NASA astronauts Chris Cassidy and Bob Behnken completed 2 spacewalks to replace aging batteries on the outside of the International Space Station (ISS). NASA and its international partners have been swapping out 48 nickel-hydrogen batteries with 24 modern lithium-ion units since 2017. The next set of battery replacement spacewalks is expected later this month. Learn how the ISS helps prepare humans for deep space missions. Pictured: A spectacular view from the spacewalk. Image credit: NASA.
The launch of NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover has been delayed to at least 30 July 2020 due to a problem seen when its Atlas V rocket was filled with propellant during a “wet dress rehearsal” test. NASA did not offer specifics, but United Launch Alliance CEO Tory Bruno said the problem is being fixed. Perseverance’s launch window extends to 15 August 2020. Learn about all 3 missions launching to Mars in our comprehensive, updated launch guide. You can share it and refer to it using the URL planetary.org/mars2020.
NASA, the Royal Australian Air Force, and the newly created U.S. Space Force will share data from a telescope in Australia to find and track potentially hazardous near-Earth objects. The primary job of the telescope, which is in the process of being moved from the U.S. to Australia, is to track Earth-orbiting space objects and debris from the southern hemisphere. Learn how The Planetary Society helps protect our planet from dangerous asteroids.
NASA’s TESS spacecraft found an exoplanet that orbits so close to its star, the planet’s temperature reaches 4,300 degree Celsius (7,800 degrees Fahrenheit)—hotter than the surfaces of some stars. The planet, KELT-9 b, receives 44,000 times more energy from its star than Earth does from the Sun. Learn how and why we study exoplanets.
NASA completed structural testing of its new Space Launch System (SLS) rocket by intentionally destroying a liquid oxygen test tank filled with water. The test allowed engineers to capture data showing how the rocket responds to extreme stress during flight. The Planetary Society visited the SLS structural test stands during our tour of southern U.S. NASA centers in 2016.