November 13, 2016

Want to Get Away From Trump? Try Mars (Source: USA Today)
Some Donald Trump haters are vowing to move to Canada or Europe. But if that isn’t far enough away from the new president’s influence, there’s …Mars. Never mind that the Red Planet is 34 million to 250 million miles from Earth, depending on their positions in orbit, or that the first manned visit is unlikely for at least 10 years.

“I think we’ve seen a rise in signups of people who want to go to Mars,” said David Leonard, who authored a companion book to the television series, Mars, Our Future on the Red Planet. That pleases NASA, which is counting on growing public support for its ambitious program of manned flights to Mars by the 2040s, if not sooner. NASA officials Jim Green and Jeff Sheehy say sending humans to Mars will eliminate the chance that our species will become extinct on earth in the distant future because of some cataclysmic event. (11/13)

New Theory of Gravity Might Explain Dark Matter (Source: DITP)
A new theory of gravity might explain the curious motions of stars in galaxies. Emergent gravity, as the new theory is called, predicts the exact same deviation of motions that is usually explained by inserting dark matter in the theory. According to Erik Verlinde, gravity is not a fundamental force of nature, but an emergent phenomenon. In the same way that temperature arises from the movement of microscopic particles, gravity emerges from the changes of fundamental bits of information, stored in the very structure of spacetime. (11/8)

Alabama Universities Partner with NASA to Boost Space Exploration (Source: Made in Alabama)
The University of Alabama and Auburn University are collaborating with NASA on future technologies that could aid space exploration. Officials from both universities and representatives of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville signed new Space Act Agreements to kick off the partnerships.

Under an agreement signed Thursday, University of Alabama students will work to enhance understanding of the propulsion systems for small satellites, called CubeSats, that orbit the Earth. Meanwhile, work at Auburn will focus on the development of wireless sensor and communication technologies, as part of a pact signed last month. (11/11)

Chinese Farmers in Space (Source: Xinhua)
Greetings to everyone. Today (Nov. 11) is my 24th day onboard Tiangong-2. I am Xinhua space correspondent Jing Haipeng. I have heard that people are curious about the gardening tests we are doing up here, so let me tell you about how we are growing lettuces. We did some routine gardening today. We tested the moisture and nutrient content in the culture substrates, and provided our plants with light and air.

We use a device to test if the plants need more or less moisture, a lower reading indicates that our lettuces need watering. We also inject air onto the roots of the lettuces, which helps them grow better. We are like farmers in space, and we have to spend at least 10 minutes everyday tending to our lettuces. (11/13)

Trump Win Could Rocket Scotland’s Tourism Industry Into the Stratosphere (Source: Sunday Times)
The election of Donald Trump as America’s next president has boosted hopes that Ayrshire will emerge as Europe’s premier destination for wealthy space tourists. The billionaire, who owns the five-star Turnberry resort, has backed plans to launch low-Earth orbit flights from nearby Prestwick airport. Those close to the project believe Trump’s imminent move into the White House could launch the project “into the stratosphere”. (11/13)

Why Elon Musk is an Alternative to Donald Trump (Source: Business Insider)
There is one business leader who is really more than a business leader and whose entire vision of the future stands in opposition to Trump's: Elon Musk. As I've often argued, to see Musk as the CEO of a car company, or a space-exploration company, or — soon — the CEO or co-CEO of a solar company misses the point. Musk took the hundreds of millions he made when he and his partners, including Trump supporter Peter Thiel, sold PayPal to eBay and immediately invested in a save-the-Earth vision.

