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Join the National Space Society for ‘A Day in Space,’ a celebration of spaceflight, this week – Space.com

On July 16, 2020, a unique online presentation from the National Space Society will bring the solar system to your doorstep. "A Day in Space" is a day-long virtual forum that promises some truly unique spaceflight and exploration experiences.

In an exclusive interview with NSS President and television personality, Geoffrey Notkin, Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin will take you back into the heady years of the Space Race and plunge you into the future of the exploration of our solar system.

Planetary scientist Alan Stern will take you on a journey to Pluto and beyond to tiny Arrokoth (formerly known as Ultima Thule), as he recalls how the hard-fought New Horizons probe ventured to the edge of the planetary system and unveiled its secrets. NASA engineer and NSS Senior Operating Officer Bruce Pittman tells us about the merging of Wernher von Braun and Gerard O'Neill's visions to form the National Space Society.

Billionaire NewSpace financier Steve Jurvetson tells the thrilling tale of investing in SpaceX in some of their darkest moments, supporting disruptive innovation with Planet Labs, and the future of orbital space tourism and investing in the space business.

Jet Propulsion Laboratory chief engineer Rob Manning and space author Rod Pyle square off for a smackdown over the character of Mars a lovely place in the eyes of Ray Bradbury and Edgar Rice Burroughs until NASA came along with Mariner 4 in 1965 and told us the cold, dry truth about the planet. Manning explains why thats even better than what came before.

"A Day in Space" is co-hosted by Notkin, who is also the president of the National Space Society, and Dr. Sian Proctor, college professor, geoscientist and NASA astronaut finalist.

"A Day in Space was created to fill the gap left by the postponement of the National Space Society's 2020 International Space Development Conference due to COVID-19 this year," said Pyle, who is also the editor-in-chief of the society's quarterly print magazine, Ad Astra, "but it quickly took on a life of its own, bringing together some of the best and brightest in space exploration and settlement to tell their exciting stories first-hand. Its been an incredible honor to work with these folks."

Additional presentations include Dr. Sara Seager on the latest from the search for exoplanets; a discussion of inclusiveness and diversity in the space industry with the Chairman of the NSS Board of Governors, Karlton Johnson; and a reprise of a very special Apollo 50th anniversary event with Apollo astronauts Al Worden, Fred Haise, Walt Cunningham and Flight Director Gerry Griffin (this was one of Worden's final appearances before his passing last March).

Dr. Anthony Paustian, the NSS's Director of Communication and Branding, leveraged his extensive connections from his own yearly conference, CiLIVE, in Des Moines, Iowa, to bring "A Day in Space" to life.

"I've had the honor of presenting some of the most creative and dynamic people in space exploration, including many Apollo astronauts, to the public. 'A Day in Space' is the perfect way to wrap-up the 50th anniversary of the first landings on the moon. We know youll enjoy these presentations they are truly one-of-a-kind."

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Join the National Space Society for 'A Day in Space,' a celebration of spaceflight, this week - Space.com

Three space missions heading to Mars, from NASA, China and UAE – ABC News

July is a big month for missions to Mars.

Three new spacecraft from NASA, China and the United Arab Emirates are due to lift off on their journey to the Red Planet.

That's because there is window between mid-July and mid-August when Earth and Mars are in a good position relative to each other to allow the shortest possible trip.

If the mission launches go as planned, the first of which is due this week, the spacecraft will arrive early next year.

They will join a slew of other orbiters, landers and rovers that are already probing the planet.

And each is tasked to look at questions that no other spacecraft has answered before as the race to find evidence of past life on Mars heats up.

The entry of China and the UAE into Mars exploration, a field that has so far been dominated by the US and Russia, will benefit future missions to the Red Planet, said Alice Gorman, a space archaeologist at Flinders University.

"The more nations entering [deep space exploration] increases the chance of success ... and builds up the library of proven engineering heritage."

Along with new science, these nations are also testing different types of technologies.

So let's take a quick look at what each mission has to offer.

NASA's Mars 2020 mission plans to put a new rover on the Red Planet called Perseverance.

If it survives the landing it will be the United States' 10th successful attempt to put a robot on Mars since 1975, and will join the Curiosity rover and Mars Insight probe.

Perseverance is the first rover ever tasked with finding evidence of past life on Mars, said Abigail Allwood, an Australian geologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory who is in charge of PIXL, one of the seven instruments onboard the rover.

"Previous missions have been looking for evidence of water and evidence of habitability," Dr Allwood said.

"No mission has ever been given the mandate to look for evidence of life."

The rover, which looks almost identical to Curiosity except for its wheels, will descend towards Mars using the same 'seven minutes of terror' technique as its predecessor albeit using new terrain technology to help guide its landing.

All going well, it will touch down in an old lake bed known as Jezero Crater.

The rover is kitted out with several tools that will investigate the geology of the landform in minute detail, and use a drill to collect sediment samples to be returned to Earth for analysis in 2026.

The Mars 2020 mission will also be the first mission to attempt test flights of a small unmanned helicopter called Ingenuity.

The helicopter, which is strapped to the bottom of the rover, will be released once the rover lands.

"If that helicopter flight is successful it will be huge for Mars exploration," Dr Allwood said.

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Swarms of small helicopters could be used to map the surface where samples come from, and a successful flight could demonstrate a capacity that can aid human missions.

"[Unmanned aerial vehicles] could be the next thing we see before any human missions," she said.

The Perseverance rover will also be doing some of the groundwork for setting up a base.

Onboard are tools that will test a method of extracting oxygen from the atmosphere (which is 96 per cent carbon dioxide), identify resources such as subsurface water and minerals, and gather more data on dust storms and weather conditions.

The mission is currently slated to launch around July 30.

China's new mission will send the first orbiter/lander/rover combo to Mars.

Called Tianwen-1 which means Heavenly Questions it is the nation's second attempt to send a mission to the Red Planet.

China's first mission, the 'Yinghuo-1' Mars orbiter, was lost in 2012 when the Russian space agency spacecraft it was piggybacking a ride on failed and crashed back to Earth.

But now, China is using its own technologies that have been successfully used in its space program, including two Moon landings.

It will use parachutes developed for its Shenzhou crewed spaceflight program, and propulsion and autonomous guidance systems and designs used in its Chang'e-3 and Chang'e-4 moon landers.

If the spacecraft reaches Mars and touches down, China will become the third country to land on the Red Planet.

It's a very ambitious goal, said Andrew Jones, a space journalist who follows the China space program.

"The failure rate for Mars missions is around 50 per cent, so to try to combine [the orbiter/lander/rover] for your first attempt at a [solo] interplanetary mission is very challenging," Mr Jones said.

US: 7 orbiters, 5 landers, 4 rovers

Russia: 2 orbiters (1 joint with EU), 1 lander

EU: 2 orbiters (1 joint with Russia)

India: 1 orbiter

US: 3 orbiters, 1 lander, 1 probe

Russia: 7 orbiters, 6 landers (including joint EU project), 1 rover, 2 probes

EU: 2 landers (including joint Russian project)

Japan: 1 orbiter

China: 1 orbiter (joint mission with Russia)

*Excluding flybys

Landing on Mars is a lot more challenging than landing on the Moon.

The Red Planet has a thin atmosphere, which heats up the spacecraft but doesn't slow it down very effectively, so the timing of parachutes and rockets is critical.

Although the exact landing site of the Chinese mission has not been revealed, it is likely to be somewhere in an area known as Utopia Planitia.

"These are very low elevation areas so that gives more atmosphere to slow down the landing attempt," Mr Jones said.

The location is also good for the operation of the mission's solar powered rover.

Another potential touchdown area is Chryse Planitia, close to the landing sites of NASA'S Viking 1 and Pathfinder.

Like the new NASA mission, Tianwen-1 plans to explore the Red Planet's atmosphere, use ground-penetrating radar to peer below the surface, and look for evidence of past life.

"Having two ground penetrating radars in two different places on Mars brings a lot of science value."

But before even attempting a complex landing, the spacecraft must actually reach Mars

To do this, China is using its biggest rocket: the Long March 5. After one semi-successful flight and a failure, the rocket finally put a satellite into geostationary orbit late last year.

But the launch of the Tianwen-1 mission will be the first attempt at getting the rocket into an orbit that will put a spacecraft on a path to Mars.

"It shouldn't be that much different, but still it's something they haven't done," Mr Jones said.

While no official launch date from the Wenchang Satellite Launch Center has been announced, Mr Jones predicted it would take off around July 23.

Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates is planning to become the first Arab nation to send a spacecraft to the planet.

If it is successful, the 'Al Amal' or 'Hope' spacecraft will join six other orbiters from the US, Europe and India currently surveying Mars from orbit.

Timed to arrive 50 years after the UAE was founded, it is also carrying the aspirations of its nation and Arab and Islamic science.

"The UAE is small compared to those other nations but they are putting so many resources into their space programs and they've made it really clear that these are priorities for them," Dr Gorman said.

About the size of a small car flanked by two solar panels, the hexagonal-shaped orbiter is on a two-year mission to explore the Red Planet's upper and lower atmosphere and weather.

Kitted out with three scientific instruments, it hopes to answer questions about why the Red Planet is losing its upper atmosphere to space, and to create a global picture of how the Martian atmosphere changes from day to day and season to season.

The spacecraft is scheduled to be launched from Tanegashima, a remote Japanese island on July 15 (AEST) according to latest reports from the UAE space agency.

Once it separates from its rocket, the spacecraft will rely on star-tracker sensors, which recognise constellations, to guide it to Mars.

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All going well, the three missions will reach Mars in February next year.

The Mars 2020 mission plans to touch down on February 18, while the Chinese Tianwen-1 mission will survey the Red Planet using a high-res camera onboard the orbiter before selecting a landing site in April.

But if the missions miss the launch window, they will not be able to fly for another two years when Earth and Mars are aligned again.

