Today’s DeepSpace Extra

September 15th, 2017

In Today’s Extra… The U.S. House has approved a 2018 spending increase for NASA. Long-running Cassini mission to Saturn draws to a close.

Human Space Exploration

House passes spending bill with space provisions intact

Space News (9/14): On Thursday, the U.S. House passed an omnibus appropriations measure for fiscal year 2018 that includes $19.87 billion for NASA, compared to the 2017 budget of $19.65 billion and the $19.1 billion sought by the White House in its 2018 budget request to Congress earlier this year. The U.S. Senate is not as far along.

Launch operators expect minimal delays from Hurricane Irma (9/13): Assessments of damage from Hurricane Irma suggest that United Launch Alliance and SpaceX face little or no delay in their Florida launch operations in the storm’s aftermath, according to the report.

NASA space psychology subjects ending 8 months of isolation

Associated Press via New York Times (9/15): Sunday will mark the end of eight months of isolation for six volunteers living in a Mars like HI SEAS habitat near the summit of the Hawaiian Mauna Loa volcano. Fresh pineapple and mango are on the menu for the four men and two women as they emerge from the NASA sponsored experiment. During the simulation, they observed a 20-minute communications delay with their “mission control,” just as they would if actually on Mars. NASA studied the mood of the participants and their ability to deal with conflict.

1st map of water on the Moon could aid future lunar exploration (9/14): Brown University scientists have used data from NASA’s Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument on India’s Chandrayaan-1 lunar mission spacecraft and the agency’s own LCROSS lunar orbiter to assemble a map of surface water concentrations on the moon. The plot of water and hydroxyl locked in the lunar regolith could become a tool in planning future exploration. Water is considered a resource for rocket propellants as well as life support. The work was published in the journal Science Advances.


Space Science

Editor’s Note: NASA received Cassini Saturn’s final transmission at 7:55 a.m. ET this morning. Click here to view.

Cassini’s swan song: How Saturn probe spent its final day in space (9/14): The long-running, NASA-led Cassini mission at Saturn comes to a planned conclusion on Friday. Launched in 1997, the U.S., European and Italian space agency mission maneuvered into orbit around the solar system’s second largest planet in 2004.

Cassini’s mission to Saturn in 100 images

New York Times (9/14): Close-up images of Saturn reveal a large and colorful world with distinctive rings and at least two moons that may host habitable environments.

Space Act Agreement to support private space telescope project

Space News (9/14): The New York-based Boldly Go Institute announced a no funds exchanged Space Act Agreement with NASA that would support the development of a small space telescope designed to seek out Earth-like planets circling the nearest star to the sun, Alpha Centauri.

Titanic asteroid Vesta may host buried ice (9/14): Vesta, the solar system’s second largest asteroid at 330 miles across, may host subsurface water ice deposits. The findings come from NASA’s Dawn mission, which orbited Vesta from 2011 to 2012 before moving on to a second large asteroid, Ceres. The research has been published in the journal Nature Communications.

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