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Today’s Deep Space Extra

July 2nd, 2021

Deep Space Extra will observe the 4th of July holiday on Monday, July 5.  It will return on Tuesday, July 6.

 

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Scientists closer to explaining Mars methane mystery. Russia’s Progress MS-17 resupply capsule docked with the International Space Station.

 

Space Science

Mars methane mystery may be starting to clear up
Space.com (7/1): Detections of traces of methane in the Martian atmosphere, a potential biosignature or perhaps a byproduct of interactions between subsurface hot water and rock, continues to mystify scientists. Mars Curiosity’s Tunable Laser Spectrometer has repeatedly detected methane in Gale Crater at night, but during the day, other instruments haven’t. One idea is that gas seeps from the ground and builds up detectable levels at night when Mars’ atmosphere is calm. The latest findings were published in the journal Astronomy and Astrophysics.

Astronomers discover record-breaking star as small as the Moon but with more mass than the sun
CBS News (7/1): Astronomers report the discovery of the smallest, most massive white dwarf star yet. ZTF J1901 +1458 has a mass greater than the sun, while about the size of the Earth’s Moon. It is located 130 million light years from the Earth and appears to be the result of a merger between two white dwarf stars that once orbited one another. Details of the discovery made with Caltech’s Palomar Observatory were published in the journal Nature.

 

Other News

Famed aviatrix to Join Bezos brothers on space ride as Branson tries to upstage all
Spacepolicyonline.com (7/1): Mary Wallace “Wally” Funk, one of 13 women qualified by NASA as potential Mercury astronauts, has been selected to launch aboard Blue Origin’s first New Shepard suborbital launch with crew, which is planned for July 20 from East Texas. Funk was invited aboard by Jeff Bezos, Blue Origin’s founder, who will be aboard with his brother, Mark and a yet-to-be-named person who bid $28 million for the opportunity.

Branson to be on next SpaceShipTwo flight July 11
SpaceNews.com (7/2): Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson announced Thursday that he plans to take flight aboard the company’s suborbital SpaceShipTwo on July 11, flying days before Bezos. He will be joined by two pilots and three Virgin Galactic employees. Branson said that “when we return, I will announce something very exciting to give more people a chance to become astronauts.”

Russian Progress cargo ship docks at Space Station after two-day journey
Space.com (7/1): Launched late Tuesday, Russia’s Progress MS-17 resupply capsule, also designated Progress 78, autonomously docked with the Russian segment of the International Space Station (ISS) late Thursday. Docking at the Poisk module occurred two days after the freighter was launched from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan with 3,600 pounds of crew supplies and propellant.

Soyuz launches OneWeb mission to secure Northern latitude coverage
Coalition Member in the News – RUAG Space
NASAspaceflight.com (7/1): A Russian Soyuz 2.1b rocket placed 26 OneWeb small internet connectivity satellites into orbit Thursday after launching from the Vostochny Cosmodrome. The launch is intended to provide connectivity to customers residing and working north of 50 degrees latitude. Thermal insulation provided by Ruag Space will ensure proper interior temperature for the satellites.

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