February 8, 2018

The Winter ‘AstrOlympics’ Kick Off

Image Credit: NASA

February 8, 2018 – As the athletes get set to compete in Pyeongchang, Korea, the public can explore the Olympic Games in a different way through an innovative project blending science and sports. “AstrOlympics” relates the amazing feats of Olympic athletes with the spectacular phenomena found throughout space. Read More


Lockheed Martin Releases Satellite Specs; Offers New Opportunities To Aspiring Space Technologists

Image Credit: Lockheed Martin

February 8, 2018 – For the first time, Lockheed Martin has publicly released specifications for its satellite platforms with the goal of offering new opportunities for collaboration to companies aspiring to send innovative technologies to space. Read More


Juno Completes Tenth Science Orbit Of Jupiter

This image of Jupiter’s southern hemisphere was captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft as it performed a close flyby of the gas giant planet on Dec. 16. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt

February 8, 2018 – Juno accomplished a close flyby over Jupiter’s churning atmosphere on Wednesday, February 7, successfully completing its tenth science orbit. The closest approach was at 7:36 a.m. MST (9:36 a.m. EST) Earth-received time. At the time of perijove (the point in Juno’s orbit when it is closest to the planet’s center), the spacecraft will be about 2,100 miles (3,500 kilometers) above the planet’s cloud tops. Read More


New Horizons Captures Record-Breaking Images In The Kuiper Belt


These December 2017 false-color images of KBOs 2012 HZ84 and 2012 HE85 are, for now, the farthest from Earth ever captured
With its Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI), New Horizons has observed several Kuiper Belt objects (KBOs) and dwarf planets at unique phase angles, as well as Centaurs at extremely high phase angles to search for forward-scattering rings or dust. These December 2017 false-color images of KBOs 2012 HZ84 (left) and 2012 HE85 are, for now, the farthest from Earth ever captured by a spacecraft. They’re also the closest-ever images of Kuiper Belt objects. Image Credit: NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI

February 8, 2018 – NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft recently turned its telescopic camera toward a field of stars, snapped an image – and made history. The routine calibration frame of the “Wishing Well” galactic open star cluster, made by the Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) on December 5, was taken when New Horizons was 3.79 billion miles (6.12 billion kilometers, or 40.9 astronomical units) from Earth – making it, for a time, the farthest image ever made from Earth. Read More


NASA Hosts News Conference, Interviews With New Space Station Crew

Official Astronaut portrait of Serena Auñón-Chancellor. Image Credit: NASA/Robert Markowitz

February 8, 2018 – NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor, along with Alexander Gerst of ESA (European Space Agency), and Sergey Prokopyev of the Russian space agency Roscosmos, will participate in a news conference at 12 p.m. MST Wednesday, February 14, at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The news conference will air live on NASA Television and stream on the agency’s website. Read More


More News:

Are You Rocky Or Are You Gassy? Carnegie Astronomers Help Unlock The Mysteries Of Super-Earths
Source: Carnegie Institution for Science

A star about 100 light years away in the Pisces constellation, GJ 9827, hosts what may be one of the most massive and dense super-Earth planets detected to date, according to new research led by Carnegie’s Johanna Teske. This new information provides evidence to help astronomers better understand the process by which such planets form.


Lockheed Martin CEO Honored With 2017 Howard Hughes Memorial Award
Source: Lockheed Martin

The Aero Club of Southern California yesterday honored Lockheed Martin Chairman, President and CEO Marillyn Hewson as the 39th recipient of the Howard Hughes Memorial Award.


NOAA Satellites Aid In The Rescue Of 275 Lives In 2017
Source: NOAA

Last July, a sailboat with two people onboard caught on fire several hundred miles off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida. Luckily for the crew, a NOAA satellite picked up the distress signal from their emergency beacon, enabling the U.S. Air Force and Coast Guard to rescue them.


