Tag: asteroids

House Space Subcommitee’s Surreal NASA Budget Hearing

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Lamar Smith

Lamar Smith

I woke up early this morning with a low-grade headache. Checking Twitter, I discovered I’d slept through the beginning of a House Subcommittee on Space’s hearing on NASA’s budget with Administrator Charlie Bolden.

My headache immediately worsened as I found the hearing webcast on my cell phone. A whole range of largely unprintable words and phrases came immediately to mind, but there was one that kept coming back: clown car. The House Science Committee really needs a bigger clown car.

It’s not the committee members’ criticism of the Boulder (sorry, Asterorid) Redirect Mission that I had a problem with. Or their demands that NASA actually present a road map to help guide the nation on the road to Mars. I even understood why they felt the Obama Administration’s request for Space Launch System (SLS) and Orion was low. And the Europa mission probably needs more money. All those things are the subject of legitimate debate.

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ESA, NASA Prepare to Blast Asteroid to Kingdom Come

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ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission will provide before-and-after data on the ‘Didymoon’ asteroid, set to be struck by NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) probe in late 2022. A plume is expected to be triggered by the highly energetic collision. (Credit: ESA-Science Office)

ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission will provide before-and-after data on the ‘Didymoon’ asteroid, set to be struck by NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) probe in late 2022. A plume is expected to be triggered by the highly energetic collision. (Credit: ESA-Science Office)

PARIS (ESA PR) — If an asteroid were spotted headed towards Earth, what could humanity do about it? ESA’s latest mission is part of a larger international effort to find out.

This month marked the start of preliminary design work on ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission, or AIM. Intended to demonstrate technologies for future deep-space missions, AIM will also be the Agency’s very first investigation of planetary defence techniques.

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Asteroid Redirect Mission Video: Crew Segment

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Video Caption: NASA announced the next step in the plan to retrieve an asteroid boulder from a near-Earth asteroid and redirect it into a stable orbit around the moon to carry out human exploration missions, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Mars. For NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), a robotic spacecraft will capture a boulder from the surface of an asteroid for exploration by astronauts in the mid-2020s to test a number of new capabilities needed for future human expeditions to deep space, including to Mars. This animation illustrates the crewed part of ARM, showing how astronauts will travel to the asteroid using NASA’s Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft, investigate the boulder and return a sample of the asteroid back to Earth.

NASA to Spend Over $1 Billion to Move a Space Boulder

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In this concept image, the robotic vehicle descends to the surface of a large asteroid to collect a boulder that it can redirect to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)

In this concept image, the robotic vehicle descends to the surface of a large asteroid to collect a boulder that it can redirect to a distant retrograde lunar orbit. (Credit: NASA)

WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Wednesday announced more details in its plan for its Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM), which in the mid-2020s will test a number of new capabilities needed for future human expeditions to deep space, including to Mars. NASA also announced it has increased the detection of near-Earth asteroids by 65 percent since launching its asteroid initiative three years ago.

For ARM, a robotic spacecraft will capture a boulder from the surface of a near-Earth asteroid and move it into a stable orbit around the moon for exploration by astronauts, all in support of advancing the nation’s journey to Mars.

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Ted Cruz Announces for President

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Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) has announced his candidacy for the presidency. He will be seeking the nomination of the Republican Party.

Cruz has already staked out a position on space policy, arguing that NASA is overspending on Earth science research at the expense of human space exploration. This is not born out by the budget numbers; Obama’s FY 2016 budget proposes $8 billion for human space exploration vs. just under $2 billion for Earth science.

But, hey, let’s not let reality get in the way of a good campaign meme. Cruz is the space exploration candidate, which he believes will inspire school kids, restore America to its former glory, and (no less vitally) keep his constituents in Texas employed indefinitely.

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New Software Helps in Detection of Asteroids

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These photos show the relative size of three asteroids that have been imaged at close range by spacecraft. Mathilde (37 x 29 miles) (left) was taken by the NEAR spacecraft on June 27, 1997. Images of the asteroids Gaspra (middle) and Ida (right) were taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1991 and 1993, respectively. Image Credit:  NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions

These photos show the relative size of three asteroids that have been imaged at close range by spacecraft. Mathilde (37 x 29 miles) (left) was taken by the NEAR spacecraft on June 27, 1997. Images of the asteroids Gaspra (middle) and Ida (right) were taken by the Galileo spacecraft in 1991 and 1993, respectively.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL/NEAR and Galileo missions

AUSTIN, Texas (Planetary Resources PR) – A software application based on an algorithm created by a NASA challenge has the potential to increase the number of new asteroid discoveries by amateur astronomers.

Analysis of images taken of our solar system’s main belt asteroids between Mars and Jupiter using the algorithm showed a 15 percent increase in positive identification of new asteroids.

