March 7th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA to discuss the agency’s 2020 budget proposal on Monday. Vice President Mike Pence praised NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Demo-1 flight to the International Space Station (ISS), which is to end early Friday.  China’s far side lunar rover examines Moon rocks for evidence of their origins.

Human Space Exploration

March 11 events highlight NASA’s Moon to Mars plans, FY 2020 budget

NASA (3/5): NASA will outline the Trump Administration’s proposed 2020 federal budget, including NASA spending on Monday. Administrator Jim Bridenstine will participate from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC). Other NASA field centers will also outline their involvement in the latest annual spending plans and how it will nurture efforts to make a sustained human return to the Moon in the 2020’s as a prelude to the human exploration of Mars. Primary presentations will be covered live by NASA TV and the agency’s website.

Vice President calls Station, Crew Dragon packed for Friday return

NASA (3/6): U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, chair of the National Space Council, joined with NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Wednesday for a chat with the crew of the International Space Station (ISS). The topics included the current NASA Commercial Crew Program Demo-1 mission to the Space Station, a six day uncrewed round trip by SpaceX’s Crew Dragon. Pence called the test flight, which is to conclude with a descent to Earth early Friday, as “evidence of America’s renewed commitment to leadership in space and advancing human exploration in space.”

How NASA’s Apollo missions inspired this astronaut to aim for space (3/6): Among an estimated 600 million Earthlings watching live TV on July 20, 1969 when NASA’s Apollo 11 command module Eagle touched down on the Moon with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin was a young Mike Massimino. Massimino would go on to become a NASA astronaut and mechanical engineer. “I remember very clearly thinking as a 6-year-old, ‘This is the most important thing happening in the world today, and it’s the most important thing that’s ever gonna happen for another 500 years,'” Massimino recalled in an interview with


Space Science

6-member crew to emerge from Moon/Mars mission at Mauna Loa

Honolulu Star Advertiser (3/5): A two week analogue mission to the Moon or Mars, featuring a six member crew sheltered on the slopes of Mauna Loa in Hawaii came to an end on Wednesday. The volunteers emerged after conducting science experiments and other activities associated with human deep space exploration.

Gamma ray telescopes could detect starships powered by black hole

Universe Today (3/6): A Kansas State University mathematical researcher has suggested that a space survey with a gamma ray telescope might detect evidence of alien spacecraft powered by artificial black holes. Its operators would be well advanced beyond those of an Earth like civilization.


Other News

Did Jeff Bezos just subtly shade Elon Musk for his desire to live on Mars? (3/7): During a recent talk, Jeff Bezos, the billionaire founder of Amazon, expanded on his grand vision of settling space. But in doing so, he pooh-poohed the goal of perhaps his biggest rival, the SpaceX founder Elon Musk, of settling people on Mars.

China’s lunar rover studies stones on Moon’s far side

Xinhuanet of China (3/6): China’s Yutu-2 rover, which succeeded on landing on the Moon’s far side in early January, has begun to study rocks in an effort to determine whether they are lunar native or debris from an impactor. The inner solar system experienced a heavy asteroid bombardment 3.9 billion years ago. The Chang’e-4 rover has so far roamed 127 meters.

NASA visualizes supersonic shockwaves in a new, awe-inspiring way

Ars Technica (3/6): A three aircraft NASA flight exercise manages to capture images of a supersonic shock wave. The test flights were part of an ongoing effort by NASA to develop supersonic aircraft that emit quieter sonic booms. The imagery carries an artistic flare.

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