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Spot the space missions in NASA’s animated holiday card

NASA has shared an animated holiday card — with a twist.

It’s been an incredibly busy year for the space agency, and so to make the card a bit more fun, it’s populated the animation with many of the space missions that it’s currently working on.

See how many you can spot!

Season’s Greetings from NASA

Set in a suitably snowy landscape that could be anywhere from Lapland to some imaginary planet deep in the cosmos, NASA’s animated holiday card kicks off with an Artemis moon buggy that could be trundling across the lunar surface before the decade is out.

Next, we see the James Webb Space Telescope with its distinctive gold-plated mirror. Following numerous delays, the telescope is set to launch on Friday, December 24. Webb is the most powerful space telescope ever built and is the successor to the Hubble Space Telescope. NASA is hoping the telescope’s discoveries will help scientists to unlock some secrets of our solar system — and beyond — as it peers into deep space.

Keep your eyes peeled for the DART spacecraft as it scoots across the snow in rapid pursuit of a couple of large boulders — or asteroids. The DART mission, for those not in the know, is a recently launched effort by NASA to find out if it can alter the path of an asteroid by smashing into it. The DART mission’s target rock poses no threat to Earth, but if flying DART into it can alter the direction in which it’s traveling, the method will give us a way of protecting Earth from potentially catastrophic impacts in the future.

Following DART, we see NASA’s Mars rover, Perseverance, making its way across a landscape markedly different to the one on the red planet, with the Ingenuity helicopter — the first aircraft to perform controlled, powered flight on another planet — swooping in low over the rover.

Last but not least, NASA’s T-38 aircraft makes an appearance. This is surely a nod to the recent unveiling of NASA’s latest batch of astronaut candidates, all of whom will learn to fly the supersonic jet as part of their training.

NASA’s animated holiday card was produced by Mark Hailey, art director for NASA TV.

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Trevor Mogg
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