March 7-13, 2011 / Vol 30, No 10 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Workshop Seeks to Assess / Advance NASA Orbital Debris Program

The amount of orbital debris continues to increase, potentially threatening the safety of future space transportation. NASA studies have identified approximately 19,000 objects larger than 10 cm in LEO, and certain parts of space (the 900 to 1000 km band in particular) have already reached supercritical debris densities. Traveling at up to 10 km per second, the debris poses a significant danger to astronauts and satellites navigating through it. Although debris from China, USA and the former Soviet Union make up the majority of the junk, this issue demands the attention of all nations that have or plan to have a space program. On March 9-10 in Fairfax VA, the Committee for the Assessment of NASA’s Orbital Debris Programs will host a workshop to identify gaps and possible directions for NASA’s Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris Program (MMOD).  The workshop will be arranged around a series of 5 panels addressing a wide range of topics including the role of other federal agencies in NASA’s MMOD program, the commercial industry perspective, and orbital debris retrieval and removal. (Credit:)

Singularity University Co-founder Ray Kurzweil Focus of Documentary

The life and ideas of Singularity University Co-Founder, inventor and futurist-thinker Ray Kurzweil (TR) will be shown in a documentary film ‘Transcendent Man’ in Washington DC on March 10. Created by filmmaker Barry Ptolemy, the film chronicles Kurzweil’s future vision of ‘The Singularity’ – an event taking place around 2045, when technology advances at such a rapid pace that humans will have to increase their own brainpower with artificial intelligence to keep up.  As a result, Kurzweil predicts humans will be so intelligent that we will no longer depend on our own physical bodies or burdened with aging or illness. Though many question these predictions, Kurzweil has accurately predicted the fall of the Soviet Union due to the rise of technological advancements dislodging authoritarian governments as well has the exponential growth of the internet and cell phones.  Using the concept of ‘Singularity,’ Kurzweil and X Prize Foundation Founder Peter Diamandis (CR), with support from Ames Research Center, formed Singularity University which started in 2009 with 40 students in Silicon Valley CA. The school offers 10 key areas of focus ranging from robotics, space science to finance  and entrepreneurship. Over 1600 applicants apply but only 80 are chosen for the 10-week Summer Program and 40 for the 10-day Executive Program.   (Credit:, Singularity University)

= 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: Venus (SE), Saturn (S) / Evening Planets: Mercury (W), Jupiter (W).


Mar 7 — International Space Station, LEO: E-26 crew members continue with maintenance and ongoing station programs as STS-133 crew members depart today.

Mar 7 — NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: All systems nominal in scientific phase of mission as LRO continues to make digital elevation and terrain maps that will be a fundamental reference for future human exploration.

Mar 7 — Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), Red Planet: NASA MRO continues to function satisfactorily as it captures digital imagery of Mars’ surface.

Mar 7-8 — International Research Network for Dark Energy, Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy & Astrophysics, Taipei, Taiwan: ‘DENET 2011 Subaru Hyper Suprime-Cam Workshop.’

Mar 7-10 — National Radio Astronomy Observatory, National Science Foundation, et al, Santa Fe NM: ‘Building on New Worlds, New Horizons – New Science from Submillimeter to Meter Wavelengths,’ meeting will discuss the path toward implementation of the Astro2010 science priorities and building the user community for the projects and facilities recommended for this decade and into the next.

Mar 7-10 — Applied Technology Institute, Cape Canaveral FL: ‘Fundamentals of Orbital & Launch Mechanics.’

Mar 7-11 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, The Woodlands TX: ‘The 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference,’ conference to bring together international specialists in petrology, geochemistry, geophysics, geology and astronomy to present the latest results of research in planetary science.

Continued from . . .

Jan 29Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, NASA, San Clemente CA: ‘They Came From Outer Space,’ this fun and educational exhibition for the whole family is presented through NASA and explores how many of the everyday products we use were developed for the space program; through Mar 27.

Mar 5 — The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Big Sky MT: ‘32nd IEEE Aerospace Conference 2011;’ through Mar 12.

Mar 6 — Space Frontier Foundation, Washington DC: ‘Keep the Promise,’ members and supporters of the Space Frontier Foundation will head to DC to urge Congress to ‘Keep the Promise’ when it comes to supporting the new US commercial space industry; through Mar 8.

