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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

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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

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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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U.S. astronaut crew on SpaceX’s Crew Dragon to cast ballots from space

u.s. astronaut crew on spacex’s crew dragon to cast ballots from space

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By Joey Roulette2 Min ReadWASHINGTON (Reuters) – Three NASA astronauts launching next month on SpaceX’s first operational Crew Dragon mission plan to vote in the upcoming presidential election from the International Space Station, the crew said Tuesday as they named the spacecraft “Resilience.”SpaceX’s Crew Dragon Resilience capsule will carry NASA astronauts Michael Hopkins, Victor Glover, Shannon Walker and Japanese astronaut Soichi Noguchi to the space station Oct. 31 as the company’s first non-test mission after completing a successful two-man preliminary mission last summer.“All of us are planning on voting from space,” Walker told a news conference, explaining that the three U.S. astronauts will fill out an electronic PDF file aboard the station some 250 miles above Earth and email it to elections officials.The crew’s more than six month mission in space, enabled by SpaceX’s new gumdrop-shaped Crew Dragon space capsule, comes as NASA regains its capability of sending astronauts to space after nearly a decade-long dependence on Russia’s Soyuz vehicles.Following tradition from SpaceX’s last crewed mission named “Endeavor,” which ended in August with a successful splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico, Hopkins said the crew chose the name “Resilience” as …

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Can space exploration motivate students to learn science?

can space exploration motivate students to learn science?

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Whether it is the acceptance of different passions, backgrounds, or even favorite movies, diversity matters. A group of ten researchers who noticed the positive correlation between motivation and academic success created the Ad Astra Academy to teach astrobiology abroad. They educated students from disadvantaged neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to test if the academy’s program and lecture series would increase the students’ motivation within school settings. 
The program was conducted twice, once in 2015 and again in 2018, and used a mixture of team-based projects within the topic of space science to engage the students. The scientists hypothesized that through short interventions held within a short period of time, they could change the nature of students’ motivation and thus their career plans.
The scientists selected 20 teenage students to participate in each of the programs. The curriculum involved lectures, field trips, and interactive exercises which were led by an international team and a local team. The international team was made up of American and Brazilian scientists, and the local team was made up of only Brazilian scientists. The study coordinators were curious to see how the combination of local and international teams could influence student motivation.
In the 2015 program, there were …

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A better way to search for traces of life on Mars — and beyond! (op-ed)

a better way to search for traces of life on mars — and beyond! (op-ed)

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Patrick Gasda is a staff scientist in the Space Science and Applications group at Los Alamos National Laboratory. As a member of the OrganiCam team, he works with team leader Roger Wiens to study the geochemistry and astrobiology of Europa. The concept phase of OrganiCam is being funded by the Laboratory Directed Research and Development program. Gasda contributed this article to Space.com’s Expert Voices: Op-Ed & Insights.In the disappointing absence of little green aliens on one of Jupiter’s moons or a canal-building civilization on Mars, hunting for life beyond Earth stretches our scientific and technological prowess to the limits. If we do find life out there, it will be tiny, on the molecular scale.After a successful launch in late July, NASA’s Perseverance rover is sailing silently through space on its seven-month journey to Mars, where it will scour Jezero Crater for evidence of habitability and life. In this peaceful interlude before the rover’s Red Planet touchdown early next year, we have time to think about future missions seeking life on other planetary bodies across the solar system. Related: 6 most likely places for alien life in the solar systemThose missions will hunt for biological organic molecules, the carbon-based building …

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Japanese space agency eyes turning water ice into fuel for exploration

japanese space agency eyes turning water ice into fuel for exploration

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The Japanese space agency, JAXA, announced on Monday that it wants to explore the moon sometime in the mid-2030s. The agency is eyeing a plan that would allow it to use hydrogen generated by water extracted from ice deposits on the moon as fuel. JAXA and NASA are both eyeing this plan as using fuel created from water ice on the moon could significantly reduce costs.

