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Q&A with Chris McKay, Senior Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center - SpaceNews.com

Q&A with Chris McKay, Senior Scientist at NASA Ames Research Center - SpaceNews.com | New Space | Scoop.it

Chirs Christopher McKay, one of NASA’s most recognizable names in the field of astrobiology, argues that Mars probes to date have, quite literally, barely scratched the surface. The answers, he suggests, lie much deeper than the nuclear-powered Mars Curiosity rover has drilled to date.

Allen Taylor's insight:

Chris McKay expresses frustration at the way life is NOT being searched for on Mars. The public largely things that scientists are scientists. It's not clear to them that geologists are not a kind of life scientist.

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Allen Taylor's curator insight, July 29, 10:00 PM

Chris McKay expresses frustration with the way life is NOT being searched for on Mars.

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Saving Spaceship Dragon – Software to provide contingency chute deploy

Saving Spaceship Dragon – Software to provide contingency chute deploy | New Space | Scoop.it
SpaceX CEO and Chief Designer Elon Musk has ordered the installation of contingency abort software into all future Dragon cargo spacecraft, providing them with an option to deploy their parachutes after an off-nominal launch scenario.
Allen Taylor's insight:

A small software modification might have saved the seventh Dragon station resupply vehicle, if it had been implemented. Dragon survived the destruction of its Falcon 9 launch vehicle, but was destroyed upon impact with the Atlantic Ocean. It was carrying parachutes, but could not deploy them without the software mod.

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Moon Seen as Gateway to Lower Space Exploration Costs

Moon Seen as Gateway to Lower Space Exploration Costs | New Space | Scoop.it
  A new study had outlined how best to cut the cost of human space exploration by a factor of 10. The report’s top line finding is that, enabled by public-private partnerships, NASA’s current human spaceflight budget is sufficient to return humans to the surface of the Moon and develop a permanent lunar base. Furthermore,…
Allen Taylor's insight:

Report details how to send humans to Mars on the cheap, using the moon as a waystation.

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Testing Pykrete As Debris Shielding Material

Testing Pykrete As Debris Shielding Material | New Space | Scoop.it
One of the interesting things about the spacecoach architecture is the way these ships will use water for many purposes prior to consuming it for propulsion. Water is an excellent radiation shieldi...
Allen Taylor's insight:

The Spacecoach people are investigating a way to shield their spacecraft from orbital debris or interplanetary material, without adding significant mass. This is the kind of out of the box thinking that is needed to move humanity out into the solar system.

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First flight of Falcon Heavy delayed again - Spaceflight Now

First flight of Falcon Heavy delayed again - Spaceflight Now | New Space | Scoop.it
Spaceflight Now
First flight of Falcon Heavy delayed again
Spaceflight Now
Artist's concept of the Falcon Heavy rocket, which will lift off powered by 27 Merlin main engines, generating nearly 4 million pounds of thrust.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Falcon Heavy inaugural flight delayed in the face of the recent Falcon 9 failure.

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XCOR Launches New Website, XCOR Science as New Brand

XCOR Launches New Website, XCOR Science as New Brand | New Space | Scoop.it
Mojave, CA, July 22, 2015 (XCOR PR) – XCOR today announced the redesign and re-launch of its flagship domain, XCOR.com.
Allen Taylor's insight:

XCOR expands beyond space tourist business to include customers in scientific research.

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Finding Another Earth

Finding Another Earth | New Space | Scoop.it
Kepler's newest planetary find joins a pantheon of planets with similarities to Earth.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Which exoplanet is really most like Earth?

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NASA Could Return Humans to the Moon by 2021

NASA Could Return Humans to the Moon by 2021 | New Space | Scoop.it
Washington DC (Sputnik) Jul 24, 2015
Humans could return to the Moon in the next decade, and for "approximately 90% less than the previously estimated $100 billion," according to a new study by NextGen Space.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Study shows Americans could return to the moon within NASA's current budget for human spaceflight.

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Virgin Galactic Focused on Larger Satellite Launch Vehicle at Parabolic Arc

Virgin Galactic Focused on Larger Satellite Launch Vehicle at Parabolic Arc | New Space | Scoop.it
Space Tourism … and Much More
Allen Taylor's insight:

Virgin Galactic seems to be confused about what it should be doing.

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Metal Foam can allow lighter radiation shielding that is twice as effective as Aluminum

Metal Foam can allow lighter radiation shielding that is twice as effective as Aluminum | New Space | Scoop.it
North Carolina State University researchers have found that lightweight composite metal foams they had developed are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays, and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high-impact collisions.
Allen Taylor's insight:

A lighter, more effective shield against high energy radiation could silence the nay-sayers who claim humans will never be able to survive lengthy journeys to deep space destinations, such as Mars. 

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Northrop Grumman and Caltech Partner on Space Solar Power Initiative

Northrop Grumman and Caltech Partner on Space Solar Power Initiative | New Space | Scoop.it
Northrop Grumman has partnered with the California Institute of Technology to work together on a space-based solar power system called Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI).
Allen Taylor's insight:

Northrup Grumman is funding a space solar power initiative with Caltech. They must believe there is a business case for space solar power.

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NASA told to resolve SLS Upper Stage dilemma | NASASpaceFlight.com

NASA told to resolve SLS Upper Stage dilemma | NASASpaceFlight.com | New Space | Scoop.it
NASA officials have admitted the interim Upper Stage for the Space Launch System is at the top of their "worry list", as the Agency's key advisory group insists
Allen Taylor's insight:

Indecision about which SLS upper stage to use of which mission is causing confusion and could cause a further schedule slip.

