WASHINGTON Dec. 7, 2017 / PRNewswire-USNewswire / – The Moon became a key focus point for NASA in 2017, either blocking the Sun during one of the most watched events in the history of the US. UU Or revitalizing the human space of the agency exploration plans.
Oct. 5 Vice President Mike Pence directed NASA to develop a plan to help extend human exploration through our solar system and return astronauts to the Moon in preparation for human missions to Mars and other destinations.  The White House's support to NASA in 2017 extended across the agency's activities, including:
"When you see NASA's accomplishments during the year listed in one place, it's pretty surprising what we have achieved, "said interim administrator of NASA Robert Lightfoot . "Seeing so many challenging efforts to become complete accomplishments is a testament to the determination of our entire extended NASA team." Although I am proud of what we did in 2017, we expect another large number of missions in 2018 that will surely inspire their discoveries. technological advances.
"And for the sixth consecutive year, NASA has retained its position as the number one agency in the rankings of & # 39; Best Places to Work in Government & # 39; published by the Association for Public Service. I want to congratulate and congratulate our incredible workforce for their teamwork and dedication, which has allowed so many achievements in all our missions on behalf of the American people and the world. "
Solar system and beyond  ] The most outstanding story of 2017 in terms of public interest for NASA was, by far, the total solar eclipse August 21 . It was one of the biggest Internet events in recent history and the biggest event in line There were more than 50 million views of the live broadcast on NASA.gov and multiple social media platforms, and almost 31 million unique views on Facebook before and after the eclipse.These numbers mean the agency was able to share the scientific study of this celestial phenomenon with millions of people around the world, capturing a large amount of images before, during and after the eclipse by spacecraft, airplanes, balloons, and high altitude and astronauts on board the International Space Station.
These are some of the highlights of this year in the solar system and beyond:
- An exciting time in the exploration of our solar system came to an end Sept. 15 when NASA's Cassini spacecraft made a fateful plunge into Saturn's atmosphere, ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet. The mission transformed our understanding of oceanic worlds, where life could potentially exist beyond Earth.
- The furthest and longest-lived space mission of mankind – Voyager 1 and 2 of NASA – celebrated 40 years of unprecedented scientific findings and images in Sept. 5 . NASA continues to communicate daily with the spacecraft as they explore the border where interstellar space begins.
- A spacecraft that will touch the Sun was named by a living researcher: Eugene N. Parker professor emeritus at the University of Chicago . NASA's Parker solar probe is scheduled for launch in 2018 to explore the Sun's outer atmosphere.
- NASA's Fermi gamma-ray space telescope detected the first light linked to a gravitational wave event, thanks to two neutron stars fused in the galaxy NGC 4993, located about 130 million light years from Earth. NASA's Swift, Hubble, Chandra and Spitzer missions, along with dozens of ground observatories, later captured the declining glare of the expansive remnants of the explosion.
- The James Webb space telescope conducted environmental tests at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center and the Johnson Space Center as it prepares to assemble into a single spacecraft before launch in 2019.
- The Spitzer Space Telescope of the NASA revealed the first known system of seven planets the size of the Earth around a single star, with three planets located in the habitable zone, an area around a star where a rocky planet is more likely to have liquid water.
- NASA's Hubble Space Telescope found an exoplanet that snows on sunscreen, but only on the side of the planet that is permanently away from its host star.
- The NASA Kepler space telescope team launched its most comprehensive and detailed catalog of exoplanet candidates, presenting 219 new planetary candidates, 10 of which are close to the size of the Earth and the orbit The astronomers who used data from the Observatory NASA's Chandra X-ray and other telescopes found evidence of a star spinning around a black hole about twice per hour, which could be the tightest orbital dance ever witnessed among a star. possible black hole and a companion star.
- NASA's OSIRIS-REx asteroid return spacecraft successfully used Earth's gravity in Sept. 22 to the sling on a road to the asteroid Bennu, for an appointment next summer. The spacecraft is on a seven-year journey to meet, study and return a sample of Bennu to Earth.
