Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 1st, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Russian human spaceflight official points to rocket sensor issue as the cause of October 11 soyuz rocket launch abort with NASA and Russian crew members bound for the International Space Station (ISS). NASA’s Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin landed safely. Soyuz crew launches to the Space Station could resume December 3, according to the officials. NASA’s efforts to re-establish contact with the Mars Opportunity rover will extend into 2019.

Human Space Exploration

Roscosmos called the cause of the soyuz-FG rocket crash

TASS of Russia (10/31): Just ahead of the anticipated formal release of a Russian investigation report into the cause of the soyuz MS-10 rocket launch abort on October 11 with NASA astronaut Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin aboard, a Russian space agency official pointed to a faulty sensor that monitors the separation of four strap on boosters to the rocket’s second stage. Hague and Ovchinin landed safely after their launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Krikalev: Next crew could launch to ISS on December 3 (10/31): Russia could be prepared to launch three U.S., Canadian and Russian crew members to the International Space Station (ISS) on December 3, well ahead of the previous planning date of December 20, according to Russian news reports. The reporting was linked to a Russian investigation into the cause of the soyuz MS-10 launch abort of October11, with NASA’s Nick Hague and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin aboard. They landed safely in Kazakhstan rather than reaching the International Space Station (ISS).


Space Science

NASA will keep trying to revive the silent Mars rover Opportunity through January (10/30): NASA will extend its efforts to re-establish contact with the Opportunity rover, which landed on Mars in January 2004 for what was to be a 90 day mission. However, Opportunity’s explorations continued until June 10, when it went silent in response to a global dust storm. Plans to call a halt to efforts to re-establish contact in late September have been extended into early 2019 in order to allow a windy period to blow away dust that may have collected on Opportunity’s solar arrays preventing them from gathering sufficient sunlight to generate electricity.

Five things to know about InSight’s Mars landing

NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (10/31): Launched earlier this year, NASA’s Mars InSight lander is on a course to touch down on Mars on November 26. InSight is equipped to conduct the first ever studies of the Martian interior. Landing on the Red Planet is difficult, and no one has succeeded over the years but NASA.

Mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids given the go ahead (10/31): On Wednesday, NASA approved the development of a mission called Lucy, a future mission to the giant planet Jupiter for studies of Trojan asteroids, small planetary bodies that trail Jupiter around the sun. A 2021 launch is planned.

So long, Kepler, and thanks for all the planets

Washington Post (11/1): NASA announced this week the nine year Kepler extra solar planet seeking mission has come to an end. The space telescope has exhausted its fuel after the discovery of 2,681 planets and another 2,899 planetary candidates awaiting confirmation. Among the surprises were the wide variety of planets among the discoveries. “That’s one thing I love about the Kepler results,” said Jessie Dotson, project scientist for the mission. “Imagination is not the limit here.”

Comet 46P Wirtanen rounds Out 2018

Universe Today (10/31): In December, Comet 46P Wirtanen, discovered in 1948, promises naked eye viewing for those in the Northern Hemisphere.


Other News

Asteroid mining company Planetary Resources acquired by block chain firm (10/31): Redmond, Washington, based Planetary Resources, which was formed in a decade ago to assess prospects for asteroid mining, has been acquired by ConsenSys, Inc., a New York technology venture that intends to continue the pursuit of space enterprises.

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