovers The name: Curiosity A NASA panel selected the name Curiosity following a nationwide student contest that attracted more than 9,000 proposals via the Internet and mail. A sixth-grade student from Kansas, twelve-year-old Clara Ma from Sunflower Elementary School in Lenexa, Kansas, submitted the winning entry. As her prize, Ma won a trip to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, where she signed her name directly onto the rover as it was being assembled.[135] Ma wrote in her winning essay: Curiosity is an everlasting flame that burns in everyone's mind. It makes me get out of bed in the morning and wonder what surprises life will throw at me that day. Curiosity is such a powerful force. Without it, we wouldn't be who we are today. Curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives. We have become explorers and scientists with our need to ask questions and to wonder.[135] Landing Landing site Further information: Bradbury Landing Curiosity landed in Quad 51 (nicknamed Yellowknife) of Aeolis Palus in Gale Crater.[136][137][138][139] The landing site coordinates are: 4.5895°S 137.4417°E.[10][11] The location has been named Bradbury Landing in honor of science fiction author Ray Bradbury.[9] Gale crater, an estimated 3.5 to 3.8 billion-year-old impact crater, is hypothesized to have first been gradually filled in by sediments; first water-deposited, and then wind-deposited, possibly until it was completely covered. Wind erosion then scoured out the sediments, leaving an isolated 5.5-kilometer-high (3.4 mi) mountain, Aeolis Mons ("Mount Sharp"), at the center of the 154 km (96 mi) wide crater. Thus, it is believed that the rover may have the opportunity to study two billion years of Martian history in the sediments exposed in the mountain. Additionally, its landing site is near an alluvial fan, which is hypothesized to be the result of a flow of ground water, either before the deposition of the eroded sediments or else in relatively recent geologic history.[140][141] According to NASA, an estimated 20,000 to 40,000 heat-resistant bacterial spores were on Curiosity at launch, and as much as 1,000 times that number may not have been counted.[142] Curiosity and surrounding area as viewed by MRO/HiRISE. North is left. (August 14, 2012; enhanced colors) Rover's role in the landing system Main article: Mars Science Laboratory–Landing File:Curiosity's Seven Minutes of Terror.ogv NASA video describing the landing procedure. NASA dubbed the landing as "Seven Minutes of Terror". Previous NASA Mars rovers became active only after the successful entry, descent and landing on the Martian surface. Curiosity, on the other hand, was active when it touched down on the surface of Mars, employing the rover suspension system for the final set-down.[143] Curiosity transformed from its stowed flight configuration to a landing configuration while the MSL spacecraft simultaneously lowered it beneath the spacecraft descent stage with a 20 m (66 ft) tether from the "sky crane" system to a soft landing—wheels down—on the surface of Mars.[144][145][146][147] After the rover touched down it waited 2 seconds to confirm that it was on solid ground then fired several pyrotechnic fasteners activating cable cutters on the bridle to free itself from the spacecraft descent stage. The descent stage then flew away to a crash landing, and the rover prepared itself to begin the science portion of the mission.[148] Coverage, cultural impact and legacy Celebration erupts at NASA with the rover's successful landing on Mars (August 6, 2012). President Barack Obama congratulates NASA's Curiosity team (August 13, 2012).[149] Live video showing the first footage from the surface of Mars was available at NASA TV, during the late hours of August 6, 2012 PDT, including interviews with the mission team. The NASA website momentarily became unavailable from the overwhelming number of people visiting it,[150] and a 13-minute NASA excerpt of the landings on its YouTube channel was halted an hour after the landing by an automated DMCA takedown notice from Scripps Local News, which prevented access for several hours.[151] Around 1,000 people gathered in New York City's Times Square, to watch NASA's live broadcast of Curiosity's landing, as footage was being shown on the giant screen.[152] Bobak Ferdowsi, Flight Director for the landing, became an Internet meme and attained Twitter celebrity status, with 45,000 new followers subscribing to his Twitter account, due to his Mohawk hairstyle with yellow stars that he wore during the televised broadcast.[153][154] On August 13, 2012, U.S. President Barack Obama, calling from aboard Air Force One to congratulate the Curiosity team, said, "You guys are examples of American know-how and ingenuity. It's really an amazing accomplishment."[149] (Video (07:20)) U.S. flag on Mars Plaque of President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden's signatures on Mars Scientists at the Getty Conservation Institute in Los Angeles, California, viewed the CheMin instrument aboard Curiosity as a potentially valuable means to examine ancient works of art without damaging them. Until recently, only a few instruments were available to determine the composition without cutting out physical samples large enough to potentially damage the artifacts. CheMin directs a beam of X-rays at particles as small as 400 micrometers (0.016 in)[155] and reads the radiation scattered back to determine the composition of the artifact in minutes. Engineers created a smaller, portable version named the X-Duetto. Fitting into a few briefcase-sized boxes, it can examine objects on site, while preserving their physical integrity. It is now being used by Getty scientists to analyze a large collection of museum antiques and the Roman ruins of Herculaneum, Italy.[156] Prior to the landing, NASA and Microsoft released Mars Rover Landing, a free downloadable game on Xbox Live that uses Kinect to capture body motions, which allows users to simulate the landing sequence.[157] NASA gave the general public the opportunity from 2009 until 2011 to submit their names to be sent to Mars. More than 1.2 million people from the international community participated, and their names were etched into silicon using an electron-beam machine used for fabricating micro devices at JPL, and this plaque is now installed on the deck of Curiosity.[158] In keeping with a 40-year tradition, a plaque with the signatures of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden was also installed. Elsewhere on the rover is the autograph of Clara Ma, the 12-year-old girl from Kansas who gave Curiosity its name in an essay contest, writing in part that "curiosity is the passion that drives us through our everyday lives."[159] On August 6, 2013, Curiosity audibly played "Happy Birthday to You" in honor of the one Earth year mark of its Martian landing, the first time for a song to be played on another planet. This was also the first time music was transmitted between two planets.[160] On June 24, 2014, Curiosity completed a Martian year—687 Earth days—after finding that Mars once had environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.[161] Curiosity will serve as the basis for the design of the Mars 2020 rover mission that is presently planned to be launched to Mars in 2020. Some spare parts from the build and ground test of Curiosity may be used in the new vehicle.[162] On August 5, 2017, NASA celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Curiosity rover mission landing, and related exploratory accomplishments, on the planet Mars.[18][19] (Videos: Curiosity's First Five Years (02:07); Curiosity's POV: Five Years Driving (05:49); Curiosity's Discoveries About Gale Crater (02:54)) As reported in 2018, drill samples taken in 2015 uncovered organic molecules of benzene and propane in 3 billion year old rock samples in Gale Crater.[163][164][165] Further information: Timeline of Mars Science Laboratory § Current status Awards The NASA/JPL Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity Project Team was awarded the 2012 Robert J. Collier Trophy by the National Aeronautic Association "In recognition of the extraordinary achievements of successfully landing Curiosity on Mars, advancing the nation's technological and engineering capabilities, and significantly improving humanity's understanding of ancient Martian habitable environments."[166] Images File:The Descent of the Curiosity Rover HD.ogv Descent of Curiosity (video-02:26; August 6, 2012) Interactive 3D model of the rover (with extended arm) Components of Curiosity Mast head with ChemCam, MastCam-34, MastCam-100, NavCam. One of the six wheels on Curiosity High-gain (right) and low-gain (left) antennas UV sensor Orbital images Curiosity descending under its parachute (August 6, 2012; MRO/HiRISE). Curiosity's parachute flapping in Martian wind (August 12, 2012 to January 13, 2013; MRO). Gale crater - surface materials (false colors; THEMIS; 2001 Mars Odyssey). Curiosity's landing site is on Aeolis Palus near Mount Sharp (north is down). Mount Sharp rises from the middle of Gale Crater; the green dot marks Curiosity's landing site (north is down). Green dot is Curiosity's landing site; upper blue is Glenelg; lower blue is base of Mount Sharp. Curiosity's landing ellipse. Quad 51, called Yellowknife, marks the area where Curiosity actually landed. Quad 51, a 1-mile-by-1-mile section of Gale Crater - Curiosity landing site is noted. MSL debris field - parachute landed 615 m from Curiosity (3-D: rover & parachute) (August 17, 2012; MRO). Curiosity's landing site, Bradbury Landing, as seen by MRO/HiRISE (August 14, 2012) Curiosity's first tracks viewed by MRO/HiRISE (September 6, 2012) First-year and first-mile map of Curiosity's traverse on Mars (August 1, 2013) (3-D). Rover images Ejected heat shield as viewed by Curiosity descending to Martian surface (August 6, 2012). Curiosity's first image after landing (August 6, 2012). The rover's wheel can be seen. Curiosity's first image after landing (without clear dust cover, August 6, 2012) Curiosity landed on August 6, 2012 near the base of Aeolis Mons (or "Mount Sharp")[167] Curiosity's first color image of the Martian landscape, taken by MAHLI (August 6, 2012) Curiosity's self-portrait - with closed dust cover (September 7, 2012). Curiosity's self-portrait (September 7, 2012; color-corrected). Calibration target of MAHLI (September 9, 2012; alternate 3-D version) U.S. Lincoln penny on Mars (Curiosity; September 10, 2012) (3-D; October 2, 2013). U.S. Lincoln penny on Mars (Curiosity; September 4, 2018) Wheels on Curiosity. Mount Sharp is visible in the background (MAHLI, September 9, 2012). Curiosity's tracks on first test drive (August 22, 2012), after parking 6 m (20 ft) from original landing site[9] Comparison of color versions (raw, natural, white balance) of Aeolis Mons on Mars (August 23, 2012) Curiosity's view of Aeolis Mons (August 9, 2012; white-balanced image) Layers at the base of Aeolis Mons. The dark rock in inset is the same size as Curiosity. Self-portraits Curiosity rover on Mars — self-portraits Curiosity at "Rocknest" on Aeolis Palus (October 2012) Curiosity at "John Klein" on Aeolis Palus (May 2013) Curiosity at "Windjana" on Aeolis Palus (May 2014) Curiosity at "Mojave" on Aeolis Mons (January 2015) Curiosity at "Buckskin" on Aeolis Mons (August 2015) Curiosity at "Big Sky" on Aeolis Mons (October 2015) Curiosity at "Namib" on Aeolis Mons (January 2016) Curiosity at "MurrayB" on Aeolis Mons (September 2016) Wide images Curiosity's first 360° color panorama image (August 8, 2012)[167][168] Curiosity's view of Mount Sharp (September 20, 2012; raw color version) Curiosity's view of the Rocknest area. South is at center, north is at both ends. Mount Sharp dominates the horizon, while Glenelg is left-of-center and rover tracks are right-of-center (November 16, 2012; white balanced; raw color version; high-res panoramic). Curiosity's view from Rocknest looking east toward Point Lake (center) on the way to Glenelg (November 26, 2012; white balanced; raw color version) Curiosity's view of "Mount Sharp" (September 9, 2015) Curiosity's view of Mars sky at sunset (February 2013; Sun simulated by artist) See also Timeline of Mars Science Laboratory Adam Steltzner Anita Sengupta Astrobiology Autonomous robot ExoMars rover Experience Curiosity Exploration of Mars InSight lander, 2018 John Grotzinger Life on Mars List of missions to Mars Mars Express Mars Odyssey orbiter Mars Orbiter Mission Mars Pathfinder (Sojourner rover) Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Mars 2020 rover Opportunity rover Spirit rover Dawn Sumner Viking program Timeline of Mars Science Laboratory ↓Bradbury ↓Glenelg ↓Dingo Gap ↓Mojave ↓Murray ↓Old Soaker ↓Testings ↓1st Drilling ↓Dents ↓Old-lake ↓Old-lake ↓Stratified ↓Begin ↓Launch Delay ↓Launch ↓Landing ↓Driving ↓Driving ↓Driving ↓Driving ↓Driving │ 2004 │ 2006 │ 2008 │ 2010 │ 2012 │ 2014 │ 2016 │ 2018 │ 2020 │ 2022 │ 2024 vte Mars Science Laboratory General Curiosity rover Timeline of Mars Science Laboratory PIA16239 High-Resolution Self-Portrait by Curiosity Rover Arm Camera square.jpg Instruments APXS ChemCam CheMin DAN DRT Hazcam MARDI MAHLI MastCam Navcam RAD REMS Robotic arm SAM Features MarsDial MMRTG Rocker-bogie Sites Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp) Aeolis Palus Bradbury Landing Gale Crater Glenelg Peace Vallis Rocknest Yellowknife Bay Rocks Bathurst Inlet Coronation Goulburn Hottah Jake Matijevic Link Rocknest Rocknest 3 Tintina Wikipedia book Book Category Category Portal Portal:Mars vte Astrobiology Disciplines Astrochemistry Astrophysics Atmospheric sciences Biochemistry Evolutionary biology Exoplanetology Geomicrobiology Microbiology Paleontology Planetary science Main topics Abiogenesis Allan Hills 84001 Biomolecule Biosignature Drake equation Earliest known life forms Earth analog Extraterrestrial life Extraterrestrial sample curation Extremophiles Hypothetical types of biochemistry List of microorganisms tested in outer space Molecules detected in outer space Ocean planet Origin of life Panspermia Planetary protection Search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) Yamato meteorite Planetary habitability Habitability of binary star systems Habitability of K-type main-sequence star systems Habitability of natural satellites Habitability of red dwarf systems Circumstellar habitable zone Earth analog List of potentially habitable exoplanets Tholin Extraterrestrial liquid water Galactic habitable zone Space missions Earth orbit BIO BIOCORE Biolab Bion BIOPAN Biosatellite program E-MIST ERA Eu:CROPIS EXOSTACK EXPOSE Lunar Micro Ecosystem O/OREOS OREOcube Tanpopo VEGGIE Mars Beagle 2 ExoMars ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter Schiaparelli EDM lander Fobos-Grunt Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Phoenix