July 30, 2017

NASA Selects Proposals to Study Sun, Space Environment (Source: NASA)
NASA has selected nine proposals under its Explorers Program that will return transformational science about the Sun and space environment and fill science gaps between the agency’s larger missions; eight for focused scientific investigations and one for technological development of instrumentation.

The broad scope of the investigations illustrates the many vital and specialized research areas that must be explored simultaneously in the area of heliophysics, which is the study of how the Sun affects space and the space environment of planets. Click here. (7/28)

NASA Involved in "SunTrax" Autonomous Vehicle Test Track Planned in Central Florida (Sources: Crains, Orlando Business Journal)
Orlando could soon add another label to its resume: innovation center for automated vehicle technology. In a major coup for the area, the Central Florida Automated Vehicle Partnership was just named one of the USDOT's 10 designated proving ground pilot sites. The partnership includes the Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise, the Florida DOT, NASA Kennedy Space Center, UCF, Florida Polytechnic University, and communities throughout the broader metro area.

The designation gives Central Florida "a major opportunity for the region to prepare [for] and understand all the impacts" of autonomous transportation by providing a foundation for the safe testing, application, demonstration and deployment of new technologies. The initial phase will focus on construction of an oval track designed to support high speed testing of toll technologies. The approximately 200-acre infield of the track will be developed next, and is expected to become a hub for automated and connected vehicle testing.

NASA's enclosed den will put self-driving cars' sensors to the test with fog, smoke and dirt. NASA plans to use a space exploration testing den for autonomous vehicles technology. Click here. (7/20)

A Century Before Bezos and Musk, Rich men Were Already Funding Space Exploration (Source: Quartz)
If you think of space exploration and the United States, you probably imagine NASAs Apollo moon rockets and one giant leap for mankind. But you shouldnt be thinking about big government. Instead, picture a billionaire who earned a fortune building the infrastructure for a booming California economy, searching for a legacy-making investment in technology to highlight his accomplishments.

Or picture a science-fiction-loving engineer who tests his rockets through public-private partnerships with the US government and is obsessed with colonizing other planets to preserve the human species. You doubtless thought of Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, whose companies Blue Origin and SpaceX are breaking aerospace barriers today. But thats not who were talking about.

Rather, think of their predecessors. One, James Lick, was a real-estate baron who profited from land deals during the California gold rush, then in 1876 spent the equivalent of $1.5 billion today on the construction of an observatory with the worlds then-largest refractor telescope in the Diablo mountains of California. The other, Robert Goddard, invented and launched the first liquid-fuel rocket in 1926, arguing that the navigation of interplanetary space must be effected to ensure the continuance of the race. (7/29)

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