January 19, 2015

Found Dog (Source: Space Review)
On Friday, the UK Space Agency announced that the Beagle 2 lander had been found on the Martian surface, at least partially intact, in images from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spacecraft. Dwayne Day discusses what we can learn from the discovery of the spacecraft more than a decade after it disappeared. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2680/1 to view the article. (1/19)

Debating the Future of Exoplanet Missions Concepts and Community (Source: Space Review)
While astronomers are discovering ever more exoplanets, including some that may be like Earth, there's a perception that the scientific community can't agree on future goals and missions. Jeff Foust reports on efforts by astronomers to develop greater consensus on the direction of exoplanet research, and what some of the missions to achieve those goals might be. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2679/1 to view the article. (1/19)

Why Humans Should Go to Mars and Other Places in Space (Source: Space Review)
In a recent newspaper op-ed, a university scientist argues against human exploration of Mars, claiming the money would be better spent on other scientific activities here on Earth. John Strickland argues against that mindset, provided human Mars missions are done in a more affordable, sustainable way. Visit http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2678/1 to view the article. (1/19)

Iran Cancels Space Program (Source: Medium)
After six years of massive expenditures and lurid propaganda, on Jan. 9 Tehran shut down its troubled space program. The unceremonious cancellation occurred without notice in the Iranian press. Authorities are spreading the space agency’s manpower and assets across four ministries including the telecoms ministry and the ministry of defense.

Iran had dabbled in space exploration since the early 1970s. In 2002, reformist president Mohammad Khatami ordered the ministries of science and telecommunications to establish a national program for achieving space capabilities, mainly focusing on the design and development of satellites with Russian cooperation.

But the Iranian Space Agency, in its current form, actually formed on Sept. 27, 2010, when then-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad brought the national space consul and several small research institutes under the direct supervision of his presidential office, this time mainly focusing on space launchers. The program consisted of six launch vehicles—three of which the space agency actually completed—plus subvariants of the vehicles. (1/18)

Ted Cruz and the Ice Giants (Source: National Review)
With the GOP in charge of the Senate, Ted Cruz has taken charge of the Science, Space, and Competitiveness subcommittee. Which means Ted Cruz now oversees NASA. On Wednesday, Cruz issued a statement saying that “Our space program marks the frontier of future technologies for defense, communications, transportation and more, and our mindset should be focused on NASA’s primary mission: exploring space and developing the wealth of new technologies that stem from its exploration."

A return to launching our own astronauts into space should be at the top of the agenda, and a return to Apollo-style deep-space exploration should be just below it. We’ve already got the unmanned side of things pretty well covered: NASA has ongoing unmanned missions to Mercury, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, and Pluto. The European Space Agency is handling Venus. I’d like to make a plea for the forgotten planets — the Ice Giants.

There are no ongoing or planned missions to Uranus or Neptune. And believe me, there should be. Earth chauvinism makes us forget, sometimes, that we aren’t the only blue planet. But out beyond Saturn are two of the most charming, gigantic, gaseous blue spheres in the solar system. (1/17)

Florida Space Industry to Visit Capitol on March 25 (Source: Space Florida)
Representatives from Florida’s aerospace industry will visit Tallahassee on March 25, 2015, to participate in Florida Space Day and share with legislators the opportunities the industry brings to Florida and the nation’s space program.

“Florida continues to transform the business of space,” said Andy Allen, former astronaut and chair of Florida Space Day 2015. “Space operations and facility upgrades are progressing at Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS), including commercial operations in suborbital and low-Earth orbit, as well as national program initiatives involving Orion and the Space Launch System for deep space human exploration.”

“This transition in the space business arena impacts all of Florida, not just the Space Coast,” added Allen. Florida has almost 500 aerospace companies employing over 30,000 high-tech professionals; it has the third largest space industry in the nation. (1/16)

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