NASA has made ‘an exciting new discovery’ about the moon, which will be revealed next week.
Although the news is currently shrouded in mystery, the space agency did reveal that the new finding ‘contributes to NASA’s efforts to learn about the Moon in support of deep space exploration.’
What we do know, however, is that the discovery was made by the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy, a modified Boeing 747 which flies much higher in the atmosphere and is more commonly referred to as SOFIA.
Unlike regular 747s, SOFIA is able to fly above almost all of the atmosphere’s water vapour and uses a top of the range 9-foot telescope to gather visuals of our solar system and beyond.
NASA will make the announcement at 5.00pm GMT on Monday, October 26, via a livestream on the space agency’s website.
Sharing the news on Twitter, the official NASA account wrote:
Mark your calendars: We will be revealing a new discovery about the surface of the Moon from our airborne
@SOFIATelescope observatory, and YOU are invited.
Pencil us in for 12pm ET (5pm GMT) on Monday, Oct. 26!
Mark your calendars: We will be revealing a new discovery about the surface of the Moon from our airborne @SOFIATelescope observatory, and YOU are invited.
— NASA (@NASA) October 22, 2020
SOFIA spends most of its time looking deeper into space, however the 747 has been known to make some incredible discoveries about our own solar system in the past. For example, it discovered atomic oxygen in Mar’s atmosphere for the first time in 40 years, in 2016.
It is able to do so, by observing infrared wavelengths and picking up on ‘phenomenon impossible to see with light.’
During the announcement, NASA made reference to its Artemis programme, which ‘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.’
The conference is set to be hosted by in part by Jacob Bleacher, chief exploration scientist for the Human Exploration and Operations Mission Directorate, which has furthered assumptions the briefing could take us one step further to being able to achieve living on the moon.
Also speaking during the conference is Paul Hertz, astrophysics division director at NASA Headquarters; Casey Honniball, postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center; and Naseem Rangwala, project scientist for the Sofia mission.
To watch the exciting announcement from NASA on October 26, head to their website here.
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