IST Space News Round-Up

It is another weekend of another year and I am keeping the lines open so that my readers can be updated on the news from space.

First the prediction on alien contact……

Avi Loeb, the chair of the Harvard Astronomy Department, has long been preoccupied with the question of whether humans are alone in the universe. He’s speculated that fast radio bursts could be messages from extraterrestrials, theorized about alien megastrucutres, and suggested that an interstellar object that cruised through our solar system could be a probe from another civilization.

Now, in a new interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel, Loeb opened up further about his thoughts about the hunt for alien life — and what First Contact would mean for human civilization.

https://futurism.com/harvard-astronomer-predicts-first-alien-contact/

Next that contact could come from a near-by planet……….

A planet near our own could support primitive life, scientists have announced.

The nearby world – orbiting around Barnard’s Star, the second closest star system to our own – is known as a super-Earth and has the potential to serve as a home for simple alien life, researchers have said.

The planet is probably very cold, at minus 170 degrees centigrade. But it could be a better home than we had realised when it was discovered: if it has a big iron and nickle core and geothermal activity, as scientists predict, it might be able to harbour primitive life.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/exoplanet-alien-life-barnards-star-b-latest-discovery-breakthrough-solar-system-a8723741.html

The big news last week was that the Chinese had landed a vehicle on the dark side of the moon and sent back some amazing pics…….but the big news was to come…..

For the first time anybody is aware of, seeds have sprouted on a celestial body beyond Earth. The China National Space Administration released a photo Tuesday showing that cotton seeds brought to the far side of the moon by the country’s Chang’e 4 lander had germinated, the South China Morning Post reports. Liu Hanlong, chief of the first biological growth experiments on the moon, said rapeseed and potato seeds have also sprouted, but cotton was first. The lander also brought rock cress, fruit fly eggs, and yeast to the moon, all chosen because they were small, hardy organisms that could thrive in a confined space.

Chinese authorities say the seeds, dormant during the 20-day journey to the moon, started growing after ground control activated the watering system in the probe’s “mini biosphere,” which contains air and soil. Fred Watson, the Australian Astronomical Observatory’s astronomer-at-large, tells the BBC that the growth could represent a big leap for mankind. The sprout “suggests that there might not be insurmountable problems for astronauts in future trying to grow their own crops on the moon in a controlled environment,” he says. “I think there’s certainly a great deal of interest in using the moon as staging post, particularly for flights to Mars, because it’s relatively near the Earth.” (China has released a panorama of the moon’s far side.)

Remember your history?  Steam power locomotives, cotton gins, etc etc…..but what about a steam powered spaceship?

Come one, come all and behold the future of space travel: steam power!

No, seriously; half a century after the world’s first manned space mission, it seems that interplanetary travel has finally entered the steam age. Scientists at the University of Central Florida have teamed up with Honeybee Robotics, a private space and mining tech company based in California, to develop a small, steam-powered spacecraft capable of sucking its fuel right out of the asteroids, planets and moons it’s exploring.

https://www.nbcnews.com/mach/science/steam-powered-spaceship-could-cruise-cosmos-indefinitely-without-running-out-ncna958486

Speaking of alien life……then there is the Harvard dude that thinks we have been contacted……

On October 19, 2017, astronomers at the University of Hawaii spotted a strange object travelling through our solar system, which they later described as “a red and extremely elongated asteroid.” It was the first interstellar object to be detected within our solar system; the scientists named it ‘Oumuamua, the Hawaiian word for a scout or messenger. The following October, Avi Loeb, the chair of Harvard’s astronomy department, co-wrote a paper (with a Harvard postdoctoral fellow, Shmuel Bialy) that examined ‘Oumuamua’s “peculiar acceleration” and suggested that the object “may be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.” Loeb has long been interested in the search for extraterrestrial life, and he recently made further headlines by suggesting that we might communicate with the civilization that sent the probe. “If these beings are peaceful, we could learn a lot from them,” he told Der Spiegel.

https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-new-yorker-interview/have-aliens-found-us-a-harvard-astronomer-on-the-mysterious-interstellar-object-oumuamua

Stay tuned for updates on space as we come across them…..

