Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 29th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… U.S. House appropriators seek more for NASA in 2018 including additional investments in exploration.

Human Space Exploration

House spending bill would boost NASA funding

Space News (6/28): U.S. House appropriators on Wednesday introduced a measure calling for $19.872 billion for NASA for the 2018 fiscal year, $780 million more than the Trump White House sought in a budget measure submitted to Congress on May 23 and $218 million more than the agency received in 2017. The House measure includes $616 million more for space exploration initiatives than the $4.55 billion sought by the administration. The 2018 fiscal year begins Oct. 1.

MSNW’s plasma thruster just might fire up Congress at hearing on space propulsion (6/28): Experts on electric propulsion are scheduled to appear before the U.S. House Space Subcommittee on Thursday. The technology is one that NASA is evaluating with contract teams as a means of propulsion for human deep space exploration.


Space Science

Kepler has taught us that rocky planets are common (6/28): The latest exo-planet count from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope suggests that rocky planets similar to the Earth may be common throughout the Milky Way galaxy. Prior to Kepler’s 2009 launch, a limited number of discoveries were weighted toward Jupiter and Neptune sized distant worlds. In spite of the latest Kepler discovery total, 4,034, of which about 50 are Earth sized and circle their stars in the habitable zone, the prospect they might host biological activity is quite uncertain.

NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover on walkabout near crater rim (6/28): NASA’s Opportunity Rover sits on the rim of Endeavour Crater after more than 13 years on Mars. The mechanical geologist is attempting to determine whether close by rocks were transported by ancient floods or bear the marks of wind erosion.

Commentary: Wave the red flag: Friday’s Asteroid Day and the threat is serious

Orlando Sentinel (6/27): Friday marks Asteroid Day, a recent annual observance of the June 30, 1908 asteroid impact over Tunguska in remote Siberia. Astronomers, scientists from other fields, former astronauts and entertainers are among those behind Asteroid Day and who support additional efforts to detect asteroids that could impact the Earth and to develop strategies to deflect them.

Gecko-inspired robot could snag space junk (6/28): Grippers like those on the feet of geckos have inspired a possible tool for reducing manmade orbital debris, whose accumulation is considered a hazard to satellite activities, according to a Stanford University professor.  The proposal is published in the Journal Science robotics.


Other News

Arianespace closes the first half of 2017 with launch of Flight VA238

Spaceflight Insider (6/28): An Ariane 5 launch vehicle lofted Hellas Sat 3 / Inmarsat S EAN and GSAT-17 communications satellites into geosynchronous transfer orbit from Kourou French Guiana on Wednesday.
Japan plans to land astronauts on moon around 2030
Asahi Shimbun (6/29): Japan’s space agency has discussed efforts to explore ice deposits at the moon’s South Pole as a possible source of rocket fuel. Leveraging NASA’s proposed Deep Space Gateway, Japanese astronauts would visit the region around 2030.


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