In Today’s Deep Space Extra… International scientists are gathered on the Arabian Peninsula for a Mars mission simulation. Russia prepares for its fastest ever Progress re-supply mission to the international Space Station. Congress ends an overnight U.S. Government shutdown with plans for spending increases. NASA hosts “State of NASA” events on Monday.
Human Space Exploration
AP via New York Times (2/8): Two hundred scientists from 25 countries have gathered on a desert stretch of the Arabian Peninsula in Oman to test hardware and rehearse for a Mars mission over a four week stint. They are simulating medical emergencies, testing a space suit developed for red planet exploration and coping with isolation. Shipping containers serve as labs and habitats in the 125 degree heat.
NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2/98): Advance medical lab tools, manufactured in space, could help future human deep space explorers assess physical changes, including changing states of health. An initiative led by JPL could help to handle samples of blood and other biological samples without sending them back to Earth for analysis.
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Sputnik News of Russia (2/9): Early Sunday, Russia plans to launch its fastest ever Progress re-supply mission to the International Space Station. The automated space freighter is to liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan, orbit the Earth twice and park at the six person orbiting science lab within 3 1/2 hours. The test is expected to set the stage for a similar sprint by a Soyuz capsule with cosmonauts and astronauts. Typically, Progress and Soyuz mission take four orbits of the Earth, or six hours, to make the transit.
Space.com (2/8): Apollo 11 moonwaker Buzz Aldrin has helped to unveil the initial elements of a fashion line for Mars, a solar panel backpack, plus a parka, duffel bag, etc.
National Public Radio (2/8): Packing and unpacking the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) as it made and makes its way from Maryland to Texas to California and finally French Guiana for testing and assembly prior to a 2019 liftoff can be as challenging as unfurling the large observatory in space to study the distant universe and probe the atmospheres of extra solar planet for biomarkers.
Washington Post (2/9): Congress and the White House moved early Friday to end a brief, overnight government shutdown prompted by proceedings in the U.S. Senate that delayed a vote on another budget continuing resolution, or temporary spending bill, before a midnight deadline. A new temporary spending measure, which will remain in effect through March 23, outlines massive new spending on defense and non-defense initiatives. The U.S. 2018 fiscal year began October 1, 2017 without a budget, prompting a series of temporary spending measures.
Business Insider/NASA (2/8): NASA is hosting an agency wide “Behind the Scenes” look at its deep space exploration and science activities and 2019 budget presentations on Monday at its field centers around the country. Acting NASA Administrator Robert Lightfoot will speak from the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
CBS via Spaceflightnow.com (2/8): SpaceX’s ‘Starman’ is headed just beyond Mars orbit, but not into the asteroid belt, according to independent post launch assessments of the Falcon Heavy’s upper stage trajectory. Images from SpaceX show the Earth in the review mirror of the Tesla roadster prime payload. It will pass about 69 million miles from Mars on June 8.
Space News (2/8): The European Space Agency will back five study contracts with five small satellite launch services companies, but is not disclosing financial details nor the length of the agreements. According to one company, the assessment includes proposals for launch sites, perhaps in Spain, French Guiana, or elsewhere.
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