May 22, 2017

Joint UTSA-SwRI Study Shows How Radioactive Decay Could Support Extraterrestrial Life

In the icy bodies around our solar system, radiation emitted from rocky cores could break up water molecules and support hydrogen-eating microbes. A University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) team modeled a natural water-cracking process called radiolysis and applied the model to Europa (pictured) and several other worlds with known or suspected interior oceans. Image Credit: NASA

May 22, 2017 – In the icy bodies around our solar system, radiation emitted from rocky cores could break up water molecules and support hydrogen-eating microbes. To address this cosmic possibility, a University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) and Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) team modeled a natural water-cracking process called radiolysis. They then applied the model to several worlds with known or suspected interior oceans, including Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Jupiter’s moon Europa, Pluto and its moon Charon, as well as the dwarf planet Ceres. Read More


NASA TV Coverage Set For May 23 Space Station Contingency Spacewalk

Image Credit: NASA

May 22, 2017 – NASA astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer are preparing for an unscheduled spacewalk outside the International Space Station Tuesday, May 23. Live coverage will begin at 4:30 a.m. MDT on NASA Television and the agency’s website. Read More


NASA To Discuss First Science Results From Juno Mission To Jupiter

This illustration depicts NASA’s Juno spacecraft approaching Jupiter. Image Credit: NASA

May 22, 2017 – Scientists from NASA’s Juno mission to Jupiter will discuss their first in-depth science results in a media teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Thursday, May 25, when multiple papers with early findings will be published online by the journal Science and Geophysical Research Letters. Read More


NASA Mars Science: MAVEN Outreach Webinar

The Lockheed Martin-built MAVEN spacecraft is currently in orbit around Mars. Image Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

May 22, 2017 – MAVEN Outreach Webinars are virtual gatherings of team members from the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, or MAVEN, mission to offer professional development for formal and informal educators, troop leaders, museum docents, and others interested in MAVEN and Mars science. Read More


Slim Crescent Of Ice

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

May 22, 2017 – The low angle of sunlight along the slim crescent of Saturn’s moon Enceladus (313 miles or 504 kilometers across) highlights the many fractures and furrows on its icy surface. Read More


NASA’s Kepler Confirms Details Of TRAPPIST-1’s Least Understood Planet

Image Credit: NASA

May 22, 2017 – Scientists using NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope identified a regular pattern in the orbits of the planets in the TRAPPIST-1 system that confirmed suspected details about the orbit of its outermost and least understood planet, TRAPPIST-1h. Read More


Active Regions’ Magnetic Connection

Image Credit: NASA/Solar Dynamics Observatory

May 22, 2017 – NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) captured video of magnetic reconnection occurring on the sun’s surface from May 17-18, 2017. Several bright bands of plasma connected from one active region to another, even though they were tens of thousands of miles away from each other. Read More


Raytheon Launches New Payload To Improve GPS Accuracy For Safer, More Efficient Air Travel

May 22, 2017 – Raytheon Company launched its GEO 6 satellite payload into orbit for its 12 year mission. It is the latest payload to support the Federal Aviation Administration’s Wide Area Augmentation System which enhances the reliability and accuracy of Global Positioning System signals for directing air travel. Read More


More News:

Jessie Dotson Talks About Discovering Exoplanets
Source: NASA

A conversation with Jessie Dotson, project scientist for the Kepler spacecraft’s K2 mission at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley.


Delta 4 Replacement Ready By 2023, Top General Says
Source: SpaceNews

The U.S. Air Force expects a replacement for the Delta 4 Heavy rocket will be ready by 2023, with one of several vehicles under development able to take its place, Gen. Jay Raymond, head of Air Force Space Command, told a House committee May 19.


Hosted Payload Opportunities Available On Tech Demo Missions Launching In 2018!
Source: Surrey Satellite Technology US

Rapid turnaround opportunity to demonstrate your payload on orbit. Limited space available—book by end of June.


ULA Subsidiary Lands $208M Contract For Rocket Work On Space Coast
Source: Orlando Business Journal

United Launch Services, a subsidiary of Centennial, Colo.-based joint-venture rocket firm United Launch Alliance, won a $208 million U.S. Air Force contract on May 22 to configure its Atlas V rocket.


In Dire Peril: 55 Years Since the Troubled Mission of Aurora 7 (Part 2)
Source: AmericaSpace

Fifty-five years ago, this week, Scott Carpenter became America’s second man in orbit. Aboard Mercury-Atlas (MA)-7—a spacecraft which he had dubbed “Aurora 7”—the astronaut was tasked with the most comprehensive program of scientific research yet seen on a piloted mission: astronomical observations, visibility and flying evaluations and medical checks. Sadly, as outlined in yesterday’s AmericaSpace history article, his five-hour and three-orbit voyage suffered from severe technical problems, including a faulty pitch horizon scanner and a worrisome decline in fuel quantities in both Aurora 7’s manual and automatic tanks. The result was a mission which remains mired in controversy to this day.


Jeff Bezos Lay Out His Vision For City On The Moon, Complete With Robots
Source: GeekWire

SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk may have his heart set on building a city on Mars, but Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ space vision looks closer to home. He’s gazing at the moon.


Defense Officials Describe Priorities For Operating In Contested Space Domain
Source: DoD News

Space enables everything the joint force does and the national security space architecture must protect and defend that capability in a contested environment, officials from the Air Force, the intelligence community and the Defense Department told a House panel in recent testimony.


NASA Internships, Fellowships And Scholarships Virtual Career Summit
Source: NASA

The NASA Internships, Fellowships and Scholarships recruiting team is excited to announce the NIFS Virtual Career Summit. The 90-minute summit will stream live at 1 p.m. EDT on May 24, 2017. The event will showcase the NIFS programs as well as highlight each NASA center and its missions. Students will learn about the current NASA opportunities, eligibility requirements and tips for the application process. Previous NIFS interns and fellows will share their experiences.


Exploring Underground With A Colliding Drone
Source: ESA

ESA astronaut Luca Parmitano last weekend helped to explore the caverns under Sicily using a drone that deliberately bumped into its surroundings in order to build a map.


NASA To Discuss FY2018 Budget Proposal, Provide Virtual Tours Of Centers
Source: NASA

NASA will hold a series of events Tuesday, May 23, highlighting the agency’s Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal, including a televised State of NASA address by acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot and Facebook Live virtual tours of NASA’s 10 centers, where innovation is enabling exploration and discovery.


Researchers Propose New Type Of Planetary Object
Source: AGU/UCD

Scientists suggest in a new study the existence of a planetary object called a “synestia,” a huge, spinning, donut-shaped mass of hot, vaporized rock, formed as planet-sized objects smash into each other.


Call For Papers – 2017 International Mars Society Convention
Source: Mars Society

The Mars Society invites presentations for the 20th Annual International Mars Society Convention, scheduled for September 7-10, 2017 at the University of California Irvine.


2017 Shoemaker NEO Grant Call For Proposals
Source: The Planetary Society

In 1997, the Society began the Gene Shoemaker NEO grant program to help in the global effort to meet the Spaceguard goal of discovering 90% of the 1-kilometer (0.6-mile) and larger NEOs that can impact our planet. The program honors pioneering planetary geologist Gene Shoemaker, who did so much to help us understand the process of impact cratering on the planets and the nature of the NEO population, and seeks to assist amateur observers, observers in developing countries, and under-funded professional observers in contributing to vital NEO research.