April 16-22, 2012 / Vol 31, No 16 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Scientists Converge on Berlin, Germany for European Lunar Symposium

As a global surge in lunar exploration and enterprise continues, a diverse range of experts are meeting for the European Lunar Symposium on April 19-20 at the Institute of Planetary Research, German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Berlin. DLR and The Open University have teamed up with NASA Lunar Science Institute to organize the event, which includes 15 plenary talks on wide ranging issues, 45 parallel session talks, 16 poster submissions and a dedicated Lunar Lander Event. James Head (TR) of Brown University will keynote on “The Moon as a Touchstone for Solar System Science: …Goals for Future Human and Robotic Exploration.” Jordi Gutiérrez of Polytechnic University of Catalonia is hosting a parallel session on “Spherical rover (BL) for lunar and planetary exploration.” On Wednesday afternoon prior to the official start of the symposium, DLR, ESA and Astrium will present on the scope, work to date, current status, science payloads and future plans for the NET 2018 European Lunar Lander mission (T). Also taking place in Berlin this week, on April 19-21, is the Max Planck Institute conference titled “Envisioning Limits: Outer Space and the End of Utopia”. (Image Credit: ESA, NASA)

International Space Apps Challenge 2012

The ‘1st International Space Apps Challenge’ will take place on all 7 continents in over 25 international cities and the International Space Station on April 21-22. The 2-day, NASA-sponsored development event will bring together some of the best software developers, engineers, designers and technologists from around the world to develop apps using data from NASA. Programmers will take on several challenges in 4 categories: software, open hardware, citizen science, and data visualization. These challenges include the “Dark Skies” app that measures sky brightness, a “Where is the Fleet?” app to get information regarding the whereabouts, status, and activity of all the active space probes, and the “Open Data Challenge for Kepler” to aid NASA in making Kepler data more accessible to the public. So far, over 40 challenges are listed for participants, but attendees are free to submit their own ideas. Local judges at each of the event’s hosting locations in USA, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, United Kingdom, Africa, Brazil, and Antarctica, will choose the winners. With nearly 6 billion mobile subscribers worldwide, researchers expect consumers around the world to increase the amount of time they spend as well as information they share / consume on their mobile devices. (Image Credit: NASA)

= All times for terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

= All times for international terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

= All times for space events, and…

= All times for international space / astro events in Hawaii Standard Time unless noted. Add 10 hours to obtain UT (‘Universal Time;’ Greenwich, England).

Weekly Planet Watch – Morning Planets: Mercury (E) / Evening Planets: Venus (W), Mars (S), Jupiter (SW), Saturn (S).


Apr 16 — International Space Station, LEO: E-30 crew members continue to load trash and unneeded items into the Progress 46 cargo craft, which is scheduled to undock from the station this Thursday and perform a series of engineering tests before being commanded to de-orbit for a destructive re-entry into the Earth’s atmosphere April 28.

Apr 16 — Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: NASA LRO functioning nominally in its 50±15 km near-circular orbit as it makes digital elevation and surface maps that will be a fundamental reference for future human exploration.

Apr 16 — Mars Rover Opportunity, Red Planet: NASA rover continues exploration on the north end of Cape York on the rim of Endeavour Crater; Total odometry is 34,361.37 meters.

Apr 16 — Jupiter Juno Mission, In Transit to Jupiter: All systems nominal on Juno spacecraft; Now 255 days into its mission, Juno has traveled 560 million km since launch and is currently traveling at a velocity of 65,800 km per hour.

Apr 16 — Johnson Space Center, Houston TX: Media briefing to preview the SpaceX demonstration mission to the ISS scheduled for launch NET Apr 30.

Apr 16 — American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics – San Francisco, Mountain View CA: ‘CubeSat Space Protocol,’ GomSpace.

Apr 16 — NASA, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, San Francisco CA: Reporters invited to attend a 1-hour guided tour of NASA Offshore Membrane Enclosure for Growing Algae (OMEGA) system from 09:00-10:00 PDT.

Apr 16-17 — Mubadala Aerospace, Middle East Business Aviation Association, et al, St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi:Global Aerospace Summit 2012: Aviation, Aerospace, Space.’

Apr 16-19 — The Space Foundation, Colorado Springs CO:28th National Space Symposium.’

Apr 16-19 — Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, Batavia IL:Workshop: Calibration and Standardization of Large Surveys and Missions in Astronomy and Astrophysics.’

Apr 16-20 — NASA, Atlanta GA:Astrobiology Science Conference 2012: Exploring Life – Past and Present, Near and Far.’

Continued from…

Feb 2 — Eptek Art and Culture Center, Canadian Space Agency, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada:Canada’s Stellar Space Achievements & The Conquest of Space in Images,’ traveling exhibitions; through May 2.

