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Space | 60 Minutes Marathon

Mar 18, 2024
NASA's James Web Space Telescope has barely opened its eyes and the universe is new, more mysterious, more beautiful than the dreams of humanity, the largest telescope ever launched into deep


on Christmas Day 2021, its main mission is to reveal the moment of light when stars and galaxies first lit up after the big bang we recently got to see some captivating images as the web looks back at the origin of it all this is one of the web's first deep dives into the cosmos 250 hours of imagination-expanding exhibits and all these little dots are stars, all these little dots are galaxies, some of which are bigger than our own astrophysicist Brent Robertson, took us through 130,000 galaxies, half of which we've never seen before. seen before, enormous swirls of billions of stars, each one like our own Milky Way and others out of this world.
space 60 minutes marathon
He calls this galaxy in the center of the screen the Cosmic Rose just by chance, it looks like a rose. You can see that dusty red regular galaxy. You know,


is more populated than you think and, in fact, galaxies end up interacting with each other. they will actually merge, so now I'm approaching a couple of interacting merging galaxies. You can see that they are disturbed because the gravity of one galaxy pulls out the stars of the other galaxy, they are colliding with each other. are being found Robertson of the University of California Santa Cruz helps lead the web's most ambitious mission, the Deep Advanced Extragalactic Study Well, we've discovered the most distant galaxy in the universe, the one that's farthest from us that we currently know about uh, I'd like to share that with you, I can show you some pictures.
space 60 minutes marathon

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I would love to see them, so as we get closer, we keep going and going and now this red spot that you see there, that galaxy that is a galaxy. that galaxy is more than 33 billion light years away how long after the big bang, the beginning of the universe, this galaxy formed is surprising, it has only been 320 million years after the big bang, the most distant galaxy until now, over there on the right, it doesn't look like much, but astronomers can fill textbooks analyzing the spectrum of its light so we can measure things like how fast stars are forming.
space 60 minutes marathon
We can measure the number of stars in the galaxy. We know the size because we know how far away it is. We know the typical age of stars in the galaxy, so we know a lot. The oldest galaxy yet formed when the universe was 2% of its current age and the baby galaxy ignited stars at a dizzying rate. It's like a hummingbird. You already know the heartbeat. The speed of this galaxy is so fast, what do you mean by that? Well, this galaxy is forming stars at about the rate of the Milky Way, although it is 100 times less massive, so it really is like a hummingbird, this galaxy's heartbeat is racing.
space 60 minutes marathon
At least 30 seconds into the countdown, more than a few human hearts were racing in 2021 as the 10 billion Observatory read for launch. Heck, earlier that year we were among the last to see the net in California before it somehow folded into a 15-foot-wide nose cone. That's much bigger than I imagined. 25 years of development Webb is named after one of NASA's first administrators. Northrup Grumman engineer Amy Low showed us beneath the silver sunshade, as big as a tennis court, and 21 feet of gold-plated mirrors for collecting light, there were 18 of these hexagonal mirrors, but when you unfold them, they all work in Together like a mirror, that's right, the 18 images will form a very nice solid image and will take off from a tropical jungle to the Edge of Time itself.
James web begins a journey back to the birth of the web of the universe placed on a European rocket in orbit around the sun a million miles away to prepare for observations. Engineers used a star to align those mirrors, but the image was peppered with what looked like digital noise artifacts. which forced me to look closer these weren't detector artifacts they weren't strange stars the whole sky was full of galaxies there wasn't an empty sky and that's when I went this telescope is going to be phenomenal Matt Mountain runs web operations as president of the association of universities for research in astronomy there is no empty sky what do you mean by that and almost all the images we are taking now we see galaxies everywhere?
I mean, we took a simple image of a planet in our own Neptune system, you know it was This beautiful orb is sitting there and we saw some rings and the background is galaxies again. It tells us that our universe is full of galaxies. We knew it theoretically, but when you go out into the night sky we're used to saying, look up. in the night sky we see those stars we can't say that anymore now we have to say look at the night sky and there are galaxies everywhere we call it space because we thought there was nothing out there there is no empty sky with James web that's what We have discovered Matt Mountain says the network is a reminder of how much we don't know, for example, galaxies are moving away from each other at an ever-increasing speed.
Defying gravity doesn't make sense, so scientists infer that there must be invisible elements at work, they call them dark energy and dark matter and every time you hear the term dark energy or dark matter it means we don't know what it is, we're not so imaginative, but it's a force, it's 95% of our universe and I have no idea what it is, wait a minute. 95% of our universe is made up of dark energy and dark matter and we don't know which is right. We are lucky if we understand even 4% of our universe today. Astronomy is a very humiliating humiliating discipline but with web look at this also exciting look at this on the right this is Purdue University astronomer Dan Milly savich Star Struck and chatting with a colleague yes yes look at the detail look at the detail even Wilbur, who not an astronomer, he strove to see what the excitement was because mly studies exploded Stars that were the furnaces that forged the first heavy elements of a cosmos from simple helium and hydrogen every time there is a supernova explosion the raw material for life is produced the iron in our blood the calcium in our bones the oxygen we breathe I love that oxygen all of that is being manufactured in supernova explosions the late astronomer Carl Sean used to say that we are all made of star matter, That's exactly it, the network reveals unprecedented details at the center of these explosions and that's what makes the network more sensitive for our purposes to understand what's happening inside the explosion that we couldn't see before because it only comes out in infrared light.
Infrared light is what the web as a night vision camera is designed for. The telescope is sensitive to heat radiation, that is. All that remains of the light that has reached us since the dawn of time is infrared, it is invisible to the human eye when you first access data on the web. How does it look? Basically, it looks like a blank screen. Alisa Pagon and Joe D Pascal are astronomers. and scientific imagers for the Space Telescope Science Institute, this is what a web infrared image looks like until they match the data filled with Darkness with Wonder colors, so we take those longer wavelengths of infrared light and we give them the red colors that would give them the next shortest wavelengths. be green and then the shorter wavelengths that we get from the web are blue and so, just like our eyes work, we take those three color channels and combine them to create the full color images that we see on the web .
Among his favorite images is this group. of stars with the not-so-wonderful name NGC 346 Cosmic dust sculpted into waves by interactions between stars and the Tarantula Nebula a nursery of stars on a background of galaxies it occurs to me that you are the first two people to see these images in the history of humanity yes, it is a great honor, it is a great honor and it leaves you speechless every time there will be many mind-blowing revelations. The Revelations website is already the first to find carbon dioxide in the sky of a planet 700 light years away. Will continue searching for planets.
With atmospheres that could support life at the other end of the time scale, astrophysicist Erica Nelson of the University of Colorado Boulder believes her team may have made a discovery that she says would break the theory of how the early Universe formed, either this is incorrect or this is a big discovery and we think it's a big discovery, so more observations are needed, but Nelson is investigating what may be five giant galaxies that appear to have formed too quickly after the Big Bang, if confirms, Mediterranean astronomy may have to review. the timeline of galaxy formation and that's the most exciting piece of this telescope of this remarkable instrument that we've put in space is finding things that we didn't expect and that we can't explain because that means we have to revise our understanding. of the universe, well Brand Robertson, who showed us the oldest galaxy yet found by the James Web Telescope, told us that the record for the first will not stand for long.
How far can you go back to the origins of the universe? Well, it's so phenomenal that if you spend enough time, you can probably find any galaxy that has ever formed in the universe. It's really that powerful. Will the history of astronomy be divided between before and after the Web? Yes, I think it will be Matt Mountain who will manage Web operations, the observatory told us. He lasts up to 20 5 years, perhaps long enough to understand space, time and the origins of life. We are seeing a universe we have never seen before. We thought it was there.
We expected it to be there, but now we see it for the first time. When we look at the stars, it's humbling to realize that we're only peaking at what's up there. Beyond what is visible to the naked eye lie wonderful galaxies that we never knew existed until the Hubble Space Telescope for 27 years since it was launched. Hubble space has been sending back stunning images of the vast skies over the years, astronauts have repeatedly upgraded Hubble, so its most dramatic discoveries came recently. Tonight we'll take you to Hubble and billions of light years beyond to see some of its most spectacular latest discoveries.
Revelations NASA celebrates Hubble's birthday each year by giving us a stunning new view of our universe the latest birthday card this elegant swirl of galaxies dancing in tandem in the depths of space last year this bubble of stellar gases floating between the stars as a diaphanous cosmic jellyfish Hubble has shown us radiant rose-shaped galaxies stretching through deep space and spectacular gas clouds filled with the material of creation. Stars are born here year after year, on the infinite black canvas above our heads, Hubble paints an ever-expanding picture of our universe. inspiring light show for us to admire and for scientists to study.
I believe Hubble has been the most transformative scientific instrument we have ever built. "More transformative," says NASA astrophysicist Amber Straw because Hubble continues to improve our understanding of the universe, she showed us what Hubble discovered after staring for days at what appeared to be an empty black spot, a deep dark void in outer space, the original Hubble deep field is located just above the Big Dipper, it's a part of the sky that most people are familiar with, it's a blank piece. of the sky, so there is nothing here, just darkness, nothing at all, complete darkness and then when we look at it with Hubble, what we see are thousands of galaxies, not just stars, galaxies, galaxies outside our own, something that we never imagined.
Is Hubble just staring? that dark spot until the light penetrates and it is revealed that is exactly what happens, sometimes it is many, many days just looking at a part of the sky and allowing the photons to accumulate in your detector and this is what is revealed and this is what is revealed, but Hubble was just warming up, that was 22 years ago, since then Hubble has looked deeper and longer into space with improved equipment. In this particular image there are 10,000 galaxies, so each point of light is an individual galaxy, its own little island universe, so this is a real visualization of the distances of these galaxies, kind of like 3D 3D as if we were flying, so we can make these 3D images because we know how far away galaxies are, what Hubble has essentially given us is the size of the universe that Hubble has. taught us that the universe is full of hundreds of billions of othergalaxies and now the latest analysis of Hubble data reveals that there could be more than two trillion galaxies, 10 times more than previously thought.
Typical galaxies like our Milky Way have 100 billion stars, which means The total number of stars or suns there are is two, followed by 23 zeros, which is called 200 sextilions to get an idea of ​​how many stars we went to. Adam Reese, who won a Nobel Prize for his work on Hubble, this is more stars in the visible. Universe that grains of sand on the beach The Earth on all the beaches of the Earth and Hubble has shown us that in many cases it has allowed us to see what some of the most distant galaxies are like and how many stars were in them and I have been able to add it all up .
Hubble has been called a time machine that looks back in time. What has been the most surprising part for you? I study uh star explosions called supern noi, they are like fireworks, they are only visible for a short period of time in this case a few weeks and that light has been traveling towards us for 10 billion years it started its journey when the earth didn't even It was not even here and during those 10 billion years our planet formed life developed we built a Hubble Space Telescope we opened the aperture door and in the last billionth of 1% of that journey that the light made we opened the door just in time to capture it .
Hubble captured almost nothing. The first images he sent were blurry due to a microscopic defect in the mirror the space agency launched a bold mission to fix it the astronauts have made five trips to Hubble to repair and improve its equipment okay, John, can you open the thermal cover John grunsfeld, known As Hubble's paraman, he flew on three of those missions to a telescope the size of a school bus orbiting 300 m above Earth. Almost anything we can easily change, update and fix has fixed the entire telescope's operation. that's transformed yeah it's like a new telescope on your last mission you come out of the airlock and you have this big smile on your face I thought you know I can't imagine any place I'd rather be than outside the space jutel in my space suit next to the Hubble Space Telescope I was so happy that Hubble has changed what we know about the universe its structure Evolution its age 13.8 billion years Hubble showed us the wonder and majesty of stars being born this is a region of gas and dust that is generating new baby stars and now we have learned with Hubble not only stars but also baby planet systems, most of these stars have planets around them, most stars actually have planets, when I As a child we only knew about the planets within our solar system and now we know that planets are absolutely everywhere astronomer Heidi Hamill specializes in Hubble's work within our solar system with the telescope she saw huge fragments of a comet collide with Jupiter creating giant impacts when I first heard that a comet was going to hit Jupiter my reaction was huh so huge Jupiter comets are small so when I saw the first impact site and it was huge and dark I was flabbergasted , this is where the comet collided with the planet at such a high speed that it has caused an explosion equivalent to many millions of atomic bombs, the Earth is the size of that ring and therefore if this event had occurred on Earth , we're gone, yes, we call it a biosphere change event, which basically means we would be Hubble orbits high outside of Earth's atmosphere so it can see a broad spectrum of light that our atmosphere blocks beyond of the Earth's protective layer.
Hubble's ultraviolet camera can detect dazzling displays like this bright Halo Beam atop Jupiter in the northern hemisphere. the bright aurora an aurora occurs when the planet's magnetic field has charged particles that interact with the upper atmosphere what you are seeing there are actually charged particles from the Sun that are dragged by Jupiter's strong magnetic field and then reflected in that brightness that you see inside the auroral oval and you couldn't see that with a ground-based telescope you would never be able to see those auroras because our atmosphere has an ozone layer that absorbs ultraviolet light. Hubble also found a similar blue hue in the background of Saturn.
The telescope's most iconic image is that of the Pillars of Creation, a site of stellar reproduction. Amber Stra showed us the difference Hubble's improved infrared camera made just two years ago. Stars are born inside these clouds of dust and it will give you a clue as to why infrared is so important is because in infrared light what you see are the stars inside, you see the stars inside shining through how big It is this area of ​​clouds from top to bottom these pillars are approximately 10 light years, which is approximately equivalent to 60 trillion miles 60 trillion miles space is great, vast and miraculous with constant celestial regeneration, Straw calls this the image of all because you can see old stars exploding and new stars forming every time you see these types of dark and cloudy regions, you can imagine that there are stars being born inside, there where the dying stars and dying stars are.
Stars, we think that this could explode any day, literally, or it could be a thousand years from now, but in the short term in astronomy, stars that big when they die explode and send their content to the surrounding universe and these contents are the seed. future stars and future planets and help Seed Life, ultimately the iron in your blood and the calcium in your bones were literally forged inside a star that ended its life this way, so we are all Stardust, we are literally Stardust , we are viscerally made of Stars One of the things I think is notable about this image is that it shows how colorful the universe is.
It looks like contemporary art. It's a very tightly knit group of stars and what you see here is about 100,000 stars. This was one of the first. images that Hubble's new camera installed in 2009 this was one of the first images it took blue stars are the youngest and hottest white and yellow stars like our sun are in middle age while red stars are the oldest and cold uh what a beautiful view John grunsfeld has great claim to fame he is the last human to touch Hubble said goodbye Pat Hubble was planned to live 15 years 27 have already passed how much longer can Hubble last?
I'm reasonably sure that it will continue for another 3 to 5 years, that means at least for a while, Hubble will work in conjunction with its successor, the much larger James Web Telescope, scheduled to launch in 2019. The network should be able to detect the light of the earliest galaxies. The farthest Hubble can see is this red spot, a galaxy 400 million years after the Big Bang web should bring us much closer to the beginning of time, which is why the James Web Space Telescope was specifically designed to see the first stars and galaxies that formed in the universe, so we are going to see the snapshot of when The stars began when the galaxies began the first moments of the universe and I bet there will be big surprises in the history of space flight.