NASA's Mars 2020 mission has already been delayed twice. Originally it was planned to lift off around July 17, but with a current launch date of at least July 30 it has used up half the window.

A fourth mission to Mars which was also due to lift off this month the European Union and Russian Space Agency's ExoMars mission carrying the Rosalind Franklin rover has already been postponed until 2022.

Get all the latest science stories from across the ABC.

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Three space missions heading to Mars, from NASA, China and UAE - ABC News

Space exploration is still the next frontier and it’s been happening for 80 years in the military – We Are The Mighty

The history of the U.S. Space Force goes back long before President Trump directed the Pentagon to create a "Space Force" in June of 2018. But the history of space and the military actually goes back to shortly after the end of World War II.

General Hap Arnold was an early visionary of the potential of space operations. He directed the RAND Corporation to determine the feasibility of satellite for strategic communications in 1946. That study identified nearly all of the current space mission areas: intelligences, weather forecasting, communications and navigation. The Air Force's role in space remained constant leading up to Air Force Space Command's creation. During the Cold War, space operations focused on missile warning, launch operations, satellite control, space surveillance and command and control for national leadership. During Desert Storm, AFSPC showed their importance for supporting the Warfighter.

Then, in 2001, the Space Commission recommended that Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) give up Space and Missile Systems Center (SMC) to AFSPC. Due to the nature and importance of space, AFSPC was the only command to have their own acquisition arm within the command. In 2002, AFSPC was given their own four-star commander, a position that had previously been split between AFSPC and NORAD. In 2005, AFSPC was given the control of cyber, but it was later forced to give up that responsibility in 2018. This move allowed AFSPC to focus on gaining and maintaining space superiority and outpacing adversaries.

In August 2019, the AFSPC commander was assigned the dual-hat responsibility of U.S. Space Command Commander and on December 20, 2019, with the signing of the National Defense Acquisition Act (NDAA) the United States Space Force was born.

For those outside the space community, the idea of a Space Force felt outlandish and people wondered what this Space Force would do. Would they fight wars in space? Why is space so important that a whole new military branch was created? And with much of the work within the Space Force and AFSPC classified, many people do not know the role and scope of why a Space Force was created. But if you do some research you will learn that both China and Russia already have their own version of a Space Force and America needed to take this crucial step forward to maintain space superiority.

For many years, the role and scope of space have been growing and the "wars" being fought in space have been happening hidden behind layers of classification. Even everyday tools that Americans use like Global Positioning Systems (GPS), cell phones and more, rely on the technology created to keep our country safe and on the leading age of this new frontier. With the recent success of private companies such as Space X, the role and scope of space is changing. The military needs a branch of its own to help continue the innovation and keep up with this changing climate.

So where are we now? The Air Force opened the window for organic space career fields (such as Space Operations and Space Systems Operations) and common career fields (such as Intelligence, Cyber, Engineering and Acquisitions) to apply for transfer to the U.S. Space Force from May 1-31, 2020. For those within the organic space career fields, they were given the option to transfer, retrain to a new career field or leave the military. The transfer for organic space career fields is set to begin on September 1, 2020. For common career fields, each career field board will meet to determine what members who applied will be accepted to the Space Force. The transfer for all Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC) is expected to be completed by February 1, 2021. Army, Navy and Marine Corps transfers are still being worked and are expected to take place in FY 22/23. Those who choose to transfer will incur a two-year service commitment.

Those who have decided to apply for the transfer are now in the wait and see bucket. Waiting to find out what the military board decides to do and waiting to see how this change will impact where they are stationed and what their future will be. While many people are already in a Space Force billet there will be new Space Force members who will need to be reassigned to a new unit based on their choice to join the Space Force. The Air Force and Space Force are still working out the details on how these changes will happen and how and when they will take place.

Those who are waiting to join the military's newest branch have a bit of excitement as this historic change takes place. With new information being released as it becomes available the excitement and uncertainty makes this an interesting time to be serving in the military. The Space Force is a new branch that will allow space to take its role in the forefront of our nation's security. And while still so much of what happens within the Space Force is unknown, we know the impacts of what is happening will change the world we live in.

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Space exploration is still the next frontier and it's been happening for 80 years in the military - We Are The Mighty

Summer on Mars: NASA’s Perseverance Rover Is One of Three Missions Ready to Launch – Scientific American

If space exploration was a popularity contest, Mars would be struggling for admirers.Once the darling of 20th-century planetary scientists, the worlds allure has cooled somewhat as other exciting localesthe woefully unexplored Venus, for example, or Saturns thrilling moon Titanbegin to turn more heads. But Mars is not relinquishing its time in the limelight quite yet. This summer, three new missions are launching to the Red Planetand at least one of them could reinvigorate interest in Mars with a renewed search for life there.

On July 14 the United Arab Emirates Hope orbiterthe first interplanetary spacecraft ever built by the the countryis scheduled to take off for Mars on a Japanese rocket. In the same month-long launch windowwhich occurs every 26 months, when the planet aligns with Earth for easier traversalit will likely be joined by Chinas Tianwen-1 orbiter and lander, also a first mission to Mars for the rising space power. And NASAs Perseverance rover, the U.S. space agencys latest effort to hunt for life on the planet, will probably launch in that window as well. A fourth mission, Europes Rosalind Franklin rover, was supposed to join this Martian armada. But it was delayed until 2022, in part because of the coronavirus pandemic. Nevertheless, these three missions are as clear a sign as any that the Red Planet has not lost its appeal just yet.

NASAs exploration of Mars has been steadily consistent. Following the Mariner probes in the 1960s and 1970s, which returned the first images of the planet, the Viking 1 and 2 landers became the firstand still the most ambitiousmissions to search for Martian life. While inconclusive, the Viking landers were followed by subsequent orbiters and rovers, culminating in the Curiosity rovers landing in 2012, that have painted a fascinating picture of what the world was once like. Weve learned that Mars has a diversity of habitable environments, says astrobiologist Kennda Lynch of the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston. People are more positive for potentially being able to find evidence that life, in some point in Mars past, existed.

Perseverance is the next step in that journey. The rover is now scheduled to launch between July 30 and August 15, after a slight delay because of the late discovery of a minor hardware problem in the final stages of testing. If all goes as planned, it will touch down in a fascinating region of Mars known as Jezero Crater on February 18, 2021. Measuring 45 kilometers across, this crater is home to a multi-billion-year-old river delta, an environment that may have preserved clear signs of life on the early planet.

This is an impact crater that has ancient river valleys over 3.5 billion years old that fed water into the basin of the crater, a standing lake about the size of Lake Tahoe in the U.S., says Timothy Goudge of the Jackson School of Geosciences at the University of Texas at Austin, who led the case for Jezero during the landing site selection process. Its not the only delta on Mars, [but] its one of the best-exposed. Lakes on Earth are very good habitable environments where life flourishes. And delta deposits can preserve a record of any potential life that was extant within the lake.

Armed with a suite of instruments, Perseverance will probe this region in exquisite detail. In some respects, the rover is a twin of Curiosity: the two outwardly appear almost identical. Their landing systems will match, too. Both use the same sort of autonomous, rocket-powered sky crane platform that previously lowered Curiosity on cables to a gentle, pinpoint touchdown on the Martian surface.

While similar in appearance to Curiosity, under the hood, Perseverance is a vastly different beast. The rover has benefited from a number of upgrades, including an improved, more precise landing system and hardened wheels to better cope with the rough Martian terrain. And whereas Curiositys tools were suited to assessing the habitability of Mars, Perseverance will be more focused on the hunt for evidence of life itself.

Were seeking signs of life, and that motivates a different suite of instruments, says Ken Farley, project scientist for Perseverance at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory. On the robotic arm, we have an instrument called PIXL, which measures the elemental distribution in a postage-stamp-sized area of rock. In that same area, we can take visual imagery with an instrument called WATSON. And we can measure the distribution of organic matter with an instrument called SHERLOC. These things together provide the most compelling way to find evidence of the kind of simple life that might have existed on Mars.

That evidence could include signs of fossilized microbial life hidden in Jezeros substantial deposits of carbonate rocks. On Earth, such environments have preserved ancient stromatolites, moundlike layered structures formed by primitive microorganisms. Those could be left in the rock record as macro-sized fossils that we might be able to see, says Kirsten Siebach, a Mars-focused geologist at Rice University. Thats pretty ambitious. It would be a strong claim to say we expect that. But those are the kinds of things were looking for. Such evidence will be examined using SHERLOCs ultraviolet Raman spectrometer, the first of its kind on Mars. Doing so will allow the composition of rocks to be measured without first vaporizing them with laser beams (the more destructive technique employed by Curiosity).

Perseverance alone might not be able to understand this evidence, however. One of the rovers key objectives is to collect samples of potential astrobiological significance and then store them in small caches on the Martian surface. The plan is for a future sample-return mission to land, pick up the caches and launch back to Earth in about a decade. The exact logistics of that mission are not clear, but it will likely be an international effort involving NASA and the European Space Agency that will arrive around 2028 and bring the samples to our planet in 2031. Ultimately to really confirm the presence of biosignatures, the samples are going to have to be returned to Earth, says Frances Rivera-Hernandez, a planetary geologist at Dartmouth College.

Perseverance has a few more tricks up its sleeve, too. An instrument called MEDA will monitor the Martian weather, while MOXIE will practice producing oxygen from carbon dioxide in the Martian airwhich could be a critical tool for future human missions. The RIMFAX instrument will be the first ground-penetrating radar landed on Mars, able to detect water and ice to depths of 10 meters. And a variety of onboard cameras will reveal the rovers surroundings in unprecedented visual clarity, producing videos of the surface, as well as detailed footage of the landing itself.