Now I feel I need a taste of some wine and some snacks and watch MoMo attack a tree limb.

Have a day my friends.

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Space News–2019

Baby its cold outside!

MoMo keeps watch for that damn cat!

My weekend begins and there has been some amazing news on our final frontier (as they say)……SPACE.

First, China is making their presence known in space……

A Chinese spacecraft on Thursday made the first-ever landing on the far side of the moon, state media said. The lunar explorer Chang’e 4 touched down at 10:26am, China Central Television said during its noon broadcast. The far side of the moon faces away from Earth and is relatively unexplored. It is also known as the dark side of the moon. The mission of Chang’e 4, which is carrying a rover, includes carrying out low-frequency radio astronomical observations and probing the structure and mineral composition of the terrain, the AP reports. The spacecraft will also carry out biological experiments, including cultivating vegetables in an airtight container, the South China Morning Post reports.

The pioneering landing demonstrates China’s growing ambitions as a space power. In 2013, Chang’e 3 was the first spacecraft to land on the moon since the Soviet Union’s Luna 24 in 1976. The Long March 3B rocket carrying Chang’e 4 blasted off on Dec. 8 from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in southern China. In May, a relay satellite “Queqiao,” or “Magpie Bridge,” named after an ancient Chinese folk tale, was launched to provide communications support between Chang’e 4 and Earth. China plans to send its Chang’e 5 probe to the moon next year and have it return to Earth with samples—the first time that will have been done since 1976.

Among the images is a 360-degree panorama stitched together from 80 photos taken by a camera on the lander after it released the rover onto the lunar surface,

Now the US made history in space as well……

A NASA spacecraft traveling 4 billion miles from Earth has sent back its first close-up pictures of the most distant celestial object ever explored, and it looks like a reddish snowman. Ultima Thule, as the small, icy object has been dubbed, is an elongated body about 20 miles long, consisting of two fused-together spheres. NASA’s New Horizons, the spacecraft that sent back pictures of Pluto 3.5 years ago, swept past the ancient, mysterious object early on New Year’s Day. It is a billion miles past Pluto.

The pictures from Ultima Thule were revealed Wednesday, reports the AP. Scientist Jeff Moore says that the two spheres formed when small, icy pieces coalesced in space billions of years ago. Then the spheres slowly spiraled closer to each other and stuck together. Ultima Thule has a mottled appearance the color of light brick. Scientists say no impact craters could be seen in the latest photos. An earlier, fuzzier image made it look like a bowling pin. (Read more on the discovery here.)

Would believe some scary news from space?

News came out that there is a “space bacteria” circulating the planet…..and it is mutating…..sound like a SciFi movie coming to a theater near you?

It is not…it is true……

Microbes stuck in the International Space Station are adapting to survive in the harsh environment of space, scientists say.

A new study sheds light on how the bacteria floating above Earth is changing as a result of its difficult environment.

And it found it is not mutating into especially dangerous or antibiotic-resistant superbugs that humans could not kill. Instead, it is just changing to deal with the difficulties of floating above Earth, they said.

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/space-bacteria-earth-alien-mutating-survive-disease-international-station-a8717976.html

It seems every year our knowledge of the universe we live in gets greater…..and then there is the proposal of a Space Force on the drawing boards……but that is another post all together.

Have a day my friends.

Space Force–2019

I do hope that my readers take the time to read my posts on the possible creation of another branch of our military, a space force, this is another way to tap into taxpayer money, your money.

In case my reader would like to get caught up with my posts on the Space Force…….https://lobotero.com/2018/12/28/space-late-2018/

An article I read about the US and China in a possible “space race” to control space…..