Only four entities have ever launched a space capsule into orbit and brought it back to Earth. United States Russia. China and Elon Musk Musk is a wealthy Internet entrepreneur who has promised to revolutionize space exploration by reducing astronomical costs, and that can't happen fast enough for NASA, which retired the shuttle last summer and now has to pay its former rival. Russia. carrying American astronauts into space Musk is one of the contenders vying for a NASA contract to build America's next human spacecraft, a contest he believes he has what it takes to win as the last shuttle mission ended last July. for the first time in three decades.
The United States had no way to launch astronauts into space, it was the end of one era and the beginning of another, instead of NASA designing the next human spacecraft, the White House decided that private industry should design, build and fly it. . Opening space to commercial development one of the companies competing for that contract is SpaceX Elon Musk is the founder and CEO is what we are experiencing right now the turning point in man's reach for space moving from governments to private companies like yours. I think we're at the dawn of a new era and I think it's going to be very exciting.
What we hope to do with SpaceX is go further and provide a reason for people to be excited and inspire humanity. Musk is 40 years old. A naturalized American citizen and reportedly worth nearly $2 billion, he is not your typical corporate CEO. As a teenager, he wrote computer games in his native South Africa before emigrating to the US and Silicon Valley, where he was one of the most successful Internet entrepreneurs in the world. -founder of PayPal, ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Elon Musk, despite a chorus of skeptics, Musk built a car company called Tesla that produces 5,000 high-end electric cars a year.
Another Musk company sells solar energy systems, but his lifelong passion is space and when eBay bought PayPal. In 2002, Musk began looking for ways to put his new Fortune into orbit. I went to Russia to look into the possibility of purchasing a reconditioned icvm, which is a very amazing experience. It was very strange. And when I tell people they like what Musk did. three trips to Russia trying to buy an intercontinental ballistic missile called Neer his plan was strange to put a greenhouse on the rocket that landed on Mars and transmit the images that would excite people a lot and that would recharge human space exploration which was my original idea, you just wanted to get people interested in space again, capture the imagination, yes that was the idea, turns out Neer was so expensive his idea never worked so Musk decided the only way to get an affordable rocket was to build it himself and him.
I started SpaceX, the odds were that I would get into the rocket business not knowing anything about rockets without having built anything. I mean, I'd have to be crazy to think the odds were in my favor, so why even start when something is important enough? Although the spanking is not in your favor, how much of your personal fortune have you invested in this 100 million dollars? 100 million dollars on something you didn't think would work at first. Yes, Musk truly believes that low-cost space exploration is essential to the survival of humanity. I think it is important for humanity to become a multiple species.
I think most people would agree that a future where we are a spacefaring civilization is inspiring and exciting compared to one where we are forever confined to Earth until some extinction event occurs. Yes, that's actually why I started Space space now tell me what that big piece is That's the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket instead of several companies building parts all over the country. SpaceX builds most of its rockets and spacecraft in-house based on Musk's belief that it is more efficient and reduces costs. 1,400 qualified engineers and technicians work here Building engines Rockets, space capsules creating primarily from scratch the thousands of components that are the guts of a rocket, so what that means is the raw metal goes in and then we build the engines, the the airframe, the electronics and we integrate it all together, um and and and that's all done more or less Under one roof The metal comes at one end of this factory.
The spaceships leave through the other. Yes, final assembly takes place at the Cape Canaveral launch pad. If the margin is there and we don't have margin to the fourth power, then okay, Musk has college degrees in business and physics, but SpaceX is his first company in the aerospace sector. He bills himself as chief designer and chief technology officer. How did you get the experience to be the CTO of a rocket company? a background in physics which is useful as a foundation, um and then I read a lot of books and talked to a lot of smart people, you're self-taught, yeah, well, self-taught, yeah, I mean, um, I didn't, I don't have an aerospace career.
Bachelor, so how did you go about acquiring the knowledge? Well, I like to say that I read a lot of books, I talk to a lot of people and I have a great team. His team is a mix. There are newcomers, mostly around 30 engineers, some of them. fresh out of college and then there are the techniciansqualified and aerospace veterans, former NASA astronaut Garrett Reesman spent 3 months aboard the space station and flew on one of the final shuttle missions where he was hired to help oversee the company's human space work, You know? I'm curious to know that you have so much engineering experience that you could have easily gotten a job at Boeing or Lockheed, but you came here if you had the chance to go back in time and work with Howard Hughes when he was creating 2w if you had the chance.
To be there at that time when it was the beginning of a new era, wouldn't you like to do that? I mean, that's why I'm here and that's why most of the engineers we met are here building spaceships, it's the opportunity of a lifetime if you get to the point of having a successful manned flight, what will you have proven? We are not doing it to prove anything. You know, we know it can be done. We're just trying to do it a little bit differently. a little faster and push the fence a little further and then we can all go.
I mean, I want to go to space. I guess most people here do too. How many want to travel? uhhuh, okay, everyone wants to go. I'm not so sure about the engine sequence of the first station initi 2 1 4 years after the start SpaceX launched its first rocket an unmanned booster called Falcon 1 Falcon has cleared the tower but the first three test flights failed to reach orbit uh we're hearing from the launch control center that there has been an anomaly in the vehicle when you had that third consecutive failure M you thought I had to never leave this why not?
I never give up. I mean, I would have to be dead or completely incapacitated. It turned out that the third failure was caused by a second failure in time. 8 weeks later, Musk bet the company on another flight, we have takeoff and this time everything worked perfectly if those four launches hadn't worked, that would have been it um, we wouldn't have had the resources to set up the fifth launch, you couldn't have gotten out At that time, we, yes, death would have been inevitable, I think because we didn't have the resources to mount a fifth release, this is complicated.
Business is hard, yeah, yeah, I wish it wasn't so hard. In 2010, SpaceX tested a larger, more powerful N9-powered rocket called Falcon 9 and an unmanned cargo capsule known as Dragon. It was the first privately developed rocket designed to carry cargo and eventually. Astronauts on the space station mission confirmed 3.2 km per second on their first test flight. The Dragon capsule made two flawless orbits around the Earth before landing in the Pacific. The first time a private company launched and recovered its own spacecraft and this is a historic spacecraft. Yes, we came across the Dragon capsule while Musk was showing us around.
You know, what I noticed about your cargo ship is that it has Windows. Yes, absolutely, the windows are there, in case there is an AST on board that wants to look. but people don't put Windows on cargo ships, that's exactly it so what that tells me is that this was never intended to be just a cargo ship, no no, the dragon was always designed to carry Asids Musk, He says a manned version of the Dragon capsule will be safer than the space shuttle and much cheaper. Engineers are already designing life support equipment and computer guidance systems for Escape Rockets.
They were looking at seating for seven when we were there. Do you think your rocket will be the next American rocket to carry an astronaut into space. I think that's the most likely outcome. Yes, that kind of confidence hasn't exactly endeared him to the space establishment or his competitors. There are people who have been in the rocket business for decades. Yes, I say about you that you don't know what you don't know well. I guess that's true for anyone, how can someone know what they don't know? But when critics say you can't do this, your answer is: It was done in partnership with NASA, which provided technical advice to SpaceX and a contract worth up to $1.6 billion, primarily for 12 cargo flights to the space station, but Spacex's lack of experience bothers some NASA legends like Apollo astronauts Neil Armstrong and Jean Cernon.
I have testified before Congress that the Obama administration's push to commercialize space could compromise security and eventually cost taxpayers now is the time to reverse this administration's commitment to mediocrity. You know there are American heroes who don't like this idea. Neil Armstrong Jean Cernon has both testified against commercial spaceflight in the way you're developing it and I'm wondering what you think of that. It made me really sad to see that, because those guys yeah, you know, those guys are my heroes, so it's really hard, you know? I would like them to come visit us and see the hardware we are making at the camp and I think that would change their minds.
They inspired you to do this, didn't they? Yes, and seeing them throw stones in your direction, it's difficult. You expect them to cheer you up, so they expect them to. What are you trying to show them? What I'm trying to do is make a significant difference in spaceflight and help make spaceflight accessible to almost anyone. and I hope to receive all the support we can in that direction. President Obama made his support clear when he visited the Spacex launch site just before the Falcon 99's first test flight, as this animation shows that Elon Musk's next flight will be much more ambitious. carrying cargo to the space station whose flight was scheduled for February, but it has taken longer than expected to perfect the flight software.
The flight will be complicated. Rendevous with a space station that moves at 177,000 M per hour, 240 Mi above the Earth. Well, it looks like our combustion performance is nominal as SpaceX's mission control flight simulations continue and, if all goes well, SpaceX will begin routine cargo deliveries to the space station later this year, but the big prize is to win the NASA contract to build America's next human spacecraft. and Elon Musk faces tough competition. I'm probably not the guy most people would bet on. Who wins? It's like a little boy fighting a group of sumo wrestlers. Sumo wrestlers usually win.
We are a small company that fights every day. Every now and then the Little Scrappy company wins and I think this will be one of those times that 12 American men walked on the Moon the last Apollo astronaut left his mark there in December 1972 now, half a century later, NASA plans to send people back to the Moon. Luna, the new program is called Artemis in honor of the mythical twin sister of Apollo and the goal is for the next footprint on the Moon to be made by a woman. The astronaut who will receive that task has not yet been chosen, as you are about to watch this new program.
The trip to the Moon has been plagued by doubts, cost overruns and delays, but we found something more interesting when we visited NASA: the Artemis program is not only named after a woman, but is largely run by women, so There's no place on launch day I'd like to be, but right here Charlie Blackwell Thompson is NASA's first female launch director, and the launch director copies the launch command for the first Artemis Moon rocket in the space of about a year. historic shooting room one of the Kennedy Space Center, where she first visited more than 30 years ago as a college graduate, interviewing for a job.
It is the same room from which the Apollo 11 mission was launched and it is the same room where we will launch the first flight of the broadcast missions when that young woman entered. Here, for the first time, did you really say it to yourself? I want to do this someday. I absolutely did. My thought was how to get a seat in this room. And now you have the seat in the room. I have a pretty nice seat. In this room, all the Apollo missions to the Moon were launched from above, huge Saturn 5 rockets at that time, the most powerful in the world.
NASA's new rocket is even more muscular. Can you put into words how powerful this new rocket is? The core stage will have hundreds of thousands of gallons of propellant more than 8 million pounds of thrust at liftoff the most powerful rocket ever known is called the space launch system or SLS in development for a decade has yet to fly and has only ignited its four main engines once started in a test it's hard work cheating gravity jod singer is another first time woman for NASA as the first woman to run the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama it's been her job to build the SLS which is designed to go to the moon and beyond, it is built to go to deep space and right now it is the only vehicle that exists that can carry the Orion and carry what it does to be able to go to deep space.
The Orion is the capsule that The astronauts will ride on top of the SLS rocket. The first one is ready to go. The lunar lander is still in the concept stage, but NASA doesn't really need it until the third lunar mission. Artemis Artemis 1 is all about testing this integrated SLS vehicle. with Orion emis 2 it is about the incorporation of the crew and preparing for Artemis 3 where then we will go to the surface of the Moon, do you hear? You know how cool that sounds, it sounds great. Another interesting piece of the Artemis plan is a space station called Gateway intended to orbit the Moon.
NASA intends to use Elon. Musk's company SpaceX will launch gateway components on one of its Falcon heavy rockets. The heavy Falcon is already flying. Its first launch sent Musk's Tesla Roadster toward Mars a couple of years ago. Yes, that really happened. Jod Singer says SpaceX is an example of NASA partnering with commercial launch providers we work together and I think by working together that's how we'll be able to deliver on the timus program. We both bring great things to this partnership, when that partnership will actually take women and men to the Moon is uncertain. Donald Trump set the year 2024 as a goal that insiders considered unrealistic, President Biden has not set a timetable, but his White House has floated the idea of ​​issuing an early go-ahead for another man and woman to travel to the Moon. , which is very exciting, what does it say about NASA? that you're in these positions in what used to be a completely male-dominated sphere, well, number one, I'd say we've come a long way, you know, Charlie and I, we know we've known each other for at least 20 years. we liked each other but we were also, you know, sometimes the only women in the room are no longer Charlie Blackwell Thompson says that on launch day 30% of the engineers in what is now his shooting room will be women.
Have you always been interested in space when you were around? When I was a kid, even I remember the last Apollo missions, the last two, and I can remember this feeling of curiosity and wonder of being able to go out and look at the sky and that our astronauts are visiting the moon, the pool of 18. The Artemis astronauts Nine women, nine men, six of whom are test pilots, four have doctorates, three are doctors, it is not yet known which of them will fly to the moon, but two are in space right now on the International Space Station, why the moon?
Why spend so much money to return to the Moon? We are still learning about the samples that will return during the Apollo program. There is so much science, so many scientific discoveries to come from returning to the Moon. Scientists are especially tempted by recent evidence that there is a lot of ice near the Moon's South Pole, which is exactly where Artemis is due to land. Ice means H2O, which means water to support life and hydrogen and oxygen to potentially become rocket fuel. I would point out that the Moon is a testing ground, a reference point for us. learning to live in deep space when we are only a few days from home compared to months or years for destinations like Mars and it will be great when we return and especially it will be great if this time we can stay.
Lori Garver was number two. A NASA official during much of the Obama administration wants the United States to return to the Moon, but she believes the current approach is the wrong way to get there. I wouldn't have recommended the government build a $27 billion rocket when the private sector is building rockets almost as big at no cost to the taxpayer she's talking Rockets like Elon Musk's Falcon heavy there it is Garver was one of the first advocates handing over all big new rocket development to private companies like SpaceX, but Congress had a different goal, their goal was really to extend contracts and jobs in their districts, at that time in 2010 the space shuttle was about to land and members of Congress feared that aerospace jobs in theirdistricts would also disappear.
The SLS, the space launch system derisively referred to as it is. the Senate launch system, can you explain why it has that nickname? In this case, it was the Senate that came to us at NASA and said no, we don't like your plan and we're going to force you to build it this way so that Boeing The space shuttle prime contractor and former NASA partner became the main contractor for the SLS. The industry said they would do it for 6 billion and in six years, the rocket spent 20 billion in 11 years. NASA's Jod Singer acknowledges the delays and cost overruns, but insists it's the right model, the space launch system I'm proud to say has worked, in more than 45 states and more than 1,100 providers, so the space launch system is a national vehicle that means jobs, which means that in the entire country for SL alone there are more than 25,000. people who have jobs, it's ironic, honestly, that NASA, the very symbol of a democratic, capitalist society, has done many of its white programs in human space in a more socialist way, more of a socialist way.
I think a lot of the senators whose districts are getting these NASA jobs would be augmented by that description you'll plant potatoes in March you'll build your rocket in my district that's what the top-down approach is Garver says he's produced an SLS rocket from the NASA that will cost more than $2 billion each launch of a heavy Falcon heads into space while SpaceX flies its heavy Falcon for a fraction of that. NASA's SLS can launch a heavier payload, but it's a use-and-lose rocket. None of its parts can be reused, on the contrary, SpaceX's booster rockets make soft landings afterwards. launch so that they can be used again and again two of its first stages have already been launched eight times each.
