Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 11th, 2017

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Top space experts gathered in Washington this week for the 5th Human to Mars Summit. The Explore Mars gathering allows experts to exchange ideas on how to explore and settle the red planet.

Human Deep Space Exploration

Humans to Mars Summit kicks off with plans, education, Buzz Aldrin

Space Flight Insider (5/10): Speaking at the fifth annual Humans to Mars Summit this week in Washington, top NASA executives proclaim Mars as the horizon goal for human deep space exploration. The endeavor will follow a flexible path and include international partners according to the speakers.

NASA investigating damaged SLS tank section

Space News (5/10): A Space Launch System oxygen tank component was damaged at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans last week. NASA and SLS first stage contractor Boeing are investigating. Operations at Michoud were suspended in response to the incident.

A cabin on the moon? China hones the lunar lifestyle

Xinhuanet of China (5/11): Over the next year, China plans to simulate a human mission to the lunar surface in phases lasting 60, 200 and 105 days. Two groups of four men and women volunteers, all young post grad civilian students, will occupy the Yuegong-1 habitat in Beijing to test life support systems that recycle water and food. China plans to put astronauts on the moon by 2036.

Given the hazards of landing on Mars, SpaceX may send two Dragons in 2020

Ars Technica (5/10): SpaceX looks at two rather than a single Red Dragon mission launch to Mars in 2020. The two uncrewed flights would test supersonic retro propulsion as an entry, descent and landing strategy at the Red Planet. NASA is looking at supersonic retro propulsion as a technology for landing human explorers and their supplies on the red planet in the 2030s.


Space Science

Space travel can cut astronauts’ fitness levels by 50 percent (5/10): Studies of nine men and women long duration astronauts who’ve served aboard the International Space Station reveal that that prolonged weightlessness can affect the body’s circulatory system in ways that restrict the delivery of oxygen through capillaries to muscles. The loss can impact aerobic capacity, a factor in the ability of astronauts to explore planetary surfaces or deal with an emergency as they descent to Earth, according to the NASA funded study published by the Journal of Applied Physiology.

Life among the stars? Tiny interstellar probes may test ‘panspermia’ idea (5/10): The Breakthrough Starshot initiative would send fleets of small, one gram sized spacecraft on a journey to the neighboring star Proxima-b to characterize the environment and seeks signs of life while testing the panspermia theory of how life spread through the universe. The journey would begin in the next 20 years or so. The probes would be equipped with tiny sails that would be propelled across space with a laser. NASA could play a role.

Stunning view of the Crab Nebula just got five times better

Universe Today (5/10): A handful of telescopes have joined to produce a compelling image of the Crab Nebula, a star blast 6,500 light years away and first noticed by naked eye observers on the Earth 900 years ago.


Low Earth Orbit/ Commercial to Orbit

GAO requested to study restoring FAA Commercial Space Office to Secretary’s level (5/10): Three members of the U.S. House have asked the General Accountability Office to study the possibility of elevating the status to the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation within the Department of Transportation in order to help provide additional staff and funding.

DiBello: Florida must grow aerospace talent pipeline

Florida Today (5/9): Space Florida CEO Frank DiBello believes the state’s aerospace industry is poised for growth — if it can attract the talented labor. DiBello spoke earlier this week at a gathering of the National Space Club Florida.

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