China and Iran both are hard at work launching and lobbing rockets into space to show that America no longer has a monopoly on technological leadership. They are also using these blast-offs and landings to warn us of their ability to match and surpass America’s scientific prowess. For good measure, they also want to remind us that they can easily land a nuke on the U.S. homeland.

https://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/op-ed/article223636065.html

The opinion piece makes it sound like the US has the best intentions for space….and that China is set to weaponize space….but does anyone Remember Ronald Reagan?  If so how about SDI?

No?

Then watch and learn!

Sorry but SDI was weaponizing space…The US is not the “good guy” in this…..we have had a long history of trying to weaponize space….the Chinese are just following suit.

Space…..where will the advantage lie…offense or defense?

Where does the advantage lie in space, with the offense or the defense? Why does it matter? Put simply, perceptions of the balance between offense and defense determine doctrine. Doctrine, in turn, drives acquisition, and what military space operators acquire further reinforces the existing perception of the offense-defense balance.

As a result, a nation’s military is equipped and prepared to fight based on its perception of whether the offense is stronger or the defense, not the reality. It’s only when war starts that a nation’s doctrine and equipment are tested against the reality of its perceptions. The wrong equipment and doctrine often determine the winner and loser in any conflict (see France in 1940). So accurately assessing the strength of the offense and defense before conflict even begins is one of the fundamental determiners of success in war.

http://purview.dodlive.mil/2018/12/26/space-an-offense-dominant-environment/

This situation is something that I am watching…..taxpayer dollars will be pissed away and someone has to care.

Speaking of pissing taxpayer cash away……look no further than the re-establishment of the “Space Command”…..

Last year, much of the U.S. national security space community’s attention was focused on the Trump administration’s proposal to create a sixth military service, the Space Force, which would be responsible for training and equipping military space forces. While most experts agree that the changes in the threat environment, especially Russia and China’s development of anti-satellite weapons, require the United States to think differently about how we operate in space, no consensus has emerged as to whether creating a Space Force is the right solution to the problem.

https://www.brookings.edu/blog/order-from-chaos/2019/01/07/re-establishing-u-s-space-command-is-a-great-idea/

All this news but what is the chances the Space Force bill will make it out of Congress?

The outgoing chairman of the House Armed Services Committee predicts there will be bipartisan support for a new military branch for space even in a Democratic-led House of Representatives. But the Trump administration should expect its Space Force proposal to be thoroughly vetted and challenged.

“Our job is not to just swallow whatever they send us,” Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday.

Thornberry’s committee passed legislation in 2017 to establish a Space Corps within the Air Force, and the language made it into the House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2018. The Space Corps provision was not supported by the Senate and ultimately was removed from the NDAA.

https://spacenews.com/thornberry-predicts-space-force-will-have-bipartisan-support-in-the-house/

Time to make this a priority…..time to make this an important situation to be watched.  This may seem like a story that does not need so much attention….then you would be mistaken….this will cost the taxpayer and cost them BIG!

Can we afford this without a major structure rehab?

Space News For A Saturday

A warm day and after a the rain of Friday a fun day in the garden…..as usual I try to find stuff that will entertain as well as educate my readers.  Today it is what is happening with space and NASA and astronomy…..

Some good stuff……Space stuff is cool!

Another craft will enter into interstellar space launched from this tiny blue marble…..

NASA is now two for two in regard to a huge achievement in space. Voyager 2 has become only the second man-made object to enter interstellar space, or the “space between the stars,” as a release from the agency’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory puts it. The first was its sister ship, Voyager 1, which crossed the boundary in 2012. Details and developments:

  • Long mission: Voyager 2 launched in August of 1977 on a mission to study the outer planets in our solar system. (Voyager 1 went up about two weeks later, but on a different trajectory.) In fact, Voyager 2 is the only spacecraft to have studied the gas giants Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, reports Space.com. After that part of the mission wrapped up decades ago, NASA steered the craft toward deep space.
  • Still transmitting: One key difference between Voyagers 1 and 2 is that 2 still has a working instrument that is expected to provide “first-of-its-kind observations” from the journey, per JPL. The same instrument (the Plasma Science Experiment) conked out on Voyager 1 long before it crossed the boundary.

