In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Travelling to Mars continues to be a huge topic and now astronauts are joining the discussion.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Ohio State University (5/11): The discussion at the Armstrong Space Symposium on May 11 turned to humanity’s next destination in space, the moon or Mars, and whether it will have government or commercial leadership. Commercial ventures “are not substitutes for national will” or “a belief by our nation that we should be preeminent in space,” asserted Mike Griffin, a former NASA administrator, who was among the space agency officials and astronauts who participated.
South China Morning Post (5/11): Ye Peijian, chief commander of China’s lunar exploration program, says his country is considering missions that would robotically capture an asteroid and place it in lunar orbit, where astronauts could explore it for valuable resources, including metals and minerals. China will also consider establishing a permanent asteroid base for its astronauts. Asteroid exploration spacecraft supporting the plans should begin launching in 2020, according to state media reports. NASA’s similar Asteroid Redirect Mission is facing cancellation.
Los Angeles Times (5/11): A chronology of global space exploration milestones reveals that China is catching up with plans to establish a space station and explore the moon with humans.
Space.com (5/11): Launched to the International Space Station a half-dozen years ago, the $2 billion, multi-national Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, a cosmic ray observatory, will be a short focus of activity during a NASA spacewalk by astronauts Peggy Whitson and Jack Fischer early Friday. Scientists hope to replace the observatory’s cooling system this year to sustain ongoing studies of dark matter.
Space.com (5/11): The alien planet HAT-P-26, a “warm Neptune” with water clouds, lies 430 light years from Earth. The exo-planet was observed by the Hubble and Spitzer space telescopes and the observations studied a researcher from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.
Universe Today (5/11): Under a NASA grant, experts at Arizona State University are developing an instrument, Seismometers for Exploring the Subsurface of Europa, that could be included on a future mission to the ice and ocean covered moon of Jupiter to listen to what goes on under the surface. Scientists believe Europa may host habitable environments.
U.S. Mint (5/12): The U.S. Secretary of the Treasury is authorizing the minting of gold and silver coins commemorating the upcoming 50th anniversary of the July 20, 1969 Apollo 11 moon landing. In addition there is a design contest that began May 1 and submissions are due July 29.
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