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This Week @NASA: Crew-3 Astronauts Return to Earth, Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner, Black Holes

From left to right, ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Matthais Maurer, NASA astronauts Tom Marshburn, Raja Chari, and Kayla Barron, are seen inside the SpaceX Crew Dragon Endurance spacecraft onboard the SpaceX Shannon recovery ship shortly after having landed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa, Florida, Friday, May 6, 2022. Maurer, Marshburn, Chari, and Barron are returning after 177 days in space as part of Expeditions 66 and 67 aboard the International Space Station. Credit: NASA/Aubrey Gemignani

The Crew-3 astronauts return from the space station …

The spacecraft for another commercial crew mission is on the move ….

And discussing NASAEstablished in 1958, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is an independent agency of the United States Federal Government that succeeded the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA). It is responsible for the civilian space program, as well as aeronautics and aerospace research. It's vision is "To discover and expand knowledge for the benefit of humanity."” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>NASA’s budget … a few of the stories to tell you about – This Week at NASA!

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The Crew-3 Astronauts Return to Earth

On May 5, the astronauts of NASA’s SpaceXCommonly known as SpaceX, Space Exploration Technologies Corp. is a private American aerospace manufacturer and space transportation services company that was founded by Elon Musk in 2002. Headquartered in Hawthorne, California, the company designs, manufactures, and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>SpaceX Crew-3 mission closed out their time aboard the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Kayla Barron, Raja Chari, and Tom Marshburn, along with European Space Agency astronaut Matthias Maurer undocked from the station aboard their Crew Dragon “Endurance” spacecraft to begin their return trip to Earth.

They safely splashed down the next day off the coast of Florida to wrap up a nearly six-month mission on the station working with hundreds of experiments and technology demonstrations.

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Spacecraft Rolls Out

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft rolls out from the company’s Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 4, 2022, on its way to Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. Credit: NASA/Glenn Benson

Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner Moved to Launch Site

On May 4, teams moved Boeing’s CST-100 Starliner spacecraft from the Commercial Crew and Cargo Processing Facility at our Kennedy Space Center to nearby Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. The move was in preparation for OFT-2, the company’s second uncrewed Orbital Flight Test to the International Space Station. Launch is targeted for May 19 atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. The test mission will demonstrate the Starliner system’s human transport capabilities and is expected to be the last uncrewed flight before the Starliner launches American astronauts to the station.

Nelson Testifies During Senate Hearing on NASA’s Budget

NASA Administrator Bill Nelson testified during a May 3 Senate hearing about the president’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget request for the agency. He pointed to commercial partnerships as a key reason the agency is able to achieve its goals, while also getting the most value from the funding granted to it by Congress.

“It’s a new day. Government can’t do it all. You all give us “x amount” of money and we’ve got to make that money happen the way that we’re trying to achieve. And we can leverage that money by working with the commercial industry and through competition, bring those costs down to NASA.”—Sen. Bill Nelson, NASA Administrator

NASA's Black Hole Orrery

This visualization shows 22 X-ray binaries in our Milky Way galaxy and its nearest neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud, that host confirmed stellar-mass black holes. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

Black Hole Week: Sizing Up Black Holes

One of the coolest offerings we’ve made available this year for Black Hole Week is a visualization featuring details about the best-known black holeA black hole is a place in space where the pull of gravity is so strong not even light can escape it. Astronomers classify black holes into three categories by size: miniature, stellar, and supermassive black holes. Miniature black holes could have a mass smaller than our Sun and supermassive black holes could have a mass equivalent to billions of our Sun.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>black hole systems in our Milky WayThe Milky Way is the galaxy that contains the Earth, and is named for its appearance from Earth. It is a barred spiral galaxy that contains an estimated 100-400 billion stars and has a diameter between 150,000 and 200,000 light-years.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Milky Way galaxy and its neighbor, the Large Magellanic Cloud. The visualization presents 22 X-ray binary systems that host confirmed black holes. They are depicted as seen from Earth with their orbital motions sped up faster than normal. You can check it out, along with lots of other black hole features at

Flood-Basalt Deposit on Mars

Image of a flood-basalt deposit on Mars in the Marte Vallis region taken by the High Resolution Science Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) instrument on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. Credit: NASA/University of Arizona/HiRISE

Simulation Suggests Some Volcanoes Warm Climate and Destroy Ozone Layer

A new NASA climate simulation suggests that extremely large volcanic eruptions called “flood basalt eruptions” might significantly warm our climate and devastate the ozone layer that helps protect life on Earth from the Sun’s ultraviolet radiation. This contradicts previous studies indicating that these volcanoes cool the climate. The study also suggests that extensive flood basalt eruptions may have not only helped warm the climates of MarsMars is the second smallest planet in our solar system and the fourth planet from the sun. Iron oxide is prevalent in Mars' surface resulting in its reddish color and its nickname "The Red Planet." Mars' name comes from the Roman god of war.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Mars and VenusVenus, the second planet from the sun, is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. After the moon, it is the second-brightest natural object in the night sky. Its rotation (243 Earth days) takes longer than its orbit of the Sun (224.7 Earth days). It is sometimes called Earth's "sister planet" because of their similar composition, size, mass, and proximity to the Sun. It has no natural satellites.” data-gt-translate-attributes=”[{“attribute”:”data-cmtooltip”, “format”:”html”}]”>Venus too, but could have also doomed the long-term habitability of those planets by contributing to water loss.

That’s what’s up this week @NASA …

Source: SciTechDaily