There are climate-change deniers, and there climate change debaters, but there is really only one CEO who has made doing something decisive about what many scientist argue is an existential threat the collective mission of his companies. Apart from maintaining that global warming is a Chinese hoax, Trump has shown no engagement with electric cars, sustainable energy, or space exploration. His energy policy will likely favor the fossil-fuel industry, and his EPA will probably back off on the higher fuel-economy standards that are mandated for automakers — and that have spurred electric-car development. (11/12)

FY2017 Appropriations -- It's Not Over Till It's Over (Source: Space Policy Online)
While everyone is focusing on what a Donald Trump presidency means for the future of NASA and the rest of the space program, it is important to bear in mind that the FY2017 appropriations process is not finished yet.  He may have an early shot at those decisions if Congress pushes final action into next year. Click here. (11/12)

'Arrival' and the Raw Power of Smart Sci-Fi (Source: Seeker)
"Arrival" is the best sci-fi movie of the year because it does what science fiction does best: It encourages thoughtful conjecture and lateral thinking. It asks us to project our hopes and anxieties out to some notional event horizon, then see what develops. In the choppy wake of this terrible and divisive election season, it's the one movie you should take the time to see, and process and talk about afterward. Click here. (11/11)

Orbit Pavilion is a Reminder That We Live in an Age of Wonder (Source: Los Angeles Magazine)
What looks like a giant silver seashell has been constructed at the Huntington in Pasadena. The art installation, called “Orbit Pavilion,” was inspired by the NASA satellites created at nearby Jet Propulsion Laboratory and will be on view until February.

Designed by Studio KCA, the aluminum spiral is about the size of a small apartment. Walk inside, and you’ll find the space awash in a variety of sounds—a frog croaking, leaves blowing in the wind, a human voice. Each sound is linked to one the 19 NASA satellites orbiting the earth, a group that includes global antenna arrays, the deep space network, and the International Space Station. Click here. (11/12)

'South Park' Looks to SpaceX to Save Us From the Election (Source: Inverse)
The writers of South Park — Trey Parker and Matt Stone — were clearly caught off-guard by Tuesday night’s election results. Wednesday night’s episode, which could be considered the show’s best re-write ever, and it largely focused on Donald Trump’s victory and sexism. Essentially, to escape the post-election turmoil, Cartman embarks on a quest to find humanity’s only hope: SpaceX. Click here. (11/10)

What SpaceX and Blue Origin Can Tell Us About Staying True to Core Values (Source: Phoenix Business Journal)
In business, there is no magic formula to dictate a company’s culture, philosophy or business model. That part is entrusted to its leaders, and the truly important organizations of the world need to reflect the talent, expertise and ideals of these individuals.

With this thought in mind, I began to think about the differing philosophies on business and space exploration from two of the most brilliant leaders in the world, Elon Musk of SpaceX and Jeff Bezos of Blue Origin, and how each of their approaches has been so vastly successful, yet completely opposite…and why. Click here. (11/10)

Roddenberry Enters Hall of Fame at NM Space Museum (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
Looking to the future and reflecting on the many accomplishments of innovators and visionaries, the New Mexico Museum of Space History has hit a big milestone.

Cowboys and Astronauts, a Celebration of the 40th anniversary of the museum will take place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12, in Alamogordo. The celebration will also include the induction of “Star Trek” creator Gene Roddenberry into the International Space Hall of Fame, where he will be recognized alongside space icons such as, Neil Armstrong, Walter Cronkite, Arthur C. Clarke,and Jack Schmitt. (11/10)

Bezos Doesn’t Want to Send Trump to Space Anymore (Source: New York Post)
Jeff Bezos is frantically aborting that mission to send Donald Trump into space. Amazon’s billionaire boss — who joked last December he’d like to send Trump into orbit on a rocket operated by Blue Origin, his space-exploration startup — on Thursday congratulated Trump on winning the presidential election. (11/10)

NASA's Latest Satellites are Kind of Adorable (Source: Houston Chronicle)
In the next several months, NASA will begin launching a swarm of "small sats," a series of next-generation satellites, ranging from the size of a loaf of bread to a small washing machine. These low-cost, low-weight "nano" satellites will observe the Earth, providing valuable data for scientists around the world. Click here. (11/9)

How NASA Will Choose Astronauts for Its Incredible Journey to Mars (Source: WIRED)
NASA backed away from the man-in-uniform requirement in the ’60s, anticipating the lunar missions. They wanted to include scientists who could decipher Moon rocks, and then train them in piloting. This was a radical departure, in NASA’s opinion. But the first six scientist-astronauts nonetheless looked a lot like the jet-handling ones of yore: white, dudely.