Viking Comets and asteroids Hayabusa2 OSIRIS-REx Rosetta Planned BioSentinel Europa Clipper ExoMars ExoMars rover ExoMars 2020 surface platform Mars 2020 Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover Proposed CAESAR Dragonfly Enceladus Explorer Enceladus Life Finder Enceladus Life Signatures and Habitability Europa Lander ExoLance Explorer of Enceladus and Titan Journey to Enceladus and Titan Laplace-P Life Investigation For Enceladus Mars sample return mission Oceanus THEO Cancelled and undeveloped Astrobiology Field Laboratory Beagle 3 Biological Oxidant and Life Detection Icebreaker Life Living Interplanetary Flight Experiment Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher MELOS Northern Light Red Dragon Terrestrial Planet Finder Institutions and programs Astrobiology Society of Britain Astrobiology Science and Technology for Exploring Planets Breakthrough Initiatives Breakthrough Listen Breakthrough Message Breakthrough Starshot Carl Sagan Institute European Astrobiology Network Association NASA Astrobiology Institute Nexus for Exoplanet System Science Ocean Worlds Exploration Program Spanish Astrobiology Center Category Category Portal Portal vte Spacecraft missions to Mars Active missions Orbiters 2001 Mars Odyssey Mars Express (MEX) Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Mangalyaan (MOM) MAVEN ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) Landers InSight Rovers Opportunity timeline observations Curiosity timeline Insight landing-640x350.gif 2001 mars odyssey wizja.jpg Phoenix landing (PIA09943 cropped).jpg MSL Artist Concept (PIA14164 crop).jpg Past missions Flybys Mars 1† Mariner 4 Zond 2† Mariner 6 and 7 Mars 6 Mars 7 Rosetta Dawn Mars Cube One (MarCO) Orbiters Mars 2 Mars 3 Mariner 9 Mars 4† Mars 5 Viking program Viking 1 Viking 2 Phobos program Phobos 1† Phobos 2† Mars Observer† Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Nozomi† Mars Climate Orbiter† Landers Mars 2† Mars 3† Mars 6† Mars 7† Viking 1 Viking 2 Mars Pathfinder Mars Polar Lander† / Deep Space 2† Beagle 2† Phoenix ExoMars Schiaparelli† Rovers Prop-M† Sojourner Spirit observations Mars-crossing objects Zond 3 Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster Failed launches Mars 1M No.1 1M No.2 2MV-4 No.1 2MV-3 No.1 Mariner 3 Mars 2M No.521 2M No.522 Mariner 8 Mars 3MS No.170 Mars 96 Fobos-Grunt / Yinghuo-1 Future missions Planned Hope Mars Mission (2020) ExoMars (2020) rover surface platform Mars 2020 (2020) Mars Helicopter Scout Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover (2020) Mars Terahertz Microsatellite (2020) Mars Orbiter Mission 2 (2021 or 2022) Psyche (2022, flyby in 2023) Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) (2022, flyby in 2025) Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) (2024) Proposed Biological Oxidant and Life Detection (BOLD) BFR base (2022) DePhine Icebreaker Life Mars Geyser Hopper Mars-Grunt Mars Micro Orbiter Mars One MELOS rover MetNet Next Mars Orbiter (NeMO) PADME Phootprint Sky-Sailor Cancelled proposals Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey (ARES) Astrobiology Field Laboratory Beagle 3 Mars 4NM & 5NM Mars 5M (Mars-79) Mars-Aster Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C) Mars Surveyor Lander Mars Telecommunications Orbiter NetLander Northern Light Red Dragon Sample Collection for Investigation of Mars (SCIM) Vesta Voyager Mars Exploration of Mars Concepts Flyby Orbiter Landing Rover Sample return Manned mission Permanent settlement Colonization Terraforming Strategies Mars Scout Program Mars Exploration Program Mars Exploration Joint Initiative Mars Next Generation Advocacy The Mars Project The Case for Mars Inspiration Mars Mars Institute Mars Society Mars race Lists List of missions to Mars List of Mars orbiters List of artificial objects on Mars Missions are ordered by launch date. Sign † indicates failure en route or before intended mission data returned. vte 21st-century space probes Active space probes (deep space missions) Moon ARTEMIS Chang'e 4 Longjiang-2 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Mars ExoMars TGO InSight Mangalyaan Mars Express 2001 Mars Odyssey MAVEN MER Opportunity MRO MSL Curiosity Venus Akatsuki IKAROS Minor planet Chang'e 2 Hayabusa2 / MINERVA-II New Horizons OSIRIS-REx Solar science ACE DSCOVR Parker Solar Probe SOHO STEREO Wind Others BepiColombo Gaia Juno THEMIS Voyager 1 Voyager 2 Completed after 2000 (by termination date) 2001 NEAR Shoemaker Deep Space 1 2003 Pioneer 10 Galileo Nozomi 2004 Genesis 2005 Huygens 2006 Mars Global Surveyor 2008 Phoenix 2009 Chang'e 1 Ulysses Chandrayaan-1 SELENE LCROSS 2010 Hayabusa MER Spirit 2011 Stardust 2012 GRAIL 2013 Deep Impact 2014 LADEE Venus Express Chang'e 5-T1 2015 MESSENGER PROCYON Chang'e 3 / Yutu 2016 Rosetta / Philae ExoMars Schiaparelli 2017 LISA Pathfinder Cassini 2018 MASCOT Dawn MarCO List of Solar System probes List of lunar probes List of space telescopes vte 2012 in space « 2011 2013 » Space probe launches Van Allen Probes Gliese 667 Cc sunset.jpg PIA16239 High-Resolution Self-Portrait by Curiosity Rover Arm Camera.jpg Comets C/2011 Q2 (McNaught) C/2012 C2 (Bruenjes) C/2006 S3 (LONEOS) C/2013 L2 (Catalina) C/2010 R1 (LINEAR) C/2011 U3 (PANSTARRS) C/2011 UF305 (LINEAR) C/2011 R1 (McNaught) C/2013 F1 (Boattini) C/2013 G2 (McNaught) C/2012 J1 (Catalina) NEOs Asteroid close approaches 2012 EG5 2012 TV 2012 TC4 2012 KP24 2012 BX34 2012 FP35 2012 KT42 Exoplanets Gliese 667 Cc Alpha Centauri Bb Gliese 163 c HD 40307 e HD 40307 f HD 40307 g Kappa Andromedae b KELT-2Ab Kepler-23b Kepler-32b Kepler-32c Kepler-34b Kepler-36b Kepler-42c Kepler-47b Kepler-47c Kepler-56 Kepler-80 Kepler-88 Kepler-89 PH1b Tau Ceti e Tau Ceti f Space exploration ANUSAT Curiosity Dragon C2+ Edoardo Amaldi ATV Ekspress AM4 Explorer 8 Fobos-Grunt Kedr Kosmos 2176 Kosmos 2261 Kounotori 3 Navid PharmaSat Progress M-13M Progress M-14M Progress M-15M Sfera Shenzhou 9 Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer Soyuz TMA-03M Soyuz TMA-04M Soyuz TMA-05M Soyuz TMA-22 SpaceX CRS-1 TacSat-3 USA-226 Yinghuo-1 NASA Agency overview Formed July 29, 1958; 60 years ago Preceding agency NACA (1915–1958)[1] Jurisdiction US Federal Government Headquarters Two Independence Square, Washington, D.C., US 38°52′59″N 77°0′59″WCoordinates: 38°52′59″N 77°0′59″W Motto For the Benefit of All[2] Employees 17,336 (2018)[3] Annual budget Increase US$20.7 billion (2018)[4] Agency executives Jim Bridenstine, Administrator James Morhard, Deputy Administrator Jeff DeWit, Chief Financial Officer Space policy of the United States Greater coat of arms of the United States.svg NASA Space policy of the United States Apollo program US manned space programs [hide] Apollo Apollo–Soyuz (joint) Skylab Constellation ISS (joint) Gemini Manned Orbiting Laboratory Manned Venus flyby Mercury Orion Space Shuttle Space Transportation System Shuttle–Mir (joint) US space probes [hide] Vanguard Explorer 1 Pioneer Mariner Ranger Surveyor Lunar Orbiter Viking Voyager Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter New Horizons Expendable launch vehicles [hide] Vanguard Juno I Mercury-Redstone Mercury-Atlas Gemini-Titan II Titan III IV) Atlas-Agena Apollo-Saturn I IB V Atlas-Centaur Atlas V Shuttle-Derived Launch Vehicle Ares I Ares V Space Launch System Notable figures [hide] Robert Goddard Wernher von Braun Lyndon B. Johnson John F. Kennedy James Webb Robert Gilruth George Low George Mueller Maxime Faget Kurt Debus Rocco Petrone Christopher Kraft, Jr. Gene Kranz Guenter Wendt Alan Shepard John Glenn Neil Armstrong Gene Franklin Astronauts [hide] The Mercury Seven Gemini/Apollo astronauts NASA Astronaut Corps vte The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA, /ˈnæsə/) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research.[note 1] NASA was established in 1958, succeeding the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). The new agency was to have a distinctly civilian orientation, encouraging peaceful applications in space science.[7][8][9] Since its establishment, most US space exploration efforts have been led by NASA, including the Apollo Moon landing missions, the Skylab space station, and later the Space Shuttle. NASA is supporting the International Space Station and is overseeing the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the Space Launch System and Commercial Crew vehicles. The agency is also responsible for the Launch Services Program which provides oversight of launch operations and countdown management for unmanned NASA launches. NASA science is focused on better understanding Earth through the Earth Observing System;[10] advancing heliophysics through the efforts of the Science Mission Directorate's Heliophysics Research Program;[11] exploring bodies throughout the Solar System with advanced robotic spacecraft missions such as New Horizons;[12] and researching astrophysics topics, such as the Big Bang, through the Great Observatories and associated programs.[13] Creation William H. Pickering, (center) JPL Director, President John F. Kennedy, (right). NASA Administrator James E. Webb (background) discussing the Mariner program, with a model presented. From 1946, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) had been experimenting with rocket planes such as the supersonic Bell X-1.[14] In the early 1950s, there was challenge to launch an artificial satellite for the International Geophysical Year (1957–58). An effort for this was the American Project Vanguard. After the Soviet launch of the world's first artificial satellite (Sputnik 1) on October 4, 1957, the attention of the United States turned toward its own fledgling space efforts. The US Congress, alarmed by the perceived threat to national security and technological leadership (known as the "Sputnik crisis"), urged immediate and swift action; President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his advisers counseled more deliberate measures. On January 12, 1958, NACA organized a "Special Committee on Space Technology", headed by Guyford Stever.[9] On January 14, 1958, NACA Director Hugh Dryden published "A National Research Program for Space Technology" stating:[15] File:NASA 60th- How It All Began.webmPlay media A short documentary about the beginings of Nasa It is of great urgency and importance to our country both from consideration of our prestige as a nation as well as military necessity that this challenge [Sputnik] be met by an energetic program of research and development for the conquest of space ... It is accordingly proposed that the scientific research be the responsibility of a national civilian agency ... NACA is capable, by rapid extension and expansion of its effort, of providing leadership in space technology.[15] While this new federal agency would conduct all non-military space activity, the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was created in February 1958 to develop space technology for military application.[16] On July 29, 1958, Eisenhower signed the National Aeronautics and Space Act, establishing NASA. When it began operations on October 1, 1958, NASA absorbed the 43-year-old NACA intact; its 8,000 employees, an annual budget of US$100 million, three major research laboratories (Langley Aeronautical Laboratory, Ames Aeronautical Laboratory, and Lewis Flight Propulsion Laboratory) and two small test facilities.[17] A NASA seal was approved by President Eisenhower in 1959.[18] Elements of the Army Ballistic Missile Agency and the United States Naval Research Laboratory were incorporated into NASA. A significant contributor to NASA's entry into the Space Race with the Soviet Union was the technology from the German rocket program led by Wernher von Braun, who was now working for the Army Ballistic Missile Agency (ABMA), which in turn incorporated the technology of American scientist Robert Goddard's earlier works.[19] Earlier research efforts within the US Air Force[17] and many of ARPA's early space programs were also transferred to NASA.[20] In December 1958, NASA gained control of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a contractor facility operated by the California Institute of Technology.[17] Staff and leadership Main article: List of Administrators and Deputy Administrators of NASA Jim Bridenstine official NASA portrait, April 26, 2018 at NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C. The agency's leader, NASA's administrator, is nominated by the President of the United States subject to approval of the US Senate, and reports to him or her and serves as senior space science advisor. Though space exploration is ostensibly non-partisan, the appointee usually is associated with the President's political party (Democratic or Republican), and a new administrator is usually chosen when the Presidency changes parties. The only exceptions to this have been: Democrat Thomas O. Paine, acting administrator under Democrat Lyndon B. Johnson, stayed on while Republican Richard Nixon tried but failed to get one of his own choices to accept the job. Paine was confirmed by the Senate in March 1969 and served through September 1970.[21] Republican James C. Fletcher, appointed by Nixon and confirmed in April 1971, stayed through May 1977 into the term of Democrat Jimmy Carter. Daniel Goldin was appointed by Republican George H. W. Bush and stayed through the entire administration of Democrat Bill Clinton. Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr., associate administrator under Democrat Barack Obama, was kept on as acting administrator by Republican Donald Trump until Trump's own choice Jim Bridenstine, was confirmed in April 2018.[22] Though the agency is independent, the survival or discontinuation of projects can depend directly on the will of the President.[23] The first administrator was Dr. T. Keith Glennan appointed by Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower. During his term he brought together the disparate projects in American space development research.[24] The second administrator, James E. Webb (1961–1968), appointed by President John F. Kennedy, was a Democrat who first publicly served under President Harry S. Truman. In order to implement the Apollo program to achieve Kennedy's Moon landing goal by the end of the 1960s, Webb directed major management restructuring and facility expansion, establishing the Houston Manned Spacecraft (Johnson) Center and the Florida Launch Operations (Kennedy) Center. Capitalizing on Kennedy's legacy, President Lyndon Johnson kept continuity with the Apollo program by keeping Webb on when he succeeded Kennedy in November 1963. But Webb resigned in October 1968 before Apollo achieved its goal, and Republican President Richard M. Nixon replaced Webb with Republican Thomas O. Paine. Organizational structure of NASA (2015) James Fletcher was responsible for early planning of the Space Shuttle program during his first term as administrator under President Nixon. He was appointed for a second term as administrator from May 1986 through April 1989 by President Ronald Reagan to help the agency recover from the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Former astronaut Charles Bolden served as NASA's twelfth administrator from July 2009 to January 20, 2017.