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DSI Forges Partnership with Bitcoin Pioneer

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Deep Space Industries will build a constellation of 24 nano-sats, called BitSats for Dunvegan Space Systems. (Credit:  Bryan Versteeg, DSI)

Deep Space Industries will build a constellation of 24 nano-sats, called BitSats for Dunvegan Space Systems. (Credit: Bryan Versteeg, DSI)

ATLANTA, GA, March 12, 2015 (DSI PR) –  Jeff Garzik, Bitcoin pioneer and CEO of Dunvegan Space Systems (DSS) announced he has signed a contract with Deep Space Industries (DSI) to build a 24 BitSat satellite constellation as the first element of a new strategic alliance between the two firms. The nanosats to be used in the Dunvegan constellation designed by DSI provide an order of magnitude cost advantage over traditional telecommunication satellites.  Based on the industry standard Cubesat form factor, BitSat enables a cost and performance framework that supports the open platform business model employed by Dunvegan.

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Hayabusa2 Cruises Toward Asteroid Rendezvous

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Drawing of Hayabusa2 and MASCOT small lander. (Credit: DLR)

Drawing of Hayabusa2 and MASCOT small lander. (Credit: DLR)

TOKYO (JAXA PR) — The Asteroid Explorer “Hayabusa2″ completed its initial functional confirmation period on March 2, 2015, as all scheduled checkout and evaluation of acquired data were completed. The explorer has been under inspection for about three months after its launch on Dec. 3, 2014.

The Hayabusa2 is moving to the cruising phase while heading to the asteroid “1999 JU3″ on March 3. It will be under preparatory operation for an Earth swing-by scheduled in Nov. or Dec., 2015.

We plan to increase the cruising speed of the explorer (60 m/sec.) by operating two ion engines twice (in total about 600 hours or 25 days) until the Earth swing-by. For the first operation, we will gradually increase the time duration of continuous ion-engine operation from March 3, and will operate the engines for about 400 hours within March. The second operation is scheduled in early June.

hayabusa2_cruise_schedule
The Hayabusa2 is in good health.

We would like to express our profound appreciation to all pertinent parties who have supported and cooperated with our initial functional confirmation operation. Your further and continued support will be highly appreciated for this long-term space exploration mission of the Hayabusa2.

* For more information about the Hayabusa2, please refer to the following JAXA website “Hayabusa2 project page.”

ESA Launches Competition for Deep Space CubeSats

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ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission spacecraft will be humanity’s first mission to a binary system – the paired Didymos asteroids, which come a comparatively close 11 million km to Earth in 2022. (Credit: APL)

ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission spacecraft will be humanity’s first mission to a binary system – the paired Didymos asteroids, which come a comparatively close 11 million km to Earth in 2022. (Credit: APL)

PARIS (ESA PR) – Think of it as the ultimate hitchhiking opportunity: ESA is offering CubeSats a ride to a pair of asteroids in deep space.

CubeSats are among the smallest types of satellites: formed in standard cubic units of 10 cm per side, they provide affordable access to space for small companies, research institutes and universities. One-, two- or three-unit CubeSats are already being flown.

Teams of researchers and companies from any ESA Member State are free to compete. The selected CubeSats will become Europe’s first to travel beyond Earth orbit once the Asteroid Impact Mission (AIM) is launched in October 2020.

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Planetary Resources Parties at Davos

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planetary_resources
A confidential source in Davos reports that Planetary Resources threw one helluva party the other night during the World Economic Forum. The source says it was the same event that Business Insider reports ended early in the morning after the booze and the patience of a neighbor and Swiss police ran out. The website doesn’t identify the company, but my source says it was definitely the space miners from Seattle.

Held in a private apartment up in the mountains, overlooking the town of Davos in the valley below, it raged until two in the morning — and only shut down because a squad of Swiss police insisted.

To fuel the festivity — and one more, planned for tonight — the party-throwers company had flown in bartenders from England.

At around 1:30 a.m., a neighbor — who happened to be the CEO of multinational insurance company — complained to the party’s hosts.

This complaint was ignored.

But then, at 2:00 a.m., one of the bartenders approached the host and said: Not only have we run out of the liquor we planned to serve tonight, we’ve also run out of all the booze we had set aside for tomorrow.

Fortune also has an entertaining account of an encounter with Planetary Resources President Chris Lewicki, apparently at the same party. You’ll see the discussion at the bar went fine until the reporter started asking some probing questions.
After I asked a few more questions about his company—like “is there really a lot of demand right now for gas stations and bottle water in outer space?”—Lewiski told me to stop being a critic. Every industry, he said, has to start somewhere. Yes. Dream big. This is Davos, after all.
Yeah, you get a lot of that in NewSpace.