NASA Leverages Proven Technologies To Build Agency’s First Planetary Wind Lidar
Source: NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA scientists have found a way to adapt a handful of recently developed technologies to build a new instrument that could give them what they have yet to obtain: never-before-revealed details about the winds on Mars and ultimately Titan, Saturn’s largest moon.


Cosmic X-Rays May Provide Clues To The Nature Of Dark Matter
Source: Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet Mainz

Dark matter is increasingly puzzling. Around the world, physicists have been trying for decades to determine the nature of these matter particles, which do not emit light and are therefore invisible to the human eye. Their existence was postulated in the 1930s to explain certain astronomical observations.


Tiny Crystal Shapes Get Close Look From Mars Rover
Source: NASA

Star-shaped and swallowtail-shaped tiny, dark bumps in fine-layered bright bedrock of a Martian ridge are drawing close inspection by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. This set of shapes looks familiar to geologists who have studied gypsum crystals formed in drying lakes on Earth, but Curiosity’s science team is considering multiple possibilities for the origin of these features on “Vera Rubin Ridge” on Mars.


Stick Shape, Rice-Size Features On Martian Rock ‘Haroldswick’
Source: NASA

The dark, stick-shaped features clustered on this Martian rock are about the size of grains of rice. This is a focus-merged view from the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover. It covers an area about 2 inches (5 centimeters) across.


Geologic History Revealed In Valles Marineris
Source: NASA

An enhanced-color image from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) reveals bedrock that is several kilometers below the top of the giant Valles Marineris canyons. The upper layers have relatively little diversity of colors and textures, but deeper levels show more complex processes. The upper layers could be mostly volcanic while the lower layers were influenced by the period of heavy bombardment and greater interactions with water.


Colorado’s Aerospace Community Soars As Number Of Jobs Grow
Source: Denver7

While Tuesday’s SpaceX launch is getting a lot of attention, Colorado’s aerospace community is also making worthy contributions. New numbers released by the Colorado Space Coalition reveal there are a total of 26,620 private sector aerospace jobs in our state. In 2017, jobs grew by 4.7 percent, adding more than 1,000 workers, making Colorado number two in the nation for aerospace-related employment.


Judge Rejects Motion To Dismiss SSL-Orbital ATK Suit
Source: SpaceNews

A federal judge denied a motion by Orbital ATK to dismiss a lawsuit filed last year by Space Systems Loral seeking damages for alleged unauthorized access to information about its satellite servicing technologies.


International Ground Stations Tricky For SmallSat Operators To License
Source: SpaceNews

Small satellite operators wanting to build ground stations in multiple nations to connect with their satellites are finding it complicated dealing with different sets of regulations. Those regulations vary to the point that trying to establish a ground station in one country might create disagreements between different nations over how those stations are controlled, industry representatives said Feb. 6 at the SmallSat Symposium here.


The Still-Unrealized Promise Of Commercial Earth Science Data
Source: SpaceNews

For the last few years, proponents of commercial satellite weather programs, both in industry and in Congress, have talked up the promise of government data buys from such systems. For a fraction of the cost of developing its own satellite constellation, government agencies like the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration could instead buy data from commercial systems to augment its weather forecasting efforts.


Japanese Sounding Rocket Claims Record-Breaking Orbital Launch
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

Japan conducted the launch of a miniature satellite via a modified SS-520 sounding rocket Saturday, a little over a year after its first attempt failed to achieve orbit. Liftoff, from the Uchinoura Space Centre, occurred at the opening of a ten-minute window at 14:03 local time (05:03 UTC).


All-In-One Service For The Space Station
Source: ESA

Quick access to space, high-speed data feed and a unique vantage point are the selling points of a new commercial venture on the International Space Station. Its name is Bartolomeo, and its versatile design allows for many mission types at competitive prices from next year.


Bright Supernova Discovered In K2’s Ongoing Campaign 16
Source: NASA

The ASAS-SN survey reports the discovery of a bright supernova (V=15) in a nearby galaxy that is currently being monitored by Kepler as part of its ongoing K2 Campaign 16. The event is named ASASSN-18bt (AT 2018oh) and is located at 09:06:39.6 +19:20:17.5 in the galaxy UGC 4780.