I'm missing something by saying this is the new way and what's going on with nas is the old way, well I probably wouldn't characterize it. like the new way and the old way. I would probably characterize it as just different shapes. I would say our rocket was designed based on proven technology, so you wouldn't say it's old. It is proven. I would say it's proven. Still, SpaceX rockets are. My goodness, it has shown that NASA now trusts them to take their astronauts to the International Space Station. Welcome to the space station. Those successful missions should not be confused with an entirely new rocket called Starship that SpaceX is testing in Texas, three test flights so far. three ended in spectacular explosions, the last one last week, so NASA should pivot and start relying on SpaceX and commercial launchers for the moon and beyond, we certainly should have done it before now, is NASA capable of make that change?
Oh of course, I mean NASA is capable of more than you realize now, considering everything you've told me, will Congress allow NASA to make that change? Probably not at the moment. The core stage for the first Emis mission is located on a test stand in Mississippi, the same stand used for the Apollo missions. It is waiting for a test firing after technical failures interrupted the first one and they turned it off. There are six American flags on the Moon, one for each Apollo landing, but the newest flag is a Chinese one, left last year by a robotic lander that collected samples and brought them back. to Earth Beijing finally plans to send astronauts, aren't we in a space race with China?
Isn't there a race to the moon? We won it, we won it six times and I have no doubt that we will return to the people before anyone else. goes and Charlie Blackwell Thompson will be the woman to launch them from her seat in the shooting room, we talk a lot about the moon and I think the Moon is phenomenal and I can't wait to go back, but when we talk about those young people That may be like me when I was younger looking at the night sky and looking at the moon. I want you to look at the night sky and not just look at the Moon.
A small robotic lander built by a private company and carrying a NASA scientific payload landed near the Moon's south pole 11 days ago and quickly flipped on its side, still the first American spacecraft to land on the Moon in more than 50 years. NASA has a much more ambitious lunar program called emis, which aims to send people back to the Moon to establish an outpost at the South Pole and advance from there to Mars, we previewed aremis here in 2021, But now there are major questions about the program's costs and its timeline in January. NASA announced its new goal for a landing in late 2026, a year later than planned, but as we found out, even that may be unrealistic and liftoff of Artemis 1 When Artemis 1 rose into space in November 2022, it was the beginning of an almost flawless mission on its first test flight.
NASA's new Space Launch System rocket sent an empty Orion crew capsule on a 1.4 milli I mile flyby. of the Moon before a perfect return to Earth landed on the next flight that Emis 2, intended to carry four astronauts on a lunar flyby, was supposed to launch this year and then, a year later, Artemis 3 would land a the first woman and the first black person on the moon is not working out that way I think it is safe to say without significant reductions in costs but better cost controls better planning the sardus program on its current trajectory is not sustainable George Scott is the inspector Acting NASA General Don't be fooled by the performance, he's been a watchdog for the top agency for over 5 years, while NASA engineers have their heads in the stars, their job is to bring them back to Earth, especially when it comes to costs, right now we're estimating that per launch, uh, the Artemis campaign will cost $4.2 billion per launch, per launch, that's an incredible amount of money per launch, much of that hardware will end up in the ocean never to be used again.
NASA Inspector General says the costs of the Artemis program are simply unsustainable. It is wrong? We didn't necessarily agree with his conclusions. We believe we have taken an affordable path to accomplish these missions. Jim Free is the associate administrator of NASA and is directly in charge of Artemis. him on the historic launch pad 39b from where the Apollo and Artemis rockets have flown, we believe that the rocket we have is the best for the mission and, frankly, the only one in the world that can travel to the Moon, confirmation that the Solid rocket boosters have been separated. but as George Scott said, most of the components of that SLS rocket end up in the ocean, they are not reusable, and in order to build an outpost on the moon, Artemis will need many of those $4.2 billion rockets that are being built.
They will throw after throw after throw. launch to get all that stuff there, yes, so the number of launches is daunting, but it's hard to get people to the Moon. Something here when the United States sent Neil Armstrong and 11 other astronauts to the Moon half a century ago, that's beautiful that they achieved. To the lunar surface aboard landers we leave as we came and God willing, we will return owned and operated by NASA. This time you're taking a different approach than with Apollo. What's the difference this time? The difference is we're buying it as a service um we're paying someone to come down and take our crews.
It's been an incredible year for someone to be Elon Musk in 2021. NASA signed a nearly $3 billion contract with his SpaceX to use their new Starship Mega rocket as a lunar lander. For the first Artemis astronauts, it is by far the largest flying object ever created. SpaceX is preparing for its third Starship launch atop its massive superheavy booster. The first two launches ended in approximately the same way as you can see the superheavy booster. just experienced an unscheduled rapid disassembly, an unscheduled rapid disassembly is SpaceX, our Starship rocket just exploded again and now you've seen some of the dangers of trusting SpaceX, we've seen some of the challenges that they've had on Starship.
I need them to launch several times, to give us confidence that we can put our crews there, but right now, as we sit here, there is no way to get astronauts to the surface of the Moon because of these problems that SpaceX has faced. . because they haven't done it, they haven't reached the technical milestones. Spacex's stated plan is to first put its Starship Lander into low-Earth orbit and then launch 10 more Starship tankers to pump rocket fuel to the Lander in space, making science fiction a reality before sending it off. forward to meet astronauts in lunar orbit and this has never been done before there have been small scale transfers into orbit but not of this magnitude it just sounds incredibly complicated it's complicated there's no doubt about it it's that it doesn't just launch 10 times it's a little bit whim, if it's never been done before, Chenar will take longer than you think to do it and do it successfully, improve that technology before we trust putting humans in it.
There is a long way to go. NASA's contract with SpaceX. requires the company to conduct an unmanned lunar landing with Starship before attempting one with astronauts on board, but NASA still says the human mission can happen in 2 and A2 years and that seems to be the time frame we're talking about, end of 2026. ambitious to say the least what we are doing is ambitious and it is a great goal to have to achieve that goal is realistic I think it is I think it is Jim Free's optimism is based on Spacex's track record with its Falcon rocket smaller.
Once you got the Falcon up and running, it demonstrated that it can be launched many times 96 times last year alone with both commercial and government payloads, but so far Starship has yet to reach orbit even once, are you worried about that continuing? delaying that timeline? Plus, of course, it absolutely worries me because we need them to be released multiple times. SpaceX ignored our multiple requests for an interview or comment, but in an interview with the Daily Wire in January, Elon Musk said we hope to have human POs on the Moon in less than five years. My take on this is that we have a contract with SpaceX that says they will launch our crew at the end of 2026.
Why does it really matter when we return to the Moon? Here's why China said it. plans to send its Tyon Knuts to the Moon by the end of the decade and NASA Administrator Bill Nelson has publicly expressed concern, naturally I don't want China to get to the southern pool with humans first and then say this is ours , stay out to ensure America will plant its flag first NASA signed a new $3 billion contract last year with Blue Origin, the space company owned by billionaire Jeff Basos to build another lunar lander and Jim Free has very clear that he sees it as an option if SpaceX Starships maintains If we have a problem with one, we will have another to rely on.
You know, if we have a dependency on a particular aspect on SpaceX or Blue Origin and it doesn't work, then we have another Lander that can. Let's embark on our cruise in this battle of stargazing billionaires. Bezos' blue origin has far fewer launches than Musk. SpaceX has been much quieter about its ambitions so far, so what we're looking to do is not just get to the Moon and back, but actually do it. reliable, repeatable and low-cost, so John Color's title at Blue Origin, senior vice president of lunar permanence, says a lot about the company's ambition. The landers that Blue Origin will build are reusable, we will launch them into lunar orbit and leave them there and refuel them in orbit so that multiple astronauts can use the same vehicle back and forth.
Our cameras were among the first allowed inside Blue Origin's massive complex in Florida, right next to the Kennedy Space Center. It's where the future is being built, that's right, this is the main factory floor for the new Glenn rocket, the new Glenn is blue, Origins' first heavy lift rocket, its maiden launch will be sometime this year , so you can see here, we already have three different second stages. Under construction here, the first new Glenn is now available at the Blue Origins launch complex. It's designed to carry all kinds of payloads, including the lunar lander that's being built for NASA, so this is the main Lander, we call it our little Lander, this is the little one, yeah.
It's actually a mockup of its cargo lander in blue. Origins Florida Lobby John Calores used to work at SpaceX and came to Blue to help speed things up.Is there some sort of space race going on between you and SpaceX, so the country needs the competition we need? Options competition brings innovation, but you haven't had anything close to the achievements SpaceX has had right now. Have? SpaceX has done some incredible things and changed the narrative for access to space and Blue Origin is looking to do the same. This lander we hope to land on the Moon between 12 and 16 months from today. 12 and 16 months from today.
Yes, and I understand it. I say it publicly, but that's what our team is aiming for, but that's for charging. Lander, what about humans for humans? We are working with NASA on the Artemis 5 mission that is planned for 2029, which is not that different from Elon Musk's forecast for when SpaceX will be able to land humans on the moon, even if it doesn't match NASA's forecast like the Starship. Blue Origins Lander will require refueling in space, but Caloris insists that he and his rocket will help NASA cut costs. Our new Glenn vehicle will be a reusable vehicle from its first mission.
That Lander for the astronauts is a reusable Lander, so now you're not just taking. the equipment and throw it away. You are reusing it for the next mission, you do it again and again and again that is where the cost savings come exactly, now we are building with NASA the infrastructure to guarantee lunar permanence, you have said that the Artemis program is the beginning , not the end, tell me what the future is. You see. I see us landing on Mars. We absolutely see ourselves landing on Mars, but we have to work through the Moon to get to Mars.
These are great goals. You know, go back to the Moon. Going to Mars, do we have the ability to do what we dream of doing? You know, this is NASA, right, this agency is destined to continue doing great things, there is no doubt that what we are telling the agency is to simply be more. realistic there is nothing wrong with being optimistic in fact it is necessary in this business optimism is required the question is whether you can also be more realistic for a long time astronomers saw asteroids and comets approaching Earth as useless debris of rocks space that blocked Our view of distant galaxies is no longer considered scientifically important and potentially very dangerous if they collide with our planet.
The chances of that happening on any given day are remote, but over millions of years scientists believe there have been many impacts and few doubt there will be more to come one former astronaut told us it's like a game of roulette cosmic science and a man cannot afford to lose concern about our ability to detect these objects approaching Earth grew after an incident in Russia in February when an asteroid crashed into the atmosphere with many times the energy of the bomb dropped on Hiroshima and almost hit a city of 1 million inhabitants. This is a video of that asteroid in Russia heading towards Earth at 40,000 mph, exploding into pieces 19 m above and 25 Mi to the south.
In the city of Chelyabinsk, people thought they had completely lost them until


later, when the shock wave arrived, breaking glass, crushing doors and knocking down some people. More than a thousand were injured. How much warning did people in Chelyabinsk have? BK? none Paul Chois is a scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, he and his boss have been trying to track near-Earth objects for decades. We didn't see it coming, it was coming from the general direction of the Sun, so it was during the day. sky as it got closer, so how did you find out?
Twitter and YouTube, uh, when we first saw the images, the first people at NASA found out it was Twitter exactly. Chois says an object this size hits Earth once every hundred years on average. However, on the same day, purely by chance, another asteroid twice as large arrived within 17,000 miles of Earth passing between us and the satellites that bring you this transmission. The only reason there was advance warning was because an amateur astronomer in Spain was an oral surgeon by day. I noticed it just before he walked out of sight. We know about some of the most distant galaxies in the known universe, and yet we don't really know everything that's in our own backyard.
Amy Mser is a NASA scientist who focuses on detecting asteroids. We have to move the Dome out of the way and then we will start following the asteroid as it travels across the sky. This telescope at Mesa Mountain Observatory in California is one of dozens around the world used for tracking. and study near-Earth objects, Mser told us that they are often very difficult to find. Some of these asteroids are actually very dark, darker even than charcoal in some cases, like soot at the bottom of a grill, as well. that you are looking for something. that's darker than coal against a black sky exactly and now you see the problem, another problem is that ground-based telescopes cannot see objects coming in the direction of the sun because they are in the daytime sky like the asteroid that hit Russia.
Astronomers find asteroids. By taking repeated photographs of the night sky and looking for things that change position, professionals and amateurs around the world work together by sharing information. Once Paul Chotis and his NASA colleagues have multiple sightings, they can predict an object's location up to 100 years out. The Future This particular object has a very well-known orbit because the asteroid that Amy Mser was observing the night we visited didn't look like much on her screen that little thing, yes, that's all, but it's almost half a mile wide and is capable of destroy an entire continent, so it's actually a huge asteroid, yes it's a huge asteroid, something this size would hit the Earth, it would be devastating, it would be very bad.
Asteroids are mainly composed of rock, comets, ice and dust, they come in all shapes and sizes, some seemed small. planets other giant dog bones for a long time no one thought they were worth tracking down at all they were not believed to actually hit the earth astronomers long debated the nature of the craters on the moon they thought the craters on the moon were volcanic, possibly yes, and it's only been fairly recently, in the last 50 years or so, that the field has really recognized that yes, impacts really do occur and they don't just occur in geology. time scales, you know, millions and billions of years, but on human time scales, in some cases, the last large asteroid to collide with the Earth hit in 1908 in the Tunguska region of Siberia, it is believed to have 40 meters wide and exploded in the air like a nuclear bomb felled 80 million trees in an area the size of metropolitan Washington this crater in northern Arizona was created 50,000 years ago it is one of more than 180 craters in impact that geologists have found so far and they believe that there are many more hidden by water and vegetation, even more than on the moon because the Earth's gravity is greater.
The most famous impact of all is the one that could have wiped out the dinosaurs. More than 65 million years ago the theory is that a huge asteroid or comet collided so violently with the Earth that it created a cloud of debris that blocked the sun, killing 75% of all species, leaving behind a crater in Mexico of more than 100 miles wide these are objects that were once in space pieces of asteroids yans and chodas showed us some of the remarkable things that have fallen from the sky this is a piece of Mars you have it in your hand it wandered through the inner solar system for a few few million years and a 40 pound stone fell in Africa about 10 feet from a farmer in October 1962 the thought of Mars is that they know they played a trick on me and they also say: would you pass that one to me?
That big one, yes, come on, this one was iron, nickel and heavy as an anvil. Not all asteroids are made of such dense material, but many. contain high concentrations of valuable minerals like platinum that could one day be mined in space we will begin by sending astronauts to an asteroid for the first time in history president obama's proposed budget for next year includes a plan to capture a tiny asteroid so that astronauts can Rendevu with it by 2025, the idea is to perfect the techniques necessary to explore deep space and perhaps find a way to exploit the water resources that many comets and asteroids have.
You could extract water from them. You can break down water into hydrogen and oxygen, which is. the most efficient form of rocket fuel, so asteroids can serve as fuel stations and watering holes for future planetary exploration, but as the screenwriters of the Hollywood blockbuster Armageddon vividly imagined, asteroids also have the potential to harm humanity, for better or worse, this is What many of us know about near-Earth objects is that if Bruce Willis hadn't bombed one, he would have destroyed the world. You see these movies with Bruce Willis where an asteroid is coming and it's going to destroy the world.