If that was not enough, the rover even has a helicopter named Ingenuity tucked into its belly. Weighing just shy of two kilograms, Ingenuity will be deployed and operated in the first 90 days of the mission. And it will constitute the first attempt at aerial flight on another world. The helicopter is unlike anything weve ever really built before, says Matt Wallace, deputy project manager of Perseverance at NASAs Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Although mostly just a technology demonstration, Ingenuity will also attempt to take images of Mars from the air, including pictures of the rover that carried it to the surface.

Following the landing, Perseverance will spend its two-Earth-year primary mission exploring Jezero Crater, studying and collecting signs of life. After this task, the rover could be driven out of the crater to explore another nearby region, called Midway, that is rich in carbonate rocks. People believe it is another habitable environment, Farley says. Some house-sized rocks there could also be pieces of the planets mantle thrown out by the impact that formed Jezerointriguing targets of study that could potentially yield new insights into the Martian subsurface.

Joining Perseverance at Mars will be Hope and Tianwen-1. The former is an orbiter designed to study the atmosphere of the world. Over the course of a Martian year, it will also examine the planets climateincluding massive dust storms, one of which led to the demise of NASAs Opportunity rover in 2018. Aside from its science goals, however, Hope is intended to signal the United Arab Emirates shift from an oil-driven economy to one focused on science and engineering. Our space program and Mars mission is a means for a much bigger goal, says Omran Sharaf, Hopes project lead. Its about the future of the U.A.E.

Chinas Tianwen-1 mission is similarly a statement. The nation has already showcased its cosmic aspirations by launching humans to space, developing a space station and conducting lunar missions, including the first ever landing on the far side of the moon. Now, with Tianwen-1, it aims to prove it is an interplanetary space power, too. It would bring a lot of prestige, says Andrew Jones, a journalist that covers spaceflight in China. Only NASA has been able to land and operate on Mars.

Tianwen-1 will be slightly unusual, however. After arriving at the planet in February 2021, it will linger in orbit for months before it deploys its lander and rover and attempts a landingperhaps in Utopia Planitia, not far from the Viking 2 lander. The rover will then drive off its landing platform and study its environs with its six instrumentsincluding a radar device to study ice and water under the surface and a laser tool to measure rock compositions. Its intended lifetime will be three Earth months.

Hope and Tianwen-1 are worthy efforts in their own right. But it is Perseverance that will likely take center stage in this next act of Mars exploration. It is a jack-of-all-trades machine, almost comically overstuffed in its mission ambitions. Perseverance will fly a helicopter on Mars, produce Martian weather reports and even make oxygen out of thin air. Its greatest trick of all, however, is just how close it will bring us to knowing if we are truly not alone in this universe. Were entirely on new ground, says Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the Science Mission Directorate at NASA. Thats what makes it so exciting.

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Summer on Mars: NASA's Perseverance Rover Is One of Three Missions Ready to Launch - Scientific American

Mars inspires a new generation of astronauts, like Alyssa Carson – Business Insider – Business Insider

Alyssa Carson attended her first space camp at 5 years old. She graduated from the Advanced Space Academy program at 16, the youngest person ever to do so. Before the pandemic hit, the rising college sophomore had planned to spend her summer flying airplanes.

The eventual goal: fly to Mars.

Carson is one of a small group of young people who are already positioning themselves to be astronauts in the US's next phase of space exploration. They are attending advanced preparation programs and building social media personas to put themselves on NASA's radar now, all with an eye towards being in the astronaut class sent to the red planet in the next couple of decades.

The group, mostly teenagers, talks online about the latest developments in space exploration and works to broadcast their interest to a wider audience. Carson's online personality is NASA Blueberry she uses the name on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok.

"We're kind of translating space talk and doing science experiments on TikTok," she told Business Insider. "It's definitely a lot of the science geeks trying to learn this new TikTok thing, but it's about being entertaining while talking about science."

Going to Mars has been Carson's dream since she was 3 years old and watched an episode of "The Backyardigans" about astronauts going to Mars. She's the only person who's attended every NASA space camp. When she was 12, she was invited to speak at NASA about her interest in the red planet. She's currently pursuing an astrobiology major at the Florida Institute of Technology.

The draw is that stepping onto the red planet is something no one has done before, she said.

NASA aims to send humans to Mars in the 2030s. A crucial though preliminary step in that effort launches later this month, when the Perseverance rover will begin its journey to the red planet. Assuming it lands there safely, the robot is expected to search for signs of life and measure Mars's weather, dust, and water conditions. This information could help set up future crewed missions.

An artist's concept of astronauts and human habitats on Mars. JPL/NASA

Carson considers herself and her "science geek" friends part of the "Mars generation." For people her age who are into science and space, she said, Mars is the new moon.

But she believes that a push from the public, especially young people, is what's needed to make sure the mission happens.

"The whole reason why we went to the moon was because there was so much public interest around it," Carson said. "I definitely think that Mars kind of needs that same push. So it's kind of either teaching or inspiring or helping people to either want to get involved in the space program in some way or just want to support it."

Alyssa Carson in a flight simulator at Advanced Space Academy. Bert Carson

NASA Blueberry, the username Carson coined, references her time at the Advanced Space Academy. It's her "call sign" the nickname astronauts use for each other when they are giving commands over the radio.

"I got 'Blueberry' because the second time I went to space camp, when I was really little, I wanted one of the blue flight suits that I saw everyone wearing because I wanted to be an astronaut, so I wanted to look like one. I was too short and small to fit in any of the flight suits, so my dad ended up finding this knockoff, like not really the right shade of blue," she explained.

"When I wore it everyone told me it made me look like a blueberry. So after that, throughout the day and the rest of the time at space camp, they would just say, 'Oh, Blueberry, can you do this?'"

Carson said she looks to female astronauts of the past as her role models.

She met former astronaut Sandra Magnus once at a career day for young women interested in science and technology. Magnus chatted with Carson and explained that she'd decided to become an astronaut at a young age.

"That inspired me and told me that it didn't really matter how old I was when I decided this, that I could actually successfully do it in the future," Carson said. "So it's just kind of been a little push and a little motivation to kind of keep me working towards my dream."

After finishing her schooling a PhD in astrobiology is a possibility, she said Carson plans to apply whenever NASA puts out its next call for astronaut applications. The space agency usually accepts applicants every few years.

"Then just hopefully applying until I get selected," Carson said, adding, "ideally, I just want to contribute in some way to the space program whether that is the mission to Mars being on it or whether that's doing work on Earth for the mission, or any other mission."

But her real hope, she said, is to be in space by the time she's in her 30s.

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Mars inspires a new generation of astronauts, like Alyssa Carson - Business Insider - Business Insider

South Atlantic Anomaly: Have astronomers finally explained space’s Bermuda Triangle? – Space.com

Ships, airplanes and people have been known to disappear without explanation in an area of the North Atlantic Ocean known as the Bermuda Triangle.

Could it be extraterrestrials, some force pulling objects under the sea or a link to the fabled lost city of Atlantis? Or could it simply be bad weather, human error or heavy traffic in the region? No one knows for certain, but more than 50 ships and 20 planes have vanished since the mid-19th century. That's actually no more than in any other well-traveled area of the ocean, but still, the conspiracy theories persist.

If we look skyward we can explore a similar phenomenon dubbed the "Bermuda Triangle of space." This vast region above Earth has been known to wreak havoc on spacecraft that happen to enter the area. The craft aren't suddenly vanishing into thin air, but the disruption that's caused is nevertheless serious, and it poses problems for both equipment and astronauts.

The Bermuda Triangle of space lies above the South Atlantic, stretching from Chile to Zimbabwe, and sits at the point where the inner Van Allen radiation belt comes closest to Earth's surface. Earth has two Van Allen belts, which are two doughnut-shaped rings of charged particles that surround our planet, held in place by Earth's magnetic field. The inner part consists mainly of high-energy protons and the outer part is mainly electrons. Because the belts trap the particles that are shooting from the surface of the sun, they end up protecting the surface of the planet from harmful radiation.

At the location of the Bermuda Triangle of space, or the South Atlantic Anomaly (SAA) as it is formally known, Earth's magnetic field is particularly weak. This means the particles of solar cosmic rays are not being held back to the same extent as they are elsewhere above the planet. As a result, solar rays come as close as 200 kilometers (124 miles) to the Earth's surface. The more intense solar radiation results in an increased flux of energetic particles in this area.

"I'm not fond of the nickname, but in that region, the lower geomagnetic field intensity eventually results in a greater vulnerability of satellites to energetic particles, to the point that spacecraft damage could occur as they traverse the area," said John Tarduno, professor of geophysics at the University of Rochester. "The lower magnetic field intensity allows Earth's radiation belt technically the inner belt to come closer to Earth's surface," Tarduno told All About Space. "Thus satellites passing through this region will experience higher amounts of radiation to the point that damage could occur. Think about an electrical discharge or arc. With more incoming radiation, a satellite can become charged, and attendant arcs can result in serious damage."

Ordinarily the Van Allen belts stretch at an altitude of between 1,000 and 60,000 km (620 and 37,000 miles) above Earth's surface. The low altitude of the radiation hotspot, however, puts it within the orbit of certain satellites, which become bombarded by protons that exceed energies of 10 million electron volts (eV) at a rate of 3,000 "hits" per square centimeter per second.

This affects the spacecraft's onboard electronic systems, which hampers the operation of these objects and forces space agencies and other satellite operators to power them down. The same goes for the Hubble telescope, which passes through the SAA 10 times a day, spending a good 15% of its time there. Hubble is unable to collect astronomical data during these moments, which is not ideal, but necessary.

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Failing to take precautions by shutting the spacecraft down would likely lead to system failure something astronauts have already witnessed with computers on board craft that fly in the vicinity of the SAA. The only solution is to take protective measures. "Putting equipment into a 'safe mode' means operations that are more vulnerable to radiation are curtailed," Tarduno said.

The more complex electronics have become, the more potential there is for problems to emerge. Any satellites that use the microwave tracking system DORIS which stands for Doppler Orbitography and Radiopositioning Integrated by Satellite for example, see a resulting shift of the onboard oscillator frequency.