Video: NASA scientists explain the mission and the milestone in this video

  • Where it is: Voyager 2 is now about 11 billion miles from Earth, traveling at 34,000mph, reports the BBC. Scientists say it crossed into interstellar space on Nov. 5. It had been detecting particles emitted by the sun, and the data suddenly dropped on that day.
  • Left the solar system? Though some stories say the spacecraft has left the solar system, project scientist Ed Stone avoids the phrase. More specifically, the spacecraft reached the edge of what’s known as the heliosphere, “the bubble of particles and magnetic fields” from our sun, per JPL. It then crossed the boundary known as the “heliopause,” which “is where the tenuous, hot solar wind meets the cold, dense interstellar medium.”
  • Onto the Oort: Here’s how NASA’s JPL addresses the above issue: “While the probes have left the heliosphere, Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 have not yet left the solar system, and won’t be leaving anytime soon. The boundary of the solar system is considered to be beyond the outer edge of the Oort Cloud, a collection of small objects that are still under the influence of the sun’s gravity.” It could take Voyager 2 another 300 years to reach the cloud and 30,000 years to go beyond it, reports CBS News.
  • Power supply: Both Voyagers have a plutonium power source, which will eventually be depleted and render the onboard equipment useless. But the spacecraft themselves could last billions of years, says JPL.

Another probe launched from Earth will make history also…..

After a two-year chase, a NASA spacecraft arrived Monday at the ancient asteroid Bennu, its first visitor in billions of years. The robotic explorer Osiris-Rex pulled within 12 miles of the diamond-shaped space rock. It will get even closer in the days ahead and go into orbit around Bennu on Dec. 31, the AP reports. No spacecraft has ever orbited such a small cosmic body. It is the first US attempt to gather asteroid samples for return to Earth, something only Japan has accomplished so far. Flight controllers applauded and exchanged high-fives once confirmation came through that Osiris-Rex made it to Bennu—exactly one week after NASA landed a spacecraft on Mars.

“Relieved, proud, and anxious to start exploring!” tweeted lead scientist Dante Lauretta of the University of Arizona. “To Bennu and back!” With Bennu some 76 million miles away, it took seven minutes for word to get from the spacecraft to flight controllers at Lockheed Martin in Littleton, Colo. The spacecraft, which is about the size of an SUV, will shadow the asteroid for a year, before scooping up some gravel for return to Earth in 2023. The spacecraft will use a mechanical arm to momentarily touch down and vacuum up particles. The sample container would break loose and head toward Earth in 2021. The collection—parachuting down to Utah—would represent the biggest cosmic haul since the Apollo astronauts hand-delivered moon rocks to Earth in the late 1960s and early 1970s. (There’s a chance NASA might try to destroy Bennu before 2135.)

Speaking of Asteroids!

According to a report in the Express, citing NASA and ESA sources, a giant 700-foot-wide Asteroid is heading toward Earth. Since it’s located on a risky trajectory, there is a small possibility that it could collide with Earth.

According to the report, the asteroid has the potential of colliding with earth on 62 different impact trajectories, from between 2023 and 2117. Scientists refer to the asteroid as 2018 LF16, observing it for the last time on June 16, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The observations have shown that there are 62 different dates in which the asteroid could collide with Earth, placing it as a potential threat to our planet.

The first potential date of a collision will be on Aug. 8, 2023. There are two other risky trajectories close to the first one occurring on Aug. 3, 2024 and on Aug. 1, 2025. The giant 700-foot-wide asteroid moves through space at a speed of more than 33,844 miles per hour.

