USA Moon South Pole Missions Need Acceleration
United States government and independent commercial missions to the next frontier of human expansion, Luna, need to accelerate. Cislunar baseline infrastructure is a catalyst to 21st Century Solar System exploration and development. China’s Chang’e-3 & Yutu spacecraft are now on the surface of the Moon, with a fleet of increasingly advanced siblings to follow. India is re-igniting its Chandrayaan Moon South Pole lander / rover project after successful flight of the indigenous heavy lift GSLV rocket. Korea, under the leadership of President Park Geun-hye, has declared ‘landing on the Moon’ a central national objective and has shortened the timeframe from 2025 to 2020. The USA cannot afford to be left behind the rising Lunar tide. President Obama, Congress and NASA leadership need to prioritize and accelerate plans for strategic and durable Moon South Pole exploration and infrastructure development – Morpheus, Mighty Eagle and Resolve should be streamlined and deployed as rapidly as possible. US Government assertion of the value and importance of the Moon will open major capital finance markets to independent lunar-focused enterprises including American teams competing in the Google Lunar X Prize – who need to finalize launch agreements in order to keep up with international competitors. Peaceful USA-International business and cooperation in Space will benefit from revision of complicating and harmful restrictions. Focus and determination along with expanding international cooperation could see USA robotic resource-focused missions to the South Pole of the Moon by 2016-2017, with Human Moon Missions by 2019-2020. (Image Credit: ILOA, NASA)
Jupiter / Solar System Human Mission Design Project, 2013-2017
While countries and companies worldwide develop technologies to explore the far-reaches of the Solar System and carry humans well beyond the Moon, 21st Century Human mission strategic planning is critical to identify a destination for maximizing exploration capabilities, rewards and potential. Jupiter in particular is a world worth aiming for – with more than 70% of the Solar System’s planetary mass, 67 known moons (some of which are the most geologically active known bodies), and clues to life beyond Earth & the formation of our Solar System. Outer Planets Assessment Group & Advanced Concepts Office of NASA, among others, continue evaluating SLS possibilities for exploring the Outer Solar System. The NASA Juno spacecraft (arriving at Jupiter July 4, 2016) will spend at least 2 years trying to solve some of its mysteries. The planned ESA JUICE spacecraft (launch 2022) will study 3 of the Galilean moons. This ‘Jupiter Human Mission Design Project’ (the 2nd of a 4-year study launched January 20, 2013) implores commitments to support bold and logical 21st Century exploration missions to take steps toward establishing Humans as a Multi World Species, give space programs a focused, effective direction and advance international cooperation, science and education. With enough data, support and resources, a Jupiter Human Mission in the 2030-2050 timeframe could be possible. Mars, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Pluto and the Kuiper Belt deserve equal attention as Human exploration destinations for our species to understand, survive in and master the Solar System. (Image Credit: W. Myers, NASA, Wayfare Entertainment, et al)
= 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 (WSW), Mars (S), Jupiter (E); Morning Planets: Venus (ESE), Saturn (SE).
Jan 20 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 38 studying properties of ‘supercritical water,’ setting up science experiments brought aboard by Cygnus involving ant habitat, sloshy fluids for robotic satellites, antibiotic drug resistance; EVA 37a set for Jan 27.
Jan 20 — MAVEN, Mars Trajectory: Will soon complete slew maneuver to point High Gain Antenna at Earth for high-data rate communications session; Trajectory Correction Maneuvers are planned Feb, Jul, Sep; Mars arrival Sep 14.
Jan 20 — Rosetta, Comet 67P / Churyumov-Gerasimenko Trajectory: Rosetta spacecraft wakes from hibernation at 10:00 UT in preparation for ‘Jupiter-family’ comet rendezvous; scheduled to approach comet in May, launched Mar 2004.
Jan 20 — New Horizons, Pluto Trajectory: Mission control team testing antenna, uploading commands to Guidance & Control / Command & Data Handling systems, updating navigational star charts, conducting navigational tracking.
Jan 20 — Firefly Space Systems, Austin TX: NewSpace company planning to develop small satellite launch system for low-cost launches to Low Earth & Sun Synchronous Orbits.
Jan 20 — Planet Labs Inc., San Francisco CA: Flock-1 constellation of 28 ‘Dove’ Earth observation satellites to be deployed from ISS JEM Small Satellite Orbital Deployer (J-SSOD) attached to Kibo laboratory’s robotic arm.
