SOFIA Takeoff

NASA will announce an exciting new discovery about the Moon from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) at a media teleconference at 12 p.m. EDT Monday, October 26. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency’s website.

This new discovery contributes to NASA’s efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration. Under NASA’s Artemis program, the agency will send the first woman and next man to the lunar surface in 2024 to prepare for our next giant leap – human exploration of Mars as early as the 2030s. Understanding the science of the Moon also helps piece together the broader history of the inner solar system.

Galileo North Polar Moon Mosaic

This color picture is a mosaic assembled from 18 images taken by Galileo’s imaging system through a green filter. The left part of this picture shows the dark, lava-filled Mare Imbrium (upper left); Mare Serenitatis (middle left), Mare Tranquillitatis (lower left), and Mare Crisium, the dark circular feature toward the bottom of the mosaic. Credit: NASA/JPL/USGS

Briefing participants are:

  • Paul Hertz, Astrophysics division director at NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters
  • Casey Honniball, postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland
  • Naseem Rangwala, project scientist for the SOFIA mission, NASA’s Ames Research Center, Silicon Valley, California

As the world’s largest airborne observatory, SOFIA is a modified 747 that flies high in the atmosphere to provide its nearly 9-foot telescope with a clear view of the universe and objects in our solar system. Flying above 99% of the atmosphere’s obscuring water vapor, SOFIA observes in infrared wavelengths and can detect phenomena impossible to see with visible light.

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