Here's What NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory Has Planned for 2022

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Here's What NASA’S Jet Propulsion Laboratory Has Planned for 2022
cdn.geekwire.com

NASA’s Pasadena-based Jet Propulsion Laboratory will continue to launch an array of missions next year as it works towards its goals of expanding humanity’s knowledge of both our solar system and the forces that formed and continue to shape our planet.

The NASA lab is run by Caltech and works on a number of projects each year that range from exploring the farthest reaches of our solar system to missions that seek to gain a better understanding of our planet’s ever-changing environment and atmosphere.

The Ingenuity helicopter and the Perseverance rover will continue to roam Mars until they die – which could be decades (the Curiosity rover launched in 2011 and is still active today).


Ingenuity is exploring the boundaries of flight on the red planet, and recently completed the first 30-minute remote flight on another planet. The Perseverance rover will continue to record data and collect samples of Mars rock. It’ll seal those samples away in about a dozen airtight tubes, which NASA hopes to soon bring back to Earth for study.

Bobby Braun, director for planetary science at the JPL, told dot.LA he expects to learn much more about Mars and whether or not it could ever be habitable in coming years. He also noted the JPL is working with European space agencies to develop flight systems that will allow the samples to come back to Earth for testing.

“It all relates to this quest to bring a very specific piece of Mars back to the Earth for study,” he said.

Now that Ingenuity is proven to be capable of longer flights, as long as it has a reliable solar power supply to recharge it can continue guiding rover missions.

“Ingenuity and Perseverance are buddies on Mars,” Braun said. “Ingenuity is flying ahead of perseverance and it’s scouting out the area that Perseverance is thinking of going to and giving us information about where we should go and what rocks we should sample before perseverance even gets to that location.”

Braun said the majority of NASA’s JPL missions in the upcoming year will be carried into space by SpaceX crafts, usually the Falcon Heavy rocket. The government hasn’t run a space shuttle mission since 2011, and has found it much cheaper to rely on private contractors like SpaceX for crafts.

Another mission, called Psyche, is helmed by Arizona State University and JPL and involves a plan to study a metal asteroid of the same name.

The metallic asteroid, which orbits the sun between Jupiter and Mars, and it could lead to valuable insights about our Earth’s core. It’s basically impossible to measure the core of our own planet, but JPL scientists think this rock could be part of a nickel-iron core of an early planet from around the time of the Big Bang. Exploring it and taking measurements could help us learn more about how our own planet was formed.

The Psyche craft is expected to lift off in a SpaceX rocket from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center by August 2022 and reach the asteroid by 2026, Braun said.

Asteroids can tell us a lot about our planet’s formation. Another NASA JPL mission, the Near Earth Asteroid (NEA) Scout, will test the use of a solar sail. The goal is to use a solar sail to send a small cube satellite on a solar wind to reach and observe an asteroid close to our planet.

Braun said that while NASA isn’t tracking any asteroids dangerously close to Earth now, he noted, “we do know that long ago in the geologic past the Earth was bombarded by asteroids,” so NASA wants to be learn more.

NEA Scout is designed by the JPL in partnership with the Huntsville, Alabama-based Marshall Spaceflight Center.

Braun said NASA’s JPL also wants to study dust by launching a mission called EMIT which will send an imaging spectroscope to the International Space Station to measure the minerals in the Earth’s driest and dustiest regions. Another NASA satellite already observed Saharan dust in Africa from space, and Braun said that dust—in particular, dust particles that arise from fires and are scattered in the air—is a key factor in understanding climate change. “Those airborne particles also contribute to the modeling of our climate and our understanding of the Earth as a system,” he said.

NASA is also invested in getting a clearer understanding of the state of the Blue Planet’s water. A Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) mission will launch a satellite from Vandenberg Space Force Base next November in partnership with space agencies in France, Canada and Britain.

According to Braun, the ocean is one of the Earth’s most massive indicators of how carbon dioxide is being stored and released on Earth. “Better understanding the processes that govern our oceans is actually critical to having better models for climate change,” he said.

https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la

Subscribe to our newsletter to catch every headline.

Cadence

Data Is Helping Physicians Track Their Patients Health One Heartbeat at a Time

S.C. Stuart
S.C. Stuart is a foreign correspondent (ELLE China, Esquire Latin America), Contributing Writer at Ziff Davis PCMag, and consults as a futurist for Hollywood Studios. Previously, S.C. was the head of digital at Hearst Magazines International while serving as a Non-Executive Director, UK Trade & Investment (US) and Digital Advisor at The Smithsonian.
Data Is Helping Physicians Track Their Patients Health One Heartbeat at a Time

Are you a human node on a health-based digital network?

According to research from Insider Intelligence, the U.S. smart wearable user market is poised to grow 25.5% in 2023. Which is to say, there are an increasing number of Angelenos walking around this city whose vital signs can be tracked day and night via their doctor's digital device. If you've signed up to a health-based portal via a workplace insurance scheme, or through a primary care provider's portal which utilizes Google Fit, you’re one of them.

Do you know your baseline health status and resting heartbeat? Can you track your pulse, and take your own blood pressure? Have you received genetic counseling based on the sequencing of your genome? Do you avoid dairy because it bloats, or because you know you possess the variant that indicates lactose intolerance?

Read moreShow less

Who Will Win the E-scooter Wars in Los Angeles?

Maylin Tu
Maylin Tu is a freelance writer who lives in L.A. She writes about scooters, bikes and micro-mobility. Find her hovering by the cheese at your next local tech mixer.
Who Will Win the E-scooter Wars in Los Angeles?
Evan Xie

Los Angeles — it’s not just beautiful weather, traffic and the Hollywood Walk of Fame — it’s also the largest shared micromobility market in the U.S. with six operators permitted to deploy up to 6,000 vehicles each.

And despite the open market policy, the competition shows no signs of slowing down.

Read moreShow less

March Capital Raises $650 Million Fund to Invest in AI Startups

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

March Capital Raises $650 Million Fund to Invest in AI Startups
March Capital founder Jamie Montgomery. Illustration by Dilara Mundy.

Santa Monica-based venture outfit March Capital announced Feb. 3 that it raised its largest fund to date, a $650 million investment vehicle that will be used to back up to 15 startups focused on delivering new uses of artificial intelligence.

Read moreShow less
https://twitter.com/samsonamore
samsonamore@dot.la
RELATEDEDITOR'S PICKS
LA TECH JOBS
interchangeLA
Trending