August 8-14, 2016 / Vol 35, No 32 / Hawai`i Island, USA

1st ExoMars Mission Making Rapid Progress Toward Red Planet

Calendar feature - exomars Aug 2016

ExoMars 2016 is currently in Deep Space, well over half way on its 500 million km journey, set to conduct a trajectory correction maneuver on August 11, and is fine-tuning its approach to Mars after a successful major engine burn July 28. Two additional trim burns September 19 and October 14 will set the craft on a precise path to intercept Mars and accurately deliver the Schiaparelli lander toward touchdown at Meridiani Planum on Oct 19. Having deployed the lander on Oct 16 the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) is scheduled to perform the Mars avoidance maneuver Oct 17 and insertion into Mars orbit Oct 19 while communicating with the lander and relaying data back to Earth. Michel Denis, ExoMars flight director, notes that there is a complex communications network supporting the mission comprising the Mars Express orbiter (Europe) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (NASA), as well as the 70-meter dishes of the Deep Space Network and an array of 30 45-meter parabolic reflectors known as the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope near Pune, India. Schiaparelli is an entry, descent and landing demonstrator module designed to validate technologies for future landings. It has a limited power source expected to allow the DREAMS surface payload to operate for 2-8 sols. TGO is designed to conduct 5 years of detailed observations of the Martian atmosphere in search of evidence of gases of potential biological origin. It will also serve as a data relay for the ExoMars 2020 rover mission through 2022. (Image Credit: ESA)


Aug 8 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 48 Commander Jeff Williams marks 504th day in space over 4 missions, set to surpass NASA record of 520 days (Scott Kelly) on Aug 24; 224 individuals from 18 countries have visited the Station.

Aug 8 — Chang’e-3 Lander, Guang Han Gong, Sinus Iridum / Mare Imbrium, 44.12°N 19.51°W, Moon Surface: China craft with on-board astronomical instrument LUT in hibernation preparing for activities of Lunar Day 34 starting Aug 14, is only spacecraft operating on Moon; Yutu Rover “Jade Rabbit” now officially out-of-service.

Aug 8 — Akatsuki, Highly Elliptical Venus Orbit: Revitalized Japan JAXA spacecraft data generating new findings, including 3D Atmospheric Observations showing decrease in elevation of cloud structure poleward of ~50°N&S latitude.

Aug 8 — Moon Express, Moffett Field CA / Cape Canaveral FL: NewSpace company MX-1E mission gains first ever FAA approval, in accordance with Outer Space Treaty, for commercial mission to Moon surface (scheduled for 2017).

 Aug 8 — Vector SpaceTucson AZ: Micro-satellite space launch company preparing for large-scale test flights in 2017, orbital launch (capacity: 50kg to LEO) in 2018, after recent successful first sub-orbital launch of its P-20 rocket with customer payload from Finnish-based Iceye.

 Aug 8 — Incredible Adventures, Sarasota FL: Offering Soyuz Rocket Launch Tours to Kazakhstan for September 23 and November 15 ISS crew launches, also cooperates with RSA to offer hands-on cosmonaut training.

Aug 8 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with Author Rowland White from United Kingdom.

Aug 8-12 — American Astronomical Society, Hanover NH: The Hidden Monsters: Obscured AGN and Connections to Galaxy Evolution in the Era of NuSTAR and WISE, coordinated by Ryan Hickox at Dartmouth College.

Aug 8-12 — Heidelberg University Center for Astronomy, Heidelberg, Germany: Conference: Star Clusters – From Infancy to Teenagehood; at Max Planck House Conference Center.

AUG - OCT 2016 = 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 – Evening Planets: Mercury (WNW), Venus (WNW), Mars (SW), Jupiter (W), Saturn (S); Morning Planets: Uranus (S), Neptune (S).

Star Trek, To Boldly Go (and Stay): Celebrating 50 Years Of Exploration Inspiration

calendar feature - star trek 50th

A great revolution of understanding – exploring important philosophical, ethical, spiritual considerations – the science fiction culture icon, Star Trek, continues to inspire the imagination of generations of Earthlings. It offers an uplifting portrayal of early new millennium possibilities for an interstellar, interspecies, civilization “United Federation of Planets” searching the Galaxy for new life and opportunities. Along with the staple of hard-hitting instructive social allegory Star Trek’s portrayal of technology if in some ways fantastic, is still highly influential. Developments such as cell phones, touch-screens and the rapidly developing field of immersive virtual reality systems all have tributaries leading back to Star Trek. Louisville Space Society and International Star Trek Fan Association Inc host Starfleet 2016 International Conference in Louisville KY August 12-14. The elaborate Opening Ceremony with Color Guard presentations leads to other sessions including Human Space Exploration and the National Space Society, STARFLEET Special Operations, The Science of Adhesion, Introduction to Latex Prosthetics for Costuming, and 4 Screening Room sessions with Star Trek episodes and movies. Smithsonian Channel commemorates Star Trek 50th with September 4 Premiere of “Building Star Trek”, a two-hour special in-depth look at the far reaching influence of TOS (the original series) on science and technology. It features interviews with David Grier of NYU working on a real-life tractor beam, Sonny Kohli of Cloud DX a finalist in the Qualcom Tricorder XPrize, and Rob Afzal of Lockheed Martin on Laser Sensors and Systems, as well as Star Trek actors and writers, such as Nichelle Nichols and Dorothy Fontana. (Image Credit: NBC)


Aug 8-12 — Institute of Astronomy and Liaison of Scientific Investigation at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, Mexican Society of Physics, Mexico City, Mexico: Cloudy: Emission Lines In Astrophysics, from Gaseous Nebulae To Quasars, a symposium to honor Gary Ferland.

