February 16-22, 2015 / Vol 34, No 7 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Astronomy from the Moon Validation Inspiring Next Steps of Exploration, Science & Enterprise


Chang’e-3 Lunar Ultraviolet Telescope – now in Lunar Night 15 – continues to send back unprecedented views of the cosmos from its unique vantage point, and with several International / Independent projects in development, the potential future for astronomy from the Moon has never been more exciting. The 150-mm diameter near ultraviolet telescope is the payload that has operated the longest and obtained the most data since the December 14, 2013 Chang’e-3 Moon landing. LUT has taken tens of thousands of images including collecting data on variable stars and imaging spiral galaxy M101 in collaboration with ILOA. Chang’e-3 data has also found that there is 100 times less water in the thin lunar atmosphere than previously believed, reinforcing that the Moon is an even more pristine venue for astronomy. Principal Investigator Jianyan Wei reports that NAOC will soon be releasing a catalog of all sky objects imaged by LUT. Future astronomy from the Moon projects are advancing as scientists continue to call for a radio telescope at the Moon’s radio-quiet far side, and as ILOA progresses on its mission to land and operate a multifunctional observatory near the Moon’s South Pole. In addition to collaborating with NAOC / CNSA on the LUT, ILOA is working with prime contractors Moon Express and Canadensys Aerospace to characterize the Malapert Mountain region, identifying locations where the ILO-1 instrument can best fulfill its observation and communication mission objectives, have access to plentiful solar power, and observe / support future human and robotic activities. (Image Credit: ILOA, NAOC, CNSA, University of Colorado)


Feb 16 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 42 crew to facilitate arrival of Progress 58P resupply ship, perform 2 EVAs this week & prepare for 2 more; working with Force Shoes study of exercise loads in space, Plant Rotation plant growth study, Ocular Health experiment for changes to vision during long duration space missions.

Feb 16 — ISS, U.S. EVA 29, LEO: Wilmore and Virts to perform spacewalk to install power and data cables and a communications gear, live coverage available.

Feb 16 — Curiosity, Mount Sharp, Mars: Now about 5 months at Mount Sharp, continuing to analyze minerals of ‘Mojave 2’ sample, using cameras & spectrometer instruments to study features of interest at various levels of detail.

 Feb 16 — New Horizons, Pluto Trajectory: Traveling at ~ 450,000 kph, craft is 147 days from Pluto closest approach; Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager will continue taking images of Pluto system; planning for course-correcting engine maneuver in Mar.

Feb 16 — Deep Space Industries, McLean TX: NewSpace company developing concept to use bioengineered microbes injected into space rocks to break down materials over a 10-to-20-year period ahead of mining mission.

Feb 16 — Planet Labs Inc., San Francisco CA: With newly raised US$95M investment, continuing to build 30 x 20 x 10-cm Dove Earth-imaging satellites; currently has seventy-three satellites in orbit.

 Feb 16 — Mishaal Aerospace Corp., Miami FL: Testing M-SV propulsion system for first generation M-OV Orbital Vehicle to launch satellites under 500 kg to LEO; plans to develop M-LV Lunar Vehicle for lunar & inner Solar System missions.

Feb 16 — University of Arizona, Tucson AZ: Life in the Universe Lecture Series: Complexity and Evolvability: What Makes Life So Interesting? presented by Anna R. Dornhaus, Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Feb 16-20 — Institute for Theoretical Physics (IFT), Madrid, Spain: Workshop: Entangle This – Space, Time & Matter.

Feb 16 — Moon: 3.6° NNW of Mercury, 18:00.

FEB - APR 2015 = 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: Venus (WSW), Mars (WSW), Jupiter (E), Uranus (W); Morning Planets: Saturn (S).

Antarctica ‘McMurdo on the Moon’ Conference to Focus on Models for Human Space Exploration

Antarctica Moon Mars

The Space Horizons 2015: McMurdo on the Moon conference – to be held February 18-19 in Providence RI at Brown University – will explore the knowledge gained from living, working and researching on the “7th continent” Antarctica, the most hostile environment on Earth, for advancing and sustaining human operations and scientific discoveries on the “8th continent” the Moon, and Mars. By accommodating commercial endeavors on other bodies in the Solar System, the Antarctic Treaty can be adapted for breakthroughs in space exploration. The Treaty (signed 1959, enacted 1961) designates Antarctica to be used for peaceful purposes, prohibits military activity and supports the freedom of scientific investigation and cooperation. Sponsored by Rhode Island Space Grant Consortia and Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, the conference will include eight 30-minute sessions, a 45-minute panel discussion and 3D interactive “CAVE” tour of the Moon, Mars, and Antarctic Dry Valleys. Marco Lisi of ESA and S. Pete Worden of NASA Ames will speak on infrastructure technologies for facilitating and sustaining human exploration of the Moon and Mars. Antarctica is used as an analog for space missions because it is extreme and remote; for the Moon due to dry / cold environment, low air density, meteorite dust, high solar radiation; for Mars due to chemical weathering, dry permafrost, low temperatures, strong winds, presence of salts in the soils; and for Jupiter moon Europa for its icy surface features, and potential of a hidden liquid ocean layer and microbial life. (Image Credit: NASA, SVS, Brown University, SSERVI, RISG, JPL, Caltech, Cornell, ASU, Malcolm McLeod, Brown University)

Continued from…

Oct 16, 2014 – Jun 11 — NASA, University of Hawai`i, Mauna Loa HI: Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mission 3.

