January 29, 2017

Journey to Mars Must Begin with Sustainable Development on the Moon (Source: Roanoke Times)
Returning humans to the moon, men and women of various nationalities and ethnicities similar to those that have been a part of the International Space Station, but including the Chinese and Indians, would likely result in a scientific and economic bonanza. Planetary scientists could seek to establish the first lunar radio telescope to explore the Universe, a concept embraced by the Chinese and Japanese governments on Earth.

The moon could become a major fuel depot for deep space exploration to Mars, the asteroids, and moons of Jupiter by mid-to-late 21st century. The so-called “Moon Village” is a great starting point for the United States to collaborate and partner with other spacefaring nations. The United States may take the next step to create off-earth legal regimes for private sector investment on the moon. Humanity has explored and developed similar analog outposts before at Antarctica and the orbiting International Space Station, sharing risk, development and servicing costs and thorny legal regimes.

President Donald Trump can boost the national and international image while leaving a lasting legacy by establishing scientific and economic benefits of the moon. Not only to “Make America Great Again,” but he can empower a demonstration of how American ingenuity can lead humanity across the solar system. Americans started by placing human capability 250,000 miles from Earth nearly fifty years ago; therefore, we must prove we can sustain humanity within a more forgiving distance of the moon before taking a costly quantum leap millions of miles from Earth to Mars. (1/29)

Put People on Mars by 2033—for the Good of the Nation (Source: WIRED)
As President Donald Trump takes office, that’s one of the many questions facing him and leaders in Congress about the future of our human spaceflight program and NASA. We believe the answer is—and must be—a resounding yes. Human space flight is difficult, and space flight to Mars and back would be even more so. But successfully sending an American to Mars must be the centerpiece of NASA’s human spaceflight program.

With great pride and confidence, our new President and Congress should commit together to NASA sending Americans to Mars by 2033—a realistic goal consistent with the demands of both rocket science and political science. This date is also consistent with celestial mechanics, physics, engineering challenges that can be met, the support of key stakeholders in the public and private sectors, and a reasonable expectation of the investments Congress can provide.

There are three clear reasons: For science, the now well-established presence of water and early habitability of Mars offers the chance to help answer a fundamental question: “Are we alone?” Second, a national push to go to Mars would require new technologies, goods, and services that would yield an enormous return on investment to our economy. With such an effort, the American space program could generate considerable economic activity and create many US-based jobs. Third and most importantly, the European Space Agency, Russians, and Chinese continue to accelerate their human spaceflight programs. Americans must not cede the finish line. (1/28)

Private Space Station Coming Soon? Company Aiming for 2020 Launch (Source: Space.com)
Work is underway to establish the world's first private, international commercial space station, a complex that would serve a global community of sovereign and private astronauts. The builders of the Axiom International Commercial Space Station aim to enlarge the landscape of low-Earth orbit, to create what they view as a "historic shift" in human spaceflight.

Making a space outpost available to nations, organizations and individuals could help make living and working in Earth orbit commonplace and support the exploration of deep space, Axiom representatives said. "We are now deep into conversations with our first nonsovereign astronaut customers," Blachman told Space.com in an exclusive interview. Axiom has begun conversations with 20-plus countries, he said, and is also working out the details with its first research and manufacturing tenant. By 2017, Axiom wants to have contracts in place to start driving revenue and project advancements. (1/28)

Hyten: Deterrence in Space Means No War Will be Fought There (Source: DOD)
Space capabilities have created a revolution in military affairs, an environment in which information is key to the battlespace and deterrence means war will never be fought in space, the commander of U.S. Strategic Command said. Air Force Gen. John E. Hyten spoke on Stratcom’s perspectives on 21st century deterrence in space. In the audience were Stanford faculty, postgraduate national security students, grad students and some undergrads, and retired government policymakers and national laboratory scientists.

