October 6, 2017

Mars Study Yields Clues To Possible Cradle Of Life

This view of a portion of the Eridania region of Mars shows blocks of deep-basin deposits that have been surrounded and partially buried by younger volcanic deposits. The image was taken by the Context Camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and covers an area about 12 miles wide. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

October 6, 2017 – The discovery of evidence for ancient sea-floor hydrothermal deposits on Mars identifies an area on the planet that may offer clues about the origin of life on Earth. Read More


MDA Completes Acquisition Of DigitalGlobe

October 6, 2017 – MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. (MDA) has completed its acquisition of DigitalGlobe, Inc. The merger creates the leading integrated commercial provider of satellites, imagery and geospatial solutions to commercial and government customers worldwide. The newly combined company will offer a broader set of space-based solutions, increased scale and a more diversified revenue base. Read More


Team Led By UCLA Astrophysicist Observes Primitive Comet

This illustration shows the orbit of comet K2 on its maiden voyage into the solar system. The Hubble Space Telescope observed K2 when it was 1.5 billion miles from the sun, halfway between the orbits of Saturn and Uranus. The observations revealed a fuzzy cloud of dust, called a coma, surrounding the icy visitor, evidence that the frozen comet is being warmed by the sun and releasing material. K2 is the farthest active inbound comet ever observed. The orbits of the giant planets, from Jupiter to Neptune, are also shown in the diagram. The farthest object from the sun depicted here is the dwarf planet Pluto. Image Credit: NASA, ESA and A. Field/STScI

October 6, 2017 – A team of astronomers led by UCLA professor David Jewitt has identified a “special comet” 1.5 billion miles from the sun. No other comet heading toward our sun has ever been seen at such a great distance. Jewitt said the discovery will enable scientists to monitor the developing activity of a comet over an extraordinary range of distances. Read More


Examining Mars’ Moon Phobos In A Different Light

This image combines two products from the first pointing at the Martian moon Phobos by the THEMIS camera on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter, on Sept. 29, 2017. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ASU

October 6, 2017 – NASA’s longest-lived mission to Mars has gained its first look at the Martian moon Phobos, pursuing a deeper understanding by examining it in infrared wavelengths. The Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera on NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter observed Phobos on September 29, 2017. Read More


Mysterious Dimming Of Tabby’s Star May Be Caused By Dust

This illustration depicts a hypothetical uneven ring of dust orbiting KIC 8462852, also known as Boyajian’s Star or Tabby’s Star. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

October 6, 2017 – One of the most mysterious stellar objects may be revealing some of its secrets at last. Called KIC 8462852, also known as Boyajian’s Star, or Tabby’s Star, the object has experienced unusual dips in brightness — NASA’s Kepler space telescope even observed dimming of up to 20 percent over a matter of days. Read More


NASA’s Webb Telescope To Witness Galactic Infancy

The Hubble Ultra Deep Field is a snapshot of about 10,000 galaxies in a tiny patch of sky, taken by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, S. Beckwith (STScI), the HUDF Team

October 6, 2017 – Scientists will use NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope to study sections of the sky previously observed by NASA’s Great Observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, to understand the creation of the universe’s first galaxies and stars. Read More


Sierra Nevada Corporation CEO Calls For Advancement Of U.S. Leadership In Space Economy

October 6, 2017 – Invited to address the newly formed National Space Council, Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) CEO Fatih Ozmen yesterday told members that the United States has economic and national security interests in promoting U.S. leadership in space through investments, managing risk, and expanding opportunity in a new space economy. The first meeting of the National Space Council took place at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum’s Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center in Chantilly, Virginia. SNC’s Ozmen was joined by executives from two other leading private space companies, Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, on a panel dedicated to space innovation. Read More


More News:

Pegasus Rocket Prepared For NASA’s ICON Mission
Source: NASA

Orbital ATK’s Pegasus XL rocket is being prepared to launch NASA’s Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON mission. The rocket is being prepared in a facility at Vandenberg Air Force Base (VAFB) in California. The rocket’s second and third stages, first stage motor and wing arrived at VAFB and were transported to Building 1555 for processing.


Juno Observes Jupiter, Io And Europa
Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Roman Tkachenko

This color-enhanced image of Jupiter and two of its largest moons – Io and Europa – was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed its eighth flyby of the gas giant planet.


World View Completes Five-Day Test Flight For ‘Stratolite’ Balloon
Source: GeekWire

World View Enterprises has executed its longest stratospheric balloon flight ever, steering a solar-powered payload through five days’ worth of testing at altitudes in excess of 55,000 feet. The high-altitude outing marked the Arizona-based company’s first launch from Spaceport Tucson, and a significant milestone in its plan to fly commercial “Stratollite” missions.


USNO Astronomers Measure New Distances To Nearby Stars
Source: U.S. Naval Observatory

Astronomers from the U.S. Naval Observatory (USNO), in collaboration with others from the REsearch Consortium On Nearby Stars (RECONS), have determined new distances to a group of faint young stars located within 25 parsecs (pc) of the Sun. These measurements, based on parallax observations obtained over periods ranging from nine to twelve years, include new measures of the star known as TRAPPIST-1, which has been recently identified as having a system of up to seven earth-sized planets orbiting around it.


The Scientific Quest To Explain Kepler’s Most Enigmatic Find
Source: NASA

Some 1,500 light years from Earth, a mystery of stellar proportions is playing out. A singular star out there captured scientists’ and the public’s imagination in September 2015 with its strangely fluctuating brightness. Ever since then, the scientific community has been observing this enigmatic character and sifting methodically through the data in search of an answer.


