Today’s Deep Space Extra

July 17th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Space explorers can reach the Martian surface by 2040, Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin tells a weekend Florida gala marking the anniversary of the first human lunar landing in 1969.

Human Space Exploration

Astronaut Buzz Aldrin rolls out the red carpet for Mars

Associated Press via ABC News (7/16): Apollo 11’s Buzz Aldrin urged more focus on Mars exploration during a star studded gathering at the Apollo/Saturn V Center at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on Saturday night. The event raised more than $190,000 for Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation. The guests included other former NASA astronauts and space entrepreneur Jeff Bezos. Apollo 11, commanded by the late Neil Armstrong, launched on the first human mission to land on the moon 48 years ago Sunday, July 16.

JAXA tests grapefruit-sized video drone aboard ISS

Japan Times (7/14): A potential astronaut time saver, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s experimental Int-Ball drone would take on video recording duties now assigned to human crew. The grapefruit shaped drone was tested in the station’s Kibo science module.


Space Science

CME strike sparks geomagnetic storms (7/16): Aurora blossomed above the Earth’s northern and southern hemispheres on Sunday, following a strike earlier in the day from a solar Coronal Mass Ejection.

NASA releases New Horizons flyover video

Spaceflight Insider (7/15): Using data from New Horizons spacecraft, NASA has release a video of the first flyover of distant Pluto and its moon Charon. The flyby occurred in July 2015. New Horizon’s mission into the Kuiper Belt continues.

Jupiter images thrill, inspire public to participate

CBS News (7/14):  NASA’s Juno mission transmitted close up imagery of Jupiter’s Great Red Spot after a fly over last week. Mission managers are encouraging the public to “dress up” the raw images. The results are ranging from whimsical to spectacular.

Water bears will survive the end of the world as we know it

Science News (7/14): Who is best suited to survive the worst natural disasters? Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are best suited to survive a catastrophic asteroid impact — even a stellar explosion, according to the findings from a study led by a Harvard University researcher and published in the journal Scientific Reports.


Other News

Space groups hailing appointment of Scott Pace as National Space Council executive

Florida Politics (7/14):  Exploration advocates back the Trump Administration’s choice of Scott Pace to lead the recently re-established White House National Space Council. The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration and Commercial Spaceflight Federation are among those applauding the choice. Pace, a former NASA official, leads the George Washington University Space Policy Institute.

House adopts Johnson amendment to create memorial to Apollo 1 crew (7/15): An amendment to the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act, legislation passed by the U.S. House on Friday, would establish a memorial for NASA’s Apollo 1 crew at the Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington D.C. Astronauts Gus Grissom, Ed White and Roger Chaffee perished Jan 27, 1967 during a training session at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, when their spacecraft caught fire on the launch pad.

Space software is another area that needs faster acquisition, general says

Space News (7/14): Software is just as important for space as satellites and rockets, but the process to develop and deploy it needs to become more agile, one of the Air Force’s top acquisition officials said Friday. “We are very much enamoured with our system engineering processes in the Department,” said Gen. Ellen Pawlikowski, the leader of Air Force Material Command, which oversees technology and weapons research and development, testing, and deployment. Speaking at an event hosted by the Air Force Association’s Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, the general said that the current software architecture for space systems — and many terrestrial systems as well — depends on a long, arduous process of checks, testing, and reviews, which bogs down the system and leads to delays and cost overruns.

TDRS-M spacecraft damaged during closeout activities

Spaceflight Insider (7/16): An antenna on NASA’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellite-M was involved in a pre- launch incident at a processing facility near the spacecraft’s Florida launch site on Friday. Launch was planned for Aug. 3 ahead of the incident. It’s unclear if the date will change, according to a NASA status report.


Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of July 17-21, 2017 (7/16): The week’s activities include the annual American Astronautical Society’s International Space Station Research and Development Conference in Washington and NASA’s Exploration Forum at the Ames Research Center in California.

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