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NASA prototypes a drone aircraft destined for Mars

NASA prototypes a drone aircraft destined for Mars | New Space | Scoop.it
No, you're not looking at a very sophisticated boomerang -- that may be the first aircraft to fly the Martian skies. NASA has revealed that it's building
Allen Taylor's insight:

NASA is developing an uncrewed glider to send to Mars in 2024 to survey possible landing sites for humans.

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Robotic Servicing Demonstrations Continue on Space Station

Robotic Servicing Demonstrations Continue on Space Station | New Space | Scoop.it
NASA's Robotic Refueling Mission is back, it's updated, and it's making great progress – all on the International Space Station.
Allen Taylor's insight:

NASA is investigating in-space satellite repair and upgrading.

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Domes Arrive for CST-100 Test Article Assembly | Commercial Crew Program

Domes Arrive for CST-100 Test Article Assembly | Commercial Crew Program | New Space | Scoop.it
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First component of Boeing CST-100 Structural Test Article arrives at Kennedy Space Center for processing.

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New Spectacular Images of Pluto from New Horizons Reveal an Exotic, Dynamic World

New Spectacular Images of Pluto from New Horizons Reveal an Exotic, Dynamic World | New Space | Scoop.it
A breathtaking, dramatic image of Pluto backlit by the distant Sun, taken by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft a few hours after its closest approach, on July 14, while at a distance of 2...
Allen Taylor's insight:

Summary of findings one week after the New Horzons' Pluto encounter.

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New Horizons Discovers Flowing Ices on Pluto

New Horizons Discovers Flowing Ices on Pluto | New Space | Scoop.it
NASA’s New Horizons mission has found evidence of exotic ices flowing across Pluto’s surface, at the left edge of its bright heart-shaped area.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Pluto is an active world, with glaciers flowing across its surface at the western margin on Tombaugh Regio.

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Pluto's Atmosphere is Swept Back Like a Comet's Tail : Discovery News ... - Discovery News

Pluto's Atmosphere is Swept Back Like a Comet's Tail : Discovery News ... - Discovery News | New Space | Scoop.it
Not only has NASA’s New Horizons mission confirmed that Pluto has an extended atmosphere, after its historic flyby on July 14, the spacecraft observed a “cavity” in the solar wind, revealing a long plasma tail reminiscent of a comet’s ion tail.
Allen Taylor's insight:

The solar wind is eroding Pluto's tenuous nitrogen atmosphere.

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Kepler Finds 12 Earth-sized Worlds In Stellar Habitable Zones

Kepler Finds 12 Earth-sized Worlds In Stellar Habitable Zones | New Space | Scoop.it
Scientists analyzing four years of data from NASA's Kepler mission have released a new catalog of exoplanet candidates.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Kepler Space Telescope finds 500 new exoplanet candidates, including 12 in their star's habitable zone. One, Kepler 452b, has already been confirmed by an independent observation.

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What SpaceX's launch failure means for the private space industry - Fortune

What SpaceX's launch failure means for the private space industry - Fortune | New Space | Scoop.it
The recent SpaceX explosion is just one more sign that the new (and growing) private space industry is far from perfect.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Recent launch failures highlight the thinness of the commercial launch industry. None of its competitors is able to capitalize on the failure of SpaceX's launch of CRS-7.

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Russia Extends Life of International Space Station Until 2024

Russia Extends Life of International Space Station Until 2024 | New Space | Scoop.it
Moscow (Sputnik) Jul 24, 2015
The Russian government has agreed to prolong life of the International Space Station (ISS) until 2024, the head of Russia's space agency Roscosmos Igor Komarov said.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Doubt about the fate of the International Space Station beyond 2020 has been removed by a commitment from Russia to support operations until 2024.

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Asteroid Mining Company's 1st Satellite Launches from Space Station

Asteroid Mining Company's 1st Satellite Launches from Space Station | New Space | Scoop.it
Planetary Resources has launched its first spacebound test of asteroid mining technology on July 16, beginning a 90-day mission to test vital technologies.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Launch of Planetary Resources Arkyd 3R spacecraft is a major step along the long road to commercial asteroid mining.

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Buzz Aldrin: SpaceX Failure Shows We Need More Commercial Space Travel ... - TIME

TIME
Buzz Aldrin: SpaceX Failure Shows We Need More Commercial Space Travel ...
Allen Taylor's insight:

Aldrin calls for full funding of commercial crew to retain momentum in the aftermath of the recent Falcon 9 launch failure.

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Would Astronauts Have Survived the SpaceX Rocket Explosion? - Space.com

Would Astronauts Have Survived the SpaceX Rocket Explosion? - Space.com | New Space | Scoop.it
If Sunday's rocket mishap had occurred during a crewed launch of the manned "Dragon V2" capsule, it likely would not have caused any fatalities, SpaceX President and Chief Operating Officer Gwynne Shotwell said.
Allen Taylor's insight:

If astronauts had been aboard the ill-fated CRS-7 flight, they would in all likelihood have survived, thanks to the Dragon V2 in-flight abort system.

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June 30, 2015 in Mission Reports: Padalka breaks spaceflight endurance record - Spaceflight Now

June 30, 2015 in Mission Reports: Padalka breaks spaceflight endurance record - Spaceflight Now | New Space | Scoop.it
Spaceflight Now
June 30, 2015 in Mission Reports: Padalka breaks spaceflight endurance record
Spaceflight Now
Padalka is now part of a record-setting mission on the space station.
Allen Taylor's insight:

Padalka's cumulative spaceflight record is a powerful counter to those who say the radiation hazard going to Mars is too great for us to ethically send people. Granted, the radiation hazard in low Earth orbit is not as great as it is in deep space, but it is a significant fraction of that. Mr. Padalka still seems to be in fine shape.

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