Report calls for changes in planetary protection policies

An independent report is calling on NASA to update decades’ old planetary protection policies to reflect changing knowledge of solar system habitability and to enable future exploration by both the space agency and commercial entities.

NASA astronauts complete repairs on historic spacewalk

Two NASA astronauts successfully replaced a faulty battery charger during the agency’s first all-female spacewalk Oct. 18, an event that at times appeared to go better in orbit than on the ground.

Firefly partners with Aerojet Rocketdyne, mulls AR1 engine for Beta launch vehicle

Firefly Aerospace on Oct. 18 said it is collaborating with Aerojet Rocketdyne to increase the performance of its upcoming Alpha launch vehicle, and is considering Aerojet Rocketdyne’s AR1 engine for a future launch vehicle.

Senator pushes for FCC to run C-band auction, not satellite operators

Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) said the FCC should be able to clear the spectrum just as fast as the C-Band Alliance, if not faster, by holding a public auction.

Mars 2020 unwrapped and ready for testing

In this time-lapse video, taken on Oct. 4, 2019, at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, bunny-suited engineers remove the inner layer of protective antistatic foil on the Mars 2020 rover after the vehicle was relocated from JPL's Spacecraft Assembly Facility to the Simulator Building for testing.

NASA's planetary protection review addresses changing reality of space exploration

NASA released a report Friday with recommendations from the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB) the agency established in response to a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report and a recommendation from the NASA Advisory Council.

NASA to Provide Coverage of Key Events at 70th International Astronautical Congress

NASA will provide live coverage on NASA Television of key events at the 70th International Astronautical Congress (IAC), which takes place Oct. 21-25 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington.

US makes history with first all-female spacewalk

US astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir on Friday became the first all-female pairing to carry out a spacewalk—a historic milestone as NASA prepares to send the first woman to the Moon.

In-Space News Conference to Review First All-Woman Spacewalk

NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will participate in a news conference from orbit at noon EDT, Monday, Oct. 21, following their Friday spacewalk – the first to be conducted by two women.

NASA Map Reveals a New Landslide Risk Factor

A new study identifies intensive rice irrigation - never before known to be a risk factor - as the cause of deadly mud landslides during Indonesia's major 2018 earthquake.

NASA’s Planetary Protection Review Addresses Changing Reality of Space Exploration

NASA released a report Friday with recommendations from the Planetary Protection Independent Review Board (PPIRB) the agency established in response to a recent National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine report and a recommendation from the NASA Advisory Council.

World's 1st female spacewalking team makes history

The world's first female spacewalking team made history high above Earth on Friday, floating out of the International Space Station to fix a broken part of the power network.

Image: Hubble snags starry galaxy

In this image taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, the galaxy NGC 4380 looks like a special effect straight out of a science fiction or fantasy film, swirling like a gaping portal to another dimension.

Week in images

Our week through the lens: 14 - 18 October 2019

Emerging cracks in the Pine Island Glacier

The Copernicus Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellites have revealed new cracks, or rifts, in the Pine Island Glacier – one of the primary ice arteries in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. The two large rifts were first spotted in early 2019 and have each rapidly grown to approximately 20 km in length.

Solar Orbiter ready to depart Europe

ESA’s Solar Orbiter mission has completed its test campaign in Europe and is now being packed ready for its journey to Cape Canaveral at the end of this month, ahead of launch in February 2020.

All-female EVA

The first "unmanned," or all women spacewalk made history Friday (Oct. 18) at the International Space Station. NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir, both Expedition 61 flight engineers, ventured outside the orbiting laboratory to replace a power controller that unexpectedly failed. The extravehicular activity or EVA used a spacesuit with a link to the first U.S. woman to walk in space, Kathryn Sullivan, 35 years ago this month.

InSight instrument resumes movement into Martian surface

A probe on NASA’s InSight Mars lander that has been stuck for months is moving deeper into the surface again thanks to an assist from the lander’s robotic arm.