NASA’s calculations estimate that there is a one in 30,000,000 chance of the asteroid slamming into Earth, meaning there is a 99,9999967% chance that it’ll miss. That said, the Torino Impact Hazard Scale gives the asteroid a “Zero,” which means that there is almost a nonexistent chance that the asteroid will impact Earth, or nearly as nonexistent as possible.

In closing…..there will be a meteor shower this weekend……

The “best meteor shower of 2018” will be on display overnight, Space.com reports. The Geminid meteor shower will be visible above North America before sunrise Friday, CNN reports, and it will peak at 7:30am EST (find the best viewing time for your location here). Checking out the shower is easy—no special equipment required, Sky & Telescope’s Diana Hannikainen says in a statement. “Go out in the evening, lie back in a reclining lawn chair, and gaze up into the stars,” she says. “This is a good shower for younger observers who may have earlier bedtimes.” Clear, dark skies are the best for viewing, of course. Hannikainen says that under good conditions, you may see the light of a meteor streaking across the sky every minute or two.

I have watched these meteor showers before and the light show is just amazing….give it a try you may like it.

That is my post for this Saturday……go out and have a great day….be well, be safe….chuq

Sunday–25Nov18

Another rainy Sunday……my garden is close to finished…..seeding will begin Monday and then the wait until the harvest…..

This weekend the internet in my area is a slow mess…..how’s yours?

I have been watching the developments along the formation of the US Space Force( or whatever name they finally decide is proper)…..so because I have been watching this I also feel I need to keep an eye on the findings in space……who knows what our troops may face in the future…..

We may stretch our wings and go to the stars, as they say……

Barnard’s Star, a red dwarf star located in a solar system about six light-years away from Earth, may have some company. Researchers of the “exoplanet-hunting” group Red Dots have detected a planet—some 3.2 times the Earth’s mass and very cold—orbiting the star, Smithsonian reports. Their findings were published in Nature on Wednesday. “We firmly believe the object is there,” says lead researcher Ignasi Ribas. “We always have to remain a bit cautious … but we were sure enough that we were willing to go forward with publication.” The planet, Barnard’s Star b, is the second-closest exoplanet (a planet outside of our solar system) to Earth, per USA Today.

Researchers looked at two decades worth of data from seven different telescopes to pick up the planet, according to Forbes. As for the possibility of life on Bernard’s Star b, the planet is “way too cold” to sustain liquid water, Ribas says, and whether life may be frozen beneath an ocean is just speculation at this point. During the course of their study, Smithsonian notes, researchers found faint evidence of another planet, which would be Barnard’s Star c. Several decades ago, scientists believed that they had detected planets around the star. However, those ended up being the result of an instrument problem. (Last year, scientists found the smallest possible star.)

Just as the earth orbits its star, the Sun……but what if there was no sun to orbit?

Debate has raged in astronomical circles for years as to whether rogue planets could exist. Since they do not have a star to illuminate them, they are extremely difficult to find as they are almost always in the dark. However, a technique called gravitational microlensing allowed researchers to identify rogue planets by seeing when a planet comes between a distant star and the Earth. When this happens, the planet acts like a lens, distorting the light that we can see from that star when it reaches Earth. This indicates that a massive body like a planet is passing in front of the star, and the size of the body can be estimated from the size of the distortion.

https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/rogue-planets-discovered/

If and when we get our new Space Force one of the probable sites for a base is Mars….and we are still learning all we can about the planet…..

Between 3.5 billion and 3.9 billion years ago, when simple life forms were emerging on Earth, a river flowed through a delta system into a lake on Mars, then a warm and wet planet. NASA plans to send a rover there to see if any traces of life remain. The Jezero Crater site has been selected as the destination of the 2020 Mars rover mission, and scientists say that if life ever existed on the red planet, the crater is one of the places likeliest to hold evidence of it. “A delta is extremely good at preserving bio-signatures—any evidence of life that might have existed in the lake water … or possibly things that lived in the headwaters region that were swept in by the river and deposited in the delta,” project scientist Ken Farley tells the BBC.

