Smoke Signals

NASA’s New Tech to Survey Planets

Courtesy+of+Space.com
Courtesy of Space.com

Courtesy of Space.com

Courtesy of Space.com

Dominic Herrera, Staff Writer

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  On October 8th 2018, NASA took a picture of Mars and Earth with their newest satellite technology, CubeSat. It is the first time ever that Mars has been photographed using this  technology.

  Developed at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Mars Cube One is a mission to take pictures of Mars with a pair of small satellites, MarCo-A and MarCo-B, nicknamed Wall-E and EVE by the design team, flying right next to Nasa’s InSight Mars probe. The rocket containing the two satellites launched on May 5 and flew 243 million miles to catch up to the red planet to take the picture 8 million miles away from the planet.

 In the official press release, the manager of the mission, Codey Colley, announced their success.

  He said,“The cruise phase of the mission is always difficult, so you take all the small wins when they come. Finally seeing the planet is definitely a big win for the team.”

  Chase Johnston (9), who is fascinated by astronomy and space said “I’m excited to see where the new developments in the satellites go se we can observe Mars better.”

  The satellites themselves are considered by engineers and scientists to be at the forefront of their field in space technology. The CubeSat’s themselves are some of the smallest satellites ever made, with weighing thirty to forty pounds each.

  Lead Programmer for the West High Robotics team, Jake Elliott (12), commented on the compact size of the new telescopes.

  He said,“I think the fact that  [NASA]are modifying their nearsighted telescopes is pretty impressive because they’re thinking about the long term goal in creating future technology so that we don’t pollute our entire atmosphere with space junk.”

  Being beneficial to the companies manufacturing them, they are far less expensive than their larger counterparts. Because of these benefits, hundreds of CubeSats are already in orbit over Earth.

  However, despite the apparent positives, the technology is still undergoing improvements. At the moment, CubeSats lack the ability to deviate from a certain path, and developments are being made to make them more maneuverable in space.

 If NASA and other space companies are able to continue their development of CubeSat, they may be able to revolutionize space technology. Only time will tell if they continue to dedicate money and resources in the new tech.

 

 

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Dominic Herrera, Staff Writer

Dominic Herrera is a freshman at West High and a Staff Writer for Smoke Signals. He's an active member of the West High Advanced Band. He enjoys reading...

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NASA’s New Tech to Survey Planets