Coming Thursday about 7.05 a.m., NASA will be launching a test flight on a four and half hour, two-orbit mission to Mars aboard the Delta IV Heavy rocket. The test flight will take off at the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, and the test mission has been called the Exploration Flight Test-1 (EFT-1) by NASA space scientists.
NASA has been working on constructing the mission spacecraft for quite some time, and the agency’s scientists are elated that the spacecraft should be able gain the required 20,000-mph re-entry into Mars without any hassles. And according to Bill Hill, NASA’s deputy associate administrator for Exploration Systems Development, “EFT-1 is absolutely the biggest thing that this agency is going to do this year. This is really our first step on our journey to Mars.”
The hopes are relatively high at NASA as the launch date approaches, but researchers are still a bit worried over their ability to obtain more funding alongside other technical difficulties that the Orion mission faces. This could make the project potentially restricted and hampered – even though the operators are still able to succeed with the launching up the estimated 3,600 miles to reach its destination.
With the launch scheduled to take place soon, the Scientifically Calibrated In-Flight Imagery (SCIFLI) team based out of NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, is set to acquire a thermal image of the Orion spacecraft as it re-enters Earth after its mission to Mars. Tom Horvath, SCIFLI’s principal investigator sees the blazing re-entry back to Earth as a tough one, and he describes the scenario as looking through a small soda straw for a capsule that is initially hundreds of miles away in space.
In a related development, while shoppers scoured retail outlet stores for great deals on Black Friday, NASA’s scientists were dealing with a black hole phenomenon they happened to call the Black-hole-Friday because of the coincidental occurrence of the phenomenon on Black Friday. While NASA has sent out dozens of tweets and black-hole-themed games among others, scientists describe black hole as “a place in space where gravity pulls so much that even light cannot get out,” where “the gravity is so strong because matter has been squeezed into a tiny space.”