The crater was chosen after a search that looked at around 60 sites, CNN reports. Farley says researchers have wanted to know more about the site for years, but it was once thought impossible to land a rover in the rugged terrain. “What was once out of reach is now conceivable, thanks to the 2020 engineering team and advances in Mars entry, descent, and landing technologies,” he says. Another rover, meanwhile, is preparing to land on Mars next week, NBC News reports. The InSight lander is due to land on the Monday after Thanksgiving to begin its mission to study the crust, mantle, and core of Mars, but it will have to survive a complicated landing NASA scientists call “seven minutes of terror” first, Forbes reports. (The Curiosity Rover has found the “building blocks of life” on Mars.)

More Mars news……

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/nasa-mars-insight-landing-explained-when-where-space-agency-latest-a8648986.html

Once we get our troops in training will they do what recruits use to do in the “old days” police the area?  The area in this case is the space around the earth…….

As an international relations scholar who studies space law and policy, I have come to realize what most people do not fully appreciate: Dealing with space debris is as much a national security issue as it is a technical one.

Considering the debris circling the Earth as just an obstacle in the path of human missions is naive. As outer space activities are deeply rooted in the geopolitics down on Earth, the hidden challenge posed by the debris is the militarization of space technologies meant to clean it up.

https://www.realcleardefense.com/articles/2018/11/14/why_space_debris_cleanup_is_a_national_security_threat_113954.html

Some things never change for the grunt…whether earth bound or space cadet……matters not.

Space: Up Up And Away

The Midterms are in the history books….shall we move on?

And now for something completely different…..SPACE….the Final Frontier!

Our Dear Leader is concerned with a new branch to the military….a “Space Force” if you will……he is serious from all accounts…..so since Trumpy is so damn serious I thought that IST would keep an eye on the news involved with space…..https://lobotero.com/2018/10/03/space-and-space-rangers/

Maybe one of the first deployments for our new Space Force could be Mars……

A study funded by NASA in a bid to determine what effects a journey into deep space might have on the health of astronauts has uncovered some startling possibilities for those brave souls who might one day venture to Mars. Per CNN, the findings out of Georgetown University Medical Center suggest that the sort of radiation to which such travelers would be exposed has the potential to cause major intestinal issues, including cancer. It’s called galactic cosmic radiation, or GCR, and consists of so-called heavy ions that we’re protected from by the magnetosphere that surrounds Earth. Deep in space, as well as on Mars, there is no such protection and scientists say there is no way yet known to prevent exposure with shielding or medications.

Per Inverse, the study bombarded mice with doses of ionizing radiation that mimicked what’s found in deep space. Researchers found that long exposure permanently altered the gastrointestinal tracts of the mice in a way that caused them to lose their ability to absorb nutrients. What’s more, the mice also developed cancerous growths in their intestines, leading researchers to further worry about the effects of space radiation after previous findings suggested it poses a danger to the brain. “We have documented the effects of deep space radiation on some vital organs, but we believe that similar damage responses may occur in many organs,” wrote senior investigator Kamal Datta. “It is important to understand these effects in advance so we can do everything we can to protect our future space travelers.”

After the “Force” is up and running well there will be those mysteries that need investigating……

Scientists call it The Goblin—a far-off dwarf planet that’s adding to evidence of a mystery planet way, way out there. First seen in October 2015, the icy world seems to be orbiting something big in a distant region of the solar system called the Oort Cloud, Space.com reports. A team led by Scott Sheppard of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Washington, DC, spent three years tracking the dwarf planet’s astounding orbit, which reaches a point nearly 60 times further from the sun than Pluto and takes 40,000 years to complete, per the Guardian. Two other dwarf planets are orbiting the same area, suggesting some huge unseen object is out there in a region NASA describes as “a thick bubble of icy debris that surrounds our solar system.”

