October 20, 2017

NASA’s SDO Spots A Lunar Transit

Image credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/SDO/Joy Ng

October 20, 2017 – On October 19, 2017, the Moon photobombed NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory (SDO) when it crossed the spacecraft’s view of the Sun. The lunar transit lasted about 45 minutes, between 1:41 and 2:25 p.m. MDT, with the Moon covering about 26 percent of the Sun at the peak of its journey. The Moon’s shadow obstructs SDO’s otherwise constant view of the Sun, and the shadow’s edge is sharp and distinct, since the Moon has no atmosphere which would distort sunlight. Read More

NASA Receives Findings From WFIRST Independent Review Team

Image Credit: NASA

October 20, 2017 – NASA has received the report from an independent, external review of the Wide Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) project. The review was commissioned by NASA to help ensure that the mission is well understood in terms of scope and required resources, and is executable. Read More

Jovian Moon Shadow

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SwRI/MSSS/Gerald Eichstädt

October 20, 2017 – Jupiter’s moon Amalthea casts a shadow on the gas giant planet in this image captured by NASA’s Juno spacecraft. The elongated shape of the shadow is a result of both the location of the moon with relation to Jupiter in this image as well as the irregular shape of the moon itself. Read More

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‘Gone, Gone, Gone!’ Styx Teams Up With NASA For Megarocket Music Video
Source: Space.com

Houston, we have a rockin’ rocket. The legendary rock band Styx has teamed up with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to unveil an awesome space-age music video set to the band’s song “Gone Gone Gone.”

Beyond Boulder: Digging In The Arctic Mud For Answers To Climate Change
Source: University of Colorado Boulder

Working from a small boat on the choppy lake waters in northern Canada, Sarah Crump, a paleoclimatologist, pulls up a 5-foot mud core sample from the undisturbed lakebed. Crump and her research team work with a sense of urgency. Even in summer, bad weather can move in quickly. And they must always be vigilant for polar bears.

“Lighten Up” – Deep Space Communications Via Faraway Photons
Source: NASA

A spacecraft destined to explore a unique asteroid will also test new communication hardware that uses lasers instead of radio waves. The Deep Space Optical Communications (DSOC) package aboard NASA’s Psyche mission utilizes photons — the fundamental particle of visible light — to transmit more data in a given amount of time.

Quick Solar Outburst
Source: NASA

A small eruption blew a bright, disjointed stream of plasma into space (Oct. 18, 2017). The source of the blast was just out of sight beyond the edge of the sun. Images from SOHO’s coronagraph instruments show a bright loop of material heading away from the sun near this same area.

International Space Station Crew Invites Public Along For Photographic Trip Around World
Source: NASA

NASA astronaut and Expedition 53 Commander Randy Bresnik will spend one full orbit photographing Earth from the International Space Station on Monday, Oct. 23, and he is inviting people around the globe to share images from their Earth-side vantage point on social media.

New NASA Study Improves Search For Habitable Worlds
Source: NASA

New NASA research is helping to refine our understanding of candidate planets beyond our solar system that might support life. “Using a model that more realistically simulates atmospheric conditions, we discovered a new process that controls the habitability of exoplanets and will guide us in identifying candidates for further study,” said Yuka Fujii of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), New York, New York and the Earth-Life Science Institute at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, Japan, lead author of a paper on the research published in the Astrophysical Journal Oct. 17.

Take A Walk On Mars — In Your Own Living Room
Source: NASA

When NASA scientists want to follow the path of the Curiosity rover on Mars, they can don a mixed-reality headset and virtually explore the Martian landscape. Starting today, everyone can get a taste of what that feels like. NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, collaborated with Google to produce Access Mars, a free immersive experience.

An Atmosphere Around The Moon? NASA Research Suggests Significant Atmosphere In Lunar Past And Possible Source Of Lunar Water
Source: NASA

Looking up at the Moon at night, Earth’s closest neighbor appears in shades of gray and white; a dry desert in the vacuum of space, inactive and dead for billions of years. Like many things, though, with the Moon, there is so much more than what meets the eye.

Orionid Meteor Shower At Peak Viewing This Weekend
Source: FOX31 Denver

The night sky will light up as the Orionid meteor shower peaks this weekend. The Orionids, which are formed from the debris of Halley’s comet, will be at peak viewing in the early-morning hours on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Three Colorado-Based Projects Make It Onto Popular Science’s 2017 Top 10 Aerospace Inventions
Source: The Denver Post

As 2017 nears its end, “Best of” lists are beginning to roll out. And so far, Colorado’s aerospace industry has been flexing its muscles. Three of the top 10 “most incredible aerospace inventions” of the year, as decided by Popular Science, are projects with roots in Colorado: OSIRIS-REx, GOES-16 weather satellite and the Dream Chaser.

ASU Teams Up With NASA To Depict Psyche Asteroid
Source: The State Press

NASA has partnered with the ASU School of Earth and Space Exploration to map Psyche, a mysterious asteroid made of a nickel-iron core similar to the Earth’s. Scientists have already determined the asteroid’s shape and size, but not what it looks like.

Relativity Space Wants To Launch Rockets For 90% Less With 3D Printing
Source: TechCrunch

A new startup called Relativity Space founded by two aerospace engineers wants to use massive 3D printers to produce rockets without humans required on the factory floor, with the ultimate aim of driving the price of rocket launches down from their current rate of around $100 million to just about $10 million per launch.

ISS Astronauts Go 3-For-3 In Successful Spacewalks, Robotic Arm Restored To Full Functionality
Source: Spaceflight101

A series of three Extravehicular Activities concluded on Friday with another very successful spacewalk outside the International Space Station that finished repairing the Station’s robotic arm for upcoming visiting vehicle captures and external maintenance operations.

GPS III: Building The Most Powerful GPS Satellite Ever
Source: Rick Ambrose/LinkedIn

Late last month the U.S. Air Force declared the most powerful GPS satellite ever built “Available for Launch.” Being officially ready to launch the first GPS III in 2018 is exciting but what’s just as exciting is seeing the program in full production in our GPS III Processing Facility in Denver.

Moonbase Prototype Advocated For Hawaii
Source: Leonard David’s Inside Outer Space

A permanent human settlement on the Moon via Hawaii is being blueprinted. Held earlier this month, an International MoonBase Summit (IMS) brought together representatives from academia, government and the private sector to help lay the groundwork for a base on the lunar surface.

XCOR Running Out Of Time To Find Investor
Source: SpaceNews

XCOR Aerospace, a company forced to lay off its staff earlier this year when it ran into financial problems, has only weeks left to find an investor willing to rebuild the company or else face liquidation, the company’s chief executive says.