Expo 2020 Dubai: UK pavillion to champion AI and space exploration – Verdict

When you think of testbed locations for artificial intelligence (AI), you might think of the US, Japan or China, but the UK also deserves a spot on that list.

A briefing note by McKinsey Global Institute highlights that AI could add an incremental 16 per cent in economic gains to global output by 2030. The gains could be as high as 22 per cent in the UK, as it is regarded as more AI-ready compared to the global average. Indeed, the 2019 Government AI Readiness Index compiled by Oxford Insights and the International Development Research Centre (IDRC) saw the UK come second only to Singapore.

Highlighting a drive for AI and space exploration, the UKs pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai will showcase innovations in culture, education, tourism and business.

Every time the UK takes part in a World Expo, we try to be different, says Laura Faulkner, UK commissioner general and project director for the UK pavilion. We have a strong creative and cultural sector within the UK, so we start with an open mind when we put out the design brief and end up with never-before-seen, thought-provoking ideas.

The UKs Department for International Trade (DIT) has chosen branding agency Avantgarde and British designer Es Devlins design for a Poem Pavilion to represent innovation at the expo. The UKs theme for Expo 2020 is Innovating for a Shared Future.

Devlins design for the UK pavilion, which will be located in the Opportunity District, features a 20-metre-high structure consisting of rows of slats protruding outwards to form a conical shape. The facade of the structure will feature an LED display of poetry created through AI, with words contributed both by visitors to the expo and by a machine-learning system.

The design concept is inspired by one of the final projects of late English physicist Stephen Hawking, Breakthrough Message. The project saw Hawking and his colleagues launch a global competition in 2015, inviting people worldwide to consider what message the human race should communicate to alien civilisations in space.

The pavilion is just one aspect of our participation, says Faulkner. We plan to pose a series of questions, framing our participation around these. We will be asking, in the future, what will we wear? What will we eat? How will we create? How will we travel? How will we learn? Through these questions and conversations with the youth, government and thought-leaders, we want to look at what the future looks like for the planet.

Construction of the pavilion is being overseen by marketing firm Pico Group, with UK construction firm McLaren building the 3,417 square-metre, two-storey structure. Foundation works for the structure have been started, and Faulkner says that the UK pavilion is on track for delivery in May or June 2020. The news agency MEED estimates the cost of construction to be $18m.

The building will feature cross-laminated timber on a concrete structure. Much of the pavilion will be manufactured and assembled off-site.

The UK pavilion will not remain standing at the expo site following the conclusion of the event. Faulkner explains that a decommissioning strategy for the physical structure is being planned.

DIT has tasked UK-based independent environmental consultancy Resource Futures to lead a team to explore decommissioning possibilities.

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In accordance with expos target for the site to be restored following the event and for each country pavilion to redeploy, recycle or return 75 per cent of its construction materials to the manufacturer, Resource Futures and collaborators will focus on ensuring that much of materials are diverted from landfill.

Promoting higher education is a key part of the dialogue at the UK pavilion, and pavilion founding partner De Montfort University (DMU) Leicester sees Expo 2020 as an opportunity to advance the global discussion about innovation.

Simon Bradbury, pro vice-chancellor dean of the faculty of arts, design and humanities at DMU, says: We see [this] involvement as an opportunity to offer our students an unparalleled experience, whether that is going to Dubai to experience the festival, having their work in the spotlight [in front of] an audience of millions, or getting a behind-the-scenes look at how such an event is run.

Speaking to the networking potential, he notes: The expo will allow us to make connections across the world, to be at the forefront of innovation and enterprise.

London-headquartered HSBC is the other founding partner of the pavilion. We will be promoting the power of international connectivity at Expo 2020, says Abdulfattah Sharaf, group general manager, chief executive officer UAE and head of international for HSBC Bank Middle East.

The UK ultimately hopes to provoke insightful and forward-looking conversations at the expo.

