October 18, 2017

Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden To Give Lecture At Colorado School Of Mines Oct. 23

Astronaut Al Worden. Image Credit: NASA

October 18, 2017 – Astronaut Al Worden, one of only 24 humans to fly to the moon, will recount his experience as the Apollo 15 command module pilot during a public lecture Oct. 23 at Colorado School of Mines. Read More


NASA Team Finds Noxious Ice Cloud On Saturn’s Moon Titan

This view of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan, is among the last images the Cassini spacecraft sent to Earth before it plunged into the giant planet’s atmosphere. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

October 18, 2017 – Researchers with NASA’s Cassini mission found evidence of a toxic hybrid ice in a wispy cloud high above the south pole of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. The finding is a new demonstration of the complex chemistry occurring in Titan’s atmosphere—in this case, cloud formation in the giant moon’s stratosphere—and part of a collection of processes that ultimately helps deliver a smorgasbord of organic molecules to Titan’s surface. Read More


SwRI Scientists Dig Into The Origin Of Organics On Ceres

SwRI scientists are studying the geology associated with the organic-rich areas on Ceres. Dawn spacecraft data show a region around the Ernutet crater where organic concentrations have been discovered (background image). The color coding shows the surface concentration of organics, as inferred from the visible and near infrared spectrometer. The inset shows a higher resolution enhanced color image of the Ernutet crater acquired by Dawn’s framing camera. Regions in red indicate higher concentration of organics. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/ASI/INAF/MPS/DLR/IDA

October 18, 2018 – Since NASA’s Dawn spacecraft detected localized organic-rich material on Ceres, Southwest Research Institute (SwRI) has been digging into the data to explore different scenarios for its origin. After considering the viability of comet or asteroid delivery, the preponderance of evidence suggests the organics are most likely native to Ceres. Read More


Solar Eruptions Could Electrify Martian Moons

October 18, 2017 – Powerful solar eruptions could electrically charge areas of the Martian moon Phobos to hundreds of volts, presenting a complex electrical environment that could possibly affect sensitive electronics carried by future robotic explorers, according to a new NASA study. The study also considered electrical charges that could develop as astronauts transit the surface on potential human missions to Phobos. Read More


More News:

U.S. And Taiwan Cancel Second Set Of COSMIC-2 Satellites
Source: SpaceNews

The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Taiwan’s Ministry of Science and Technology agreed this month to scrap plans for a second set of next-generation GPS radio occultation weather satellites after determining the joint project faced an unwinnable battle to secure funding.


Spinning Comet Observed To Rapidly Slow Down During Close Approach To Earth
Source: Lowell Observatory

Astronomers at Lowell Observatory observed comet 41P/Tuttle-Giacobini-Kresak last spring and noticed that the speed of its rotation was quickly slowing down. A research team led by David Schleicher studied the comet while it was closer to the Earth than it has ever been since its discovery. The comet rotational period became twice as long, going from 24 to more than 48 hours within six weeks, a far greater change than ever observed before in a comet. If it continues to slow down, it might stop completely and then begin rotating in the opposite direction.


Ben Roberts, Former Assistant Director, Civil And Commercial Space, In The Executive Office Of The President, Joins Moon Express As VP, Government Affairs
Source: Moon Express

Moon Express announced today that it has hired Ben Roberts as its Vice President of Government Affairs. Roberts will oversee legal, policy, regulatory, and compliance functions for the company. He brings over nine years of experience working for the Executive Office of the President, including roles at the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB).


NOAA, NASA Team Up Again To Investigate The Atmosphere Over Antarctica
Source: NASA/NOAA

Thirty years after NASA and NOAA launched a groundbreaking airborne campaign to study the Antarctic ozone hole, the two federal science agencies have once again joined forces over the world’s highest, driest and coldest continent to sniff out the secrets of the atmosphere.


What Lurks Below NASA’s Chamber A?
Source: NASA

Hidden beneath Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston is an area engineers used to test critical contamination control technology that has helped keep NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope clean during cryogenic testing.


