NASA 2014 Highlights [Video]

NASA

NASA marks year 2014 with several great moments and notable highlights – from the first test of the Orion capsule, which will bring man to Mars in the future, to the telescopes that found Earth’s twin; plus historic missions, scientific discoveries while studying Earth and making progress for the next air travel. As 2014 closes, the agency reckons its advances for the year.

NASA Administrator Charles Bolden calls 2014 as Earth’s year, since they have launched five new Earth science missions within 12 months, the greatest accomplishment in more than a decade. NASA tested satellite systems, including those which can be controlled by smartphones, as well as navigation with “green fuels.” It developed technologies that could directly benefit Earth, such as the Terminal Sequencing and Spacing system which will provide advanced tools to traffic controllers to manage flights better.

On January 16, President Obama signed into law the legislation to designate the 68-year-old center of excellence for atmospheric flight research, in honor of Neil A. Armstrong. In February, scientists using the Interstellar Boundary Explorer saw a magnetic field almost perpendicular to the solar system motion through the galaxy.

On February 27, precipitation measurements new standards were set by the newest Earth-observing satellite, the Global Precipitation Measurement mission, with its launching into space. On March 10, the GPM spotted a tropical cyclone about a thousand miles east of Japan. It was the first image captured by the satellite.

NASA
Kepler telescope

Among NASA 2014 highlights is when astronomers found a habitable zone in April – a place where liquid water could thrive, in an alien system through the Kepler telescope. The month also had a small spacecraft controlled by smartphone riding on SpaceX’s cargo launched to International Space Station. Furthermore, the agency published for the public, a new catalog for online software with more than a thousand codes.

In May, NASA, with Canada’s National Research Council and Germany’s Aerospace Center took to California skies to commence flight tests and collect critical data which may lead to cleaner fuels for aircrafts. On June 28, the agency tested technology for landing large payloads on Mars’s surface using saucer-shaped, rocket-powered Low Density Supersonic Decelerator.

NASA
Launch of Orbiting Carbon Observatory – 2

On July 2, satellite Orbiting Carbon Observatory-2 was launched to study atmospheric carbon dioxide. During the month, Mars Rover 2020 was announced, the carrier of instruments for conducting unprecedented exploration and investigations on Mars. The agency also presented to Federal Aviation Administration, a computer software tool to help air traffic controllers.

On September 21, new Red Planet explorer, spacecraft Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution successfully got into the orbit of Mars. It began its study of the planet’s atmosphere in advance for the manned mission to the planet by 2030.

NASA
Images of Mars by MAVEN

In October, MAVEN was among the vehicles which recorded the flyby of comet past the Red Planet. Also in this month, spacecraft Interface Region Imaging Spectrograph provided five new findings about corona, the atmosphere of the sun – how it is heated, what causes solar wind and what powers solar flares.

NASA
New Horizons space probe

On December 6, after a nine-year, three billion-mile travel – the farthest of any space mission ever, New Horizons space probe was awakened from hibernation for its 2015 encounter with Pluto. December also saw the first test flight of Orion spacecraft, the first vehicle ever made after Apollo project, capable of taking humans past the low orbit of Earth, and to take humans to Mars.

Booster rocket Space Launch System, the most powerful ever built, has completed this year. Constructed at Michoud Assembly Facility, New Orleans, the rocket is set to launch Orion. With Orion completing its first voyage into space in 4.5 hours flight without humans test in December, NASA achieved a big milestone on its Mars journey.

With NASA 2014 highlights, year 2014 is indeed full of momentous reckoning. Moving forward, they will continue focusing on Mars, while working on Earth monitoring and green aircraft fuel, said Bolden.

By Judith Aparri

Sources:

NASA
Tech Times
Mail Online

Photos courtesy of:
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center – Flickr License
Ryan Somma – Flickr License
NASA Kennedy – Flickr License
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center – Flickr License
NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center – Flickr License

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