June 9, 2017

NASA’s Mars Ice Challenge: Follow The Water

Eight university teams have accepted the first ever Mars Ice Challenge – to devise innovative ways to drill for water on the Red Planet. Image Credit: NASA Langley Advanced Concepts Lab/Analytical Mechanics Associates

June 9, 2017 – Eight teams of university students will take part in a NASA challenge to come up with ways of extracting water from ice on Mars so that humans can survive there for a long time. Read More


Media Invited To NASA’s Kepler And K2 Mission Science Conference

June 9, 2017 – NASA invites members of the media to attend the fourth Kepler and K2 Science Conference to be held June 19-23. The weeklong science conference will take place at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley. Read More


More News:

Boulder Valley Students Design Payloads To Launch On Sport Rocket
Source: Boulder Daily Camera

Boulder High and Peak to Peak Charter School students are sending projects they designed up above 10,000 feet later this month on United Launch Alliance’s Future Heavy intern rocket.


Rosetta Finds Comet Connection To Earth’s Atmosphere
Source: ESA

The challenging detection, by ESA’s Rosetta mission, of several isotopes of the noble gas xenon at Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko has established the first quantitative link between comets and the atmosphere of Earth.


Fort Carson Astronaut Credits Teamwork With Boost That Helped Him Win Over NASA
Source: The Gazette

Fort Carson Maj. Frank Rubio says his new job as a NASA astronaut candidate is more than a bit daunting. “It’s really not a competition,” said Rubio, who was picked from a pool of 120 finalists to become one of a dozen astronauts in the class of 2017. “You just hope you have what NASA is looking for.”


Major Breakthrough: Space Might Hold The Key To Beating Cancer
Source: Deccan Chronicle

Cancer is deadly, and in several cases incurable. Researchers from Colorado are however, looking for a solution for this and it seems like they have found the key to beating cancer in space.


Lafayette’s Jessica Watkins Envisions Footprints On Mars — Hers, Maybe
Source: Colorado Hometown Weekly

While one east Boulder County native is toiling for NASA about 250 miles above the Earth, a second from the same neck of the woods has been named as a member of the newest astronaut class. Jessica Watkins, a 2006 graduate of Fairview High School who calls Lafayette her hometown, is excited to be joining Louisville native Jack Fischer — currently on board the International Space Station — in advancing the nation’s aspirations in space.


Watch: New Satellite Sees 2,500 Lightning Strikes Over Northwest During May Thunderstorms
Source: KOMO News.com

Those of you around the Puget Sound area on May 4th had a front row seat to witnesses some of the strongest thunderstorms recorded in the region in the past several years. The National Weather Service estimated around 2,500 cloud-to-ground lightning strikes as the storms moved through, with even a rare microburst and a number of Severe Thunderstorm Warnings issued. A brand new satellite just launched into space also had a unique view of the thunderstorms — and captured the event in a way that meteorologists had never been able to see before.


NORAD Equals Homeland Defense
Source: DoDLive

NORAD was born in 1958 as the North American Air Defense Command with a mission to defend North America from a nuclear attack from the Soviet Union. It has morphed over the years into the military homeland defense organization for the United States and Canada. The command is closely aligned with U.S. Northern Command, and Air Force Gen. Lori Robinson commands both NORAD and Northcom. Her headquarters is in Colorado Springs, Colorado.


Hubble Applauds Waltzing Dwarfs
Source: ESA/Hubble & NASA, L. Bedin et al.

This seemingly unspectacular series of dots with varying distances between them actually shows the slow waltz of two brown dwarfs. The image is a stack of 12 images made over the course of three years with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope. Using high-precision astrometry, an Italian-led team of astronomers tracked the two components of the system as they moved both across the sky and around each other.


Pongal Catena On Ceres
Source: NASA

This image from NASA’s Dawn spacecraft shows the northeastern rim of Urvara Crater on Ceres at lower left. To the right of the crater, the long, narrow feature that appears to jut out toward the north is called Pongal Catena, which is about 60 miles (96 km) long.


