NASA Current Affairs - 2019

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NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) announced that its Mars Mission, Opportunity has come to an end. This marked the conclusion of the 15-year saga. The decision to end the mission was made after all the efforts to restore contact with the Opportunity Mars rover didn’t yield desired results.

Why the NASA lost the contact with Opportunity?

A historic global dust storm reached the location of the Opportunity rover on Mars. The storm darkened the skies and cut off of the rover’s solar power. All the efforts of NASA to restore the rover did not yield positive results.

Things worsened with the onset of the winter at the location of the Opportunity rover. The reduced sunlight and colder temperatures during winter made it unlikely for the recovery of the Opportunity rover.

About the Mission

Opportunity was the second of the twin Mars Exploration Rovers to land on Mars in January 2004. Opportunity landed 90 days after its twin rover Spirit landed. Spirit landed at Gusev Crater and Opportunity landed on the opposite side of Mars at Meridiani Planum.

NASA expected 90-day lifetimes for the rovers.  Both Opportunity and Spirit far exceeded their expected lifetime. Spirit’s mission ended in May 2011 after travelling eight kilometres and Opportunity had logged 45 kilometres before losing contact in June 2018.

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SpaceX-CRS-16 Dragon craft departed from the International Space Station

The SpaceX cargo craft departed from the International Space Station after its successful mission to deliver scientific equipment and other supplies.

The SpaceX-CRS-16 Dragon successfully delivered more than 2,500 kilograms (5,600 pounds) of cargo to the space station and orbited Earth for five weeks. The SpaceX-CRS-16 Dragon craft is expected to splash down just west of Baja, California.

SpaceX-CRS-16 Dragon

The SpaceX-CRS-16 Dragon is a Commercial Resupply Service mission to the International Space Station launched by NASA. The NASA had contracted this mission to SpaceX for launch.

International Space Station

The International Space Station is a habitable artificial satellite, in low Earth orbit. The ISS maintains an orbit with an altitude of between 330 and 435 km (205 and 270 mi) by means of reboost manoeuvres and  circles the Earth in roughly 92 minutes and completes 15.5 orbits per day

The ISS programme is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada).

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