Today’s Deep Space Extra

September 22nd, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Epigenetics is studying how internal and external environmental factors of space flight affect DNA. OSIRIS-REx, NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission, will fly close to the Earth Friday for a gravity assist as part of its seven-year round-trip to Bennu.

Human Space Exploration

Epigenetic research for space exploration

What is Epigenetics (9/19): Sixty years ago, this October, Sputnik would usher in the beginning of the space age. Since that time, several space exploration achievements have transpired and many have included humans traveling in space. But, if we want to travel longer distances into space, Mars for example, then we need to know how the space environment will affect the human body on such a long trip. One area of research that scientists are keen on investigating is epigenetics.


Space Science

NASA, JAXA reaffirm cooperation in space exploration

NASA (9/21): NASA and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) will work together on three groundbreaking science missions to explore the moons of Mars, further study the atmosphere of the Sun, and research dark matter and the evolution of the universe. In a September 21 (ET) press conference at JAXA Headquarters, NASA reaffirmed that it will continue to strive for breakthrough science discoveries by cooperating with JAXA on Martian Moons Exploration (MMX), the Chromospheric Lyman-Alpha Spectro-Polarimeter experiment (CLASP-2), and the new X-ray Astronomy Recovery Mission (XARM).

Why NASA’s next great spacecraft is about to slingshot around Earth

Coalition Member in the News (Lockheed Martin)

Popular Science (9/22): Launched on September 8, 2017, NASA’s first asteroid sample return mission, OSIRIS-REx, embarked on a seven-year voyage to Bennu, a 1,650-foot-wide asteroid with a small chance of impacting the Earth in the distant future. OSIRIS-REx is to flyby the Earth just before 1 p.m., EDT, for a gravity assist to help propel it toward its distant destination. Assembled by Lockheed Martin, the spacecraft is to make its way back to Earth with between 2.1 ounces and 4.4 pounds of Bennu in late September 2023.

Arecibo Observatory remains offline after being buffeted by Hurricane Maria (9/21): Arecibo, the world’s second largest radio telescope, remained largely out of contact with the National Science Foundation and the Universities Space Research Association, as Hurricane Maria moved away from Puerto Rico on Thursday, leaving power and communications in disarray. Arecibo staff who weathered the storm did so with generators and supplies, according to spokespersons for the two organizations.

Why Russian billionaire Yuri Milner is spending $100 million on a mission with slim odds of success (9/20): Milner’s Breakthrough Starshot strategy would rely on space lasers to propel small light sail equipped StarChips on a mission to the nearest star system, Alpha Centauri, to seek signs of life beyond Earth.

Mars may have a porous crust, gravity map suggests (9/20): The 30-mile-thick Martian crust is more porous than previous believed, according to a new assessment using readings of the gravity field and computer simulations. The findings, published earlier in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, may have implications for how the red planet formed. The NASA-led InSight lander mission, due to launch in 2018, is expected to add new findings.

China is sending one of the most powerful deep space cameras to Mars

GB Times of Finland (9/21): China’s ambitious 2020 Mars mission will include a high resolution camera aboard the spacecraft’s orbiter. The spacecraft will also include a lander and a surface rover to help China make a mark in planetary science and discovery. China plans a Mars sample return mission in the late 2020s as well.


Other News

Preserving historic sites on the moon

Air and Space Museum Magazine (10/2017): A crowning achievement in technology, NASA’s Apollo missions left six landing sites on the moon that should be preserved because of their historical significance, according to Michelle Hanlon, a co-founder of For All Mankind, a nonprofit established earlier this year to protect the landmarks established between mid-1969 and late 1972.

Space travel debris clutters Earth’s orbit, putting innovation at risk

The Hill (9/21): Aerospace Corp Vice President Jamie Morin is urging efforts to control the increase in manmade orbital debris circling the Earth, all of which pose a risk to U.S. national security assets. The threat is likely to rise, with the growing numbers of commercial satellites now in the launch pipeline.

Atlas V rocket launch from Vandenberg AFB delayed

Noozhawk (9/21): At Vandenberg Air Force Base, California, the launch of a National Reconnaissance Office payload on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket was postponed Thursday until no earlier than Saturday. A faulty battery on the rocket was cited as the cause of the delay.

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