Related: 'Vigorous' magnetic field oddity spotted over South Atlantic

Damage caused by the SAA can also prove very costly, as evidenced when the area sent the Japanese satellite Hitomi crashing down to Earth. Hitomi, or ASTRO-H, was commissioned by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to study extremely energetic processes in the universe. Just over a month after its February 2016 launch, its operators lost contact and the satellite broke into several pieces. Experts later discovered that the problem was due to the spacecraft's inertial reference unit (a type of motion sensor) reporting a rotation of 21.7 degrees per hour when the craft was actually stable. When the attitude control system sought to counteract the non-existent spin, a succession of events caused it to break.

Had the operators been able to spot the error in real time, they could have corrected it. But it happened while the satellite was travelling through the SAA, so communication was lost. There is also a possibility that the large dose of radiation affected the electronics. In any case, the unfortunate saga cost JAXA about $273 million and three years of prepared studies.

Astronauts can be affected by the SAA too. Some have reported seeing odd white lights flashing before their eyes, and steps have been taken to protect astronauts on board the International Space Station (ISS). Strong shielding is in place over the most frequently occupied parts of the ISS, such as the gallery and the sleeping quarters to reduce the amount of radiation the astronauts are exposed to. Astronauts also wear dosimeters, which are devices that measure their personal exposure to ionising radiation in real time, and send out a warning if they reach dangerous levels.

But why is the magnetic field less strong above the South Atlantic? It's because of the shape of Earth, which is not completely round. The Earth bulges slightly in the middle, and the planet's magnetic dipole field is offset from its center by about 500 km (300 miles). Where the dip lies, the charged particles and cosmic rays are closer to Earth's surface and provide less insulation from interplanetary space. Even so, this magnetic bubble still prevents solar wind from reaching the surface.

The magnetic field is sustained by a dynamo process that results from the flowing liquid metal in Earth's outer core that generates electric currents. When the planet rotates on its axis, the turbulent movement of molten, charged material is what forms the magnetic field, and gives the planet the north and south poles at the surface. Yet the poles aren't permanent, as Earth's magnetic field is constantly shifting; growing stronger and weaker as it moves around. At the moment, the magnetic field is weakening in the area of the SAA, which means the area growing.

Tarduno and his colleagues have been studying how long the SAA has been active. In 2018, they found a unique source of geological evidence in Africa that helped shed light on what Earth's magnetic field looked like thousands of years ago. Bantu farmers who lived in the Limpopo River Valley in Africa 1,000 years ago would perform a cleansing ritual which involved burning their villages during droughts to start afresh and encourage the rain. The burn resulted in the freeing of magnetic minerals in the clay that would align with Earth's magnetic field before cooling, which left Tarduno and his colleagues a stunning snapshot of what the magnetic field looked like at that time.

"We found something unusual about the core-mantle boundary under Africa," Tarduno said, which could be affecting the global magnetic field. The team found evidence that the SAA is the most current manifestation of a recurring phenomenon.

"Under Africa, at the core-mantle boundary just above the liquid-iron core, the field is reversed. This is something we call a reversed flux patch," Tarduno said. "It is this patch that seems to be causing most of the weak field and the SAA." Scientists have also looked into whether this will mean the magnetic field is about to flip, but studies based on observations of the past 50,000 years suggest the SAA is not a sign of this.

Further studies have also looked into how hazardous the radiation in the SAA could be at different levels. This is important because the growing area of the SAA will not only increase problems with computers and other electronic equipment on Earth, but it could also lead to a greater prevalence of cancer.

Riccardo Campana at the National Institute for Astrophysics in Bologna, Italy, analyzed radiation data from the Italian-Dutch satellite for X-ray astronomy BeppoSAX, which frequently journeyed through the lower edge of the SAA between 1996 and 2003. He found that radiation levels were lower in the lower part of the SAA than in the upper layers.

Still, as the European Space Agency points out, the magnetic field in this area has lost about 15%of its strength over the past 150 years. Before 1994, the magnetic north pole was moving at 10 km (6.2 miles) per year, but this has sped up to some 65 km (40 miles) per year since 2001. Could the magnetic field ever disappear completely, leaving Earth wide open to radiation?

Related: Space Radiation Threat to Astronauts Explained (Infographic)

"This is not a concern until many billions of years into the future," Tarduno said. "Even during times of magnetic reversals, there is a magnetic field, albeit much weaker and much more complex in form than the present one.

"The debate now is whether we are in the early stages of a magnetic reversal. The rapid decline in dipole magnetic field strength over the last 160 years and the pattern of decay lend some support for consideration of this as a possibility, but the short time span of the observed decay still puts this into the realm of speculation."

For now, the main concern is for space exploration, particularly given that the number of satellites and spacecraft carrying humans is set to increase. Knowing how the SAA behaves is crucial because as it grows at a rate of 19.3 km (12 miles) per year, it will soon end up covering a much greater geographical region than it does today.

Additional resources:

This article was adapted from a previous version published in All About Space magazine, a Future Ltd. publication.

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South Atlantic Anomaly: Have astronomers finally explained space's Bermuda Triangle? - Space.com

Space Robotics – Market Research | Recent Trends and Growth Forecast 2025 – CueReport

Latest updates on Space Robotics market, a comprehensive study enumerating the latest price trends and pivotal drivers rendering a positive impact on the industry landscape. Further, the report is inclusive of the competitive terrain of this vertical in addition to the market share analysis and the contribution of the prominent contenders toward the overall industry.

In the space robotics market, products including rovers, probes, and arms are increasingly used in both deep and near space-related projects. Robotic arms are capable of cleaning litter and debris produces in space due to lost equipment and old satellites orbiting around the planet. The increasing need to clean the debris, which is a threat to existing satellites, spaceships, and astronauts is increasing the demand for probes and arms. Governmental organizations are developing efficient robotic arms for various projects, which will aid in performing maintenance & research related tasks to astronauts. For instance, in March 2019, Canada announced an investment of USD 1.4 billion in NASA?s Lunar Gateway Program and offered a robot arm that will aid the continuous functioning of the lunar-orbiting base.

Government applications in the space robotics market are rapidly developing due to several R&D activities and satellite launches for defense & security purposes in countries including the U.S., China, Israel, etc., contributing to industry growth. Moreover, the growing awareness related to space exploration and satellite launch programs that will aid defense & military activities is creating the demand for robotic technology. In the UK, the government is offering huge funding for R&D and demonstrating projects under its Innovate UK programs, such as the FAIR-SPACE hub and other projects, creating growth prospects the space robotics market.

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Space Robotics Market is expected to exceed USD 3.5 billion by 2025. Increasing government investments and projects related to space research and exploration in several countries is driving the industry demand. The launch of several satellites and spaceships working in deep and near spaces require timely maintenance and repairing, creating the need for highly efficient robotic systems. National organizations such as NASA, CSA, JAXA, etc., are introducing humanoid robots to perform the maintenance, servicing, and transportation operations to gain high efficiency, further developing the space robotics market. The rising trends of autonomous features and AI technology in robotic products will drive rapid industry expansion.

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Key companies in the space robotics market are SpaceX, Northrop Grumman, Honeybee Robotics, Maxar Technologies, Orbital ATK, Altius Space Machines, Motiv Space Systems, etc. Companies are investing highly in R&D capabilities to develop efficient & technically advanced robot technologies applicable in exploration & servicing operations. These players are witnessing several partnerships and contracts with government agencies for technical advancements in the space robotics market. For instance, in December 2018, MDA announced that the company has signed four contracts with Canada under its Defence Innovation Research Program.

The Asia Pacific space robotics market is expected to grow over the forecast time span owing to many space exploration & research projects in countries including China, Japan, and India, majorly driving the industry growth. For instance, in January 2019, the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) announced that the country?s first unmanned space mission will include a humanoid robot, which is in the development stage and has multilingual features. China is also involved with several projects for space & moon exploration, which will add up to industry development prospects.

Major Highlights from Table of contents are listed below for quick lookup into Space Robotics Market report

Chapter 1. Methodology and Scope

Chapter 2. Executive Summary

Chapter 3. Space Robotics Industry Insights

Chapter 4. Company Profiles

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Space Robotics - Market Research | Recent Trends and Growth Forecast 2025 - CueReport

4 Strange Objects Discovered in Deep Space Have Astronomers Baffled – MovieWeb

Four unidentified objects have been discovered in deep space and astronomers have never seen anything like them. Australian astronomers know that the mysterious objects are round with bright outer edges. They apparently look like four "distant ring-shaped islands" and were discovered while astronomers were mapping the sky in radio frequencies. This is a part of a pilot survey for a new project called the Evolutionary Map of the Universe (EMU).

The four unidentified objects have been dubbed, odd radio circles, or ORC. According to the research team's findings, "None of the ORCs has obvious optical, infrared, or X-ray counterparts to the diffuse emission, although in two cases there is an optical galaxy near the center of the radio emission." They went on to note that the ORCs have "strong circular symmetry" and all had a diameter of around one arcminute. For comparison, the moon's diameter is 31 arcminutes. The astronomers have ruled out objects like supernovas, star-forming galaxies, planetary nebulas, and gravitational lensing.

One theory about the ORCs states that they could be shockwaves leftover from some "extragalactic event" or even possible activity from a radio galaxy. "While this is a theoretical possibility, such a shock has not yet been observed elsewhere," researchers say. With that being said, it sounds like this could very well be a pretty major discovery, which is all thanks to two different radio telescopes. The astronomers used two just to make sure they were not getting any imaging errors since they were blown away by what they discovered. Kaustubh Rajwade, from the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics, University of Manchester, U.K., who is not affiliated with the original study, had this to say about the discovery.

This is exciting for the world of astronomy, but may be a bit of a disappointment for those hoping that these were UFOs with Alien pilots. There's a lot going on out in space exploration at the moment and there's more to come. Chinese astronomers recently found a green gel-like substance on the dark side of the moon, which was very intriguing to everybody involved, though it turned out to be a mixture of melted moon rock, thanks to an alleged meteoroid crash.