[25] Bolden is one of three former astronauts who became NASA administrators, along with Richard H. Truly (served 1989–1992) and Frederick D. Gregory (acting, 2005). The agency's administration is located at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC and provides overall guidance and direction.[26] Except under exceptional circumstances, NASA civil service employees are required to be citizens of the United States.[27] Space flight programs Main article: List of NASA missions At launch control for the May 28, 1964, Saturn I SA-6 launch. Wernher von Braun is at center. File:NASA 60th- Humans in Space.webmPlay media A documentary about spaceflight in NASA NASA has conducted many manned and unmanned spaceflight programs throughout its history. Unmanned programs launched the first American artificial satellites into Earth orbit for scientific and communications purposes, and sent scientific probes to explore the planets of the solar system, starting with Venus and Mars, and including "grand tours" of the outer planets. Manned programs sent the first Americans into low Earth orbit (LEO), won the Space Race with the Soviet Union by landing twelve men on the Moon from 1969 to 1972 in the Apollo program, developed a semi-reusable LEO Space Shuttle, and developed LEO space station capability by itself and with the cooperation of several other nations including post-Soviet Russia. Some missions include both manned and unmanned aspects, such as the Galileo probe, which was deployed by astronauts in Earth orbit before being sent unmanned to Jupiter. Manned programs Some of NASA's first African-American astronauts including Dr. Ronald McNair, Guy Bluford and Fred Gregory from the class of 1978 selection of astronauts. The experimental rocket-powered aircraft programs started by NACA were extended by NASA as support for manned spaceflight. This was followed by a one-man space capsule program, and in turn by a two-man capsule program. Reacting to loss of national prestige and security fears caused by early leads in space exploration by the Soviet Union, in 1961 President John F. Kennedy proposed the ambitious goal "of landing a man on the Moon by the end of [the 1960s], and returning him safely to the Earth." This goal was met in 1969 by the Apollo program, and NASA planned even more ambitious activities leading to a manned mission to Mars. However, reduction of the perceived threat and changing political priorities almost immediately caused the termination of most of these plans. NASA turned its attention to an Apollo-derived temporary space laboratory, and a semi-reusable Earth orbital shuttle. In the 1990s, funding was approved for NASA to develop a permanent Earth orbital space station in cooperation with the international community, which now included the former rival, post-Soviet Russia. To date, NASA has launched a total of 166 manned space missions on rockets, and thirteen X-15 rocket flights above the USAF definition of spaceflight altitude, 260,000 feet (80 km).[28] X-15 rocket plane (1959–1968) Main article: North American X-15 X-15 in powered flight The X-15 was an NACA experimental rocket-powered hypersonic research aircraft, developed in conjunction with the US Air Force and Navy. The design featured a slender fuselage with fairings along the side containing fuel and early computerized control systems.[29] Requests for proposal were issued on December 30, 1954, for the airframe, and February 4, 1955, for the rocket engine. The airframe contract was awarded to North American Aviation in November 1955, and the XLR30 engine contract was awarded to Reaction Motors in 1956, and three planes were built. The X-15 was drop-launched from the wing of one of two NASA Boeing B-52 Stratofortresses, NB52A tail number 52-003, and NB52B, tail number 52-008 (known as the Balls 8). Release took place at an altitude of about 45,000 feet (14 km) and a speed of about 500 miles per hour (805 km/h). Twelve pilots were selected for the program from the Air Force, Navy, and NACA (later NASA). A total of 199 flights were made between 1959 and 1968, resulting in the official world record for the highest speed ever reached by a manned powered aircraft (current as of 2014), and a maximum speed of Mach 6.72, 4,519 miles per hour (7,273 km/h).[30] The altitude record for X-15 was 354,200 feet (107.96 km).[31] Eight of the pilots were awarded Air Force astronaut wings for flying above 260,000 feet (80 km), and two flights by Joseph A. Walker exceeded 100 kilometers (330,000 ft), qualifying as spaceflight according to the International Aeronautical Federation. The X-15 program employed mechanical techniques used in the later manned spaceflight programs, including reaction control system jets for controlling the orientation of a spacecraft, space suits, and horizon definition for navigation.[31] The reentry and landing data collected were valuable to NASA for designing the Space Shuttle.[29] Project Mercury (1958–1963) Main article: Project Mercury John Glenn on Friendship 7: first US orbital flight, 1962 Shortly after the Space Race began, an early objective was to get a person into Earth orbit as soon as possible, therefore the simplest spacecraft that could be launched by existing rockets was favored. The US Air Force's Man in Space Soonest program considered many manned spacecraft designs, ranging from rocket planes like the X-15, to small ballistic space capsules.[32] By 1958, the space plane concepts were eliminated in favor of the ballistic capsule.[33] When NASA was created that same year, the Air Force program was transferred to it and renamed Project Mercury. The first seven astronauts were selected among candidates from the Navy, Air Force and Marine test pilot programs. On May 5, 1961, astronaut Alan Shepard became the first American in space aboard Freedom 7, launched by a Redstone booster on a 15-minute ballistic (suborbital) flight.[34] John Glenn became the first American to be launched into orbit, by an Atlas launch vehicle on February 20, 1962, aboard Friendship 7.[35] Glenn completed three orbits, after which three more orbital flights were made, culminating in L. Gordon Cooper's 22-orbit flight Faith 7, May 15–16, 1963.[36] The Soviet Union (USSR) competed with its own single-pilot spacecraft, Vostok. They sent the first man in space, by launching cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin into a single Earth orbit aboard Vostok 1 in April 1961, one month before Shepard's flight.[37] In August 1962, they achieved an almost four-day record flight with Andriyan Nikolayev aboard Vostok 3, and also conducted a concurrent Vostok 4 mission carrying Pavel Popovich. Project Gemini (1961–1966) Main article: Project Gemini Ed White on Gemini 4: first US spacewalk, 1965 Based on studies to grow the Mercury spacecraft capabilities to long-duration flights, developing space rendezvous techniques, and precision Earth landing, Project Gemini was started as a two-man program in 1962 to overcome the Soviets' lead and to support the Apollo manned lunar landing program, adding extravehicular activity (EVA) and rendezvous and docking to its objectives. The first manned Gemini flight, Gemini 3, was flown by Gus Grissom and John Young on March 23, 1965.[38] Nine missions followed in 1965 and 1966, demonstrating an endurance mission of nearly fourteen days, rendezvous, docking, and practical EVA, and gathering medical data on the effects of weightlessness on humans.[39][40] Under the direction of Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, the USSR competed with Gemini by converting their Vostok spacecraft into a two- or three-man Voskhod. They succeeded in launching two manned flights before Gemini's first flight, achieving a three-cosmonaut flight in 1963 and the first EVA in 1964. After this, the program was canceled, and Gemini caught up while spacecraft designer Sergei Korolev developed the Soyuz spacecraft, their answer to Apollo. Apollo program (1961–1972) Main article: Apollo program Apollo 11: Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, 1969. The U.S public's perception of the Soviet lead in the space race (by putting the first man into space) motivated President John F. Kennedy to ask the Congress on May 25, 1961, to commit the federal government to a program to land a man on the Moon by the end of the 1960s, which effectively launched the Apollo program.[41] Apollo was one of the most expensive American scientific programs ever. It cost more than $20 billion in 1960s dollars[42] or an estimated $218 billion in present-day US dollars.[43] (In comparison, the Manhattan Project cost roughly $27.8 billion, accounting for inflation.)[43][44] It used the Saturn rockets as launch vehicles, which were far bigger than the rockets built for previous projects.[45] The spacecraft was also bigger; it had two main parts, the combined command and service module (CSM) and the lunar landing module (LM). The LM was to be left on the Moon and only the command module (CM) containing the three astronauts would eventually return to Earth.[note 2] The second manned mission, Apollo 8, brought astronauts for the first time in a flight around the Moon in December 1968.[46] Shortly before, the Soviets had sent an unmanned spacecraft around the Moon.[47] On the next two missions docking maneuvers that were needed for the Moon landing were practiced[48][49] and then finally the Moon landing was made on the Apollo 11 mission in July 1969.[50] Apollo 17: LRV-003, 1972. The first person to stand on the Moon was Neil Armstrong, who was followed by Buzz Aldrin, while Michael Collins orbited above. Five subsequent Apollo missions also landed astronauts on the Moon, the last in December 1972. Throughout these six Apollo spaceflights, twelve men walked on the Moon. These missions returned a wealth of scientific data and 381.7 kilograms (842 lb) of lunar samples. Topics covered by experiments performed included soil mechanics, meteoroids, seismology, heat flow, lunar ranging, magnetic fields, and solar wind.[51] The Moon landing marked the end of the space race; and as a gesture, Armstrong mentioned mankind when he stepped down on the Moon.[52] Apollo set major milestones in human spaceflight. It stands alone in sending manned missions beyond low Earth orbit, and landing humans on another celestial body.[53] Apollo 8 was the first manned spacecraft to orbit another celestial body, while Apollo 17 marked the last moonwalk and the last manned mission beyond low Earth orbit to date. The program spurred advances in many areas of technology peripheral to rocketry and manned spaceflight, including avionics, telecommunications, and computers. Apollo sparked interest in many fields of engineering and left many physical facilities and machines developed for the program as landmarks. Many objects and artifacts from the program are on display at various locations throughout the world, notably at the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museums. Skylab (1965–1979) Main article: Skylab Skylab in 1974, seen from the departing Skylab 4 CSM. Skylab was the United States' first and only independently built space station.[54] Conceived in 1965 as a workshop to be constructed in space from a spent Saturn IB upper stage, the 169,950 lb (77,088 kg) station was constructed on Earth and launched on May 14, 1973, atop the first two stages of a Saturn V, into a 235-nautical-mile (435 km) orbit inclined at 50° to the equator. Damaged during launch by the loss of its thermal protection and one electricity-generating solar panel, it was repaired to functionality by its first crew. It was occupied for a total of 171 days by 3 successive crews in 1973 and 1974.[54] It included a laboratory for studying the effects of microgravity, and a solar observatory.[54] NASA planned to have a Space Shuttle dock with it, and elevate Skylab to a higher safe altitude, but the Shuttle was not ready for flight before Skylab's re-entry on July 11, 1979.[55] To save cost, NASA used one of the Saturn V rockets originally earmarked for a canceled Apollo mission to launch the Skylab. Apollo spacecraft were used for transporting astronauts to and from the station. Three three-man crews stayed aboard the station for periods of 28, 59, and 84 days. Skylab's habitable volume was 11,290 cubic feet (320 m3), which was 30.7 times bigger than that of the Apollo Command Module.[55] Apollo–Soyuz Test Project (1972–1975) Main article: Apollo–Soyuz Test Project Soviet and American crews with spacecraft model, 1975. On May 24, 1972, US President Richard M. Nixon and Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin signed an agreement calling for a joint manned space mission, and declaring intent for all future international manned spacecraft to be capable of docking with each other.[56] This authorized the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project (ASTP), involving the rendezvous and docking in Earth orbit of a surplus Apollo Command/Service Module with a Soyuz spacecraft. The mission took place in July 1975. This was the last US manned space flight until the first orbital flight of the Space Shuttle in April 1981.[57] The mission included both joint and separate scientific experiments, and provided useful engineering experience for future joint US–Russian space flights, such as the Shuttle–Mir Program[58] and the International Space Station. Space Shuttle program (1972–2011) Main article: Space Shuttle program Launch of a Space Shuttle. Mae Jemison working in Spacelab in 1992. Spacelab was a major NASA collaboration with Europe's space agencies The Space Shuttle became the major focus of NASA in the late 1970s and the 1980s. Planned as a frequently launchable and mostly reusable vehicle, four space shuttle orbiters were built by 1985. The first to launch, Columbia, did so on April 12, 1981,[59] the 20th anniversary of the first known human space flight.[60] Its major components were a spaceplane orbiter with an external fuel tank and two solid-fuel launch rockets at its side. The external tank, which was bigger than the spacecraft itself, was the only major component that was not reused. The shuttle could orbit in altitudes of 185–643 km (115–400 miles)[61] and carry a maximum payload (to low orbit) of 24,400 kg (54,000 lb).[62] Missions could last from 5 to 17 days and crews could be from 2 to 8 astronauts.[61] On 20 missions (1983–98) the Space Shuttle carried Spacelab, designed in cooperation with the European Space Agency (ESA). Spacelab was not designed for independent orbital flight, but remained in the Shuttle's cargo bay as the astronauts entered and left it through an airlock.