Today’s Deep Space Extra

May 14th, 2021

In Today’s Deep Space Extra… Plans for space tourism experience a surge. NASA’s Perseverance rover assesses Jezero Crater for its first sample collection.


Human Space Exploration

Space tourism hitting its stride
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (5/14): It was two decades ago that the International Space Station (ISS) welcomed its first private astronaut, Dennis Tito, a U.S. engineer and businessman who paid Russia for a Soyuz launch. Occasionally, others have followed. But now, four confirmed orbital trips by private astronauts to the ISS or into orbit are planned for the next several months; another future mission plans to fly a tourist around the Moon; and suborbital tourism appears imminent. The plans raise questions of NASA’s role and whether current laws and regulations for private space travel are sufficient.

Japanese billionaire, Russian actress to fly to ISS
Coalition Member in the News – Axiom Space (5/13): Space Adventures, the U.S. space tourism company, announced Thursday that Japan’s Yusaku Maezawa will fly to the International Space Station (ISS) in early December on the Soyuz MS-20 mission from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. Earlier, Maezawa reached an agreement with SpaceX to launch on a commercial mission around the Moon. The announcement of the Space Adventures flight came the same day that Roscosmos announced actress Yulia Peresild will accompany director Klim Shipenko and Russian cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov on the Soyuz MS-19 mission to the ISS, launching October 5.


Space Science

NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars has found some mysterious rocks (photos) (5/13): While the Ingenuity Mars helicopter has grabbed the space science headlines over the last few weeks, the NASA Perseverance rover has been studying the surrounding Jezero Crater environment for the first prime locations to obtain samples of surface materials for return to Earth. Mission scientists believe analysis of the materials after they are returned to Earth will determine whether a now cold and desert-like Mars once hosted biological activity.

Seven minutes of terror for China: Beijing attempts maiden Mars rover landing on Friday
India Today (5/13):  China intends to land its first rover on the Red Planet on Friday. The rover aims to land in the Utopia Planitia basin and is expected to be in operation for 90 Martian days.

NASA’s Capstone lunar mission to fly later this year (5/13): NASA’s Capstone CubeSat mission will launch to the Moon to assess the unique orbital trajectory planned for Gateway, the agency’s planned lunar orbiting space station developed to support opportunities for astronauts to descend to a range of landing sites on the Moon.

NASA partners with deep-ocean explorers to develop tech for Europa mission (5/13): NASA will work with NOAA to assess new deep sea exploration technologies that could one day be used in space to explore Europa, the ice-covered moon of Jupiter. The small submarine built by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution will explore the deepest regions of the Earth’s oceans.

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