NASA Press Release
Please explain your job in a single sentence.
by Douglas Messier
Nearly a century after his death, Ernest Shackleton is back in the news after Blue Origin tweeted a photo of the Antarctic explorer’s ship, Endurance, with the date 5.9.19.
The tweet has fed speculation that Jeff Bezos’ company might announce a mission next week to a crater at the south pole of the moon that is named after Shackleton. (For more about that, see Why Everyone Interested in Shackleton Crater.)
You might also be asking: Who was Shackleton? What did he accomplish at the South Pole? Why is a crater on the moon named after him? And what does all this have to do with Bezos?
All excellent questions. Let’s find more about one of history’s greatest explorers.
Q&A Courtesy of NASA
Q. What do you do at NASA?
A. I am a spacesuit engineer.
At the beginning of my career, I spent a lot of time in the Advanced Spacesuit Lab at NASA’s Johnson Space Center with my team testing and modifying spacesuit designs to enable the next generation of astronauts—both men and women—to walk around, work and conduct science experiments on the Moon.
In my current position with the Human Landing System program, I use my experience in spacesuit design to help formulate the strategy for how we are returning astronauts to the Moon and collaborating with the scientists to determine what experiments the astronauts can do once we get there.
SpaceNews reports that NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine didn’t do much on Wednesday to clear up what the Trump Administration’s plan to land astronauts on the moon by 2024 is going to cost in testimony before the commerce, justice and science subcommittee of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
Bridenstine declined to offer a dollar figure, saying that the agency submitted a “pretty good” proposal to the Office of Management and Budget, which is performing its own review along with the staff of the National Space Council. The goal, he said, is to “come up with a unified administration position” on how much additional funding NASA will request.
I was able to capture this perspective by flying over Bennu's southern hemisphere (at about -40° latitude) while pointing PolyCam up to the far north. This frame shows Bennu from the equator all the way up to about 50° latitude in the northern hemisphere.https://t.co/VCGPMhoaaL pic.twitter.com/Dxzpd6E7Fd
— NASA's OSIRIS-REx (@OSIRISREx) May 2, 2019
This is from Baseball Diamond phase Flyby 4A on March 28. The largest boulder in the upper left corner of the image is 48 ft (14.5 m) wide, which is about the length of a semi-truck trailer. 🚚
— NASA's OSIRIS-REx (@OSIRISREx) May 2, 2019
By Andy Fell
University of California, Davis
In a significant step toward human-crewed space missions to the moon or Mars, NASA has awarded a grant of up to $15 million over five years to a new research institute led by the University of California, Davis. The HOME (Habitats Optimized for Missions of Exploration) Space Technology Research Institute will develop enabling technology for spacecraft and deep-space bases of the future.
HOME is led by Professor Stephen Robinson, chair of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at UC Davis and a former astronaut.
— Blue Origin (@blueorigin) April 26, 2019
Updated May 1, 2019 at 9:18 p.m. PDT
by Douglas Messier
Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin tweeted out this picture of Endurance, the ship that polar explorer Ernest Shackleton sailed aboard during an ill-fated expedition to Antarctica in 1914.
The tweet has prompted a lot of speculation about what Bezos’ rocket company will announce next week, and how it connects to a British explorer who has been dead for nearly a century. (For more about Shackleton, see Who Was Ernest Shackleton? A Brief Biography)
My best guess is it will relate to Blue Orgin’s previously announced plans to make cargo deliveries to a crewed lunar base at a crater named for Shackleton at the moon’s south pole.
By Nicole Quenelle
NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif.
EDWARDS, Calif. — “We are now on the verge of giving students and teachers the ability to build and fly affordable experiments in space. When teachers are this excited about putting experiments in space, their students can’t help but get excited about space, too.”