[63] Another famous series of missions were the launch and later successful repair of the Hubble Space Telescope in 1990 and 1993, respectively.[64] In 1995, Russian-American interaction resumed with the Shuttle–Mir missions (1995–1998). Once more an American vehicle docked with a Russian craft, this time a full-fledged space station. This cooperation has continued with Russia and the United States as two of the biggest partners in the largest space station built: the International Space Station (ISS). The strength of their cooperation on this project was even more evident when NASA began relying on Russian launch vehicles to service the ISS during the two-year grounding of the shuttle fleet following the 2003 Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. The Shuttle fleet lost two orbiters and 14 astronauts in two disasters: Challenger in 1986, and Columbia in 2003.[65] While the 1986 loss was mitigated by building the Space Shuttle Endeavour from replacement parts, NASA did not build another orbiter to replace the second loss.[65] NASA's Space Shuttle program had 135 missions when the program ended with the successful landing of the Space Shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center on July 21, 2011. The program spanned 30 years with over 300 astronauts sent into space.[66] International Space Station (1993–present) Main article: International Space Station Animation of assembly of the ISS The International Space Station (ISS) combines NASA's Space Station Freedom project with the Soviet/Russian Mir-2 station, the European Columbus station, and the Japanese Kibō laboratory module.[67] NASA originally planned in the 1980s to develop Freedom alone, but US budget constraints led to the merger of these projects into a single multi-national program in 1993, managed by NASA, the Russian Federal Space Agency (RKA), the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).[68][69] The station consists of pressurized modules, external trusses, solar arrays and other components, which have been launched by Russian Proton and Soyuz rockets, and the US Space Shuttles.[67] It is currently being assembled in Low Earth Orbit. The on-orbit assembly began in 1998, the completion of the US Orbital Segment occurred in 2011 and the completion of the Russian Orbital Segment is expected by 2016.[70][71][needs update] The ownership and use of the space station is established in intergovernmental treaties and agreements[72] which divide the station into two areas and allow Russia to retain full ownership of the Russian Orbital Segment (with the exception of Zarya),[73][74] with the US Orbital Segment allocated between the other international partners.[72] The International Space Station as seen by the final STS mission Long duration missions to the ISS are referred to as ISS Expeditions. Expedition crew members typically spend approximately six months on the ISS.[75] The initial expedition crew size was three, temporarily decreased to two following the Columbia disaster. Since May 2009, expedition crew size has been six crew members.[76] Crew size is expected to be increased to seven, the number the ISS was designed for, once the Commercial Crew Program becomes operational.[77] The ISS has been continuously occupied for the past 18 years and 90 days, having exceeded the previous record held by Mir; and has been visited by astronauts and cosmonauts from 15 different nations.[78][79] The station can be seen from the Earth with the naked eye and, as of 2019, is the largest artificial satellite in Earth orbit with a mass and volume greater than that of any previous space station.[80] The Soyuz spacecraft delivers crew members, stays docked for their half-year-long missions and then returns them home. Several uncrewed cargo spacecraft service the ISS, they are the Russian Progress spacecraft which has done so since 2000, the European Automated Transfer Vehicle (ATV) since 2008, the Japanese H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV) since 2009, the American Dragon spacecraft since 2012, and the American Cygnus spacecraft since 2013. The Space Shuttle, before its retirement, was also used for cargo transfer and would often switch out expedition crew members, although it did not have the capability to remain docked for the duration of their stay. Until another US manned spacecraft is ready, crew members will travel to and from the International Space Station exclusively aboard the Soyuz.[81] The highest number of people occupying the ISS has been thirteen; this occurred three times during the late Shuttle ISS assembly missions.[82] The ISS program is expected to continue until at least 2020, and may be extended beyond 2028.[83] Commercial programs (2006–present) Main articles: Commercial Resupply Services and Commercial Crew Development Dragon being berthed to the ISS in May 2012 Cygnus berthed to the ISS in September 2013 The development of the Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) vehicles began in 2006 with the purpose of creating American commercially operated uncrewed cargo vehicles to service the ISS.[84] The development of these vehicles was under a fixed price milestone-based program, meaning that each company that received a funded award had a list of milestones with a dollar value attached to them that they didn't receive until after they had successfully completed the milestone.[85] Companies were also required to raise an unspecified amount of private investment for their proposal.[86] On December 23, 2008, NASA awarded Commercial Resupply Services contracts to SpaceX and Orbital Sciences Corporation.[87] SpaceX uses its Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft.[88] Orbital Sciences uses its Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft. The first Dragon resupply mission occurred in May 2012.[89] The first Cygnus resupply mission occurred in September 2013.[90] The CRS program now provides for all America's ISS cargo needs; with the exception of a few vehicle-specific payloads that are delivered on the European ATV and the Japanese HTV.[91] Dragon V2 Rendering of CST-100 in orbit The Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program was started in 2010 with the purpose of creating American commercially operated crewed spacecraft capable of delivering at least four crew members to the ISS, staying docked for 180 days and then returning them back to Earth.[92] It is hoped that these vehicles could also transport non-NASA customers to private space stations such those planned by Bigelow Aerospace.[93] Like COTS, CCDev is also a fixed price milestone-based developmental program that requires some private investment.[85] In 2010, NASA announced the winners of the first phase of the program, a total of $50 million was divided among five American companies to foster research and development into human spaceflight concepts and technologies in the private sector. In 2011, the winners of the second phase of the program were announced, $270 million was divided among four companies.[94] In 2012, the winners of the third phase of the program were announced, NASA provided $1.1 billion divided among three companies to further develop their crew transportation systems.[95] In 2014, the winners of the final round were announced.[96] SpaceX's Dragon V2 (planned to be launched on a Falcon 9 v1.1) received a contract valued up to $2.6 billion and Boeing's CST-100 (to be launched on an Atlas V) received a contract valued up to $4.2 billion.[97] NASA expects these vehicles to begin transporting humans to the ISS in 2019.[98] Beyond Low Earth Orbit program (2010–2017) For missions beyond low Earth orbit (BLEO), NASA has been directed to develop the Space Launch System (SLS), a Saturn-V class rocket, and the two to six person, beyond low Earth orbit spacecraft, Orion. In February 2010, President Barack Obama's administration proposed eliminating public funds for the Constellation program and shifting greater responsibility of servicing the ISS to private companies.[99] During a speech at the Kennedy Space Center on April 15, 2010, Obama proposed a new heavy-lift vehicle (HLV) to replace the formerly planned Ares V.[100] In his speech, Obama called for a manned mission to an asteroid as soon as 2025, and a manned mission to Mars orbit by the mid-2030s.[100] The NASA Authorization Act of 2010 was passed by Congress and signed into law on October 11, 2010.[101] The act officially canceled the Constellation program.[101] The Authorization Act required a newly designed HLV be chosen within 90 days of its passing; the launch vehicle was given the name "Space Launch System". The new law also required the construction of a beyond low earth orbit spacecraft.[102] The Orion spacecraft, which was being developed as part of the Constellation program, was chosen to fulfill this role.[103] The Space Launch System is planned to launch both Orion and other necessary hardware for missions beyond low Earth orbit.[104] The SLS is to be upgraded over time with more powerful versions. The initial capability of SLS is required to be able to lift 70 mt into LEO. It is then planned to be upgraded to 105 mt and then eventually to 130 mt.[103][105] Exploration Flight Test 1 (EFT-1), an unmanned test flight of Orion's crew module, was launched on December 5, 2014, atop a Delta IV Heavy rocket.[105] Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1) is the unmanned initial launch of SLS that would also send Orion on a circumlunar trajectory, which is planned for 2019.[105] NASA Graphic for the Journey to Mars NASA's next major space initiative is to be the construction of the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway (LOP-G, formerly known as the "Deep Space Gateway"). This initiative is to involve the construction of a new "Space-Station" type of habitation, which will have many features in common with the current International Space Station, except that it will be in orbit about the Moon, instead of the Earth.[106] This space station will be designed primarily for non-continuous human habitation. The first tentative steps of returning to manned lunar missions will be Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2), which is to include the Orion crew module, propelled by the SLS, and is to launch in 2022. This mission is to be a 10- to 14-day mission planned to briefly place a crew of four into Lunar orbit.[105] The construction of the "Lunar Orbital Platform" is to begin with the following Exploration Mission-3 (EM-3), which is planned to deliver a crew of 4 to Lunar orbit along with the first module(s) of the new space-station. This mission will last for up to 26 days. On June 5, 2016, NASA and DARPA announced plans to also build a series of new X-planes over the next 10 years.[107] One of the planes will be the Quiet Supersonic Technology project, burning low-carbon biofuels and generating quiet sonic booms.[107] NASA plans to build full scale deep space habitats such as the Lunar Orbital Platform and the Nautilus-X as part of its Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) program.[108] In 2017, NASA was directed by the congressional NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 to get humans to Mars-orbit (or to the Martian surface) by 2033.[109][110] Unmanned programs Main article: Unmanned NASA missions Pioneer 3 and 4 launched in 1958 and 1959, respectively JWST main mirror assembled, November 2016 More than 1,000 unmanned missions have been designed to explore the Earth and the solar system.[111] Besides exploration, communication satellites have also been launched by NASA.[112] The missions have been launched directly from Earth or from orbiting space shuttles, which could either deploy the satellite itself, or with a rocket stage to take it farther. The first US unmanned satellite was Explorer 1, which started as an ABMA/JPL project during the early part of the Space Race. It was launched in January 1958, two months after Sputnik. At the creation of NASA, the Explorer project was transferred to the agency and still continues to this day. Its missions have been focusing on the Earth and the Sun, measuring magnetic fields and the solar wind, among other aspects.[113] A more recent Earth mission, not related to the Explorer program, was the Hubble Space Telescope, which as mentioned above was brought into orbit in 1990.[114] The inner Solar System has been made the goal of at least four unmanned programs. The first was Mariner in the 1960s and '70s, which made multiple visits to Venus and Mars and one to Mercury. Probes launched under the Mariner program were also the first to make a planetary flyby (Mariner 2), to take the first pictures from another planet (Mariner 4), the first planetary orbiter (Mariner 9), and the first to make a gravity assist maneuver (Mariner 10). This is a technique where the satellite takes advantage of the gravity and velocity of planets to reach its destination.[115] The first successful landing on Mars was made by Viking 1 in 1976. Twenty years later a rover was landed on Mars by Mars Pathfinder.[116] File:NASA 60th- What’s Out There.webmPlay media Many of the unmanned missions were used to explore the outer reaches of space as seen in this video Outside Mars, Jupiter was first visited by Pioneer 10 in 1973. More than 20 years later Galileo sent a probe into the planet's atmosphere, and became the first spacecraft to orbit the planet.[117] Pioneer 11 became the first spacecraft to visit Saturn in 1979, with Voyager 2 making the first (and so far only) visits to Uranus and Neptune in 1986 and 1989, respectively. The first spacecraft to leave the solar system was Pioneer 10 in 1983. For a time it was the most distant spacecraft, but it has since been surpassed by both Voyager 1 and Voyager 2.[118] Pioneers 10 and 11 and both Voyager probes carry messages from the Earth to extraterrestrial life.[119][120] Communication can be difficult with deep space travel. For instance, it took about three hours for a radio signal to reach the New Horizons spacecraft when it was more than halfway to Pluto.[121] Contact with Pioneer 10 was lost in 2003. Both Voyager probes continue to operate as they explore the outer boundary between the Solar System and interstellar space.[122] On November 26, 2011, NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission was successfully launched for Mars. Curiosity successfully landed on Mars on August 6, 2012, and subsequently began its search for evidence of past or present life on Mars.