Astronomy from the Moon: NAOC and ILOA on the Frontier of 21st Century Astrophysics
The International Lunar Observatory Association (ILOA) is receiving images from key partners at National Astronomical Observatories – Chinese Academy of Sciences (NAOC) in Beijing, comprising data from the Lunar near-Ultraviolet / Optical Telescope (LUT) aboard the China Chang’e-3 (CE3) spacecraft currently operating on the surface of the Moon. Professor Jianyan Wei the principal investigator of LUT indicates that the instrument has captured over 22,000 astronomical images to date. The 150-mm diameter, near ultraviolet telescope is the CE3 payload that has operated the longest and obtained the most data since the 14 December 2013 landing. ILOA will utilize the CE3 pioneering and historic data to enhance its Galaxy Forum 21st Century Education program. Founding Director Steve Durst says the dynamic Galaxy Forum architecture “should allow ILOA to advance human understanding of the Cosmos from the Moon and help identify support for the ILOA missions.” Astronomer and Explorer Dr. Yuki Takahashi noted that “these UV observations of the XZ Cygni (RR Lyrae type) variable star cannot be done from the Earth’s ground, and the lunar surface provides a stable platform that should make it easier to operate a long-lasting telescope. Studies of variable stars like this in the UV will help us measure distances in our Galaxy, providing humans with a more 3-dimensional visualization of our home Galaxy.” Aerospace Engineer, Medical Doctor and co-author of The Moon, Dr. David Schrunk explains that “similar measurements enabled Edwin Hubble to establish the fact that the Milky Way is not an ‘Island Universe’ but merely one of billions of other galaxies in a vast universe.” (Image Credit: ILOA, NAOC, Jian Huang)
Simulating Long Duration Space Missions on Mauna Loa, Hawaii
Moon and Mars mission studies continue on Hawaii Island slopes of Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa, near-perfect analog sites for Lunar and Martian environments to test life support systems, robotic prototypes, dust mitigation tactics and in-situ resource utilization. Hawai`i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mission 2, lead by University of Hawaii Manoa under a US$1.2M award from NASA, will have (T-B) Anne Caraccio, Ross Lockwood, Lucie Poulet, Casey Stedman, Tiffany Swarmer and Dr. Ronald Williams live at ~2,500-meter (8,200-foot) altitude in an abandoned quarry on the northern slope of Mauna Loa from March 28 to July 28. The dome habitat (used in HI-SEAS Mission 1 food study) is 11-meters in diameter enclosing a volume of 384 cubic meters. Researchers, including co-investigator Kim Binsted, will monitor crew communications, workload, job-sharing and conflict resolution over the course of the mission to recommend strategies for crew composition and support during long duration space missions. Each crew member will also complete a personal research project which may involve biological or geological field research, engineering design and technology evaluation, scholarly writing or artistic endeavors. An 8-month space analog mission is being planned for August 2014 and a 12-month study June 2015. (Image Credit: UH Manoa, S. Proctor, 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 – Evening Planets: Mars (S), Jupiter (W); Morning Planets: Mercury (ESE), Venus (SE), Saturn (S).
Mar 24 — ISS, LEO: Exp 39 preparing for arrival of 3 additional crew members, working with SAMS study of ISS vibrations & accelerations resulting from hardware, crew exercise, dockings, debris avoidance maneuvers.
Mar 24 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Trajectory Control Maneuver (TCM10) scheduled for Apr 9 has been canceled due to well-aimed course trajectory following Earth flyby Oct 2013; next TCM slated for Feb 2016.
Mar 24 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Likely to receive mission funding through 2017, spacecraft collecting data on inner structure, temperatures, gravity & magnetic field of Titan; studying Saturn rings, south pole auroral region, atmosphere.
Mar 24 — Planet Labs Inc., San Francisco CA: NewSpace company planning to launch 72 satellites to LEO within 12 months to complete 100-satellite constellation, collect images of entire Earth every 24 hours.
Mar 24 — Space Generation Advisory Council, Vienna, Austria: Running 2014 Emerging Commercial Space Paper Competition to develop new ideas on opportunities, challenges facing space entrepreneurs & investors.
Mar 24 — Space Frontier Foundation, Nyack NY: Settlement Enabling Test expands on previous Frontier Enabling Test allowing user to determine whether a national policy will ensure sustainability of / develop capabilities for space settlement.
Mar 24 — RSA, Launch Soyuz / Glonass M, Plesetsk Cosmodrome, Russia: Soyuz rocket to launch Glonass M navigation satellite.
Mar 24-26 — International Academy of Astronautics, American Astronautical Society, Rome, Italy: 2nd IAA Conference on Dynamics and Control of Space Systems (DYCOSS).
Mar 24-26 — European Science Foundation, University of Turin, Turin, Italy: GREAT-ESF Workshop: Gaia and the Unseen – The Brown Dwarf Question.
Mar 24-26 — AIAA, Sacramento CA: California Aerospace Week 2014: Launch California! Leading the Nation into Space.
Mar 24 – Apr 4 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Vienna, Austria: 53rd session of the Legal Subcommittee of the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space.
Mar 24 — Asteroid 2014 DG80: Near-Earth flyby (0.040 AU).
Mar 24 — Asteroid 325102 (2008 EY5): Near-Earth flyby (0.079 AU).
