On October 13, 2023, NASA’s Psyche spacecraft embarked on an extraordinary journey to study an asteroid of the same name. Carried by a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, Psyche’s mission is to investigate this metal-rich world and provide invaluable insights into the formation of rocky planets. Accompanying this ambitious endeavor is NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications technology demonstration, which will test laser communications beyond the Moon, paving the way for future exploration missions.
A Historic Launch:
Amidst great anticipation, Psyche successfully launched from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This momentous event marked the first-ever voyage to a metal-rich asteroid. As the spacecraft soared towards its destination, the fairings detached from the rocket, returning to Earth, and an hour later, Psyche separated from the rocket, preparing for the next phase of its mission.
Unveiling the Mysteries of Psyche:
Psyche promptly entered a planned safe mode, awaiting further commands from mission controllers on Earth. The spacecraft established communication with NASA’s Deep Space Network complex in Canberra, Australia, confirming its good health. With two-way communication established, scientists eagerly anticipate the treasure trove of scientific knowledge that Psyche will unlock.
A Metal World to Explore:
By August 2029, Psyche will begin orbiting the 173-mile-wide asteroid, becoming the first mission to explore a metal-class asteroid. With its high iron-nickel content, Psyche may be the remnant core of a planetesimal, offering valuable insights into the early stages of planet formation. This 26-month science investigation holds immense potential for expanding our understanding of the universe and our place within it.
The Journey and Propulsion System:
Psyche’s journey to the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter spans six years and covers a distance of 2.2 billion miles. Powered by solar electric propulsion, the spacecraft employs charged atoms of xenon gas to create thrust, gently propelling it forward. Along the way, Psyche will utilize Mars’ gravity as a slingshot, further accelerating its journey towards the asteroid.
The Commissioning Phase:
The initial 100 days of the mission comprise a commissioning phase, during which all flight systems undergo thorough checks to ensure their health. Of particular importance is the readiness of the electric thrusters to continuously fire over long stretches of the trajectory. Simultaneously, the science instruments, including a magnetometer, gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer, and multispectral imager, will undergo active checkout.
Advancing Optical Communications:
One of the significant technological advancements accompanying the Psyche mission is NASA’s Deep Space Optical Communications technology demonstration. Approximately three weeks into the mission, when Psyche is approximately 4.7 million miles away from Earth, this technology will be powered on. This marks NASA’s first test beyond the Moon of high-data-rate optical communications, a critical capability for future space exploration.
As Psyche embarks on its mission to unravel the mysteries of the metal-rich asteroid, excitement and anticipation fill the air. The discoveries made during this journey hold the potential to reshape our understanding of planet formation and evolution. Moreover, the technological advancements demonstrated by the Deep Space Optical Communications technology will pave the way for bolder goals and greater achievements in space exploration. NASA’s commitment to exploring the unknown and inspiring the world through discovery has never been stronger.
More Mission Information
Arizona State University leads the Psyche mission. A division of Caltech in Pasadena, JPL is responsible for the mission’s overall management, system engineering, integration and test, and mission operations. Maxar Space in Palo Alto, California, provided the high-power solar electric propulsion spacecraft chassis.
JPL manages the Deep Space Optical Communications project for the Technology Demonstration Missions program within STMD and the Space Communications and Navigation Program within the Space Operations Mission Directorate.
NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy Space Center, is responsible for the insight and approval of the launch vehicle and manages the launch service for the Psyche mission. NASA certified the SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket for use with the agency’s most complex and highest priority missions in early 2023 at the conclusion of a 2.5-year effort.
Psyche is the 14th mission selected as part of NASA’s Discovery Program, managed by the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
For more information about NASA’s Psyche mission go to:
NASA Leadership to Participate in Global Climate Change Conference
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson and other agency leaders will participate in the 28th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP28) beginning Thursday, Nov. 30, through Tuesday, Dec. 12, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
This global conference brings together countries committed to addressing climate change, which is a key priority for the Biden-Harris Administration and NASA. For the first time, a NASA administrator will attend, joining an expected 70,000 participants, world leaders, and representatives from nearly 200 countries.
Throughout the conference, parties will review the implementation of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol and, also for the first time, provide a comprehensive assessment of progress since adopting the Paris Agreement.
In addition to Nelson, NASA participants in the conference include:
- Kate Calvin, NASA’s chief scientist and senior climate advisor
- Susie Perez Quinn, NASA’s chief of staff
- Karen St. Germain, director, NASA Earth Science Division
- Nadya Vinogradova Shiffer, program scientist, ocean physics, NASA Earth Science Division
- Laura Rogers, associate program manager, ecological conservation, NASA Langley Research Center
- Wenying Su, senior research scientist, climate science, NASA Langley Research Center
- Ben Hamlington, research scientist, sea level and ice, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
During the conference, Nelson will participate in the first Space Agency Leaders’ Summit, which aims to demonstrate a collective commitment toward strengthening global climate initiatives and promoting sustainable space operations.
Throughout the conference, NASA leaders also will participate in additional events and presentations at the NASA Hyperwall, a main attraction at the U.S. Center showing how the agency’s climate science and research helps model and predict ocean health, heat waves, wildfires, hurricanes, floods, and droughts, among its other Earth-related research. NASA will provide a hyperwall presentation every day, some with interagency partners, between Sunday, Dec. 3, and Monday, Dec. 11.
