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NASA Astronaut Discusses the Future of Commercial Space Missions

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NEW YORK – NASA and SPACE-X are collaborating tomorrow to launch a commercial crew program considered to be the start of a new era of space exploration.This will be the first fully crewed and operational commercial mission to the international space station.
We spoke with Nicole Jordan, the manager of the mission and Loral O’Hara, a NASA astronaut who told us details about tomorrow and what it means for the future.
“We’ll wake the crew up early tomorrow morning; they’ll get suited and go out to the launch pad. I’ll be in a back room in mission control here and we will launch them into orbit. And they’ll take about a little more than 24 hours to get to the space station,” said Nicole Jordan, the Crew-1 mission manager. “And so, I hope that we are now ushering in a new era where we will have regular launches from Florida to go to the space station, and eventually to the moon and beyond.”
The four astronauts on board will spend six months on the international space station. After high winds canceled today’s launch, it’s now scheduled for Sunday at 7:27 p.m.
NY1 will have special live coverage beginning tomorrow …

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Sally C. Morton tabbed to lead ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise

sally c. morton tabbed to lead asu’s knowledge enterprise

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(Virginia Tech Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona State University announced on Monday that statistician Sally C. Morton will become the first woman to lead ASU’s Knowledge Enterprise.
Morton, who has spent much of her life working as a statistician focused on combining statistics and data science in health care, will head an organization that spends $640 million researching various topics such as space exploration and food systems, according to a press release.
She comes to Tempe after serving as the dean of Virginia Tech’s College of Science and has served as the chair of biostatistics at the University of Pittsburgh as well.
Morton called joining ASU’s research arm a perfect fit, given her background in biostatstics and educational research.

“I’m tremendously honored and excited to be joining ASU,” Morton said. “There is no more important time than now given the issues facing the world to conduct research of importance to our society.
“We need to do so using transdisciplinary approaches, integrated into our educational mission, and in partnership with industry and our communities. ASU Knowledge Enterprise is the place to make this difference.”
Morton earned her bachelor’s in statistics from Stanford University, before achieving a master’s in …

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China’s Chang’e 5 enters lunar orbit for historic attempt to return moon samples

china’s chang’e 5 enters lunar orbit for historic attempt to return moon samples

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China’s Chang’e 5 spacecraft has entered orbit around the moon ahead of an historic attempt to collect samples from the moon and return to Earth.The 18,100-lb. (8,200 kilograms) Chang’e 5 launched on a Long March 5 rocket on Monday (Nov. 23) from the country’s Wenchang Spacecraft Launch Site on Hainan Island and reached the moon today (Nov. 28) after an 112-hour journey. The Chang’e 5 orbiter module fired its main engine at 7:58 a.m. EST (1258 UTC; 8:58 p.m. Beijing time) when 249 miles (400 kilometers) away from the moon, the China Lunar Exploration Program announced just under an hour later.  In pictures: China on the moon! A History of Chinese lunar missions An artist’s illustration of China’s Chang’e 5 moon orbiter entering lunar orbit for the country’s first moon sample-return mission. (Image credit: China Lunar Exploration Project)The spacecraft fired its 3,000-Newton engine for around 17 minutes. This slowed the spacecraft down enough to allow it to be captured by the moon’s gravity. The maneuver is a major step in the 23-day Chang’e mission that aims to deliver fresh lunar samples to Earth in mid-December. No such mission has been attempted since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 mission in 1976.During its journey to the moon radio enthusiasts have been tracking the …

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The Hindu Explains | Would space exploration survive in the era of privatisation?

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Why is NASA’s SpaceX Crew-1 launch significant? What are the other trends in the commercial space sector?

The story so far: Perhaps the most stunning instance of a collaboration between public enterprises and the private sector in recent times is that between NASA and SpaceX. It is stunning because of the sheer extent of the frontier it is trying to breach. With its reusable rockets, large capsules to carry payloads and crew and competitive pricing, SpaceX has revolutionised the space sector. The latest instances of this include the launch of the Crew Dragon spacecraft on November 15, which carried to the International Space Station four astronauts — Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker of NASA and Soichi Noguchi of the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA). Another recent feat is the launch on November 24 of 60 more Starlink Internet relay satellites into the orbit. These, and thousands more like these, are designed for the purpose of providing broadband services to people anywhere on Earth.What is the picture in India?In India too, we have seen the yielding of governmental control over the space industry bit by bit, starting from hiring of vendors and active outsourcing of rocket components to the present …

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The UFO ETF is up 20% this month. How a Biden administration could impact the space trade

the ufo etf is up 20% this month. how a biden administration could impact the space trade

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The space trade is skyrocketing higher.The Procure Space ETF (UFO), the first-ever global ETF to give investors access to the growing space industry, has soared nearly 20% in November amid some positive tailwinds including SpaceX’s historic Crew-1 launch with NASA, the first of its kind conducted by a private company.Though some of the upside is likely tied to hopes around Joe Biden’s presidency and how it could progress the space race, the impact could be more nuanced than some may think, Andrew Chanin, co-founder and CEO of ProcureAM, told CNBC’s “ETF Edge” this week.”We’re actually really encouraged, although the previous administration has really done a lot to push the space industry forward, both from a commercial and military and defense standpoint,” Chanin said Monday.”Space … isn’t something that is bipartisan. It’s nonpartisan,” he said. “So, we believe that space is something that’s here to stay and should and will be potentially a priority for any administration in the future.”President-elect Biden is expected to toe the Democratic Party line on space policy, likely prolonging the new age of human spaceflight and steering NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration towards studying the impacts of climate change.For …

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Analysis | New Space Race Shoots for Moon and Mars on a Budget: QuickTake

analysis | new space race shoots for moon and mars on a budget: quicktake

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The first space race was a competition between the U.S. and the Soviet Union for national pride and military advantage. Now NASA is farming out missions to private companies, and other countries have joined the race — notably China and India. The moon and Mars remain tantalizing goals for many nations, as are the technological advances that space exploration can drive.