Chances are, no, no, we found it. uh, 95% of the big ones and none of them pose a threat in the next hundred years or so, what about the other 5% that we're still looking for? You're talking about objects more than half a mile wide that are large enough to cause global destruction. The problem is that there are many smaller objects larger than 40 yards in diameter that are missing and potentially very dangerous if you look at the luminous green dot that is the Earth's orbit. Ed Lou is a former astronaut who spent 6 months on the International Space Station. showed us a computer generated representation of our solar system, which is the sun in the center and those green dots are 10,000 near-Earth objects that astronomers have found so far, so these green dots are the asteroids that could hit the earth. 10,000 known asteroids yes these are the 10,000 known asteroids here is the problem there is about a factor of 100 plus the real solar system looks like this and we know it because we have only been able to observe a small fraction of the sky and we know that there are about 100 times as many asteroids, these are all the asteroids there are, there are about a million asteroids big enough to destroy a city and right now we only know what percentage of those asteroids about 1.5% of the 1% do it.
You're worried that you only know about 1% of these asteroids that are big enough to destroy a city. Well, most of them are very small and most likely many of them will impact a remote area or could impact an ocean. Why are the biggest ones the ones we were paying attention to first? Now the next size range is the one to focus on those that can cause, you know, continent-wide extinction or destruction, yeah, that would be pretty good to prevent that continent-wide destruction. The next ones we'll continue to find and work our way up to the smaller ones, but right now an object that could wipe out the East Coast or New York City could be a day away and there's a good chance we'll make it.
We don't know well, we're working to make sure we know, but now we won't know, that's possible. Yes, the science, space and technology committee will come to order. NASA Administrator Charles Balden faced similar questions from Congress. After the near miss in Russia earlier this year, what would we do if you detected even a small one like the one that detonated in Russia? He's headed to New York City in three weeks. What would we do if it arrived in three weeks? Please, is there anything you can do to deflect a colliding asteroid besides evacuating a city? Do you find it 10, 20 or 30 years in advance?
So yes, you could send a spaceship towards it, slow it down a millimeter. or two per second so that 10 or 20 years from now, when it was predicted to hit the Earth, it wouldn't just crash a spaceship into it. In 2005, NASA did just that as an experiment fired a small unmanned spacecraft at a comet called Temple One, but you can't deflect what you don't detect, which is why former astronaut Ed Lou has taken on a new mission. Here is the telescope we are building. He is now president of the b612 foundation, which has designed a space telescope.
To speed up the discovery of near-Earth objects, NASA's Amy Mser has also been developing one: Both telescopes could find asteroids using infrared sensors that detect heat instead of light, but a telescope like this would cost about $500 million. dollars and so far neither the United States nor any other government has committed significant funds, so the b612 foundation is trying to raise the money privately by contacting individual donors. I don't think there is any other global catastrophe, catastrophe on a global scale, that we canprevent. This is the Only one that I know of can solve this particular problem with the cost of building a freeway overpass.
I mean, that's literally what it is, but no one has ever died from an asteroid, yeah, and what I'm saying is you can't wait until that point later, when you say we should have done it, you have to think of it like roulette. cosmic. The phrase they have in Las Vegas is that the house always wins and you know, the kind of secret of all this is that not the house at some point you know that the solar system will catch you, they are very low probability but very high consequence events. the problem it seems is that you are asking people to worry about something that may not affect their lives maybe not even affect the lives of their children, that is true, it is a difficult concept to convey because, as you say, it is something that may not happen for 100 years 200 years may happen tomorrow morning early this summer The Director of National Intelligence and Secretary of Defense released a highly anticipated unclassified report on something the Pentagon calls non-aerial phenomena identified or UAP, more commonly known as UFOs.
The government's grudging acknowledgment of 144 mysterious sightings documented by our military comes after decades of public denial, but as we first reported in May, what is breaching our skies. and seas represents a serious security risk to our service men and women, as well as our National Security, so what you are telling me is that UFOs, unidentified flying objects, are real. I think we are past that, the government has already declared it for the record that they are real, I am not telling you that the United States government is telling you that Luis Alzando spent 20 years directing Military Intelligence operations throughout the world, in Afghanistan, the Middle East, and Guantanamo, hadn't given UFOs a second thought until 2008, that is.
When he was asked to join something at the Pentagon called the advanced aerospace threat identification program, or atip, atip's mission was pretty simple, it was to collect and analyze information involving anomalous aerial vehicles, which I guess in the vernacular you call them UFOs. call them uaps you know how it sounds this sounds crazy look Bill I'm not telling you that doesn't sound crazy what I'm telling you is real the question is what is what are their intentions What are their capabilities buried in the Pentagon? Atip was part of a $22 million program sponsored by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to investigate UFOs.
When Elzando took office in 2010, he focused on the national security implications of unidentified aerial phenomena documented by U.S. service members. Imagine a technology that can generate forces of 6 to 700 g, that can fly at 13,000 mph, that can evade radar, and that can fly through air, water, and possibly space, and by the way, has no obvious signs no propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces. and yet it can defy the natural effects of Earth's gravity, that's precisely what we're seeing, Elzando tells us that one tip was a loose-knit mix of scientists, electro-optical engineers, avionics and intelligence experts, often working Part-time, they review and analyze data and records.
Videos like this one, of a Navy aircrew struggling to locate a fast-moving object off the U.S. Atlantic coast in 2015, cry. Recently released images may not convince UFO skeptics, but the Pentagon admits it doesn't know what this or this or This is so what do you tell the skeptics? It's refracted light, weather balloons, a launched rocket. Venus, in some cases, there are simple explanations for what people are witnessing, but there are some that aren't. We're not just jumping to a The bottom line is that, oh, that's a u AP out there. We are doing our due diligence.
Is this some kind of new type of cruise missile technology that China has developed? Is it some kind of high-altitude balloon that's doing last-ditch reconnaissance when all those have been used up? What's happening? And you're still left with the fact that this is in our airspace and it's real. That's when it becomes compelling and that's when it becomes problematic. Former Navy pilot Lt. Ryan Grav calls everything out there a second risk, his The F18 Squadron began seeing UAPs flying over the restricted airspace southeast of Virginia Beach in 2014 when they upgraded their radar. Jets, which allowed them to point with infrared guidance cameras, so you can see it with both radar and infrared and that tells you that There is something quite difficult to fake: these photographs were taken in 2019 in the same area.
The Pentagon confirms that they are images of objects that it cannot identify. Lieutenant Graves told us that pilots who train on the Atlantic coast see things like this all the time. every day every day for at least a couple of years wait a minute every day for a couple of years mhm, you know, I don't see a Plum escape, including this one off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida in 2015, captured with a guidance camera by m MERS from the grav squadron is turning, my goodness, they are all going into the wind, the wind is 120 degrees west, dude, you can hear the surprise in their voices, you certainly can, they seem to have broken the a little bit character, uh, and we're just kind of shocked by what they were seeing, what do you think when you see something like this?
This is hard to explain, you have rotation, you have high altitudes, you have propulsion, right, I don't know, I don't know what it is, frankly, he said. American pilots speculate that they are one of three secret things: American technology, an adversary spy vehicle, or something from another world. I would say you know the most likely thing is that it's a threat observation program. Could it be Russian or Chinese technology? I don't see why not, are you alarmed? I'm worried, frankly, you know, if these were tactical aircraft from another country hanging out there, it would be a huge problem, but because it looks a little different, we're not willing to look at the problem head-on.
If we're happy to just ignore the fact that they're out there watching us every day, the government has at least publicly ignored it since it closed its Project Blue Book investigation in 1969, but that began to change after an incident off the South from California in 2004 that was documented by camera radar and four naval aviators we spoke to two of them David Fraver a graduate of the Top Gun naval flight school and commander of the F-18 squadron on the USS Nimitz and flying in its wing Lt. Alex Dietrich, who has never spoken publicly about the meeting. I never wanted to be on national television, no offense, so why are you doing this? because I was on a government plane because I was on the clock and that's why I feel a responsibility to share what I can and it's classified.
It was November 2004 and the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier strike group was training about 100,000 southwest of San Diego for a week. The new advanced radar of a nearby ship, the USS Princeton, had detected what operators called multiple anomalous aerial vehicles over the horizon descending 80,000 feet in less than a second, on November 14, Fraver and Dietrich, each with an officer of weapons systems in the back seat, they detoured to investigate and found an area of ​​turbulent Whitewater the size of a 737 on an otherwise calm blue sea, so as we look at this, their back seat says Hello, Skipper , and that's what I came out about?
I said, dude, do you see that thing down there? and we saw this little white object that looks like Tic Tac and it's moving above. the white water area as Dietrich circled over Fraver moved in to get a closer look, sort of spiraling down Tic Tac Still Point North South, it goes and just turns abruptly and starts to reflect me, so as that low, it starts to rise, so it's imitating your movements yes, he was aware that we were there, he said it was approximately the size of his unmarked F18, without wings, without exhaust columns. I see how close I can get so I go like this and it keeps going up and when it gets in front of me it just disappears disappears disappears like it's gone at full speed what are you thinking?
Then your mind tries to make sense of it. I'm going to categorize this as maybe a helicopter or maybe a drone and when it disappeared, I mean it. was that their back seats saw this too, yeah oh yeah, there were four of us in the planes literally watching this for about 5


, seconds later the Princeton re-shot the target 60M away, another crew managed to lock on briefly with a targeting camera before it went off again, you know, I think over a few beers we said, hey man, if I had seen this one alone, I don't know if I would have gone back and said anything because it sounds so crazy when I say If you get that reaction I have, some people have told me you know when you say you can sound crazy and I'll be H.
I'm not a UFO guy, but from what I hear you guys say, there's something that yeah oh. there is definitely something I don't know who is building it who has the technology who has the brain but there is something out there that was better than our plane the air crew filed reports and then the mysterious flying object that the nits found disappeared nothing was said or done officially for 5 years until Lou Elzando came to the store and investigated, we spend millions of dollars training these pilots and they are seeing something they can't explain, plus the information is backed up by electro-optical data, like a weapon camera. radar images and data now to me, that's compelling inside the Pentagon, their findings were met with skepticism.
Aip funding was eliminated in 2012, but elando says he and a handful of others kept the mission alive until he finally left the Pentagon in frustration in 2017, but no. Before we declassified these three videos and then things took a strange turn, I tried to help my colleague L Alando elevate the issue in the department and take it to the Secretary of Defense. Christopher Melan was deputy assistant secretary of defense for intelligence under Presidents Clinton. and George W. Bush and they had access to top secret government programs, so it's not us, that's something that we know, we know, that I can say that with a high degree of confidence, in part because of the positions that I held in the department and I know the process Melan says he was worried that nothing was being done about UAPs, so he decided to do something in 2017 as a private citizen: he surreptitiously acquired the three Navy videos that Elzando had declassified and leaked them to the New York Times.
It's strange and unfortunate that someone like me has to do something like this to put a national security issue like this on the agenda. He joined forces with the now civilian Lou Elando and they began telling his story to anyone who would listen to the newspapers, the History Channel, to members of Congress we knew and understood. that you had to go to the public, get the public interested so that Congress would be interested, then go back to the defense department and get them to start taking a look at it and now, last year, the Pentagon was resurrected and now it's called UAP.
Task Force service members are now encouraged to report strange encounters and the Senate wants answers. Anything that enters airspace that is not supposed to be there is a threat after receiving classified reports about UAPs. Sen. Marco Rubio called for a detailed analysis last December while he was still head of the intelligence committee, he asked the Director of National Intelligence and the Pentagon to submit an unclassified report to Congress by next month. This is a strange topic. The Pentagon and other branches of the military have a long history of dismissing this. I think this time it's going to be different.
I mean, we'll know when we get that report. You know there's a stigma on Capitol Hill. I mean, some of my colleagues are very interested in this topic and some of you laugh when you mention it, but I don't think we can let stigma stop us from having an answer to a very fundamental question: what do you want let's do about it? I want us to take it seriously and have a process to follow. Seriously, I want us to have a process to analyze the data every time it comes in, to have a place where it is constantly cataloged and analyzed until we get some answers, maybe I have a very simple answer, maybe not some.
Weeks after our story aired, the Director of National Intelligence released an unclassified report saying that UAPs likely lack a single explanation, but that some quotes appear to demonstrate advanced technology that deserves closer analysis without most of We realize our everyday activities, from withdrawing cash at an ATM to watching this show, depend on satellites in space, and for the US military, it's not aboutJust from everyday activities, the way you fight depends on space, satellites are used to communicate with troops, gather intelligence, fly drones and target weapons, but top military and intelligence leaders are now worried that those satellites are vulnerable to the attacks, they say China in particular has been actively testing anti-satellite weapons that could actually knock out the eyes and ears of the United States.
No one wants a war in space, but it's the job of a branch of the Air Force called Space Command to prepare for one. If you've never heard of Space Command, it's because most of what it does happens hundreds and even thousands of miles away. above Earth or deep within highly secure command centers, you may be as surprised as we are to discover how the high-stakes game of space control is played. The research being done at the Starfire Optical Field in Albuquerque, New Mexico was kept secret for many years and for good reason that it only becomes father at night.
First, the roof of a building is open to the stars and then the walls. retracts and an object straight out of Star Wars appears shooting a laser into the sky. The laser beam helps a high-powered telescope focus on objects in space so the Air Force can better see satellites of potential adversaries like China whizzing by. at 177,000 mph is part of a complex and largely secret battle for what the military considers the ultimate high ground. There is no day without space. That's the mantra of Gen. John Height, head of Air Force Space Command. He thinks about what life is. used to be and all the things we have today in warfare that wouldn't exist without space remotely piloted aircraft all weather precision got munitions didn't exist before space now we can attack any target on the planet at any time anywhere in any weather, What would the US military do without space?
What happens is you go back to World War II, you go back to Industrial Age Warfare and your job is to make sure there is no day without space at all and you have to think from the beginning. that this is a contested environment and how pythons drill into their troops that US satellites are no longer safe from attack 11 countries, including Iran and North Korea, now have the ability to launch objects into orbit and Russia and China have been testing new anti-satellite technologies. That's a competition that I wish wasn't happening, but it is, and if we are threatened in space, we have the right to self-defense and we will make sure that we can execute that right and use Force if necessary, for that we have a military, you know, I'm not NASA space command, it has 38,000 airmen in 10,034 locations around the world.
Well, if you look at one of its most visible missions, it is to make sure that American satellites can always reach space from launch pads like this one at Vanderberg Air Force Base in California, this is where space begins. If you can't get the satellite into space, it's worthless. I'm a satellite guy, so I get very nervous about rockets because the most valuable thing about the rocket is the top, it's the satellite. Because when you have 500,000 pounds of thrust, if something goes wrong, it's an explosion, it's dangerous, and you lose the limit. It's in the first 15 seconds.
The United States has more satellites in space than any other nation, more than 500, counting more than 30 military and civilian. Launches will take place this year at Space Command bases in Florida and California. The Pentagon told us it spends $1 billion a year on space, but we found a White House report that estimates the real cost is much higher: $25 billion if you count spy satellites and more. Classified spending that is more than that of NASA or any other space agency in the world. Some of those satellites provide the GPS signals that guide the smart bombs now attacking ISIS targets in Iraq and Syria, but many people don't realize that those same GPS satellites provide the signals. your smartphone uses for navigation is a service that the Air Force provides for free not only here in the United States but around the world.
