Today’s Deep Space Extra for Thursday, November 5, 2015

November 5th, 2015

Today’s Deep Space Extra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA will seek new recruits for its astronaut corps, men and women that could train for future deep space exploration as well as service aboard the International Space Station. Space exploration well worth the risk, says op-ed. Canada’s first astronaut joins new cabinet. News on changes to the Martian atmosphere coming Thursday. NASA’s Juno mission prepped for its challenging mission at Jupiter. Scientists probe origins of mysterious dark matter. NASA’s Hugh Harris recalls the space program’s early era, announcing space shuttle launches. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center pioneers robotic satellite servicing. NASA’s Johnson Space Center signs agreement with Houston Airport System to foster a Texas commercial spaceport.

Human Deep Space Exploration

Wanted: Astronauts; got the right stuff?
USA Today (11/4): NASA seeks to expand the nation’s astronaut corps, men and women prepared to live aboard the International Space Station and train for future deep space missions launched aboard the Orion spacecraft and Space Launch System exploration rocket, with a call for applications. The selections, perhaps eight to 14 new astronauts, could come in 2017. NASA’s active astronaut core currently counts 47 men and women.

NASA recruiting new astronauts for space station and exploration missions (11/5): NASA announces the opening of new application period for astronauts. Applicants who succeed could be assigned to the International Space Station. They can expect to launch aboard new U.S. commercial vehicles in development by Boeing and SpaceX to carry passengers into Earth orbit. They can expect to train to launch aboard NASA’s own Orion crew exploration and Space Launch System exploration rocket under development for missions to a lunar proving ground and Mars.

Is space exploration really a waste?
Florida Today (11/5): Although risky, space exploration has proven valuable to humanity in multiple ways, writes Arvind Dhople, a Florida Institute of Technology professor emeritus. “Many of the scientists of today were inspired by the daring accomplishments of the Apollo astronauts. Imagine the impact of seeing a fellow human set foot on Mars for the first time,” he writes in an op-ed that explains the benefits of exploration for health care, Earth science and new technologies.

First Canadian astronaut Marc Garneau appointed Cabinet Minister (11/4): Marc Garneau, Canada’s first astronaut, will serve as Transport Minister, in the new government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. His possible role in space policy is unclear, reports. Space was once the province of Canada’s Ministry of Industry, which has been dismantled. Garneau took flight in 1984 aboard a NASA space shuttle mission.

Unmanned Deep Space Exploration

NASA to deliver big news on Mars’ atmosphere Thursday
CNN (11/4): Scientists associated with NASA’s MAVEN mission, which maneuvered into orbit around Mars in September, will provide findings Thursday on the forces behind significant changes to the Martian atmosphere. At one time, Mars is believed to have had a warmer, wetter climate with conditions suitable for biological activity.

Protecting Juno’s heart
Universe Today (11/4): Scientists and engineers have worked hard to protect NASA’s Juno mission spacecraft from the harsh radiation environment of Jupiter. Juno was launched Aug. 5, 2011 and is on course to reach its destination in July 2016. At Jupiter, Juno will study the core, atmosphere and powerful gravitational field, while seeking new clues to its evolution.

Mysterious dark matter may not always have been dark (11/4): Pervasive dark matter may not have started out so dark, say scientists. Why would that matter? Dark matter may constitute the majority of matter in the universe, according to measurements of its gravitational influence. The high temperatures that reigned in the early universe appears to have influenced a transition of matter from ordinary to dark.

Low Earth Orbit

Hugh Harris – the voice of shuttle launch control reflects
America Space (11/4): Harris reflects on his rewarding career at NASA, one that stretched from the early 1960s through the shuttle era. As a public affairs executive, Harris supervised personnel, wrote news releases and provided live launch commentary.

NASA’s plucky new robot will be the eyes of robotic satellite repairs
Popular Mechanics (11/4): NASA is testing a range of technologies aboard the International Space Station that could prove pivotal to ground supervised robotic upgrades to expensive satellites in Earth orbit. One of those is VIPIR, a compact technology for visual inspections.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

NASA signs on for Ellington spaceport partnership
Houston Chronicle (11/4): NASA’s Johnson Space Center signed a Space Act Agreement Thursday to provide expertise in safety and other technical areas to Houston’s new spaceport at Ellington Airport. Ellington received an FAA commercial spaceport license in late June. NASA will be reimbursed for its knowledge sharing as Houston establishes an aerospace incubator for new products and prepares to support future runway launches and landings of reusable commercial space vehicles.


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