Today’s Deep Space Extra

November 25th, 2020

The Coalition for Deep Space Exploration wishes you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving. Deep Space Extra will return on Monday, November 30.

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s Curiosity rover spots signs of ancient megafloods on Mars. A complex new era of space competition needs a collaborative approach, according to an expert.


Human Space Exploration

SLS: NASA ‘megarocket’ assembly begins in Florida
Coalition Member in the News – Jacobs
BBC News (11/25): Engineers at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center (KSC) began stacking the segments that make up the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s twin solid boosters on Saturday, November 21. Stacking the first piece of SLS on the mobile launcher “shows the mission is truly taking shape and will soon head to the launch pad” said Andrew Shroble, a manager with Jacobs.


Space Science

NASA data shows evidence of ancient “megafloods” on Mars (11/24): Data gathered by NASA’s Curiosity rover, which has been exploring Mars since 2012, indicates that a meteor impact years ago could have generated the heat necessary to melt ice reservoirs into surface water flows and moisturized the Martian atmosphere. Together, they altered the surface geology of Mars as well as the Martian climate. Scientists from Cornell University and California Institute of Technology published their findings in the Nature journal Scientific Reports.

Amateur astronomer Alberto Caballero finds possible source of Wow! signal (11/24): Amateur astronomer Alberto Caballero may have solved a lingering mystery over the “Wow!” signal detected in 1977 at Ohio’s Big Ear Radio Telescope and long believed to have possibly originated from extraterrestrial intelligence. Caballero has searched the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia database. Close to the signal’s source he has identified a sun-like star that could have an Earth-like planet.



To lead in space, America must lead in space collaboration
POLITICO (11/25): Strategies that kept the United States’ leadership in space in the 20th century won’t work in this new era of competition, says Steve Isakowitz, CEO of the Aerospace Corporation. Agencies need to work more effectively together to tackle major policy challenges as more individuals and nations access space, says Isakowitz, adding that “In the next presidential term, the U.S. will face high-level decisions on critical space policy issues with long-lasting implications.”

Making the Case for SLS
Coalition Member in the News – Aerojet Rocketdyne
POLITICO Space (11/25): NASA is currently completing the final two “Green Run” tests for the SLS rocket at NASA’s Stennis Space Center as teams begin assembling the rocket’s boosters at KSC. Jim Maser, the vice president of space at Aerojet Rocketdyne, which builds the engines for the rocket, explains why the SLS is crucial to NASA’s long-term exploration plans.


Other News

Germany joins JAXA’s low-cost deep space test mission (11/20): The German Aerospace Center, DLR, has partnered with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on an asteroid mission called Destiny+, expected to launch to asteroid 3200 Phaethon in 2024. The mission will test technologies to make deep space exploration accessible with a small launcher.

SpaceX sets new Falcon 9 reuse milestone on Starlink launch (11/24): A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket placed another 60 Starlight internet connectivity satellites into Earth orbit late Tuesday, following a liftoff from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. The rocket’s first stage was recovered following a record seventh flight with a landing on a drone ship positioned in the Atlantic off the Florida coast. Of 955 Starlink small satellites launched into orbit, 895 remain as the Starlink network continues to grow.

Panel reviews designs for NASA’s ‘Hidden Figures’ gold medals (11/24): Efforts to recognize the “Hidden Figures,” women who helped advance supersonic flight research and achieve the first human lunar landing missions, are advancing through the U.S. Mint’s efforts to devise a Hidden Figures Group Congressional Gold Medal. The Secretary of the Treasury will consider recommendations from the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee as well as the findings from a similar review by the Commission of Fine Arts when deciding on the final designs for the Hidden Figures Congressional Gold Medals.

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