August 24, 2017

A World Of Snowy Dunes On Mars

Image Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

August 24, 2017 – It was spring in the Northern hemisphere when this image was taken on May 21, 2017, at 13:21 local Mars time, by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Over the winter, snow and ice have inexorably covered the dunes. Unlike on Earth, this snow and ice is carbon dioxide, better known to us as dry ice. Read More


Sierra Nevada Corporation Awarded By NASA For Work On Advanced Plant Habitat

APH prototype with dwarf wheat and Arabidopsis. Image Credit: Kennedy Space Center NASA

August 24, 2017 – Sierra Nevada Corporation was recognized by NASA with two awards for its exceptional work on the Advanced Plant Habitat (APH) plant growth system, which is currently bringing more fresh food and advanced plant physiology research to space on the International Space Station (ISS). Read More


SWRI-Led Study Captures Science Data From Great American Eclipse

The flight path of the two NASA WB-57F research aircraft tracking the August 21 eclipse as part of the SwRI-led project spanned from Kansas City, Mo., to Chattanooga, Tenn., observing totality over parts of Missouri and Illinois and observing Mercury for the remainder of the flight. The aircraft, based in Houston, reached an altitude of 50,000 feet and the mission lasted more than five hours flying at an average speed of 420 miles per hour. Image Credit: Southwest Research Institute/NASA/Southern Research

August 24, 2017 – Two NASA WB-57F research aircraft successfully tracked the August 21 solar eclipse as part of a NASA project led by Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) to study the solar corona and Mercury’s surface. Read More


James Webb Telescope Will Study Our Solar System’s “Ocean Worlds”

Artist rendering showing an interior cross-section of the crust of Enceladus, which shows how hydrothermal activity may be causing the plumes of water at the moon’s surface. Image Credit: NASA-GSFC/SVS, NASA/JPL-Caltech/Southwest Research Institute

August 24, 2017 – NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope will use its infrared capabilities to study the “ocean worlds” of Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus, adding to observations previously made by NASA’s Galileo and Cassini orbiters. The Webb telescope’s observations could also help guide future missions to the icy moons. Read More


Huntsville International Airport Signs Phase II Contract To Land Dream Chaser Spacecraft

An artist’s rendering of SNC’s Dream Chaser Spacecraft at Huntsville International Airport. Image Credit: Sierra Nevada Corporation

August 24, 2017 – Huntsville/Madison County is another step closer to landing a space vehicle at the Huntsville International Airport in Alabama. The Airport has signed a contract to apply for licensing through the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to land Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft on one of its commercial runways. Read More


Bringing Protected Satellite Communications To The Tactical User

Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

August 24, 2017 – The industry-funded Low Cost Terminal (LCT) was successfully tested this month with an on-orbit Advanced Extremely High Frequency (AEHF) satellite. This critical milestone demonstrates the ability of an affordable tactical terminal to connect with the DoD’s most highly assured protected communications network. The industry development team is led by Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockheed Martin. Read More


More News:

NASA Technologist Develops Self-Calibrating, Hybrid Space Magnetometer
Source: NASA

They’ve flown on high-profile interplanetary and more modest low-Earth-orbiting missions, but in all cases the ubiquitous fluxgate magnetometers that scientists use to measure the intensity of a magnetic field will degrade over time. A technologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, now is developing a self-calibrating magnetometer that would be ideal for measuring the intensity and orientation of magnetic lines from both CubeSat and more traditional spacecraft.


Robots To Perform A Key Role On Mars
Source: China Daily

Robots will play an important role in supporting astronauts living on Mars and exploring the red planet, a senior space scientist said. Ouyang Ziyuan, a senior adviser to China’s lunar program and its former chief scientist, told Xinhua News Agency in an article published on Thursday that robots will be essential in supporting human activity.


UNC Device On NASA balloon Blown Out Of State During Eclipse Experiment
Source: The Denver Post

During the eclipse Monday, a group of University of Northern Colorado physics students launched on a NASA balloon with a special device they designed to detect cosmic particles. The balloon took off from Wyoming, but high winds carried the balloon and device all the way to Nebraska, UNC professor Charles Keuhn said.


