August 8, 2016

Evidence Mounts That Neutrinos Are the Key to the Universe's Existence (Source:
New experimental results show a difference in the way neutrinos and antineutrinos behave, which could explain why matter persists over antimatter. The results, from the T2K experiment in Japan, show that the degree to which neutrinos change their type differs from their antineutrino counterparts. This is important because if all types of matter and antimatter behave the same way, they should have obliterated each other shortly after the Big Bang.

So far, when scientists have looked at matter-antimatter pairs of particles, no differences have been large enough to explain why the universe is made up of matter – and exists – rather than being annihilated by antimatter. Neutrinos and antineutrinos are one of the last matter-antimatter pairs to be investigated since they are difficult to produce and measure, but their strange behavior hints that they could be the key to the mystery. Click here. (8/8)

NOAA Weather Satellite Launch Delayed to March (Source: Space News)
The launch of the first next-generation polar orbiting weather satellite has slipped two months. NOAA confirmed Friday that the launch of the Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) 1 spacecraft, which had been scheduled for January 2017, has been delayed until March. NOAA said that "recent tests of the flight and ground systems" led to that decision, but did not elaborate on the specific issues causing the delay. Delays in the JPSS-1 launch raise concerns about a potential data gap because of problems with an instrument on the current NPP Suomi spacecraft. (8/7)

Eutelsat Sells Stake in Maritime Business (Source: Space News)
Eutelsat has sold its majority stake in a maritime satellite communications provider as part of a growing consolidation of that sector. Eutelsat sold its 70 percent ownership of WINS Ltd to SpeedCast International in a deal that valued WINS at $67 million. The sale, announced early Monday, comes a week after Apax Partners-owned Marlink said it was acquiring Telemar, creating a combined company that serves a third of the global maritime vessel fleet. SpeedCast says it expects to make more acquisitions in the future "amid an accelerating consolidation trend in our industry." (8/8)

Apollo 11 Artifact Sale Hits Snag (Source: AP)
An Apollo 11 artifact is at the center of a legal dispute. The U.S. Attorney's Office asked a federal court last week to rescind the sale of an Apollo 11 sample bag that was sold at a government auction in 2015 for $995. The bag was seized by the government from Max Ary, founder of the Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center, who was convicted in 2005 of stealing and selling museum artifacts. The government says that the bag was not properly identified in records, and NASA was thus not notified of its sale. In 2001, Ary sold a similar bag from the Apollo 17 mission for more than $24,000; that bag was later recovered by the government. (8/8)

Is the Moon a Necessary Step on the Path to Mars? (Source: Space Review)
There is an ongoing debate about whether humans should first return to the Moon before setting out on expeditions to Mars. Chris Carberry and Rick Zucker argue that human lunar missions should stand or fall on their own merits, rather than be justified as Mars precursors. Click here. (8/8)
Focus on Space in Germany’s G20 Agenda (Source: Space Review)
Germany will hold the presidency for the G20 nations in 2017. In an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, the International Lunar Decade Working Group suggests she include space development, including a “Moon Village,” on the agenda of issues the G20 will take up in 2017. Click here. (8/8)
Scrutinizing NASA’s Exploration Efforts (Source: Space Review)
Regardless of who wins the election, the next administration is likely to take a close look at NASA’s major exploration programs. Jeff Foust reports that while NASA says those efforts are making good progress, GAO studies found potential cost and schedule issues with them. Click here. (8/8)
Plagiarism in Space Journalism, Again (Source: Space Review)
An article a space website reprinted from a Russian news service appears to have extensively borrowed, without attribution, from another article. Dwayne Day examines this latest case of space plagiarism and why this is a serious problem. Click here. (8/8)
Firefly Targets Late Fall For Alpha Aerospike Rocket Tests (Source: Aviation Week)
Low-cost launcher start-up company Firefly Space Systems plans to conduct the first full-scale development test of its Alpha vehicle’s pressure-fed FRE-2 aerospike rocket engine in the fourth quarter of this year. The 125,000-lb.-thrust engine will be the first aerospike rocket to fly and is pivotal to Firefly’s goal of developing a scalable family of relatively simple, lightweight launchers for the small satellite market.

The initial vehicle, called the Alpha, is designed to deliver 200-kg (440-lb.) payloads to sun-synchronous orbit and is scheduled to launch on its first operational mission for NASA in March 2018. The FRE-2 is a plug-cluster- chamber design in which the annulus is divided into a discrete number of combustors. The exhaust from each of the 12 combustors impinges directly against the sides of a centrally mounted aerospike. Click here. (8/8)

Russian Rocket Scientists Look at North Korea’s Moon Plans (Source: Sputnik)
A senior North Korean official told AP that North Korea is looking to plant its national flag on the moon's surface, possibly within the next ten years. Hyon Kwang Il, the director of the scientific research department of the North Korean National Aerospace Development Administration, told the news agency that his country would defy all efforts to block the Democratic People's Republic of Korea's ambitions in space, and would ultimately plant its flag on the moon.

Russian rocketry experts offered their input on whether Pyongyang actually has the technical and logistical capabilities to make it to the celestial body. The Russian online news hub suggested that at first glance, Pyongyang's lunar ambitions are not as farfetched as they may seem. "The question," the online news resource suggested, "is whether the North Korean rocket scientists are capable of creating a super-heavy launch vehicle." (8/6)

Moon Express: How Close are Humans to Living in Space? (Source: Independent)
The space entrepreneurs of Moon Express aim to send the MX-1 – a craft the size of a washing machine dubbed a “hot rod of space” – to the natural satellite by late 2017. Moon Express is set to unveil the rover in September. In a mission statement that emphasises the moon’s unclear, and potentially corporate, future, Moon Express said their plans for the near future involve mining resources to send back to Earth and burying people’s ashes – including those of co-founder Dr Bob Richards’s father – on its surface.

“We are now free to set sail as explorers to Earth’s eighth continent, the Moon, seeking new knowledge and resources to expand Earth’s economic sphere for the benefit of all humanity,” Dr Richards announced in an appropriately lofty statement in response to the US government’s verdict. The glowing orb is a universal source of wonder and inspiration, and so the private sector’s first contact with the moon will likely be met with apprehension. Click here. (8/8)

New Particle Hopes Fade as LHC Data 'Bump' Disappears (Source: BBC)
Hopes for the imminent discovery of a particle that might fundamentally change our understanding of the Universe have been put on hold. Results from the Large Hadron Collider show that a "bump" in the machine's data, previously rumoured to represent a new particle, has gone away. The discovery of new particles, which could trigger a paradigm shift in physics, may still be years away. (8/8)

Shake-Up Set for Thailand Satellite Industry (Source: Bangkok Post)
The Thailand government plans to formulate a new investment model for the satellite industry to replace the licensing regime. Four options are being considered: a wholly owned state enterprise; a public-private joint venture with the state owning a majority stake; flexible forms of public-private joint ventures; and the existing licensing model but with higher operating costs.

Deputy Prime Minister Prajin Juntong, chairman of the national space policy committee of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Ministry, said the government is considering what will be the most appropriate investment strategy. "A resolution is expected to be settled by early 2017," he said. (8/8)

Promoting Argyll as the UK’s First Spaceport is Council’s Top Priority (Source: Press and Journal)
Making Argyll the home of the UK’s first spaceport is a top priority for the local authority. And next week a committee of Argyll and Bute Council will be asked to write to the UK Government to promote the former Machrihanish Airbase near Campbeltown as the best site. (8/6)

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