In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Rocket engine test advances preparations for first Space Launch System (SLS)/Orion test flight with astronauts. Origins of alien asteroid Oumaumau explained. Russian and Europe collaborate on ice seeking lunar lander. Meteorite lights up Detroit, explodes.
Human Space Exploration
NBC News (1/16): Once assembled with international partners, a NASA led lunar orbiting habitat called the Deep Space Gateway (DSG) could serve as a destination from which the partnership could assess the readiness of astronauts for a long duration mission to Mars and back.
Universe Today (1/16): Such an underground structure could offer future lunar explorers protection from exposure to space radiation while placing them close to possible lunar ice deposits, a resource that could be converted into rocket propellants and put to use for water and oxygen for life support. Planetary scientist Pascal Lee made the discovery with imagery from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Coalition Member in the News: Aerojet Rocketdyne
Aerojet Rocketdyne (1/16): NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne qualified a third RS-25 engine controller for the first flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion with an astronaut crew, also known as Exploration Mission-2 (EM-2). Tuesday’s 365 second engine firing was carried out at NASA’s Stennis Space Center near Bay St. Louis, Mississippi. In all, the SLS core stage for EM-2 will include four of the RS-25 engines, all of space shuttle heritage. Planned for the early 2020s, EM-2 will take astronauts around the moon and back to Earth. A controller acts as a computer for each of the four engines. A similar test was carried out on December 13. Both tests also featured a new 3-D manufactured component designed to restrain engine vibrations. Aerojet Rocketdyne intends to reduce future RS-25 production costs by 30 percent by using additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, as part of its production process.
Collectspace.com (1/15): One Strange Rock, a 10 part National Geographic Channel documentary series will assess a view of the Earth as seen through the eyes and perspective of eight astronauts who’ve lived and worked aboard the International Space Station. Actor Will Smith hosts the series that premiers on March 26.
Space.com (1/16): The solar system may not be the typical line up of a star with planets, according to observations gathered with NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Planets of similar size and more ordered spacing appear to be the norm. Findings were published in The Astronomical Journal
Russian Space Web (1/16): Russia and Europe are working in partnership on Luna Resurs, a moon lander intended to seek evidence of subsurface ice and possibly ready for launch at the end of 2022.
Space.com/Expert Voices (1/16): Postdoc Fabo Feng explains more about Oumaumau, a cigar shaped object spotted last year by Hawaiian astronomers in the solar system, but whose origins come from beyond. Made of ice with a carbon exterior, Oumaumau may have originated in the Pleiades Moving Group and somehow obtained the velocity to dart into and eventually through the solar system. Oumaumau may be but one of many similar objects that have invaded the solar system but gone undetected.
NASA/Goddard (1/16): Observations by a collection of ground and space based observatories, including the Hubble Space Telescope, of a massive collection of stars, ACT-CLJ0102-4915, also known as El Gordo, or the Big Fat One, promises to reveal more to scientists about dark matter and dark energy.
Detroit News (1/17): A meteorite, estimated at three to seven feet across, streaked across the skies of the northern Midwest Tuesday night, lighting up the sky briefly before exploding.
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