The space domain is critical to every military operation, the general said, noting that everything from humanitarian to major combat operations critically depend on space capabilities. Hyten said the most important element of space is geosynchronous orbit, a circular orbit 22,300 miles above the planet where satellites appear to be stationary above the surface of the earth. Click here. (1/26)

Unique FAA Certification Enables Drone Flights At The Edge Of Space (Source: Aero News Network)
As part of an unmanned flight test for NASA and the FAA, Near Space Corporation (NSC) successfully flew a drone from the edge of space to operate as a surrogate test bed for technologies supporting new Suborbital Reusable Launch Vehicles (SRLVs) currently under development. The September 26th test, conducted for NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, was the first of many flights that will be taking advantage of a unique FAA High Altitude Certificate Of Authorization (COA).

The flight, which was designed to help evaluate how advanced FAA surveillance technologies could be applied to winged SRLVs also broke new ground in the emerging UAS regulatory arena. NSC has been conducting flight tests of Mars airplane prototypes and other high altitude unmanned aircraft since 2001, but this is the first operation to be conducted under the FAA’s new UAS rules. The Tillamook range, like Oregon’s other UAS ranges in Warm Springs and Pendleton, is part of the Pan Pacific UAS Test Range Complex, one of the six FAA designated UAS Test Sites.

Within the current UAS regulatory environment, the flights were only made possible after a unique high altitude COA was issued by the FAA along with an agreement that specifies the special Air Traffic Control (ATC) provisions for the flight operations. Together, they allow the Tillamook UAS Test Range to support flight operations of NSC’s HASS and other small UAS at altitudes from the surface up to 130,000 feet MSL. The COA’s associated airspace includes more than 6,000 square nautical miles within Class A airspace and below, and more than 20,000 square nautical miles of airspace above. (1/27)

Scientists Have Confirmed a Brand New Form of Matter: Time Crystals (Source: Science Alert)
For months now, there's been speculation that researchers might have finally created time crystals - strange crystals that have an atomic structure that repeats not just in space, but in time, putting them in perpetual motion without energy. Now it's official - researchers have just reported in detail how to make and measure these bizarre crystals. And two independent teams of scientists claim they've actually created time crystals in the lab based off this blueprint, confirming the existence of an entirely new form of matter.

The discovery might sound pretty abstract, but it heralds in a whole new era in physics - for decades we've been studying matter that's defined as being 'in equilibrium', such as metals and insulators. But it's been predicted that there are many more strange types of matter out there in the Universe that aren't in equilibrium that we haven't even begun to look into, including time crystals. And now we know they're real. Click here. (1/28)

Commercial Crew's Role in Path to Mars (Source: Space Daily)
The spacecraft, rockets and associated systems in development for NASA's Commercial Crew Program are critical links in the agency's chain to send astronauts safely to and from the Red Planet in the future, even though the commercial vehicles won't venture to Mars themselves. The key is reliable access to the International Space Station as a test bed.

Changes to the human body during long-duration spaceflight are significant challenges to solve ahead of a mission to Mars and back. The space station allows NASA to perform long duration missions without leaving Earth's orbit. Although they are orbiting Earth, space station astronauts spend months at a time in near-zero gravity, which allows scientists to study several physiological changes and test potential solutions. The more time they spend in space, the more helpful the station crew members can be to those on Earth assembling the plans to go to Mars.

This is where the Commercial Crew Program comes in. The two spacecraft and launch systems being built by Boeing and SpaceX will carry up to four astronauts to the station at a time for NASA missions. That is enough to add one more full-time resident to the station's existing six-person crew. With seven people working on the station, the time available for research nearly doubles, meaning scientists researching aspects of Mars mission will have much greater opportunities to refine their experiments and define potential solutions. (1/27)

China Plans to Launch 1st Mars Probe by 2020 (Source: Space Daily)
China is planning to conduct the first orbiting and roving exploration of Mars by 2020, the country's State Council Information Office (SCIO) said Tuesday in a report. "China intends to execute its first Mars exploration operation, and grasp key technologies for orbiting, landing and roving exploration. It plans to launch the first Mars probe by 2020 to carry out orbiting and roving exploration," the report of said.

According to the document, China is also planning to "conduct research into major scientific questions such as the origin and evolution of the solar system, and search for extraterrestrial life." The report also said that China is expecting Beidou-2 satellite navigation system to begin providing basic services to Eurasian countries by 2018 and to have a global reach by 2020. (1/28)

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