We are not coming to the expo with a bilateral intention to broadcast something about the UK. We are coming to the expo because the whole world is in one place. We want to engage in multilateral conversation and build lifelong partnerships, says Faulkner.

MEEDThis article is sourced from Verdict Technology sister publication http://www.meed.com, a leading source of high-value business intelligence and economic analysis about the Middle East and North Africa. To access more MEED content register for the 30-day Free Guest User Programme.

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Expo 2020 Dubai: UK pavillion to champion AI and space exploration - Verdict

Astronaut Snoopy Rides Aboard the International Space Station – Science Times

(Photo : Snoopygrams) Astronaut Snoopy's balloon float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is a part of NASA's celebration of the first moon landing.

Astronaut Snoopy is no longer just a comic book character and mascot. Last Nov. 28, the "world-famous astronaut" took flight and went aboard the International Space Station -- just in time for Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, which features a Snoopy plush doll donning an orange astronaut suit complete with the NASA logo floating aboard the orbiting laboratory.

Who is Astronaut Snoopy?

For those who are not familiar with comic book characters, Snoopy is the famous beagle from the comic strip Peanuts created by Charles Schulz in the 1950s. Snoopy, throughout the entirety of Peanuts has had a number of personas, including Astronaut Snoopy, which first appeared in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade back in 1969 following the launch of Apollo 10 command and lunar modules which were named Charlie Brown and Snoopy.

Astronaut Snoopy has been NASA's mascot since 1968, a product of a51-year partnershipbetween the Space Agency and Peanut, first to promote safety in human spaceflight and in recent years, to use the famous cartoon beagle to promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and encourage children to be interested in those fields.

Why is Astronaut Snoopy's Appearance in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade a Big Deal?

Astronaut Snoopy went on board the International Space Station as a part of NBC's television coverage of the celebration and was welcomed by NASA crew members Jessica Meir and Christina Koch -- the first female astronauts to do the spacewalk (READ: Christina Koch and Jessica Meir Execute First All-Woman Spacewalk). In thebroadcast, Meir narrates, "Snoopy has been along for space rides since the Apollo era. Today, he's floating in the Macy's parade and here in space."

Back on Earth, Astronaut Snoopy's 49-foot-tall helium balloon for the parade dons the bright orange spacesuits complete with NASA's logo and red-soled boots. This is patterned after the Orion Crew Survival System which will be worn by astronauts who will be included in the Artemis missions to the moon and. Eventually, Mars.

The 8-inch Astronaut, Snoopy plushie on the ISS which wore the same bright orange suit, was launched to the space station aboard the Northrop Grunman Cygnus cargo spacecraft last month along with a handful of stuff for the astronauts in the space station (READ:Space Oven is Ready for a Test Cook-Off).

However, the announcement of Astronaut Snoopy's inclusion in the launch was not announced until Nov. 2 byPeanuts Worldwide, the company which handles the comic strip.

Astronaut Snoopy's presence in the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade is a part of the celebration of the first moon landing's 50th anniversary. Of course, if Snoopy is present, his best buddy Woodstock will surely be attending. The Macy's Thanksgiving Parade also featured a balloon float of Woodstock using a telescope, probably looking at Snoopy's adventures in the ISS.

The partnership between NASA and Peanuts continues not only during the Thanksgiving parade but also through the launching of a new line of toys via McDonald's Happy Meal and a new cartoon and a new cartoon series called "Snoopy in Space" which will be available on Apple TV+. The animated series aims to engage children in space exploration and activities.

Lastly, Astronaut Snoopy's presence in the ISS reminds people of the upcoming anniversary of the first-ever crew to reside on board in November of the year 2000. Astronaut Snoopy plush doll wascreated by Hallmark.

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Astronaut Snoopy Rides Aboard the International Space Station - Science Times

Things To Do: Witness The World Premierere of Ad Astra with the Houston Symphony – Houston Press

Houston Symphony is taking some inspiration from one of the city's most recognizable initiatives our involvement in NASA's space exploration programs for its world premiere of Composer-In-Residence Jimmy LpezBellido's Symphony No. 2, Ad Astra, on Dec. 5, 7 and 8 at Jones Hall. Commissioned by the Houston Symphony, Ad Astra is the culmination of Lpez's third and final year as composer-in-residence.

