Lockheed Completes Assembly of InSight Mars Spacecraft

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NASA Moves One Step Closer to Continuing Exploration of the Solar System

InSight Spacecraft

NASA’s InSight Mars lander spacecraft in a Lockheed Martin clean room near Denver. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin announced it has completed assembly of NASA’s InSight Mars Spacecraft. The craft will be the next NASA vehicle to travel to Mars and will be the first mission devoted to understanding the interior structure of the Red Planet.

With assembly completed, the craft will next undergo critical environmental testing. The objective of this testing will be to determine if InSight can survive the 140 million mile journey between Earth and Mars, land, and conduct its critical science mission.

Engineers at Lockheed’s Space Systems facilities in Denver, Colorado, will subject InSight to extreme vibration and noise similar to conditions it will experience during launch. They will then expose the spacecraft to cold and vacuum in order to replicate the trans-Mars voyage. Finally, the test team will simulate what Lockheed describes as “the gauntlet of entry through the Martian atmosphere.”

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NASA Selects Science Instruments for Europa Mission

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In a move that may be heralded as the first step toward discovering life beyond Earth, NASA has selected nine science instruments for a mission to Jupiter’s moon Europa. The mission: to investigate whether the mysterious icy moon could harbor conditions suitable for life.

The significance of this mission is difficult to overstate. In 2012, NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope observed water vapor above the south polar region of Europa. The observation provided the first strong evidence of water plumes. If these plumes are confirmed, and they are linked to a subsurface ocean, the discovery will help scientists investigate the chemical makeup of Europa’s potentially habitable environment.

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No, America Did Not Build a Secret Moon Base

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This post continues to provide context to the episode of Hangar 1 entitled “Far Side of the Moon.” Previously, I discussed evidence contradicting the theory that Apollo 11 astronauts saw and reported alien spacecraft.

The idea of a secret manmade base on the Moon is inherently unrealistic to those with even a rudimentary understanding of spaceflight. Even so, some of those who appeared on “Far Side of the Moon” made such a claim. Thus, it is important to explain why such a notion is outside the bounds of realism.

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Putting “Far Side of the Moon” In Context

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Having just watched “Far Side of the Moon,” the episode of Hangar 1 dealing with an alleged alien presence on the moon, I felt it important to add counterpoints to various assertions put forth by some who appeared on the show. I recognize that Hangar 1 is intended more as a source of entertainment rather than a documentary program, but such context remains valuable. Also, it is important to remember that MUFON is a very large and diverse organization. There is room and tolerance for many voices.

I won’t address everything, but I will look into the allegations that the crew of Apollo 11 observed alien spacecraft and reported back to NASA in a broadcast censored by the government. I will also discuss the associated claim that the Apollo 11 spacecraft was shadowed by a UFO.

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