Today’s Deep Space Extra

August 9th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… CubeSats will join astronauts aboard the first joint test launch of NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion capsule, Artemis 2, as they journey around the Moon. ILC Dover and Collins Aerospace offer a look at what the next U.S. space suit might look like. 

Human Space Exploration

This next-gen spacesuit could protect astronauts on the Moon and Mars
Coalition Member in the News: Collins Aerospace (8/8): Astro is a new space suit concept developed by ILC Dover and Collins Aerospace, two firms that worked to provide the NASA space suits in use aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Astro is envisioned for use by astronauts on the Moon and Mars and consists of the garment itself from ILC Dover and the back pack life support unit from Collins.

The surprisingly cozy truths of sleeping in space
Wired (8/8): Former NASA astronaut Mike Massimino describes what it’s like to rest up while flying weightless in space. Despite the lights, noise and “sleep over” like setting of sharing a small volume with other astronauts, it was “probably the best sleeping I’ve done in my life,” said Massimino, whose space shuttle spacewalks helped to upgrade the Hubble Space Telescope.

Space Science

NASA seeking proposals for CubeSats on second SLS launch (8/8): NASA’s Artemis 2 mission, the second planned joint test flight of the Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion crew capsule, and the first with astronauts on board, is seeking candidate small satellites as ride along candidates, agency leaders announced Thursday at the Conference on Small Satellites at Utah State University. The milestone mission in NASA’s efforts to return to the lunar surface with astronauts in 2024 is tentatively planned for 2022. Proposals from U.S. companies, universities and other qualified organizations are due November 4 and are to be focused on learning more about the Moon and Mars.

Earth’s last magnetic-pole flip took much longer than we thought (8/7): Over the past 2 1/2 million years, the Earth’s magnetic field has flipped dozens of times. But recent studies of volcanic flows suggest the most recent time in which the North and South poles traded places was 780,000 years ago. Studies indicate the most recent switch took 22,000 years, much longer than previous flips, which are estimated to have transpired over 1,000 to 10,000 years.

Maybe dark matter is warm, not cold
Universe Today (8/7): For decades scientists have attempted to explain dark matter, which is believed to comprise more than a quarter of the mass in the universe based on studies of its gravitational influence. Some experts believe it must exist at very low temperatures. However, a new study from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics contends otherwise. It’s hoped that perhaps the NASA led James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), currently scheduled to launch in March 2021, may help to resolve the issue.

Other News

More than 50 pieces of debris remain in space after India destroyed its own satellite in March
The Verge (8/8): More than 50 fragments from India’s Marcj 27 anti-satellite test continue to orbit the Earth, according to the Air Force’s Joint Force Space Component Command, which oversees the 18th Space Control Squadron that tracks more than 20,000 human made objects circling the Earth. An estimated 300 to 400 pieces of debris from the relatively low altitude test have destructively re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere. Some of the material soared as high as the six person International Space Station (ISS), some even higher, prompting NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine to express concern

Steam-powered Cubesats dance in space as one NASA spacecraft commands its twin (8/8): In June, NASA’s Optical Communications and Sensor Demonstration mission succeeded in enabling two small satellites in Earth orbit to establish a communications link over which one of the satellites was able to command its companion to activate a thruster and move closer. Both of the small satellites are fueled with water and propelled by steam.

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