[123][124][125] Activities (2010–2017) Radioisotope within a graphite shell that goes into the generator. NASA's ongoing investigations include in-depth surveys of Mars (Mars 2020 and InSight) and Saturn and studies of the Earth and the Sun. Other active spacecraft missions are Juno for Jupiter, New Horizons (for Jupiter, Pluto, and beyond), and Dawn for the asteroid belt. NASA continued to support in situ exploration beyond the asteroid belt, including Pioneer and Voyager traverses into the unexplored trans-Pluto region, and Gas Giant orbiters Galileo (1989–2003), Cassini(1997–2017), and Juno (2011–). In the early 2000s, NASA was put on course for the Moon, however in 2010 this program was cancelled (see Constellation program). As part of that plan the Shuttle was going to be replaced, however, although it was retired its replacement was also cancelled, leaving the US with no human spaceflight launcher for the first time in over three decades. The New Horizons mission to Pluto was launched in 2006 and successfully performed a flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015. The probe received a gravity assist from Jupiter in February 2007, examining some of Jupiter's inner moons and testing on-board instruments during the flyby. On the horizon of NASA's plans is the MAVEN spacecraft as part of the Mars Scout Program to study the atmosphere of Mars.[126] On December 4, 2006, NASA announced it was planning a permanent Moon base.[127] The goal was to start building the Moon base by 2020, and by 2024, have a fully functional base that would allow for crew rotations and in-situ resource utilization. However, in 2009, the Augustine Committee found the program to be on an "unsustainable trajectory."[128] In 2010, President Barack Obama halted existing plans, including the Moon base, and directed a generic focus on manned missions to asteroids and Mars, as well as extending support for the International Space Station.[129] Since 2011, NASA's strategic goals have been[130] Extend and sustain human activities across the solar system Expand scientific understanding of the Earth and the universe Create innovative new space technologies Advance aeronautics research Enable program and institutional capabilities to conduct NASA's aeronautics and space activities Share NASA with the public, educators, and students to provide opportunities to participate In August 2011, NASA accepted the donation of two space telescopes from the National Reconnaissance Office. Despite being stored unused, the instruments are superior to the Hubble Space Telescope.[131] In September 2011, NASA announced the start of the Space Launch System program to develop a human-rated heavy lift vehicle. The Space Launch System is intended to launch the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle and other elements towards the Moon, near-Earth asteroids, and one day Mars.[132] The Orion MPCV conducted an unmanned test launch on a Delta IV Heavy rocket in December 2014.[133] The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is currently scheduled to launch in May 2020.[134] Curiosity's wheel on Mars, 2012 Curiosity's battered wheel after several years of exploration, 2017 On August 6, 2012, NASA landed the rover Curiosity on Mars. On August 27, 2012, Curiosity transmitted the first pre-recorded message from the surface of Mars back to Earth, made by Administrator Charlie Bolden: Hello. This is Charlie Bolden, NASA Administrator, speaking to you via the broadcast capabilities of the Curiosity Rover, which is now on the surface of Mars. Since the beginning of time, humankind's curiosity has led us to constantly seek new life ... new possibilities just beyond the horizon. I want to congratulate the men and women of our NASA family as well as our commercial and government partners around the world, for taking us a step beyond to Mars. This is an extraordinary achievement. Landing a rover on Mars is not easy – others have tried – only America has fully succeeded. The investment we are making ... the knowledge we hope to gain from our observation and analysis of Gale Crater, will tell us much about the possibility of life on Mars as well as the past and future possibilities for our own planet. Curiosity will bring benefits to Earth and inspire a new generation of scientists and explorers, as it prepares the way for a human mission in the not too distant future. Thank you.[135] Recent and planned activities NASA's ongoing investigations include in-depth surveys of Mars (Mars 2020 and InSight) and Saturn and studies of the Earth and the Sun. Other active spacecraft missions are Juno for Jupiter, New Horizons (for Jupiter, Pluto, and beyond), and Dawn for the asteroid belt. NASA continued to support in situ exploration beyond the asteroid belt, including Pioneer and Voyager traverses into the unexplored trans-Pluto region, and Gas Giant orbiters Galileo (1989–2003), Cassini (1997–2017), and Juno (2011–). The New Horizons mission to Pluto was launched in 2006 and successfully performed a flyby of Pluto on July 14, 2015. The probe received a gravity assist from Jupiter in February 2007, examining some of Jupiter's inner moons and testing on-board instruments during the flyby. On the horizon of NASA's plans is the MAVEN spacecraft as part of the Mars Scout Program to study the atmosphere of Mars.[126] In 2017, President Donald Trump directed NASA to send Humans to Mars by the year 2033.[109][136] Foci in general for NASA were noted as human space exploration, space science, and technology.[136] The Europa Clipper and Mars 2020 continue to be supported for their planned schedules.[137] In 2018, NASA alongside with other companies including Sensor Coating Systems, Pratt & Whitney, Monitor Coating and UTRC have launched the project CAUTION (CoAtings for Ultra High Temperature detectION). This project aims to enhance the temperature range of the Thermal History Coating up to 1,500C and beyond. The final goal of this project is improving the safety of jet engines as well as increasing efficiency and reducing CO2 emissions.[138] Recent and planned activities include: InSight, Launched and landed on Mars in 2018 New Horizons, Kuiper belt object (486958) 2014 MU69 flyby on January 1, 2019[139] Osiris-Rex, en route for asteroid sample return on September 24, 2023[140] Mars 2020 rover (planned)[141] Europa Clipper (planned) Misc. Discovery Missions[citation needed] Misc. Explorer Missions[citation needed] New Frontier mission including New Horizons, Juno, and Osiris-Rex[citation needed] Earth Observation, Solar and Astronomical observatories[citation needed] James Webb Space Telescope (planned) Parker Solar Probe, launched August 2018 Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), launched in April 2018 Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) (planned)[142] NASA Advisory Council In response to the Apollo 1 accident which killed three astronauts in 1967, Congress directed NASA to form an Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) to advise the NASA Administrator on safety issues and hazards in NASA's aerospace programs. In the aftermath of the Shuttle Columbia accident, Congress required that the ASAP submit an annual report to the NASA Administrator and to Congress.[143] By 1971, NASA had also established the Space Program Advisory Council and the Research and Technology Advisory Council to provide the administrator with advisory committee support. In 1977, the latter two were combined to form the NASA Advisory Council (NAC).[144] The National Aeronautics and Space Administration Authorization Act of 2014 reaffirmed the importance of ASAP. Directives Further information: Space policy of the United States Artistic rendition of Space Station Freedom with the Orbiter Vehicle Some of the major NASA directives were to land people on the Moon, build the space shuttle, and build a large space station. Typically, the major directives had the intervention of the science advisory, political, funding, and public interest that synergized into various waves of effort often heavily swayed by technical, funding, and worldwide events. For example, there was a major push to build Space Station Freedom in the 1980s, but when the Cold War ended, the Russians, the Americans and other international partners came together to build the International Space Station. In the 2010s, the major shift was the retirement of the Space Shuttle and the development of a new manned heavy lift rocket, the Space Launch System. Missions for the new System have varied but overall, they were similar as it primarily involved the desire to send a human into the space. The Space Exploration Initiative of the 1980s opened newer avenues of galaxy exploration. In the coming decades, the focus is gradually shifting towards exploration of planet Mars; however, some differences exist over the technologies to develop and focus on for the exploration.[145] One of the options considered was the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM).[145] ARM had largely been defunded in 2017, but the key technologies developed for ARM would be utilized for future exploration, especially on a solar electric propulsion system.[146][145] Longer project execution timelines means its up to the future officials to execute on a directive, which often leads to directional mismanagement. For example, a Shuttle replacement has numerous components involved, each making some headway before being called off for various reasons including the National Aerospace Plane, Venture Star, Orbital Space Plane, Ares I, and others. The asteroid mission was not a major directive in the 2010s. Instead, the general support rested with the long-term goal of getting humans to Mars. The space shuttle was retired and much of the existing road map was shelved including the then planned Lunar Return and Ares I human launch vehicle. Previously, in the early 2000s, there was a plan called the Constellation Program but this was defunded in the early 2010s.[147][148][149][150] In the 1990s, there was a plan called "Faster, Better, Cheaper"[151] In the 1980s, there was a directive to build a manned space station.[152] NASA Authorization Act of 2017 Orion at ISS artwork The NASA Authorization Act of 2017, which included $19.5 billion in funding for that fiscal year, directed NASA to get humans near or on the surface of Mars by the early 2030s.[153] Space Policy Directive 1 In December 2017, on the 45th anniversary of the last manned mission to the Lunar surface, President Donald Trump approved a directive that includes a lunar mission on the pathway to Mars and beyond.[145] We'll learn. The directive I'm signing today will refocus America's space program on human exploration and discovery. It marks an important step in returning American astronauts to the Moon for the first time since 1972 for long-term exploration and use. This time, we will not only plant our flag and leave our footprint, we will establish a foundation for an eventual mission to Mars. And perhaps, someday, to many worlds beyond. — President Trump, 2017[154] New NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine addressed this directive in an August 2018 speech where he focused on the sustainability aspects—going to the Moon to stay—that are explicit in the directive, including taking advantage of US commercial space capability that did not exist even five years ago, which have driven down costs and increased access to space.[155] Research Main article: NASA research For technologies funded or otherwise supported by NASA, see NASA spinoff technologies. NASA developed this hard-suit in the 1980s at the Ames Research Center NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate conducts aeronautics research. NASA has made use of technologies such as the Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG), which is a type of Radioisotope thermoelectric generator used on space missions.[156] Shortages of this material have curtailed deep space missions since the turn of the millennia.[157] An example of a spacecraft that was not developed because of a shortage of this material was New Horizons 2.[157] The earth science research program was created and first funded in the 1980s under the administrations of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.[158][159] NASA started an annual competition in 2014 named Cubes in Space.[160] It is jointly organized by NASA and the global education company I Doodle Learning, with the objective of teaching school students aged 11–18 to design and build scientific experiments to be launched into space on a NASA rocket or balloon. On June 21, 2017 the world's smallest satellite, Kalam SAT, built by an Indian team, was launched.[citation needed] Climate study NASA also researches and publishes on climate change.[161] Its statements concur with the global scientific consensus that the global climate is warming.[162] Bob Walker, who has advised the 45th President of the United States Donald Trump on space issues, has advocated that NASA should focus on space exploration and that its climate study operations should be transferred to other agencies such as NOAA. Former NASA atmospheric scientist J. Marshall Shepherd countered that Earth science study was built into NASA's mission at its creation in the 1958 National Aeronautics and Space Act.[163] Facilities Jet Propulsion Laboratory complex in Pasadena, California Jet Propulsion Laboratory complex in Pasadena, California Vehicle Assembly Building and Launch Control Center at Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly and Launch Control at Kennedy Space Center Main article: NASA facilities NASA's facilities are research, construction and communication centers to help its missions. Some facilities serve more than one application for historic or administrative reasons. NASA also operates a short-line railroad at the Kennedy Space Center and uses special aircraft. John F. Kennedy Space Center (KSC), is one of the best-known NASA facilities. It has been the launch site for every United States human space flight since 1968. Although such flights are currently on pause, KSC continues to manage and operate unmanned rocket launch facilities for America's civilian space program from three pads at the adjoining Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center (JSC) in Houston is home to the Christopher C. Kraft Jr. Mission Control Center, where all flight control is managed for manned space missions. JSC is the lead NASA center for activities regarding the International Space Station and also houses the NASA Astronaut Corps that selects, trains, and provides astronauts as crew members for US and international space missions. FCR 1 in 2009 during the STS-128 mission, JSC in Houston Another major facility is Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama at which the Saturn 5 rocket and Skylab were developed.