- NASA selected two new planetary missions in Jan. 4 that have the potential to open new windows in one of the earliest times in the history of our solar system. The Lucy mission will visit an environment rich in targets of the mysterious Trojan Jupiter asteroids, while the Psyche mission will study a unique metal asteroid that has never been visited before.
- The first scientific results of the Juno mission from NASA to Jupiter represent the largest planet in our solar system as a complex and turbulent world, with polar cyclones the size of Earth and storm systems that penetrate the heart of the gas giant.  In Oct. 19 the Pan-STARRS1 telescope, funded by NASA, discovered the first confirmed object to travel through our solar system from another star. The historical discovery revealed that the interstellar intruder was a rocky, cigar-shaped object with a length-to-width ratio unlike any asteroid or comet observed in our solar system.
- An international team of astronomers led by NASA scientists successfully completed the first global exercise using a real asteroid – TC4 2012 – to test global response capabilities. The exercise tested the International Asteroid Warning Network for observations, modeling, prediction and communication of dangerous asteroids.
In 2017, NASA advanced in the preparations to send astronauts to Mars, as well as reaching the milestone of 20 years of continuous robotic scientific exploration of the red planet. And a record 2.4 million space fans signed up this year to send their names to Mars on NASA's InSight mission, a robotic lander designed to study the interior and subsoil of the planet in 2018.
- In ] Nov. 16 NASA selected a science instrument for an upcoming sample return mission to the moons of Mars: a mission Japan known as MMX to the moons of Mars. The instrument will help scientists answer questions about when and how small moons formed around the red planet.
- After receiving a record number of applications to join an exciting future of space exploration, NASA selected the June 12 women and men as new astronaut candidates for the agency. They can fly in future space missions using the most powerful rocket in the world, the Space Launch System (SLS) and the Orion spacecraft. This year, NASA has been building and testing hardware for the first and second missions of SLS and Orion.
Here are some of the highlights of this year's progress towards the missions of human deep space to the Moon and Mars:
- A piece of the SLS hardware completed for the first test mission, Exploration Mission-1 , was delivered to the Kennedy Space Center for processing.
- Preparations were completed for the four liquid fuel engines that will help SLS on its first mission, and engineers began testing engines for the second mission that will take crew, Exploration Mission-2. NASA finished manufacturing the five parts of the central stage of the rocket to which the engines will be integrated.
- The five parts of the central stage of the rocket are built and ready for additional equipment and testing.
- The 10 engine segments for the two solid rocket boosters have been launched, and are on track to be ready for the first integrated test flight.
- NASA has advanced a critical crew safety launch abortion test for the Orion spacecraft before the first human launch, and teams have also been testing the parachutes to bring the capsule to a safe landing and procedures of departure for the crew after returning from a mission.
- Meanwhile, the teams were turned on the Orion spacecraft for the first integrated test launch, and are busy building the Orion capsule for the first crewed mission.
- In the future launch site of SLS and Orion, the updating of the walls of the flame trench was completed as well as the installation of all work platforms in the vehicle assembly building where the rocket will be stacked before the launching.  The agency began to study the concept of deep space footbridge with the American industry and the partners of the space station. Using the most powerful rocket in the world, NASA would launch an element of propulsion and energy, a room module for the crew and a logistics module for the concept of entry into the first manned missions of SLS and Orion.
- NASA continues to use its Next Model Public-Private Partnership Space from Technologies for Exploration Partnerships (NextSTEP) to pursue the commercial development of deep space exploration capabilities. This year, NASA is seeking proposals for the development of a multi-material manufacturing laboratory in space or first-generation FabLab for space missions; selected five companies for studies for the input power and the propulsion element; announced that it will seek proposals for research contracts in technology for the use of resources in situ (ISRU); and its partners are developing prototypes of habitat structures.
- NASA involved the public in many citizen challenges, including the Space Poop challenge, which awarded the winners with proposed solutions to address how to collect and remove human waste from the body, if an astronaut wore a microgravity space suit for up to six days.
