Today’s Deep Space Extra

January 7th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA is quickly approaching a February decision point for the selection of lunar Human Landing Systems (HLS). Check out 21 ways to celebrate the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) launch in 2021.


Human Space Exploration

Astronauts eat first radishes grown in space as 2020 ends
UPI (1/1): Astronauts aboard the International Space Station (ISS) celebrated the New Year in part by eating radishes they had grown in orbit. The radishes are a result of the Plant Habitat-02 experiment, which examines plant growth in space as part of ongoing efforts to produce food in space for long-duration missions.

SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics compete to build the next Moon lander
Coalition Members in the News — Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, United Launch Alliance
IEEE Spectrum (1/6): Three U.S. companies were enlisted last year by NASA to develop lunar Human Landing Systems (HLS). Each HLS approach is different, and the selected companies have faced their own obstacles as they try to demonstrate technologies on a tight schedule, as acknowledged by NASA. The agency is looking to a decision in February of this year on which of the concepts to pursue, but lack of funds could be a constraint in the development of the lander within NASA’s desired timeline. 


Space Science

There should be a few supernovae in the Milky Way every century, but we’ve only seen 5 in the last 1000 years. Why?
Universe Today (1/6): Why a dearth in observable supernovae, or star explosions? The most recent seems to have been observed from Earth in 1604. Scientists believe the absence of observed star explosions may be due to stellar dust, vast distances and plain chance, according to new research published by arXiv.


Other News

Scientists want to send a robot made of ice to another planet (1/6): Visionaries from the University of Pennsylvania propose the construction of robots destined for the exploration of distant planets with ice. The design would permit the robotic explorer an opportunity to repair itself with water ice, an in-situ resource, should it become damaged on its journey. Similar robots could be assigned exploration of the Antarctic as well.

Farmworker turned astronaut Jose Hernandez urges kids not to give up
ABC 7 (1/4): Setting goals, persevering, not being afraid to dream big, and getting an education are ingredients for success, says Jose Hernandez, a NASA astronaut who spent most of his youth working the fields. Next year, Netflix will begin production of a film about Hernandez’s life and journey into space.

21 ways to celebrate the James Webb Space Telescope launch in 2021
Coalition Member in the News – Northrop Grumman
NASA/ Goddard Space Flight Center (1/6): Learn more about the world’s next major space observatory, NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope (JWST), a complex instrument developed to understand star and galaxy formation during the earliest epoch of the universe and to study from afar the atmospheres of Earth-like exoplanets for signs of biomarkers.

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