“These distant objects are like breadcrumbs leading us to Planet X,” says Sheppard in a statement, referring to a hypothetical planet he first proposed with a colleague in 2014 to explain orbits of other Oort Cloud dwarf planets called Sedna and 2012 VP113, per Space.com. Also known as Planet Nine, this possible world could be hovering on the edge of our solar system or existing entirely outside it, ejected long ago. Sheppard says he plans to further investigate by seeking more evidence of distant dwarf planets—worlds too small to be called full-sized planets. “The more of them we can find, the better we can understand the outer solar system and the possible planet that we think is shaping their orbits—a discovery that would redefine our knowledge of the solar system’s evolution,” he says.

How will the US handle its adversaries in Space?  Good question, huh?

As the Pentagon moves to stand up a U.S. Space Command and Congress debates whether it makes sense to create a Space Force, a central focus is to defend satellites from orbital weapons that would seek to damage or destroy U.S. assets in space.

Washington policymakers are gripped by the prospect of enemies shooting missiles or lasers at U.S. systems. But that is only a small piece of the puzzle, says Jeffrey Gossel, senior intelligence engineer at the Space and Missile Analysis Group of the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

https://spacenews.com/the-next-battleground-what-do-we-really-know-about-what-adversaries-do-in-space/

The Pentagon is taking Trump seriously and has looked into the composition of the new “Space Force”…..

The U.S. Space Force will include uniformed service members drawn from the Air Force, Navy and Army — but it is not expected to include the National Reconnaissance Office mission, according an internal draft of the Pentagon’s plan to create a sixth branch of the military.

Defense One reviewed a copy of the 13-page document, which will be further developed in coming months before the Pentagon sends it to Congress in February along with its 2020 budget request. This early draft provides a glimpse into a 21st-century approach to creating a new service branch, an endeavor not undertaken since 1947. Among other things, it reveals divergent views among senior Pentagon officials about how to structure it.

https://www.defenseone.com/politics/2018/10/heres-pentagons-initial-plan-creating-space-force/152203/

Acting on behalf of the president the GOP controlled House Armed Services Committee is also taking the president serious in his desire for a “Space Force”…….

The chairman of the House Armed Services Committee wants the Pentagon to provide more precise details on how it would organize and fund a new military service for space. In an Oct. 4 letter, Chairman Mac Thornberry asks Deputy Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Paul Selva to deliver the data by Nov. 16.

In the letter, a copy of which was obtained by SpaceNews, the committee lays out four different ways in which a Space Force could be formed. Thornberry says he wants additional information before the committee endorses any one approach.

The committee will explore four options:

https://spacenews.com/house-armed-services-committee-exploring-several-paths-to-a-space-force/

Since nukes seem to be in the news these….I ask….will the US deploy them into space with our Space Force?

Vice President Mike Pence said that the US has flexibility on its military activities in outer space, and refused to rule out the idea that the US would position nuclear weapons there in the future, saying it would “advance the principle that peace comes through strength.”

Pence further said that the question of nuclear weapons is “the president’s determination,” and that while it’s in the interest of every nation to keep nukes out of space for now, at some point this may prove to be an way to show more “strength.”

(antiwar.com)

But first Trump or whoever would have to withdraw from a treaty, the 1967 Outer Space Treaty……The 1967 Outer Space Treaty, of which the United States is a signatory, strictly forbids the positioning of nuclear weapons anywhere in outer space. With the Trump Administration’s rush to militarize space….check out Article IV…..https://www.state.gov/t/isn/5181.htm  The pdf seems to be unavailable (so I guess you cannot get everything from the web)

No problem!  Trump has pulled out of most of our nuke treaties first with Iran then the INF Treaty…so no biggie he can just do what he does best…screw things up.

