October Sky sights: Wallops launch, full moons, Mars and meteors | WTOP

october sky sights: wallops launch, full moons, mars and meteors | wtop


NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility is scheduled to launch a rocket Thursday night that should be visible to the DMV as it climbs into the night sky.
The facility hopes to launch the 14th Northrop Grumman resupply mission to the International Space Station at 9:38 p.m. EDT, which will mean dark skies to look for the rocket. The Cygnus cargo ship (spacecraft) is the SS Kalpana Chawla.
The launch and mission will be carried live by NASA starting at 9 p.m. EDT on NASA TV and the NASA website.
Depending on where you are in the DMV, you might be able watch the rocket ascending into the sky with your own eyes. The visibility map for our area covers quite a bit of territory.
Visibility map for Thursday’s launch to the ISS from Wallops. Click to enlarge. (Courtesy NASA/Northrop Grumman)
NASA has provided information on viewing locations near Wallops. It is possible to see the launch from Wallops’ Visitor Center and surrounding areas but traffic is very heavy during these launches.
Getting to an elevated location that looks to the east is your best bet. Binoculars will improve your view immensely.
Launch updates can be obtained via NASA …



bjarke ingels group, ICON, and SEArch+ design buildings for the moon

bjarke ingels group, icon, and search+ design buildings for the moon


bjarke ingels group (BIG) has teamed up with ICON, developer of advanced construction technologies, and SEArch+ (space exploration architecture), to work with NASA on the research and development of a space-based construction system that could support future exploration of the moon. titled ‘project olympus’, the sustainable lunar habitat designed by BIG and ICON is the first human foray into extra-terrestrial construction. the team says that the project’s robust structures provide better thermal, radiation, and micrometeorite protection than that offered by metal or inflatable habitats. image by BIG-bjarke ingels group‘to explain the power of architecture, ‘formgiving’ is the danish word for design, which literally means to give form to that which has not yet been given form,’ says bjarke ingels, BIG’s founder and creative director. ‘this becomes fundamentally clear when we venture beyond earth and begin to imagine how we are going to build and live on entirely new worlds. with ICON we are pioneering new frontiers — both materially, technologically, and environmentally. the answers to our challenges on earth very well might be found on the moon.’ image by BIG-bjarke ingels groupin partnership with NASA’s marshall space flight center in huntsville, alabama, ICON will test lunar soil …


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China is building a new rocket to fly its astronauts on the moon

china is building a new rocket to fly its astronauts on the moon


China has revealed that it is working on a new rocket that could send astronauts to land on the moon.The new launch vehicle was unveiled at the 2020 China Space Conference in Fuzhou, east China on Sept. 18. The new launcher is designed to send a 27.6 ton (25 metric ton) spacecraft into trans-lunar injection. Mass at liftoff will be about 4.85 million lbs. (2,200 metric tons), nearly triple that of China’s current largest rocket, the Long March 5.Notably, the new rocket will feature three, 16.4-foot-diameter (5 meter) cores, in a style similar to two American rockets: United Launch Alliance’s Delta IV Heavy and SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy. The as-yet-unnamed rocket will be 285 feet (87 m) long, with a three-stage central core, and it is being designed at the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT) in Beijing.Related: The latest news about China’s space program”The world is seeing a new wave of lunar exploration, crewed or uncrewed. International cooperation projects in crewed lunar exploration are intertwined and influencing each other,” Zhou Yanfei, deputy general designer of China’s human spaceflight program, told Chinese media.China has not yet announced a date for a test flight or a potential lunar landing with the vehicle. However, Zhou added that …


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NASA’s new project will let you ‘patrol’ outer space for new planets

nasa’s new project will let you ‘patrol’ outer space for new planets


You can now help discover new worlds beyond our solar system from the comfort of your home, thanks to a new citizen science platform called Planet Patrol launched by NASA.
The Planet Patrol platform allows members of the public to collaborate with professional astronomers as they sort through a stockpile of star-studded images collected by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).
“Automated methods of processing TESS data sometimes fail to catch imposters that look like exoplanets,” said project leader Veselin Kostov, a research scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the SETI Institute in Mountain View, California.
Advertisement”The human eye is extremely good at spotting such imposters, and we need citizen scientists to help us distinguish between the look-alikes and genuine planets.”
Volunteers will help determine which TESS snapshots include signals from potential planets and which ones show planet impersonators, NASA said on Wednesday.
TESS uses its four cameras to take full images of one patch of sky, called a sector, every 10 minutes for a month at a time.
AdvertisementThis long stare allows TESS to see when planets pass in front of their stars, or transit, and dim their light.
Over the course of a …


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NASA Astronaut Aboard Space Station to Answer Questions from High School Students

nasa astronaut aboard space station to answer questions from high school students


WASHINGTON, Sept. 30, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — NASA astronaut Chris Cassidy, currently aboard the International Space Station, will answer questions posed by high school students from across the nation this week. The educational downlink event will air live at 12:25 p.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 2, on NASA Television and the agency’s website.
Cassidy will answer prerecorded questions selected from high school students participating in the Society for Science & the Public’s Science News in High Schools program, which provides access to Science News magazine to more than 5,000 schools nationwide. The society, which seeks to expand scientific literacy and research through STEM competitions, journalism, outreach, and equity programs, is coordinating the question and answer session. Participating students will use news articles and related educational resources to learn about collaborative research studies completed by astronauts on the space station to prepare questions for the event.
Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences designed to enhance student learning, performance, and interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Astronauts living in space on the orbiting laboratory communicate with NASA’s Mission Control Center in Houston 24 hours a day through the Space Network’s Tracking and Data Relay Satellites (TDRS).
For nearly 20 years, astronauts have continuously …


