Today’s Deep Space Extra

August 1st, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Plans for the future human exploration of Mars may well require the research capabilities of a functioning International Space Station beyond 2025, policy makers suggest.

Human Space Exploration 

Human exploration and the International Space Station and can work in tandem [Opinion]

Houston Chronicle (7/25): U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith chairs the U.S. Houston Science, Space and Technology Committee. NASA can be innovative enough to keep the International Space Station operating beyond a 2025, deadline put forth by President Trump, writes the San Antonio, Texas, lawmaker in an op-ed. Policymakers can find a strategy to continue ISS operations, while NASA embarks on a new era of human deep space exploration, says Smith.

NASA’s plans to end the ISS could put its Mars missions in danger

New Scientist (7/31): The International Space Station, continuously staffed by astronaut and cosmonaut crews since late 2000, is an important part of researching how humans respond to long duration spaceflight and for developing crucial technologies for life support. Both are an important part of preparing for human deep space exploration. A report from NASA’s inspector general this week questioned whether the nation’s commercial sector is prepared to take over operations of the Space Station from NASA by 2025, as directed by the Trump administration.

Here’s how NASA plans to build on other planets

Fast Company (7/31): At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, the agency and commercial and military partners are developing techniques for building sturdy habitats and other structures on planetary bodies like Mars and the Moon. The Swamp Works is experimenting with 3-D printing strategies using soil and other resources on planetary bodies to fashion structures.

Sorry, Elon Musk: NASA says plans to terraform Mars won’t work

CNET (7/30): SpaceX founder Elon Musk has suggested that nuclear detonations at Mars might help to make the now cold and dry Red Planet more habitable by releasing carbon dioxide and moisture into the atmosphere to trap heat. Analysts led by a University of Colorado researcher, however, say the explosions would not release near enough of the vapors.


Space Science

9 strange, scientific excuses for why humans haven’t found aliens yet (7/31): A look at plausible explanations for why humans seem now to be alone in the universe.


Other News

Pentagon delays release of space reorganization study (7/31): On Wednesday, Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan cancelled a news media preview of U.S. military space reorganization plans. More assessment is anticipated for the plan that could set the stage for the creation of a separate branch of the military known as the Space Force and called for by President Trump.

NASA administrator visits Langley, touts facility’s work in space and climate

Hampton Roads Daily Press of Virginia (8/1): New NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine toured the agency’s Langley Research Center in Virginia on Tuesday and remarked on the center’s long history of contributions to planetary surface entry, descent and landing technologies, aviation and climate change.

Firefly aerospace advisory board with Lightfoot, Nield & others

Parabolic Arc (7/31): Four former civilian space agency executives, including previous NASA Acting Administrator Robert Lightfoot, and astronaut Bill Readdy will join an advisory board established by Firefly Aerospace, Inc., a startup launch services provider for small and medium payloads. Firefly is headquartered in Cedar Park, an Austin, Texas suburb.

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