Elizabeth Kennick, president of Teachers in Space, does not take the opportunity to fly an experiment to space for granted. The nonprofit organization has worked with educators and engineers to design and test standard equipment for classroom-developed experiments, including 3D-printed frames, customizable processors, power adaptors and more. The equipment first flew on high-altitude balloons and more recently on a stratospheric glider. Now, thanks to support from NASA’s Flight Opportunities program, the equipment will fly higher than ever before: to space on the next launch of Blue Origin’s New Shepard rocket.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — NASA Launch Services Program (LSP) investigators have determined the technical root cause for the Taurus XL launch failures of NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO) and Glory missions in 2009 and 2011, respectively: faulty materials provided by aluminum manufacturer, Sapa Profiles, Inc. (SPI).
LSP’s technical investigation led to the involvement of NASA’s Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ). DOJ’s efforts, recently made public, resulted in the resolution of criminal charges and alleged civil claims against SPI, and its agreement to pay $46 million to the U.S. government and other commercial customers. This relates to a 19-year scheme that included falsifying thousands of certifications for aluminum extrusions to hundreds of customers.
WASHINGTON (NASA PR) — Following National Academy of Sciences recommendations, advice from the NASA Advisory Council, and subsequent unanimous agreement from NASA’s science leadership, the agency has established an independent Planetary Protection Review Board to review established guidelines for planetary protection and recommend any updates that are required. Planetary protection policies are designed to protect solar system bodies from contamination by Earth life, and to protect Earth from possible harm from potential biological sources beyond our planet.
PASADENA, Calif. (NASA/JPL-Caltech PR) — On April 13, 2029, a speck of light will streak across the sky, getting brighter and faster. At one point it will travel more than the width of the full Moon within a minute and it will get as bright as the stars in the Little Dipper. But it won’t be a satellite or an airplane – it will be a 1,100-foot-wide (340-meter-wide) near-Earth asteroid called 99942 Apophis that will cruise harmlessly by Earth, about 19,000 miles (31,000 kilometers) above the surface. That’s within the distance that some of our spacecraft that orbit Earth.
The international asteroid research community couldn’t be more excited.
NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program
Phase I Award: Up to $125,000 for 9 Months
BREEZE- Bioinspired Ray for Extreme Environments and Zonal Exploration
State University of New York
The Bio-inspired Ray for Extreme Environments and Zonal Exploration (BREEZE) combines inflatable structures with bio-inspired kinematics to create a highly efficient flier to explore the Venus atmosphere. This flier would take data while below the main cloud layer at approximately 50 km and re-charge using solar panels in the middle atmosphere at approximately 60+ km.
Tensioning cables would control the volume to allow the craft to rise and fall in the atmosphere. The bio-inspired kinematics will maximize flight efficiency while allowing a so-far unattained degree of control for a small inflatable flier in the upper atmosphere of Venus.
BETHESDA, Md., April 29, 2019 (Lockheed Martin PR) — Robert Lightfoot, a longtime NASA executive who served as both the agency’s acting administrator and highest-ranking civil servant, will join Lockheed Martin Space as vice president, Strategy and Business Development, effective May 6.
In his new role, Lightfoot will lead strategic planning, advanced technology concepts, and new business strategy for the corporation’s Space business area. Lockheed Martin Space is a $9 billion, 18,000-person enterprise that has been a leader in satellite and launch systems since the dawn of the space age.
WASHINGTON (ESA PR) — For the first time, ESA will cover a major international asteroid impact exercise live via social media, highlighting the the actions that might be taken by scientists, space agencies and civil protection organisations.
Every two years, asteroid experts from across the globe come together to simulate a fictional but plausible imminent asteroid impact on Earth. During the week-long scenario, participants – playing roles such as ‘national government’, ‘space agency’, ‘astronomer’ and ‘civil protection office’ – don’t know how the situation will evolve from one day to the next, and must make plans based on the daily updates they are given.
PARIS (ESA PR) — Incoming asteroids have been scarring our home planet for billions of years. This month humankind left our own mark on an asteroid for the first time: Japan’s Hayabusa2 spacecraft dropped a copper projectile at very high speed in an attempt to form a crater on asteroid Ryugu. A much bigger asteroid impact is planned for the coming decade, involving an international double-spacecraft mission.