The United Arab Emirates is celebrating today as the nation’s first planetary spacecraft, Hope, has entered orbit around Mars as scheduled.
The UAE Space Agency tweeted:
Congratulations to our leadership, our nation and the Emirates Mars Mission’s heroes that have achieved the impossible! The #HopeProbe’s historic journey to the Red Planet doubles our joy as it adds to a year of celebrations in the country to mark the Golden Jubilee of the #UAE.
Launched on a Japanese H-IIA rocket last July, Hope will study Martian weather cycles and make other observations of the Red Planet. It will gather data on why the planet is losing hydrogen and oxygen into space.
Hope is the first planetary mission undertaken by an Arab nation and comes as the UAE is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. The project is seen as a major advance for the nation’s science, technology and engineering sectors.
While that is true, Hope was actually built in Colorado with the participation of engineers from three American universities with substantial expertise in space missions. The Hope page in Wikipedia has a succinct summary:
The mission design, development, and operations are led by the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC).The spacecraft was developed by MBRSC and the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) at the University of Colorado Boulder, with support from Arizona State University (ASU) and the University of California, Berkeley….It was built by a joint Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP)/Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) team at the University of Colorado Boulder.
Although UAE paid for the $200 million mission, it wouldn’t have been possible without substantial American assistance.
This is not to rain on anyone’s parade, but simply to give credit where credit is due. Under other circumstances, Hope would likely be labeled a joint UAE-American mission to Mars.
Stellar flares with a chance of radio bursts: the weather from Proxima Centauri
SYDNEY (University of Sydney PR) — A discovery that links stellar flares with radio-burst signatures will make it easier for astronomers to detect space weather around nearby stars outside the Solar System. Unfortunately, the first weather reports from our nearest neighbour, Proxima Centauri, are not promising for finding life as we know it.
by Nicole Quenelle NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program
NASA has selected 31 promising space technologies for testing aboard parabolic aircraft, high-altitude balloons, and suborbital rocket-powered systems. By exposing the innovations to many of the rigors and characteristics of spaceflight – without the expense of an orbital flight – NASA can help ensure these technologies work correctly when they are deployed on future missions.
“By supporting suborbital flight testing, our Flight Opportunities program aims to help ensure that these innovations are well-positioned to address challenges and enable NASA to achieve its lunar ambitions, while also contributing to a growing and vibrant commercial space industry,” said Jim Reuter, associate administrator of NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD). The Flight Opportunities program is part of STMD.
At 2:58 p.m. PDT today (Sunday, July 19), the United Arab Emirates (UAE) successfully launched an interplanetary probe — the first by any country in the Arab world — thanks, in part, to science collaboration, training and instrument components provided by the University of California, Berkeley’s Space Sciences Laboratory (SSL).
Escape and Plasma Acceleration and Dynamics Explorers (EscaPADE)
Launch Vehicle: SpaceX Falcon Heavy (secondary payload on Psyche mission) Launch Site: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. Launch Date: July 2022 NASA Program: Small Innovative Missions for Planetary Exploration (SIMPLEx)
This mission’s objective is to characterize (on multiple scales) the acceleration processes driving escape from Mars’ atmosphere, as well as how the atmosphere responds to the constant outflow of the solar wind flowing off the Sun.
The principal investigator for this mission is Robert Lillis at the University of California, Berkeley. UC Berkeley will also provide project management.
Using small spacecraft – less than 400 pounds, or 180 kilograms, in mass – SIMPLEx selections will conduct stand-alone planetary science missions. Each will share their ride to space with either another NASA mission or a commercial launch opportunity.
EscaPADE will be managed by the Planetary Missions Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama as part of the Solar System Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.
SEATTLE, February 14, 2020 (Breakthrough Initiatives PR) – The Breakthrough Listen Initiative today released data from the most comprehensive survey yet of radio emissions from the plane of the Milky Way Galaxy, the region around its central, 4-million-solar-mass black hole, and observations of the interstellar comet 2I/Borisov.
Breakthrough Listen Principal Investigator Andrew Siemion announced the release of the nearly two petabytes of data at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It marks the second “data dump” from the four-year-old, $100M search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) initiative. A first download of a petabyte of radio and optical telescope data was released in June 2019, marking the largest release of SETI data in the history of the field.
UPDATE:Due to weather in the area, NASA and Northrop Grumman have decided to move the Pegasus XL and ICON launch 24-hours to October 10 at 9:30 p.m., with takeoff of the Stargazer L-1011 at 8:32 p.m. NASA’s live broadcast will begin tomorrow at 9:15 p.m. on www.nasa.gov/live.
GREENBELT, Md. (NASA PR) — On Oct.10, 2019, NASA launches the Ionospheric Connection Explorer, or ICON, a spacecraft that will explore the dynamic region where Earth meets space: the ionosphere.
Scavenging spare parts and grabbing off-the-shelf hardware, University of California, Berkeley, space scientists are in a sprint to build scientific instruments that will land on the moon in a mere two years.
A Synthetic Biology Architecture to Detoxify and Enrich Mars Soil for Agriculture
Adam Arkin University of California, Berkeley Berkeley, Calif.
Value: Approximately $125,000 Length of Study: 9 months
Although the theoretical case for space biological engineering is convincing, since recent studies on the use of biology in space showed substantial payload minimization over abiotic approaches even before any engineering, the functioning of these biological technologies has yet to be proven in a space-like environment.