International Space Station
In 2017, six NASA astronauts have lived aboard the International Space Station, supporting more than 120 new research investigations conducted in the USA. UU unique microgravity laboratory to prepare for the future exploration of deep space and improve life on Earth. The investigations included research leading to new knowledge about combustion processes, testing a drug to help fight cancer and demonstrating technology such as the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM). In addition, the space station hosts many external experiments that observe Earth and our environment from space and study space physics, such as neutron stars, black holes and the search for dark matter. This year, more than 170 total investigations of EE. UU They are advancing our understanding of biology and biotechnology, the physical sciences, human research, technological development and education.
Here are some additional highlights of 2017:
- The arrival of Expedition 53 The crew marked the first long-term increase in the US segment from three to four, allowing NASA to maximize time spent on research .
- Peggy Whitson broke multiple records during a mission extended to the station, becoming the American astronaut who has spent more time in space, counting 665 days during three missions.
- During nine spacewalks, the work of NASA astronauts prepared for the arrival of future commercial crew ships and improved the capabilities of the station. ] During five missions in 2017, the commercial partners of NASA, Orbital ATK and SpaceX, launched more than 32,900 pounds of critical supplies to the International Spa. Ce Station, which includes crew supplies and equipment to support the hundreds of critical science experiments and technology demonstrations aboard the space station. With its fall into the Pacific Ocean after three replenishment missions, the SpaceX Dragon capsule also returned more than 13,000 pounds of research and equipment.
- NASA advanced its goal of launching astronauts once again from Florida's Space Coast the International Space Station as providers of the Commercial Crew Program Boeing and SpaceX progressed into Starliner spacecraft systems and spacecraft and Crew Dragon, respectively. Boeing revealed his space suit design earlier this year and performed important parachute and qualification tests. SpaceX also revealed its space suit and worked with NASA and the Air Force to refine its procedures to retrieve water astronauts after a mission to the space station.
- Sierra Nevada Corporation successfully completed a free flight test of its Dream Chaser spacecraft, meeting the final milestone of a space law agreement for the Commercial Crew Program. The test also supported a milestone in the readiness to carry cargo and science investigations to the space station under the commercial replenishment services contracts of the agency's next generation.
- The space station continues to be used to inspire future generations with a special focus for a year of Education at the station with astronauts and former classroom teachers Joe Acaba and Ricky Arnold and his crewmates.
- NASA's space communications and navigation capabilities were updated with the launch in August of the Space Network and Data Relay Satellite-M (TDRS-M) of the Space Network, the third and last in the space network of the Space Network It provides almost constant communication links to Earth from the International Space Station, the Hubble Space Telescope and many other missions.
- The station also helped advance the technology necessary to allow human exploration of deep space: the in-orbit characterization of the Heat Exchange Materials of Phase Change Materials was completed to provide better temperature regulation for Orion and future space vehicles.
Safely moving an increasing number of people and charging more efficiently between airports on board aircraft of all sizes, which burn less fuel, release fewer emissions and fly quieter and more Fast, it remained the focus of the aeronautical innovators of NASA as they reached several technical milestones in 2017. Then these milestones are laying the groundwork for the return of the X-plane to the NASA research toolbox.
Here are some research highlights made in 2017 that announce the great aviation transformation of NASA:
- Systems developed by NASA to help air traffic Managers and pilots fly more efficiently from the exit door to the Arrival gate: the first near Seattle at the beginning of the year and the second at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport starting in September.
- Enabling commercial supersonic travel by passenger plane over land is a key objective for NASA aeronautics. A preliminary design for such an airplane was completed in June after wind tunnel testing at Ohio and Virginia and information that will help silent sonic explosions was collected during flight tests at Florida in August.
- The explosive demand for unmanned aerial systems, or drones, has led NASA to take the initiative to help the government and the industry find the safest and most efficient ways to integrate these new aircraft into the airspace We.
- Testing flexible wings, reducing the noise of the landing gear, improving the chances of surviving a crash, improving research methods with fiber optic and deploying new hardware to test better helicopters, we are among the many other projects that saw results in 2017.
