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Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 12th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… New NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine finds growing bipartisan support, following a difficult confirmation process. Japan’s Hyabusa 2 spacecraft spots the asteroid Ryugu, its sample return destination. NASA’s Science Mission Directorate establishes, fills new executive level liaison position.

Human Space Exploration

Could humans live on Mars? ‘Absolutely,’ a NASA expert says

USA Today (6/11): Someone alive on the Earth today will become the first person to visit Mars, Jim Green, NASA’s chief scientist, told the newspaper in an interview. Some of the requirements include selecting a landing site, having a surface infrastructure to support human exploration, learning to withstand major dust storms and developing capabilities to liftoff from the red planet to return to Earth.

Settling into the new job

The Space News (6/11): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine faced a difficult partisan nomination process prior to his April 23 swearing in by Vice President Mike Pence. However, the mood seems to be shifting, with bipartisan support for the former Oklahoma congressman on the rise, according to an assessment from Space Review’editor Jeff Foust. “It’s all about building relationships,” Bridenstine said last week in a sit down session with news media. The new Administrator is leading the agency’s transition to human deep space exploration.

Todd May retiring as Marshall Space Flight Center director

Alabama.com (6/11): Todd May, will retire as director of  NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in late July, following  27 years with the space agency, including the agency’s first Space Launch System program director. Deputy Director Jody Singer will serve as acting director until a new director is named.

 

Space Science

New NASA position to focus on exploration of Moon, Mars and worlds beyond

NASA (6/11): NASA has established a new position within the agency’s Science Mission Directorate, deputy associate administrator for exploration. Steve Clark will fill the new post responsible for serving as a liaison to other NASA mission directorates, the science community and external stakeholders involved in future human and robotic exploration. Clark, a NASA veteran, returns to the agency after having served as a policy analyst for the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

Japanese probe photographs target asteroid Ryugu for sample-return mission

Space.com (6/11): Japan’s Hyabusa 2 asteroid sample return mission spacecraft is pulling up to it destination, Ryugu. If all goes well, the probe will maneuver into orbit on June 27, carry out a lengthy reconnaissance, deploy a lander and rovers, collect a sample and return to Earth in late 2020.

NASA will visit an undersea volcano in Hawaii to figure out how to hunt for aliens

Mashable (6/11): NASA’s SUBSEA initiative will gather samples from the subsea volcano Lo’ihi located 50 miles from Hawaii’s Big Island in order to study how life exists in remote, dark harsh environments. The efforts, set to get underway in August, could help to shape future missions to ocean worlds like Jupiter’s moon Europa and Saturn’s moon Enceladus.

 

Other News

Japan launches H-2A rocket carrying intelligence-gathering satellite

Kyoto International (6/12): Japan launched a radar reconnaissance satellite atop a H-2A rocket on Tuesday from the Tanegashima Space Center. The spacecraft can monitor North Korean military facilities and damage from natural disasters.

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