Astronauts share their Thanksgiving plans in a new video, supporters of the Arecibo Observatory create a formal White House petition and NASA releases an audio file from the Martian rover traveling through space. These are some of the top stories this week from Space.com.
Thanksgiving 2020 in space.
Five astronauts spoke in a new video published by NASA on Monday (Nov. 23) ahead of Thanksgiving. NASA astronauts Kate Rubins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Mike Hopkins and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi talked about how difficult this year has been for the world, and they also showed the food packets they would be eating from during the holiday meal.
STEVE is still a puzzle.
The celestial ribbon-like structures known as STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement) may look slightly like auroras, but they are something altogether different. NASA researchers recently reviewed hundreds of hours of STEVE footage recorded by citizen scientists to find tiny smears of green light near the "picket fence" of the main smear. By doing this work, they hoped to learn more about the puzzling phenomenon.
Arecibo observatory supporters create White House petition.
The iconic Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico was recently decommissioned by the National Science Foundation following structural damage incidents. Supporters of the facility have now created a formal White House petition calling on the federal government to reassess the situation at the 1,000-foot-wide (305 meters) dish.
New Chinese lunar mission will attempt to collect moon samples.
China recently launched the first lunar sample-return mission in half a century. On Monday (Nov. 23). China launched the robotic Chang'e 5 mission atop a Long March 5 rocket from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan province. The mission is aiming for a landing on the huge volcanic plain known as Oceanus Procellarum.
100th flight of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceX launched the 100th flight of its Falcon 9 rocket this week (Nov. 24) from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The booster brought 60 Starlink internet satellites into orbit and then landed at sea.
Martian rover's sounds can be heard in a new NASA audio file.
A newly released NASA audio file reveals the whirring sound made by the space agency's Perseverance rover as it flies through space on its way to Mars. The sound is produced by the car-sized rober's "heat-rejection fluid pump," and is created as the vibrations pass through the body of the rover (sound waves cannot travel through the vacuum of space).
Japanese mission is practicing Martian moon landing.
The Martian Moons eXploration (MMX) mission from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) recently started practicing its future landing on Mars' moon Phobos. The MMX mission is scheduled to launch in 2024, with a landing onto the 14-mile wide (22 kilometers) moon scheduled for early 2027.
Space junk cleanup mission will launch demonstration in 2021.
A new mission targeting space junk will get an orbital test in early 2021. The End-of-Life Services by Astroscale-demonstration (ELSA-d) mission consists of two spacecraft. The Japan-based company Astroscale will use the upcoming flight to demonstrate how its tech might de-orbit defunct satellites and other pieces of space junk.
Faint substellar object spotted by a radio telescope.
Scientists found a substellar object, or an object too small in mass to be considered a star, using a radio telescope in the Netherlands. These objects are also known as ''super-planets'' or ''brown dwarfs,'' and are usually hard to detect because of their size. Researchers said this object, nicknamed Elegast, is the first substellar object to be detected using a radio telescope.
A jet demonstration could pave the way for supersonic commercial aircraft.
A supersonic jet demonstrator will fly in 2021, and its creator hopes to develop a commercial airliner that can fly faster than twice the speed of sound. The demonstrator of Aviation startup Boom Supersonic is called XB-1, and if the flight goes according to plan, the company may do a full-scale flight test in 2025 for passenger flights.