The National Aeronautics and Space Administration, better known as NASA, announced this week the award of five contracts for $146 million to U.S. companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, to design lunar landers.
As reported by Forbes, these private companies will work over the next 15 months on various projects for the development of the Artemis program to ensure the return of humanity to the moon in 2024.
Contracts are well distributed, according to the statement from NASA:
- SpaceX: $9.4 million
- Blue Origin: $25.6 million
- Dynetics: $40.8 million
- Lockheed Martin: $35.2 million
- Northrop Grumman: $34.8 million
The idea is that the five companies develop sustainable models of landing modules to regularly transport astronauts to the moon. Much of what is designed for Earth’s satellite will apply to future missions to Mars.
The strange case of a mysterious hole discovered in a Soyuz capsule attached to the International Space Station back in 2018 has taken a troubling turn as an official with the Russian space agency now says that the damage was intentionally caused by an American astronaut. The bold accusation reportedly came by way of an article from the Russian news agency TASS. In the piece, an anonymous “high ranking” official with the Russian space agency put forward a rather elaborate scenario for how the curious hole, which measured approximately 2 millimeters in diameter, in the Soyuz capsule came to be and pointed the finger at American astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancello as the alleged culprit.
The unnamed Russian source claims that, which serving about the ISS, the astronaut suffered from a blood clot in her jugular vein. This condition, they assert, caused Auñón-Chancello to have “an acute psychological crisis” wherein she tried to damage the Soyuz capsule in a manner that would facilitate her early return to Earth. How, exactly, such an audacious plan would have worked goes unsaid, though the Russian official did note a number of curious elements about the incident which led to the space agency’s surprising conclusion that the creation of the hole was a proverbial inside job.
Specifically, they raised suspicions about the fact that a video camera monitoring the area had stopped working, that NASA refused to perform polygraph exams on the astronauts who were aboard the ISS when the damage was done, and that the evidence suggests that the hole was created by someone inside the capsule operating in a weightless environment, meaning it had to have been made by someone in space at the time. As one might imagine, NASA is not buying the conspiracy theory offered by the Russian space agency official and strongly pushed back against the accusation.
NASA is preparing to establish a regular cadence of trips to the Moon under Artemis. To help the agency fine-tune its approach, NASA will award firm fixed-price, milestone-based contracts of up to $45 million for commercial-led work under a broad agency announcement released Thursday.
NASA is seeking new work to mature designs and conduct technology and engineering risk-reduction tasks for the human landing system (HLS), which will ferry Artemis astronauts from lunar orbit to the surface and back. Prior to opening the call for commercial space lunar transportation on a recurring basis, NASA is asking U.S. companies to hone HLS concepts and safety measures.
Companies awarded work under this research and development procurement, known as NextSTEP-2 Appendix N, will help NASA polish requirements for the future recurring services solicitation, which will secure regular crewed trips from Gateway in lunar orbit to the lunar surface and back.
“We are priming U.S. industry to become reliable service providers in the lunar marketplace,” said Greg Chavers, assistant deputy for Systems Engineering and Integration for human spaceflight at NASA Headquarters in Washington. “Riding on American ingenuity, Artemis astronauts will explore new areas of the Moon, where we will unlock mysteries of the solar system for the benefit of all.”
NASA’s goal is to enable the safest and lowest cost long-term approach to accessing the lunar surface, and to be just one of multiple customers purchasing services in the lunar transportation market.
“The approach for recurring Moon landing services is truly a collective effort between NASA and U.S. Industry,” said Lisa Watson-Morgan, human landing system program manager at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. “This announcement is a chance for the pioneering private sector to claim their stake in the emerging lunar economy and make history with NASA.”
The long-awaited unclassified report on the government’s preliminary assessment on UAPs, or unidentified aerial phenomena, from the U.S. Office of the Director of National Intelligence hit the internet Friday. It revealed that the U.S. government reported 144 incidents of UAPs spotted between November 2004 and March 2021. However, 143 of those UAPs remain unexplainable. The only identified incident was a large, deflating balloon.
NASA Director Bill Nelson, a former Florida Democratic senator and onetime astronaut, spoke to CNN about the report Monday and revealed both his national security concerns and his belief that we are not alone in the universe.
Nelson, who has read both the classified and unclassified reports, told CNN that he has told NASA scientists to research possible explanations “from a scientific point of view” and report back.
He added that he “talked to the Navy pilots” who saw the UAPs and “that there is clearly something there.”
“It may not necessarily be an extraterrestrial, but if it is a technology that some of our adversaries have, then we better be concerned,” Nelson said.
Though he said he does not believe the United States’ foreign adversaries can create the technologies the government is looking into, the nation had better be prepared.
Then Nelson addressed the one-eyed, one-horned giant purple people eater in the room.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) unveiled an initiative called “Mission Equity” on Monday that seeks to “streamline its programs, procurements, grants, regulations and policies to remove systemic inequitable barriers and challenges facing underserved communities.”
“NASA is a 21st-century agency with 22nd-century goals. To be successful, it’s critical that NASA takes a comprehensive approach to address the challenges to equity we see today,” Bill Nelson, the NASA administrator, said in a statement. “The agency’s new Mission Equity is a bold and necessary challenge for NASA to ensure our programs are accessible to all Americans and, especially, those living in historically underserved communities across the country. Because when NASA opens doors to talent previously left untapped, the universe is the limit.”
NASA’s new chief isn’t satisfied with the Pentagon’s inconclusive UFO report.
Newly installed NASA administrator Bill Nelson has said their probe into unidentified aerial phenomena is just beginning: His team intends to set up their own research effort into footage of high-speed flying objects spotted by Navy aviators over the years, he told CNN Business.
Nelson added that he does not think there’s evidence to assume that extraterrestrials are involved, saying, “I think I would know” — but conceded it’s too early into their study to rule out the possibility.
“We don’t know if it’s extraterrestrial. We don’t know if it’s an enemy. We don’t know if it’s an optical phenomenon,” Nelson told CNN Business. “We don’t think [it’s an optical illusion] because of the characteristics that those Navy jet pilots described … So the bottom line is, we want to know.”
In a scenario straight out of “The Twilight Zone,” a group of NASA scientists working on an experiment in Antarctica have detected evidence of a parallel universe — where the rules of physics are the opposite of our own, according to a report.
The concept of a parallel universe has been around since the early 1960s, mostly in the minds of fans of sci-fi TV shows and comics, but now a cosmic ray detection experiment has found particles that could be from a parallel realm that also was born in the Big Bang, the Daily Star reported.
The experts used a giant balloon to carry NASA’s Antarctic Impulsive Transient Antenna, or ANITA, high above Antarctica, where the frigid, dry air provided the perfect environment with little to no radio noise to distort its findings.
A constant “wind” of high-energy particles constantly arrives on Earth from outer space.