September 25, 2017

Lava Tubes: The Hidden Sites For Future Human Habitats On The Moon And Mars

Artist’s impression of the radar instrument to probe for lava tubes beneath the lunar surface. Image Credit: NASA/U. Trento

September 25, 2017 – Lava tubes, underground caves created by volcanic activity, could provide protected habitats large enough to house streets on Mars or even towns on the Moon, according to research presented at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2017 in Riga. A further study shows how the next generation of lunar orbiters will be able to use radar to locate these structures under the Moon’s surface. Read More

Inspire Future Generations By Sponsoring The International Student Art Contest

September 25, 2017 – The Space Foundation’s International Student Art Contest was launched in 2011 to inspire children around the world to envision the possibilities and adventures to be found in space. Read More

Ball Aerospace’s Casey Waggy Receives Society Of Women Engineers Award

September 25, 2017 – Casey Waggy, a systems engineer at Ball Aerospace, has been recognized by the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) with the Outstanding SWE Counselor Award for 2017. This award is bestowed upon a member who has made an outstanding contribution to a SWE collegiate section by serving as a mentor, and working as the link between the collegiate section and the greater SWE community. Read More

Reaction Engines Awarded DARPA Contract To Perform High-Temperature Testing Of The SABRE Precooler

Image Credit: Reaction Engines Inc.

September 25, 2017 – Reaction Engines Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of Reaction Engines, today announced that it has received a contract from the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to conduct high-temperature airflow testing in the United States of a Reaction Engines precooler test article called HTX. The precooler heat exchanger is a key component of the company’s revolutionary SABRE air-breathing rocket engine and has the potential to enable other precooled propulsion systems.

United Launch Alliance Successfully Launches NROL-42 Mission For The National Reconnaissance Office

September 25, 2017 – A United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket carrying a payload for the National Reconnaissance Office lifted off from Space Launch Complex-3 on September 23, at 11:49:47 p.m. MDT. Designated NROL-42, the mission is in support of national security. Read More

More News:

mu Space Partners With Blue Origin To Launch Geostationary Satellite
Source: mu Space Corp

mu Space Corp today announced at the 68th Annual International Astronautical Congress that they have entered into an agreement with Blue Origin to partner on a future launch of a geostationary satellite aboard their New Glenn orbital rocket. The launch is set to happen early in the next decade.

Art Of Origami Leads To Lightbulb Moment
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

In their attempt to prototype a reusable crew module for spaceflight, undergraduates Anastasia Muszynski, Dawson Beatty and Andrew Pfefer found unexpected inspiration in the art of origami and received vital support from the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program (UROP).

CU Boulder Engineering Dean Works On Partnership With Longmont’s FRCC, Others On Statewide Tour
Source: Daily Camera

When University of Colorado Boulder Engineering Dean and space aficionado Bobby Braun rolled into Longmont’s Front Range Community College on Friday, he was wiped from his weeklong tour of the state but quickly invigorated when a student asked him how realistic the movie “The Martian” was.

Mars Valley Urbanization Concept Challenge
Source: The Mars Society/HP Mars Home Planet

HP and the Mars Society are partnering to bring you the HP Mars Home Planet Initiative. The goal of the Initiative is to ideate and to ultimately build a virtual colony on Mars that we can all experience in VR. Mars Society President Dr. Robert Zubrin will be a judge for the competition and will be speaking at the various events.

Long March 5 Failure To Postpone China’s Lunar Exploration Program
Source: SpaceNews

The head of China’s space program confirmed Sept. 25 that the July failure of the country’s largest launch vehicle will lead to delays to upcoming lunar missions, including one to return samples.

Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) Coming Soon
Source: USGS

USGS Landsat Analysis Ready Data (ARD) for the conterminous United States will start becoming available for download in October 2017. Sample Landsat ARD products and product information are available on the Landsat ARD webpage.

The Pluto System After The New Horizons Flyby
Source: Nature Astronomy

In July 2015, NASA’s New Horizons mission performed a flyby of Pluto, revealing details about the geology, surface composition and atmospheres of this world and its moons that are unobtainable from Earth. With a resolution as small as 80 metres per pixel, New Horizons’ images identified a large number of surface features, including a large basin filled with glacial ices that appear to be undergoing convection.

Women & Gender Collaborative Awards Grants To High-Impact STEM Project
Source: Colorado State University

The Women and Gender Collaborative is providing a two-year grant for a faculty-student mentoring program designed to encourage women to pursue advanced STEM careers and follow a path to become future leaders in their disciplines. The project, “Research Mentoring to Advance Inclusivity in STEM” (RMAIS), will span 23 departments within CSU’s eight colleges and is being administered through the Graduate Degree Program in Ecology (GDPE). RMAIS was the sole recipient in the Collaborative’s 2017 competitive grant round.

Inquiry – Brian Argrow
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Brian Argrow, the new chair of CU Boulder’s Ann and H.J. Smead Aerospace Engineering Sciences department, talks Mars, drones, integrity and why he always books a window seat.

The Center For Space Policy And Strategy Hosts Briefing On Orbital Debris
Source: The Aerospace Corporation

The Center for Space Policy and Strategy (CSPS) hosted a briefing and panel discussion with embassy representatives from Australia, Japan, and the United Kingdom at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Sept. 21.

