September 18, 2017

Farewell To Iapetus

Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute

September 18, 2017 – Cassini bids farewell to Saturn’s yin-and-yang moon, Iapetus. This image is from the last set of observations Cassini made of this world of striking contrasts. The spacecraft helped scientists better understand Iapetus, solving a centuries-old mystery of why it should be bright on one side and dark on the other. Read More


Two Stars, Three Dimensions, And Oodles Of Energy

Image credit: Illustrated model: NASA/CXC/M.Weiss

September 18, 2017 – For decades, astronomers have known about irregular outbursts from the double star system V745 Sco, which is located about 25,000 light years from Earth. Astronomers were caught by surprise when previous outbursts from this system were seen in 1937 and 1989. When the system erupted on February 6, 2014, however, scientists were ready to observe the event with a suite of telescopes including NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. Read More


Air Force Announces Year Long Review, Update Of Science And Technology Strategy

September 18, 2017 – Speaking at the Air Force Association’s annual Air, Space and Cyber conference today, Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson announced the Air Force will conduct a 12-month Science and Technology review to update its research priorities and strategy. The review will focus on how the Air Force conducts and manages research, and where the service should prioritize research for the next decade and beyond. Read More


Space Minor Hosting Event At Fiske To Celebrate New Academic Year

September 18, 2017 – To commence the new academic year, the space minor program will be hosting an event Monday, September 18, featuring Scholar in Residence Rick Hieb and a free show at Fiske Planetarium. Read More


2017 Farinella Prize Awarded To SwRI’s Simone Marchi

Dr Simone Marchi, a Senior Research Scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded the seventh Paolo Farinella Prize in 2017 for his contributions to understanding the impact history and physical evolution of the inner Solar System. Image Credit: S.Marchi

September 18, 2017 – Dr. Simone Marchi, an Italian scientist working at the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, has been awarded the seventh Paolo Farinella Prize in 2017 for his contributions to understanding the impact history and physical evolution of the inner Solar System. The award ceremony was hosted today at the 12th European Planetary Science Congress in Riga, Latvia. The ceremony included a lecture by Dr. Marchi on recent developments in our understanding of the early solar system. Read More


Northrop Grumman To Acquire Orbital ATK For $9.2 Billion

Image Credit: Northrop Grumman/Orbital ATK

September 18, 2017 – Northrop Grumman Corporation, a leading global security company, and Orbital ATK, Inc., a global leader in aerospace and defense technologies, today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Northrop Grumman will acquire Orbital ATK for approximately $7.8 billion in cash, plus the assumption of $1.4 billion in net debt. Orbital ATK shareholders will receive all-cash consideration of $134.50 per share. The agreement has been approved unanimously by the Boards of Directors of both companies. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2018 and is subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory and Orbital ATK shareholder approval. Read More


Microscopic Technique For Detecting Microbial Life In Enceladus Water Plumes

Astrobiology, a journal for the most up-to-date information and perspectives on exciting new research findings and discoveries emanating from interplanetary exploration and terrestrial field and laboratory research programs. Image Credit: Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

September 18, 2017 – A new study has demonstrated the potential to use digital holographic microscopy (DHM) to detect microorganisms and evidence of life in water collected from the plume rising from the surface of Saturn’s icy moon Enceladus. Read More


More News:

Uwingu Awards Final Three Grants
Source: Uwingu

Between February 26, 2014 and May 15, 2017 people all around the world helped name craters on Uwingu’s Mars map. We hope that those features that the public named will become landmarks to future Mars explorers. Half of each purchase went into the Uwingu Fund to help provide grants for education, exploration and research. We have now completed the project and map, with nearly 28,000 crater names submitted by people from 104 different countries on Earth. These purchases have helped us award over $125,000 in grant funds for project related to space research, education and exploration.


Fifth UH Simulated Mars Mission Is In The Books
Source: University of Hawaiʻi

On September 17, after eight months of isolation in a geodesic dome on the slopes of Mauna Loa, six Hawaiʻi Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) crew members exited their habitat. They felt the sun and wind on their faces and ate fresh tropical papaya, pineapple and bananas with friends and family.


VLA Begins Huge Project Of Cosmic Discovery
Source: National Radio Astronomy Observatory

Astronomers have embarked on the largest observing project in the more than four-decade history of the National Science Foundation’s Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) — a huge survey of the sky that promises a rich scientific payoff over many years. Over the next 7 years, the iconic array of giant dish antennas in the high New Mexico desert will make three complete scans of the sky visible from its latitude — about 80 percent of the entire sky.


A Day In The Life Of NASA’s Voyagers
Source: NASA

At more than 10 billion miles away from Earth, there is no day and night. Time and space are fathomless and our Sun is a distant point of starlight — a faint reminder of the home NASA’s twin Voyagers, humanity’s farthest and longest-lived spacecraft, left behind 40 years ago. Voyager 1, which launched on Sept. 5, 1977, and Voyager 2, launched on Aug. 20, 1977, continue to return data that shape our view and understanding of our place in the universe.