The report has not been officiated by Nature Astronomy, though it has been submitted for peer review. From there, the scientists will more than likely get the green light to explore further using different wave lengths and possibly getting a budget to do so. Who knows what else is lurking out there in deep space? You can head over to the Arxiv website to read the research paper and form your own hypothesis as to what these ORCs really are.

Topics: UFO

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4 Strange Objects Discovered in Deep Space Have Astronomers Baffled - MovieWeb

Australia’s first Aboriginal-owned ground station could be vital for space research – SBS News

Arrernte man Peter Renehan has made history in Australia as the first person to be at the helm of an Aboriginal organisation owning and maintaining a commercial Earth ground station, which opened for operation this month in Alice Springs.

Based in Central Australia, the Centre for Appropriate Technology (CfAT) has an Aboriginal workforce of more than 50 per cent and were the leading drivers behind the infrastructure of the commercial satellite station.Mr Renehan, the chief executive officer of CfAT, said being behind the project puts Aboriginal people in a league of their own.

Often remote Australia and outback Australia are overlooked as contributors ... this project shows that we can do some really complex projects based out of the bush, particularly here in Central Australia, he told SBS News.

We are in a unique location, its a fantastic opportunity for an Aboriginal organisaiton in Alice Springs to be at the forefront and this is the first of its kind on Aboriginal-owned land in Australia and its something we are very proud of.

Job opportunities have been provided to the local community.

Indigenous Business Australia

The infrastructure of the facility took around two years to construct and brought abundant job opportunities to the local community.

And while CfAT continues to run the maintenance of the facility, employment opportunities for the local community will continue to flow.

We are currently and will continue to provide maintenance to the facility ... theres going to be ongoing maintenance that has to take place over a long period of time, so our guys are being trained up to be able to offer that, he said.

As more opportunities like this arise, we are developing the capacity of Aboriginal staff to be able to take on future roles as well. Thats really exciting for us.

But this effort wasnt without difficulty. In 2015 CfAT had their government funding cut, and Mr Renehan was worried they would have to shut down.

Through countless board meetings and deciphering how to keep the company afloat, they turned to the hectares of land in which CfAT was sitting on, just 10 kilometres south of Alice Springs.

We really had to think about how we can sustain ourselves into the future, and because we had significant land assets, that was one way that we thought we could better utilise those assets, he said.

From there, a collaboration with the United States-based communications company Viasat was born and progress towards a commercial satellite station began, utilising CfAT's land for science development.

Were in a unique location where we are able to access the infrastructure either above and below the ground to help support satellite dishes on our start, so from there negotiations started with Viasat, he said.

Mr Renehan said he hopes the resilience of CfAT speaks widely to other organisations who might be doing it tough.

We are really proud to be able to say we have gone through some really tough times, but by thinking differently shows that you can continue to get it done, he said.

The facility has now become part of a global network known as Real-Time Earth ground stations, tracking low orbit satellites and feeding back the data in real-time to the end-user.

The facility has now become part of a global network known as Real-Time Earth ground stations.

Indigenous Business Australia

It will be able to track fast-moving events like bushfires, oil spills in the ocean, floods, and tsunamis, as well as lending a hand in search and rescue missions.

That information will then be distributed to the end-user its pretty quick, so the economic opportunities would be quite significant, said Eddie Fry, the chairperson of Indigenous Business Australia (IBA) and a Dagoman man.

The project was funded by IBA, who said it was a great opportunity for Indigenous Australians to get involved in enhancing Australias space sector.

As this business footprint expands over Australia, this is a good opportunity for Indigenous organisations to establish a toehold in this new business opportunity, he said.

Because of CfATs speciality in providing infrastructure labour to Central Australia, mostly to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, Mr Fry said they were the model business to take the reigns on the facilitys framework.

This is a significant step in a sector that requires significant skill sets and significant management, and the CfAT is probably the appropriate place at this point in time to get this project underway, he said.

Passionate about space exploration himself, Mr Fry said having a facility like this in Central Australia could help to inspire future scientists.

Imagine in 10 years time if we're able to develop a scientist out of this as a result of this whole platform ... and they come from an Indigenous background, he said.

Eddie Fry: 'Imagine in ten years time if we're able to develop a scientist out of this.'

Indigenous Business Australia

Dr Sarah Pearce, director of the CSIRO Space and Research program, said having real-time data delivery for science research in Australia is vitally important for the sector.

Downloading data from space is a real bottleneck for Earth observation research ... so having more ground stations and, better yet, having more ground stations in Australia close to where we need the data is really important, she said.

Australian-based ground stations are really critical for conducting space research in Australia.

We really appreciate the efficiency that comes with being able to download the data directly to Australia.

Ms Pearce said it is critical that we have space ground stations in Australia.

We have a large landmass with remote areas which are really well suited to hosting this facility, she said.

It's an area as well where Australia can really contribute to the global space community.

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Australia's first Aboriginal-owned ground station could be vital for space research - SBS News

Deep Space Exploration and Technology Market Incredible Possibilities, Growth with Industry Study, Detailed Analysis and Forecast to 2025 -…

Deep Space Exploration and Technology Market Incredible Possibilities, Growth with Industry Study, Detailed Analysis and Forecast to 2025Date: 2020-07-10 Author: Sachin PashteCategory: #news

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8 Awesome Games Based on Movies, TV Shows, and Books – Gizmodo UK

Board games are a great way to pass the time, especially during social distancing. Sometimes, in the case of more difficult board games or tabletop roleplaying games, its great to have a baseline of knowledge about the source material. Thats where these titles come in. If youre already a fan of Game of Thrones, The Expanse, Alien, or even the Dark Universe (RIP), here are some games to help bring you into the worlds you love.

A look at the box art and board for Jaws.Image: Ravensburger

Ravensburgers Jaws is hands-down one of the best board game adaptations out there. It combines strategy-type guessing with roleplaying game battle mechanics to make something thats suspenseful and action-packed. One player takes on the role of the shark, secretly swimming around the island eating swimmers, as one to three more players work as Quint, Hooper, and Brody to stop the carnivorous creature. It all ends in a high-stakes battle on a boat, trying to stop the shark for good... or be turned into chow.

Some of the gorgeous artwork created for the Alien roleplaying game. Image: Free League Publishing

The Alien franchise has gone in some, well, interesting directions over the past several years. But lets not forget the fact that it started as a series about a bunch of blue-collar workers in space being forced to fight aliens. This tabletop roleplaying game from Free League Publishing heads back to Aliens pre-Ill do the fingering days, with players working together as space truckers and marines just trying to get by during a horrific crisis. Whats great about this RPG is that it features a cinematic mode, which turns a session into a single-play experience where characters may likely die by the end. But thats all part of telling a good story.

Dunes cover art looks sublime. Image: Gale Force Nine

This board game is truly a tale of survival against all odds fitting considering what its based on. The Dune board game from Avalon Hill has players taking on the role of different noble houses from Frank Herberts series, fighting each other for control of Arrakis and the legendary spice. The game first came out in 1979, but it didnt see a boost from the David Lynch film so it fell into obscurity. However, the game kept a devoted following for being one of the best adaptations of Herberts saga, eventually becoming a collectors item. Last year, Gale Force Nine released a remake of the classic game, ensuring its place among the stars. The spice (and dice) must flow.

Set phasers to play! Image: Modiphius Entertainment

There have been plenty of games set in the world of Star Trek, and the still-ongoing roleplaying series Star Trek Adventures from Modiphius stands out among them. Its an incredibly rich and dense world that lets players create the Starfleet officers and teams theyve always dreamed of seeing. The game can be intimidating to play at times; it has a pretty dense corebook with a lot of rules to follow. However, once youve gotten over the hurdle of learning how everything works, it can provide months if not years of entertainment.

Imagine the complex horrors within. Image: Fantasy Flight Games

Fair warning before starting this game: It may destroy friendships. Fantasy Flight Games A Game of Thrones is brutal and intense. Its also the only way to truly immerse yourself in the Game of Thrones experience. Every player takes on a different House, trying to gain control of Westeros through wars, alliances, betrayals, and perhaps a red wedding or two. It will take several hours and you will most likely hate everyone around you by the end of it, but its worth it to feel like a true Khaleesi.

Two teams enter, one team leaves. I mean, both technically leave but only one is the winner. Image: IDW Games

Its really hard to recreate the feeling of being a bender anyone who pretended to waterbend against their elementary school classmates can attest to that! IDW Games The Legend of Korra: Pro-Bending Arena turned the art of bending fights into a two-player battle royale, with players using various bending skills to overtake the other team and force them off the grid. Its a surprisingly complex strategy game, and comes with some fantastic (and paintable!) miniatures. Theres no better way to spend time while waiting for Netflixs live-action Avatar: The Last Airbender show to finally come out.

The skys the limit. Literally. Image: Green Ronin Publishing

Whats great about The Expanses roleplaying game from Green Ronin is how open it is. The world of James S.A. Coreys book series and Amazon Primes television show is Game of Thrones-levels of massive, covering everything from space exploration to interplanetary politics. This provides a lot of possibilities for characters, locations, and scenarios, which make for some fascinating player choices. Theres also a free quickstart version with pre-made characters and a campaign scenario, for anyone curious to try it out.

They did the Monster Mash. Image: Ravensburge

Okay, so this last one is a bit of a cheat, as its technically a shared-universe game based on Universals movie monsters. However, given how many crossovers we got in that franchise Dark Universe (RIP) notwithstanding it makes sense to put all of these monsters together in a single game. Horrifiedfrom Ravensburger is a cooperative board game where players fight one or more Universal movie monsters while trying to protect themselves and the citizens of the town. Each monster comes with their own skills and objectives, along with a unique way to defeat them. The variety of monsters and monster combos provides for several games worth of experiences. Plus, the artwork is just second to none.

