March 9-15, 2015 / Vol 34, No 10 / Hawai`i Island, USA

United Nations Planetary Protection Focus May Evolve to Include Lunar Activities


United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs and the Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space regularly address and oversee issues of planetary protection through their focus on space weather and space debris. Long-duration Earth observations and NEO surveys from the Moon utilizing instruments, such as those proposed by the International Lunar Observatory Association, could be invaluable in studying climate change and potential threats to humanity’s home planet. The International Lunar Observatory is currently considering a means to establish a connection with the UN on its series of Moon missions. Another focus of the UN COPUOS is to support peaceful exploration of space and to ensure that the benefits of space exploration are shared by all of humanity. With all of the major space powers and several independent enterprises focused on exploring and developing the resources of the Moon, United Nations may need to revisit its lunar policy and increase its involvement in lunar matters. Sustainable exploration of the Moon could help provide energy abundance while also providing another venue to ensure the safety of the Earth community. With China actively working to secure its lunar rights and with the USA’s Federal Aviation Administration recently asserting it will regulate private lunar activities to encourage independent Moon initiatives, it is now time for the UN to make the oversight of lunar exploration and development a priority. The United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Legal Subcommittee will meet April 13-24, and the full committee will meet June 10-19 at the UN Office in Vienna, Austria. (Image Credit: ILOA, ME, NASA, UN)


Mar 9 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 42 preparing for 3-member crew return to Earth with science experiments & gear; nanosatellites being deployed from Japan Kibo module; autonomously running experiments include Wireless-Sensor Network (WiSe-Net), Space Communications and Navigations (SCaN) testbed, Multi-mission Consolidated Equipment (MCE), Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS).

 Mar 9 — Chandra, HEO: In highly elliptical 65-hour orbit, studying Sagittarius A*, black holes, galaxies, stars, supernova remnants; recent data suggests growth of galaxies containing supermassive black holes can be slowed down by “cosmic precipitation” – hot gas producing showers of cool gas clouds that fall into a galaxy.

Mar 9 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Traveling at ~38,800 kph, NASA craft is now 483 days from Jupiter orbit insertion (July 4, 2016); scheduled to exit Quiet Cruise phase & enter Jupiter Approach phase Jan 2016.

Mar 9 — Shackleton Energy Company, Austin TX: NewSpace company through MOU with CASIS, will develop aerobraking systems / Mini Space Brakes dubbed ‘Oryx’ to enable transport of water from Moon to future propellant depots in LEO.

 Mar 9 — Bigelow Aerospace LLC, Las Vegas NV: Completed Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) to be made available for media coverage Mar 12; will be shipped to KSC for launch to ISS later this year.

Mar 9 — Cosmic Lifestyle Corporation, Mountain View CA: Crowd Funding campaign to test flagship project Zero Gravity Cocktail Glass in zero gravity; will host event at Hacker Dojo Mar 9 to celebrate progress.

Mar 9 — University of Arizona, Tucson AZ: Life in the Universe Lecture Series: Intelligent Life Beyond Earth; presented by Christopher Impey.

Mar 9-13 — University of Concepción Department of Astronomy, Puerto Varas, Chile: Conference: Unveiling the AGN/Galaxy Evolution Connection.

Mar 9 — Asteroid 2015 DS: Near-Earth flyby (0.044 AU).

MAR - MAY 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 (W), Mars (W), Jupiter (E), Uranus (W); Morning Planets: Saturn (S).

AAS 53rd Goddard Symposium Focuses on Future of Space Exploration, Science, Technology and Astronomy

53rd GMS

The 53rd Goddard Memorial Symposium, hosted by the American Astronautical Society (founded 1954), is being held March 10-12 in Greenbelt, Maryland. AAS President Lyn Wigbels (L) will deliver a welcome speech to ~400 attendees, followed by remarks from Harley Thronson of GSFC, Wanda Sigur of Lockheed Martin and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. The ‘Emerging Commercial Ventures’ panel features moderator Eric Stallmer (President of Commercial Spaceflight Federation) and panelists Richard DalBello (VP of Virgin Galactic), James Muncy (Founder of PoliSpace) and Peter Marquez (VP of Planetary Resources). This year the theme On the Cusp: What’s Next is highlighted in topics including NASA Headquarters Perspectives, Cutting Edge Technology, Generation Next, What’s up with the Global Exploration Roadmap, Destination Mars Spotlights, and the Next Golden Age of Astronomy. The 58th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner, with nearly 2,000 attendees, will be held on Mar 13 in Washington, D.C. by the National Space Club. Some of the 2015 awards are to be given to Dr. Harold Rosen, Sophia Porter, Christopher Singer and the NASA Lunar Laser Communications Demonstration team. (Image Credit: AAS, NASA, GSFC, NSC, STScI)

Continued from…

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.

