May 18, 2017

Hubble Spots Moon Around Third Largest Dwarf Planet

This sequence of images, taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3, shows a moon circling the dwarf planet 2007 OR10. The top four images were taken Nov. 6, 2009; the bottom four, on Sept. 18, 2010. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, C. Kiss (Konkoly Observatory), and J. Stansberry (STScI)

May 18, 2017 – The combined power of three space observatories, including NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, has helped astronomers uncover a moon orbiting the third largest dwarf planet, catalogued as 2007 OR10. The pair resides in the frigid outskirts of our solar system called the Kuiper Belt, a realm of icy debris left over from our solar system’s formation 4.6 billion years ago. Read More

Colorado’s Advanced Industries Accelerator Program Awards $2.9 Million To Technology Startups

May 18, 2017 – The Colorado Economic Development Commission (EDC) approved $2.9 million in Advanced Industries Accelerator (AIA) grants today for 18 Colorado companies with technologies that will positively impact key industries from health to manufacturing. The program has awarded over $40 million since its inception in 2013. Read More

NASA Mission Uncovers Dance Of Electrons In Space

This artist’s depiction illustrates the four Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) spacecraft flying in a tetrahedral formation, superposed on a conceptual rendering of Earth’s magnetosphere (not to scale). MMS measurements along the dayside boundary of the magnetosphere have yielded important new insights into the role of electrons in magnetic reconnection. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

May 18, 2017 – You can’t see them, but swarms of electrons are buzzing through the magnetic environment — the magnetosphere — around Earth. The electrons spiral and dive around the planet in a complex dance dictated by the magnetic and electric fields. When they penetrate into the magnetosphere close enough to Earth, the high-energy electrons can damage satellites in orbit and trigger auroras. Scientists with NASA’s Magnetospheric Multiscale, or MMS, mission study the electrons’ dynamics to better understand their behavior. Read More

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Juno Scientists Prepare For Fifth Science Pass Of Jupiter
Source: NASA

NASA’s Juno spacecraft will make its fifth science flyby over Jupiter’s mysterious cloud tops on Thursday, May 18, at 11 p.m. PDT (Friday, May 19, 2 a.m. EDT and 6:00 UTC). At the time of perijove (defined as the point in Juno’s orbit when it is closest to the planet’s center), the spacecraft will have logged 63.5 million miles (102 million kilometers) in Jupiter’s orbit and will be about 2,200 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops.

Jupiter’s Little Red Spot
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Bjorn Jonsson

This view of Jupiter, taken by the JunoCam imager of NASA’s Juno spacecraft, highlights Oval BA – a massive storm known as the Little Red Spot. Despite its unofficial name, the Little Red Spot is about as wide as Earth.

UCAR To Co-Anchor Colorado’s Innovation Corridor
Source: Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation

The Colorado Innovation Corridor, a new platform to connect premier, federally funded labs with private industry, will be co-anchored by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR) and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL). The partnership is designed to foster economic development and job creation.

21st Space Wing Strikes Silver
Source: Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group

The 21st Space Wing celebrates its silver anniversary this year at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Before becoming a space wing, however, Air Force units carrying the designation of “21st” previously engaged in flying.

Longmont Native Vance Brand Recalls Dining With Soviets In Space
Source: Longmont Times-Call

Few Americans are afforded the opportunity to break the bonds of gravity and gaze upon Earth from outer space, and fewer still have dined on borscht aboard a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft. But Longmont native Vance Brand did in 1975.

2017 Marks Landmark Year For Advancing STEM Education In Colorado
Source: Colorado Succeeds

More Colorado students will have greater access to relevant and rigorous STEM learning experiences thanks to innovative policies passed during the 2017 legislative session. These new programs, coupled with STEM initiatives already underway in the state, mean Colorado students have richer opportunities than ever before to gain the skills needed to succeed in the world of today, and the near future.

ALMA Eyes Icy Ring Around Young Planetary System
Source: National Radio Astronomy Observatory

An international team of astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) has made the first complete millimeter-wavelength image of the ring of dusty debris surrounding the young star Fomalhaut. This remarkably well-defined band of rubble and gas is likely the result of exocomets smashing together near the outer edges of a planetary system 25 light-years from Earth. Observations suggest chemical kinship to comets in our own Solar System.