Mar 22-25 — Large Binocular Telescope Observatory, Tucson AZ: LBTO 2014 Users’ Meeting; first in a long series of intended triennial meetings entirely dedicated to LBTO and its users.
Mar 22-29 — Astrophysics Institute of Paris, Rencontres de Moriond, La Thuile, Italy: Cosmology 2014.
Mar 22-29 — Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers, Bishop CA: 2014 Society of Amateur Radio Astronomers (SARA) Western Regional Conference.
Mar 23-27 — University of Alabama – Huntsville, Orlando FL: Huntsville Workshop 2014: Solar and Stellar processes from the Chromosphere to the Outer Corona; held at Holiday Inn Lake Buena Vista Downtown (registration US$500).
Mar 23-28 — University of Alberta, Lake Louise, Alberta, Canada: Stellar Tango at the Rockies ’14.
Mar 25 — ISS, Undocking of Progress 54P, LEO: The 54th Progress cargo ship scheduled to undock, burn up during Earth atmosphere reentry; live coverage available.
Mar 25 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Atlas 5 / NROL-67, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: ULA to launch classified spacecraft payload for U.S. National Reconnaissance Office.
Mar 25 — Silicon Valley Space Center, Santa Clara CA: Space Entrepreneurship Series: Is a Start-up for You? presented by Dr. Sean Casey.
Mar 25 — The George C. Marshall Institute, TechAmerica Space Enterprise Council, Arlington VA: Panel Discussion: Human Settlement in Space – The Moon’s Challenges and Opportunities; featuring Dr. Paul Spudis, Mike Gold, Dr. Haym Benaroya.
Mar 25 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: SETI Talks: Why SuperEarths are not Earthlike; presented by David Stevenson of Caltech, 12:00 PDT.
Mar 25-27 — The Aerospace Corporation, El Segundo CA: 2014 Spacecraft Thermal Control Workshop.
Mar 26 — RSA, Launch Soyuz TMA-12M / ISS 38S, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: An RSA Soyuz rocket set to launch members of Expedition 39/40: Steve Swanson of NASA, Aleksandr Skvortsov of RSA, Oleg Artemyev of RSA; 03:17 local time, will dock with ISS about 6 hours later, live coverage available.
Mar 26 — NASA HQ, Washington DC: Asteroid Initiative Opportunities Forum; public forum to provide status on NASA asteroid initiative planning, 12:30 – 16:40 EDT.
Mar 26 — U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Washington DC: Full Committee Hearing – A Review of the President’s Fiscal Year 2015 Budget Request for Science Agencies.
Mar 26-28 — ESA, Madrid, Spain: First ExoMars Landing Site Selection Workshop; at European Space Astronomy Centre (ESAC).
Mar 26 — Moon: 3.6° NNW of Venus, 20:00.
Mar 26 — Asteroid 2013 FD8: Near-Earth flyby (0.085 AU).
Mar 27 — U.S. House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, Washington DC: Subcommittee on Space – A Review of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Budget for Fiscal Year 2015.
Mar 27 — Cuyahoga Valley Space Society – NSS Chapter, Parma OH: Regular Meeting of the Cuyahoga Valley Space Society.
Mar 27 — Moon: At perigee (distance 365,313 km), 08:37.
Mar 28 — NASA HQ, Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute, Online / Washington DC: Asteroid Grand Challenge: Virtual Seminar Series; Alan Harris speaks on NEA populations and impact frequency, 11:00 EDT.
Mar 28 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: Goddard Scientific Colloquium: Finding the Slippery Slope – Detecting Landslides from Space; presented by Dalia Kirschbaum of GSFC, 15:30 EDT.
Mar 28 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Don Thomas; US$49.95 adult.
Mar 28-30 — SETI Institute, Ames Research Center, Goddard Space Flight Center, JPL, NASA, Death Valley CA: MarsFest 2014; in Death Valley National Park.
Mar 28 – Jul 28 — NASA, University of Hawaii, Mauna Loa HI: Hawai‘i Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) Mission 2; six-member crew live in habitat on slopes of Mauna Loa at 2,500-meter elevation to simulate long-duration Mars mission.
Mar 28 — Moon: 5.9° NNW of Mercury, 15:00.
Mar 29 — British Interplanetary Society, Manchester, United Kingdom: British Interplanetary Society North 2014 Event; at Manchester Metropolitan University Business School.
Mar 30 — SpaceX, Launch Falcon 9 / CRS 3, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket set to launch 5th Dragon spacecraft on 3rd operational cargo delivery mission to ISS, will deliver Optical PAyload for Lasercomm Science (OPALS), deploy 5 CubeSats; 22:51 EDT, live coverage available.
Mar 30 — New England Air Museum, Connecticut Space Grant Consortium, UTC Aerospace Systems, Windsor Locks CT: 2014 Space Expo; 10:00 – 16:00 EDT.
Mar 30 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Host Dr. David Livingston talks with Dennis Wingo.
Mar 30 — Daylight Saving Time (Europe): Change clocks forward 1 hour, from Standard Time to Summer Time.
Mar 30 — Moon: New Moon, 08:47.
Mar 30 — Asteroid 2012 EA: Near-Earth flyby (0.036 AU).
Mar 30 — Asteroid 2009 FW25: Near-Earth flyby (0.071 AU).