April 25, 2017

Mars Ain’t the Kind of Place to Raise Your Kids (Source: Space Review)
The television series The Expanse is perhaps the best representation of space settlement available in any form of entertainment today. Yet, Dwayne Day argues, it is hardly the utopian vision of human expansion into space often promoted by space advocates. Click here. (4/24)
The Magic MacGuffin of Mercury 9 (Source: Space Review)
A new series on the Discovery Channel follows a treasure hunter following a map purported to be created by Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper during his spaceflight. James Oberg explains why there’s little reason to believe there’s any substance behind that map. Click here. (4/24)
International and Commercial Interest in the Moon (Source: Space Review)
NASA’s plans for a potential return to the Moon remain up in the air, but that is not deterring others interested in lunar activities. Jeff Foust reports on discussions about human missions to the Moon by space agencies and companies at a recent conference. Click here. (4/24)
Earth Day 2017: Space and Science on the March in Los Angeles (Source: Space Review)
On Saturday, tens of thousands of people marched in the streets of Los Angeles in one of more than 500 “March for Science” events worldwide. David Clow describes how concerns about climate change, and NASA’s role studying it, were among the key issues for marchers there. Click here. (4/24)

Trump Calls ISS Astronauts, Urges Accelerated Mars Trip (Source: Space News)
In a conversation with NASA astronauts on the International Space Station April 24, President Donald Trump called for a human mission to Mars by the end of his second term in 2024, a timeframe most in the industry do not consider feasible. Trump, sitting in the Oval Office at the White House, asked the astronauts about when NASA would be ready to send humans to the planet. “What do you see a timing for actually sending humans to Mars?” he asked.

“Well, I think as your bill directed, it will be approximately in the 2030s,” responded Whitson, referring to a NASA authorization act that Trump signed into law March 21. That bill included language requiring NASA to contract with an “independent, non-governmental systems engineering and technical assistance organization” to study the feasibility of a human Mars mission in 2033. Trump, though, said he wanted a faster timeline.

“Well, we want to try and do it during my first term or, at worst, during my second term,” he said. “So we’ll have to speed that up a little bit, okay?” He reiterated an accelerated timeframe later in the discussion. “I’m very proud that I just signed a bill committing NASA to the aim of sending America astronauts to Mars,” he said, again referring to the authorization act. “So we’ll do that. I think we’ll do it a lot sooner than we’re even thinking.” (4/24)

Several More Cosmonauts Set to Quit Russian Space Team (Source: Tass)
Several experienced cosmonauts may soon quit Russia’s cosmonaut team both of their own free will and for health reasons, a source in the rocket and space industry told TASS on Monday. "Apart from Gennady Padalka who has tendered his resignation, another experienced cosmonaut with a record of three space flights, Sergei Volkov, has recently quit the cosmonaut team. He also left of his own free will," the source said. (4/24)

Xi Jinping Called Station Astronauts, Gave Vision for China's Space Development (Source: Xinhua)
On June 24, 2013, Xi made a video call at the Beijing Aerospace Control Center to the three Shenzhou-10 astronauts aboard the orbiting space module Tiangong-1. "The space dream is part of the dream to make China stronger. With the development of space programs, the Chinese people will take bigger strides to explore further into space," he said. Click here. (4/24)

A Solar System ‘Road Trip’ With Astronaut Chris Hadfield (Source: Huffington Post)
Sure, we sort of all know some of the names of the planets in our solar system, and sure, we kind of know what many of those planets look like, right? But have you ever wondered what it would be like to see the main planets in our cosmic neighborhood as if they were always hovering in the air right above major cities? Now that would be something. So get ready for “Miniverse,” the most unusual road trip you’ll ever experience.

The actual distances between the planets are so vast that it’s difficult to understand the scale of our little section of the Milky Way galaxy. “Miniverse” is a new film from CuriosityStream that scales down the solar system, placing the sun and planets above the continental United States from coast to coast. Add to that a former International Space Station commander, Col. Chris Hadfield, as our guide, who literally puts the pedal to the metal as he begins a joyride across America. Click here. (4/24)

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