Today’s Deep Space Extra

August 24th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA is seeking proposals for scientific activities that could be conducted by the crew of Artemis 3, a return to the surface of the Moon with astronauts in 2024. 

Human Space Exploration

NASA seeks input on Artemis science goals (8/23): As last week came to a close, NASA asked the science community to submit concisely worded proposals for scientific activities that the astronauts selected by NASA for the Artemis 3 mission could carry out. Artemis 3 is planned to mark the return of human explorers to the surface of the Moon in 2024. The two astronauts will need to be equipped and trained for the science activities they will carry out on foot at the lunar south pole, a region that was not explored by the Apollo astronauts. Proposals are to be submitted by September 8.

China is aiming to attract partners for an international lunar research station (8/21): China’s proposed International Lunar Research Station would unfold robotically at the Moon’s south pole in the 2020’s, with short, then long term crew activities planned by the mid-2030’s and into the 2040’s. China has discussed possible participation with the Russian and European space agencies.

Space Science

Lunar landings will make it harder to study the Moon’s ice deposits
Universe Today (8/21): A Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory led research effort raises concerns that exhaust from rocket landings near the Moon’s South Pole Aitken Basin could contaminate water ice deposits that could offer an important resource, providing explorers with the raw materials for liquid hydrogen and oxygen rocket propellants as well as life support assets.

Follow NASA’s Perseverance rover in real time on its way to Mars
NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory (8/21): NASA’s interactive “Eyes on the Solar System,” offers a visual update on the progress of the Perseverance Mars 2020 rover as it makes its way to Jezero Crater with science instruments and the Ingenuity Mars Helicopter. Launched on July 30, the rover is to touchdown on Mars at Jezero on February 18, 2021 to look for signs of past life and gather samples of the Martian surface for return to Earth.

Oh, great: NASA says an asteroid is headed our way right before Election Day
CNN (8/23): Discovered with a telescope in 2018, asteroid VP1 is seven feet in diameter. It’s predicted to come close to the Earth on November 2, a day before the U.S. elections with only a 1 in 240 chance of actually encountering. Even if it entered the atmosphere, VP1’s small size suggests it would break up in the atmosphere.

Check out the first-ever map of the solar corona’s magnetic field
Science News (8/21): Using a coronagraph, High Altitude Observatory solar physicist Steven Tomczyk led an effort to  measure the speed and intensity of waves rippling through coronal plasma to measure the sun’s magnetic field on a large scale. A coronagraph blocks the bright light from a star to observe its surroundings.

Other News

NASA facility will beam messages to space through lasers
Futurism (8/21): NASA is working to upgrade its distant space communication with infrared laser transmissions. The process could begin next year. A new optical ground station in Haleakala, Hawaii will play an important role.

China launches new optical remote-sensing satellite
Xinhuanet of China (8/23): Gaofen-9 05, an optical remote sensing satellite, was among three satellites launched into orbit by China on Sunday, local time. Gaofen is used for land surveys, city planning, land right confirmation, road network design, crop yield estimation and disaster prevention and mitigation. Academy of Military Sciences and will test and verify technologies such as communication, navigation and remote sensing in orbit. The third payload, Tiantuo-5, developed by the National University of Defense Technology, will test and verify data collection technologies for ships, aircraft, buoys and the Internet of things.

Major Space Related Activities for the Week

Major space related activities for the week of August 23-29, 2020
Coalition Members in the News – Axiom, Lockheed Martin, Made in Space (8/23): The virtual nature of major activities this week continues. The American Astronautical Society, NASA and CASIS/ISS National Lab are hosting the first of three planned plenaries on International Space Station (ISS) research and development on Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., EDT. The lineup includes NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine, Kathy Lueders, associate administrator for human exploration and operations; Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for science; Joel Montelbano, the ISS director; and Mike Gold, who leads international relations. The event will be aired on NASA TV ( Still in recess for the month, the U.S. House and Senate are meeting pro forma.

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