[164] The JPL worked together with ABMA, one of the agencies behind Explorer 1, the first American space mission. The ten NASA field centers are: John F. Kennedy Space Center, Florida Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California Armstrong Flight Research Center (formerly Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Facility), Edwards, California Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland Jet Propulsion Laboratory, near Pasadena, California Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas Langley Research Center, Hampton, Virginia John H. Glenn Research Center, Cleveland, Ohio George C. Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Alabama John C. Stennis Space Center, Bay St. Louis, Mississippi Numerous other facilities are operated by NASA, including the Wallops Flight Facility in Wallops Island, Virginia; the Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans, Louisiana; the White Sands Test Facility in Las Cruces, New Mexico; and Deep Space Network stations in Barstow, California; Madrid, Spain; and Canberra, Australia. Budget NASA's budget from 1958 to 2012 as a percentage of federal budget An artist's conception, from NASA, of an astronaut planting a US flag on Mars. A manned mission to Mars has been discussed as a possible NASA mission since the 1960s. Main article: Budget of NASA NASA's share of the total federal budget peaked at approximately 4.41% in 1966 during the Apollo program, then rapidly declined to approximately 1% in 1975, and stayed around that level through 1998.[23][165] The percentage then gradually dropped, until leveling off again at around half a percent in 2006 (estimated in 2012 at 0.48% of the federal budget).[166] In a March 2012 hearing of the United States Senate Science Committee, science communicator Neil deGrasse Tyson testified that "Right now, NASA's annual budget is half a penny on your tax dollar. For twice that—a penny on a dollar—we can transform the country from a sullen, dispirited nation, weary of economic struggle, to one where it has reclaimed its 20th century birthright to dream of tomorrow."[167][168] Despite this, public perception of NASA's budget differs significantly: a 1997 poll indicated that most Americans believed that 20% of the federal budget went to NASA.[169] For Fiscal Year 2015, NASA received an appropriation of US$18.01 billion from Congress—$549 million more than requested and approximately $350 million more than the 2014 NASA budget passed by Congress.[170] In Fiscal Year 2016, NASA received $19.3 billion.[136] President Donald Trump signed the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017 in March, which set the 2017 budget at around $19.5 billion.[136] The budget is also reported as $19.3 billion for 2017, with $20.7 billion proposed for FY2018.[171][172] Examples of some proposed FY2018 budgets:[172] Exploration: $4.79 billion Planetary science: $2.23 billion Earth science: $1.92 billion Aeronautics: $0.685 billion Environmental impact The exhaust gases produced by rocket propulsion systems, both in Earth's atmosphere and in space, can adversely effect the Earth's environment. Some hypergolic rocket propellants, such as hydrazine, are highly toxic prior to combustion, but decompose into less toxic compounds after burning. Rockets using hydrocarbon fuels, such as kerosene, release carbon dioxide and soot in their exhaust.[173] However, carbon dioxide emissions are insignificant compared to those from other sources; on average, the United States consumed 802,620,000 US gallons (3.0382×109 L) gallons of liquid fuels per day in 2014, while a single Falcon 9 rocket first stage burns around 25,000 US gallons (95,000 L) of kerosene fuel per launch.[174][175] Even if a Falcon 9 were launched every single day, it would only represent 0.006% of liquid fuel consumption (and carbon dioxide emissions) for that day. Additionally, the exhaust from LOx- and LH2- fueled engines, like the SSME, is almost entirely water vapor.[176] NASA addressed environmental concerns with its canceled Constellation program in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act in 2011.[177] In contrast, ion engines use harmless noble gases like xenon for propulsion.[178][179] On May 8, 2003, Environmental Protection Agency recognized NASA as the first federal agency to directly use landfill gas to produce energy at one of its facilities—the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland.[180] An example of NASA's environmental efforts is the NASA Sustainability Base. Additionally, the Exploration Sciences Building was awarded the LEED Gold rating in 2010.[181] Gallery Observations Plot of orbits of known Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (size over 460 feet (140 m) and passing within 4.7 million miles (7.6×106 km) of Earth's orbit) Various nebulae observed from a NASA space telescope 1 Ceres Pluto Jupiter Spacecraft Hardware comparison of Apollo, Gemini and Mercury[note 3] Hubble Space Telescope, astronomy observatory in Earth orbit since 1990. Also visited by the Space Shuttle Curiosity rover, roving Mars since 2012 Planned spacecraft James Webb Space Telescope rendering in orbit Orion spacecraft design as of January 2013 Space Launch System concept art Mars 2020 rover design art Concepts NASA has developed oftentimes elaborate plans and technology concepts, some of which become worked into real plans. Space Tug concept, 1970s Vision mission for an interstellar precursor spacecraft by NASA, 2000s Langley's Mars Ice Dome design for a Mars habitat, 2010s Examples of missions by target Here are some selected examples of missions to planetary-sized objects. Other major targets of study are the Earth itself, the Sun, and smaller solar system bodies like asteroids and comets. In addition, the moons of the planets or body are also studied. Examples of robotic missions Spacecraft Launch year Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto Mariner 2 1962 Flyby Mariner 4 1964 Flyby Mariner 5 1967 Flyby Mariner 6 and 7 1969 Flyby Mariner 9 1971 Orbiter Pioneer 10 1972 Flyby Pioneer 11 1973 Flyby Flyby Mariner 10 1973 Flyby Flyby Viking 1 and Viking 2 1975 Orbiters Landers Voyager 1 1977 Flyby Flyby Voyager 2 1977 Flyby Flyby Flyby Flyby Galileo 1989 Flyby Orbiter Magellan 1989 Orbiter Mars Global Surveyor 1996 Orbiter Cassini 1997 Flyby Flyby Orbiter Mars Odyssey 2001 Orbiter Spirit and Opportunity 2003 Rovers MESSENGER 2004 Orbiter Flyby Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter 2005 Orbiter New Horizons 2006 Flyby Flyby Juno 2011 Orbiter Curiosity (Mars Science Laboratory) 2011 Rover MAVEN 2013 Orbiter Spacecraft Launch year Mercury Venus Mars Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto Examples of missions for the Sun Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph Solar Dynamics Observatory STEREO Ulysses (spacecraft) Parker Solar Probe Examples of missions to small solar system bodies (e.g. Comets and asteroids) NEAR Shoemaker Dawn (spacecraft) OSIRIS-REx Examples of missions to the Moon Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter LADEE See also NASA portal Government of the United States portal Spaceflight portal Astronomy Picture of the Day Department of Defense Manned Space Flight Support Office List of government space agencies List of NASA aircraft List of United States rockets NASA Advanced Space Transportation Program NASA Art Program NASA insignia NASA Research Park NASA TV NASAcast Small Explorer program Space policy of the Barack Obama administration TechPort (NASA) French space program Chinese space program Roscosmos Notes NASA is an independent agency that is not a part of any executive department but reports directly to the President.[5][6] The descend stage of the LM stayed on the Moon after landing while the ascend stage brought the two astronauts back to the CSM and then fell back to the Moon. 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Spaceflight Insider. March 21, 2017. Retrieved December 2, 2018. "Launch History (Cumulative)" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "NASA Experimental Communications Satellites, 1958–1995". NASA. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "NASA, Explorers program". NASA. Retrieved September 20, 2011. NASA mission STS-31 (35) Archived August 18, 2011, at WebCite "JPL, Chapter 4. Interplanetary Trajectories". NASA. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "Missions to Mars". The Planet Society. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "Missions to Jupiter". The Planet Society. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "JPL Voyager". JPL. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "Pioneer 10 spacecraft send last signal". NASA. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "The golden record". JPL. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "New Horizon". JHU/APL. Archived from the original on May 9, 2010. Retrieved September 30, 2011. "Voyages Beyond the Solar System: The Voyager Interstellar Mission". NASA. Retrieved September 30, 2011. NASA Staff (November 26, 2011). "Mars Science Laboratory". NASA. Retrieved November 26, 2011. "NASA Launches Super-Size Rover to Mars: 'Go, Go!'". New York Times. Associated Press. November 26, 2011. Retrieved November 26, 2011. Kenneth Chang (August 6, 2012). "Curiosity Rover Lands Safely on Mars". The New York Times. Retrieved August 6, 2012. Wilson, Jim (September 15, 2008). "NASA Selects 'MAVEN' Mission to Study Mars Atmosphere". NASA. Retrieved July 15, 2009. NASA Office of Public Affairs (December 4, 2006). "GLOBAL EXPLORATION STRATEGY AND LUNAR ARCHITECTURE" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved July 15, 2009. "Review of United States Human Space Flight Plans Committee" (PDF). Office of Science and Technology Policy. October 22, 2009. Retrieved December 13, 2011. Goddard, Jacqui (February 2, 2010). "Nasa reduced to pipe dreams as Obama cancels Moon flights". The Times. London. Retrieved May 19, 2010. "NASA Strategic Plan, 2011" (PDF). NASA Headquarters. Boyle, Rebecca (June 5, 2012). "NASA Adopts Two Spare Spy Telescopes, Each Maybe More Powerful than Hubble". Popular Science. Popular Science Technology Group. Retrieved June 5, 2012. "NASA Announces Design for New Deep Space Exploration System". NASA. September 14, 2011. Retrieved December 13, 2011. "NASA's Orion Flight Test Yields Critical Data". NASA. Billings, Lee. "NASA's James Webb Space Telescope Slips to 2020, and Astronomy Suffers". Scientific American. Retrieved April 20, 2018. JPL, NASA. "First Recorded Voice from Mars". "Trump just signed a law that maps out NASA's long-term future — but a critical element is missing". Ledyard King (March 16, 2017). "Trump's NASA budget preserves Mars mission, cuts Earth science, asteroid trip, education". USA Today. SCS (August 23, 2018). "Sensor Coating Systems launches new national aerospace project with NATEP and some leading international players". Chang, Kenneth (December 31, 2018). "New Horizons Spacecraft Completes Flyby of Ultima Thule, the Most Distant Object Ever Visited". The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2019. "OSIRIS-REx Factsheet" (PDF). NASA/Explorers and Heliophysics Projects Division. August 2011. "Overview – Mars 2020 Rover". Retrieved 2018-10-30. Faust, Jeff (28 March 2018). "WFIRST work continues despite budget and schedule uncertainty". Retrieved 17 September 2018. "NASA Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP)". Mochinski, Ron (April 8, 2015). "About Us – Background and Charter". "President Trump Directs NASA to Return to the Moon, Then Aim for Mars". Jeff Foust (June 14, 2017). "NASA closing out Asteroid Redirect Mission". Space News. Retrieved September 9, 2017. Amos, Jonathan (February 1, 2010). "Obama cancels Moon return project". BBC News. Retrieved March 7, 2010. "Terminations, Reductions, and Savings" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 11, 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2010. Achenbach, Joel (February 1, 2010). "NASA budget for 2011 eliminates funds for manned lunar missions". Washington Post. Retrieved February 1, 2010. "Fiscal Year 2011 Budget Estimates" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 1, 2010. Retrieved March 7, 2010. [1] Garber, Todd Messer, Claire Rojstaczer, and Steve. "Reagan ISS". "US Government Issues NASA Demand, 'Get Humans to Mars By 2033'". Futurism. March 9, 2017. Retrieved February 16, 2018. "Text of Remarks at Signing of Trump Space Policy Directive 1 and List of Attendees", Marcia Smith, Space Policy Online, 11 December 2017, accessed 21 August 2018. Bridenstine Speaks at NASA Advisory Council Meeting, at 4:40, NASA TV, 29 August 2018, accessed 1 September 2018. "Radioisotope Power Systems for Space Exploration" (PDF). March 2011. Retrieved March 13, 2015. "New Horizons II Final Report – March 2005" (PDF). Eric Berger, Houston Chronicle, April 29, 2015 "A history primer: NASA's robust Earth Science program now under attack originated in the Reagan and Bush administrations", Eric Berger, "Ars Tecnica", October 29, 2015, "Republicans outraged over NASA earth science programs ... that Reagan began" "Cubes in Space". Retrieved July 1, 2017. NASA's climate page. NASA, July 19, 2016 "2016 Climate Trends Continue to Break Records" Jason Samenow, Washington Post, July 23, 2016 "Trump adviser proposes dismantling NASA climate research" "MSFCFactsheet" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved October 1, 2011. Rogers, Simon. (February 1, 2010) Nasa budgets: US spending on space travel since 1958 |Society. Retrieved on August 26, 2013. "Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Estimates" (PDF). NASA. Retrieved February 13, 2013. "Past, Present, and Future of NASA — U.S. Senate Testimony". Hayden Planetarium. March 7, 2012. Retrieved December 4, 2012. "Past, Present, and Future of NASA — U.S. Senate Testimony (Video)". Hayden Planetarium. March 7, 2012. Retrieved December 4, 2012. Launius, Roger D. "Public opinion polls and perceptions of US human spaceflight". Division of Space History, National Air and Space Museum, Smithsonian Institution. Clark, Stephen (December 14, 2014). "NASA gets budget hike in spending bill passed by Congress". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved December 15, 2014. Staff, Science News. "Updated: Congress approves largest U.S. research spending increase in a decade". Science. American Association for the Advancement of Science. Retrieved March 23, 2018. Foust, Jeff. "NASA receives $20.7 billion in omnibus appropriations bill". Space News. Retrieved March 23, 2018. "Rocket Soot Emissions and Climate Change". The Aerospace Corporation. July 31, 2013. Archived from the original on July 7, 2014. Retrieved January 7, 2014. "Short-Term Energy Outlook" (PDF). U.S. Energy Information Administration. February 9, 2016. "U.S. Petroleum and Other Liquids" "Spaceflight Now – Dragon Mission Report – Mission Status Center". Retrieved July 4, 2015. "Space Shuttle Main Engines". NASA. July 16, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2015. "Constellation Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement". NASA. August 1, 2011. Retrieved June 19, 2014. Shiga, David (September 28, 2007). "Next-generation ion engine sets new thrust record". New Scientist. Retrieved February 2, 2011. Goto, T; Nakata Y; Morita S (2003). "Will xenon be a stranger or a friend?: the cost, benefit, and future of xenon anesthesia". Anesthesiology. 