March 1, 2018

Lockheed Martin Delivers NASA’s InSight Spacecraft To Launch Site

Lockheed Martin delivered NASA’s InSight spacecraft to its California launch site on February 28, 2018. The Mars lander was shipped aboard a U.S. Air Force transport plane from Buckley Air Force Base, Colorado to Vandenberg Air Force Base where it will undergo final processing in preparation for a May launch. Image Credit: PRNewsfoto/Lockheed Martin

March 1, 2018 – NASA’s latest mission to Mars took its first trip on its long journey to the Red Planet. On February 28, Lockheed Martin delivered NASA’s InSight Mars lander to Vandenberg Air Force Base, California. The lander will now undergo final processing in preparation for a May 5 launch aboard a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket. Read More

Hubble Observes Exoplanet Atmosphere In More Detail Than Ever Before

A team of British and American astronomers used data from several telescopes on the ground and in space — among them the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope — to study the atmosphere of the hot, bloated, Saturn-mass exoplanet WASP-39b, about 700 light-years from Earth. The analysis of the spectrum showed a large amount of water in the exoplanet’s atmosphere — three times more than in Saturn’s atmosphere. Image Credit: NASA, ESA, and G. Bacon (STScI)

March 1, 2018 – An international team of scientists has used the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study the atmosphere of the hot exoplanet WASP-39b. By combining this new data with older data they created the most complete study yet of an exoplanet atmosphere. The atmospheric composition of WASP-39b hints that the formation processes of exoplanets can be very different from those of our own Solar System giants. Read More

Burch Elected To San Antonio Aviation And Aerospace Hall Of Fame

Jim Burch. Image Credit: Southwest Research Institute

March 1, 2018 – Dr. James L. Burch, vice president of the Space Science and Engineering Division at Southwest Research Institute, is one of four honorees being inducted into the San Antonio Aviation and Aerospace Hall of Fame at a dinner and reception March 22, 2018. Read More

Astronomers Detect Ancient Signal From First Stars In The Universe

This artist’s rendering shows the universe’s first, massive, blue stars embedded in gaseous filaments, with the cosmic microwave background just visible at the edges. Image Credit: N.R.Fuller, National Science Foundation

March 1, 2018 – For the first time, astronomers have detected a signal from stars emerging in the early universe. Using a radio antenna not much larger than a refrigerator, the researchers discovered that ancient suns were active within 180 million years of the Big Bang. Read More

More News:

Research Details Mineralogy Of Potential Lunar Exploration Site
Source: Brown University

A detailed study of a giant impact crater on the Moon’s far side could provide a roadmap for future lunar explorers. The study, by planetary scientists from Brown University, maps the mineralogy of the South Pole-Aitken (SPA) basin, a gash in the lunar surface with a diameter of approximately 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles). SPA is thought to be the oldest and largest impact basin on the Moon, and scientists have long had their eyes on it as a target for future lunar landers.

The InSight Mission: Quakes On Mars Workshop
Source: NASA/JPL

The next mission to Mars departs Earth in early May, arriving just after Thanksgiving of 2018. The Mars lander called InSight, which stands for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport, will drill beneath the surface to investigate the Red Planet’s interior structure. Join us at JPL to hear from the mission’s principal investigator and the Mars Program scientist, and discover ways to bring InSight science into classrooms, museums and after-school programs.

Orion Crew Access Arm Installed On Mobile Launcher
Source: NASA

As astronauts prepare for trips to destinations beyond low-Earth orbit, their last steps before boarding an Orion spacecraft will be across a crew access arm on the mobile launcher at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. This week, the agency reached an important milestone on the path to Exploration Mission-1 with the installation of the crew access arm at about the 274-foot level on the mobile launcher tower.

Air Force Taps Lockheed For GPS On-Orbit Sustainment Services
Source: ExecutiveBiz

Lockheed Martin has received a potential $18.7 million contract from the U.S. Air Force to help sustain the military branch’s GPS satellites currently in orbit.

The Moon Will Get Its Own Mobile Phone Network In 2019

Call it one giant leap for 4G. The moon is about to get its very own mobile phone network. Vodafone Germany has teamed with Nokia to build the first 4G network on the moon.

NASA, Boeing Rewriting The Book On Building The SLS Core Stage

NASA and Space Launch System (SLS) Core Stage prime contractor Boeing are making progress building their first vehicle, learning how to put it together and rewriting the assembly instructions on the fly. The major elements of Core Stage-1 (CS-1) and its companion structural test articles (STA) are being built up in work areas at the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans.

The PI’s Perspective: Why Didn’t Voyager Explore The Kuiper Belt?
Source: NASA/Alan Stern

People often ask why the Voyagers didn’t explore the Kuiper Belt, since both Voyager 1 and 2 clearly transited this region after passing the giant planets. That’s a really good question with a number of facets, so I thought I’d address it in this PI Perspective.

Science Teacher Diego Martinez Is 2018 Recipient Of The Alan Shepard Technology In Education Award
Source: Space Foundation

Oregon science teacher Diego Martinez has been selected by the Astronauts Memorial Foundation (AMF), the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the Space Foundation as recipient of the 2018 Alan Shepard Technology in Education Award.

