Today’s Deep Space Extra for Wednesday, September 16, 2015

September 16th, 2015

Today’s Deep Space Extra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Findings from Cassini, a joint U.S. European spacecraft mission to Saturn, suggests the moon Enceladus hosts a global ocean beneath its icy surface. A galaxy survey suggests no super advanced space civilizations lurking nearby. Swedish scientists believe their homeland was the target for a rare simultaneous meteor strike 458 million years ago. Scientists look to a big reddish lunar eclipse on Sept. 27. Aboard the International Space Station, U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko reach the midpoint of their near yearlong stay. Blue Origin announces plans to assemble and launch a new reusable orbital rocket from Central Florida. Blue Origin’s plan means a $200 million investment and 330 jobs for Central Florida.

Unmanned Deep Space Exploration

Saturn’s moon Enceladus is home to a global ocean (9/16): Scientists believe Saturn’s moon Enceladus hosts a global ocean beneath its icy exterior, based on findings from Cassini, a long running mission to the large ringed planet sponsored by NASA, the European Space Agency and Italian Space Agency. The findings, published this week in the Journal Icarus, were determined from measurements of the moon’s wobble. Previous observations suggested Enceladus possessed an ocean at its south pole that fed a geyser like spray.

Super advanced alien civilizations probably don’t live in our cosmic neighborhood
Science (9/15): A Danish astronomer challenges a theory supporting possible super advanced civilizations in nearby galaxies. The findings are based on a survey of galaxies in search of civilizations that harness energy generated by multiple stars.

Two meteors hit ancient Earth at same time (9/15): Swedish researchers find evidence of simultaneous meteor impacts in their homeland an estimated 458 million years ago. The source for the impactors was likely a collision between two large asteroids in the asteroid belt. The strikes left craters in a region called Jämptland about 10 miles apart, one nearly five miles across, the other 2,300 feet across.

Supermoon lunar eclipse will have star gazers seeing red
CBS News (9/15): Sept. 27 will bring a rare lunar eclipse, with a full moon and the moon at its closest approach to the Earth all at the same time. The moon should be large and reddish as the Earth’s shadow falls across the lunar surface. The last such confluence of events was more than 30 years ago.

Low Earth Orbit

Astronaut and cosmonaut at halfway point of yearlong Space Station mission (9/15): Tuesday marked the half way point of a marathon visit to the International Space Station by U.S. astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian crewmate Mikhail Kornienko. The two men are subjects in joint U.S./Russian experiments to determine the physical and mental challenges of future human deep exploration missions.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

Blue Origin announces Florida factory and launch site for orbital vehicle
Space News (9/15): Blue Origin founder Jeff Bezos outlined a strategy on Tuesday for the manufacture and launchings of a new reusable orbital launch vehicle from Central Florida.

Blue Origin will build and launch rockets in Brevard
Florida Today (9/15): Blue Origin’s Jeff Bezos announces plans to re-establish the use of space launch complex 36 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., for launches of a new company developed re-usable launch vehicle, also produced in Central Florida. The plan means $200 million in investments and 330 new jobs for the area.

Jeff Bezos to take on Elon Musk and Richard Branson with Cape Canaveral rocket launches
Los Angeles Times (9/15): Plans by’s Jeff Bezos to assemble and launch a reusable orbital rocket fleet in Central Florida will present SpaceX and Richard Branson’s LauncherOne with new competition.

Bezos not concerned about competition, possible ULA sale
Space News (9/15): Blue Origin intends to focus on future production of the BE-4 rocket engine, a domestic alternative to the embargoed Russian RD-180 for future United Launch Alliance launch services vehicles, according to the Kent, WA company’s founder, Jeff Bezos. His comments in Central Florida on Tuesday come among reports that rival rocket maker Aerojet Rocketdyne is prepared to purchase ULA for $2 billion.

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