Featured image: Ravensburger, Green Ronin Publishing, Free League Publishing, Gale Force Nine

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Moon Mining Could Begin As Early As 2025 – OilPrice.com

Plans to start mining the Moon as early as 2025 became more attractive this week after a US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) team found evidence that the Earths natural satellite may, underneath its surface, be richer in metals than previously thought. Using data from the Miniature Radio Frequency (Mini-RF) instrument onboard NASAs Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), a team of researchers came to the conclusion that the lunar subsurface contains a higher concentration of certain metals, such as iron and titanium, than estimated.

The study, published in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters, contends the most popular theory surrounding the Moons origins. The hypothesis contends the satellite was formed when a Mars-sized object collided with Earth, vaporizing large portions of the Earths upper crust.

By improving our understanding of how much metal the moons subsurface actually has, scientists can constrain the ambiguities about how it has formed, how it is evolving and how it is contributing to maintaining habitability on Earth, lead study author Essam Heggy said in a statement.

The evidence was discovered while the scientists were looking for ice at the bottom of craters in the lunar north pole region, NASA said. It means that fine dust found at the base of those holes are parts of the deeper layers of the Moon, ejected during meteor impacts. As such, this dust represents the composition in deeper Moon layers.

Related: Exxon Is Big Oils Outlier In The Post-Pandemic World The researchers found a pattern in which larger and deeper craters have higher metal concentrations than smaller and shallower ones. Specifically, in craters approximately 1 to 3 miles wide, the dielectric constant or electrical property increased along with crater size. However, the electrical property remained constant for craters between three to 12 miles wide.

US President Donald Trump signed an order in April encouraging citizens to mine the Moon and other celestial bodies with commercial purposes.

The directive classifies outer space as a legally and physically unique domain of human activity instead of a global commons, paving the way for mining the moon without any sort of international treaty.

Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space, the document states, noting that the US had never signed a 1979 accord known as the Moon Treaty. This agreement stipulates that any activities in space should conform to international law.

Russias space agency Roscosmos quickly condemned Trumps move, likening it to colonialism.

There have already been examples in history when one country decided to start seizing territories in its interest everyone remembers what came of it, Roscosmos deputy general director for international cooperation, Sergey Saveliev, said.

Aircraft taking off from Ronald Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia. (Public domain CC0 image.)

The proposed global legal framework for mining on the moon, called the Artemis Accords, would be the latest effort to attract allies to the National Space Agencys (NASA) plan to place humans and space stations on the celestial body within the next decade.

It also lines-up with several public and private initiatives to fulfill the goal of extracting resources from asteroids, the moon and even other planets.

In 2015, the US Congress passed a bill explicitly allowing companies and citizens to mine, sell and own any space material.

That piece of legislation included a very important clause, stating that it did not grant sovereignty or sovereign or exclusive rights or jurisdiction over, or the ownership of, any celestial body.

Related: Saudi Arabia And Kuwait Restart Production At Huge Shared Oil Field

The section ratified the Outer Space Treaty, signed in 1966 by the US, Russia, and a number of other countries, which states that nations cant own territory in space.

Trump has taken a consistent interest in asserting American power beyond Earth, forming the Space Force within the US military last year to conduct space warfare.

The countrys space agency NASA had previously outlined its long-term approach to lunar exploration, which includes setting up a base camp on the moons south pole.

The US isnt the first nor the only nation to jump on board the lunar mining train.

Russia has been pursuing plans in recent years to return to the moon, potentially travelling further into outer space.

Roscosmos revealed in 2018 plans to establish a long-term base on the moon over the next two decades, while President Vladimir Putin has vowed to launch a mission to Mars very soon.

Luxembourg, one of the first countries to set its eyes on the possibility of mining celestial bodies, created in 2018 a Space Agency (LSA) to boost exploration and commercial utilization of resources from Near Earth Objects.

Unlike NASA, LSA does not carry out research or launches. Its purpose is to accelerate collaborations between economic project leaders of the space sector, investors and other partners.

Thanks to the emerging European network, scientists announced last year plans to begin extracting resources from the moon in five years.

NASA is working on lunar bases that can travel on wheels, or even legs, increasing landing zone safety, provide equipment redundancy and improve the odds of making key discoveries. (Image courtesy of NASA.)

The mission, in charge of the European Space Agency in partnership with ArianeGroup, plans to extract waste-free nuclear energy thought to be worth trillions of dollars.

Both China and India have also floated ideas about extracting Helium-3 from the Earths natural satellite. Beijing has already landed on the moon twice in the 21st century, with more missions to follow.

In Canada, most initiatives have come from the private sector. One of the most touted was Northern Ontario-based Deltion Innovations partnership with Moon Express, the first American private space exploration firm to have been granted government permission to travel beyond Earths orbit.

Space ventures in the works include plans to mine asteroids, track space debris, build the first human settlement in Mars, and billionaire Elon Musks own plan for an unmanned mission to the red planet.

Geologists, as well as emerging companies, such as US-based Planetary Resources, a firm pioneering the space mining industry, believe asteroids are packed with iron ore, nickel and precious metals at much higher concentrations than those found on Earth, making up a market valued in the trillions.

By Mining.com

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Moon Mining Could Begin As Early As 2025 - OilPrice.com

Deep Space Exploration and Technology Market: Key Players, Growth, Analysis, 20 – News by aeresearch

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Chapter 1 Industry Overview

Chapter 2 Production Market Analysis

Chapter 3 Sales Market Analysis

Chapter 4 Consumption Market Analysis

Chapter 5 Production, Sales and Consumption Market Comparison Analysis

Chapter 6 Major Manufacturers Production and Sales Market Comparison Analysis

Chapter 7 Major Product Analysis

Chapter 8 Major Application Analysis

Chapter 9 Industry Chain Analysis

Chapter 10 Global and Regional Market Forecast

Chapter 11 Major Manufacturers Analysis

Chapter 12 New Project Investment Feasibility Analysis

Chapter 13 Conclusions

Chapter 14 Appendix

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Deep Space Exploration and Technology Market: Key Players, Growth, Analysis, 20 - News by aeresearch

Op-ed | On the verge of a new era for space exploration? Assessing the impact of the ongoing crisis – SpaceNews

Establishing an international long-term sustainable lunar presence in partnership with the private sector remains the core focus in space exploration

For more than 50 years, our desire to explore space has led to new discoveries while providing a continuous stream of socioeconomic benefits here on Earth. Space exploration, moreover, has increasingly cemented itself as a field of high strategic importance for governments around the globe.

Fueled by these multiple factors, global government investment in space exploration has grown in the past decade driven by programs in leading countries and joined by an increasing number of actors. According to Euroconsults latest research, Prospects for Space Exploration 2nd Edition, global government investment in space exploration totaled nearly $20 billion in 2019, increasing at a 5% compound annual growth rate over the past five years. Thirty-one countries and space agencies lead this global investment with the United States accounting for 71% of it.

The strategic and geopolitical value of the Earths natural satellite plays an important role behind the rationale of heading back to the moon, and it is considered as a central piece toward future crewed Mars missions. Moreover, space agencies share the objective of creating a sustainable lunar market environment, with cost-sharing, risk-sharing, and partnering as key goals for this new wave of lunar exploration.

Leading space agencies also agree on the importance of maintaining a sustained presence in low Earth orbit. The International Space Station remains the worlds largest international cooperation program to date and the cornerstone for human spaceflight. Funding for the station is secured by all partners until at least 2024 and support has grown for extending operations to 2028 or 2030 in cooperation with the private sector. NASAs future vision for LEO includes a sustainable U.S.-led commercial human spaceflight marketplace. China, in the meantime, has ramped up investments to ensure the launch and completion of its LEO space station in the coming years. Meanwhile, astronomy and planetary missions to Mars and other destinations will continue expanding our scientific knowledge and technical capabilities.

To achieve these goals, global government investment for space exploration is forecast to increase to $30 billion by 2029. This forecast funding growth of about 50% over the coming decade reflects government support of large-scale, ambitious plans, which have started to materialize with the moon as a core focus.

Space exploration is not only attracting the interest of an increasing number of governments but also the private sector. From startups to large companies, players are seeking to exploit the commercial potential of space as human and robotic presence expands beyond Earth. The next decade promises numerous commercial exploration initiatives, significantly impacting the strategic planning of governments and their agenda for space exploration. New public-private contractual schemes are taking shape, reflecting the willingness from space agencies to act as both a strategic partner and a potential future customer of commercial services to achieve a sustainable model for space exploration. However, while enthusiasm for space exploration and the moon in particular is real, numerous missions remain uncertain due to a great number of external risk factors accentuated by the current global context.

The unprecedented context created by the COVID-19 pandemic is causing repercussions of varying degrees throughout the global economy. The precise impact of the current health and economic crisis are, as of today, still difficult to predict with exactitude. The space sector has already experienced the direct effects of the lockdown caused by the pandemic: Space missions operated by employees at home, science missions on standby, launches postponed, and manufacturing plans on hold are some of the examples that have challenged the daily activities of the space sector during the past months. However, as the world slowly returns to normal operations, it is expected that space activities will do so as well. We are experiencing, for instance, the excitement of NASAs Commercial Crew Program, including the first crewed launch to the International Space Station from the United States since 2011. This summer will also see the launch of notable planetary exploration missions if all proceeds as planned such as NASAs Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover and the United Arab Emirates Mars HOPE orbiter.

Nonetheless, the space sector is not immune to the global international context and will experience the ripple effect of the economic fallout. It remains uncertain how readjustments in investments or new allocations will fully develop, as countries around the world might experience higher pressure created by the current turmoil. The impact of the pandemic is anticipated to vary greatly among countries and space verticals. Space exploration activities are long-term in nature and often experience inherent delays. While the current crisis may accentuate further potential delays, it is unlikely to disrupt governments long-term objectives. Space exploration stands high on the space agenda of leading government space programs due to its ties with national strategic interests. Recent announcements such as NASAs contracts awarded to American companies for the development of the lunar human landing system are some of the examples that reaffirm governments ambitions in exploration despite current events. These milestones, nonetheless, are the result of the strategic planning and budget allocations that space agencies made over the past months.