Japan intends to work with the US to build a lunar orbit space station Gateway in the 2020s and to construct a fuel factory at the lunar South Pole around 2035. The fuel would be used to power reusable spacecraft to carry four astronauts to and from the Gateway and power a transport vehicle that could travel up to 1000 kilometers on the Moon’s surface. The water would be turned into fuel by splitting the water into its oxygen and hydrogen components using solar power.
Once the fuel was created, the transport vehicle would allow four astronauts to explore the lunar surface on a much broader scale than astronauts of the past. JAXA estimates 37 tons of water would be necessary for a trip to and from the gateway, and 21 tons would be needed for …

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Musk plans IPO for SpaceX’s Starlink business

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By Reuters Staff1 Min ReadFILE PHOTO: SpaceX owner and Tesla CEO Elon Musk arrives on the red carpet for the automobile awards “Das Goldene Lenkrad” (The golden steering wheel) given by a German newspaper in Berlin, Germany, November 12, 2019. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo(Reuters) – Tesla Inc Chief Executive Officer Elon Musk plans to list SpaceX’s space internet venture, Starlink, several years in the future when revenue growth is smooth and predictable.”Public market does *not* like erratic cash flow haha,” the billionaire entrepreneur tweeted here on Monday.Musk said last year that Starlink was an important new revenue stream for his California-based Space Exploration Technologies, or SpaceX.SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell in February floated the idea of spinning Starlink off for an IPO in the coming years.SpaceX is racing to build out its Starlink satellite constellation to offer broadband internet commercially by the end of 2020.Musk, in his tweet, also said he is a “huge fan” of small retail investors and will ensure they get top priority.Reporting by Akanksha Rana in Bengaluru: Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila

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Kennedy Space Center offers virtual after school programs for kids

kennedy space center offers virtual after school programs for kids

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – What goes better with an after-school snack than a visit to space? Space After School, a new program from Virtual Camp KSC will bring all the wonder and excitement of space exploration into the comfort and safety of homes nationwide when it launches on October 19.Brought to participants live from Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Space After School, a five-day program, will be offered at three times each day. Each section will last about an hour and a half and will be offered at either 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m. or 7 p.m. ET. During the program, campers will engage in hands-on science, technology, engineering and math activities, perfect for elementary school age students. Each of the five sessions will be centered on NASA-based science and engineering and themed per day as follows:Monday: Rocketry – Forward to the Moon Campers complete hands-on missions based on the Apollo and Artemis programsTuesday: To the Moon and Back By building an interactive, campers learn more about the Apollo programWednesday: Space Shuttle Program Campers learn about the Space Shuttle Program in hands-on activitiesThursday: International Space Station Mission challenges inspired by the International Space StationFriday: Life on Mars Campers travel virtually to Mars, where …

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Planned Reality TV Show Wants To Launch Winner To International Space Station

planned reality tv show wants to launch winner to international space station

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If you’ve ever had dreams of going into space, you might just want to apply for the upcoming reality show “Space Hero.”
The grand prize? A seat on a 2023 mission to the International Space Station.
NASA
According to a statement from Space Hero Inc., the US-based production company developing the unscripted show, the premise is to “search the entire globe for an everyday citizen with a deep love for space exploration.”
RELATED: NASA’s Historic New International Agreements Set Stage for Peaceful and Cooperative Future of Space Exploration
“Budding astronauts will be put through rigorous testing and procedures, challenging their physical, mental and emotional strength,” explains Hypebeast.
The winning candidate will receive full training from Axiom Space Inc.—a full-service human spaceflight mission provider and manufacturer of the world’s first privately funded commercial space station—before lifting off to to spend 10 days alongside professional astronauts traveling at 17,000 miles an hour while orbiting the Earth 16 times a day.
The production company is currently in discussions with NASA for a potential partnership including potential STEM initiatives. And anyone from any background is invited to become the “first globally-elected space explorer to take part in a mission to the International Space …

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NASA’s New Mars Rover Is Ready for Space Lasers

nasa’s new mars rover is ready for space lasers

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Perseverance is one of a few Mars spacecraft carrying laser retroreflectors. The devices could provide new science and safer Mars landings in the future.

When the Apollo astronauts landed on the Moon, they brought devices with them called retroreflectors, which are essentially small arrays of mirrors. The plan was for scientists on Earth to aim lasers at them and calculate the time it took for the beams to return. This provided exceptionally precise measurements of the Moon’s orbit and shape, including how it changed slightly based on Earth’s gravitational pull.

Research with these Apollo-era lunar retroreflectors continues to this day, and scientists want to perform similar experiments on Mars. NASA’s Perseverance rover – scheduled to land on the Red Planet on Feb. 18, 2021 – carries the palm-size Laser Retroreflector Array (LaRA). There’s also small one aboard the agency’s InSight lander, called Laser Retroreflector for InSight (LaRRI). And a retroreflector will be aboard the ESA (European Space Agency) ExoMars rover that launches in 2022.

While there is currently no laser in the works for this sort of Mars research, the devices are geared toward the future: Reflectors like these could one day enable scientists conducting what is called laser-ranging research to measure the position of …

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