Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 1st, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine appeared before a Senate authorization panel Wednesday to seek bipartisan support for the agency’s efforts to return to the Moon with astronauts in 2024.  President Trump signed a budget continuing resolution early Thursday, the start of the 2021 fiscal year, to prevent a federal government shutdown.

Human Space Exploration

Another Senate hearing, but still no clue on likely fate of Artemis funding
Coalition Member in the News – Dynetics (9/30): NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine appeared on Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, an authorization body, to seek bipartisan support for the agency’s push to accelerate a return to the surface of the Moon by 2024. Authorization legislation does not appropriate money. The 2021 fiscal year began early Thursday without House, Senate and White House agreement on a budget. 

Trump signs stopgap spending bill to keep government funded
New York Times (10/1): President Trump early Thursday signed a “stopgap” budget measure to prevent a government shutdown as the 2021 fiscal year started at midnight. The budget continuing resolution (CR), approved by the Senate Wednesday and the House last week, keeps funding, including NASA’s, at 2020 fiscal year levels until December 11. While the House has passed a 2021 appropriation, the Senate has not, leading to the impasse and passage of the CR.

SpaceX Crew-1 astronauts name Dragon capsule ‘Resilience’ (9/30): Scheduled to launch October 31 as the first NASA sanctioned operational commercial crew mission to the International Space Station (ISS), SpaceX’s Crew 1 spacecraft has been named “Resilience” by its four-person crew. They are NASA astronauts Mike Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Wilson and Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) astronaut Soichi Noguchi. The crew will dock with the Space Station for a six-month mission.

Space Science

Search for new worlds at home with NASA’s Planet Patrol project
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman
NASA/Goddard (9/30): Planet Patrol is a new website providing the public access to data gathered by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in its search for extrasolar planets. The website seeks help from the public in combing through the data to identify candidate planets. NASA is providing the assessment criteria.

You don’t want to miss Mars shining bright this fall (9/30): The Earth and Mars will mark their closest approach on Tuesday. Look to the Eastern sky this week after sunset to find a pumpkin-colored dot that is likely Mars.

Research: Jupiter likely turned Venus into an uninhabitable hellhole (9/30): As speculation over possible life in the high-altitude clouds of Venus circulates in response to the detection of phosphine gas traces, new research suggests Venus was possibly once much more hospitable. Giant planet Jupiter’s early migration toward, then away from the sun may have gravitationally nudged Venus so close to the sun it caused temperatures to rise, rendering it largely if not totally uninhabitable.

Other News

Made In Space is sending the first ceramic manufacturing facility in space to the ISS
Coalition Members in the News – Made In Space, Northrop Grumman (9/22):  Made In Space Inc.’s fifth additive manufacturing device, which will produce ceramic components in microgravity, is set to launch to the International Space Station (ISS) later today as part of a Northrop Grumman resupply mission to the orbiting science lab. Called the Ceramic Manufacturing Module, the facility will demonstrate the production of turbine parts in orbit for terrestrial use.

U.S. military eyes nuclear thermal rocket for missions in Earth-Moon space (9/30): The U.S. military’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, DARPA, is primed to develop nuclear thermal propulsion technology that would enable the Pentagon to advance U.S. national security into the Earth/Moon realm.

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