ESA to request $13.9 billion budget from member states

The European Space Agency will ask its 22 member states to commit to a budget of 12.5 billion euros ($13.9 billion) to fund the next three years of the agency's work.

Rocket Lab launches Astro Digital satellite

A Rocket Lab Electron rocket launched a single cubesat for Astro Digital Oct. 16, placing the satellite into a much higher orbit than previous Electron launches.

NASA to Televise First All-Female Spacewalk, Host Media Teleconference

On the first ever all-female spacewalk, NASA astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir will venture outside the International Space Station about 7:50 a.m. EDT Friday, Oct. 18, to replace faulty equipment on the station’s exterior. Live coverage will begin at 6:30 a.m. on NASA Television and the agency’s website.

Caltech, NASA Find Web of Ruptures in Ridgequest Quake

Using satellite and seismometer data from the Ridgecrest Quake sequence, scientists have identified new faults and a complex web of fault ruptures.

Mars InSight's 'Mole' Is Moving Again

The NASA lander's robotic arm seems to have helped its heat probe burrow almost 2 centimeters (3/4 of an inch) since last week.

Mars InSight's 'mole' is moving again

NASA's InSight spacecraft has used its robotic arm to help its heat probe, known as "the mole," dig nearly 2 centimeters (3/4 of an inch) over the past week. While modest, the movement is significant: Designed to dig as much as 16 feet (5 meters) underground to gauge the heat escaping from the planet's interior, the mole has only managed to partially bury itself since it started hammering in February 2018.

The clumpy and lumpy death of a star

In 1572, Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe was among those who noticed a new bright object in the constellation Cassiopeia. Adding fuel to the intellectual fire that Copernicus started, Tycho showed this "new star" was far beyond the Moon, and that it was possible for the Universe beyond the Sun and planets to change.

NASA sounding rocket technology could enable simultaneous, multi-point measurements—first-ever capability

NASA engineers plan to test a new avionics technology—distributed payload communications—that would give scientists a never-before-offered capability in sounding rocket-based research.

Ancient stars shed light on Earth's similarities to other planets

Earth-like planets may be common in the universe, a new UCLA study implies. The team of astrophysicists and geochemists presents new evidence that the Earth is not unique. The study was published in the journal Science on Oct. 18.

Space station's 2 women prep for 1st all-female spacewalk

Men have floated out the hatch on all 420 spacewalks conducted over the past half-century.

Spiral arms in a young accretion disk around a baby star

An international research team, led by Chin-Fei Lee at the Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics (ASIAA, Taiwan), has detected a pair of spiral arms in an accretion disk around a protostar (baby star), using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). Interestingly, these spiral density enhancements make the disk appear like a "space whirlpool." The finding not only supports current theories of accretion disk feeding processes, but also potentially brings key insights into the[..]

Near-Earth asteroids spectroscopic survey at the Isaac Newton telescope

The study of near-Earth asteroids (NEAs) is driven by both scientific and practical reasons. Because of their proximity to our planet, they can provide key information regarding the delivery of water and organic-rich material to the early Earth, and the subsequent emergence of life. On the other hand, these small bodies of the Solar System have non-negligible long-term probabilities of colliding with the Earth, and can be targets of future space exploration.

Dark matter tugs the most massive spiral galaxies to breakneck speeds

When it comes to galaxies, how fast is fast? The Milky Way, an average spiral galaxy, spins at a speed of 130 miles per second (210 km/sec) in our Sun's neighborhood. New research has found that the most massive spiral galaxies spin faster than expected. These "super spirals," the largest of which weigh about 20 times more than our Milky Way, spin at a rate of up to 350 miles per second (570 km/sec).

Data milestone achieved in variable star repository

Compiling together multiple pieces of information for each of a million-plus objects is no easy or quick task, but that is exactly what Sebastián Otero, Patrick Wils, Patrick Schmeer, and Klaus Bernhard did. Due to this skilled team providing tremendous amounts of time, patience, and attention to detail, data and updated information on 1,391,103 variable stars (and counting) are now entered into the International Variable Star Index (VSX), owned and operated by the American Association of Variable Star Obse[..]