When A Tanker Vanishes, All The Evidence Points To Russia
Source: WIRED UK

In June, 37,000-tonne tanker vanished from GPS off the Russian coast. All the evidence points to Russia. But what’s really going on?

NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP Satellite Gets 2 Looks At Hurricane Maria
Source: NASA

Hurricane Maria was analyzed in visible and infrared light as NASA-NOAA’s Suomi NPP passed overhead over two days. NASA’s GPM satellite also provided a look at Maria’s rainfall rates.

NASA, JAXA Reaffirm Cooperation In Space Exploration
Source: NASA

NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will work together on three groundbreaking science missions to explore the moons of Mars, further study the atmosphere of the Sun, and research dark matter and the evolution of the universe. In a Sept. 21 (ET) press conference at JAXA Headquarters, NASA reaffirmed that it will continue to strive for breakthrough science discoveries by cooperating with JAXA on Martian Moons Exploration (MMX), the Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectro-Polarimeter experiment (CLASP-2), and the new X-ray Astronomy Recovery Mission (XARM).

Solar-Powered Asteroid Mining? This Colorado Scientist Is On The Team Figuring It Out
Source: CPR

It may sound crazy, but it just may work, and that’s the kind of idea NASA is looking to inspire with its NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts grants. Chris Dreyer of the Colorado School of Mines is doing research on how sunlight can be used to mine asteroids, as part of a NIAC grant given to a team led by TransAstra, a private company.

Phantom Limb
Source: NASA

The brightly lit limb of a crescent Enceladus looks ethereal against the blackness of space. The rest of the moon, lit by light reflected from Saturn, presents a ghostly appearance.

Video: Rosetta’s Ever-Changing View Of A Comet
Source: ESA

These 210 images reflect Rosetta’s ever-changing view of Comet 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko between July 2014 and September 2016. The sequence begins in the month leading up to Rosetta’s arrival on 6 August, when the comet was barely a few pixels in the field of view. Suddenly, the curious shape was revealed and Rosetta raced to image its surface, coming within 10 km, to find a suitable place for Philae to land just three months later.

Video: Eclipse Over America
Source: NOVA

On August 21, 2017, millions of Americans witnessed the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in 99 years. As in all total solar eclipses, the moon blocked the sun and revealed its ethereal outer atmosphere—its corona—in a wondrous celestial spectacle. While hordes of citizens flocked to the eclipse’s path of totality, scientists, too, staked out spots for a very different reason: to investigate the secrets of the sun’s elusive atmosphere.

Bringing Imagery To Life With Rich Source Of Geospatial Intelligence
Source: DigitalGlobe

Defense and intelligence analysts rely on a variety of information layers to develop an accurate and complete understanding of the events they study. Analysts generate reports and briefings from a confluence of map data, overhead imagery, terrain models, local news stories, social media posts and more. In principal, this multi-source approach to information gathering is what ultimately enables analysts to answer Key Intelligence Questions (KIQ’s) and give leaders the confidence to take decisive action. However, gathering this variety of information has traditionally taken most of an analyst’s time—leaving precious little opportunity to combine the data, derive critical insights and publish their findings.

International Partners In No Rush Regarding Future Of ISS
Source: SpaceNews

The partner space agencies of the International Space Station said Sept. 25 they have had discussions about the future of the station beyond 2024, but indicated no urgency in making a decision.

Euro-Chinese SMILE Mission Moves Forward
Source: Air & Cosmos International

The European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded design study contracts for the payload module on the Chinese-European SMILE programme to investigate the interaction between the magnetosphere and the solar wind.

China’s New-Generation Weather Satellite Put Into Service
Source: China Daily

Fengyun-4A satellite, the first of China’s second-generation geostationary orbiting weather satellites, was put into operation Monday, said the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence.

Australia To Establish National Space Agency
Source: SpaceNews

The government of Australia announced Sept. 25 that it plans to formally establish a national space agency, a milestone sought for decades by the country’s space industry and other space advocates.

Hurricane Damages Giant Radio Telescope—Why It Matters
Source: National Geographic

Staff at the Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico are safe, but the storm destroyed a key instrument, and conditions in surrounding towns are still unknown.

And Then Silence: 25 Years Since The Rise And Fall Of Mars Observer
Source: AmericaSpace

It was Friday, 25 September 1992—a quarter-century ago—as NASA counted down the final moments on Earth of its first voyage to the Red Planet in almost two decades. Mounted atop the final Commercial Titan III booster on Space Launch Complex (SLC)-40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., the 2,200-pound (1,000 kg) Mars Observer would follow in the footsteps of Mariner 9 and the twin Viking missions to become only the fourth U.S. spacecraft to successfully enter orbit around the Red Planet. Alas, in a sad quirk of fate, Mars Observer never got the chance to complete its ambitious mission of exploration.

Their Words: Cassini’s Hunter Waite And The Quest To Look Beyond
Source: SpaceFlight Insider

Peering through the atmospheres of other worlds to determine what they are made of is difficult enough, but to do so reliably for 13 years is an astonishing accomplishment. Hunter Waite, the Ion and Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) team leader at Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), spoke with SpaceFlight Insider about the mission in the lead-up to Cassini’s “final bow”.