98 (1): 1–2. doi:10.1097/00000542-200301000-00002. PMID 12502969. Archived from the original on August 11, 2011. Retrieved September 15, 2010. Michael K. Ewert (2006). "Johnson Space Center's Role in a Sustainable Future" (PDF). NASA. Archived from the original (PDF) on May 27, 2008. Retrieved April 28, 2008. "NASA – NASA's New Building Awarded the U.S. Green Building Council LEED Gold Rating". Further reading How NASA works on NASA History Division Monthly look at Exploration events NODIS: NASA Online Directives Information System NTRS: NASA Technical Reports Server NASA History and the Challenge of Keeping the Contemporary Past Quest: The History of Spaceflight Quarterly vte NASA Policy and history History NACA (1915) National Aeronautics and Space Act (1958) Space Task Group (1958) Paine (1986) Rogers (1986) Ride (1987) Space Exploration Initiative (1989) Augustine (1990) U.S. National Space Policy (1996) CFUSAI (2002) CAIB (2003) Vision for Space Exploration (2004) Aldridge (2004) Augustine (2009) General Space Race Administrator and Deputy Administrator Chief Scientist Astronaut Corps ranks and positions Budget Spin-off technologies NASA TV NASA Social Launch Services Program Apollo 15 postal covers incident Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building Launch Complex 39 Launch Control Center Johnson Space Center Mission Control Lunar Sample Laboratory NASA logo.svg Robotic programs Past Hitchhiker Mariner Mariner Mark II MESUR Mars Surveyor '98 New Millennium Lunar Orbiter Pioneer Planetary Observer Ranger Surveyor Viking Project Prometheus Mars Scout Current Living With a Star Lunar Precursor Robotic Program Earth Observing System Great Observatories program Explorer Small explorer Voyager Discovery New Frontiers Mars Exploration Rover Solar Terrestrial Probes Human spaceflight programs Past X-15 (suborbital) Mercury Gemini Apollo Apollo–Soyuz Test Project (with the Soviet space program) Skylab Space Shuttle Shuttle–Mir (with Roscosmos State Corporation) Constellation Current International Space Station Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) Orion Individual featured missions (human and robotic) Past COBE Mercury 3 Mercury-Atlas 6 Magellan Pioneer 10 Pioneer 11 Galileo GALEX GRAIL WMAP Space Shuttle Sojourner rover Spirit rover LADEE MESSENGER Aquarius Cassini Dawn Kepler Currently operating Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter 2001 Mars Odyssey New Horizons International Space Station Hubble Space Telescope Spitzer RHESSI Swift THEMIS Mars Exploration Rover Curiosity rover timeline Opportunity rover observed InSight GOES 14 Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter GOES 15 Van Allen Probes SDO Juno Mars Science Laboratory timeline NuSTAR Voyager 1 Voyager 2 WISE MAVEN MMS OSIRIS-REx Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite Future JPSS James Webb Space Telescope WFIRST Mars 2020 NISAR Europa Clipper Communications and navigation Near Earth Network Space Network Deep Space Network (Goldstone Madrid Canberra Space Flight Operations Facility) Deep Space Atomic Clock NASA lists Astronauts by name by year Apollo astronauts List of NASA aircraft List of NASA missions unmanned missions List of NASA contractors List of United States rockets List of NASA cancellations List of Space Shuttle missions crews NASA images and artwork Earthrise The Blue Marble Family Portrait Pale Blue Dot Pillars of Creation Mystic Mountain Solar System Family Portrait The Day the Earth Smiled Fallen Astronaut Lunar plaques Pioneer plaques Voyager Golden Record Apollo 11 goodwill messages NASA insignia Gemini and Apollo medallions Mission patches Portal Portal Category Category vte NASA facilities NASA Headquarters Primary 10 centers Space/space flight Goddard Space Flight Center Jet Propulsion Laboratory Johnson Space Center Mission Control Lunar Sample Laboratory Kennedy Space Center Vehicle Assembly Building Launch Complex 39 Marshall Space Flight Center Stennis Space Center Research Ames Research Center Armstrong Flight Research Center Glenn Research Center Langley Research Center Other facilities Michoud Assembly Facility Wallops Flight Facility White Sands Test Facility Goddard Institute for Space Studies Santa Susana Field Laboratory Scientific Balloon Flight Facility Independent Verification and Validation Facility Deep Space Network Goldstone Madrid Canberra Space Flight Operations Facility Carnarvon Tracking Station Portal Portal Articles and topics related to NASA Authority control Edit this at Wikidata BNE: XX148293 BNF: cb11868484t (data) GND: 2294-9 ISNI: 0000 0001 1456 7559 LCCN: n78087581 LNB: 000175514 MusicBrainz: 7e779bc3-c034-468b-9cc2-b3d99ad50cfd MusicBrainz: 811ff445-cd10-48c5-a3c3-c8ede74a9189 NDL: 00276299 NKC: kn20010711417 NSK: 000041310 PIC: 328444 SELIBR: 123881 SNAC: w60w92qf SUDOC: 027773299 ULAN: 500265440 VIAF: 146202023 WorldCat Identities (via VIAF): 146202023 Categories: NASAGovernment agencies established in 19581958 establishments in Washington, D.C.Organizations based in Washington, D.C.Government of the United StatesWebby Award winners Mars is the fourth planet from the Sun and the second-smallest planet in the Solar System after Mercury. In English, Mars carries a name of the Roman god of war, and is often referred to as the "Red Planet"[15][16] because the reddish iron oxide prevalent on its surface gives it a reddish appearance that is distinctive among the astronomical bodies visible to the naked eye.[17] Mars is a terrestrial planet with a thin atmosphere, having surface features reminiscent both of the impact craters of the Moon and the valleys, deserts, and polar ice caps of Earth. The rotational period and seasonal cycles of Mars are likewise similar to those of Earth, as is the tilt that produces the seasons. Mars is the site of Olympus Mons, the largest volcano and second-highest known mountain in the Solar System, and of Valles Marineris, one of the largest canyons in the Solar System. The smooth Borealis basin in the northern hemisphere covers 40% of the planet and may be a giant impact feature.[18][19] Mars has two moons, Phobos and Deimos, which are small and irregularly shaped. These may be captured asteroids,[20][21] similar to 5261 Eureka, a Mars trojan. There are ongoing investigations assessing the past habitability potential of Mars, as well as the possibility of extant life. Future astrobiology missions are planned, including the Mars 2020 and ExoMars rovers.[22][23][24][25] Liquid water cannot exist on the surface of Mars due to low atmospheric pressure, which is less than 1% of the Earth's,[26] except at the lowest elevations for short periods.[27][28] The two polar ice caps appear to be made largely of water.[29][30] The volume of water ice in the south polar ice cap, if melted, would be sufficient to cover the entire planetary surface to a depth of 11 meters (36 ft).[31] In November 2016, NASA reported finding a large amount of underground ice in the Utopia Planitia region of Mars. The volume of water detected has been estimated to be equivalent to the volume of water in Lake Superior.[32][33][34] Mars can easily be seen from Earth with the naked eye, as can its reddish coloring. Its apparent magnitude reaches −2.94,[11] which is surpassed only by Jupiter, Venus, the Moon, and the Sun. Optical ground-based telescopes are typically limited to resolving features about 300 kilometers (190 mi) across when Earth and Mars are closest because of Earth's atmosphere.[35] Designations Pronunciation UK: /ˈmɑːz/ US: /ˈmɑːrz/ (About this soundlisten) Adjectives Martian Orbital characteristics[2] Epoch J2000 Aphelion 249200000 km (154800000 mi; 1.666 AU) Perihelion 206700000 km (128400000 mi; 1.382 AU) Semi-major axis 227939200 km (141634900 mi; 1.523679 AU) Eccentricity 0.0934 Orbital period 686.971 d (1.88082 yr; 668.5991 sols) Synodic period 779.96 d (2.1354 yr) Average orbital speed 24.007 km/s (86430 km/h; 53700 mph) Inclination 1.850° to ecliptic; 5.65° the Sun's equator; 1.67° to invariable plane[1] Longitude of ascending node 49.558° Argument of perihelion 286.502° Satellites 2 Physical characteristics Mean radius 3389.5 ± 0.2 km[b] [3] (2106.1 ± 0.1 mi) Equatorial radius 3396.2 ± 0.1 km[b] [3] (2110.3 ± 0.1 mi; 0.533 Earths) Polar radius 3376.2 ± 0.1 km[b] [3] (2097.9 ± 0.1 mi; 0.531 Earths) Flattening 0.00589±0.00015 Surface area 144798500 km2[4] (55907000 sq mi; 0.284 Earths) Volume 1.6318×1011 km3[5] (0.151 Earths) Mass 6.4171×1023 kg[6] (0.107 Earths) Mean density 3.9335 g/cm3[5] (0.1421 lb/cu in) Surface gravity 3.72076 m/s2[7] (12.2072 ft/s2; 0.3794 g) Moment of inertia factor 0.3662±0.0017[8] Escape velocity 5.027 km/s (18100 km/h; 11250 mph) Sidereal rotation period 1.025957 d 24h 37m 22s[5] Equatorial rotation velocity 241.17 m/s (868.22 km/h; 539.49 mph) Axial tilt 25.19° to its orbital plane[9] North pole right ascension 317.68143° 21h 10m 44s North pole declination 52.88650° Albedo 0.170 geometric[10] 0.25 Bond[9] Surface temp. min mean max Kelvin 130 K 210 K[9] 308 K Celsius −143 °C[12] −63 °C 35 °C[13] Fahrenheit −226 °F[12] −82 °F 95 °F[13] Apparent magnitude −2.94 to +1.86[11] Angular diameter 3.5–25.1″[9] Atmosphere[9][14] Surface pressure 0.636 (0.4–0.87) kPa 0.00628 atm Composition by volume 95.97% carbon dioxide 1.93% argon 1.89% nitrogen 0.146% oxygen 0.0557% carbon monoxide Mars is approximately half the diameter of Earth with a surface area only slightly less than the total area of Earth's dry land.[9] Mars is less dense than Earth, having about 15% of Earth's volume and 11% of Earth's mass, resulting in about 38% of Earth's surface gravity. The red-orange appearance of the Martian surface is caused by iron(III) oxide, or rust.[36] It can look like butterscotch;[37] other common surface colors include golden, brown, tan, and greenish, depending on the minerals present. Mars is named after the Roman god of war. In different cultures, Mars represents masculinity and youth. Its symbol, a circle with an arrow pointing out to the upper right, is used as a symbol for the male gender. The many failures in Mars exploration probes resulted in a satirical counter-culture blaming the failures on an Earth-Mars "Bermuda Triangle", a "Mars Curse", or a "Great Galactic Ghoul" that feeds on Martian spacecraft.[291] Intelligent "Martians" The fashionable idea that Mars was populated by intelligent Martians exploded in the late 19th century. Schiaparelli's "canali" observations combined with Percival Lowell's books on the subject put forward the standard notion of a planet that was a drying, cooling, dying world with ancient civilizations constructing irrigation works.[292] An 1893 soap ad playing on the popular idea that Mars was populated Many other observations and proclamations by notable personalities added to what has been termed "Mars Fever".[293] In 1899, while investigating atmospheric radio noise using his receivers in his Colorado Springs lab, inventor Nikola Tesla observed repetitive signals that he later surmised might have been radio communications coming from another planet, possibly Mars. In a 1901 interview Tesla said: It was some time afterward when the thought flashed upon my mind that the disturbances I had observed might be due to an intelligent control. Although I could not decipher their meaning, it was impossible for me to think of them as having been entirely accidental. The feeling is constantly growing on me that I had been the first to hear the greeting of one planet to another.[294] Tesla's theories gained support from Lord Kelvin who, while visiting the United States in 1902, was reported to have said that he thought Tesla had picked up Martian signals being sent to the United States.[295] Kelvin "emphatically" denied this report shortly before leaving: "What I really said was that the inhabitants of Mars, if there are any, were doubtless able to see New York, particularly the glare of the electricity."[296] In a New York Times article in 1901, Edward Charles Pickering, director of the Harvard College Observatory, said that they had received a telegram from Lowell Observatory in Arizona that seemed to confirm that Mars was trying to communicate with Earth.[297] Early in December 1900, we received from Lowell Observatory in Arizona a telegram that a shaft of light had been seen to project from Mars (the Lowell observatory makes a specialty of Mars) lasting seventy minutes. I wired these facts to Europe and sent out neostyle copies through this country. The observer there is a careful, reliable man and there is no reason to doubt that the light existed. It was given as from a well-known geographical point on Mars. That was all. Now the story has gone the world over. In Europe it is stated that I have been in communication with Mars, and all sorts of exaggerations have spring up. Whatever the light was, we have no means of knowing. Whether it had intelligence or not, no one can say. It is absolutely inexplicable.[297] Pickering later proposed creating a set of mirrors in Texas, intended to signal Martians.[298] Martian tripod illustration from the 1906 French edition of The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells In recent decades, the high-resolution mapping of the surface of Mars, culminating in Mars Global Surveyor, revealed no artifacts of habitation by "intelligent" life, but pseudoscientific speculation about intelligent life on Mars continues from commentators such as Richard C. Hoagland. Reminiscent of the canali controversy, these speculations are based on small scale features perceived in the spacecraft images, such as "pyramids" and the "Face on Mars". Planetary astronomer Carl Sagan wrote: Mars has become a kind of mythic arena onto which we have projected our Earthly hopes and fears.[281] The depiction of Mars in fiction has been stimulated by its dramatic red color and by nineteenth century scientific speculations that its surface conditions might support not just life but intelligent life.[299] Thus originated a large number of science fiction scenarios, among which is H. G. Wells' The War of the Worlds, published in 1898, in which Martians seek to escape their dying planet by invading Earth. Influential works included Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles, in which human explorers accidentally destroy a Martian civilization, Edgar Rice Burroughs' Barsoom series, C. S. Lewis' novel Out of the Silent Planet (1938),[300] and a number of Robert A. Heinlein stories before the mid-sixties.