Today’s Deep Space Extra

July 10th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… High hopes for America’s space program must be matched with strategic advances and advancements, according to editorial referencing Vice President Mike Pence’s visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.

Human Space Exploration

Editorial: U.S. space program needs leadership, a clear mission and funding to achieve it

Orlando Sentinel (7/9): Referencing Vice President Mike Pence’s July 6 visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center and his call to lead the world in space exploration, the Sentinel’s editorial calls for committed U.S. space leadership, a clear mission and sustained funding.

To prepare for Mars settlement, simulated missions explore Utah’s desert

National Public Radio (7/6): In remote Utah, the Mars Desert Research Station offers researchers a simulated red planet habitat and surroundings. The value of teamwork emerges quickly.

Titan’s conditions could be just right to power U.S.-sized colony

New Scientist (7/7): Saturn’s large moon Titan could be more Earth-like than once believed, with a thick atmosphere and liquid hydrocarbons flowing on its rugged terrain. Those lakes of liquid hydrocarbons could be a potential energy source for future explorers, or perhaps settlers, according to scientists. “I think long-term, after Mars, Titan’s probably the next most important place that people will have an extended presence,” says Ralph Lorenz, a planetary scientist at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland.

China tests self-sustaining space station in Beijing

Reuters (7/9): In suburban Beijing, student researchers on Sunday began a 200 day isolation experiment in a small habitat in support of China’s human lunar exploration plans. Lunar Palace-1, the hab, is part of China’s preparations to reach the moon with human explorers by 2036.


Space Science

Why planetary scientists want better fake space dirt

Nature News (7/6): Future NASA deep space exploration missions have engineered a new business line, simulants, or soils made on Earth meant to replicate those of the moon, asteroids and other planetary surfaces.

NASA Pluto probe’s next target may actually be ‘swarm’ of objects (7/7): NASA’s New Horizons mission spacecraft continues its journey into the Kuiper Belt after a successful, first ever flyby of distant Pluto on July 14 2015. New observations of its next target, 2014 MU69, suggest the destination may be a collection of smaller bodies rather than a single object. The close encounter with 2014 MU69 is planned for Jan. 1, 2019.

Juno will fly a mere 9,000 km above Jupiter’s Great Red Spot

Scientific America (7/7): Juno, NASA’s long running orbital mission at Jupiter, will take the spacecraft on a low altitude overflight of the giant planet’s Great Red Spot late Monday. The 10,000 mile wide swirling blotch is an ancient atmospheric storm long observed by ground based telescopes. Juno will soar a less than 6,000 miles overhead with cameras and instruments.

JAXA, NASA approve replacement for failed Hitomi astronomy satellite (7/6): The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s Astronomy Recovery Mission could launch as soon as March 2021. The observatory would replace the Hitomi X-ray telescope that spun from control soon after launching in March 2016. NASA is an XARM partner.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of July 10-14, 2017 (7/9): The U.S. House and Senate are back in session this week. The Washington area also serves as host to a range of professional, science and space policy forums.

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