March 27, 2017

KSC Invention May Give Spacecraft Improved Damage Report (Source: Space Daily)
There are few ways for astronauts to know exactly when the outside of their spacecraft has been damaged, but that may change in the future with an invention that acts like a sensory skin to pick up signs of damage in real-time. The invention uses a series of several technologies to create circuits printed on thin layers and that can be embedded in a spacecraft's structure, scientists behind the invention said.

If successfully incorporated, the innovation could also be applied to a host of satellites, aircraft and even habitats on other worlds. Micrometeoroids and orbital debris pose threats to spacecraft as they travel at speeds of 17,500 mph in low-Earth orbit, and 24,000+ mph for trips to the moon and deep space. As space shuttle windows revealed, something as small as a paint chip moving at that velocity can punch through several layers of glass.

Under development at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the Flexible Damage Detection System technology has been pursued as a possible solution to NASA's problem of figuring out in real-time where a spacecraft is damaged and how seriously. Click here. (3/27)

Strikes to Hit French Guiana as Tensions Paralyze Territory (Source: AP)
French Guiana faced a nationwide strike over crime and economic difficulties, amid protests that have paralyzed the French territory in South America, halted flights and a rocket launch and prompted a U.S. travel warning. The French government has already sent an emergency mission to try to quell tensions in the territory of a quarter-million people.

As tensions mounted, Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced plans to send a high-level ministerial mission before week's end aimed at signing a pact addressing anger over high crime, the cost of living and the quality of health care and other social services. Protests have already blocked roads to neighbouring Brazil and Suriname, and shuttered many businesses and schools. (3/27)

Mars May Have Experienced a Giant Tsunami (Source: Cosmos)
Scientists studying the complex topography of a region of Mars known as Arabia Terra think they have identified the source of a tsunami that may have crashed into its shore billions of years ago, at a time when many think Mars had ocean covering much of its northern hemisphere.

The idea of a Martian ocean dates back to the 1990s, when Timothy Parker, now at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, used Viking images to identify what appears to be an ancient shoreline along the edges of the terrain dichotomy that separates the Red Planet’s northern lowlands from its southern highlands.

Since then, scientists have realised that if one of the many asteroids that pocked the Martian surface happened to crash into that ocean, a tsunami was a likely possibility. One of these teams, led by Alexis Rodriguez of the Planetary Science Institute in Tucson, Arizona, has even found what it believes to be tsunami deposits in flat-bottomed channels along the crustal dichotomy. (3/27)

The Trump Administration’s War on Science (Source: New York Times)
“Think of the marvels we can achieve if we simply set free the dreams of our people,” President Trump said in his speech to Congress last month, after summoning a list of technological triumphs from America’s past. “Cures to illnesses that have always plagued us,” and “American footprints on distant worlds.”

Against those lofty promises, his first budget blueprint is a cramped document that sacrifices American innovation to small-bore politics, shortchanging basic scientific research across the government — from NASA to the Department of Energy to the National Institutes of Health — in ways that can only stifle invention and undercut the nation’s competitiveness. Meanwhile, more than 40 top government science positions, including that of presidential science adviser, remain vacant. (3/27)

Scientists Create 3D Fly-through Map Of Space Dust In Our Galaxy (Source: Huffington Post)
Astronomers hate dust as much as the rest of us ― even more, perhaps. It’s one thing to get a little dust in your eye that takes your vision out of focus. Now imagine this kind of dust problem on a galactic scale where it hinders scientists trying to focus their telescopes into space. That’s part of the challenge faced by researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. They’re creating an instrument that will offer specific information on how fast the universe is growing.

This device ― the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument ― will create a map of over 30 million galaxies. But in order for that map to be precise, astronomers will have to correct for the problems created by all the dust particles in the Milky Way galaxy that impede their deep space investigations. (3/26)

Iran Space Agency Applies for Five Geostationary Orbital Slots (Source: SpaceWatch)
The Iran Space Agency (ISA) announced on March 1, 2017, that it had applied to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) for five geostationary (GEO) orbital slots for Ka- and Ku-band communications satellites. The announcement was made on the ISA website, and provided no details about when it expects to fill the orbital slots it has applied for, and with which particular satellites. (3/26)

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