In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s Artemis moon program could send the first woman to the Moon. A new Washington D.C. street name pays tribute to African American women and human spaceflight pioneers Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson. A new telescope under development in Chile could be named after astronomer Vera Rubin.
Human Space Exploration
Bridenstine: Artemis mission could send first woman to the Moon
Spaceflightinsider.com (6/11): During a visit to NASA’s Glenn Research Center earlier this week, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine noted the agency’s horizon goal of reaching Mars with human explorers includes a return to the surface of the Moon in 2024, one that will include an opportunity for the first women to walk on the surface of another planetary body. Glenn is developing hardware to rove and excavate the lunar surface, an advanced solar electric propulsion system and a Kilopower reactor, a lunar surface electrical generator.
The stars of ‘Hidden Figures’ are now immortalized on street sign
Washington Post (6/12): Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson were pioneers who helped send U.S. astronauts into space and eventually to the Moon, yet “were not celebrated” at the time. During ceremonies in the nation’s capital on Wednesday, the street that passes by NASA’s headquarters was renamed from E Street SW to Hidden Figures Way in honor of three African American women. The story of the three mathematicians was chronicled in the book and Oscar nominated film, Hidden Figures.
Are we alone?
Houston Chronicle (6/13): A long running curiosity about whether there is life on Mars has helped to underpin efforts to explore the red planet with humans. Advocates believe that properly trained and intuitive humans could be more efficient explorers than current generations of robots. But it’s an expensive pursuit probably not possible until the 2030’s at the earliest.
The ocean on Jupiter’s moon Europa has table salt, just like Earth’s seas
Space.com (6/12): Observations with the Hubble Space Telescope point to the presence of sodium chloride, essentially table salt, on the surface of Europa, the ice and ocean covered moon of Jupiter. Scientists believe it came from the Jovian moon’s ocean. Sodium chloride is also an ingredient of the Earth’s oceans.
Giant telescope in Chile could be named for pioneering astronomer Vera Rubin
Space.com (6/12): Legislation introduced in the U.S. House on Wednesday would name the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope under development in Chile for the late Vera Rubin, a U.S. physicist who helped to pioneer studies of dark matter. U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson, who chairs the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and congresswoman Jenniffer González-Colón, of Puerto Rico, introduced the bi-partisan bill.
Blue Origin investing more than $1 billion into Space Coast to build ‘road to space’
Florida Today (6/11): Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origins is looking at a more than one billion dollar investment in Florida’s Space Coast as it brings forward the New Glenn rocket. The company’s objectives include the human industrialization of space, from Earth orbit to the Moon and perhaps deeper into space.
Fusion-powered spacecraft could be just a decade away
Space.com (6/12): At Princeton University, researchers are at work on a Direct Fusion Drive, which could accelerate travel to deep space destinations. A test flight is possible by 2028. The technology may accelerate the travel time to destinations like Saturn and Pluto from nearly seven years and ten years respectively to two years and five years.
Earth is approaching the same “meteor swarm” that may have caused an entire forest to explode in 1908
CBS News (6/12): A study led by scientists from Western Ontario University raises concerns over the Taurid meteor shower, which was a host to the large meteor that impacted the Earth in 1908 and known as the Tunguska event. More than 80 million trees were leveled across an 800 square mile region of Russia. The Earth passes through the Taurid swarm periodically.
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