February 28, 2016

NASA Invites India to Jointly Explore Mars (Source: The Hindu)
After the success of India's Mars Orbiter Mission (MOM), India and US are likely to collaborate on a mission to the Red planet. In the future, India and the U.S. could jointly explore Mars and, who knows, an Indian astronaut could also head to the Red planet on a joint mission.

India’s maiden mission to the Red Planet, Mangalyaan, has opened the eyes of the world on ISRO’s capabilities at undertaking low cost, high value inter-planetary mission. Charles Elachi, director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory or JPL, a part of NASA and an institution better known for piloting most of the American planetary exploration efforts with rovers like Curiosity, says India and the U.S. could jointly explore Mars and even invited India to send astronauts to the Red Planet. (2/28)

China to Launch Second Space Lab Tiangong-2 in Q3 (Source: Xinhua)
China will send its second orbiting space lab Tiangong-2 into space in the third quarter of this year, which is expected to dock with a cargo ship scheduled to be launched in the first half of next year, sources from the manned space program said Sunday.

As part of the country's space lab program, China also plans to launch the Shenzhou-11 spacecraft, which will carry two astronauts on board, in the fourth quarter of this year to dock with Tiangong-2, according to the program's spokesperson.

After its first test flight in the Wenchang satellite launch center in south China's Hainan Province, the Long March-7 rocket will put the cargo ship Tianzhou-1, which literally means "heavenly vessel," into space in the first half of 2017 to dock with Tiangong-2 and conduct experiments. (2/28)

NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS (Source: Sputnik)
In responding to criticism that NASA has lost its direction under the Obama administration, space policy expert John Logson still believes that while mistake were made, a mission to Mars during the next presidency is still a possibility.

While former NASA head Mike Griffin said that the Obama administration left the agency with "no dream, no vision, no plan, no budget, and no remorse" on Space, it does have ambitious plans for the future, space policy expert John Logsdon told Radio Sputnik.

According to Logsdon, former head of the Space Policy Institute, the future of NASA's Space policy will be decided by the next US President. The main issue would be whether to return to the Moon first, or immediately begin deep space exploration with a manned mission to Mars. (2/27)

NASA Sees a Different Kind of El Nino (Source: Space Daily)
A new NASA visualization shows the 2015 El Nino unfolding in the Pacific Ocean, as sea surface temperatures create different patterns than seen in the 1997-1998 El Nino. Computer models are just one tool that NASA scientists are using to study this large El Nino event, and compare it to other events in the past.

"The start of an El Nino is important," said Robin Kovach, a research scientist with the Global Modeling and Assimilation Office (GMAO) at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

The visualization shows how the 1997 event started from colder-than-average sea surface temperatures - but the 2015 event started with warmer-than-average temperatures not only in the Pacific but also in in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. (2/26)

NASA Demonstrates Airborne Water Quality Sensor (Source: Space Daily)
Monitoring the quality of freshwater supplies is a global concern, especially in thirsty California, where the San Francisco Bay-Delta Estuary and its watershed serve as a major freshwater source. Now scientists at NASA JPL, and the U.S. Geological Survey have successfully demonstrated how a NASA-developed airborne environmental monitoring instrument can be applied to help water managers monitor water quality. (2/26)

Next Stop, Lunar City: 3D-Printed Space Pods to Form Permanent ‘Moon Village’ (Source: Russia Today)
Mankind could soon be living in 3D-printed moon pods, with the European Space Agency (ESA) currently exploring inventive ways to set up a permanent lunar village. In a recent ESA mini-documentary, Jan Worner, director general of the European Space Agency, said he intends to build an “open station” on the moon.

The base would be run similarly to the International Space Station, with astronauts from leading space nations such as the US, Russia, China, India and Japan regularly visiting the satellite.  An Irish researcher at the ESA, Aidan Cowley, is working on ways to build domes capable of sheltering moon dwellers from extreme temperatures and space debris. Click here. (2/27)

Experts Weigh In On the Year Ahead in Space (Source: SpaceFlight Insider)
SpaceFlight Insider reached out to experts, astronauts and up-and-coming players in the space arena to get their view on what they thought would be the major events the public should be on the lookout for in 2016 – and beyond. Their responses were as varied as their backgrounds – highlighting the current dynamic state of space exploration efforts. Click here. (2/27)

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