Dwayne Brown / Alana Johnson
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
NASA’s Mars InSight lander has measured and recorded for the first time ever a likely “marsquake.”
The faint seismic signal, detected by the lander’s Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS) instrument, was recorded on April 6, the lander’s 128th Martian day, or sol. This is the first recorded trembling that appears to have come from inside the planet, as opposed to being caused by forces above the surface, such as wind. Scientists still are examining the data to determine the exact cause of the signal.
Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.
Dwayne Brown / JoAnna Wendel
NASA Headquarters, Washington
Many of NASA’s most iconic spacecraft towered over the engineers who built them: think Voyagers 1 and 2, Cassini or Galileo — all large machines that could measure up to a school bus.
But in the past two decades, mini-satellites called CubeSats have made space accessible to a new generation. These briefcase-sized boxes are more focused in their abilities and have a fraction of the mass — and cost — of some past titans of space.
In May, engineers will be watching closely as NASA launches its first pair of CubeSats designed for deep space. The twin spacecraft are called Mars Cube One, or MarCO, and were built at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
PASADENA, Calif. — Four intriguing places on Mars have risen to the final round as NASA selects a landing site for its next Mars mission, the Mars Science Laboratory.
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden has named Todd May director of the agency’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. May was appointed Marshall deputy director in August 2015 and has been serving as acting director since the Nov. 13, 2015 retirement of Patrick Scheuermann.
As director, May will lead one of NASA’s largest field installations, with almost 6,000 civil service and contractor employees, an annual budget of approximately $2.5 billion and a broad spectrum of human spaceflight, science and technology development missions.
“Todd’s experience and leadership have been invaluable to the agency, especially as we have embarked on designing, building and testing the Space Launch System, a critical part of NASA’s journey to Mars,” said Bolden. “He brings his expert program management and leadership skills and sense of mission to this new role, and I look forward to having him at the helm of Marshall.”
Since its inception in 2011, May led the Space Launch System (SLS) program through a series of milestones, including a successful in-depth critical design review. SLS, now under development, is the most powerful rocket ever built, able to carry astronauts in NASA’s Orion spacecraft on deep space missions, including to an asteroid and ultimately on a journey to Mars.
May’s NASA career began in 1991 in the Materials and Processes Laboratory at Marshall. He was deputy program manager of the Russian Integration Office in the International Space Station Program at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston in 1994. May managed the successful integration, launch and commissioning of the station’s Quest airlock in 1998. He also joined the team that launched the Gravity Probe B mission to test Einstein’s general theory of relativity.
In 2004, May assumed management of the Discovery and New Frontiers Programs, created to explore the solar system with frequent unmanned spacecraft missions. He moved to NASA Headquarters in Washington in 2007 as a deputy associate administrator in the Science Mission Directorate. Returning to Marshall in June 2008, May was named Marshall’s associate director, technical, a post he held until being named SLS program manager.
May earned a bachelor’s degree in materials engineering from Auburn University in Auburn, Alabama, in 1990. His many awards include NASA’s Exceptional Achievement Medal, the Presidential Rank Award of Meritorious Executive, NASA’s Outstanding Leadership Medal and the John W. Hager Award for professionalism in materials engineering. He has been named a Distinguished Engineer by Auburn. In 2014, he received Aviation Week’s Program Excellence Award, as well as the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement Foundation’s Stellar Award in recognition of the SLS team’s many accomplishments.
A native of Fairhope, Alabama, May and his wife, Kelly, have four children and live in Huntsville.
For more information about NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/marshall