Today’s Deep Space Extra

October 6th, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Search for a small air leak in the International Space Station (ISS) continues. NASA safety panel urges more Artemis integrated software testing. Scientists find some exoplanets potentially more habitable than Earth.  

Human Space Exploration

Search continues for small air leak on Space Station
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman (10/5): The crew aboard the International Space Station (ISS) is attempting to pinpoint the source of a small air leak traced so far to the Russian segment Zvezda service module near an aft docking port. So far, it is not a crew safety concern, according to NASA and Roscosmos. Northrop Grumman’s latest resupply mission included two containers of pressurized nitrogen gas, which can help to assure the leak is not an issue at least through next spring.

Safety panel has “great concern” about NASA plans to test Moon mission software
Coalition Member in the News — Boeing
Ars Technica (10/5): During last Thursday’s meeting of NASA’s independent Aerospace Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP), members expressed a need for more end to end testing of the software and hardware critical to the Artemis I, II and III missions from launch through landing. “There is no end-to-end integrated avionics and software test capability. Instead, multiple and separate labs, emulators, and simulations are being used to test subsets of the software,” said panelist Paul Hill, a former NASA flight director.

Space Science

Astronomers: These 24 exoplanets may be better for life than Earth
Futurism (10/5): New research published in the journal Astrobiology suggests the Earth ranks lower than one would think when it comes to sizing up the habitability of a large number of other planets. The assessment is based on studies by Washington State University scientists who surveyed all known extrasolar planets.

NASA dropped new images of our universe that straight up look fake
Popular Mechanics (10/2): With X-ray vision, the Chandra Observatory is helping scientists answer questions such as how the universe began and how it will end. Recently, photos were released of images of different astrophysical objects taken by Chandra in partnership with other telescopes like Hubble.


It’s time to reckon with space junk
The Hill (10/4): Mounting levels of debris in Earth orbit could slow efforts to pursue new economic opportunities, according to an op-ed from Alexander William Salter, a Texas Tech University economics professor. Salter urges efforts to transfer authority for civilian Space Traffic Management from the Pentagon to the Office of Space Commerce within the Commerce Department to improve the situation.

Other News

Commercial space, and space commercialization, weather the pandemic
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman
The Space Review (10/5): To help encourage a broad commercial interest in low Earth orbit activities, NASA has opened the door of the International Space Station’s (ISS) U.S. segment to Estee Lauder, a cosmetic company. However, this effort is just part of a much bigger picture involving several agencies and companies finding their way through the economic downturn related to the pandemic. 

What the astronauts saw as they orbited the Moon during Apollo 17
Universe Today (10/5): The crew of NASA’s final Apollo human lunar landing mission, 1972’s Apollo 17, gathered some spectacular images of the Earth as well as the Moon’s terrain.

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