Auroras dance in the sky above a line of evergreen trees in shadow
2021-12-01

The Space Weather Science and Observation Gap Analysis

As humanity becomes more reliant on satellite technology for key aspects of society on Earth, space weather continues to play an increasingly important role in the success of our species. The recent gap analysis report led by Johns Hopkins APL researchers found that we can significantly improve our space weather prediction capabilities with current technology.
The SpaceX rocket carrying DART sits on the launch pad with the DART and NASA logos apparent
2021-11-24

NASA’s DART Spacecraft Launches in World’s First Planetary Defense Test Mission

After a decade in the making, NASA's Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, which Johns Hopkins APL built and is managing, launched from the California coast early Wednesday morning. It set off to perform the world's first full-scale test to defend Earth from a potential asteroid or comet threat.
Image from space of the Moon
2021-11-18

Lunar Vertex: Solving Mysteries Swirling around the Moon’s Magnetic Regions

Scientists believe that so-called magnetic anomalies hold clues to conditions on the Moon and other worlds throughout the solar system. To find out, APL leads a project not just to visit the most famous of these areas on the lunar surface but to drive right across it.
A glowing cone heats a small disc of silicon-germanium
2021-10-25

Reviving a Legacy Technology for Spacecraft Exploration

A legacy material called silicon-germanium is making a comeback in NASA’s next-generation nuclear power source for spacecraft, thanks in part to recent work by an APL-led team. Its resurgence will enable NASA missions to travel farther and longer than current capabilities allow.
The DART spacecraft placed in its specialize container
2021-10-20

DART Arrives at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Its Final Stop Before Launch

Just two days after leaving Johns Hopkins APL in a specialized container, NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) spacecraft arrived at Vandenberg Space Force Base in California, where it is scheduled to launch in late November.
Image of the Moon, with half of its visible face lit
2021-10-11

New Moon-Based Study Again Shows Spacecraft Could Answer Neutron Lifetime Mystery

Just a year after a team from Johns Hopkins APL and Durham University showed for the first time that spacecraft could help end a decades-long stalemate on how long a neutron can last outside an atom’s nucleus, the team has done it again. In a new study using lunar data, the team made a tenfold improvement on their last estimate, drawing closer to answering a question that will improve our understanding of the early universe.
A man dressed in a bunny suit, white gloves and hair net bolts LICIACube onto the side of DART
2021-10-01

DART Gets Its CubeSat Companion, Its Last Major Piece

Shortly after it arrived at Johns Hopkins APL, the Italian Space Agency’s first-ever deep-space miniaturized satellite, called LICIACube, was installed on DART. The CubeSat will snap images of DART as it performs its final maneuver: a deliberate crash into an asteroid.
A blue and green aurora appearing over a body of water and a mountain range in the background
2021-09-15

NOAA Selects Johns Hopkins APL’s George Ho for Space Weather Advisory Group

George Ho, a space and planetary physicist at Johns Hopkins APL, was tapped by NOAA to serve on its new Space Weather Advisory Group. The board will counsel the federal government on mitigating and responding to the deleterious effects of space weather on the nation’s space assets and humanity.
Illustration of asteroid Psyche
2021-09-02

Psyche’s Gamma Ray and Neutron Detection Instrument Arrives in California for Spacecraft Installation

After five years of developing and testing a complex gamma-ray and neutron detection instrument for NASA’s Psyche mission, the world’s first mission to study a potentially metal-rich asteroid, the APL Psyche team can finally take a breather. The instrument safely arrived at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California on Aug. 2.
Illustration of Earth with magnetic lines emerging from it and colors surrounding its sides that represent the Van Allen Belts
2021-08-31

The Van Allen Probes Transformed Everything We Know About Earth’s Radiation Belts. What’s Next?

Nine years after NASA’s Van Allen Probes launched into space to study the radiation environment around Earth, APL gathered scientists and satellite operators from around the world to discuss the future of space weather research, including ways to protect astronauts and satellites. Here are their four big takeaways.