This is a global utility and there are a lot of people who depend on this and we understand we have a Boeing plant in Los Angeles. Colonel Bill Coolley showed us a GPS satellite that was being tested in a special chamber to make sure it was ready for launch. when these things go into orbit. No Depo, you can't take it back to the maintenance shop. It's kind of like trying to design a car that will run for 12 to 15 years and you can't take it to the shop, you can't take it to refuel but it has to run at 247 in satellite orbit. will extend its solar panels.
It will point its strange antennas toward Earth and transmit its location along with a precise time signal to Nan. A GPS receiver needs signals from four of these satellites to determine its location. Colonel Coy told us that it costs a quarter of a billion dollars to design and build each one and put it in space. How much does it cost? Yes, that's pretty much the same. So you're spending half a billion dollars to get that thing into space. That's right, the US has 31 active GPS satellites. in space right now and much more than smart bombs and smartphones depend on them, bank ATMs, cell phone towers and power grids use their signals, farmers use GPS to work their fields, so in your time active will only activate the GPS satellite.
The system that everyone depends on is operated from this room at Shriver Air Force Base in Colorado by Lt. Col. Todd Benson and his team prior to the SPN 34 pass. We were a little surprised at the number of people needed eight Staff eight people yes sir for the The entire world, yes sir, are these technology experts, yes sir, but they are only 19 years old? Is there no minimum age to drive satellites? this or to hide its location from the attack so it can't hide in space and we, in fact, is what tells you where it is.
This is a system that everyone depends on. It costs a small fortune to put it there and it's a Well, this is one of the challenges that in space command that we're very aware of today, can a US military satellite maneuver out of the way of a future weapon? antisatellite? It depends on a large number of people. of variables, so the answer is maybe the answer is maybe, then you have these satellites that are worth hundreds of millions of dollars and maybe they could get out of the Path of Danger depends on the satellite depends on the mission depends on when it was built depends No matter how old it is, it depends on when we know the threat is coming.
Knowing that a threat is coming is not an easy task when the territory you are responsible for is 73 trillion cubic miles. Space Command maintains a Global Radar Network. , telescopes and satellite communications antennas like this, you can see the magnetic lines, they are simply going through all the information that comes into the joint space operations center, jpo, for short, at Vandenberg Air Force Base, this is the center command for space, yes sir, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. days a year if a US satellite were attacked, Lieutenant General J Raymond would use this phone to alert a chain of command leading to the White House if it was an attack on a US satellite an active war that has been a line of debate for so long I have been in this business if there is an attempt to attack or interfere with the US satellite, whoever makes the decision on what we do about it, let it be the president of the United States and not just a anti-satellite weapon. they are worried that there are also other dangers today we track about 23,000 objects, how many of them are actually working satellites, about 1,300 of them are active satellites, the rest are debris, garbage, yes sir, movie garbage garbage Gravity dramatized the devastating effect of man.
Debris generated traveling at 177,000 mph could have on the International Space Station the jpo tracks dead satellites old rocket boosters even lost space gloves and alerts satellite operators and astronauts if a collision is likely last year on the 2014 International Space Station was maneuvered three times To avoid hitting a piece of debris, much of the debris threatening the space station was created in 2007 when the Chinese tested a ground-based anti-satellite weapon that crashed into one of their aging 530 Mi weather satellites. Earth breaking it into pieces, this is the debris that resulted from the 2007 set, so it's about 3,000 pieces of race just from that event that arose from just that collision, just from that collision, aside from how important that test was .
In terms of U revealing Chinese space capabilities, it was a major wake-up call for our entire military until that singular event. I don't think the military as a whole would realize that that's something we'd have to worry about if they had done similar testing. Since they continued to test, the testing they are doing is to make sure that if they ever came into conflict with us or any other spacefaring nation, they would have the ability to destroy satellites and that is a bad thing for the United States. He says it's a bad thing for the planet, a bad thing, no doubt, but is the United States doing it too?
Has China recently raised the stakes? Try firing a weapon deeper into space than ever before and threatening some of this country's most valuable satellites, which are part of our history. When we return tonight, we'll give you a rare look at how a branch of the US Air Force called Space Command is preparing for a battle most of us have never thought of - one far above Earth. defending the satellites in which we travel daily. Life and national security have come to depend. Few of those satellites are more important to the U.S. military than those that provide early warning of a long-range nuclear missile attack, even at the height of the Cold War. 20,000 miles above Earth were considered safe from attack, but deep space is no longer the sanctuary it once was.
A former Space Command officer told us that two years ago the Chinese tested an anti-satellite weapon that reached higher than anything previously reported and it reached as well. close for the convenience of the area where those missile warning satellites are located if those satellites are now at risk, that is something that from the point of view of the US military is new because it has always been believed that those satellites do not actually represented a significant threat to those capabilities. Brian Weeden served as an officer in the Air Force Space Command until 2007. He is now a technical advisor to the Safe World Foundation which promotes the peaceful uses of space.
Today's topic of discussion is that the Chinese have tested up to six ground-based anti-satellite weapons. only one in 2007 hit a satellite and created debris, but one of the others rose to new heights. There was a test in May 2013 that could have gone up to 30,000 kilometers and that's one that I think is really something like that. causing quite a bit of concern on the American side in understanding how far the orbit of the International Space Station is at about 200 Mi above Earth and those GPS satellites that we show you are believed to orbit at 12,000 Mi, the 2013 test launch of which Weeden speaks.
They have traveled up to 18,600 miles just below what is known as geosynchronous or geostationary orbit and that is where the US military has placed some of its most valuable missile warning sensors and top secret communications devices that They serve as eyes and ears in times of war, I think. What keeps many American military planners up at night is whether China has anti-power capabilities when they use them in a conflict. Did they use them at first to try to blind the US? They sound like the crown jewels of uh. US satellites in geosynchronous orbit absolutely those satellites were developed in an environment where the US assumed there would be no reason to attack them, so you end up with a small number of very expensive satellites that have a lot of capacity in each of them . and the result is juicy targets a spokesperson for China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs admitted to testing an anti-satellite weapon in 2007, but China has denied any subsequent testing and told us it is committed to the peaceful use of outer space, he said the launch 2013 deep space launch was simply a signals experiment, but using skills he honed as an officer at Space Command, Brian Weeden analyzed commercial satellite photographs and other publicly available data about the launch, and concluded that the scientific experimentIt was probably launched into space by a military missile launcher like the one this building was built on.
General John Height, head of the Air Force Space Command, has seen the classified intelligence on that launch, these next Chinese tests, how high do they go? Tall, well, how tall is it? I won't characterize what Chinese capabilities are, I'll just tell you that we know what they are. I have read reports from a congressional committee that said that in the next 5 to 10 years, China will likely be able to keep US national security satellites at risk in all orbital regimes. Do you agree? I believe that this statement from the commission could threaten all the orbital regimes in which we operate.
Now we have to discover how to defend those satellites and the space command is making its new satellites more maneuverable to evade attack and also more resistant to attacks. interference, is building a new radar system that will allow the space operations center to track objects in space as small as a baseball and has deployed two highly maneuverable surveillance satellites to monitor what other countries are doing atop satellites in geostationary orbit observing other satellites satellites observing other satellites and how they improve their knowledge because they are close normally the capabilities of spy satellites are kept top secret, but the space command published this fact sheet about its new assets in geosynchronous orbit.
We want people to understand that we are observing that there will be no surprises in Geo and we want everyone in the world to know that there will be no surprises in that orbit. It is too valuable to us to be surprised that deterrence in the nuclear world was built on weapons and deterrence in the space world has to be based on a slightly different construction: it is the ability to convince an adversary that if it attacks us it will fail. . Air Force Secretary Deborah Lee James told us that the Pentagon plans to spend an additional $5 billion over the next five years to protect its satellites.
What does she consider the biggest threat to American satellites? An anti-satellite weapon would certainly be a major threat. A laser would be a threat. Jamming capabilities are also a Do China and Russia have lasers that could blind US satellites? They are testing and investing and that is worrying for the United States. Well, good morning, Bravo team, let's start with Intel testing and investing in a sometimes mysterious way. Russia will launch two satellites last year. Airmen at the joint space operations center monitored the apparently routine launch of three Russian communications satellites. Lieutenant General J. Raymond and his team detected what they assumed was just an ordinary piece of debris from the launch.
A week later, a young Air Force Captain detected that this debris began to move as if in maneuver near the body of the rocket that had launched it into space. So, what is that object that continues to maneuver in space? David, I'm not going to speculate, but I can tell you what it is not, it is not a piece of rubble, that type of maneuver is what is called a proximity and rendevu operation and it is actually something that the United States has been in working for the last few years, if not longer. Satellites that can rendezvous with other satellites may one day be used for refueling or repairs, but they are also potential weapons.
If you can get close enough to inspect or service another satellite, it's close enough to disable it completely and there are a wide range of ways. you could do that, like break a solar panel, or even some have theorized that you know, spray paint over the optics so this satellite can't see anything, so if you thought space was a peaceful haven, think again, This is a new kind of Space Race, a cosmic game of hide-and-seek, and the same technology that allows this telescope to see more clearly in space could be used to help a laser weapon focus more powerfully on a target.
The Bush administration wanted to develop such a weapon here in 2006, but met resistance from Congress. Is there any work being done on lasers that could be used to blind satellites? There is no such work at the moment. Does the US have weapons in space? another satellite and then take some action to disable it without blowing it up, we have satellites, um, that maneuver that looks at things in space, um, but not what you just described, you think the Chinese believe that. I don't know what they believe when the Chinese look at US space operations and see a program that, by most estimates, spends 10 times more than them and has tested anti-satellite weapons from their own space command, they told us that an F- The U.S. 15 fired a missile into space five times in the 1980s, and one of those times destroyed a U.S. satellite, creating debris that remained in space for decades.
One of the officers involved in that test was General Heighten. I think most people on that show were surprised by how much debris we created, so where did we come out? lecturing the Chinese about testing anti-satellite weapons if we were first and if we created debris, well, because we learned our lesson and we told the world and Congress said they would not test that weapon anymore, but when an American intelligence satellite contains dangerous substances. The fuel failed in 2008. The Navy's egis defense system, designed to defeat incoming missiles, was used to shoot it down. The Chinese must think we also have anti-satellite capability.
I think they will certainly come to that conclusion or not if the United States doesn't. They don't have a capability, they certainly could deploy one very quickly. What you just described is the formula for an arms race. They see a capability. We have a capability. They react to that capability. They react. We react and that's it. I think it could certainly result. That way, one of the big dangers is that a problem in space could exacerbate a conflict here on Earth - for example, if a nation suddenly lost its early warning satellites in the middle of a crisis, it might assume it's the start of an attack now in reality, it could have been a simple manufacturing fault, it could have been a piece of space debris, but at the time of the crisis, I think that's the kind of situation that could aggravate something that otherwise could have remained partially contained.
General Heighton told us that the space command is currently only developing non-debris weapons like this Mobile Jammer that can be used to incapacitate satellites. We have a capability called a countercommunication system that is designed to deny an adversary the use of space. Communications. All I can say is that it's a a uh a capability that exists on the ground uh and it doesn't create debris in any way the only two things you've told me about the United States' ability to fight in space is the ability to maneuver your satellites. and block other satellites. That's not all, but that's all I can tell you.
A secret project is hiding in plain sight. It's the X-37B space plane, a small remotely piloted vehicle that can fly in space for 20 months at a time. This is a model of space. A model hangs at Heighton's headquarters in Colorado, so here's your chance to end all speculation about what the spaceplane is actually for. It's really up to interesting things, for example it goes to space, but unlike other satellites, it actually comes back. Whatever we put in the payload bay that we take into space we can now bring back and we can learn from that.
Can you tell me whether or not the space plane will one day become a weapons system? The intention is, I can't. Answer that question, but if you're determined not to create more debris in space, why can't you say that this might not become a weapons system? I'm not going to say what it will become, because we are experimenting. Heighton told us that there are likely to be conflicts in space. The important thing is to avoid a shooting war that could create so much debris that it might be impossible to put satellites or astronauts into orbit. The Chinese, of course, look at everything they are doing.
We're looking at this and they're saying they're developing a capability to threaten them and all of those satellites are a direct threat to their National Security, so why wouldn't they create a capability to take out those satellites that you know are the Chinese ones? They are also building a very strong exploration program to go to the Moon to explore the stars. They could destroy your entire program if they go down as they are. There's no shooting war, but the stakes seem high. The competition taking place in space is high at stake. There is a lot at stake with very few rules.
A 1967 UN treaty mandates the peaceful use of space. It sounds good but it leaves a lot of room for countries to do what they want at this time. Is there any code of conduct for space operations? There is no agreed code of conduct, so it is each country for itself. It's been a year since the small Ingenuity helicopter and the On Ton Rover Perseverance left planet Earth, and they've come a long way since then. In February they landed in a dangerous and previously unexplored part of Mars called Jezero Crater, where Perseverance will search for signs of ancient life.
In April, ingenuity disconnected from Perseverance as a belly and made history by performing the first flights in the atmosphere of another planet. It's hard to imagine, but it's worth remembering as you watch this story we first aired in May. All of this happened millions of miles away in outer space on April 6 in this desolate Martian crater 170 million miles from Earth. Perseverance posed for a selfie with Ingenuity, the small helicopter. It had just fallen two weeks later. The Rover's cameras recorded the historic first flight of Ingenuity floating 10 feet off the ground for 30 seconds. It may not seem like much, but for those who worked so hard to make this happen, it was a reason for Rejoice project manager Mimi to lead the team on NASA's jet. propulsion lab in California that has been working on Ingenuity for 6 years, how difficult is it to fly a helicopter on Mars, very, very, very difficult, we really started with the question of whether it was possible that many people thought it couldn't be done because it's really contradictory, I mean you need atmosphere for the BL to drive the atmosphere to live it, the atmosphere on Mars is completely different from the world, the atmosphere on Mars is so thin, I mean the room we are in, in comparison with what it was. 1% of the atmospheric density there, so the question of whether you can actually generate enough lift to actually build to lift anything that was a fundamental question in later flights on Ingenuity has gone higher and further traveling more than one mile everywhere.
The surface of Mars is a triumph not only for NASA but also for its partners in the private sector who help manufacture various parts of a helicopter, don't let it go, don't be scared. Matt Keenan has a history of making unusual things that can fly, he is an engineer at a company called aerovironment that produces drones for military and civilian use. I mean, that's amazing. 10 years ago, for a military research project, Keenan and his team created this robotic hummingbird that has a little camera on board, there it is, oh my. Gosh, that's amazing, say hi Keenan and engineer Ben Pipen BG led the aeroenvironmental team that created the Ingenuity rotors, engines and landing gear, why was this so challenging?
Because it has to be a spaceship as well as an airplane, and fly it like an airplane. on Mars it is quite challenging because the air density is similar to Earth at 100,000 feet, how do you do it right? So building everything extremely light is really critical. The helicopter blades, for example, are made of a Styrofoam-like material coated with carbon fiber. They are rigid and strong. Have an idea how light and rigid they are. It's nothing. Yes, it doesn't weigh anything more than a light L, here we are taking off. This is the first time they've shown a stranger this version of Ingenuity they're planning. for use in Education and Research they call it Terry here on Earth Terry's blades are spinning at approximately 400 revolutions per minute on Mars in the thin atmosphere they would have to spin six times as fast to generate the same lift and ground.