Aug 8 – Sep 2 — Nordic Institute for Theoretical Physics, Nordita, Stockholm: Program: Black Holes and Emergent Spacetime.

Aug 8 — Moon: 5.5° NNE of Spica, 06:00.

Aug 8 — Apollo Asteroid 2016 CL264: Near-Earth flyby (0.058 AU).

Continued from…

Jun 17 – Aug 15 — Canadian Space Agency, Longueuil, Quebec, Canada: 4th Astronaut recruitment campaign for CSA; expects to announce selected candidates in Summer 2017.

Jul 12 – Sep 1 — International Space University, Technion Institute, Israel Space Agency, Haifa, Israel: ISU 29th Space Studies Program (SSP 2016).

Aug 1-19 — The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Kigali, Rwanda: African School for Fundamental Physics and Applications 2016 (ASP 2016).

Aug 6-11 — AIAA, Utah State University, Logan UT: Small Satellite Conference 2016.

Aug 7-11 — Christa Corrigan McAuliffe Center at Framingham State University, Framingham MA: 2016 Challenger Center Annual Conference; STEM Education Through the Lens of Space Exploration featured on Aug 11 with NASA Astronauts, researchers, space industry leaders.

Aug 7-12 — The Meteoritical Society, Berlin, Germany: 79th Annual Meeting of The Meteoritical Society.

Aug 7-13 — Rencontres du Vietnam, Quy Nhon, Vietnam: Rencontres du Vietnam Rencontres du Vietnam 12th Conference: Blowing in the Wind.


Aug 9 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Lecture: Frontiers in Artifact SETI – Waste Heat, Alien Megastructures & Tabbys Star; Jason Wright of Penn State University, 12:00.

Aug 9-13 — Millennium Institute of Astrophysics, Texas A&M University, NSF, Carnegie Institution for Science, Hanga Roa, Easter Island, Chile: Conference: Supernovae Through the Ages – Understanding the Past to Prepare for the Future.

Aug 9 — Moon: At apogee (distance 403,793 km), 14:00.

Aug 9 — Mars: At heliocentric conjunction with Pluto, 06:00.


Aug 10 — Australia National Telescope Facility, Sydney, Australia: Lecture: JPL Visitors – Juno and Dawn Missions; Larry James, Scott Bolton, Rick Nybakken, Tim Weise.

Aug 10 — Moon: At first quarter, 08:21.


Aug 11 — ExoMars 2016, Deep Space Trajectory Maneuver, Mars Trajectory: ESA spacecraft to perform Maneuver today, expected to enter Mars orbit Oct 16 and release Schiaparelli lander for Oct 19 landing.

Aug 11, 12 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech/NASA, Pasadena CA: von Kármán Lecture Series 2016: The Rosetta Mission: Comet C-G up Close; Bonnie Buratti, Arthur Chmielewski, Rosetta Project Managers at JPL.

Aug 11-12 — Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG), NASA, Flagstaff AZ: OPAG Meeting; new Steering Committee members being sought.

Aug 11 — Moon: 8.0° N of Mars, 15:00.


Aug 12 — Caltech, Pasadena CA: Caltech Astronomy Public Lectures: You Can’t Spell Exoplanets without Ex(ecutions); Jessie Christiansen, 20:00.

Aug 12-14 — Louisville Space Society, Starfleet / International Star Trek Fan Association Inc., Louisville KY: Starfleet 2016 International Conference; celebrating 50th anniversary of Star Trek.

Aug 12 Perseid Meteor Shower Peak: Appearing to radiate from constellation Perseus, shower can produce up to 100 meteors per hour, which are fast, bright and frequently leave persistent trains.

Aug 12 — Moon: 3.6° N of Saturn, 03:00; 9.8° N of Antares, 03:00.

Aug 12 — Amor Asteroid 2016 OX: Near-Earth flyby (0.077 AU).


Aug 13 — Ad Astra Kansas Foundation, Space Age Publishing Company, Hutchinson KS: Galaxy Forum Kansas – Hutchinson; featuring Dr. Penny Warren of Ball Aerospace and Technologies Corp. on the Kepler spacecraft; at Kansas Cosmosphere and Space Center.

Aug 13 — Tucson L5 Space Society – NSS Chapter, Tucson AZ: Tucson L5 Space Society monthly meeting.


Aug 14 — Cassini OTM-458, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #458 today.

Aug 14-18 — URSI, Aalto University, Federation of Finnish Learned Societies, Espoo, Finland: 2016 International Union of Radio Science (URSI) Commission B International Symposium on Electromagnetic Theory (EMTS 2016).

Aug 14-19 — University of Toronto, Dunlap Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: 2016 Dunlap Institute Introduction to Astronomical Instrumentation Summer School.

Aug 14 — Moon: 3.1° N of Pluto, 15:00.