The outlook for space exploration will also be largely influenced by the steps taken by the U.S. in the coming months, as the country remains to date the largest investor and a major driving force in defining the global strategy in space exploration. While the American moon-to-Mars exploration campaign has gained increased bipartisan support, the potential implications that a change of administration during the upcoming elections could have in exploration objectives remain debatable. Space exploration remains deeply tied to American politics as every new administration defines new objectives. The fact that lunar exploration has consolidated as a key strategic asset for many governments around the world, including China, might be a key factor for the U.S. to maintain a moon focus in its exploration strategy independent of a potential political change. However, even if the lunar objective prevails in the United States, questions would arise on the potential delays in programs (such as its moon 2024 objective or the lunar Gateway program), which could also be further stressed due to the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. A deferment of exploration projects could have a negative effect on the current momentum of exploration initiatives, with detrimental effects to international and private partners.

Within the private sector, the increase in private investment in the past decade has facilitated the emergence of new commercial exploration initiatives. Despite this increase, the total private funding in space exploration continues to be, to date, moderate and with investments concentrated only on a rather limited number of actors. Investors remain more reluctant to fund space exploration initiatives due to the inherent high risks and long-term vision of this field, a reluctance which may be further exacerbated by the current global context. The pandemic crisis might additionally accelerate preexisting fragile conditions of startups, challenging their survival. Support from the governments as a customer and a partner will continue to be (even more) critical to the success of commercial initiatives.

Despite the current global scene and the many challenges associated with it, the coming decade may well present opportunities for many. Global leading actors are expected to reinforce their position, while new entrants might face higher difficulties to enter an increasingly competitive field. International collaboration and public-private cooperation are expected to continue consolidating as an essential requisite in the public stakeholders exploration strategy and road map to achieve a sustainable model for space exploration moving forward.

Natalia Larrea is a principal advisor at Euroconsult and chief editor of the Prospects for Space Exploration research.

This article originally appeared in the June 15, 2020 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

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Op-ed | On the verge of a new era for space exploration? Assessing the impact of the ongoing crisis - SpaceNews

Spuds and space: NASA and Idaho have a long history – East Idaho News

From left, Apollo astronauts Joe Engle and Eugene Cernan with NASA geologist Dr. Ted Foss at Craters of the Moon in August 1969. As their mission was to involve collecting rocks from the moons Fra Mauro Highlands, NASA officials decided the national monument in Idaho would be a suitable place to train. | (Photo: NASA)

IDAHO FALLS When people think of NASA, Idaho doesnt exactly jump to mind.

Cape Canaveral and the Kennedy Space Center are in Florida, Johnson Space Center and Mission Control are inTexas, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory is in California.

But Idahos contributions to space exploration date back to the early years of the space race and continue today.

In fact, when NASA launches the Perseverance mission to Mars this summer, its rovers heat and power will come from a radioisotope power system (RPS) assembled and tested at Idaho National Laboratory.

Craters of the Moon

Idahos relationship with NASA began in 1969, the same year Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon.

RELATED | Looking towards the light as darkness pervades the daily news cycle

That August, NASA sent four Apollo astronauts, including Alan Shepard, to Craters of the Moon National Monument for geology training.

In the Apollo days, NASAs central mission was to get astronauts where they were going and return them alive.

Only one scientist was sent to the moon, said Idaho State University volcanologist Shannon Kobs-Nawotniak. The rest were all test pilots. Today, things are driven much more by science.

The former test pilots would be collecting rocks on the moons Fra Mauro Highlands, and NASA mission planners decided Craters of the Moon would be a good place for them to practice spotting scientifically interesting rock specimens.

A rover prototype explores a cave at Craters of the Moon. More than 50 years after Apollo astronauts trained at the national monument, it continues to be a resource used by the space agency whose BASALT and FINESSE programs conduct field experiments that may one day be used on the moon and Mars. | (Photo: NASA)

NASA still uses Craters of the Moon for research. In 2014, scientists from the Ames Research Center began a project called FINESSE (Field Investigations to Enable Solar System Science and Exploration) to conduct field experiments and procedures that may be used by astronauts on the moon and Mars. A second project, BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) examines terrain similar to the surface of Mars.

We have the benefit of so much more technology, said Kobs-Nawotniak, geology co-lead on FINESSE and deputy principal investigator on BASALT. With tools such as spectral imagery and more sophisticated satellites, we have a much better sense of what were looking for, she said.

FINESSEs focus on volcanic terrain applies to both the moon mission slated for the mid-2020s and Martian exploration in the 2030s. BASALT focuses on how water-rock interactions might affect habitability for microbial organisms on Mars.

In addition to her research, Kobs-Nawotniak engages with students all over the country, including the Idaho Space Grant Consortium, which funds Idaho students who are awarded NASA internships. Based at the University of Idaho in Moscow, the consortium was established in 2009 with a $1 million grant for STEM education.

NASAs BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) program conducts experiments and procedures on terrain determined to be similar to the surface of Mars. This includes locations in Hawaii and Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. Here, students learn in a mock space station at the national monuments headquarters. | (Photo: NASA)

Partnering in STEM education

NASA has emerged as a vital partner for STEM education in Idaho, especially in the states underserved rural communities and on Native American reservations.

Ed Galindo, a part-time professor at Idaho State University in Pocatello, deserves a lot of credit. A member of the Yaqui tribe, Galindo first gained NASAs attention when he formed the Native American Science Association. Realizing the agency might be sensitive to another group using its name, he went right to the head of NASA for permission. This was the beginning of a warm relationship.

In 1997, Galindo took Fort Hall students to Houston for a ride on NASAs notorious Vomit Comet, a Boeing KC-135A that makes parabolic arches to give passengers the sensation of zero-gravity flight.

None of the Native American students lost it on the plane, Galindo said. I just told the students to have fun.

A series of student-designed NASA experiments followed, including Spuds in Space, in which the Fort Hall students planted Idaho potatoes in JSC Mars-1, a soil mix designed to emulate everything scientists knew about the Martian soil. The test, done on the STS-Atlantisin 2000, examined how soil would support plant growth in space.

Fun With Urine went aboard STS-Endeavor in 2001 to learn whether urine could serve as the basis of usable space water. In 2003, the club launched its sequel, More Fun With Urine, in which students sought to learn whether their space water could be mixed with paint pigment and American Indian dyes to make art.

Other students around Idaho have put science projects in space. Gary Lam, a sixth-grade teacher at Potlatch Elementary School, helped his class get the Pepper Oil Surprise experiment on the International Space Station.

We wanted to see if water and oil would separate in space, said Lam. We got hold of someone at NASA who told us, You should be OK because they do have pepper oil on board to spice up their food.

Power and heat for Mars, deep space

Since 2003, INL researchers and engineers have participated in four missions for NASA.

That includes support for the radioisotope heater units that warmed the Spirit and Opportunity rovers during the 2003 Mars Exploration Rover mission.

More recently, INL has assembled and tested the systems that power and heat spacecraft and rovers as they gather data.

In 2006, the Pluto New Horizons spacecraft launched with a radioisotope power system provided by INL. That system is still generating electricity and heat as the craft approaches the edge of the solar system. Nearly four years after passing Pluto in 2015, New Horizons flew by and photographed Ultima Thule in the Kuiper Belt, the most distant object in the solar system ever explored by humans4.1 billion miles away.

The second RPS assembled and tested for NASA at INL left Earth in 2011 on NASAs Curiosity rover.

Finally, INL delivered an RPS for the latest Mars Rover, Perseverance, which is scheduled for launch in late July or early August 2020. Once the rover lands, its RPS will provide a source of power and heat for the rovers instruments and onboard systems as it explores the surface.

NASAs BASALT (Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains) program conducts experiments and procedures on terrain determined to be similar to the surface of Mars. This includes locations in Hawaii and Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho. Here, students learn in a mock space station at the national monuments headquarters. | (Photo: NASA)

Center for Space Nuclear Research

Idaho National Laboratory is home to the Center for Space Nuclear Research, which invites undergraduate and graduate-level students to work with INL scientists on space nuclear research of potential interest to NASA. CSNR researchers have studied a tungsten-based fuel for use in a nuclear thermal rocket that emits a clean, nonradioactive exhaust.

NASA luminaries and supporting players from Idaho

Barbara Morgan of McCall was the first teacher in space onboard the STS-Endeavor in 2007 for a mission to the International Space Station. She served as a robotic arm operator and transfer coordinator, directing the transfer of over 5,000 pounds of cargo to the ISS and bringing home over 3,000 pounds.

John Herrington of Lewiston, a member of the Chickasaw Nation and the first Native American in space, flew on the shuttle Endeavor in 2002. After leaving NASA and retiring from the U.S. Navy in 2005, he earned a Ph.D. in education from the University of Idaho.

Nick Bernardini, now at JPL, is the planetary protection lead on Curiosity and the 2020 Perseverance mission. He earned his Ph.D. in microbiology, molecular biology and biochemistry at UI in 2008.

Jason Barnes, an associate professor at UI, is a founding member and deputy principal investigator on NASAs Dragonfly project, the robotic rotorcraft lander planned to launch for Saturns Titan moon in 2025.

David Atkinson, UI professor of electrical engineering from 89 to16, is now a senior systems engineer at JPL on the Saturn Ice Giant Probe Mission.

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Spuds and space: NASA and Idaho have a long history - East Idaho News

2 Tampa Bay area counties are vying to become home of the US Space Force – WTSP.com

Gov. Ron DeSantis has endorsed all eight nomination letters for communities looking to host the U.S. Space Force headquarters.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. As the new U.S. Space Force looks for a prime spot for its headquarters, eight communities in Florida have submitted nomination letters to land it.