Dec 20, 2014 – Mar 15 — Cantor Arts Center, Stanford CA: Exhibition: Loose in Some Real Tropics: Robert Rauschenberg’s “Stoned Moon” Projects, 1969–70; 34 large-format lithographs with scenes of Apollo 11 astronauts, machinery, facilities.

Feb 2-27 — Munich Institute for Astro- and Particle Physics (MIAPP), Munich, Germany: Dark Matter: Astrophysical probes, Laboratory tests, and Theory aspects (DARK MALT 2015).

Feb 12-16 — American Association for the Advancement of Science, San Jose CA: American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2015 Annual Meeting.


Feb 17 — RSA, Launch Soyuz / Progress 58P, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An RSA Soyuz rocket set to launch 58th Progress cargo ship to ISS, live coverage available.

Feb 17-20 — NASA, San Francisco CA: Destination Station exhibit devoted to ISS education to travel to various SF Bay Area locations.

Feb 17-27 — Paris Institute of Astrophysics, Network of European Observatories in the North (NEON), Asiago, Italy: 2015 NEON Observing School.

Feb 17 — Asteroid 2015 BF511: Near-Earth flyby (0.028 AU).

Feb 17 — Asteroid 2000 AC6: Near-Earth flyby (0.064 AU).


Feb 18 — Ames Research Center, NASA, Moffett Field CA: Workshop on the Potential for Finding Life in a Europa Plume; to consider strategies to investigate Europa plumes for evidence of life.

Feb 18 — Center for Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NASA, Stanford University, Stanford CA: International Space Station Microgravity Research Symposium; at Stanford, North building Room 302, 09:00 – 14:10 PST.

Feb 18-19 — SSERVI, NASA, Brown University, Providence RI: Space Horizons 2015: McMurdo on the Moon; to examine how McMurdo & other Antarctica stations can be studied as models for human bases on Moon & Mars.

Feb 18 — Moon: New Moon, 13:47; at perigee (distance 356,584 km) 21:24.


Feb 19 — China Lunar New Year, Worldwide: China Lunar New Year 2015 Spring Festival marks the Year of the Goat.

Feb 19 — Oregon L5 Society, United States Parks Service, Vancouver WA: Lecture: Mining the Moon with a Lunar Elevator; presented by Charles Radley, President Oregon L5 Society; at Pearson Air Museum, 18:30 PST, live streaming available.

Feb 19 — Cornell University, Ithaca NY: Colloquium: Atmospheric circulation and collapse on tidally locked exoplanets; presented by Robin Wordsworth.

Feb 19-20 — Outer Planets Assessment Group, NASA, Moffett Field CA: Outer Planets Assessment Group (OPAG) Meeting; at Ames Research Center.

Feb 19-20 — The Earthlight Foundation, New Worlds Institute, SEDS, Heinlein Prize Trust, SFF, NSS, CSF, Washington DC: Pioneering Space National Summit; gathering of national level decision makers, commercial space executives, leaders from space community with goal of creating basic SpaceMap for USA; at Ronald Reagan Building & International Trade Center.

Feb 19 — Moon: 3.6° NNW of Neptune, 01:00.


Feb 20 — ISS, U.S. EVA 30, LEO: Wilmore and Virts to perform spacewalk to install power and data cables and a communications gear, live coverage available.

Feb 20 — Moon: 1.9° NNW of Venus, 14:00; 1.4° NNW of Mars, 15:00.

Feb 20 — Asteroid 416151 (2002 RQ25): Near-Earth flyby (0.051 AU).


Feb 21 — International Lunar Observatory Association, Space Age Publishing Co., Bandung, Indonesia: Galaxy Forum Southeast Asia – Indonesia 2015: Galaxy Education, Exploration and Enterprise in the 21st Century; 09:00 – 13:00 local time at LAPAN Bandung Branch Office.

Feb 21 — Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Washington DC: Lecture: Tracing the Structure of the Universe with Galaxy Surveys: Addressing the Biggest Questions; presented by Cameron McBride, Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics.

Feb 21 — Moon: 0.33° N of Uranus, 12:00.


Feb 22 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with space historian Dr. Asif Siddiqi.

Feb 22-24 — Space Exploration Alliance, Washington DC: Space Exploration Alliance Legislative Blitz; space advocates from around USA let Congress know that there is strong constituent support for an ambitious space program.

Feb 22 — Venus: 0.41° SSE of Mars, 20:00.