In Today’s Deep Space Extra… National Space Club and Foundation announces winner of 2019 Goddard trophy. Red dwarfs, the most plentiful stars in the Milky Way, may not be the best places to find extant life. Enthusiasm among startups for asteroid mining appears to be waning. Blue Origin remains optimistic that its first suborbital launch with humans aboard will unfold this year.
Human Space Exploration
Space Club (1/8): The National Space Club and Foundation is pleased to announce that Robert M. Lightfoot, Jr. has won the 2019 Dr. Robert H. Goddard Memorial Trophy in recognition of his exceptional service to this country and its space program. The trophy is the Club’s highest honor and is presented annually to the team or individual who has provided leadership in groundbreaking space and aeronautics capability for the United States of America. The award will be presented at the 62nd Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner, taking place at the Washington Hilton Hotel on Friday, March 22, 2019.
Geekwire.com (1/8): Though apparently the most plentiful stars in the Milky Way galaxy, red dwarfs may not be that hospitable to the extra solar planets that form around them, according to findings presented Tuesday before the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting underway this week in Seattle. The findings are based on observations with ground and space based observatories including the Hubble Space Telescope. They suggest planets around red dwarf stars may miss out on the water and organics necessary for life.
Universe Today (1/8): NASA’s Opportunity rover descended to a productive landing on Mars in January 2004. The mission was to last 90 days in concert with its twin rover, Spirit. However, Opportunity remained productive until a global dust storm on Mars in early 2018 apparently disrupted the generation of solar power on the rover in June. Concerted efforts to restore communications with Opportunity as the storm abated have so far not been successful.
Associated Press via New York Times (1/8): NASA’s Osiris Rex asteroid sample return mission probe maneuvered into orbit around the asteroid Bennu on New Year’s Eve. Days before the critical maneuver, Osiris Rex managed to look back at the Earth, where it is to return with a sample of Bennu in September 2023, and snap a photo.
University of Alabama Huntsville (1/8): Thanks in part to engineering grad students like Shahrom Doneshawar and colleagues, NASA may one day be able to extend its robotic reach in the exploration of Mars with robotic bees.
The Space Review (1/7): One sector of a future commercial space enterprise seems to be sagging, asteroid mining. A half dozen years ago two companies, Planetary Resources and Deep Space Industries, generated excitement over the prospect of identifying, traveling to and acquiring potentially valuable resources from asteroids. Recently, both companies were acquired and it appears asteroid mining is on hold, perhaps indefinitely, according to an assessment from TSR editor Jeff Foust.
Spacepolicyonline.com (1/8): Speaking at the AIAA SciTech forum in San Diego on Tuesday, Blue Origin’s Ariane Cornell said the company hopes to launch people on its reusable New Shepard rocket in the early part of this year. Plans for the most recent New Shepard test mission in December, one NASA payloads though without humans aboard, was postponed. The company is also looking to 2021 for the first flight of its reusable orbital rocket, the New Glenn.
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