HiRISE views NASA's InSight and Curiosity on Mars

The HiRISE camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter recently sent home eye-catching views of the agency's InSight lander and its Curiosity rover.

A new theory to explain how the dunes on Titan formed

A trio of researchers with the University of Hawaii has developed a new theory to explain how the dunes on Saturn's largest moon, Titan, may have formed. In their paper published in the journal Science Advances, Matthew Abplanalp, Robert Frigge and Ralf Kaiser suggest that rather than forming from rainfall, the dunes have formed on the moon's surface.

Stormy cluster weather could unleash black hole power and explain lack of cosmic cooling

"Weather" in clusters of galaxies may explain a longstanding puzzle, according to a team of researchers at the University of Cambridge. The scientists used sophisticated simulations to show how powerful jets from supermassive black holes are disrupted by the motion of hot gas and galaxies, preventing gas from cooling, which could otherwise form stars. The team publish their work in the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

SUPERB survey detects new slowly-spinning radio pulsar

Astronomers have detected a new slowly rotating radio pulsar as part of the SUrvey for Pulsars and Extragalactic Radio Bursts (SUPERB). The newly found object, designated PSR J2251−3711, turns out to be one of the slowest spinning radio pulsars known to date. The finding is detailed in a paper published October 9 on

ESA welcomes Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister

Luxembourg Deputy Prime Minister Etienne Schneider paid a special visit to ESA’s astronaut centre in Cologne, Germany today where he expressed commitment to strengthening international collaboration in the field of space resources and innovation alongside ESA Director General Jan Wörner.

Facing the Sun

Get to know our Solar Orbiter mission and how it will answer some of the biggest open questions about our star

Korean Peninsula

Earth observation image of the week: Copernicus Sentinel-3 takes us over the Korean Peninsula

Earth from Space

In this week's edition, discover the Korean Peninsula with Copernicus Sentinel-3

Timex x NASA

NASA's legacy logotype has landed on the dial of a new Timex wristwatch in celebration of this year's 50th anniversary of the first moon landing. The Timex x NASA Navi watch features the U.S. space agency's retired logo (nicknamed the "worm") in a style similar to the custom timepieces the company made for the astronauts.

Senate confirms Barbara Barrett to be Air Force secretary

The vote on Oct. 16 makes Barrett the third consecutive woman confirmed to lead the Air Force and its 685,000 airmen.

OQ Technology hoping to jump ahead in IoT race through GomSpace cubesat tests

OQ Technology of Luxembourg used GomSpace’s two GOM-X4 cubesats in low Earth orbit to demonstrate waveforms for a future constellation.

Key House appropriator remains skeptical about Artemis

The chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee that funds NASA said he remains unconvinced of the need to accelerate NASA’s plans to return humans to the moon because of its uncertain cost.

Dankberg teases ViaSat-4 specs, still mulling MEO constellation

Viasat says that co-building its ViaSat-3 satellites with Boeing has given the company experience it can leverage to multiply the capacity achievable with a next-generation ViaSat-4 system.

SpaceX sees U.S. Army as possible customer for Starlink and Starship

Shotwell: “We’re talking to the Army about Starlink and Starship."

NASA hires Loverro to lead human spaceflight

NASA announced Oct. 16 that it has hired Doug Loverro, a former Defense Department official responsible for space policy, to lead its human spaceflight programs.

Thales Alenia Space expanding Spanish factory • Telesat completes $500 million debt refinancing

Thales Alenia Space said Oct. 16 it will add 600 square meters of clean room space at its Tres Cantos, Madrid, facility to support the integration of telecom, navigation, Earth observation and science spacecraft.

Op-ed | How to increase the intelligence community’s geospatial innovation

Until the intelligence community defines cost and value by measuring geospatial information, it has to rely on one measurement—six inches. The length of an American dollar.

Iceye’s one-meter Spotlight becomes commercially available

Iceye announced plans Oct. 16 to begin offering commercial access to its Spotlight mode, offering one-meter resolution synthetic aperture radar imagery.