NASA expanding frontiers, SpaceX plans to land on a drone and Mars “spiders”

titan-enceladus-879x485NASA expands frontiers of next New Frontiers competition

NASA has added two potentially habitable moons of Saturn to the list of possible destinations for its next billion-dollar planetary science mission.

In a Jan. 6 “community announcement” email to scientists, NASA said that “Ocean Worlds,” which it defined as Saturn’s moons Titan andEnceladus, were now included in a set of six classes of missions that the agency would accept proposals for in the next New Frontiers competition in 2017.

“The Ocean Worlds theme for this announcement is tentatively focused on the search for signs of extant life and/or characterizing the potential habitability of Titan or Enceladus,” the announcement stated. The statement did not explain why Ocean Worlds theme was added to New Frontiers.

Read more

SpaceX is going to try landing a rocket on a robotic ship this week

Following its historic December launch and landing of a rocket at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX will attempt another feat: landing a rocket booster on a ship at sea.

On Sunday Jan. 17, the company plans to launch its Falcon 9 rocket (carrying NASA’s Jason-3 satellite) from Vandenburg Air Force Base in California. Then it will attempt to land the rocket’s booster on a drone ship.

SpaceX last tried the maneuver about a year ago, but the rocket lost control moments before landing and tipped over onto the barge, then exploded.

The company has made a lot of progress since then. On Dec. 21, it successfully launched then guided a rocket back to Earth, ushering in a new era of reusable rockets.

Read more

These are NASA’s ‘Spiders’ on Mars

kavnbrowafunuiuz3bug.jpgThis image, acquired by the High-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, shows a 0.6 mile-wide view of part of the planet. NASA explains how they form:

“These radial troughs have been referred to as spiders, simply because of their shape. In this region the pattern looks more dendritic as channels branch out numerous times as they get further from the center. The troughs are believed to be formed by gas flowing beneath the seasonal ice to openings where the gas escapes, carrying along dust from the surface below. The dust falls to the surface of the ice in fan-shaped deposits.”

Read more


A job opening for a Launch Engineer, SpaceX (USA). The company is looking for an experienced mechanical engineer to join the team and help us continue redefining the way rockets are processed, launched, and landed. Our environment is fast-paced and you will be given significant autonomy over all aspects of one of our fluids system upgrades. Key responsibilities include system design, implementation, activation, and sustainment planning. More information


Build up your space resume by participating in the project Planet FOUR: scientists need your help to find and mark ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ on the Martian surface. They believe that these features indicate wind direction and speed. By tracking ‘fans’ and ‘blotches’ over the course of several Martian years to see how they form, evolve, disappear and reform, we can help planetary scientists better understand Mars’ climate. More information

 

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s