I may be one of the few bloggers that is focused on this new military branch, the Space Force…..I will keep my readers up on all the twists and turns of this situation…it should prove interesting.

Will the US get another “Branch” of our armed services?  Or will this just be another pipe dream that falls way short?  What service will we lose to pay for this pipe dream?

Just asking.

Space….The Good News And The Bad

Hope your Sunday is as relaxing as mine…..

We have a Space Force on the drawing boards as another military branch….first Obama and now Trump are considering the possibility……so we need to keep an eye on what is happening with our space programs……

First the Good News…….the Parker Solar Probe…..

NASA’s Parker Solar Probe is now closer to the sun than any spacecraft has ever gotten. Parker on Monday surpassed the record of 26.6 million miles set by Helios 2 back in 1976, the AP reports—and it will keep getting closer to the sun until it flies through the corona, or outer atmosphere, for the first time next week, passing within 15 million miles of the solar surface. Parker will make 24 close approaches to the sun over the next seven years, ultimately coming within just 3.8 million miles. “We’ve now come closer to our star than any other spacecraft in history,” Andy Driesman, the project manager for the probe, said in a statement, per Gizmodo. “It’s a proud moment for the team.”

Motherboard notes that the probe is protected by a Thermal Protection System (TPS) heat shield, which has been tested to endure temps up to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s also designed to keep the probe’s instruments safe from radiation and to help the probe make an easier transition when it heads back to the relative chilliness of deep space. Launched in August, Parker was on track to set another record late Monday night, about to surpass Helios 2’s speed record of 153,454 miles per hour, relative to the sun. (Is your name flying close to the sun with Parker?)

And now the bad…..the Kepler Telescope has given scientist so much to think about has possibly died…..

NASA’s elite planet-hunting spacecraft has been declared dead, just a few months shy of its 10th anniversary. Officials announced the Kepler Space Telescope’s demise Tuesday, the AP reports. Already well past its expected lifetime, the 9 1/2-year-old Kepler had been running low on fuel for months. Its ability to point at distant stars and identify possible alien worlds worsened dramatically at the beginning of October, but flight controllers still managed to retrieve its latest observations. The telescope has now gone silent, its fuel tank empty. Kepler discovered 2,681 planets outside our solar system and even more potential candidates. It showed us rocky worlds the size of Earth that, like Earth, might harbor life. It also unveiled incredible super Earths: planets bigger than Earth but smaller than Neptune.

Kepler opened the gate for mankind’s exploration of the cosmos,” said retired NASA scientist William Borucki, who led the original Kepler science team. Adds NASA’s astrophysics director Paul Hertz, “It has revolutionized our understanding of our place in the cosmos. Now we know because of the Kepler Space Telescope and its science mission that planets are more common than stars in our galaxy.” Kepler focused on stars thousands of light-years away; a successor to Kepler launched in April, NASA’s Tess spacecraft, has its sights on stars closer to home and has already identified some possible planets. Now 94 million miles from Earth, Kepler should remain in a safe, stable orbit around the sun. Flight controllers will disable the spacecraft’s transmitters, before bidding a final “good night.”

It had a magnificent run……just look at the site for more info….

The centuries-old quest for other worlds like our Earth has been rejuvenated by the intense excitement and popular interest surrounding the discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other stars. There is now clear evidence for substantial numbers of three types of exoplanets; gas giants, hot-super-Earths in short period orbits, and ice giants. The challenge now is to find terrestrial planets (i.e., those one half to twice the size of the Earth), especially those in the habitable zone of their stars where liquid water might exist on the surface of the planet.

The Kepler Mission is specifically designed to survey our region of the Milky Way galaxy to discover hundreds of Earth-size and smaller planets in or near the habitable zone and determine the fraction of the hundreds of billions of stars in our galaxy that might have such planets.

https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/kepler/overview/index.html

Sundays are for relaxation….try it you will like it…..chuq