Mar 6The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Fort Worth TX: ‘The Applied Power Electronics Conference 2011;’ through Mar 10.


Mar 8 — Museum of Science, Boston MA: ‘Undiscovered Worlds: The Search Beyond Our Sun.’

Mar 8-14 — Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL: ‘Lunch With an Astronaut: Fred Gregory,’ 1/2 hr, interactive Q&A-oriented program aims at inspiring children and adults alike to strive for excellence.


Mar 9 — The SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium Series Lecture: ‘Planetary Observations with the James Webb Space Telescope,’ Heidi Hammel.

Mar 9 — California Space Authority, Silicon Valley Space Business Roundtable, Sunnyvale CA: ‘Reception and Business Forum with The French Aerospace Valley Association,’ The French Aerospace Valley Association (FAV) will be visiting California for the purpose of stimulating and promoting collaborative activities in space enterprise development between California and France.

Mar 9 — Ames Research Center, Online: Webinar: ‘What are We Made of? The Sun, Earth and You,’ Alicia Baturoni.

Mar 9 — Intech Science Center and Planetarium, Winchester, United Kingdom: ‘Aurora – Amazing Light Shows in the Sky,’ Betty Lanchester.

Mar 9-10 — The National Academies, Fairfax VA: ‘Workshop to Identify Gaps and Possible Directions for NASA’s Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) Programs.’

Mar 9-11 — The National Academies, Washington DC: ‘NASA Technology Roadmap: Materials Panel.’


Mar 10 — Venus Exploration Analysis Group, The Woodlands TX: ‘Venus Town-Hall Meeting,’ event to provide an update on Venus related inputs to the Planetary Sciences Decadal Survey status of the current Venus missions and upcoming events.

Mar 10 — The World Network, Time Magazine, et al, Washington DC: ‘Transcendent Man: The Life and Ideas of Ray Kurzweil.’

Mar 10 — Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL: NASA to host media event at 13:00 EST to discuss the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer instrument that will be delivered to the ISS onboard STS-134 NET Apr 19.

Mar 10-13 — National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), San Francisco CA: ‘NSTA 2011 Conference,’ featuring NASA workshops and presentations at the Moscone Center.

Mar 10Moon: 1.9° SSW of Pleiades; 18:00.

Mar 10Asteroid 2008 EY5: Near-Earth Flyby (0.090 AU).


Mar 11 — ULA, Launch Delta 4 / NROL-27, Cape Canaveral FL: ULA Delta 4 rocket set to launch classified spy satellite cargo for USA National Reconnaissance Office.

Mar 11-13 — Delmarva Star Gazers, Smyrna DE: ‘11th Mid Atlantic Mirror Making Seminar.’

Mar 11Moon: 7.1° N of Aldebaran; 15:00.

Mar 11Asteroid 2005 EY169: Near-Earth Flyby (0.073 AU).


Mar 12— Zero Gravity Corporation, Atlanta GA: Commercial weightless flight on board G Force One.

Mar 12 — Columbia Memorial Space Center, Downey CA: Presentation and book signing by Francis French on his book, ‘Into that Silent Sea and Into the Shadow of the Moon.’

Mar 12Moon: At First Quarter; 13:45.


Mar 13 — San Diego Space Society, San Diego CA:Einstein, the Moon and the Long Lost Soviet Reflector,’ Tom Murphy.

Mar 13-15 — ProSpace, Washington DC:17th Annual March Storm,’ members to take their Citizens’ Space Agenda to Capitol Hill and brief members of the House and Senate on their plan to create new high paying jobs through innovation in the commercial space sector.

Mar 13-17 — European Helio and Astroseismology Network, Hakone, Japan:Progress in Solar / Stellar Physics with Helio and Astroseismology.’

Mar 13-18 — Center for Space Plasma and Aeronomic Research, Maui HI:10th Annual Astrophysics Conference: Physics of the Heliosphere – A 10 Year Retrospective.’

Mar 13 — Daylight Saving Time, USA: Set clock ahead 1 hour; Does not include Hawai’i, American Samoa & Arizona (Except the Navajo Reservation).

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