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What does finding water on the Moon mean for the future of space exploration?

what does finding water on the moon mean for the future of space exploration?

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Readings from NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) indicate that water is present in Clavius Crater – one of the largest craters on the Moon.

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This discovery is important because water was thought to be present on the Moon only in the permanently shadowed craters near the lunar south pole. Although Clavius is in the southern hemisphere, it is not at the poles, and its interior is exposed to sunlight. Since it seems that water can survive in the lunar surface here, it implies that water may be much more widely distributed across the lunar surface than previously thought.
Even so, the abundance of the water is not high. For comparison, the Sahara Desert possesses 100 times more water than that found in the lunar surface material by SOFIA.

We ask Mahesh Anand, Professor of Planetary Science and Exploration at the Open University, UK, how the discovery was made and how it will shape future missions to the Moon.

SOFIA underwent scheduled maintenance at Lufthansa Technik’s facility in Hamburg, Germany in September © NASA/JPL

How significant is this finding?
Finding the signature for the presence of molecular water in the sunlit portion of the Moon is what …

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Gravitrax Marble Run defies gravity with 30% off Black Friday sale

gravitrax marble run defies gravity with 30% off black friday sale

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Losing your marbles over educational games for the kids? You can engineer an interest in tech topics with the award-winning Ravensburger Gravitrax Starter Set Marble Run, on sale now for an incredible 30% off at Amazon. This game usually retails for well over $50, so you’ll want to grab it at the gravity-defying price of $42 before the deal disappears. Beginners will have lots of guidance to get started, including 122 elements to start building, nine ready-to-go track designs, and dozens of fun challenges in kinetics, gravity, mechanics and other physics concepts.Watching the ball curve through an obstacle course is an adventure for youngsters, as they get to build crosses, freefalls and even a cannon to propel marbles through the path. This game is a great introduction to science, engineering, technology and math (STEM) education that may carry your kids’ interest for hours.
Ravensburger Gravitrax Starter Set Marble Run: $59.99 $41.99 at Amazon
The award-winning Ravensburger Gravitrax Starter Set Marble Run is 30% off for Black Friday at Amazon.  This set lets you design and build race tracks for marbles, encouraging your kids to experiment with engineering, magnetism, gravity and kinetics.View Deal
While beginners will get a lot out of the game, your kids can …

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Cyprus rocky testing ground for Mars

cyprus rocky testing ground for mars

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Planetologists and geologists arrived in Cyprus to test out the equipment in the Troodos mountains, which officials say has geological similarities with Mars

International and Cypriot experts on Friday discussed a research project to test space equipment on the Mediterranean island before sending it to Mars to measure the age of its rocks, officials said.

Planetologists and geologists arrived in Cyprus earlier this month to test out the equipment in the Troodos mountains, which officials say has geological similarities with the red planet.
The project is funded by the European Commission and on Friday a first meeting involving the Cyprus Space Exploration Organisation (CSEO) and the Geological Surveys Department got underway.
“The meeting discussed the objectives of the international space programme, the geological needs and the most suitable locations for the project,” the government’s Geological Survey Department said.
The rock-measuring project is “very innovative since there are no previous accurate measurements of the age of the rocks of Mars from previous missions”, it added in a statement.
It noted however that “the geology of the Troodos Mountains has a lot in common with the rocks of Mars”.
Acting director of the Geological Survey Department, Christodoulos Hadjigeorgiou, said Friday’s meeting went …

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Turning Moon dust into oxygen

turning moon dust into oxygen

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November 27, 2020 – British engineers are fine-tuning a process that will be used to extract oxygen from lunar dust, leaving behind metal powders that could be 3D printed into construction materials for a Moon base.

It could be an early step to establishing an extra-terrestrial oxygen extraction plant. This would help to enable exploration and sustain life on the Moon while avoiding the enormous cost of sending materials from Earth.

The oxygen generated would mostly be used to make rocket fuel, but could also provide air for lunar settlers.

The project is part of ESA’s preparations to establish a permanent and sustainable lunar presence. Astronauts will live and work on the Moon, where they will help to develop and test technologies needed for missions farther into deep space.

Lunar regolith, the thin layer of dusty rock that blankets the Moon, is not so different from the minerals found on Earth. By weight, it contains about 45% oxygen which is bound to metals such as iron and titanium, making it unavailable.

British company Metalysis has already developed a mineral extraction process that is used by industries on Earth to produce metals for manufacturing.

Earlier this year, it was demonstrated to work well …

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