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Today’s Deep Space Extra

February 25th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… NASA to make human lunar lander awards in the near future. The Mars 2020 Perseverance rover delivers a striking Jezero Crater panorama.

 

Human Space Exploration

NASA says maintaining competition a priority for lunar lander procurement
SpaceNews.com (2/25): Mark Kirasich, director of the advanced exploration systems division at NASA, said at the 47th Spaceport Summit February 24 that the agency continues to review proposals submitted by the three companies selected to develop human landing systems (HLS) for Artemis missions last year. He said NASA expects to make up to two awards within the next few weeks. The awards would be for what NASA calls “Option A” of the program, which entails funding for continued development of landers and an initial demonstration.

Stuck propulsion valve delays second SLS test-firing
Coalition Member in the News – Boeing
Spaceflightnow.com (2/24): Until late last week, NASA had hoped to repeat the hot fire test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket’s core stage on Thursday. Kathy Lueders, NASA associate administrator for Human Exploration and Operations, told the 47th Spaceport Summit on Wednesday that the oxygen prevalve issue that has delayed Thursday’s attempt was “very frustrating,” but that NASA still hopes Artemis I can launch this year. The hot fire test is the last step before the core stage can move from Stennis Space Center to the Kennedy Space Center for integration with other hardware ahead of Artemis I, an uncrewed test flight of SLS and the Orion capsule around the Moon.

Astronauts will conduct a spacewalk this Sunday
CNN (2/24): On Thursday, NASA outlined plans for two upcoming spacewalks outside the International Space Station (ISS). The first, planned for early Sunday, will team NASA’s Kate Rubins and Victor Glover to prepare for upcoming solar array upgrades by assembling and installing modification kits. A second upcoming spacewalk by Rubins and JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi is planned for March 5. The spacewalks will be broadcast on NASA TV.

 

Space Science

Perseverance rover snaps gorgeous HD panorama of Mars landing site
Space.com (2/24): NASA on Wednesday offered panoramic imagery of the Perseverance rover’s home on the floor of Jezero Crater. The rover arrived at Mars last Thursday to cache samples of soil for return to Earth in the future so the samples can be evaluated for evidence of past biological activity. The panorama comprises 142 separate images.

Our part of the galaxy is packed with binary stars
Universetoday.com (2/24): In a bit of a surprise, the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Gaia space observatory has counted an unexpected 1.3 million binary stars within 3,000 light years of the Earth. The effort has provided scientists with a new perspective of the Milky Way Galaxy to assess.

Were the Mars moons Phobos and Deimos born from another shattered moon?
Space.com (2/23): While the origins of the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos are unknown, a new study led by a Swiss researcher suggests they may have formed from the remains of an earlier Martian moon that was shattered by and impact with another object 1 to 2.7 billion years ago.

 

Other News

DoD focus on climate could shape future investments in weather satellites
SpaceNews.com (2/24): Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin has directed the Pentagon to assess and prepare for the impact of climate change on its national security mission so that the assessments can help to shape policy and budgets. Specific concerns include flooding, drought, wildfires, and extreme weather events on national security assets within and beyond the borders of the U.S. The military intends to work with NASA and NOAA in developing capabilities of benefit, rather than developing its own.

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