Today’s Deep Space Extra

June 14th, 2019

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA Administrator Bridenstine discusses early budgetary estimates for Artemis mission – projections that may change as the agency refines planning. China and India discuss plans for future independent space stations. Women, more than men, may have what it takes for long and distant space exploration. NASA offers live stream of assembly activities underway with the Mars 2020 rover. The Space Corps will be established as a separate branch of the armed service but organized within the U.S. Air Force as voted by the U.S. House Armed Services Committee on Thursday.

Human Space Exploration

NASA estimates it will need $20 billion to $30 billion for Moon landing, administrator says
Coalition Members in the News – Boeing, Lockheed Martin
CNN (6/13): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine on Thursday provided CNN Business a $20 billion to $30 billion cost estimate for Artemis, the agency’s recently announced plan to accelerate a human return to the surface of the Moon from 2028 to 2024. The total will be spread over the next five years. Less than some had predicted, the estimate is to lead to a sustainable human presence at the Moon to help prepare NASA for the future human exploration of Mars and other deep space destinations. Earlier this year, the White House asked Congress for a $1.6 billion down payment for Artemis, which is to place the first woman astronaut and next man at the Moon’s south pole.

International experiments selected to fly on Chinese space station (6/13): The China Manned Space Agency this week announced agreements to host six international experiments aboard its soon to be launched space station. Seventeen nations submitted proposals, including Russian and European sponsors, nations that are already partnered with NASA aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The long term future of the ISS is unclear as NASA seeks to hand off its low Earth orbit activities to the U.S. private sector so it may focus on future missions of human deep space exploration.

China’s space program continues to grow, but will NASA ever work with them?
Houston Chronicle (6/13): Despite China’s impressive strides in space, including the first ever landing of a spacecraft on the Moon’s far side earlier this year and plans to assemble an independent space station with international participation, there appears little chance of a partnership with the U.S. in space soon. Currently, there is a U.S. congressional prohibition, the Wolf Amendment, as well as on going tensions over trade, national security and human rights.

India will have its own space station by 2030, says ISRO chief
Mashable India (6/13): India plans to launch a small, independent 20 metric ton space station by 2030 in a 250 mile high orbit, according to the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO). Crews aboard India’s three person Gaganyaan spacecraft would be launched on 15 to 20 day missions to carry out microgravity research on the orbital outpost.

Here’s why women may be the best suited for spaceflight
National Geographic (6/13): Women, because of their overall small stature and positive personality traits, may be more suited than men for the challenges on long duration, deep space missions currently envision by NASA, according to an expert in the field from the National Air and Space Museum.

Five lessons from Apollo for the new space age
Politico (6/13): How might the Apollo era inform Artemis, NASA’s recently announced acceleration strategy to return human explorers to the surface of the Moon from 2028 to 2024?  Innovation and incentives rank high among the lessons learned. But public enthusiasm may be overrated.

Space Science

You can watch NASA’s build its Mars 2020 rover live online (6/13): NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) offers a live stream, without audio, of activities underway to assemble the Mars 2020 rover as it is prepared for a July 2020 launch. After landing in mid-February 2021, the rover is to search for evidence of past habitable environments and possibly life at Jezero Crater on Mars. The mechanical geologist will collect and cache samples of rock and soil for eventual return to Earth and analysis.

Yes, Saturn’s rings are awesome. NASA’s Cassini showed us just HOW awesome (6/13): NASA’s long running Cassini mission to Saturn with the European and Italian space agencies came to an end in late 2017. The latest findings, published in the journal Science, discuss how Cassini discovered complex interactions between the large planet’s many moons and its famous and vibrant ring system.

Ceres is a strange place, including a volcanic peak 4,000 meters high made from bubbling salt water, mud and rock
Universe Today (6/13): Ceres, a very large main belt asteroid, was visited by NASA’s Dawn mission spacecraft between 2015 and 2018. Among the most intriguing features is the towering ice volcano Ahuna Mons. German scientists believe the feature formed as a large bubble of mud, salt water, and rock that rose up from the center of Ceres. That bubble burst through a weak point in Ceres’ crust to form Ahuna Mons.

Other News

House Armed Services Committee votes to create a U.S. Space Corps (6/13): After a lengthy markup, the U.S. House Armed Services Committee voted early Thursday to establish the Space Corps as a separate branch of the armed service but organized within the U.S. Air Force. More deliberations with the U.S. Senate will be required to finalize the national security initiative.

China’s new wealth-creation scheme: Mining the Moon
National Review (6/13): At the Moon, China is becoming a force to be reckoned with. The early January lunar far side landing of the Chang’e 4 spacecraft and rover offers evidence. China’s long term strategy appears to include establishing a permanent presence that enables it to locate and exploit the Moon’s natural resources, including water ice that can be processed into rocket fuels as well as water and oxygen for human life support. Others lunar resources of interest include titanium and helium 3, a fusion power source.

How NASA gave birth to modern computing — and gets no credit for it
Fast Company (6/13): During its charge to the Moon in the sixties and seventies, NASA worked with MIT to develop integrated circuitry, which became part of the essential light weight computing elements of the Apollo command and lunar modules and later a part of the computer revolution.

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