NASA Tests First 3-D Printed Rocket Engine Part Made With Two Different Alloys
Source: NASA

Engineers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, tested NASA’s first 3-D printed rocket engine prototype part made of two different metal alloys through an innovative advanced manufacturing process. NASA has been making and evaluating durable 3-D printed rocket parts made of one metal, but the technique of 3-D printing, or additive manufacturing, with more than one metal is more difficult.


Ancient Lake On Mars Was Hospitable Enough To Support Life
Source: astrobio.net

An up-close view of Mars’ rocky deposits by NASA’s Curiosity rover shows a changing climate in the planet’s ancient past that would have left the surface warm and humid enough to support liquid water — and possibly life. Evidence of an ancient lake points to the prospect of two unique habitats within its shores; the lower part of the lake was devoid of oxygen compared to an oxygen-rich upper half.


Piecing Together NASA’s Crewed Deep Space Spacecraft
Source: NASASpaceFlight.com

The first Orion spacecraft that will be capable of transporting NASA astronauts into deep space is now being constructed. Although it won’t launch until 2022 at the earliest, the Exploration Mission -2 (EM-1) Orion structural pieces are being constructed and readied at AMRO in California ahead of a trip to the Michoud Assembly Facility (MAF) in New Orleans where they will be welded together to create the spacecraft.


New Mirror-Coating Technology Promises Dramatic Improvements In Telescopes
Source: University of California Santa Cruz

At UC Santa Cruz, an electrical engineer has teamed up with astronomers to improve telescope mirrors using thin-film technology from the electronics industry.


When Radio Galaxies Collide, Supermassive Black Holes Form Tightly Bound Pairs
Source: RIT News

A study using multiple radio telescopes confirms that supermassive black holes found in the centers of galaxies can form gravitationally bound pairs when galaxies merge.


Some Drone Regulations Delayed, Others Postponed Indefinitely
Source: Wall Street Journal

Recently released government documents contradict drone industry predictions of relatively swift federal approvals for expanded commercial operations.


Unfazed By Recent Failure, India Will Resume Satellite Launches By December
Source: Indiatimes.com

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will soon resume launching satellites in November or December, unfazed by the failure of its rocket in deploying a spare navigation satellite in the earth’s lower orbit on August 31, space agency chief A.S. Kiran Kumar said on Friday.


Mission To Mars, Solar Field Among Projects That Have VAFB Commander Excited About Base’s Future
Source: Lompoc Record

Michael Hough, a colonel in the U.S. Air Force, took over command of the 30th Space Wing and Western Range at Vandenberg Air Force Base on June 9. The 24-year Air Force veteran sat down recently for a wide-ranging conversation, in which he reflected on some of the highlights of his first few months on the job, such as witnessing his first rocket launch, as well as some of the things that have him excited about the near future at the base, including a scheduled mission to Mars, a solar field that will change the way portions of the base receive energy, and a potential drone program that could bring more than 1,000 jobs to VAFB.


ArianeGroup Lays Out Transition To Ariane 6, Phase-Out Of Ariane 5 And Soyuz
Source: Space Intel Report

Europe’s ArianeGroup plans to launch just one new-generation Ariane 6 rocket in 2020 — the lighter-version Ariane 62 — and will wait until mid-2021 to start operations of the commercial workhorse, the heavier-lift Ariane 64, under a schedule presented to Ariane users.


Dragon Splashes Down In Pacific With NASA Science Experiments
Source: NASA

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo craft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at approximately 10:14 a.m. EDT, southwest of Long Beach, California, and the recovery process is underway, marking the end of the company’s twelfth contracted cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station for NASA.


Cassini’s End Viewed In Colorado: ‘A Sad Moment, But A Fantastic Mission’
Source: CBS Denver

It was a bittersweet morning in Boulder for the science community at the University of Colorado. More than 100 people packed the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics and watched Cassini’s 20 year journey come to an end.


Farewell, Cassini: Gorgeous Final Photos Are A Fitting Send-Off For Saturn Probe
Source: Space.com

The Cassini spacecraft’s farewell images are jaw-dropping, just like countless other photos the probe snapped during its 13 years in the Saturn system.


Saturn Ruled This Scientist’s Life For 40 Years — Here’s Why She Needs NASA To Go Back After Cassini’s Death
Source: Business Insider

Wielding a fresh Bachelor’s degree in physics, a 22-year-old woman walked into NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1977 and interviewed for a job. Staff at the lab looked over her resume and offered the young woman a choice. Would she like to join an existing mission at Mars, called Viking — or a brand-new mission called Voyager?


Boeing, ArianeGroup Announce Ion Propulsion Agreement
Source: Air & Cosmos International

Boeing has signed a strategic agreement with the Orbital Propulsion unit of ArianeGroup covering joint development of a new generation of ion propulsion systems for satellites.


Space-Grown Bacteria Could Pose Major Problems For Astronauts
Source: Healthline

Zero gravity had unexpected effects on E. coli samples, causing them to behave differently. That could present problems trying to treat them.