To Keep Saturn’s A Ring Contained, Its Moons Stand United
Source: Cornell University

For three decades, astronomers thought that only Saturn’s moon Janus confined the planet’s A ring – the largest and farthest of the visible rings. But after poring over NASA’s Cassini mission data, Cornell astronomers now conclude that the teamwork of seven moons keeps this ring corralled.


Mysterious Particles Spotted In Saturn’s Atmosphere
Source: Nature

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft continues to yield surprising discoveries, more than a month after it burned up on its mission-ending dive into Saturn. New data from the probe suggest that Saturn’s majestic rings are showering tiny dust particles into the planet’s upper atmosphere, where they form a complicated and unexpected chemical mix.


Why We Go To The Moon
Source: Air & Space Magazine

I was engaged in two workshop-conferences last week in Columbia, Maryland. The first was the annual meeting of the Lunar Exploration and Analysis Group (LEAG)—a group of lunar scientists and engineers who came to share ideas about new missions, measurements and exploration. The second workshop specifically focused on a return to the Moon—what architectural approaches, equipment and organization are needed to accomplish this feat. In a manner similar to our previous attempts at lunar return, I kept hearing a distinctive low buzz at these meetings: Why are we going to the Moon? What’s the mission?


Why We Go To The Moon
Source: Air & Space Magazine

was engaged in two workshop-conferences last week in Columbia, Maryland. The first was the annual meeting of the Lunar Exploration and Analysis Group (LEAG)—a group of lunar scientists and engineers who came to share ideas about new missions, measurements and exploration. The second workshop specifically focused on a return to the Moon—what architectural approaches, equipment and organization are needed to accomplish this feat. In a manner similar to our previous attempts at lunar return, I kept hearing a distinctive low buzz at these meetings: Why are we going to the Moon? What’s the mission?


JAXA Probe Finds 50-km Cavern Under Surface Of The Moon
Source: The Asahi Shimbun

Space probe data confirmed that an enormous cavern stretching for about 50 kilometers exists beneath the moon’s surface, offering a possible protected site for future lunar bases, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency said Oct. 18.


Will Insurance Force Russia’s Proton Rocket Out Of The Commercial Satellite Business?
Source: Space Intel Report

In what may be a first in the space industry, the cost of insuring a major veteran commercial-launch vehicle is so much higher than its two competitors as to raise questions about the rocket’s commercial viability.


Turkish Space Agency To Be Established This Legislative Year, Manned Spaceflight An Objective
Source: SpaceWatch Middle East

According to Ahmet Arslan, the Turkish Minister for Transport, Maritime Affairs, and Communications, the eagerly anticipated Turkish space agency will be established this legislative year. Arslan also said that once established, the Turkish space agency shall oversee all Turkish satellite manufacturing and needs, the development of Turkey’s own indigenous space launch capability and launch centre, all other aerospace requirements, and even a human spaceflight programme.


Parker Solar Probe Approved For Environmental Testing
Source: SpaceFlight Insider

The Parker Solar Probe, formerly called Solar Probe Plus, has been certified ready for environmental testing. This means that engineers have inspected the spacecraft and have decided it is ready to be subjected to simulations of the conditions it will face during its launch and operations in space.


A Mission To Mars Could Make Its Own Oxygen Thanks To Plasma Technology
Source: IOP Publishing

Plasma technology could hold the key to creating a sustainable oxygen supply on Mars, a new study has found. It suggests that Mars, with its 96 per cent carbon dioxide atmosphere, has nearly ideal conditions for creating oxygen from CO2 through a process known as decomposition.


How Fit Will Astronauts Be After Years In Space?
Source: Space.com

After spending months or years in space during future long-term missions, returning to Earth can be challenging for astronauts — and one set of researchers is finding out just how challenging using a life-size spacecraft model. Using a mock-up of NASA’s Orion spacecraft, scientists monitored the health and fitness levels of “astronauts” as they performed emergency escape maneuvers, simulating what crews undergo during their return to Earth.


Army Adds New Space Battalion To Fort Carson’s Ranks
Source: Colorado Springs Gazette

The Army’s newest battalion came into existence on a Fort Carson parade field Monday. The 200 reserve soldiers of the 2nd Space Battalion in Colorado Springs will back up their active-duty comrades to make sure troops in the field have the signals they need from space.