Video: Out Of This World! Operating The Kepler Mission With University Students
Source: LASP

The Kepler spacecraft, launched in 2009, has been one of NASA’s most scientifically successful missions. From the first command to the spacecraft, students at LASP have been participating in Kepler’s mission operations. In this October 4, 2017 LASP public lecture, Bill Possel, the director of LASP’s Mission Operations and Data Systems division, describes this unique student program and gives updates on the latest results from Kepler.


Video: Capturing The Atmosphere
Source: CIRES

CU Boulder hosts one of only a few labs in the world able to simulate the atmosphere in state-of-the-art, room-sized chambers. Follow CIRES Fellow Dr. Jose-Luis Jimenez and his team as they take you through this world-class research facility.


New Telescope Attachment Allows Ground-Based Observations Of New Worlds To Rival Those From Space
Source: The Pennsylvania State University

A new, low-cost attachment to telescopes allows previously unachievable precision in ground-based observations of exoplanets — planets beyond our solar system. With the new attachment, ground-based telescopes can produce measurements of light intensity that rival the highest quality photometric observations from space.


Pence Calls For A Return To The Moon As A Stepping Stone To Mars
Source: Spaceflight Now

Vice President Mike Pence, chairing a revived National Space Council, said Thursday the United States will once again send astronauts to the moon, using Earth’s satellite as a critical stepping stone for eventual flights to Mars, and vowing to beef up national security space assets to counter rapidly escalating threats from adversaries.


Delay To Saturday – Florida Weather Holds Up Classified Atlas V Launch With NROL-52
Source: Spaceflight101

The launch of ULA’s Atlas V rocket was delayed again Friday morning due to uncooperative weather at the Cape Canaveral launch site with violations of lightning and cloud rules. ULA is preparing for a 24-hour recycle and is working to a re-aligned T-0 of 7:59 UTC on Saturday.


Astronomers Use IAC Instrument To Probe The Origins Of Cosmic Rays
Source: Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)

In November 1572 a supernova explosion was observed in the direction of the constellation of Cassiopeia, and its most famous observer was Tycho Brahe, one of the founders of modern observational astronomy. The explosion produced an expanding cloud of superhot gas, a supernova remnant which was rediscovered in 1952 by British radioastronomers, confirmed by visible photographs from Mount Palomar observatory, California, in the 1960’s, and a spectacular image was taken in X-rays by the Chandra satellite observatory in 2002.


TeamIndus Has Made Substantial Progress On Moon Mission: Lunar XPRIZE Judges
Source: Gadgets360

An international panel of judges from the Google Lunar XPRIZE who are here to review the moon mission plan of TeamIndus today said the team has made “substantial progress” and was in the “right direction”. TeamIndus is the only Indian team competing for the $30 million (roughly Rs. 196 crores) prize that requires privately funded teams to land their spacecraft on the surface of the moon, travel 500 metres and broadcast high definition video, images and data back to Earth.


New NASA Study Shows Moon Once Had An Atmosphere
Source: USRA

A new study shows that an atmosphere was produced around the ancient Moon, 3 to 4 billion years ago, when intense volcanic eruptions spewed gases above the surface faster than they could escape to space. The study, supported by NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, was published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters.


Dawn Of The Space Age: Story Of Sputnik-1, Earth’s First Artificial Satellite
Source: Sputnik International

Wednesday marked the 60th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik-1, Earth’s first artificial satellite. Sputnik looks back over the history of the epochal competition between legendary Soviet rocket scientist Sergei Korolev and veteran German-American aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun, which ultimately led to a new era for humanity – the space age.


In The Beginning There Was Sputnik, Next Stop Is Mars
Source: Sputnik International

Sixty years have passed since Earth first listened to Sputnik’s beep, and of course the world has changed a lot since then. That strange signal marked the beginning of the space race and the use of satellites.


U.S. Spacewalkers Repair Space Station Robotic Arm In Successful 7-Hour Excursion
Source: Spaceflight101

Veteran NASA spacewalker Randy Bresnik and EVA rookie Mark Vande Hei spent nearly seven hours working outside the International Space Station on Thursday, conducting important maintenance on the Station’s robotic arm to return it to a functional configuration after encountering problems back in August.


Back To The Moon In Lockheed’s Colorado-Developed Orion In 2 Years: Space Industry Is Energized By The Prospect
Source: Orlando Business Journal

Mars missions look a lot closer as NASA eyes putting astronauts on a planned 2018 test flight.


Colorado Loses A Corporate Headquarters And A Satellite Imaging Pioneer As DigitalGlobe Is Purchased
Source: The Denver Post

Colorado lost a corporate headquarters Thursday as a Canadian space company completed its $2.4 billion acquisition of DigitalGlobe, the Westminster taker of high-resolution photos of Earth from space.


Second Falcon 9 Static Fire Test Of The Week Completed In California
Source: Spaceflight101

Setting up for a Falcon 9 double header, SpaceX successfully conducted its second Static Fire Test of the week on Thursday at California’s Vandenberg Air Force Base in preparation for an early morning liftoff on Monday with the next ten Iridium-NEXT satellites joining Iridium’s upgraded fleet of low-orbiting communications and ship/air traffic tracking satellites.


National Space Council Hears Calls For Moon Trips And Space Defense
Source: GeekWire

The Trump administration plans to send astronauts and robots back to the moon in as little as five years’ time, as a prelude to Mars missions. That’s one of the calls to action emerging from the first meeting of the reconstituted National Space Council under the leadership of Vice President Mike Pence.


Blue Origin Shows Interest In National Security Launches
Source: The Aerospace Corporation

The new chief executive of Blue Origin told the National Space Council his company is in discussions about certifying its New Glenn rocket for government missions, a shift in strategy that could put the company in competition with a customer.