No one except NASA, who did not respond to a request for comment, can say what it’s looking for this time. But brain-based stability—the kind you have and hone when you’re stuck in Antarctica for the better part of a year—is likely key. “I suspect that there will be a bit more emphasis in the selection on the psychological characteristics and ability to work in a group under stressful circumstances,” says Logsdon.

Agility, too, can’t hurt. Knowing how to debug code—software playing a larger role now than it did in the ’60s, on Earth as it is in heaven—and do science: It’s hard to imagine that’s a bad thing. But the bigger shift, Logsdon thinks, could be in scientific specialty. (11/9)

ViaSat Reports Big Airline Connectivity Order and Robust Government Growth (Source: Space News)
Satellite broadband hardware and services provider ViaSat said it had contracted with a U.S.-based commercial airline to retrofit more than 500 aircraft with ViaSat’s Ka-band airline connectivity system. In a conference call with investors, ViaSat Chief Executive Mark D. Dankberg declined to disclose the customer’s identity, saying the airline would make an announcement in short order. (11/9)

Australia Joins the Stephen Hawking-Backed Search for Alien Life (Source: Mashable)
If "the truth is out there," Australia is going to help find it. On Tuesday, the Parkes radio telescope in western New South Wales joined the Stephen Hawking-backed Breakthrough Listen project, which scours the universe for alien life. Along with the Green Bank Telescope in West Virginia and the Automated Planet Finder at Lick Observatory in California, the telescope will help survey galaxies close to our own for extraterrestrials. (11/9)

Grandson of Gandhi, a Former Top NASA Scientist, Dies in Poverty (Source: CBS)
Kanubhai Ramdas Gandhi was the grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, the man revered as the “Father of the Nation” by many in India, but he died quietly on Monday in a small hospital in a small town where he couldn’t even afford to pay his medical bills. It was an inglorious ending for a man who, in addition to carrying the most famous name in India, also lived richly for 25 years as a top scientist for NASA. Kanubhai Gandhi was the son of Mahatma Gandhi’s third son Ramdas. (11/8)

Sisterhood is Powerful When it Comes to Seattle’s Commercial Space Scene (Source: GeekWire)
The billionaires who run Blue Origin and SpaceX – Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk – may be locked in an outer-space rivalry, but the engineers who get the job done say they’re rooting for each other. Erika Wagner, Blue Origin’s business development manager, says engineers at the company’s headquarters in Kent, Wash., cheer every time they see SpaceX launch and land a rocket. And Aarti Matthews, a mission manager at SpaceX in the Los Angeles area, says the feeling is mutual.

“We’re really excited for each other, because we’re changing the industry together,” Matthews said last weekend at the Museum of Flight’s annual SpaceFest gathering in Seattle. One of those changes is the growing prominence of women in the commercial space industry. That was reflected in the title of this year’s SpaceFest: “Ladies Who Launch.”

To be sure, women engineers have a long way to go to reach parity with their male counterparts. The latest figures indicate that only about 15 percent of the U.S. engineering workforce is female, and a report released last month pointed to gender and racial bias in the profession. (11/7)

Siberian Gurus Shape Satellite Antenna Device to Speed Up Mobile Service (Source: Tass)
Researchers from Siberian Federal University (SFU) created a novel exciter for mirror antennas for future satellite communication stations which will notably enhance the speed of mobile services, the SFU's press service said. The feeding device (that is the exciter) is an essential part of satellite communications. It is maintained inside the satellite antenna to capture and transmit radio signals in various frequency ranges. (11/7)

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