Hello fellow space enthusiasts! A couple Martian events happened this past few days, as well as an activity in low earth orbit.
Quakes are more common on Earth than Mars. This is because Mars has less tectonic plates, which means it is less likely for them to collide. Mars still does have "marsquakes" though. If a quake happens, the vibrations it produces travels through different materials faster or slower. Because of this, scientists can put together what the inside of Mars looks like. This is what they recently did with the mars InSight lander. This lander is built to study the geology of Mars, and it has a seismometer on board. Using data from older marsquakes and a recent one, scientists found that the inside of Mars is made of different layers of magma similar to the Earth. This is a big discovery, because before this, geologists only assumed the inside of Mars was molten, and they did not have an accurate representation of the interior of Mars. To see more about this discovery, you can read this article.
Another milestone on Mars has to do with the Mars helicopter, Ingenuity. The goal of Ingenuity was to prove that there are vehicles that can fly on other planets and in thin atmospheres. The mission of Ingenuity was completed on the fourth flight, and the mission was extended. NASA started sending it further and higher, with more complex routes. Then, they started putting it to use. The helicopters cameras started sending back images of potential places where the rover could take samples of rocks.
The geologists found many places with rich nutrients and minerals that could be interesting to study. The helicopter is ready for its tenth flight, set for no earlier than today (July 24th). The Perseverance rover is preparing for the first sample, and the spot they are sampling was chosen by the helicopter. To see more about the Perseverance mission, go here. To see more about the Ingenuity mission, go here.
The final event this week was regarding the Dragon spacecraft. Made by SpaceX, this capsule is designed to launch four people to the ISS. The Crew-2 Dragon capsule (named Resilience) is docked at the forward docking port, right where the Boeing Starliner needs to dock. The Starliner spacecraft is the second crewed vehicle that was chosen by NASA for the Commercial Crew Program. This program is to allow commercial companies to launch astronauts to the ISS. The Starliner is launching its second uncrewed test (or orbital flight test) on July 30th. The Dragon capsule had to be moved out of the way to leave a spot for Starliner to dock. This relocation happened on the 21st, and completed a major milestone for the launch of Starliner. You can see the relocation, as well as a quick recap of all the space events.
A space event coming up soon is the Piers airlock undocking. As well as the Progress spacecraft, the Piers airlock that has served as a docking port and airlock will be detached from the station and burn up in the atmosphere. This undocking is to leave way for the brand new Nauka module, which will hold science experiments and cargo. To learn more, go to my other article about the module. The undocking will happen tomorrow (July 25th) at 7:25 MT and will be livestreamed starting 55 minutes before.
Thank you for reading, and keep sharing the passion of space with everyone!