Jan 20 — PocketQube Shop, Glasgow, Scotland: Offering 1st commercial off-the-shelf components for 5-cm cubed, 150-gram spacecraft; structures can be stacked to allow for more missions.
Jan 20-24 — Sexten Center for Astrophysics, Sexten, Italy: Formation and Evolution of the Galactic Bulge; at Sport & Kurhotel Bad Moos hotel.
Jan 20-24 — Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network, Royal Astronomical Society, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute, Santa Barbara CA: 18th International Conference on Microlensing.
Jan 20 — Asteroid 277570 (2005 YP180): Near-Earth flyby (0.078 AU).
Jan 12-31 — National Autonomous University of Mexico, National Institute of Astrophysics, Optics and Electronics (INAOE), Tonantzintla, Mexico: 2014 School of Astronomy Observations for Latin American Students.
Jan 15 – Sep 30 — The Planetary Society, Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Online / Pasadena CA: Submit your name to be sent to asteroid 101955 Bennu in 2016.
Jan 16 – Mar 17 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Online / Greenbelt MD: Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) initiative; seeking proposals from U.S. private sector that would lead to 1 or more no-funds exchanged Space Act Agreements.
Jan 19-22 — Max-Planck-Institute for Radio Astronomy, Tegernsee, Germany: Science with the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX); at Ringberg Castle.
Jan 19-22 — Pacific Telecommunications Council, Honolulu HI: 2014 PTC Conference; at Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.
Jan 21 — ESA, Paris, France: Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 Plan – M3 Candidate Missions Presentation; at Institut Océanographique de Paris (Paris Institute of Oceanography).
Jan 21 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: SETI Talks: Some assembly required: Nature’s instruction booklet for planetary migration; presented by Rebekah Dawson of UC Berkeley, 12:00 PST.
Jan 21 — Asteroid 251346 (2007 SJ): Near-Earth flyby (0.049 AU).
Jan 22 — British Interplanetary Society, London, United Kingdom: Lecture: The Future of SKYLON; presented by Mark Hempsell.
Jan 22 — NASA HQ, Washington DC: NASA Advisory Council Science Committee Planetary Science Subcommittee Meeting.
Jan 22 — Moon: 3.5° SSW of Mars, 18:00.
Jan 23 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Atlas 5 / TDRS L, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 rocket to launch TDRS L communications / data relay satellite for NASA; Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System (TDRSS) connects mission control with ISS, other orbiting satellites; 21:05 – 21:45 EST.
Jan 23 — Moon: 1.3° NNE of Spica, 00:00; at last quarter, 19:20.
Jan 23 — Asteroid 2013 YS2: Near-Earth flyby (0.056 AU).
Jan 23 — Asteroid 2013 NC15: Near-Earth flyby (0.069 AU).
Jan 24 — Astronomy and Space Exploration Society, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: ASX 11th Annual Symposium: Into the Cosmos; 19:00 – 22:00 local time.
Jan 24 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: LPI Seminar Series: The Big Picture for the Geologic History of Venus – Where Things Stand and Future Exploration; presented by Robert Herrick from University of Alaska Fairbanks.
Jan 24 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, John-David Bartoe; US$49.95 adult.
Jan 24-26 — Queen’s University, Kitchener, Ontario, Canada: Queen’s Space Conference.
Jan 25 — Cassini OTM-369, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #369 today.
Jan 25 — Onizuka Memorial Committee, University of Hawaii – Hilo, Astronaut Ellison S. Onizuka Space Center, et al, Hilo HI: 2014 Astronaut Ellison Onizuka Science Day; featuring Astronaut Keynote Speaker, 19 workshops, 18 interactive displays; free.
Jan 25-26 — Silicon Valley Space Center, SpaceGambit, JP Aerospace, SpaceUnited, Solar System Express, Mountain View CA: PongSat Hack – Developing Edge of Space Science.
Jan 25 — Moon: 0.57° S of Saturn, 04:00.
Jan 25 — Asteroid 2006 AL4: Near-Earth flyby (0.051 AU).
Jan 26 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Host Dr. David Livingston talks with Dr. Paul Spudis.
Jan 26-30 — American Astronautical Society, AIAA, Santa Fe NM: 24th AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechanics Meeting; at La Fonda Hotel.
Jan 26 – Feb 2 — Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, Institute for Nuclear Research of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Valday, Russia: International Workshop on Prospects of Particle Physics: Neutrino Physics and Astrophysics.
Jan 26 — Moon: 7.6° N of Antares, 09:00.