March 5-11, 2012 / Vol 31, No 10 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Canada Eyes Leadership Role In Lunar Mineral Exploration

Amidst renewed global enthusiasm for Moon exploration and enterprise the Canadian Space Agency is leading development of prototype equipment destined for mineral exploration at the Moon South Pole. Since 2004, CSA, NASA, Neptec and NORCAT have been collaborating on a lunar hydrogen / water-ice hunting rover-mounted drilling experiment called RESOLVE. Lead Scientist and former PI of LCROSS, Tony Colaprete, says equipment will be ready to fly by the end of 2014 but may have to wait till the end of the decade for a ride on SLS. Dale Boucher of NORCAT estimates the cost of soft-landing one-liter of water on the Moon at US$250,000; Red Whittaker’s Astrobotic Technology Inc. is asking lunar-lander payload customers for US$1.8M/kg. Thus, in-situ extraction of lunar water is seen as essential to sustaining efficient human habitation. The CSA is known for producing useful space hardware like the famous Canadarm aboard ISS and the country at-large excels in mining. John Chapman of J.A. Chapman Mining Services notes 43% of world-wide mineral exploration is conducted by Canadian companies. Combining these two areas of expertise to develop innovative solutions for extraterrestrial mining on the Moon, Mars, asteroids and beyond seems a logical, though clearly challenging, synthesis. (Image Credit: CSA, Neptec, NORCAT)

3D Space Printing Technology Talk at AIAA-SF

3D printing and in-space manufacturing will be the focus of a talk by Made in Space CTO and Co-Founder Jason Dunn at AIAA – San Francisco on March 5 in Mountain View CA. 3D printing, an additive technology process that builds parts by melting layers to the exact geometry defined by a 3D CAD model, could dramatically advance space exploration and commercialization. Materials can vary from hard plastics to metals. Implementing this technology in space will offer astronauts the freedom to make what they need on demand without having to rely on transport from Earth. The printer could build space-station parts, astronaut tools, satellites and even spacecraft. With additive manufacturing, structures and components would be lighter, cheaper and more optimized. Made in Space Inc estimates these parts would reduce the structural mass of objects by at least 30%, since they would not need to survive Earth’s gravity or extreme G-forces of launching into orbit.  Other advantages of 3D printing include immediate production time with minimal human involvement and limited material waste. This USA start-up company from Singularity University could see its first 3D printer reach the International Space Station by 2014. (Image Credit: AIAA-SF, NASA, Made In Space Inc)

= 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: Saturn (S) / Evening Planets: Mercury (W), Venus (SW), Mars (E), Jupiter (SW).


Mar 5 — International Space Station, LEO: E-30 crew members continue to work with a variety of scientific experiments from around the world and conduct maintenance of the systems aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Mar 5 — Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: Recent imagery from LRO Camera shows how the crust of the Moon is slightly stretched, forming small valleys; Images suggest the Moon has experienced relatively recent geologic activity.

Mar 5 — Mars Odyssey Orbiter, Red Planet: Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) camera on NASA spacecraft continues successful observation of Mars 10 years on, circling the Red Planet nearly 45,000 times and taking more than half a million images at infrared and visible wavelengths.

Mar 5 — American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics – San Francisco, Mountain View CA:Tech Talks: 3D Printing in a Microgravity Environment,’ Jason Dunn.

Mar 5-8 — European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile:Observing Planetary Systems Workshop.’

Mar 5-8 — Arizona State University, National Science Foundation, et al, Tempe AZ:Turbulence in Cosmic Structure Formation.’

Mar 5-8 — Applied Technology Institute, Riva MD:ATI Course: Orbital Mechanics – Ideas and Insights,’ Thomas Logsdon.

Mar 5 — Moon: 5.6° SSW of Beehive Cluster; 02:00.

Mar 5 — Mars: Nearest to Earth (0.674 AU).

Continued from…

Mar 1 — Hawai`i Island Chamber of Commerce, Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawaii, et al, Hilo HI:Journey Through the Universe Week 2012;’ Mar 9.

Mar 3 — Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), Big Sky MT:2012 IEEE Aerospace Conference;’ Mar 10.


Mar 6-7 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Los Angeles CA: ‘24th Annual High-Tech Conference for Small Business.’

Mar 6 — Moon: 5.5° SSW of Regulus; 16:00.

Mar 6 — Asteroid (Near-Earth Flyby): 2008 EJ85 (0.024 AU); 2012 DK14 (0.087 AU).


Mar 7 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘How to Build a Time Machine,’ Paul Davies.

Mar 7 — Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL: Media opportunity to view Space Shuttle Endeavour inside Orbiter Processing Facility-2 at NASA KSC.

Mar 7 — Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC: Ask an Expert Lecture Series: ‘David Scott Teaching Physics on the Surface of the Moon,’ Cathleen Lewis; ‘Exploring Mars,’ book signing with Author Scott Hubbard.

Mar 7 — Moon: 9.1° SSW of Mars, 14:00; Full Moon (Worm Moon), 23:41.

Mar 7 — Asteroid 2710 Veverka: Closest Approach to Earth (1.126 AU).


Mar 8 — NASA Headquarters, Washington DC: ‘Women, Aerospace and Innovation,’ public event featuring senior government leaders, scientists and innovators in celebration of Women’s History Month.

Mar 8 — Keck Institute for Space Studies, Hawthorne CA: ‘Physics Research Conference Lecture and Space X Facility Tour,’ Elon Musk.

Mar 8 — NASA Lunar Science Institute, Mountain View CA; Webinar: ‘Director’s Colloquium: The Dark Ages Radio Explorer,’ Jack Burns.

Mar 8 — Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL: ‘Space Day,’ at the Space Coast Stadium.

Mar 8 — Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, Washington DC: Ask an Expert Lecture Series: ‘Case Knives Go to the Moon – The Apollo 15 Survival Knife,’ Margaret Weitekamp; Flights of Fancy Stories for Children: ‘There Once was a Sky Full of Stars,’ Bob Crelin.

Mar 8 — The Canadian Space Commerce Association, Toronto, Ontario, Canada:CSCA Bi-Monthly Meeting.’

Mar 8 — Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada:The First Results From MESSENGER of Mercury,’ Catherine Johnson.


Mar 9 — European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile:Workshop: High CONtrast Imaging & Spectroscopy.’

Mar 9 — The Fellowship of Las Cruces Area Rocketry Enthusiasts, Las Cruces NM:Apollo 16 40th Anniversary Commemorative Rocket Launch,’ with guest speakers Gene Kranz and Charlie Duke.

Mar 9 — Cassini OTM-312, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #312 today.

Mar 9 — Asteroid 2011 EC12: Near-Earth Flyby (0.095 AU).


Mar 10 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena CA:A Vision of Discovery: Understanding NASA Images through Art.’

Mar 10 — Moon: At Perigee (Distance: 362,399 km); 1.8° SSE of Spica, 11:00; 5.9° SSW of Saturn, 17:00.

Mar 10 — Asteroid 2012 DN14: Near-Earth Flyby (0.072 AU).


Mar 11 — Daylight Saving (USA): Set clock ahead 1 hour; Does not include Hawai’i, American Samoa & Arizona (Except the Navajo Reservation).

Mar 11 — Asteroid 71885 Denning: Closest Approach to Earth (1.235 AU).

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