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Today’s Deep Space Extra - Explore Deep Space

Today’s Deep Space Extra

February 13th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Spa e Extra… Congress offers mixed reactions to NASA’s 2020 budget proposal. Record setting NASA astronaut Christine Koch reflects on her eleven month mission to the International Space Station (ISS), expresses joy upon returning to Earth. 

Human Space Exploration

Mixed reaction to NASA budget proposal in Congress and industry
Coalition for Deep Space Exploration in the News
SpaceNews.com (2/12): NASA’s 2021 budget proposal, delivered by the White House to Congress on Monday, is receiving an early mixed review on Capitol Hill. Excitement over accelerating a human return to the surface of the Moon is also spurring opposition over proposed cuts in science and STEM education. An industry group, the Coalition for Deep Space Exploration, balanced its support for increased spending on NASA exploration programs with concerns about cuts to science and education efforts. “We are pleased to see the top line increase in the President’s FY 2021 budget request and applaud the administration on its commitment to the Artemis program,” Mary Lynne Dittmar, president and chief executive officer of the coalition, said in the statement. “While we recognize the tough decisions that are needed to set and meet priorities, we support a robust STEM program at NASA. America, and NASA’s Moon-to-Mars effort, needs our next generation of scientists, researchers, and engineers.”

Christina Koch having no problems re-adapting to Earth after record space flight
Spaceflightnow.com (2/12): Record setting NASA astronaut Christina Koch took questions from the news media on Wednesday, six days after she return to Earth with European and Russian colleagues after a record setting mission aboard the International Space Station (ISS). Koch’s 328 days in Earth orbit set a record for the longest ever spaceflight by a women. Koch said she’s re-establishing a sense of balance in gravity after eleven months of weightlessness but experiencing few other challenges in re-adapting to life on Earth. Appearing in good health, Koch said she’s reunited with family and a rescue dog, enjoyed listening to the surf at Galveston Bay and satisfied a hunger for chips and salsa.

Record-setting astronaut feels good after near year in space
Associated Press via New York Times (2/12): NASA astronaut Christina Koch spoke enthusiastically about her return to Earth on Wednesday, six days after descending to Earth from the International Space Station (ISS) in a Russian spacecraft after 328 days in orbit, a record for a female space traveler. Though her sense of balance is still re-adjusting to gravity, she feels healthy. Soreness in a neck muscle passed quickly, Koch told a news briefing Wednesday from NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC). She spoke enthusiastically of returning to her home and a rescue pet, known as Little Brown Dog, joining her husband for a trip to the beach at Galveston Bay and eating chips and salsa.

This group is collecting designs for a Martian city
Futurism (2/12): Expanding its vision, the Mars Society is seeking proposals internationally for a one million resident city on Mars. June 30 is the deadline and the winning entry is to receive $10,000.

Space Science

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover goes coast-to-coast to prep for launch
Coalition Member in the News – United Launch Alliance
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2/12): NASA Mars 2020 rover is scheduled for a July launch to Jezero Crater on the Red Planet to search for evidence of past habitable environments and to collect and cache samples of soil and rock for return to Earth. Earlier this week, the six wheeled rover was transported from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, where it was developed, assembled and tested, to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) in Florida. At KSC, the rover will be prepared for launch on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V from adjacent Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Arrival at Mars is planned for February 2021.

Mars took way longer to form than we thought, ancient impacts reveal
Space.com (2/12): A new study in which the Southwest Research Institute investigated meteorites of Martian origin and found on Earth suggests the red planet was struck early in his history by small proto-planets comprised of iron loving chemical elements that influenced the pace with which the neighboring planet formed. The findings were published in the journal Science Advances.

‘Pale Blue Dot’ revisited
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (2/12): On February 14, 1990, NASA Voyager spacecraft took an image of the Earth from the distant reaches of the solar system known as the “Pale Blue Dot,” which quickly became an icon. To mark its 30th anniversary, the image has been updated using new technologies.

Other News

Trump directs U.S. government agencies to protect critical infrastructure that relies on GPS
SpaceNews.com (2/12): President Trump issued an executive order Wednesday that directs federal agencies to impose guidelines that prevent disruption to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) constellation of satellites that provide navigation to civilian and commercial users as well as the national security community.

Ex-Arizona treasurer to step down as NASA CFO to return home
Associated Press via Washington Post (2/12): Jeff DeWitt will depart NASA after serving two years as the agency’s chief financial officer to return to his home state of Arizona after nearly two years in the role. The former Arizona state treasurer and Trump supporter told employees he wants to be closer to his family.

SpaceX may spin off Starlink to make it a publicly-traded stock
Cheddar (2/7): SpaceX is assessing a move to take its Starlink small satellite connectivity enterprise public.

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