Testing The SLS Engine Section For The World’s Most Powerful Rocket
Source: NASA

The engine section for NASA’s Space Launch System core stage houses the four RS-25 engines that will produce 2 million pounds of thrust during launch. The engine section is home to the avionics that steer the engines and is an attachment point for the solid rocket boosters that produce 6.8 million pounds of thrust. To do all this, the engine section must be incredibly strong. A structural test version of the engine section recently arrived at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, where engineers are preparing for a series of tests to validate the design can handle the pressures of launch and flight.


Tory Bruno Says ULA Didn’t Get To Compete For Air Force X-37B Launch That Went To SpaceX
Source: SpaceNews

United Launch Alliance did not get the opportunity to compete for the next launch of the Air Force’s X-37B space plane, according to company officials.


NASA Finds Evidence Of Diverse Environments In Curiosity Samples
Source: NASA

NASA scientists have found a wide diversity of minerals in the initial samples of rocks collected by the Curiosity rover in the lowermost layers of Mount Sharp on Mars, suggesting that conditions changed in the water environments on the planet over time.


5 Questions With David J Eicher Episode 3: Phil Plait
Source: Astronomy Magazine

Phil Plait is known as the Bad Astronomer, a professional astronomer and skeptical science writer. His column, Bad Astronomy, currently appears on Blastr. Here, he sits down with Astronomy editor-in-chief David J Eicher to discuss astrophysics, climate change, and “Armageddon.”


Video: Space Station Crew Member Discusses Life In Space With Maryland Students
Source: NASA

Aboard the International Space Station, Expedition 52 Flight Engineer Jack Fischer of NASA discussed life and work aboard the orbital outpost during an in-flight educational event June 9 with students at the Leeds Elementary School in Elkton, Maryland. Fischer, who launched to the station on a Russian Soyuz spacecraft April 20, is in the midst of a four and a half month mission.


Video: To The Moon And Beyond: Small Satellites Headed For Deep Space
Source: NASA’s Ames Research Center

NASA is advancing the capabilities of small spacecraft, called CubeSats, for deep space science and exploration missions. These spacecraft will soon be headed to the moon and beyond!


Radiation Hucksters Strike Again
Source: Dr. Robert Zubrin/Mars Society

According to a publicity campaign launched on behalf of a paper authored by University of Nevada Las Vegas Professor Frank Cucinotta, new findings show “collateral damage from cosmic rays increases cancer risks for Mars astronauts.” However an examination of the paper itself shows no discussion of experimental methods or results, because no experiments were done and no data was taken.


Agencies May Recover A Limited Portion Of Contract Value When Satellites Fail
Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office

DOD, NASA, and NOAA each spend billions of dollars on satellites. But, unlike ships and aircraft that the government purchases, the quality of a satellite can only be determined after it’s been launched into space. At that stage, repairing defects can be next to impossible, and a mission can fail due to a single malfunction. We looked at what a contractor would be financially responsible for in the case of a catastrophic satellite failure.


Insight – Space Weather As A Sustainability Issue
Source: Secure World Foundation

Space weather may sound like an issue invented by Hollywood to threaten fictional space explorers, or at least something distant that would not affect your daily activities, but it’s a real natural phenomenon with potentially significant impacts on space sustainability and for everyday life.


The Future Of The Orion Constellation
Source: ESA

A new video, based on measurements by ESA’s Gaia and Hipparcos satellites, shows how our view of the Orion constellation will evolve over the next 450,000 years.


Inspiring Young Students To Take A Closer Look At Our Changing World
Source: CIRES

Tune in for the opportunity to be inspired and amused by the work of talented youngsters determined to change the world. By inviting 80 students to participate in an immersive, science-education experience, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at the University of Colorado Boulder is hoping to influence a new wave of young environmental scientists.