September 18, 2016

Clinton Supports Human Mars Exploration (Source: Space News)
Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton says she supports plans to send humans to Mars, a central theme of the current administration’s civil space policy. In a response to a questionnaire on science policy topics released Sept. 13 by that represent some of her most detailed space policy comments to date, Clinton said she would build upon the progress made by NASA in space science, technology and exploration. (9/13)

Wildfire Scrubs Atlas Launch in California (Source: SpaceFlight Now)
ULA's launch of a WorldView 4 satellite at Vandenberg AFB in California is rescheduled for no sooner than Tuesday. The Atlas 5 rocket and WorldView 4 spacecraft remain safe and secure inside the mobile service gantry at Vandenberg Air Force Base's Space Launch Complex 3-East. The launch was scrubbed due to a wildfire that began last night in a remote canyon south of the pad.

Approximately 250 firefighters including hand-crews, bulldozers, and air assets are on-site, the Air Force said. No facilities have been damaged by the fire and no critical assets are in immediate danger, according to the Air Force. "We've delayed the launch in order to concentrate our resources on the situation at hand," said Col. Paul Nosek, Vandenberg's Emergency Operations Center commander. (9/17)

Destination Mars Brings HoloLens to KSC Visitor Complex (Source: KSCVC)
Walk on Mars with Buzz Aldrin! For a limited time, visitors will have the opportunity to walk on Mars with the Microsoft HoloLens™ mixed reality headset using real imagery from NASA’s Curiosity Mars Rover. Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin will serve as a holographic guide for visitors during their journey on the surface of Mars. Curiosity Mars rover driver Erisa Hines will also appear, leading visitors to the sites of exciting discoveries about the Red Planet. Located in a pop-up theater at the main visitor complex, Destination: Mars will only be available through January 1, 2017. (9/18)

Space Jam in Orlando (Source: Florida Today)
Gamers and space enthusiasts gathered this weekend at the Orlando Science Center for the third Indie Galactic Space Jam. Billed as "48 hours to make games about space," the event aims to rapidly prototype games that build excitement about space travel and exploration. Space Florida is the Space Jam's lead sponsor. Others include Florida's Space Coast Office of Tourism, the Economic Development Commission of Florida's Space Coast and the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex. Click here. (9/18)

Free JWST Lecture by Mather at Florida Tech (Source: FIT)
Dr. John Mather is the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) Senior Project Scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. Dr. Mather will discuss how JWST, scheduled to launch in 2018, is the next great space observatory. Once on station around a gravitational saddle point on the opposite side of Earth from the sun, JWST will have an unprecedented view of the universe at infrared wavelengths. At this position the telescope will peer back to the earliest times in our universe to spot galaxies in the act of forming. Click here. (9/17)

Trump's Climate Science Denial Clashes with Reality of Rising Seas in Florida (Source: LA Times)
By Donald Trump’s account, scientists have tricked Americans into accepting that global warming is caused by the burning of fossil fuels. “I’m not a big believer in man-made climate change,” he told the Miami Herald on one of the rare recent occasions when he has talked about it.

A few blocks from the Miami Beach hotel where Trump spoke, water flooded over a seawall last year during the highest autumn tides, blocking traffic on one of South Florida’s main evacuation routes. The city is now elevating that street and many others as part of a $500-million program to protect itself from the rising ocean. (9/18)

Russians Delay Next Space Station Crew Launch (Source: CBS)
The next launch of a Soyuz spacecraft carrying three space station fliers has been delayed indefinitely after testing at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan revealed an unspecified technical problem, the Russian space agency announced Saturday. Soyuz MS-02 commander Sergey Ryzhikov, flight engineer Andrey Borisenko and NASA astronaut Shane Kimbrough had been scheduled for launch from Baikonur on Sept. 23. (9/17)

NASA Accidentally Sells Moon Landing Bag (Source: Sky News)
NASA accidentally sold a priceless Apollo 11 artifact and now faces a legal battle to get it back. The bag was used to collect moon samples in 1969, and was sold by mistake last year due to a clerical error. It was snapped up by Nancy Carlson from Illinois for just $995 (around £700), but NASA says it's a priceless "rare artifact, if not a national treasure".

NASA only realized the mistake when Ms Carlson sent back the bag for authentication. The space agency then decided to keep it, and is now working with federal prosecutors to reclaim legal ownership of the item. Meanwhile, Ms Carlson has launched her own lawsuit against NASA to get the bag back. (9/13)

What if SpaceX Beats NASA to Mars? (Source: Inverse)
After all, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has been exceptionally clear about his goal to send a crewed spacecraft to the red planet by the year 2025. (It’s unclear if this vehicle would land on the surface or not, but judging by the company’s express plans to design its Red Dragon capsule as a landing craft, it’s difficult to imagine the company would avoid trying a landing attempt. In any case, a 2025 crewed mission would be way ahead of what NASA has planned.)

There are a ton of things SpaceX has to troubleshoot before a crewed mission to Mars is even close to possible — the company hasn’t even sent humans into orbit yet! Still, it’s not unthinkable. Faced with such a prospect, William Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, had a very astute response: “It’s not a competition.”

He went on to explain that whichever company or agency first able to make it to the red planet is irrelevant to the bigger picture of expanding the presence of humanity into deep space. “It advances us as a species,” he said. NASA is rooting for SpaceX and the success of the Red Dragon program as much as Musk and his team are rooting for NASA. Click here. (9/15)

Designer's NASA-Inspired Fashions Are The Best Yet (Source: The Verge)
Continuing with the trend of NASA-inspired fashion, Vivienne Tam's Spring/Summer runway looks for 2017 are sprinkled with the NASA logo, metallic silver, and what Tam's press materials describe as "Astro orange" and "NASA blue." The line was debuted at Fashion Week in New York on September 12th, and was first brought to my attention by The Startorialist. Tam's press materials describe her influence as Houston, Texas (the butterflies, cowboy motif, and flowers pull from local ecology; there's also a ton of fringe) — but I'm here for NASA. Click here. (9/16)

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