Falcon 9’s Light-Lift Mission Places Taiwan’s FormoSat-5 Into Orbit, 1st Stage Recovered At Sea
Source: Spaceflight101.com

A very lightly-loaded Falcon 9 departed its Pacific Coast launch pad on Thursday, carrying into orbit the FormoSat-5 Earth Observation Satellite for Taiwan’s National Space Organization – a contract left over from SpaceX’s Falcon 1 days that ended up creating the most colossal waste of rocket performance in recent history.


Phoenicid Meteor Shower From Dead Comet Arises Again After 58 Years
Source: National Institutes of Natural Sciences

Japanese astronomers observed the elusive “Phoenicid meteor shower” and have determined that it was spawned by the now vanished Comet Blanpain. They also found that Comet Blanpain was active, though only weakly, in the early 20th Century. This is the first time that researchers could determine the activity of a comet by observing its associated meteor shower. These results are important for understanding the evolution of minor bodies in the Solar System.


Robert Zubrin To Address AIAA (Los Angeles-Las Vegas) Dinner
Source: The Mars Society

Mars Society President & Founder Dr. Robert Zubrin will give a special address entitled “Destination Mars” at the 2017 American Institute of Aeronautics & Astronautics (AIAA) Dinner on Wednesday, August 30th (6:00-9:30 pm PST) in Redondo Beach, California.


Oyster Prospecting With Landsat 8
Source: NASA

Seafood farmers may be getting some help from above. In the first study of its kind, researchers from the University of Maine have demonstrated that Landsat 8 satellite data can be used to find locations where oysters farms should thrive.


NASA Announces Cassini End-Of-Mission Media Activities
Source: NASA

On Sept. 15, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft will complete its remarkable story of exploration with an intentional plunge into Saturn’s atmosphere, ending its mission after nearly 20 years in space. News briefings, photo opportunities and other media events will be held at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, and will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.


Video: Atlas V TDRS-M Rocket Cam
Source: United Launch Alliance

Footage from Atlas V TDRS-M Rocket Cam.


Wake Up With Cassini: The Grand Finale Event
Source: LASP

After almost 20 years in space, NASA’s Cassini spacecraft, carrying the LASP-built UltraViolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS), will conclude the final chapter of its remarkable story of exploration as it plunges into Saturn’s atmosphere. Join some of the team members at LASP, as we mark this significant milestone and celebrate one of NASA’s most successful missions ever by tuning into NASA TV coverage, hearing a couple brief live presentations, and enjoying snacks and coffee.


Video: Sierra Nevada Corporation Dream Chaser Spacecraft Tow Test 2017
Source: Sierra Nevada Corporation Space Systems

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser® spacecraft completes a 60mph tow test at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center.


US Space Company Makes History With Client From China
Source: VOA

Imagine a post office for space. That is the job of U.S. space company NanoRacks. Just down the street from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston, NanoRacks is one of many companies benefitting from the U.S. space program’s support for a broader range of commercial interests. The company made history this summer with a client from China.


Video: The Farthest — Voyager in Space
Source: PBS

PBS Documentary about the Voyager mission. First aired on PBS August 23.


Voyager 40th Anniversary: The Transformation Of The Solar System
Source: The Planetary Society

Of the eight planets that received their visits of the first time, four of them – half – were transformed by one mission, as were the overwhelming majority of moons. Consisting of two spacecraft, the Voyagers brought into focus more planetary real estate (or at least cloud estate) than all other missions combined.


HBCU Scientist Behind NOAA Total Eclipse Imagery
Source: The St. Louis American

Well before the nation’s first total solar eclipse dominated the headlines of every news organization in America, it was affixed to the mind of Jamese Sims. Sims, a native of Meridian, Miss., graduate of two historically black universities and one of the few African-American women in the field of scientific engineering and meteorology, is part of the reason you and millions of Americans could see the stunning images of the eclipse on broadcast news stations, web pages, Facebook and Twitter feeds.


ESA And Chinese Astronauts Train Together
Source: ESA

ESA astronauts Samantha Cristoforetti and Matthias Maurer joined 16 Chinese astronauts earlier this month for nine days of sea survival training off China’s coastal city of Yantai. The ultimate goal is for ESA to establish a long term cooperation with China and ESA astronauts to fly on China’s space station.


Colorado School Of Mines Proposes Space Mining Degree
Source: The Denver Post

The Colorado School of Mines is no longer concerned with just earthly matters. The world-renowned science and engineering institution in Golden is now eyeing asteroids, the moon, Mars and beyond to explore, extract, process and use the raw materials they provide to help sustain life in space.