The mill costs $85 million. building and operating Terry much less, but it's still stressful being handed the controls, okay, go ahead, you've got it, slide it to the right, you can push it all the way to the right if you want, slide it to the left, wow, I'll do it. Bring it back a bit now, stop the joysticks we use to fly. Terry is useless on Mars. Radio signals take a long time to arrive. Okay, let me take control now. TeaEven someone is good at flying drones and hummingbirds, since Matt Keenan couldn't fly a helicopter on Mars.
This is what happened in 2014 in a test chamber replicating the atmosphere of Mars when Kenan attempted to use a joystick to fly an early version of Ingenuity Surprise. Wow, okay for that vehicle, so this very quick demonstration showed that a human being can't respond fast enough to control it exactly, so the engineers at the jet propulsion laboratory equipped Ingenuity with a Sy computer system that would allows it to stabilize and navigate on its own in 2016, the new system passed the camera test, the blades are being commanded, you know, 4,500 times per second, they proved it could fly, but Ingenuity still had to weigh less than 4 pounds and fit in the belly of Perseverance with five ignitions of four engines. two one and had to be tough enough to survive the trip to Mars and liftoff on July 30, 2020.
Perseverance and Ingenuity took off from Cape Canaveral almost 7 months later, as this simulation shows that the heat shield of the spacecraft hit the Martian atmosphere at 12,000 mph in Perseverance. ready to execute entry descent and land on her own while sitting in the control room Al Chan, the leader of the landing team, had absolutely no control. It would take radio signals about 11 minutes to travel from Earth to Mars. The spacecraft was pre-programmed to descend. maneuver and choose a landing site on your own, all the work your colleagues hope to do on Mars would be impossible if your part of the mission failed, how long have you been working on this mission?
About 9 years, actually, that's a lot of work for 7 minutes of n nine years of work 7 Minutes of Terror is done if the parachute doesn't work that's how it is, you know, nobody wants to be like that, the guy who drops a cane, a spaceship landing has never been recorded Like this, there were six cameras capturing everything from different angles, the parachute deployed, then the heat shield fell off like a lens cap and Perseverance saw the ground for the first time. This is not a simulation, this is what parachuting looks like. Mars, how fast is it moving at this point?
Yeah, we're still at G around 350 M hour and we're still decelerating, so it looks smooth here, but you're actually dropping at over 300 mph, that's right, we're heading straight down at uh, at speeds close to the of a race car, below were a series of safe landing points, but the wind was pushing the spacecraft into more treacherous territory to the east and Perseverance sent a message to Earth that the thrusters it needed to slow down might not be able to decelerate. be working properly so get a reading that says the Jets will help you slow down and control the landing they are not working what are you doing there is nothing you can do right everything has already happened that's the mind blowing part of this right, you're sweating now exactly I'm back there again, so, yeah, an altitude of about 300 M to the relief of Al Chen, perseverance is computerized.
The landing system did what it was designed to do, it found a suitable landing spot even on rocky terrain and, despite the warning, the thrusters worked, you can see. They kick up dust as they fire to slow the descent maneuver the spacecraft has begun. The descent stage known as the sky crane lowered Perseverance to the ground, floated for a moment, then flew off to crash a safe distance away and there goes the descent stage you confirmed. persever sa on the surface of Mars so at that moment big sigh of relief um, you know, I almost collapsed on this console for 2 months after landing on the red planet, a team of engineers, programmers and scientists here on Earth They were living on Mars.
Their job was to monitor the Rover's health and tell it where to go and how to look for signs of life while Perseverance slept to conserve energy during the frigid Martian nights. The team on Earth analyzed the photographs and readings from the instruments he had sent back and then prepared a list of things to do the next morning when he wakes up, which is shortly after midnight on Mars. The rover's sleeper project manager, Matt Wallace, explained that a day on Mars is 40 minutes longer than on Earth, the team's schedule was constantly changing, so Al the people here are Mars night shift workers, yeah , that's a good way to think about it, yeah, but I mean, working a night shift is pretty difficult, but this is a night shift that's constantly changing, constantly moving, that's right, yeah, in perseverance, it's the fourth day on Mars, turned. the powerful camera on the mast of him and took a look around a space.
An enthusiast named Shawn Doran put the footage together, set it to music, and posted the film on YouTube, even one of the project's lead scientists got excited when he saw it, you know, I went. and I had a beer and I saw this thing go by and that Mo that was the moment I felt like I was there Ken Farley leads the science team that will lead Perseverance through Jezero Crater is an area scientists have wanted to look for for a long time Signs of ancient life may be hidden in rocks The oldest evidence of life on Earth is approximately three and a half billion years old Those rocks were deposited in a shallow sea This crater you see here was a lake 3.5 billion years ago years then we are looking at the same environment and the same period of time on two different planets and if it is determined long into the future that no, there never was life, what does that mean?
The place where Perseverance landed here in Jeso Crater is the longest habitable period of time on Mars and the most habitable environment we know about it is as good as it gets, at least with our current understanding of what Mars has to offer and if not We find life here, we're worried it may not exist anywhere, Perseverance hasn't gone far from its landing site yet, but its telescopic camera has already detected a large number of rocks that Ken Farley says he didn't expect to see in middle of an ancient lake, so this has absolutely surprised you, yes, so what did those boulders tell you?
The most reasonable interpretation is a flood, there is not fast flowing water in the middle of the lake, but there is fast flowing water in a river, and what that tells us is there was a river that was capable of transporting rocks of this size, so what the lake would have sunk maybe and then there was a flood, yes exactly Perseverance was supposed to leave Ingenuity behind after a 30 day demonstration of its ability to fly. But NASA officials decided to keep the duo together longer to explore how the Rovers and helicopters could work together in the future.
The fastest speed Perseverance was designed for is one-tenth of a mile per hour. Ingenuity has already gone 80 times faster according to project manager Mimi by adding an aerial vehicle, a flying vehicle for space exploration will change the rules of the game, it frees you in a way absolutely yes, so a flying vehicle, a helicopter, would allow us to reach places that we can simply access today, such as seeing steep cliffs that you know inside deep crevices after perseverance. Explore the floor of Jezero Crater and you'll head toward what is believed to be the remnant of an ancient river delta where billions of years ago conditions should have been right for microorganisms to exist, as this simulation shows that the The rover's robotic arm can collect about 40 core samples. of rock that will be sealed in special tubes and left on the planet's surface.
NASA plans to send another mission to Mars to recover the tubes and bring them back to Earth in about 10 years. Ken Farley says scientists examining those samples may face a new and puzzling question: How do you look for life that may not be life as we know it? We've never had to do that before. We have never had to wonder if there is a way of life that we can't even. conceive yes, we are going to have to conceive it I think that is the goal of this, we are going to have to begin to conceive Life as we do not know it if everything goes according to plan, perseverance will do it.
Tracks on Mars over the next few years, since carrying the first working audio microphones on the Red Planet, will leave you with what it sounds like as the one-ton Rover slowly moves across the vast, lonely expanses of Mars from that our story aired for the first time. China landed for the first time. Rover on Mars about a thousand miles away from where Perseverance is located China's national space administration has said it also plans to collect samples from the red planet and bring them back to Earth. Now the latest from Mars thanks to NASA's incredibly sophisticated geologist, an onton Rover called Curiosity that landed on Mars over 4 years ago its biggest discovery yet is this over 3 billion years ago Mars had all the building blocks necessary for life back then Mars and Earth were very similar, wet, warm and habitable, but as life evolved on Earth Mars became cold, dry and inhospitable.
Has life ever existed on Mars? We don't know it yet, but the Curiosity rover is on the hunt and has been slowly maneuvering through a topographic treasure trove. Tonight you will see impressive images and he tells us what curiosity tells us. about Mars and Earth from Mars Curiosity can barely see Earth more than 30 million miles away, but curiosity is seeing Mars like never before, leaving its mark and sending postcards of 20-foot-high sand dunes spanning miles of ancient stone lake beds that have been dry for billions of years and time-lapse images of a Martian sunset like any vain photographer who curiously poses for selfies along the way while working to solve the most challenging mysteries of Mars so we're reading the Rocks uh with curiosity reading the Rocks we read the Rocks Katie Stack Morgan, a geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, helps Curiosity decide which pictures it should take and where it should go. go.
Hundreds of scientists and engineers support the rover. They can't drive it in real time from Earth because there is a 30-minute delay in getting a message to Mars and back, so the curiosity shown in this NASA animation receives its instructions at the beginning of each day and the Rover is such a talented geologist that he can teach us a lot from a single pebble fused into a larger rock. here and it's actually quite round and on Mars round pebbles mean that they used to be wet and if you think about the pebbles that you find in a stream on Earth, they also tend to be very round because as they move in streams, the pebbles hit. other pebbles and round off all the little corners, that's how we know this deposit formed in running water.
I mean, this is the first evidence we have from the surface that water flowed across the surface of Mars. This NASA animation is based on the real surface of Mars. Curiosity's capabilities include a laser that shoots rocks up to 23 feet away to find out what they're made of. It is the first rover that can drill for samples from Mars and analyze them in its built-in laboratory. One of the first samples told us more about that. That water used to be here and led to Curiosity's biggest discovery yet: water that was on the surface of Mars could be collected and drunk.
Rob Manning, chief engineer at JPL, told us that because the water was drinkable and because curiosity also found essential organic substances. chemicals Mars could have supported life, does that mean there was life there? No, we don't know, you're talking about microbial life, microbial single-celled organisms, but if you were to look for life today, it wouldn't be on the surface that you have. going underground just as we have life on this planet huge amounts of life living underground on this planet Manning told us that life could have traveled back and forth between Mars and Earth when a meteor comes and hits Mars and can be lifted a rock from Mars then travels in circles around the Sun until one day it will hit the Earth and land and say Antarctica, where a rock from Mars was discovered in 1984.
We found Mars Rock and we found them all over the Earth and the opposite is also true, certainly on Earth. Rock with life on it has taken a trip to Mars. Could that life survive the 30 million mile journey? We don't know, we believe life could do it. Get ready. Here's the punch line. It could have been that Mars was habitable before Earth and life took hold on Mars and started its journey to Earth and we are all Martians, you know how amazing that is, but it is possible that life isamazing. Mars could have been habitable when Earth was not because we are looking at rocks that are. very very old how many years I mean, we are talking about billions of years why can't we find rocks here that are as old as on Mars?
Most of the Earth is constantly being recycled as the plates on the surface move, but here on out. Mars, we don't really have evidence of plate tectonics. This is the Mars Rock record of Mars history preserved on the surface and that is a truly unique opportunity to explore an era in the solar system that may not be preserved on the Earth's surface. The scariest part of the entire mission was Curiosity landing on Mars; It couldn't bounce to Mars protected by giant airbags, the same way the smaller Rovers had Curiosity, it weighs a ton too big for the bags, so lead engineer Adam St and his team came up with something. strange.
We plan to put curiosity in a flying saucer, fire rockets to slow its descent, and then use long cables to lower it to Mars. Many here thought they were crazy. The team recognized that if we failed we would find no solace or consolation from the general public. many fingers pointed, the man on the street says he looks crazy. I could have told you it was crazy, so I developed this little statement that I would make before I even started. He says like this. Great work and great madness it can be. indistinguishable at first due to communication delay, they could not direct the landing from Earth, the complex maneuvers were pre-programmed by Steltzner and his team could only wait and worry, we were sitting in the control room pacing back and forth trying to remember to breathe.
Here is the animation of the landing and the actual reaction at the landing from Mission Control confirmed the team celebrated and then sometime in the early morning I went home, climbed into bed with my wife and cried because I was exhausted. I was overwhelmed. This is where curiosity landed. The stains on the left look like burn marks, but they are not, they are dust cleaning marks. This is where the Rockets cleaned up the dust. I see a trail that's on the right, so these are the Rover's footprints, so the Rover landed here. um and then it went around a couple times and you can actually see this from orbit, which is amazing.
NASA has been sending satellites to Mars for more than 50 years. Three are orbiting Mars and now monitoring its weather and sending back images of giant wind-carved craters. ridges and an avalanche of sand falling down a mountain raising huge clouds of dust on the surface one of the three previous rovers continues to operate the opportunity is only 1 the size of Curiosity, it cannot collect samples or analyze the surface in the way Curiosity Maybe, but Opportunity has been taking stunning photos for 13 years, while Curiosity's mission is almost over after just 6 months. We had had some kind of memory problem.
Rob Manning told us that a computer problem occurred 1 hour after stopping communication curious forever the Rover has two identical computers called pilot and copilot the pilot is supposed to have enough self diagnosis and is smart enough to say no I'm doing very well I'm not feeling well I'm going to let the co -The pilot took control, but the pilot was not well and refused to give up control. In fact, he started to act a little like he had an attitude. The computer had an attitude. Computers developed an attitude in a way we had never seen before.
We told him to go take a nap, he refused to take a nap, then he refused to take pictures, then he refused to do any more science during the day. I was like, just stop doing this stuff. I thought: what the hell is going on? and time is running out. Time is running out because in one hour your radio will turn off and it will stay off forever and we will lose this expensive Rover. Manning's team sent out an order to kill the pilot, hoping that would force the co-pilot to take control. We are waiting for the co-pilot to wake up and then turn on his radio to let us know that he was alive we should receive a signal nothing, another minute passes nothing, four minutes pass we are already starting to worry a lot it sounds like a movie, it was really getting stressful and Bing , there's the signal and the backup pilot was obviously in charge, so the backup pilot is still in charge today, the backup pilot is still in charge, we've since fixed the bad pilot. help direct the pilot the jet propulsion laboratory built its own area of ​​Mars where they can practice maneuvers with the rover's twin Adam Steltzner told us that the rover can see where it is going and make mid-course corrections to avoid obstacles.
Why is it so slow that we are exploring? She doesn't want to miss anything, so she moves deliberately so Katie Stack Morgan can study everything. Curiosity sees that it is actually an active dune field. What do you mean by an active D? It means that the sand particles that make up the dunes are still moving today. Being blown across the landscape, they are moving very slowly across the surface due to the Martian wind. MH, everyone we talk to talks about how studying Mars helps us better understand Earth, how when we look at rocks on Mars, we're potentially seeing a snapshot of our solar system at a time before Earth developed its environment as we know it, it is truly as if we are there now.
Curiosity has begun to ascend to the middle of Mount Sharp, which is why it landed near the mountain. It's a layer cake of History on every climb. layer that reveals how Mars changed over time the layers at the bottom those are the oldest layers and each successive layer uh is younger and younger and younger you climb the mountain what do you hope to find what what do you hope to find are we really waiting to see that transition when Mars went from being a habitable planet to being one that was not habitable what happened to the atmosphere of Mars to turn it into this almost dead planet it cooled down it lost its magnetic field the solar wind took away its atmosphere and then it dried out, it became a prune from what it was before we are still a plum, it is a prune, what does Martian history tell us about the Earth?
I don't think we have to worry about drying out like Mars, but it does teach us. That's a relief, but it teaches us how delicate the balance of our environment is and should therefore increase our appreciation of how beautiful a warm, moist hug really is living here on Earth. How many planets are there? Nine is what they taught us. But as telescopes get stronger and astronomers learn more about our solar system, long-accepted facts become fallacies. Pluto had been considered a planet for 76 years, but lost its planet status after a Caltech astronomer discovered that Pluto wasn't so special after all its name. en Mike Brown Brown and other astronomers have since found hundreds of large ice balls like Pluto orbiting the Sun in the far reaches of our solar system, demoting Pluto leaves us with eight planets, but Mike Brown is preparing another surprise and is sure that there is a real ninth planet far out on Pluto, he hasn't seen it yet, but hopes to see it soon.
