Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 6th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Public activities across the U.S. are planned to commemorate this summer’s 50th anniversary of the historic Apollo 11 Moon landing. Space plant growth prospects are looking up. A new assessment questions forecasts of a $1 trillion space economy by 2040.  

Human Space Exploration

A cross-country guide to celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Moon landing (6/5): July 20 will mark the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 Moon landing by the late Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. A range of activities are planned across the U.S. to mark the occasion, when humans walked on the surface of another planetary body for the first time. The activities are planned from New York to Washington to Florida and Alabama to Ohio to Houston, Texas and Seattle, Washington.

NASA’s first SpaceX astronauts ready for ‘messy camping trip’ to space
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing

Reuters via New York Times (6/5): Despite some setbacks, NASA astronauts Bob Behnken, Doug Hurley, Mike Hopkins and Victor Glover are eager for upcoming test flights aboard NASA’s Commercial Crew Program Boeing CST-100 Starliner and SpaceX Crew Dragon spacecraft. The flights, late this year or early next, are to help certify the Starliner and Crew Dragon for the regular transportation of astronauts to and from the International Space Station (ISS), something the U.S. has not been able to do since NASA’s shuttle fleet was retired in 2011.

Space Science

Watering space plants is hard, but NASA has a plan
Popular Science (6/5): Astronauts on the International Space Station (ISS) are eager to grow plants and improving the odds thanks to an emerging technology known as the passive orbital nutrient delivery system, or PONDS.

Hack-a-mole! This is how NASA hopes to get a heat probe digging on Mars again (6/5): NASA’s latest Mars probe touched down on the Red Planet in late November and deployed a seismometer on the surface and a subsurface heat probe, both to carry out studies of the Martian interior. The seismometer has detected quakes already, but efforts to mechanically pound the heat probe, which is called the mole, to a depth of several feet were halted in February by a possible underground obstruction. The lander will be commanded to raise the mole’s support structure and see if InSight’s robot arm can be of help.

Astronomers see adorable baby planets forming around a young star
Universe Today (6/5): Smaller and less massive than the sun, the star PDS 70 lies 370 light years from Earth. Scientists are watching as two large planets form around the young star, which is estimated at less than 6 million years old.

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover ready for high-def camera eyes (6/4): The recent installation of a pair of high definition Mastcam-Z cameras will help NASA’s Mars 2020 rover explore the Red Planet’s Jezero Crater, an ancient stream delta, for evidence of once, maybe even current habitable environments and signs of past microbial life. Set for launch in the summer of 2020, the rover is to gather and cache samples of rock and soil for eventual return to Earth.

Other News

STPI Questions $1 trillion space economy claims (6/5): A presentation yesterday before a Department of Commerce advisory committee questioned estimates of the current global space economy and projections of one valued at as much as $1 trillion or more by 2040. The Science and Technology Policy Institute pointed to some double counting and revenues included from activities unrelated to space in the most optimistic estimates.

World View flies its remote sensing balloon for 16 days and 5,000 km
Ars Technica (6/5): World View’s most recent high altitude balloon demonstration spanned 16 days and extended dwell times over small and large regions along a flight path from Arizona to Utah, Nevada, Utah and southern Oregon. The Tucson-based company intends to offer commercial high altitude surveillance to government agencies as well as commercial customers for activities ranging from military maneuvers to mining to recoveries from natural disasters.

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