Climate adaptation and mitigation efforts require robust climate observations and research. NASA’s unique vantage point from space provides critical information to advance understanding of our changing planet. With more than two dozen satellites and instruments in orbit, NASA’s climate data – which is openly and freely available to anyone – provides insight on how the planet is changing and measure key climate indicators, such as greenhouse gas emissions, rising sea level and clouds, and precipitation.
A full schedule of U.S. Center events at COP28 is available at:
National Day of Giving: Spreading Generosity on #GivingTuesday
National Day of Giving: Uniting for #GivingTuesday, spreading generosity and making a community impact. Join the movement!
In a world that often seems divided, there is a day that unites people from all walks of life, igniting the spirit of generosity and compassion. National Day of Giving, also known as #GivingTuesday, is a global movement that celebrates the act of giving back to others. Originating in the United States, this philanthropic phenomenon has now spread across the globe, inspiring millions to make a positive impact on their communities. In this blog post, we will delve into the origins of National Day of Giving, explore its purpose, and discuss some of the best ways to observe this remarkable day.
Origins of National Day of Giving:
National Day of Giving was first observed in 2012 as a response to the consumerism and commercialism that often overshadowed the true meaning of the holiday season. The 92nd Street Y, a community and cultural center in New York City, along with the United Nations Foundation, launched this initiative to encourage people to give back and support charitable causes. Since then, it has grown exponentially, gaining support from organizations, businesses, and individuals worldwide.
What is National Day of Giving About?
National Day of Giving serves as a reminder to be grateful for what we have and to extend a helping hand to those in need. It is a day when people come together to donate their time, money, skills, or resources to causes and organizations that align with their values. This movement emphasizes the importance of collective action, highlighting that even small acts of kindness can create a significant impact.
Ways to Observe National Day of Giving:
- Make a Donation: Consider donating to a cause or charity that resonates with you. Whether it’s supporting education, healthcare, environmental conservation, or social justice, your contribution can make a difference. Research reputable organizations and ensure that your donation reaches those in need.
- Volunteer: Offer your time and skills to a local nonprofit or community service organization. Whether it’s serving meals at a shelter, tutoring students, or participating in environmental cleanup initiatives, volunteering allows you to directly engage with your community and make a tangible impact.
- Spread Awareness: Social media can be a powerful tool for spreading the message of generosity. Use the hashtag #GivingTuesday to share stories, causes, and initiatives that inspire you. Encourage your friends and followers to join the movement and make a difference in their own ways.
- Support Local Businesses: National Day of Giving isn’t just about monetary donations; it’s also an opportunity to support local businesses and entrepreneurs. Consider buying from local shops, artisans, or restaurants, as this helps stimulate the local economy and promotes community growth.
- Start a Fundraiser: Organize a fundraising event or campaign to raise funds for a cause close to your heart. Engage your friends, family, and colleagues to contribute and amplify the impact. From bake sales to charity runs, there are countless creative ways to rally support and make a positive change.
National Day of Giving, or #GivingTuesday, is a remarkable movement that reminds us of the power of generosity and collective action. With its origins rooted in the desire to counterbalance consumerism, this day encourages individuals, businesses, and organizations to come together and support causes that uplift humanity. By making donations, volunteering, spreading awareness, supporting local businesses, and initiating fundraisers, each of us can contribute to creating a more compassionate and equitable world. Let us embrace the spirit of National Day of Giving and make a lasting impact on the lives of others.
Make a Difference for Children this Holiday Season
(Family Features) This holiday season, you can spread the spirit of meaningful giving and deliver impact for children globally. With crises and emergencies all over the world, make a difference with gifts that give back while showing your loved ones just how much you care.
Handcrafted by talented artisans from all around the world, UNICEF Market is a unique collection of carefully curated gifts ranging from jewelry to apparel, home decor, kitchenware and more. The gifts give back three times over by supporting artisans and helping local economies thrive, assisting vulnerable children in need and making for thoughtful and compassionate gifts for loved ones. By purchasing gifts from the market, individuals can contribute to creating a more equitable world for every child.
Additionally, UNICEFInspired Gifts provide meaningful opportunities to make a difference by donating important resources in the name of a loved one alongside a personalized print-at-home card or e-greeting. With millions of children on the move, driven from their homes by conflict, poverty and climate change, you can make a donation to provide essential supplies such as blankets, first aid kits, vaccines, lifesaving Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food and more. You can also send warmth to children in need in places where freezing winter temperatures and heavy snowfall are approaching. Your purchase of a “Warm Winter Kit” could provide four fleece blankets and 24 cans of therapeutic milk to provide warmth, safety and lifesaving nutrition.
To help support the organization’s lifesaving mission of protecting every child, consider UNICEF USA’s partners, including Cle de Peau Beaute, Hallmark and Marriott Bonvoy when shopping and traveling this holiday season. For every purchase of Cle de Peau Beaute’s Serum, $3 will be donated to support impactful programs for the education and empowerment of girls around the world; Hallmark’s UNICEF greeting cards and keepsake ornament, which are holiday favorites, can be purchased in store and online to support the world’s most vulnerable children; and Marriott Bonvoy members can donate their points to the organization.
Elevate your gift-giving this year for friends, family and loved ones by making a real impact for children globally. Visit market.unicefusa.org, where you can support efforts to ensure every child is healthy, educated, protected and respected.
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