October 19, 2017

Community Invited To Groundbreaking For CU Aerospace Engineering Building October 26

Image Credit: University of Colorado Boulder

October 19, 2017 – CU Boulder invites students, faculty, staff, alumni and the community to a groundbreaking ceremony on Thursday, October 26, to kick off construction of a new 144,000-square-foot aerospace engineering sciences building on East Campus that is slated to open in the summer of 2019. Read More

Dawn Mission Extended At Ceres

This artist concept shows NASA’s Dawn spacecraft above dwarf planet Ceres, as seen in images from the mission. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

October 19, 2017 – NASA has authorized a second extension of the Dawn mission at Ceres, the largest object in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. During this extension, the spacecraft will descend to lower altitudes than ever before at the dwarf planet, which it has been orbiting since March 2015. The spacecraft will continue at Ceres for the remainder of its science investigation and will remain in a stable orbit indefinitely after its hydrazine fuel runs out. Read More

NASA’s MAVEN Mission Finds Mars Has A Twisted Tail

Artist’s conception of the complex magnetic field environment at Mars. Yellow lines represent magnetic field lines from the Sun carried by the solar wind, blue lines represent Martian surface magnetic fields, white sparks are reconnection activity, and red lines are reconnected magnetic fields that link the surface to space via the Martian magnetotail. Image Credit: Anil Rao/Univ. of Colorado/MAVEN/NASA GSFC

October 19, 2017 – Mars has an invisible magnetic “tail” that is twisted by interaction with the solar wind, according to new research using data from NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft. Read More

NASA Selects United Launch Alliance Reliable Atlas V Rocket For Landsat 9 Mission

Landsat 9 Satellite. Image Credit: NASA/Goddard

October 19, 2017 – NASA’s Launch Services Program announced today that it selected United Launch Alliance’s (ULA’s) proven Atlas V vehicle to launch the Landsat 9 mission, the ninth in the satellite program providing the longest continuous global record of Earth’s surface. This award resulted from a competitive Launch Service Task Order evaluation under the NASA Launch Services II contract. Read More

Self-Portrait Of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Marks Critical Test

Ball Aerospace optical engineer Larkin Carey is reflected in the James Webb Space Telescope’s secondary mirror, as he photographs the line of sight for hardware used during an important test of the telescope’s optics. Image Credit: Ball Aerospace

October 19, 2017 – What appears to be a unique selfie opportunity was actually a critical photo for the cryogenic testing of NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope in Chamber A at NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston. The photo was used to verify the line of sight (or path light will travel) for the testing configuration. Read More

Sierra Nevada Corporation’s Dream Chaser Spacecraft Wins Popular Science Best Of What’s New 2017 Award

SNC’s Dream Chaser® Spacecraft at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center. Image Credit: NASA

October 19, 2017 – Popular Science magazine has selected Sierra Nevada Corporation’s (SNC) Dream Chaser spacecraft for the 2017 “Best of What’s New” award. This recognition from the world’s largest science and technology magazine celebrates technologies that will “change our world.” Read More

More News:

GOES-16 And Fog Detection
Source: University of Wisconsin-Madison

Stratus and Fog formed over the valleys of Kentucky (and in surrounding states) early on 18 October 2017 (It was there on 17 October as well). When was the fog first obvious from Satellite imagery? It very much depends on the spatial resolution of the Satellite viewing the scene. The Brightness Temperature Difference field (10.3 µm – 3.9 µm) from GOES-16, shown above, can be used to identify regions of stratus clouds that are made up of water droplets.

Why Haven’t We Had Alien Contact?
Source: Science

Might ET be buried under too much ice to phone Earth? That’s what planetary scientist Alan Stern of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, has concluded may be delaying our contact with alien civilizations. Most extraterrestrial creatures are likely deep inside their home planets, in subsurface oceans crusted over in frozen water ice, according to a new proposal at this year’s American Astronomy Society Division for Planetary Sciences meeting in Provo, Utah.

US And Luxembourg Frame Laws For New Space Race
Source: Financial Times

The moon rocks collected by the Apollo missions more than 40 years ago were brought back to Earth without much controversy. Several are on display in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington. Had they been gathered now, they would probably have provoked much more debate.

Stennis Fires Up An Untested RS-25 Engine
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

The RS-25 test team at Stennis Space Center hot-fired an untested flight engine on the A-1 Test Stand Thursday to help complete certification of design changes to fly on the Space Launch System (SLS). The test is another step towards the flagship test firing of all four engines on the B-2 Test Stand.

Space: Marketing’s Final Frontier
Source: AdAge

Hollywood has long tapped into the world’s interest in space, but now, industries from beauty and fashion to design and music are following suit, opening up massive opportunities for ad agencies and brands, according to a new Sparks & Honey culture report.