Space Florida, the state's aerospace economic development agency, held a call on Tuesday with staff from the Florida Congressional delegation. Following an eligibility screening process, the agency announced Gov. Ron DeSantis had endorsed the nomination letters from all eight communities vying for the Space Force headquarters.

The areas trying to convince Space Force to make a home there include Brevard County, Hillsborough County, city of Jacksonville, city of Miami-Dade, Orange County, city of Pensacola, Pinellas County and Seminole County.

Each area's letter pitched the strength and eligibility of the community to host another military headquarters. Florida currently is home to three combatant commands and more than 20 military installations.

In Hillsborough County's letter addressed to Assistant Secretary John Henderson touts the area is home to MacDill Air Force Base and both Central Command and Special Operations Command.

The letter, signed by Tampa Mayor Jane Castor and Commission Chair Les Miller, also notes the area's nearly 100,000 veterans and the "large concentration of defense and security industry businesses that are prepared to support United States Space Command."

"The State's defense and aerospace ecosystem provides unique capabilities and opportunities that would benefit the USSPACECOM," Space Florida said in a release. "The creation of Space Force generates prospects for commands, supporting structures and related business development as this new branch of the military continues to develop in the coming years."

DeSantis announced his endorsements of the proposals on Monday in a letter to Air Force Assistant Secretary John Henderson, noting the state's long history of supporting American space exploration and technology through Kennedy Space Center, the 45th Space Wing and the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station.

"These installations provide great support to our national defense and provide a significant economic impact to our state," DeSantis said. "Equally important as our military installations is Florida's robust commercial space industry."

Space Florida on Thursday will host a video call to discuss the current status of the headquarters competition and how the agency can assist communities vying for the Space Force win.

So far, the U.S. Air Force has received dozens of nomination letters from communities across the country. Final selection is expected to be announced in early 2021.

In mid-May, the newest branch of the armed services revealed its own flag. The Space Force was officially established in December 2019 as the first new military service since the U.S. Air Force was created in 1947.

The 16,000 airmen and civilians that make up the Space Force technically remain part of the Air Force. President Donald Trump, however, has made clear he sees the new branch as critical to the future of American defense.

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2 Tampa Bay area counties are vying to become home of the US Space Force - WTSP.com

From Dinosaurs to Deep Space, CuriosityStream Brings a World of Factual Entertainment to Sweden Through Its Launch on Com Hem – PRNewswire

SILVER SPRING, Md., July 7, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --Leading independent factual media company CuriosityStreamand Swedish TV operator Com Hem today announced a new partnership that brings hundreds of hours of world-class nonfiction programming to viewers throughout Sweden. Com Hem subscribers now have access to CuriosityStream's award-winning original series and specials through its linear service, with subscription video-on-demand and Comhem Play+ streaming coming soon. The new partnership marks the first time CuriosityStream's trademark programming will be available in Sweden. CuriosityStream launches with many of its programs subtitled in Swedish to be followed by its complete program offering later this year.

"We are tremendously excited to bring the breadth and depth of our content and original programming about our world and beyond to Com Hem viewers,"stated Clint Stinchcomb, President and CEO of CuriosityStream. "Sweden, where, as they say, 'there's no bad weather, just bad clothes', is a culture of nature, environment, and family loving lifelong learners. We share Com Hem's commitment to providing their subscribers with entertaining and engaging experiences that will enrich their lives."

Launched by John Hendricks, the founder of Discovery Channel, CuriosityStream offers viewing options across a full category of factual entertainment that includes science, history, technology, nature, society, and lifestyle. Com Hem viewers will be able to explore their passions and discover new ones with dozens of original series and specials covering a range of topics including current events with Bright Now, leading science with Breakthrough, the wonders of nature with The Secret Lives of Big Cats, and unique insights into history and culture with The History of Home.

Niche Media Group worked with CuriosityStream and Com Hem to facilitate the new partnership.

About Com HemCom Hem supplies broadband, TV, play and telephony services to Swedish households and companies under its two brands Com Hem and Boxer. Com Hem also includes the communication operator iTUX Communication AB which provides open fibre to service providers. We bring our 1.45 million customers a large range of digital-TV channels and play services via set top boxes as well as on-the-go for tablets and smartphones. Our powerful and future-proofed network with speeds up to 1.2 Gbit/s, covers 60 % of the country's households, making the Com Hem an important driver of creating a digital Sweden. Com Hem was founded in 1983 and is a part of Tele2 Group since November 5, 2018.

About CuriosityStream

Launched by media visionary John Hendricks, CuriosityStream is a leading global independent factual media company. Our documentary series and features cover every topic from space exploration to adventure to the secret life of pets, empowering viewers of all ages to fuel their passions and explore new ones. With thousands of titles, many in Ultra HD 4K, including exclusive originals, CuriosityStream features stunning visuals and unrivaled storytelling to demystify science, nature, history, technology, society, and lifestyle. Follow us @curiositystream on social media.

Contact: Norma Ardila 786-213-5968 [emailprotected]

SOURCE CuriosityStream, LLC

curiositystream.com

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From Dinosaurs to Deep Space, CuriosityStream Brings a World of Factual Entertainment to Sweden Through Its Launch on Com Hem - PRNewswire

Your guide to spotting the NEOWISE comet – London Free Press (Blogs)

Discovered at the end of March, the NEOWISE comet is passing within 100 million kilometres of our planet. That in astronomical terms is close, but in human terms very far, said Parshati Patel, an astrophysicist with Western Universitys Institute for Earth & Space Exploration.

So dont worry even though Patel says comets are unpredictable, this one wont ram into the Earth, as often happens in Hollywood movies and science-fiction paperbacks.

Comets are leftover chunks from the formation of a planet, she says, composed of dust, ice and rocks. Its almost like a dirty snowball in many ways, Patel said. They appear as bright spots, with a tail, in the sky.

Patel got up early this week to catch a glimpse of NEOWISE, which gets its name from the asteroid-hunting part of NASAs Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer mission, an Earth-orbiting telescope that detected the object.

I personally went on Tuesday. It wasnt really great. There were some clouds in the sky, Patel said. We couldnt really see it with the naked eye.

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Your guide to spotting the NEOWISE comet - London Free Press (Blogs)

UK government takes $500 million stake in space exploration firm OneWeb – The Verge

As part of a consortium that includes Indian telecom Bharti Global, the UK government will invest $500 million and take a significant equity share in space exploration firm OneWeb, it announced Friday. OneWeb, which has its headquarters in the UK, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US in March, after it was unable to secure financing. Bharti Global also will invest $500 million as part of the deal.

OneWeb is one of several companies working on an Internet-from-space project, using a combination of low-altitude satellites to beam internet connectivity to ground terminals on Earths surface. It was slated to launch a constellation of 650 spacecraft, and its plans included providing internet coverage for the Arctic. So far, it has launched 74 satellites for the project.

Fridays deal with the UK, which gives the country a 20 percent stake, will allow OneWeb to complete construction of the satellite constellation, the government said in a statement, making the UK a world leader in science, research and development. UK Secretary of State for Business Alok Sharma said the deal presents the opportunity to further develop our strong advanced manufacturing base right here in the UK. The UK lost access to the European Unions Galileo satellite system in 2018 as part of its departure from the EU, and the UKs plans to build its own global navigation satellite system are on hold due to cost concerns.

OneWeb said in a statement Friday that the company was seeking to resume operations as soon as possible.

News of the OneWeb deal drew criticism from some space experts in the UK, however. Dr Bleddyn Bowen, a space policy expert at the University of Leicester, told The Guardian that the deal amounted to bolting an unproven technology on to a mega-constellation thats designed to do something else. OneWebs satellites are in low-Earth orbit, but most other countries GPS systems are in medium-Earth orbit, The Guardian noted.

The deal is subject to US regulatory approval and is expected to close before the end of the year.

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UK government takes $500 million stake in space exploration firm OneWeb - The Verge

4 Private Indian Rocket Companies That Will Push The Boundaries Of Space Exploration With ISRO – MensXP.com

SpaceX is doing an incredible job with back-to-back rocket launches in the US. The company has already launched its 11th Falcon 9 rocket of the year, and there's a lot more to come. SpaceX has truly become one of those names that'll stay synonymous with the US space history.

In case you're wondering, there are a lot of private Indian rocket companies here too. You may not have heard about them unless you're heavily invested in space study, but here are four private Indian rocket complanies that are India's answer to SpaceX.

Skyroot

Skyroot Aerospace is a Hyderabad-based aerospace manufacturing company founded in 2018. It was founded by former ISRO scientists Pawan Kumar Chandana and Naga Bharath Daka. The company is working on its 'Vikram' range of rockets, and they're prepping to send satellites into space by mid-2021. We'll obviously have a lot more to talk about once they have the rockets ready to go. But for now, we're incredibly proud of the work they're putting in.

Agnikul

Agnikul Cosmos is a Chennai-based aerospace manufacturing company founded by Srinath Ravichandran and Moin SPM. The company is working on a rocket named 'Agnibaan', which is a two-staged rocket with 3D-printed engines. Agnikul wants to be one of the first companies to offer affordable in-orbit launches before branching to outer space.

This one's an Indian aerospace R&D company that specializes in satellite propulsion. It's based in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and was founded by Rohan M Ganapathy and Yashas Karanam. Bellatrix is working on a rocket named 'Chetak', and it could be the first rocket with engines that use Methan and liquid oxygen. They're planning to use a 'Mobile launcher' to launch their rocket, although it remains to be seen how it works out.

ISRO

Pixxel is the only company in the list that's set for a launch in the month of November this year. This company is planning to launch around 24 ultra-high-resolution observation satellites to gather data and study agriculture, climate change, etc. It's an interesting concept, to say the least.

Photo: ISRO (Main Image)

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