[301] Jonathan Swift made reference to the moons of Mars, about 150 years before their actual discovery by Asaph Hall, detailing reasonably accurate descriptions of their orbits, in the 19th chapter of his novel Gulliver's Travels.[302] A comic figure of an intelligent Martian, Marvin the Martian, appeared in Haredevil Hare (1948) as a character in the Looney Tunes animated cartoons of Warner Brothers, and has continued as part of popular culture to the present.[303] After the Mariner and Viking spacecraft had returned pictures of Mars as it really is, an apparently lifeless and canal-less world, these ideas about Mars had to be abandoned, and a vogue for accurate, realist depictions of human colonies on Mars developed, the best known of which may be Kim Stanley Robinson's Mars trilogy. Pseudo-scientific speculations about the Face on Mars and other enigmatic landmarks spotted by space probes have meant that ancient civilizations continue to be a popular theme in science fiction, especially in film.[304] Mars Outline of Mars Geography Atmosphere Circulation Climate Dust devil tracks Methane Regions Arabia Terra Cerberus Hemisphere Cydonia Eridania Lake Iani Chaos Olympia Undae Planum Australe Planum Boreum Quadrangles Sinus Meridiani Tempe Terra Terra Cimmeria Terra Sabaea Tharsis Undae Ultimi Scopuli Vastitas Borealis Physical features "Canals" (list) Canyons Catenae Chaos terrain Craters Fossae Gullies Mensae Labyrinthi Mountains by height Observed rocks Outflow channels Plains Valley network Valleys Gravity Geology Brain terrain Carbonates Chaos terrain Color Composition Concentric crater fill Dark slope streak Dichotomy Fretted terrain Geysers Glaciers Groundwater Gullies Lakes Lava tubes Lobate debris apron Marsquake Meteorites on Earth on Mars Mud cracks North 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set on Mars Martian Martian scientist Mythology Phobos and Deimos in fiction Flag of Mars Life on Mars Sub-Earth Timekeeping on Mars Darian calendar Wikipedia book Book Category Category Portal Portal vte Geography and geology of Mars Cartography Regions Abalos Undae Aspledon Undae Arabia Terra Cerberus Hemisphere Cydonia Eridania Lake Hyperboreae Undae Ogygis Undae Olympia Undae Planum Australe Planum Boreum Quadrangles Sinus Meridiani Siton Undae Tempe Terra Terra Cimmeria Terra Sabaea Tharsis Vastitas Borealis Quadrangles Aeolis Amazonis Amenthes Arabia Arcadia Argyre Casius Cebrenia Coprates Diacria Elysium Eridania Hellas Iapygia Ismenius Lacus Lunae Palus Mare Acidalium Mare Australe (South Pole) Mare Boreum (North Pole) Mare Tyrrhenum Margaritifer Sinus Memnonia Noachis Oxia Palus Phaethontis Phoenicis Lacus Sinus Sabaeus Syrtis Major Tharsis Thaumasia Geology Surface features Brain terrain Carbonates Chaos terrain Color Composition Concentric crater fill Dark slope streak Dichotomy Dune fields Hagal Nili Patera Fretted terrain Geysers Glaciers Groundwater Gullies Inverted relief Lakes Lava tubes Lineated valley fill (LVF) Lobate debris apron North Polar Basin Ocean hypothesis Ore resources Outflow channels Polar caps Ring mold craters Rootless cones Scalloped topography Seasonal flows Soil Spherules Surface Swiss cheese features Terrain softening Tholus Upper plains unit Valley networks Water Yardangs History Amazonian Hesperian Noachian Volcanology Observation history Canals (list) Classical albedo features Rocks observed Curiosity rover Bathurst Inlet Coronation Goulburn Hottah Jake Matijevic Link Rocknest Rocknest 3 Tintina Opportunity rover Bounce El Capitan Last Chance Sojourner rover Barnacle Bill Yogi Spirit rover Adirondack Home Plate Mimi Pot of Gold Viking Big Joe Other Face Monolith Meteorites found on Mars Block Island Heat Shield Mackinac Island Meridiani Planum Oileán Ruaidh Shelter Island Martian meteorites found on Earth Balsaltic Breccia Chassignites Nakhlites Shergottites Other List Topography Mountains and volcanoes (list by height) Acidalia Colles Alba Mons Anseris Mons Apollinaris Mons Ariadnes Colles Astapus Colles Ausonia Montes Avernus Colles Biblis Tholus Centauri Montes Charitum Montes Echus Montes Elysium Elysium Mons Albor Tholus Hecates Tholus Erebus Montes Galaxius Mons Hadriacus Mons Hellas Montes Jovis Tholus Libya Montes Mount Sharp Nereidum Montes Olympus Mons Phlegra Montes Syrtis Major Planum Tartarus Colles Tartarus Montes Tharsis Montes Ascraeus Pavonis Arsia Tharsis Tholus Tyrrhenus Mons Ulysses Tholus Uranius group Uranius Mons Ceraunius Tholus Uranius Tholus Plains and plateaus Acidalia Planitia Aeolis Palus Amazonis Planitia Arcadia Planitia Argyre Planitia Chryse Planitia Daedalia Planum Elysium Planitia Eridania Planitia Hellas Planitia Hesperia Planum Icaria Planum Isidis Planitia Lunae Planum Meridiani Planum Oxia Planum Planum Australe Planum Boreum Syria Planum Syrtis Major Planum Utopia Planitia Eden Patera Orcus Patera Peneus Patera Pityusa Patera Canyons and valleys Aram Chaos Arsia Chasmata Aromatum Chaos Atlantis Chaos Aureum Chaos Candor Chasma Chasma Boreale Coprates Chasma Echus Chasma Eos Chaos Eos Chasma Galaxias Chaos Ganges Chasma Gorgonum Chaos Hebes Chasma Hydaspis Chaos Hydraotes Chaos Iani Chaos Ister Chaos Ius Chasma Juventae Chasma Melas Chasma Ophir Chasma Tithonium Chasma List of valles Apsus Ares Arnus Asopus Athabasca Auqakuh Bahram Buvinda Dao Enipeus Frento Granicus Green Valley Harmakhis Hebrus Her Desher Hrad Huo Hsing Hypanis Iberus Indus Ituxi Kasei Labou Ladon Lethe Licus Louros Ma'adam Mad Maja Mamers Mangala Marineris Labes Marte Maumee Mawrth Minio Naktong Nanedi Niger Nirgal Padus Paraná Patapsco Peace Rahway Ravi Reull Sabis Sabrina Samara Scamander Shalbatana Simud Stura Tader Tinia Tinjar Tiu Tyras Uzboi ULM Vedra Verde Warrego Fossae, mensae rupes and labyrinthi Amenthes Fossae Ceraunius Fossae Cerberus Fossae Coloe Fossae Cyane Fossae Elysium Fossae Hephaestus Fossae Icaria Fossae Labeatis Fossae Mangala Fossa Mareotis Fossae Medusae Fossae Memnonia Fossae Nili Fossae Olympica Fossae Oti Fossae Sirenum Fossae Tantalus Fossae Tempe Fossae Tithonium Fossae Tractus Fossae Ulysses Fossae Aeolis Mensae Ausonia Mensa Capri Mensa Cydonia Mensae Deuteronilus Mensae Ganges Mensa Nilosyrtis Mensae Protonilus Mensae Sacra Mensa Claritas Rupes Olympus Rupes Rupes Tenuis Angustus Labyrinthus Noctis Labyrinthus Catenae and craters Artynia Catena Tithoniae Catenae Tractus Catena Adams Agassiz Airy Airy-0 Aniak Antoniadi Arandas Argo Arkhangelsky Arrhenius Asimov Bacolor Bakhuysen Baldet Baltisk Bamberg Barabashov Barnard Beagle Becquerel Beer Belz Bernard Bianchini Boeddicker Bok Bond Bonestell Bonneville Brashear Briault Burroughs Burton Campbell Canso Cassini Caxias Cerulli Chafe Chapais Chincoteague Chryse Alien Clark Coblentz Columbus Copernicus Corby Crewe Crivitz Crommelin Cruls Curie Da Vinci Danielson Darwin Davies Dawes Dejnev Denning Dilly Dinorwic Douglass Dromore Du Martheray Eagle Eberswalde Eddie Ejriksson Emma Dean Endeavour Matijevic Hill Endurance Erebus Escalante Eudoxus Fenagh Fesenkov Firsoff Flammarion Flaugergues Focas Fontana Fournier Fram Galdakao Gale Galle Garni Gasa Gilbert Gill Gledhill Gold Graff Green Grindavik Gusev Apollo 1 Hills Chaffee Grissom White Columbia Hills Husband McCool Sleepy Hollow Hadley Haldane Hale Halley Hartwig Heaviside Heimdal Heinlein Helmholtz Henry Herschel Hipparchus Holden Holmes Hooke Huggins Hussey Hutton Huxley Huygens Iazu Ibragimov Inuvik Janssen Jarry-Desloges Jeans Jezero Jezža Joly Jones Kaiser Keeler Kepler Kinkora Kipini Knobel Koga Korolev Kufra Kuiper Kunowsky Lambert Lamont Lampland Lassell Lau Le Verrier Li Fan Liais Lipik Liu Hsin Llanesco Lockyer Lod Lohse Lomonosov Lowell Lyell Lyot Mädler Magelhaens Maggini Main Mandora Maraldi Mariner Marth Martz Masursky Maunder McLaughlin McMurdo Mellish Mendel Mie Milankovic Millochau Mitchel Miyamoto Mohawk Mojave Molesworth Montevallo Moreux Müller Nansen Nereus Newton Nhill Nicholson Niesten Nipigon Onon Orson Welles Oudemans Palana Pangboche Pasteur Penticton Perepelkin Peridier Persbo Pettit Phillips Pickering Playfair Pollack Poona Porter Porth Priestley Proctor Ptolemaeus Púnsk Quenisset Rabe Radau Rahe Rayleigh Redi Renaudot Reuyl Reynolds Richardson Ritchey Robert Sharp Roddenberry Ross Rossby Rudaux Russell Rutherford Sagan Saheki Santa Maria Schaeberle Schiaparelli Schmidt Secchi Semeykin Sharonov Sibu Sinton Sitka Sklodowska Slipher Smith South Spallanzani Srīpur Steno Stokes Stoney Suess Suzhi Tarsus Taytay Teisserenc de Bort Terby Thila Thira Tikhonravov Tikhov Timbuktu Tombaugh Tooting Trouvelot Troy Trud Trumpler Tugaske Tycho Brahe Tyndall Udzha Vernal Very Victoria Cape Verde Vinogradov Vinogradsky Virrat Vishniac Vogel Von Kármán Wallace Wegener Weinbaum Wells Williams Winslow Wirtz Wislicenus Wright Yuty Zumba Zunil vte Spacecraft missions to Mars Active missions Orbiters 2001 Mars Odyssey Mars Express (MEX) Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) Mangalyaan (MOM) MAVEN ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) Landers InSight Rovers Opportunity timeline observations Curiosity timeline Insight landing-640x350.gif 2001 mars odyssey wizja.jpg Phoenix landing (PIA09943 cropped).jpg MSL Artist Concept (PIA14164 crop).jpg Past missions Flybys Mars 1† Mariner 4 Zond 2† Mariner 6 and 7 Mars 6 Mars 7 Rosetta Dawn Mars Cube One (MarCO) Orbiters Mars 2 Mars 3 Mariner 9 Mars 4† Mars 5 Viking program Viking 1 Viking 2 Phobos program Phobos 1† Phobos 2† Mars Observer† Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Nozomi† Mars Climate Orbiter† Landers Mars 2† Mars 3† Mars 6† Mars 7† Viking 1 Viking 2 Mars Pathfinder Mars Polar Lander† / Deep Space 2† Beagle 2† Phoenix ExoMars Schiaparelli† Rovers Prop-M† Sojourner Spirit observations Mars-crossing objects Zond 3 Elon Musk's Tesla Roadster Failed launches Mars 1M No.1 1M No.2 2MV-4 No.1 2MV-3 No.1 Mariner 3 Mars 2M No.521 2M No.522 Mariner 8 Mars 3MS No.170 Mars 96 Fobos-Grunt / Yinghuo-1 Future missions Planned Hope Mars Mission (2020) ExoMars (2020) rover surface platform Mars 2020 (2020) Mars Helicopter Scout Mars Global Remote Sensing Orbiter and Small Rover (2020) Mars Terahertz Microsatellite (2020) Mars Orbiter Mission 2 (2021 or 2022) Psyche (2022, flyby in 2023) Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer (JUICE) (2022, flyby in 2025) Martian Moons Exploration (MMX) (2024) Proposed Biological Oxidant and Life Detection (BOLD) BFR base (2022) DePhine Icebreaker Life Mars Geyser Hopper Mars-Grunt Mars Micro Orbiter Mars One MELOS rover MetNet Next Mars Orbiter (NeMO) PADME Phootprint Sky-Sailor Cancelled proposals Aerial Regional-scale Environmental Survey (ARES) Astrobiology Field Laboratory Beagle 3 Mars 4NM & 5NM Mars 5M (Mars-79) Mars-Aster Mars Astrobiology Explorer-Cacher (MAX-C) Mars Surveyor Lander Mars Telecommunications Orbiter NetLander Northern Light Red Dragon Sample Collection for Investigation of Mars (SCIM) Vesta Voyager Mars Exploration of Mars Concepts Flyby Orbiter Landing Rover Sample return Manned mission Permanent settlement Colonization Terraforming Strategies Mars Scout Program Mars Exploration Program Mars Exploration Joint Initiative Mars Next Generation Advocacy The Mars Project The Case for Mars Inspiration Mars Mars Institute Mars Society Mars race Lists List of missions to Mars List of Mars orbiters List of artificial objects on Mars Missions are ordered by launch date. Sign † indicates failure en route or before intended mission data returned. vte Human mission to Mars List of crewed Mars mission plans 21st-century proposals Aurora programme Austere Human Missions to Mars Chinese mission to Mars Constellation program Inspiration Mars Mars Base Camp Mars One Mars Piloted Orbital Station Mars to Stay SpaceX Mars transportation infrastructure Vision for Space Exploration Mars mission.jpg 20th-century proposals The Mars Project Martian Piloted Complex TMK Ride Report Space Exploration Initiative Mars Direct The Case for Mars Mars Design Reference Mission 3.0 Mars analogs (list) MARS-500 Mars Analogue Research Station Program FMARS MDRS Euro-MARS MARS-Oz Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition Concordia Station HI-SEAS NEEMO Advocacy Caves of Mars Project Mars Institute Mars Society Hardware concepts Mars habitat Crewed Mars rover Mars suit Mars Excursion Module Mars lander Mars rover Miscellaneous Colonization of Mars Exploration of Mars Fiction films novels Mars cycler Mars orbit rendezvous Terraforming of Mars Mars atmospheric entry Mars flyby vte The Solar System Solar System Template Final.png The Sun Mercury Venus Earth Mars Ceres Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto Haumea Makemake Eris Planets Terrestrial planets Mercury Venus Earth Mars Giant planets Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Dwarf planets Ceres Pluto Haumea Makemake Eris Rings Jovian Saturnian (Rhean) Charikloan Chironean Uranian Neptunian Haumean Moons Terrestrial Moon other near-Earth objects Martian Phobos Deimos Jovian Ganymede Callisto Io Europa all 79 Saturnian Titan Rhea Iapetus Dione Tethys Enceladus Mimas Hyperion Phoebe all 62 Uranian Titania Oberon Umbriel Ariel Miranda all 27 Neptunian Triton Proteus Nereid all 14 Plutonian Charon Nix Hydra Kerberos Styx Haumean Hiʻiaka Namaka Makemakean S/2015 (136472) 1 Eridian Dysnomia Exploration (outline) Discovery astronomy timeline Space probes list timeline Human spaceflight space stations list Colonization Mercury Venus Moon Mars Ceres Asteroids mining Comets Jupiter Saturn Uranus Neptune Pluto Deep space Small Solar System bodies Planetesimal Meteoroids Minor planets moons Comets Damocloids Mercury-crossers Venus-crossers Venus trojans Near-Earth objects Earth-crossers Earth trojans Mars-crossers Mars trojans Asteroid belt Asteroids Ceres Pallas Juno Vesta more Families Notable asteroids Kirkwood gap Main-belt comets Jupiter trojans Jupiter-crossers Centaurs Saturn-crossers Uranus trojans Uranus-crossers Neptune trojans Cis-Neptunian objects Trans-Neptunian objects Neptune-crossers Plutoids Kuiper belt Plutinos Cubewanos Scattered disc Detached objects Sednoids Hills cloud Oort cloud Hypothetical objects Vulcan Vulcanoids Theia Phaeton Planet V Fifth giant Planet X Planet Nine Tyche Nemesis Subsatellites Lists Solar System models Solar System objects by size by discovery date Minor planets names Gravitationally rounded objects Possible dwarf planets Natural satellites Comets Outline of the Solar System Portal Portals Solar System Astronomy Earth sciences Mars Jupiter Uranus Cosmology Solar System → Local Interstellar Cloud → Local Bubble → Gould Belt → Orion Arm → Milky Way → Milky Way subgroup → Local Group → Local Sheet → Virgo Supercluster → Laniakea Supercluster → Observable universe → Universe Each arrow (→) may be read as "within" or "part of". Condition: New, Featured Refinements: NASA, Type: Space Exploration, Period: 1951 to Present, Sub-Type: Mars Rover, Material: Metal, Modified Item: No, Country/Region of Manufacture: United States

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