- NASA's aeronautics in 2017 also showed its most important resource, the people, by presenting a new university leadership initiative, funding a trio of potentially transformative research teams, and celebrating honors and achievements.
- One of the NASA centers that does a lot of aeronautical research, Langley Research Center at Hampton, Virginia celebrated its 100th anniversary this year.
In 2017, NASA used the space view even more to increase our understanding of our home planet, improve lives and safeguard our future. The 60th anniversary of Earth's space research and the beginning of the United States space exploration dates from January 2018 followed by the 60th anniversary of NASA in oct. . 1 .
Here are some highlights of this year's NASA Earth Science research:
This year, NASA's investments in space technology paid off with the launch of several technologies, useful payloads delivered to the International Space Station and beyond, the realization of two grand prix competitions and the ground demonstration of technologies that could one day build and repair large structures in space.
These are some of the highlights of NASA's technology for 2017:
- The Station Explorer for Timing and X-ray Navigation Technology (SEXTANT) will test, for the first time in space, the use of pulsars to form a GPS – as a system that can support the navigation of spacecraft throughout the solar system, allowing the exploration of deep space in the future. SEXTANT, included with the Inside Neutron Star Composition Explorer (NICER), is now operating from outside the space station.
- In Nov. 12 two small spacecraft missions launched on board the ATN CRS-8 Cygnus Orbital Refueling mission to the International Space Station, will test the high-speed optical data transmission and the proximity operations of small spacecraft, and will demonstrate a reflect array antenna that increases downlink data rates for CubeSats.
- Since the NASA Centennial Challenges began in 2005, there have been 18 challenges that have resulted in more than $ 8 million in prizes awarded to more than 60 teams across the country.
- In August, Foster + Partners Team Chattanooga, Tennessee won first place and a prize of $ 250,000 for successfully completing Phase 2, Level 3 of 3D- Printed Habitat Challenge.
- Cube Quest Challenge from the Space Technology Mission Directorate gave $ 20,000 each in prizes and secured space to launch CubeSats from the three winning teams in the Exploration Mission-1, the first flight integrated NASA Space Launch System and the Orion spacecraft.
- The active competitions of Centennial Challenges are: Vascular Tissue Challenge to advance in the field of tissue engineering; Cube Quest to advance the capabilities of small satellite technology; and Phase 3 of the 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge to advance the building technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for the Earth and beyond.
- NASA and its commercial partners are on track to demonstrate technologies that can manufacture, assemble and repair large structures in space through robotic assembly and fabrication in space (IRMA) projects.
- Participating in public events, including South by Southwest; Philadelphia Science Festival; Space day; Artscape; EAA AirVenture; Albuquerque balloon festival; Presentation of electronic objects for the consumer; Super Bowl LI, Bay Area Science Festival; OshKosh; Festival of essence; Boy Scout Jamboree; Bold; and the Chicago Air & Water Show, more than five million people had the opportunity to interact with representatives of the US space agency.
- The presence of NASA's social networks continued to grow in 2017 with more than 130 million followers on all accounts and platforms. The agency has the most followers of any agency / department in the federal government on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Google+. The agency also organized 13 NASA Social Networks this year, bringing together more than 650 followers who interact with NASA through social networks for unique experiences of exploration and discovery in person.
- NASA's digital communications team was honored with four Webby Awards in 2017. For the first time, the presence of NASA's social network was recognized by Webby Awards, winning in corporate communications and being honored with the People & # 39; s Voice Award. NASA's Cassini project was recognized with its second Webby for scientific websites. NASA.gov, the agency's main website, received its ninth Popular Voice Award in the Government and Civil Innovation category. The total solar eclipse caused an unprecedented traffic for NASA.gov, with a record 25.8 million visits in Aug. 21 . In general this year, traffic increased by 24 percent compared to 2016, reaching more than 410,000 visits per day.
For more information on NASA missions, research and discoveries, visit:
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