Today’s DeepSpace Extra

September 20th, 2017

In Today’s Extra… NASA’s asteroid bound OSIRIS-REx spacecraft to flyby Earth on Friday. Experts ponder the presence of microbes on Mars.

Space Science

A NASA spacecraft is about to slingshot around Earth to meet up with an asteroid

The Verge (9/19): Launched in September 2016, NASA’s OSIRUS-REx spacecraft embarked on a seven-year-round trip to the asteroid Bennu to collect samples from the surface and return the materials to Earth. In order to rendezvous with Bennu in 2018, the spacecraft must get a gravity assist from the Earth as it flies close on Friday.

Cold world, hot topic: Can microbes survive on Mars? (9/19): The Space Life Sciences Lab at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center has become a mecca for debate over whether microbes aboard Earthly spacecraft might be able to adapt to the cold, dry conditions on Mars, as well as whether microbial life with long Martian roots persists in isolated, potentially wet environments.

Study of Martian sedimentary layers reveals more about the planet’s past

Universe Today (9/19): A summary-look at finds from eight spacecraft either orbiting, roving or standing on Mars is adding to evidence that water once flowed over the now cold, dry realm. The study, led by a University of Texas researcher, is focused on the Aeolis Dorsa equatorial region, an area with wide sedimentary deposits.

Jaw-dropping Jupiter: Juno probe snaps dramatic up-close views of planet (9/19): A collection of four photos imaged September 1 by NASA’s Jupiter orbiting Juno spacecraft reveals the solar system’s largest planet in all its colorful complexity. They were snapped at altitudes between 7,500 miles and 14,500 miles above the cloud tops. Juno was launched in August 2011.


Other News

NASA nominee wants to study climate change on Mars

E&E News (9/19): Oklahoma congressman Jim Bridenstine, the White House nominee to lead NASA, urges efforts to better understand the environmental changes that altered Mars from warm and wet in its past, to cold and dry. That understanding could help to explain changes that may be underway on the Earth, he wrote in response to a questionnaire from the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee. Mars is a target for future human exploration.

MEV-1 working to expand spaceflight revolution, extend on-orbit operations

Coalition Member in the News (Orbital ATK)

Spaceflight Insider (9/19): Orbital ATK has embraced the Robotic Refueling Mission technologies explored by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center aboard the International Space Station. The Dulles, Virginia, based company plans to test system level components for a free flying satellite refueling and repair system next spring, with a goal of launching a test spacecraft, the Mission Extension Vehicle-1, before the end of 2018.

Billionaire Paul Allen’s Stratolaunch space venture fires up its engines all six of ’em

GeekWire (9/19):  Seattle, Washington based Stratolaunch Systems Corp., plans to place satellites in orbit after launching them from under the wing of a super large aircraft. All six of the massive unique aircraft’s engines were started up this week as part of a ground test milestone.

White House nominates additional directors for Ex-Im Bank

Space News (9/20): The White House has completed the nomination of an Export-Import Bank board of directors, whose responsibility includes financing the purchase of satellites and launch services that generate domestic aerospace sales and jobs.

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