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Space Foundation to celebrate World Space Week with virtual and in-person programs

space foundation to celebrate world space week with virtual and in-person programs


The Space Foundation will present a weeklong series of virtual and in-person events under the banner “Space Unites,” to celebrate World Space Week, starting Oct. 5.According to a news release from the Space Foundation, the events will be “inclusive to all — families, students, young professionals, and anyone else with an appreciation for how the pursuit of space has benefited humanity.”Many of the programs will be conducted online, though some will be held at the Space Foundation Discovery Center in Colorado Springs. “Space access and opportunity are created by imagination, ingenuity, and collaboration of daring and like-minded people,” Tom Zelibor, CEO of the Space Foundation, said in the release.“We will celebrate the full spectrum of those possibilities during World Space Week and show there is space for everyone within this expanding and adventurous global community. That’s part of our mission at Space Foundation.”Program highlights include:”Audience with an Astronaut” featuring former NASA astronaut Duane “Digger” Carey.11-year-old author James Collier III reading his space-themed anti-bullying comic.”Drone soccer” competitions, in-person at the Space Foundation Discovery Center “Technology of Satellites” and “Galactic Farming” programsVirtual induction ceremony for the Space Technology Hall of Fame’s 2020 classLive “Space Unites” virtual event featuring …


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NASA Grant

nasa grant


Ohio Wesleyan Professor Earns Federal Funding to Continue Plant-Gravity Research

S. Chris Wolverton, Ph.D.

DELAWARE, Ohio – Ohio Wesleyan University professor S. Chris Wolverton has earned a three-year, $449,921 NASA grant to help advance the agency’s “understanding of how living systems respond, acclimate, and adapt to the space environment in support of human space exploration,” NASA announced.
Wolverton’s work will continue NASA-funded research he previously conducted, which included sending plants to the International Space Station in 2017 to explore how they grow under different gravitational conditions. His new research will follow up on the insights gained from the space experiment and extend it in new directions.
“Unlike the previous project, in which much of the work was focused on preparing to do an experiment in space, this project is entirely ground-based and entirely at Ohio Wesleyan,” said Wolverton, Ph.D., professor of Botany and Microbiology. “But just like last time, OWU students will be front and center, conducting experiments and analyzing mutants, looking for new genes that regulate root growth responses.
“We take it for granted that plant roots will grow down and shoots will grow up,” said Wolverton, who joined the Ohio Wesleyan faculty in 2002, “but we don’t …



Do Black Lives Matter in Outer Space?

do black lives matter in outer space?


On May 30, I tuned in to see the launch of the SpaceX Crew Dragon from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The Dragon, the first spacecraft to launch from U.S. soil in nearly a decade, was to herald the dawn of a new age of space colonization.
As I watched the astronauts on TV clad in futuristic designer-made suits prepare for blastoff, my mind was flooded with memories of my childhood in Jamaica. As a young girl in the 1990s, I spent hours poring over my Childcraft encyclopedias. I particularly loved the thick, brightly colored volume titled Our Universe, where I could bury my head in the stars and nurture my obsession with planets and black holes.
Moments after the SpaceX launch, the broadcasted words of President Donald Trump jolted me out of my reverie. He was giving a speech to the crowd gathered for the launch. “The United States has regained our place of prestige as the world leader,” he announced.
The president’s usual bluster-filled language about American greatness rang particularly hollow that day at Cape Canaveral. At that exact moment, hundreds of thousands of Americans were protesting in response to the horrific killing of George Floyd, an African American …


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Japan, U.S. astronauts “ready to fly” in Oct. 31 SpaceX mission

japan, u.s. astronauts “ready to fly” in oct. 31 spacex mission


Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi and his American peers on Tuesday expressed their readiness and excitement to fly aboard a spacecraft developed by U.S. aerospace manufacturer SpaceX, currently scheduled for liftoff on Oct. 31.
“We are ready to fly,” Noguchi told a joint press conference with the crew ahead of what would be the second manned mission for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon, while pointing out the diversity of the team members with various experiences and backgrounds as their strength.

(From R) JAXA astronaut Soichi Noguchi and NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover and Shannon Walker are seated in SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft during a training session. (Photo courtesy of SpaceX)(Kyodo)

The upcoming mission will mark the first in a series of regular, rotational flights to the International Space Station by SpaceX’s new crew transportation system following its certification by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Upon the first launch with astronauts of the Crew Dragon spacecraft in May, SpaceX became the first private company to successfully launch humans into orbit. Two NASA astronauts safely returned in August.
NASA administrator Jim Bridenstine said the next Crew-1 mission will be another “critical milestone” in the development of U.S. ability to launch astronauts …


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Inclusion And Diversity In Space Exploration

inclusion and diversity in space exploration


NASA scientist Geronimo Villanueva. Photo: NASA

Stay up to date on coronavirus coverage: Listen to WMFE on your radio, the WMFE mobile app or your smart speaker — say “Alexa, play NPR” or “WMFE” and you’ll be connected.

Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: Android | NASA and other space and science agencies are striving to diversify their workforces, but there’s still a long way to go. As the country grapples with racial inequality, so do these organizations. Are We There Yet’s Nelly Ontiveros speaks with NASA scientist Geronimo Villanueva during Hispanic Heritage month to talk about efforts to get a more diverse group of STEM students and professionals and what the future corps of deep space explorers might look like.
Then, when talking about future exploration ambitions, language matters. The Atlantic’s Marina Koren writes about the language of space policy leaders, and how it shapes the direction of programs and the perception of space exploration. We’ll talk with Koren about her latest piece which examines the Trump administration’s language of ‘manifest destiny’ and its effects on space policy.


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