NASA Joins International Team In Exploring Auroral Cusp From Norway
Source: NASA

North of Norway over the Norwegian and Greenland Seas, the magnetic bubble surrounding the Earth dips inward, allowing space particles to funnel in toward the planet. NASA and United States scientists will join those from Norway, Japan, Canada and other countries during the next two years to investigate the physics of heating and charged particle precipitation in this region called the geomagnetic cusp — one of the few places on Earth with easy access to the electrically charged solar wind that pervades the solar system.

Radiant Solutions To Back NGA-DIUx Machine Learning Tech Challenge: Tony Frazier Comments
Source: ExecutiveBiz

Maxar Technologies’ Radiant Solutions business has received a contract from the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency to help expedite the development of machine learning algorithms designed to gather data from satellite images. Radiant Solutions said Tuesday it will provide NGA access to high-resolution satellite images of at least 1 million labeled objects to help the agency launch the 2018 DIUx xView Detection Challenge with Defense Innovation Unit Experimental.

Video: GOLD: Unprecedented Imaging Of The Boundary Between Earth And Space
Source: NASA

NASA’s Global Scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD, mission launched successfully on January 25, 2018, as a hosted payload on SES-14, a commercial communications satellite that will operate in geostationary orbit. In this GOLD Science Communications Webinar, GOLD Principal Investigator, Richard Eastes, discusses how the GOLD instrument—an ultraviolet imaging spectrograph designed and built at LASP—will capture unprecedented images of the Earth and provide valuable insight into how the near-space environment responds to inputs from the Sun above and the lower atmosphere below.

NASA Space Laser Completes 2,000-Mile Road Trip
Source: NASA

Once in orbit after it launches this fall, NASA’s ICESat-2 satellite will travel at speeds faster than 15,000 miles per hour. Last week, the satellite’s instrument began its journey toward space riding a truck from Maryland to Arizona, never exceeding 65 mph. ICESat-2, or the Ice, Cloud and land Elevation Satellite-2, is slated to launch in September to measure the height of Earth’s surface, particularly the changing polar ice. To do that, it uses a laser instrument called the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System, or ATLAS, that precisely times how long it takes light particles to bounce off Earth and return to the satellite.

DARPA Chief Describes Promising Future Technologies
Source: U.S. Department of Defense

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will employ enhanced funding to discover technologies used to defend the homeland, bolster deterrence and aid service members engaged in counterterror and counterinsurgency fights, the agency’s director said here today. Speaking with the Defense Writers’ Group, Steven H. Walker said his agency is working on artificial intelligence projects, hypersonic technologies, promising biological technologies and advanced electronics, among other technologies.

One Of Earth’s Deep Sea Microbes Could Survive On Saturn’s Moon
Source: Smithsonian

A methane-producing archaea survived simulations of Enceladus’ extreme conditions, hinting at the possibility of similar extraterrestrial life

NASA Astronauts Return To Earth, Land Safely In Kazakhstan
Source: Smithsonian

Three members of the Expedition 54 crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS), including NASA astronauts Mark Vande Hei and Joe Acaba, returned to Earth on Tuesday after months of performing research and spacewalks in low-Earth orbit. Vande Hei, Acaba and cosmonaut Alexander Misurkin of the Russian space agency Roscosmos landed at 9:31 p.m. EST (8:31 a.m. Feb. 28 in Kazakhstan) southeast of the remote town of Dzhezkazgan in Kazakhstan.

Explaining The Increasing Temperature Of Cooling Granular Gases
Source: University of Leicester

A Leicester mathematician has developed a theory to explain ‘heating by cooling’, where the temperature of a granular gas increases while the total energy drops down – a peculiar phenomenon which can be observed both on Earth and in space.

Curiosity Tests A New Way To Drill On Mars
Source: NASA

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover has conducted the first test of a new drilling technique on the Red Planet since its drill stopped working reliably. This early test produced a hole about a half-inch (1-centimeter) deep at a target called Lake Orcadie — not enough for a full scientific sample, but enough to validate that the new method works mechanically.

Hayabusa 2 Has Detected Ryugu
Source: JAXA

On February 26, 2018, Hayabusa2 saw its destination —asteroid Ryugu— for the first time! The photographs were captured by the ONC-T (Optical Navigation Camera – Telescopic) onboard the spacecraft. Images were taken between noon JST on February 26th and 9:00am the following morning, with about 300 shots taken in total. Data for nine of these images were transmitted from the spacecraft on February 27th, allowing us to confirm that Ryugu had indeed been seen. The animation shows these nine consecutive frames.

Falcon 9 Launch To Wait Until After Atlas 5 Mission
Source: SpaceNews

The U.S. Air Force has decided not to go ahead with a proposal to support two launches from the Eastern Range in less than 24 hours this week, but officials say being able to do so remains a goal as part of efforts to support increased launch activity.

Chasing New Horizons
Source: Macmillan

The up close, inside story of the greatest space exploration project of our time, New Horizons’ mission to Pluto, as shared with David Grinspoon by mission leader Alan Stern and other key players.