Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 4th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA presents a dynamic new logo. Scientist say “no” to a possible alien mega structure around Tabby’s star. The U.S. led the world in 2017 orbital mission launches.

Human Space Exploration

NASA’s new 60th anniversary logo depicts ‘historic past and inspiring future’ (1/3): NASA will mark the agency’s 60th anniversary in 2018 with an inspirational new logo, unveiled on Wednesday, that recalls an accomplished past that includes the first human moon landing and a future that includes ambitions to return to the lunar environs with astronauts, then deeper into the solar system.


Space Science

NASA streamlines management requirements for some science missions

Space News (1/3): NASA is moving to streamline the management of its lowest cost and most risk tolerant space science missions in an effort to facilitate more innovation. These “Class D” missions are capped at $150 million, exclusive of launch costs.

Two external instruments installed on ISS over New Year’s holiday (1/3): NASA ground controllers used robotic arms on the International Space Station on December 30-31 to install a pair of external instruments on the exterior of the six person orbiting laboratory. First it was a sensor, TSIS-1, for observations of solar radiance and its influence on the Earth’s atmosphere and then the Space Debris Sensor, which is to measure the smallest orbital debris environment through which the Station orbits.

Alien megastructure? Forget about it, weird star’s discoverers say after further study (1/3): The speculation of a possible alien megastructure around the star KIC 8462852, discovered in 2016 with NASA’s extra solar planet hunting Kepler space telescope, may be dimming. A new Kickstarter financed observation campaign with a network of ground based telescopes, suggests that dust clouds and not an artificial structure are responsible for a curious dimming around the star, which is about 1,500 light years away. The findings are reported in the Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Strange clouds are circling Antarctica (1/3): Noctilucent clouds are ice covered specs of meteor smoke that form at high altitude. A cloud formation is currently encircling the Antarctic. The electric blue formation may be linked to a cold weather surge in the U.S.


Other News

In 2017, the U.S. led the world in launches for the first time since 2003

Ars Technica (1/3): For the first time in a decade, the U.S. led the world in 2017 in the number of orbital space launches with 29. Russia was second, with 20. China followed with 19.

China to attempt more than 40 space launches in 2018, including Long March 5 and lunar far side missions

GB Times of Finland (1/3): China has aggressive launch plans for 2018, perhaps doubling the country’s previous record with at least 35 space missions and possibly more. Plans include a first ever mission to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon’s far side and a continued buildup of a global navigation satellite constellation.

Russia lost a $45 million weather satellite due to human error, official says (1/3): The Russian Meteor-M weather satellite launch occurred November 28 from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. However, the satellite primary payload aboard the Soyuz-2.1b rocket was programmed as though it were launching from the Baiknonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, thwarting efforts at post launch communications.

China’s out-of-control space station may crash to Earth in 2 months

Business Insider (1/3): China’s former 8 1/2 ton Tiangong-1 space station should re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere in a shower of debris between late February and early April, according to predictions from the nonprofit Aerospace Corporation. China has not been in contact with or in control of the two room, two person orbital outpost since March 16, 2016, after its mission was complete. Debris from the re-entry breakup is most likely to plummet into the ocean, but some fragments could strike land.

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