Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 1st, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA pays tribute to the late Apollo and shuttle astronauts Alan Bean and Don Peterson. NASA is teaming with the U.S. private sector and academia to develop technologies needed to mine the Moon and other deep space destinations for resources.

Human Space Flight

Alan Bean, Don Peterson remembered at ceremony at Kennedy Space Center (5/31): A memorial Thursday at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center visitor complex paid tribute to two NASA astronauts who died over the Memorial Day weekend, Alan Bean, military aviator, Apollo era astronaut and artist, and Don Peterson, military pilot and shuttle astronaut. Bean, the lunar module pilot on Apollo 12, was the fourth human to walk on the moon. Peterson participated in the first space shuttle spacewalk.

NASA selects U.S. companies to advance space resource collection

NASA (5/31): NASA has selected nine U.S. companies and one university to pursue and develop technologies that could enable future human explorers to mine resources from the Moon and Mars and convert them into resources for life support and rocket propellants. The effort could reduce the need for resupply missions. NASA will invest about $10 million in the effort through agreements reaching to the end of 2021. Each company must contribute as well. “We are continuing to learn about our Moon and the value its resources can provide for human exploration,” said Jason Crusan, director of Advanced Exploration Systems at NASA headquarters.

For All Moonkind to map humanity’s lunar heritage sites using blockchain registry (5/31): The nonprofit For All Moonkind is joining with TODAQ, a blockchain financial services enterprise, to establish a map of the moon that will track and chart where human activities have taken place.


Space Science

Pluto has windswept dunes even though it shouldn’t have enough wind to sweep

Washington Post (5/31): NASA’s New Horizons mission flyby of distant Pluto in July 2015 continues to provide surprising results. The latest, published in the journal Science, reveals dune like features, made of methane ice, a surprise for such a small world with a thin atmosphere.

From Horizon to Horizon: Celebrating 15 years of Mars Express

European Space Agency (6/1): This weekend marks the 15th anniversary of the launching of the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission. The camera equipped orbiter maneuvered into its preliminary orbit around the red planet on December 25, 2003. Recent software upgrades may keep the mission’s picture taking going through the mid-2020s.

SOFIA resumes observations after extended maintenance

Coalition Member in the News – Boeing

Space News (5/31): On May 22, NASA’s SOFIA, a Boeing 747 airborne infrared astronomical observatory, resumed flight after lengthy stand down for maintenance.


Other News

Tory Bruno, the other rocket man

Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance

Air and Space Magazine (6/1): Tory Bruno resists the temptation to trash-talk Elon Musk, for the most part. Bruno is in charge of the establishment empire striking back. The imperium in this case is United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of America’s two aerospace titans, Boeing and Lockheed Martin, mashed together a dozen years ago to create a reliable national delivery service for U.S. military spacecraft and NASA. Reliable ULA has been, its Delta and Atlas rockets completing 122 successful launches as of last fall, and five more since.

NOAA declares first JPSS weather satellite operational

Space News (5/30): Launched November 18, the NOAA 20 polar orbiting weather satellite has completed checkout and been declared operational, ensuring advanced weather observations as much of the U.S. enters the 2018 hurricane season.

Life rebounded just years after the dinosaur-killing asteroid struck

Science Magazine (5/30): Much of life on Earth, including the dinosaurs, was wiped out when a large planetary object slammed into the Earth 66 million years ago. But it returned quickly, a find that continues to puzzle scientists.

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