He believes that the real planet 9 is huge and out there. I would say at this point I'm sure, yeah, that's a weird thing to say. a prediction for a scientist and I'm willing to say it, you know how mind-blowing this sounds. I mean, a new planet hasn't been discovered in 170 years. I think you think it looks like this animation I have over my shoulder. You know we took a little artistic license and put some rays on the dark side because it could have rays on the dark side. We think it's 10 to 20 times more massive than Earth and we haven't seen it, we can.
I don't see it, it's so far away that it's actually right on the edge of what our largest telescopes on Earth can see because it's so far away, 50 billion miles away, that it's also hard to find because it has a huge orbit. . We believe that Planet 9. takes about 15,000 years to go around the Sun 15,000 years 15,000 years to make an orbit an orbit to look for Planet 9 Brown climbs Mona, the great mountain on the Big Island of Hawaii, to use the large telescope through which the Subaru Brown does not look directly the telescope it monitors takes photographs of the same sections of the sky on successive nights and then compares them for movement, we have to look very systematically at each patch of sky here here here here and what we're looking for is really kind of simple we take a photo one night we come back the next night all the stars all the galaxies are in the same place night after night after night and Planet 9 when we see it it will move slowly across the sky and it will be seen So Brown's discovery 11 years ago changed the way we think about the solar system using images from successive nights.
Brown discovered this Pluto-sized object which led to the demotion of the adorable Pluto. You didn't love Pluto growing up. I loved Pluto. I was totally fascinated. Pluto, when I started out in astronomy, I started looking at this region of the sky because I thought it was very interesting when Pluto was first discovered. It was thought to be a large planet. You can go back and find the New York Times headline on the day the discovery was announced and it says umpteenth planet discovered in outer solar system, possibly larger than Jupiter. Jupiter is the largest planet, but it turned out that Pluto was not Jupiter.
These are all the planets and other objects in their actual relative sizes. This is jupit juper is huge compared to the other things this is Jupiter this is Saturn without its rings Uranus Neptune Mercury Venus the Earth Mars and at the very edge of the solar system as we know it now is Pluto is only off by a factor of 50,000 then it went from being a monster planet to being a dwarf planet a dwarf planet one of many out there that are part of this region of the sky this region is the Kyper belt at the edge of our solar system a vast realm of Frozen Los Debris created during the birth of the solar system 4 and 2 billion years ago in the Kyper Belt keeps Brown up all night searching for discoveries.
It's the most exciting thing I can think of doing. Know? It's not just that it's hard to stay awake all night and So I force myself to do it. Every night I go out excited about what I might find when Mike Brown discovered that Pluto-sized object. It was the largest of a group of hundreds of recently discovered Pluto-like objects, making Brown wonder if Pluto really should do it. be a planet, but demoting Pluto would mean that all textbooks showing planets would have to be changed, that was fine with Brown, who believes that planets must be important and that the eight large planets are their strong gravitational fields that control everything. around it.
The planets are the big bullies of the planetary system that basically ignores everyone else around it and everyone else has to deal with the planet, those are the planets and Pluto didn't fit into that concept. Neptune controls the orbit of Pluto. Neptune is that neighborhood bully to solve the problem. astronomers from around the world met in Prague in 2006 the International Astronomical Union would decide whether to demote little Pluto or give Planet status to hundreds of similar objects 6A deals with Pluto and Pluto doesn't like objects astronomers overwhelmingly voted to downgrade to eight planets and Brown became known as the guy who killed Pluto.
I think that's probably true. The Pluto vote was bad timing for NASA just 7 months before Pluto's demotion. NASA launched a mission to Pluto to learn about its surface and Origins scientists are still analyzing spectacular images. from NASA's flyby, show Pluto's mostly icy surface and close-ups of craters. Now the spacecraft is going deeper into the Kyper belt, although Pluto was demoted 10 years ago. Pluto lovers still send hate mail and voicemails to Brown, he stuck with this one. Hey, Pluto is still a planet. idiot, even Brown's 11 year old daughter Lyla didn't like what she had done to Pluto, what did you tell her she should do to make up for that?
Well, I told him that if he found a new planet, he could make up for it. for the fact that he killed a planet, a planet that everyone loved, it seems like he actually went out and did that, yeah, what do you think of that? um, it's really cool, I'm really proud of it, it refers to the huge planet nine that we mentioned before, no one. I was more surprised by that discovery that Brown himself until recently believed that our planets would only be the big eight and we had explored so much of the solar system beyond those eight that if there was something more like aplanet that we would have found it after all NASA spacecraft have flown by all the known planets capturing images of Saturn's rings, the pitted surface of Mercury, the gaseous atmosphere of Jupiter and far beyond our solar system, the Hubble telescope is busy taking pictures of distant galaxies, NASA says this single image shows 10,000 galaxies, other images show signs of black holes millions of light years away and this is a glimpse of star birth.
No wonder Brown would have thought we had found all our planets, so now you think there's another pretty big planet out there. yeah, I'm pretty sure it's out there which makes you think that while we were studying these objects beyond Neptune, Pluto and the other objects and the Kyper Bel, but when you get to the more distant ones, they all seem to be being came out in One Direction and you think that what is attracting them is a big planet. Yes, couldn't there be some other explanation? We tried many different explanations trying to prove that it was not a planet.
Nothing. Nothing works. I am 100% convinced that Brown's partner Constantine Bettigan, a professor of planetary sciences at Caltech, came up with this iCal mathematical proof. He says Planet 9 is pulling those remote objects into similar oblong orbits. It looks like mathematical gibberish to our untrained eye, but Paegan told us that his equation combines 10 accepted formulas. and when combined with more than 8,000 lines of computer code, he describes the orbit of Planet 99, so he says he doesn't have to see it to know it exists. Mathematics proves it and it is like being in the center of the city and hearing an ambulance a few streets away.
You haven't seen it but your other senses give you the information that this ambulance is really there here instead of hearing it you see it in the mouth this is a route map to Planet 9 exactly this at the end tells you where to go Look at the sky to speed up the search, but Tegan and Brown published their roadmap so other astronomers could join the search. Chief among them is Scott Shepard of the Carnige institution. It was Shephard who first discovered the strange orbits in the Kyper belt that led to Mike. Brown concludes that there is now a huge planet out there.
Shephard, like Brown, compares photographs taken on consecutive nights in the hope of detecting Planet 9. We simply find a few more small objects far away in the source, some that continue to show the trend that there should be. There is a planet nine out there, is it important to you, whether you are the first to find it or another astronomer finds it? It would be great to be the first to find it. It's a race. There are many people looking for it, but simply. Finding it is what we want. When do you think we could identify the location of Planet 9?
I think that within three years we will be able to cover that strip of sky that we need to cover is this giant planet 9, the last planet. Will we find it in our solar system or are there 10 yes, we don't know. Planet 9 is already far enough away to require the largest telescopes. We have to find it. Planet 10 is even further away. Planet 9 is the Planet of Our Generations. perfect planet to find right now Planet 10 this is when I talk to the kids I tell them Planet 10 is theirs go find it President Obama canceled NASA's plan to replace the space shuttle in favor of a more modest program and then Congress cut funding so that for the first time in 50 years the United States is not the leader in space flight.
The fact is that we could not launch an astronaut today if we had to. With the end of an era, we wonder what would happen to the generation that put America in space. So last July, when the smoke from the last space shuttle launch cleared, we stayed in Bravard County, Florida, home of the Kennedy Space Center, which comes after reaching for the stars for many in Bard County, The answer is a crash landing with all three engines and burning there was nothing like it in the world The space shuttle spreads its wings for the last time to The beginning of a sentimental journey into history was built by the hands of people like Lou.
It was the experience and work of my life. One day I was working on a rig with a friend of mine and he is also a crane operator. I asked him and I said, how many more crane operators do you think are doing what we are doing? There are two of us, you and me, the transportation job was not just work, there was enormous pride in doing for the United States what no other worker in the world could do. Luhanna even dares crewed a gigantic crane that cleared the pad before launch worked on the first shuttle in 1981, America's first P-shuttle and the last 135 missions afterward, what did it mean to you to see the last shuttle launch? felt anger, anger, oh yeah, because this doesn't have to be the last release, it doesn't have to end this way, I'm serious, it just doesn't make any sense, it doesn't compute and I guess I'm still in denial because I think they're going a Call me one day.
We have a release coming up. We need you. How can they do that? They did it to save $3 billion a year. Now the only way an American can fly to space is by buying a seat on a Russian T2 rocket at the Kennedy Space Center 7,000 workers lost their jobs main gear landing the space shuttle arrives in port for the last time 50 years of launches are coming to an end turning into 8 months of layoffs take a look at bravard county it's downsizing a lot of people are moving tearing down businesses with for them it was like bam Gone Gone Gone the work ethic that built the ferry keeps Chris Milner fighting to hold on how long You worked at the Space Center for 8 years and your wife for 29 years, both fired, both fired with an entrepreneurial spirit?
Milner planned the layoffs 5 years ago, launching a landscaping business and then adding a sign shop in this industrial park, but there was one thing he didn't plan for. The seafood is gone, there is nothing there. Edwards Exterminating is the only one. on the left, it's around the corner, huh, but basically everything is empty, it's a nightmare made, everyone's been laid off, it's a domino effect, the business is closing and it affects everyone else and it affects me , the 7,000 layoffs at the Space Center led to 7,000 more in the community. unemployment has been close to 11% people are moving people are going north nothing is happening here I know people move to Seattle for a job left their house left the key in the front door here you go Milner had gone 12 employees in the lawn business now it's three, you know you're running these two businesses, yeah, how many hours a day do you literally work?
I'm here at 7:00 a.m. m. in the morning and you know, the last two weeks I've been here until 12:00 in the morning my last day off was Christmas working 17 hours a day, 7 days a week yeah, it can't be that good for your health no, My wife is worried that he is afraid, she told me and they took out a life insurance policy for him, but at the same time she knows what I have to do and the problem is that we have a 12-year-old child at home who He doesn't understand why he's never had to leave without constantly asking. for McDonald's we no longer have McDonald's that's beautiful this is not the first crash landing on the Space Coast there were big layoffs in 1972 after the last mission to the moon but here's why today is worse when we leave the moon NASA was already years after the shuttle was designed and it seemed like it would be that way now because President Bush approved a program to follow the shuttle.
The manspace program's new rocket was supposed to be called the MH constellation and now you guys are calling it a cancellation, unfortunately L Hannah and Joe uich Holly Petruci and Mike Carpenter are planning to move from the shuttle to the Constellation. They were encouraged when candidate Barack Obama came to Bard County in 2008, 3 months before the election. I'm going to make sure our space program isn't affected when the shuttle shuts down. I'm serving by making sure all those who work in the space industry in Florida don't lose their jobs when the shuttle retires because we can't afford to lose their expertise.
Well, they lied to us when Obama arrived, he gave us a lot. of Hope and supposedly a lot of change, well I have change in my pocket, but hope was gone in 2010, President Obama canceled Constellation and handed the development of a new spacecraft to private enterprise, then Congress dealt another blow by cutting Funding for the Obama plan will be cut in half, at a minimum, it will be 5 years before the United States flies astronauts again. Now the workers with that experience that Mr. Obama referred to are setting the course for Carol Bess and several have told me that I was considering suicide before I came to you.
Carol Bess is a bankruptcy attorney, what brought them to that point is They felt like failures, you know, here I am, I can't pay my debts and I'm probably worth more dead than alive if I have life insurance and my friends don't find a job either, or if they do, they earn much less than they did before, right, and that it's not going to change. These people have no hope that the situation can get much worse. I think after the Great Recession we visited many communities that lost their major employer, but never one like Bravard County, we learned about the loss with our first question to Lucas Maxwell, who used to handle dangerous fuel for the Rockets, what it was like when it was launched.
Paint that picture for me, amazing. Oh, the thought was too much for a moment and then he came back to tell us why he made your heart stop. It's amazing, no matter what you know, the pride that goes into a vehicle like that, but uh, I also knew it was the end, you know, I knew it. I was going to be on the street and the space shuttle for you. I have the feeling that it was a statement about the country. Oh yes, absolutely, this is a matter of national pride. The end of the ferry is threatening businesses that families have built for decades, like ferries.
The first bar you leave the Space Center isn't just a bar, it's actually where astronauts land in July before the last launch. We stopped to see owner Bill Gillo. How many employees did you have at peak? We had 25 and now it is very low. to eight and you are one of them, yes, if it all comes down to just me, my son and the cook we will hang on the ferries will be here. I won't let it go 7 months later, this is the shuttle today. Sorry about this when we were here before, before you were optimistic, you said this place wouldn't close, yes, within 45 days of the last ferry, we lost 70% of our business, we couldn't sustain as much as it killed me.
To do that I had to do it and you've been gone for a couple of months now, but I don't think you've moved anything here. I can not right now. It's too painful to do that. A lot of my heart is here and I can't take anything off the walls, but it's not just a business, no, this is an institution and I don't want to be the one to destroy it. Nobody we met. In July he was expected to be the one to destroy the life they knew. Some were the second or third generation of his family to work at the Space Center before the last launch.
We met with several at an employment center applying for the remaining aerospace job. Sammy Rivera worked on the ferry for 26 years reviewing engineering drawings. I thought that the day I wake up dead I won't go to work, that's the fundamental thing, there will be nothing to retire from. We reached it today. I don't expect to be unemployed for 11 months at most. I estimated 3 months. I applied for engineering jobs. I applied for technician jobs. I applied for entry level jobs. Have you had any interviews? Three in total out of three in total. three three interviews in 11 months yes sir do you have health insurance? uh no sir no sir my health insurance ended on my last day of employment how is it going? a lot of prayer uh the medications that I was taking, the out of pocket expenses cost me more than $800 a month without receiving any money.
I can't afford that, so he's just taking one of the two pills his doctor says he should take to prevent a heart attack. You know when you're raising that flag in your front yard? Yes sir, what are you thinking? This is my country and I can't let it fall without a fight. The remaining four shuttles head to mothers. Atlantis will be on display at the Kennedy Space Center. She was designed for 100 missions but only flew 33. Like so many others in Bravard County, Florida, she was retired from her country's service long before she was ready. For decades, the United States has relied on spy satellites to peer deep into its adversaries' territory.
These giant billion-dollar satellites take high-resolution photosthat can If you see objects as small as a fist inside Russia, North Korea or wherever the target is, tonight we will take you inside the intelligence agency where those photos are analyzed and we will also take you inside a revolution that is shaking up the top secret world of spy satellites. A private company called Planet Labs has placed about 300 small satellites in space, enough to take a photo of Earth's entire landmass every day. Those small satellites have created a big data problem for the government, which can't hire enough analysts to observe. to all those photos welcome to the revolution 5 4 3 2 1 this is how the revolution began 28 small satellites put into orbit by astronauts from the largest of all satellites the International Space Station we took a satellite that would be the size of a truck and We shrunk it, we wanted to make it the size of a loaf of bread.