Space Mining, Asteroids And Why We Have To Map Inner Solar System
Source: Financial Times

Government departments and entities have to interact about this, to spur economic development, to succeed our knowledge of the foundation in our solar system and also to safeguard Earth from asteroid impacts. Near Earth asteroids could be motorists of monetary expansion simply because they can offer valuable recycleables and water (to create rocket fuel).

Reevaluating Space – Why Reservists Are Relevant
Source: Schriever Air Force Base

The topic of space is trending strongly on news feeds and across headlines as Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson and other Air Force leaders discuss the need for dominance in today’s hostile space environment. These recent developments have brought to light the only Reserve wing to specialize in the space mission, the 310th Space Wing, along with the question ‘How do our Reservists contribute to the space fight?’

ISS Spacewalk Effort To Conclude With Friday EVA To Replace Cameras, Fuses, Prepare For Robotic Work
Source: SpaceFlight101

The Expedition 53 crew aboard the International Space Station is gearing up for the third and last in a series of spacewalks planned this month to complete repair work on the Space Station’s robotic arm and deal with broken cameras and other outfitting tasks on the exterior of the complex. Stepping outside on Friday, Astronauts Randy Bresnik and Joe Acaba will complete work on Canadarm2, continue revamping the external camera system and prepare for future robotic maintenance activities outside the modules.

Iridium-4 Switches To Flight Proven Falcon 9, RTLS At Vandenberg Delayed
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

Iridium Communications – in the midst of launching their next generation communications constellation – has formally signed an agreement with SpaceX to utilize flight-proven Falcon 9 boosters on their upcoming Iridium NEXT-4 and -5 missions. Iridium NEXT-4, scheduled to launch NET 22 December 2017 from SLC-4E, will be the first flight-proven Falcon 9 mission from Vandenberg. The change in boosters now negates the possibility of a Return To Launch Site landing of the Falcon 9 for the mission.

From Comets Come Planets
Source: John Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory

Narrow dense rings of comets are coming together to form planets on the outskirts of at least three distant solar systems, astronomers have found in data from a pair of NASA telescopes.

Space Greens Beat The Blues
Source: De Gruyter Open

Where people will go in the cosmos, plants will go. That’s the message of a paper entitled “Gardening for Therapeutic People-Plant Interactions during Long-Duration Space Missions” written by Raymond Odeh, and Charles L. Guy of the University of Florida (Gainesville) and published in the De Gruyter journal, Open Agriculture.

Mattis Tells Congress No To Space Corps And CIWO
Source: SpacePolicyOnline.com

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has sent a letter to House and Senate negotiators on the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) saying that he opposes both creation of a Space Corps or of a Chief Information Warfare Officer (CIWO). The House-version of the bill requires the former; the Senate version requires the latter. Mattis wants neither.

Blue Origin Fires Up BE-4 Rocket Engine, Marking A Win For Jeff Bezos
Source: GeekWire

Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture says it has successfully test-fired its BE-4 rocket engine, marking a key step in the development of its own New Glenn rocket as well as United Launch Alliance’s next-generation rocket.

Flaws In NASA-Provided Detectors To Delay European Astronomy Mission
Source: SpaceNews

Problems with infrared detectors provided by NASA will delay the delivery of an instrument for a European Space Agency astronomy mission by a year or more, a NASA official said Oct. 18. Paul Hertz, director of NASA’s astrophysics division, said engineers found problems during recent testing of infrared detectors being provided by NASA for ESA’s Euclid space telescope, which had been planned for launch in 2020 on a Soyuz rocket from French Guiana.

New Hubble Gallery Features Objects From Popular Messier Catalog
Source: NASA

In a nod to the global amateur astronomy community, as well as to any space enthusiast who enjoys the beauty of the cosmos, the Hubble Space Telescope mission is releasing its version of the popular Messier catalog, featuring some of Hubble’s best images of these celestial objects that were once noted for looking like comets but turned out not to be.

Interplanetary Players: A Who’s Who Of Space Mining
Source: Financial Times

Mineral extraction is going to be crucial for the survival of colonies on Mars or the moon, dreamt up and financed by the likes of entrepreneurs Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. A number of companies are carving out a reputation of being among the industry leaders.

Who Owns Space?
Source: Axios

We’re standing at the starting line of a new space race, one that could trigger a gold rush-like hunt for resources. Companies are lining up to launch space mining missions, and countries are passing laws to allow them. There’s just one problem: Under some interpretations of the 50-year-old Outer Space Treaty, which was signed by almost 100 countries, none of this is legal.

Google Maps Expands Its Interplanetary Domain All The Way Out To Pluto
Source: GeekWire

If you zoom way, way out on Google Maps, you can now find your way around places like Sputnik Planum, Seville Mons, Aphrodite Terra and Damascus Sulcus. Those are destinations on Pluto, Iapetus, Venus and Enceladus, just made available for virtual exploration by the Google Maps team in cooperation with astronomical artist Björn Jónsson, NASA and the European Space Agency.