Today’s Deep Space Extra

February 23rd, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA’s Space Launch System second hot fire test attempt has been postponed. The Perseverance rover shares the sights of its arrival at Jezero Crater last Thursday.


Human Space Exploration
NASA postpones second SLS Green Run test
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing (2/21): NASA had planned to make a second attempt at hot firing the Space Launch System’s (SLS) core stage as part of the Green Run series this coming Thursday, February 25. Monday afternoon, however, the agency announced the test would be postponed because of a valve problem discovered over the weekend.


Space Science

Humans had never seen a spacecraft land on another planet until now
Ars Technica (2/22): NASA on Monday presented new high resolution imagery of the Mars 2020 Perseverance rover as it descended to the surface of the Jezero Crater last Thursday. The presentation also included a 60-second sound clip from the surface of Mars recorded with a microphone attached to the rover on Saturday, a first.

The Mars helicopter is online and getting ready to fly (2/22): Now that NASA’s Perseverance rover is safely on Mars and its Ingenuity small helicopter has checked in that it’s in good shape, the first-ever attempt to fly an aircraft on another world may be but 30 to 60 days away. Percy will be moving to a suitable test site, lower Ingenuity on the surface and move safely away for a test flight period of about 30 days.

Signs of a hidden Planet Nine in the solar system may not hold up
Science News (2/22): A new study questions the possible existence of a large mysterious planet in the outer solar system known as Planet Nine or Planet X. The theory in question holds that a gravitational force, perhaps a planet, is responsible for clustering a number of small objects far from the sun. A University of Michigan-led study headed for the Planetary Science Journal suggests that a Planet Nine is most likely not responsible.



It only looks easy: Perseverance lands on Mars
The Space Review (2/22): If NASA made last Thursday’s landing of the Perseverance rover on Mars look easy, it was actually anything but. The landing site, Jezero Crater, for instance, is replete with boulders, impact craters and steep slopes. “It’s an achievement no other nation has equaled. Perhaps the biggest problem with landing on Mars is that NASA makes it look easy,” summed up Jeff Foust.

The promise of return on investment does not disappear in cislunar space and beyond
The Space Review (2/22): If NASA and its partners want to pursue a sustainable human presence in space beyond low Earth orbit (LEO), the effort will no doubt require large investments with returns that must compete with payouts earned more traditionally, writes space advocate Vidvuds Beldavs in an op-ed. The Moon, for instance, offers a potentially low-cost destination with materials for manufacturing resources that can be used to explore further out.


Other News

Childhood bone cancer survivor joins private Inspiration4 spaceflight on SpaceX rocket (2/22): Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and a bone cancer survivor herself, has been invited to launch later this year on a SpaceX orbital mission assembled by billionaire Jared Isaacman and called Inspiration 4.  Arceneaux was the first of three invitees to fly with Isaacman who is leading the flight in part to raise money for St. Jude.

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