Video: Cassini’s Grand Finale
Source: University of Colorado Boulder/LASP

The NASA Cassini orbiter ended its 13-year exploration of the Saturn system on September 15, 2017, burning up in the planet’s atmosphere as planned. LASP designed, built, tested, and operated Cassini’s UltraViolet Imaging Spectrograph (UVIS). Even though the mission has ended, team members worldwide will continue to interpret instrument observations and publish results in scientific journals for years to come. In this presentation from February 7, 2018, LASP planetary scientist, Dr. Larry Esposito, takes us through the Cassini journey—from its inception decades ago, through those final, bittersweet moments.


527th SAS: Preparing Warfighters Now, Into The Future
Source: U.S. Air Force Space Command

On the far southwest end of Schriever Air Force Base is an operations warehouse known as ‘the Barn,’ where members replicate live GPS and satellite communication electronic attacks for training service members across the world. It is the home of the 527th Space Aggressor Squadron.


Crystal Shapes And Two-Toned Veins On Martian Ridge
Source: NASA

This exposure of finely laminated bedrock on Mars includes tiny crystal-shaped bumps, plus mineral veins with both bright and dark material. This rock target, called “Jura,” was imaged by the Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) camera on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on Jan. 4, 2018, during the 1,925th Martian day, or sol, of the rover’s work on Mars.


50 Years Ago: Lunar Landing Sites Selected
Source: NASA

On February 8, 1968, after two years of study NASA’s Apollo Site Selection Board announced five potential landing sites for the first human lunar landing. Each of the five 3 by 5-mile landing areas, chosen from an original list of 30 candidate sites, satisfied certain criteria in which astronaut safety was paramount. All five sites were within the Apollo Zone of Interest, an area on the visible side of the Moon between 45 degrees East and West longitude and between 5 degrees North and South of the lunar equator.


NASA TV To Air US Spacewalk At The International Space Station
Source: NASA

Two astronauts will venture outside the International Space Station Thursday, Feb. 15, to move components for the station’s robotic system into long-term storage. Live coverage of the spacewalk will begin at 5:30 a.m. EST on NASA Television and the agency’s website.


Leaky Atmosphere Linked To Lightweight Planet
Source: ESA

The Red Planet’s low gravity and lack of magnetic field makes its outermost atmosphere an easy target to be swept away by the solar wind, but new evidence from ESA’s Mars Express spacecraft shows that the Sun’s radiation may play a surprising role in its escape.


NASA Seeks The Gold In Winter Olympics Snow
Source: NASA

NASA engineer Manuel Vega can see one of the Olympic ski jump towers from the rooftop of the South Korean weather office where he is stationed. Vega is not watching skiers take flight, preparing for the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympic games. Instead, he’s inspecting the SUV-sized radar beside him. The instrument is one of 11 NASA instruments specially transported to the Olympics to measure the quantity and type of snow falling on the slopes, tracks and halfpipes.


Here’s Exactly What NASA Training Is Like For Astronauts
Source: Men’s Health

NASA astronauts go through hell before going to work high in the heavens. What they learn during training can help you perform back here on Earth.


Rocket Lab Completes Fit Check For NASA VCLS ELaNa XIX Mission
Source: Rocket Lab

Early this month, Rocket Lab performed a successful fit check of the CubeSat dispensers for the NASA Venture Class Launch Service flight of the CubeSat Launch Initiative Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) XIX mission. The fit check was carried out at Rocket Lab’s Huntington Beach payload integration cleanroom.


3-D Printable Tools May Help Study Astronaut Health
Source: NASA

If humans are destined for deep space, they need to understand the space environment changes health, including aging and antibiotic resistance. A new NASA project could help. It aims to develop technology used to study “omics” — fields of microbiology that are important to human health. Omics includes research into genomes, microbiomes and proteomes.