Today’s Deep Space Extra

December 2nd, 2020

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… In its 30th year in orbit, Hubble continues to make discoveries. The Arecibo radio telescope in Puerto Rico has collapsed.


Human Space Exploration

Air leakage virtually unnoticeable aboard orbital outpost, cosmonauts say
TASS of Russia (12/1): Russian cosmonaut Sergey Kud-Sverchkov, one of two cosmonauts currently staffing the International Space Station (ISS), offered assurances Tuesday that a small air leak in the orbital outpost’s Russian segment is not a major concern. First noted in late 2019, the source was recently traced to a fracture with a scratch-like appearance in the Zvezda service module, which was launched in 2000. During a November spacewalk, Kud Sverchkov and cosmonaut Sergey Ryzhikov, the Station’s current commander, looked for evidence of external damage corresponding to the fracture but reported none. Editor’s note: TASS is a Russian state-owned news agency.


Space Science

Missing dark matter & shadows from a black hole, Hubble continues to unlock cosmic mysteries (11/30): Dark matter, a key ingredient for the formation and evolution of galaxies, is present in every galaxy observed. However, astrophysicists observed that galaxy NGC 1052-DF4 located 45 million light years from Earth was missing most of its dark matter. Using the Hubble Space Telescope, a team was able to observe that there was a tidal disruption “stripping” away the dark matter from NGC 1052-DF4.

Chang’e-5 successfully lands on Moon to collect youngest lunar samples (12/1): China’s Chang’e 5 lunar sample return mission touched down at the Moon’s Ocean of Storms on Tuesday to begin a two-day excavation and collection of soil and rock for return to Earth by mid-December. The mission is set to depart the Moon later this week with several pounds of lunar material. 

Arecibo platform collapses, What comes next? (12/1): The Arecibo radio telescope has collapsed after experiencing support cable failures on November 6 and August 10. After the November cable failure, the National Science Foundation (NSF) announced plans to decommission most of the astronomical landmark to avoid risks to employees and construction workers. The question now is whether to rebuild.


Other News

Europe plans space claw to capture orbiting junk
Science Magazine (12/1): The European Space Agency (ESA) yesterday finalized a $103 million contract to launch a mission in 2025 to capture and dispose of a piece of orbital debris. The ClearSpace-1 mission will use a spacecraft built by Swiss startup ClearSpace and will attempt to remove the 112-kilogram payload adapter that attached ESA’s PROBA-V Earth-observing satellite to its launcher, which reached space in 2013.

China’s space ambitions: Robot on Mars, a human on the Moon
Associated Press via ABC News (12/2): China’s long-term space exploration ambitions include launching humans to the surface of the Moon, something only NASA accomplished with its Apollo missions of the late 1960s and early 1970s. A rising force on a global scale, China has a robotic rover on its way to a Mars landing, plans to assemble an Earth-orbiting space station, and to develop a reusable space plane.

Soyuz rocket launches Emirati military satellite after lengthy delay (12/2): A Soyuz rocket launched Tuesday night from the Guiana Space Center placed a United Arab Emirates (UAE) military observation satellite in orbit. The liftoff followed a lengthy series of delays due to launch vehicle concerns and the coronavirus pandemic.

Find out how we’re working toward living and working in space at TC Sessions: Space 2020
Coalition Members in the News – Axiom Space, Collins Aerospace, Lockheed Martin (12/1): During presentations planned for December 16-17, Tech Crunch plans to examine the future of humans living and working in space for long periods. Presenters include experts from NASA and commercial companies pioneering the prospect.

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