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Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 28th, 2018

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, urges appropriators to keep development of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST) on track. Mars Insight Landers’ MarCo CubeSat pair, a NASA tech demo, are receiving acclaim for their deep space communications relay activities. After overcoming an October gyroscope issue, the Hubble Space Telescope is once again transmitting imagery. U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, urges appropriators to keep development of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST) on track.

Space Science

Senator seeks assurances on JWST and WFIRST funding

Space.com (11/27): U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, of Maryland, and others are seeking the support of Senate appropriations leadership to secure future development of the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) and Wide Field Infrared Space Telescope (WFIRST), both facing cost and technical challenges. Successors to NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, the JWST and WFIRST are being led through the development and operations phases by the Goddard Space Flight Center and Space Telescope Science Institute, both of Maryland. After delays, the JWST is planned for a 2021 launch but must be re-authorized by lawmakers.

MarCO success vindicates use of cubesats on deep space missions

SpaceNews.com (11/26): A pair of CubeSats developed with leadership from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), demonstrated their ability earlier this week to serve as communications relays in deep space as they tracked the successful entry, descent and landing of the Mars InSight lander. The touchdown occurred Monday afternoon, InSight will spend two years on the Martian surface investigating subsurface processes. Does Mars have a core? Is there underground water? Does Mars experience quakes?

Hubble’s first picture after returning to service. The telescope is fully operational again with three working gyros

Universe Today (11/28): The 28-year-old Hubble Space Telescope has returned its first image to scientists, following the early October loss of a critical gyroscope needed to aim and steady the space observatory. Hubble lapsed into safe mode after one of three remaining gyros began generating erroneous data. Ground teams worked in shifts to assess the difficulty and restore Hubble to three gyros status. The latest image shows a field of galaxies in the constellation Pegasus.

TRAPPIST-1 planet may be wet and life-friendly

Space.com (11/26): Just 39 light years from Earth, the Trappist 1 planetary system may have all the ingredients to support life despite its small size and mass, according to models developed by scientists at the University of Washington.

There are no Russians there

The Space Review (11/26): Russia has almost vanished from the realm of planetary science. Funding has fallen from the days of the former Soviet Union and much of the science talent has found new homes. ExoMars, a collaboration with the Europeans may offer an opportunity for a new start. China, however, has its sights set on lunar landings and research and a Mars mission, writes op-ed contributor Dwayne Day.

 

Other News

InSight’s Mars landing warms the hearts of chilled space buffs in Times Square

Space.com (11/27): A crowd with NASA ties gathered on Times Square in New York City on Monday afternoon to watch as the agency’s Mars InSight lander prepared for and carried out a dramatic successful landing on the Red Planet.

More than $150 million embezzled during construction of Vostochny Cosmodrome

Spaceflightinsider.com (11/27): A Russian investigation into construction projects at Russia’s Far East Vostochny Cosmodrome alleges that more than $150 million has been embezzled since 2014. Fourteen companies have been investigated.

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