Robbie Shingler started building satellites 20 years ago working for NASA the same way I grew up, at NASA, we spent between five and ten years, even to build a satellite now he is one of the founders of Planetlaboratories, this is our company of satellite manufacturing, a company that makes satellites in months, not years, you can pick them up, they weigh about 12 pounds or 5 kg, in fact, they were some of the same electronic components used in smartphones, they are built by hand in a nondescript place. building in downtown San Francisco looks like a warehouse and our engineers here build and operate the largest fleet of satellites in human history.
It's a pretty big statement. The largest satellite fleet in humans. I know it's not that great and, frankly, we're just. starting how many have been built over the years oh over the years we built about 300 satellites over the years and last year we launched about 146 satellites into space the satellites are called pigeons here on the floor of production are kept in nests waiting to be launched in flocks this is a visualization that shows every satellite we have in space today this is the Mission, this Mission Control yes, it is a little slow now, but it is a little non-traditional, a Control From Normal Mission you will have dozens and dozens of engineers for one satellite, we turn it around to have dozens of satellites for a single engineer.
The satellites orbit the globe every 90 minutes as the Earth rotates beneath them. Cameras document the planet as it changes. It always surprises me that almost every image we download is compared to yesterday's image and something has changed. Marshall is another of the company's founders. When we see Riv move, we see trees fall, we see vehicles move, we see the road surfaces change and it gives you a perspective of The planet as something dynamic and evolving, what we have to take care of is that what is supposed to be People must conclude when they see all this change, well, you can't fix what you can't see, that kind of ambition to save the world. a big risk, especially for a small company that is just starting out and we have off the planet, we have many records, we have lost the most satellites in the world, but we have also lost the most satellites in history.
Four years ago, Marshall gathered his staff on what The Planet calls the mothership to watch a rocket carrying 26 Dobs take off. It was a big problem. And we had a customer in the audience at the time we had brought in to see a launch. It was very embarrassing. Oh God, oh God, oh God. Wait, I'll never forget it. We see the smoke coming and everyone cheers and then they leave and then Kaboom Jester Gilmore runs the Planet satellite assembly line. You lost how many satellites 26 2 I think we lost, yes. 26 Those were your babies. Was it difficult, yes they were, how long did it take you to get back to normal?
We didn't even skip a beat when that happened, we didn't waste a day the day we visited the planet, its satellites were transmitting 1.2 million images. Every 24 hours Planet sells images to over 200 clients, many of them agricultural companies that monitor crop health, but this is the largest client on the planet, so this is our Agency Operations Center. Robert cardillo is director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) for short. the organization that analyzes satellite photographs, so this really is Ground Zero for all Intelligence coming from space. That's right, it's where we bring all of our sources, whether they come from space or from any Source, but right, it's Ground Zero because 60 minutes were allowed.
In this secure operations center, top-secret high-resolution photographs taken by spy satellites are nowhere to be seen on the other side of the center. Cordillo says lower resolution images like this one taken by commercial satellite companies show one of the outposts the Chinese have developed in the South China Sea. They are changing their world by taking more and more looks at Earth, especially places where American spy satellites are not focused. I'm very excited about capabilities such as what the planets put in space. Planet is a small company with just over 400 employees. of them in San Francisco NGA is a government bureaucracy with a workforce of 14,500 and a 2.7 million square foot headquarters south of Washington DC, but Robert Cardillo knew a revolution when he saw one this is not the scale model this is the life-size when planet Marshall introduced his small satellite in a 2014 Ted Talk and showed the video to his workforce.
It will provide a completely radical new set of data about our changing planet and a radical new culture. Thank you. Planet openly markets its images. The NGA spy photo rarely sees the light of day. of the day the intelligence analyst who leaked these photos of a Russian shipyard in 1984 went to prison what the NGA can see from space is top secret how many of these high resolution satellites do you operate um I won't comment but much of what cardillo won't do Talk is common knowledge for Ted Moan, who is a household name in the dark world of amateur satellite tracking.
How many photo satellites does the United States have in orbit? There are currently three takeoffs of the n71 for the national reconnaissance office since we interviewed the Moon. like a fourth photography satellite has been launched, he tracks them from his balcony in downtown Toronto with nothing more sophisticated than $300 binoculars, just waiting for a satellite flyby, yeah, I'm waiting for something that's 150 miles away going 5 times a day. second, yes, yes, and it will cross my field of vision in a few seconds, so I have to be attentive. This is what a top-secret satellite looks like from Earth captured on video by one of about 20 amateur trackers around the world.
Your code. The name is a crystal. This thing is about the size of a city bus and this is what it looks like from Earth. That's right, it just looks like a moving star that satellite trackers watch as it crosses the sky, measuring its position relative to known stars. That is enough to know the orbit of the satellite. Yes, we are doing this with our eyes, often with cameras, but the end result is numbers and if we gather enough data, we can calculate the orbit with great precision. I have been able to calculate this, uh, presumably, the North Koreans have been able to calculate this absolutely yes, so there is no mystery to the North Koreans, the Russians, the Iranians and the Chinese when these satellites are up there taking pictures, that's right, it's the hideout of the space age, adversaries know it.
When and where American spy satellites look, but they can never be sure what they are finding. This is what the NGA developed in the search for Osama bin Laden before President Obama and his National Security team, including Cardillo, there on the left, gathered at the White House. Situation Room On the night of the attack NGA had gone back in time through seven years of satellite imagery to build this scale model of Bin Laden's hideout. We had historical images of this complex that allowed us to reverse time. NGA was able to see not only the exterior but also the interior allowing us to go back to the point of construction and essentially, through our image archive, reconstruct the house so we could see how the first floor was designed and how the rooms would be laid out. where the stairs from the first to the second would be located. floor and the second to third floor, old photographs showed that building before the roof was put on.
We had photographs before the complex existed. We saw it when it was first built and how it was built over time. Correct and that's how you could find it. In fact, the satellites that made it possible are the equivalent of a Hubble space telescope, but instead of taking pictures of the heavens, they focus on Earth and can distinguish operational objects. Just 4 inches through the camera on the monitor for For me for decades they have been indispensable to know what America's adversaries are doing, but like Hubble, they cost billions of dollars each, which is a of the reasons why there are so few in orbit.
Are they putting more? They have never had more than four in orbit. At a time when Cardillo is so interested in Planet and its small satellites that deliver a tsunami of data like NGA, he has never seen how many analysts it would take to keep up with that many satellites. We did some calculations and came up with it. 6 million humans would need to be hired to exploit all the images we have access to. You can see that's not exactly a viable proposition. If you were trying to find this in Syria, it's like a needle in a haystack.
Planet. Shauna Wolverton showed us how a computer can be programmed to help track the impact of the Syrian Civil War on the people who live there, so what we've done is create an algorithm that looks for new roads and built an algorithm that reviewed lots of satellites. photos and identified the first signs of a new refugee camp here is the first image so that red grid is what they are those are new roads and all these blue dots that you can see here are buildings so this is a little corner of Syria. Could you do this for the entire country?
We can absolutely do this for the entire country. I can show you here, we can zoom out and you can see we've run this algorithm across the country and you can see all the roads. and buildings This is the first photo an American spy satellite took from space in 1960 A distant look at the Russian airfield Since then we have gotten much more spectacular views of Earth like these taken by the Apollo astronauts, but the US government The US no longer has a monopoly on photographs from space and has no power to seal the top secret on any of the 800 million images the planet has taken in its brief life, making them available to everyone, people will find. uses for those images that you had not even imagined or dreamed of. of yes and not all of them are going to be good no, you worry about that, I worry a lot and we would not have started Planet if we did not have a very strong conviction that the vast majority of use cases are very, very positive this December 22 may be known as the day the universe changed that Wednesday NASA hopes to launch the James Web Space Telescope, the largest and most expensive instrument ever flown, 100 times more powerful than the 31-year-old Hubble telescope. the time until the moment there is light, that moment when a cold Dark Universe lit up into Stars.
Wow, well, in some ways, that's a lot bigger than I imagined. She is big. A year ago we were among the last humans to see the telescope. will appear in space after our visit was packaged for a million mile journey beyond the moon to remain forever in the clutches of the sun operational life is the duration uh it is designed for 5 and a half years with a goal of 10 years, that means we take enough stuff in there to last 10 years Amy Low is a systems engineer who took us to the Northrup Grumman clean room in Redondo Beach, California, we had to invent it, design it, build it and put it together by hand At the bottom of the spacecraft, that silver cover is a tennis court-sized sunshade to protect the net from the sun.
Above are 21 feet of gold-plated mirrors, six times larger than Hubble's mirror to capture the first starlight at creation. There are 18 of these hexagonal mirrors, but when you unfold them, they all work together like one mirror. That's right, the 18 images will form a very nice solid image. That image would be invisible to the human eye, as a night vision camera network is designed to do. see heat infrared light because that is the only signature left of the Stars at the End of Time even that glow will be so dim that the mirrors will have tosquint for hours to expose an image How confident are you?
You know, my job is. To worry, I'm personally sure we've thought of everything. It took more than 25 years to think about it all, and billion-dollar engineer Amy Low explained the challenge in my mind. The biggest engineering challenge was building a lens hood capable of protecting the mirrors' optics. and the instrument on the web, how do you build something big but light? Sunscreen keeps the net cool and dark. any heat inferred from the Sun or Earth would blind the telescope. The five layers are made of sheets of gauze not unlike Myar's birthday balloons. the layer facing the sun is layer one and layer one reaches about 230° setting, so it's a pretty hot oven like if you want to cook a mering or something and on the telescope side it reaches 370° F , there are approximately 600 Dee. difference between one side of the heat shield and the other yes it is amazing that it is able to do this with nothing more than these layers the engineering is amazing but science can reveal the universe from the beginning the Big Bang the arrow of time has flown almost 14 billion years the network can see up to the first 100 million of the universe baby powerful telescopes Amber Straw is an astrophysicist in the project telescopes really are time machines, they literally allow us to see the past and the reason for this is Because the nature of how light travels, light from the Sun takes about 8 minutes to reach the Earth, so we are seeing the Sun as it was a few minutes ago and you can think about moving further into the universe by the time we walk under the stars and we look above us we are not seeing the stars as they are today we are seeing them as they were perhaps millions of years ago absolutely because it took so long for the light to reach the Earth yes, for sure How much do we know about the universe?
Everything we know about everything we can see you and me. Everything on the planet. The hundreds of billions of other galaxies. All of that only represents about 5% of the universe. The rest, that other 95.% we have no idea what it is that 95% the unknown is around us like a ghost almost the entire cosmos is made of what physicists desperately call dark matter and dark energy scientists have never seen before they infer that they must exist because they are the The best explanation of how galaxies form and move, so we know that dark matter is a kind of scaffolding of the universe, it is the structure in which it is found. which galaxies are found uh and If there were no Dark Matter there would be no galaxies and there would be no us.
What could the web telescope reveal about dark matter? It's like we have this 14 billion year old story of the universe, but we're missing that first chapter and the website was designed specifically to allow us to see those first galaxies that formed after the Big Bang. Now galaxies are born and then evolve. They change over time and in this way the change of galaxies must depend critically on dark matter. and the web will allow us to observe the process of evolution of the galaxy in much more detail. The promise of the Discovery armored web in what has already been a treacherous journey was its launch 7 years ago, but delays come with such an ambitious machine due to cost overruns.
The website was canceled in 2011 by the House Appropriations Committee, but was saved in the Senate. Its namesake is James Webb, director of NASA in the 1960s, who made science a top priority. What are the risks? What is written on that rocket with the net when talking about what is at stake? What's really at stake is NASA's reputation for taking on a challenge as challenging as the web and succeeding Bill Oaks and Greg Robinson lead the program Oaks was an engineer at Hubble Robinson has overseen NASA's quality and performance if You want to be bold and get the kind of science that we're looking for, uh, you have to make the investment and it will answer two big questions for astrophysics, where we come from and we're alone and we're eager to get those results, is the web going to work? yes, it's I'm going to work.
I have a lot of confidence. I'm 100% sure. Because? 100% sure. Because when I look at the testing that we've done over the years and the type of engineering that was used, you build a sense of confidence that you know what it is. going to work what worries him most is deploying the entire telescope is what worries him the observatory had to be folded into an Aran 5 rocket only 16 feet wide today it is wrapped as tight as a rosebud in flight more than 40 systems They must bloom with perfection, including Amy Low's never-before-invented sunscreen, the five layers will be folded and held in place by pens, how many pins are there?
There are 107 of these membrane release devices and pins that hold the five layers attached to this structure here called the UPS. total 107 and as it is deployed how many of them can fail none none none not one there is literally no room for error we test and do a lot of analysis to make sure that each and every one of these is released into orbit $10 billion trips in those pens the Hubble telescope 340 Mi up could be reached with a key net a million miles away it is beyond repair Bill Oaks told us that if something gets stuck there is an emergency plan for which we have developed algorithms we can essentially call it shimmy , we make a little movement on the telescope and we can swing it back and forth, that doesn't work.
We have another one we call spinner, which can actually spin the telescope clockwise or counterclockwise to help loosen things up. so you're going to do what I do with devices when they don't work, you're going to shake them yeah, yeah, can I do the same? Yes, if 107 pens release the mirrors synchronize and 10,000 things go right, the web will be limited with only about 10 years of fuel to spin and aim. Canada contributed the pointing system that will guide the web to wonders far and near. More than a thousand astronomers from around the world compete for telescope time.
Heidi Hamill was granted 100 hours. I have so many questions, um. My particular focus is objects in our solar system. Haml told us that light is full of information. The network can define the chemistry of a place by analyzing its wavelengths of light. What is the atmospheric water content of Mars and how does it change over time? What drives the chemistry in Neptune's upper atmosphere, can we see if water is coming out of the moons of Jupiter or Saturn? There are an infinite number of questions I want to answer. Astrophysicist Natalie Batalia also spends time on the web.
She will look at the planets beyond. In our solar system, on average, every star in the galaxy has at least one planet, which means there are more planets in the galaxy than there are stars, hundreds of billions of planets, and with those planets, Metalia is sure that the web could find some with chemistry and conditions. of life, it turns out there is a planetary system, the star has seven planets orbiting it and the star is only 40 light years away, so it's a great target to study and it has three Earth-sized planets orbiting it so I would call the Goldilux Zone. where life could potentially exist, neither too hot nor too cold, that is the idea, yes, and this is also one of the first objectives that we are going to observe with the network and what we will be able to see is if there is carbon. carbon dioxide in the atmosphere What are greenhouse gases?
Is there carbon dioxide in combination with methane? Because that's what the Earth has. By looking at these chemical components, we might be able to piece together whether it's not just a planet in what we call the habitable zone, but whether it's actually a habitable environment and someone might ask why it matters, the ultimate goal is to end our cosmic loneliness. , we want to know if there is life out there, from a researcher's perspective, it is an evolutionary or revolutionary network every time you put a new piece of technology into space or look at the universe with different eyes, you learn something revolutionary, something you couldn't even have predicted.
I don't know what those surprises will be, but the technology is revolutionary and there will be tremendous surprises that will surprise us The web is at the doorstep aboard a European Space Agency rocket, some, including Amy Low May, hold their breath as it unfolds in the month-long journey to its station around the Sun. The first images in approximately 6 months. be converted from invisible infrared into images suitable for headlines, what we see most likely misses the very definition of wonder

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