Senior Leaders Discuss U.S. Space Posture
Source: U.S. Air Force

On May 17, 2017, Air Force senior leaders testified before the Senate Armed Service Committee Strategic Forces subcommittee on military space, organization, policy and programs. Air Force Secretary Heather Wilson, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein, Gen. John Raymond, the Air Force Space Command commander and Lt. Gen. Samuel Greaves, the Space and Missile Systems Center commander, answered questions about the Air Force’s current space capabilities and those needed for the future.

45th Space Wing Enables Nation’s Space Mission
Source: U.S. Air Force

As the need for space lift grows globally, partnerships between the Air Force, other government agencies and the commercial space industry are enhancing the 45th Space Wing’s vision of remaining the world’s premier gateway to space.

Space Subcommittee To Explore Impact Of Outer Space Treaty On Its 50th Anniversary
Source: U.S. Senate

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), chairman of the Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness, will convene a hearing titled “Reopening the American Frontier: Exploring How the Outer Space Treaty Will Impact American Commerce and Settlement in Space” at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 23, 2017. This hearing will examine U.S. government obligations under the Outer Space Treaty on its 50th anniversary, specifically compliance with Article VI of the Treaty that requires governments to authorize and continually supervise the activities of non-government entities.

Rivers On Three Worlds Tell Different Tales
Source: MIT

The environment on Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, may seem surprisingly familiar: Clouds condense and rain down on the surface, feeding rivers that flow into oceans and lakes. Outside of Earth, Titan is the only other planetary body in the solar system with actively flowing rivers, though they’re fed by liquid methane instead of water. Long ago, Mars also hosted rivers, which scoured valleys across its now-arid surface.

Planetary Protection Is A “Wicked” Problem
Source: Many Worlds

The only time that a formally designated NASA “life detection” mission was flown to another planet or moon was when the two Viking landers headed to Mars forty years ago. The odds of finding some kind of Martian life seemed so promising at the time that there was little dispute about how much energy, money and care should be allocated to making sure the capsule would not be carrying any Earth life to the planet.

Utah Students To Speak To NASA Astronauts On International Space Station
Source: NASA

Expedition 51 Commander Peggy Whitson and Flight Engineer Jack Fischer, both of NASA, will speak with students gathered at Utah State University’s (USU) Space Dynamics Laboratory in North Logan, Utah at 12:40 p.m. EDT Friday, May 19. The 20-minute, Earth-to-space call will air live on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Scientists Look To Skies To Improve Tsunami Detection
Source: NASA

A team of scientists from Sapienza University in Rome, Italy, and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, has developed a new approach to assist in the ongoing development of timely tsunami detection systems, based upon measurements of how tsunamis disturb a part of Earth’s atmosphere.

NASA Prototype Rocket Makes Third Flight
Source: Photonics Media

A sounding rocket originally developed as a prototype for NASA’s next generation of space-based solar spectrographs has made its third flight from White Sands, N.M.

Space Declared As “Warfighting Domain”
Source: Leonard David

At the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Strategic Forces on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, the testimony and discussion centered on military space organization, policy, and programs. The bottom line: “Space will be contested…it is now warfighting domain.”

First Direct Exploration Of Magnetic Fields In The Upper Solar Atmosphere
Source: National Astronomical Observatory of Japan

For the first time in the world, scientists have explored the magnetic field in the upper solar atmosphere by observing the polarization of ultraviolet light from the Sun. They accomplished this by analyzing data taken by the CLASP sounding rocket experiment during its 5-minute flight in space on September 3, 2015.

3D Navigation Tool Among MESSENGER’s Final Delivery Products To The Planetary Data System
Source: JHUAPL

NASA’s MESSENGER mission to Mercury has released an updated ACT-QuickMap tool with new 3D navigation capabilities. This update was among the new and improved products released by the agency’s Planetary Data System (PDS), an organization that archives and distributes all U.S. planetary mission data.