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

Mar 1 – Jan 1, 2016 — Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA), Multiple Locations: Cycle 3 of science flights to observe universe consists of science flights grouped into multi-week observing campaigns totaling about 450 research flight hours.

Mar 7-14 — IEEE, AIAA, PHM Society, Big Sky MT: 2015 IEEE Aerospace Conference; at Yellowstone Conference Center.


NET Mar 10 — ISRO, Launch PSLV / IRNSS 1D, Satish Dhawan Space Center, Sriharikota, India: India Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle on PSLV-C27 mission to launch the IRNSS 1D navigation satellite.

Mar 10 — Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, Mars Orbit: NASA spacecraft reaches 9 full years in orbit around Mars today, continues to monitor weather / surface conditions, potential landing sites.

Mar 10 — New Horizons, Pluto Trajectory: Planning for course-correcting engine maneuver today.

Mar 10 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: SETI Weekly Colloquium: Going to the Ends of the Earth to Glimpse the Beginnings of Time; presented by Brian Keating of UC San Diego, 12:00.

Mar 10-12 — American Astronautical Society, Greenbelt MD: 53rd Goddard Memorial Symposium: On the Cusp: What’s Next? at Greenbelt Marriott.


Mar 11 — Alliant Techsystems Inc. (ATK), Promontory UT: SLS first full-scale booster Qualification Motor-1 (QM-1) test scheduled at 09:30.

Mar 11 — Moon: 2.4° NNW of Saturn, 21:00.

Mar 11 — Mars: 0.27° NNW of Uranus, 07:00.


Mar 12 — ISS, Undocking of Soyuz TMA-14, LEO: Expedition 41/42 members Yelena Serova (RSA), Alexander Samokutyaev (RSA), Barry Wilmore (NASA) scheduled to return to Earth.

Mar 12 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Atlas 5 / Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: ULA Atlas 5 rocket to launch NASA 4-spacecraft MMS mission to make 3D measurements of magnetospheric boundary regions, examine process of magnetic reconnection; launch window 22:44-23:14.

Mar 12 — Moon: 9.1° N of Antares, 07:00.


Mar 13 — Cassini OTM-406, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #406 today.

Mar 13 — W. M. Keck Observatory, Rob & Terry Ryan Foundation, Kamuela HI: Astronomy Talk: America’s Space Program – NASA’s Roadmap to Tomorrow’s Missions; presented by NASA Administrator Charles Bolden; at Kahilu Theater 19:00-20:00.

Mar 13 — National Space Club, Washington DC: 58th Annual Robert H. Goddard Memorial Dinner; at Hilton Washington.

Mar 13 — Royal Astronomical Society, London, United Kingdom: Royal Astronomical Society Ordinary Meeting; Meeting: Building an Open UK SKA-Science Consortium?; Meeting: Geology from Space – Tectonic Applications of High-resolution Topography and Imagery.

Mar 13 — Moon: At last quarter, 07:48.

Mar 13 — Asteroid 141527 (2002 FG7): Near-Earth flyby (0.044 AU).


Mar 14 — Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, Washington DC: Lecture: Women in Aviation and Space.

Mar 14 — Moon: 3.2° N of Pluto, 23:00.


Mar 15 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Dr. David Livingston talks with Anthony Young about spacesuits.

Mar 15-16 — Brown University, Vernadsky Institute, Brown-MIT, NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), The Woodlands TX: Microsymposium 55: Scientific Destinations for Human Exploration; at the Woodlands Waterway Marriott Hotel and Convention Center.

Mar 15-19 — Center for Astronomy and Astrophysics of the University of Lisbon (CAAUL), Sintra, Portugal: Conference: Latest Results from the Deepest Astronomical Surveys.

Mar 15 — Asteroid 2005 ES70: Near-Earth flyby (0.056 AU).

Mar 15 — Asteroid 2015 DG198: Near-Earth flyby (0.082 AU).