Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 19th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… The upcoming August total solar eclipse could bring a summer chill moment.


Space Science

Dawn mission managers await NASA decision on spacecraft’s future (6/17):  NASA’s Dawn mission spacecraft completes a one year extension of its primary orbital mission at the large main belt asteroid Ceres on June. 30. Agency managers are assessing what to do next with the spacecraft, which is no longer able to use its reaction wheels for pointing and running low on thruster fuel. The options include turning off the spacecraft that was launched in late 2007; continuing to orbit Ceres with its mysterious bright spots and possible geothermal activity; or perhaps attempting to visit another asteroid with a flyby.  Dawn has been orbiting Ceres since March 2015.

Opportunity rover’s roll on Mars eerily echoes Apollo 16’s stroll on the moon (6/16):  NASA’s Opportunity rover, exploring Mars since 2004, paid tribute to Apollo 16 astronauts John Young and Charlie Duke, who strolled the moon’s surface in April 1972. Opportunity’s explorations at Orion crater resemble those of Young and Duke at Plum crater on the moon’s Descartes Highlands. Orion was the name of the Apollo 16 lunar module and is also the name of the spacecraft capsule NASA is currently developing to launch astronauts on future missions of deep space exploration.

See the latest stunning views of Jupiter

Science News (6/16): NASA’s Jupiter orbiting Juno spacecraft has provided 14 new close up views of Jupiter imaged on May 19. The spacecraft is on an orbital course that brings it close to the giant planet every 53 days and traveling from the north to the south pole.

Brrr! How much can temperatures drop during a total solar eclipse? (6/17): Aug. 21 will bring a total solar eclipse, visible in the U.S. from the Northwest to the Mid-Atlantic. With the sun totally blocked by the moon, daytime temperatures will drop.


Other News

 Waiting for takeoff at the Spaceport

Santa Fe New Mexican (6/17): In New Mexico, state leadership and taxpayers weigh more public investment in Spaceport America. If space tourism is not ready to flourish as rapidly as past expectations, can the space port shift its focus to becoming a commercial spaceflight hub? If so, millions more in infrastructure improvements will be necessary.

New broadcasting satellite fails to enter preset orbit

Xinhuanet of China (6/19): The Zhongxing-9A communications satellite launched from China early Monday atop a Long March 3B rocket failed to reach its intended orbit, reportedly because of an issue with the third stage that those involved with the launch are attempting to overcome.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of June 18-24, 2017 (6/18): In Washington the U. S. House and Senate are in session this week. NASA hosts briefings Monday from the Ames Research Center on recent discoveries made with the Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in 2009 to find planets around other stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and on Wednesday from Washington on the Aug. 21 total Solar Eclipse that will be visible from much of the U.S. The Paris Air Show is also underway this week as well.





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