Apr 10 — NASA, Cape Canaveral FL: Media events for Space Shuttle Discovery’s departure; A NASA Shuttle Carrier Aircraft set to transport Discovery to Washington Dulles International Airport in Sterling VA on April 17; through Apr 17.

Apr 11 — The GLOBE Program, The National Optical Astronomy Observatory, Global:GLOBE at Night: Less of Our Light, More Star Light,’ event to raise public awareness of the impact of light pollution by inviting citizen-scientists to measure their night sky brightness and submit their observations to a website from a computer or smart phone; through Apr 20.

Apr 15 — Space Generation Advisory Council, Colorado Springs CO:1st Space Generation Fusion Forum;’ through Apr 16.

Apr 15 — American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) – Aerospace Division, Pasadena CA:ASCE Earth and Space 2012 Conference: Engineering for Extreme Environments;’ through Apr 18.


Apr 17 — American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics – San Francisco, Mountain View CA: ‘Capitalism in Outer Space,’ Jeffrey Manber.

Apr 17 — Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL:Woman-Owned Small Business Industry Day.’

Apr 17 — Cassini OTM-317, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #317 today.


Apr 18 — The British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom:Lecture: Apollo 16 – Exploring the Highlands of the Moon,’ Jerry Stone.

Apr 18 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘The Search for New Particles at the CERN Large Hadron Collider,’ Michael Peskin.

Apr 18 — University College London, London, United Kingdom:Conference: Spectroscopy of the Dynamic Sun.’

Apr 18 — Moon: 5.6° NNW of Mercury; 11:00.

Apr 18 — Asteroid 2012 FC71: Near-Earth Flyby (0.075 AU).


Apr 19 — National Air and Space Museum – Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, NASA, Chantilly VA:NASA Social,’ invitation for 30 social media followers to welcome Space Shuttle Discovery to the national collection.

Apr 19-20 — Ames Research Center, Moffett Field CA: Journalists invited to ‘Sustainability Base Media day and Dedication’ at NASA’s new 50,000 square-foot, lunar-shaped Sustainability Base which will serve as a working office space, a showcase for NASA technology and an evolving example for the future of buildings.

Apr 19-20 — NASA Lunar Science Institute, Berlin, Germany:European Lunar Symposium.’

Apr 19-21 — Max Planck Gesellschaft, Berlin, Germany:Envisioning Limits: Outer Space and the End of Utopia.’

Apr 19 — Asteroid 2007 HV4: Near-Earth Flyby (0.012 AU).


NET Apr 20 — RSA, Launch Soyuz / Progress 47P, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An RSA Soyuz rocket set to launch 47th Progress cargo delivery ship to the ISS.

Apr 20 — The International Space Elevator Consortium, Redmond WA: Abstract deadline for the ‘2012 Space Elevator Conference.’

Apr 20 — The Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX:Lecture: Radiogenic Argon Release from Titan – Sources, Efficiency, and the Role of the Ocean,’ Bill McKinnon.

Apr 20 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX:Lunch With an Astronaut,’ John Blaha.

Apr 20-22 — Syracuse University, Syracuse NY:15th East Coast Gravity Meeting and Josh Goldberg Fest.’

Apr 20 — Moon: New Moon; 17:19.


Apr 21 — Ad Astra Kansas, Topeka KS:Ad Astra Kansas Day 2012.’

Apr 21 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena CA:Educator Workshop: Greenhouse Gases and Their Roles on Earth,’ 6-12 educators to examine the role of greenhouse gases in our complex global system, and explore the ways that media delivers science content and discusses climate change.

Apr 21 — American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics – San Francisco, Mountain View CA: ‘Pizza, Kepler and the Space Station,’ Steve Bryson.

Apr 21-22 — The International Space Innovation Center, San Francisco CA; Tokyo, Japan; Melbourne and Canberra, Australia; Jakarta, Indonesia; Exeter and Oxford, UK; Nairobi, Kenya; Sao Paulo, Brazil; Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic; McMurdo Station, Antarctica:International Space Applications Challenge.’

Apr 21 — Asteroid 2009 HU44: Near-Earth Flyby (0.087 AU).


Apr 22-27 — European Geosciences Union (EGU), Vienna, Austria:EGU General Assembly 2012.’

Apr 22 — Lyrids Meteor Shower Peak: Lyrid meteors appear to stream from the bright star Vega in the constellation Lyra and emit 10 to 20 meteors per hour, although outbursts as high as 100 meteors per hour are possible.

Apr 22 — Moon: At Apogee (Distance: 406,420 km), 04:00; 2.5° N of Jupiter; 09:00.

Apr 22 — Asteroid (Closest Approach to Earth): 2011 UD21 (1.343 AU); 2012 FY23 (0.085 AU).

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