"When I [originally] sat down with the Houston Symphony, we discussed what kind of shape the residency would take, so I asked what makes Houstonians proud. Oneaspect was the Johnson Space Center and the contributions Houston as a city has made for space exploration. I felt it was necessary to highlight that. Ad Astra is dedicated to the people at NASA, and it's an homage to peoples desire to explore the stars,"Lpezsaid.

Musically, the composition originated from the Morse Code rhythm for the words "ad astra" (Latin for "to the stars"), part of a message aboard the Voyager's famous Golden Records as a greeting to any space-faring aliens that might find them someday. From there, the music expands to reference other missions and their mark in history. The symphony consists of five movements, each with a different source of inspiration: Voyager, Apollo, Hubble, Challenger, and Revelation. The final movement is Lpez' imaginative interpretation of what might happen if Voyager's message is ever found by distant lifeforms.

"Morse Code is very rhythmical. I took the rhythm of 'ad astra' as the trigger for the whole symphony. When you have that, it has a little cell from which the whole symphony sprouts. I like it that way because then you can have a very basic building block, and from that you can build a whole edifice. Thats what a symphony is to me. This isnt a symphony of individual movements; theres an overarching structure to it - an architecture. The movements talk to each other," he said.

Practice makes perfect. Rehearsal is key to making sure each performance is sheer perfection.

Photo by Melissa Taylor

Voyager sets the tone, with the message containing greetings and information about Earth for any space entities that might find them. It's the first time we hear the theme that carries throughout the whole piece. Apollo brings in nontraditional instruments to help evoke the soundscape of lunar exploration, like the glass harmonica.

"When I was writing Apollo, there was a particular timbre that I couldnt find in the traditional orchestra, and I wanted it to be eerie because its an otherworldly idea. It evokes the barren landscape of the moon for me," he said.

He used the same idea when composing Hubble, where he implored a wind machine.

"It emulates the sound of wind. When Humble was sent into space, it wasnt working properly. People were freaking out, then they found out what the issue was, and they were able to fix it. The wind machine makes a reference to the beginnings: insecure and a little bumpy. It has a mechanical sound to it like a machine about to start but doesnt," Lpez said.

That also opens up the idea that space exploration hasn't always been successful. Our efforts have also been a part of some of our country's most shocking moments, like in the Challenger movement.

"Challenger uses a siren alarm. I use it at a specific spot that I felt was necessary. It ramps up the narrative and tension to a different level. It feels really surprising," Lpez said. He added, "I didnt want to necessarily portray the tragedy, instead I wanted to portray the journey. There was a lot of expectations with Challenger, and there was a lot of excitement and joy, and when the tragedy happened, people didnt understand what was going on. It brings the element of alarm."

The fifth movement follows the disaster of Challenger and begins in a somber, meditative mood that transitions into the return of the "ad astra" rhythm where the whole composition began. In it, there is in fact a life form that received the message of Voyager and returned the message.

"A civilization finds the message, decodes it and sends it back to usthe whole premise is we connect and perhaps we will meet not just one civilization but several. It creates a new age," Lpez said. "Its at the core of all space exploration. Theres curiosity in humans. Are we alone in the universe? A lot of our quests and curiosity try to answer that."

To create the entire piece, he visited with Johnson Space Center to get firsthand experience with the lives of astronauts and the people who make NASA function.

"We got access that is unprecedented, I think. One of the highlights was when we went to mission control. I thought as I stood behind the glass wall, 'This is as close as I am going to mission control,' but they opened the door, and we went down there. We met the people who work there, and we met the flight director, as he was giving instructions to the people on the ISS," Lpez said.

"It was really humbling to see how extraordinary the work is they do every day. I went to a massive pool where they have a replica of parts of the ISS where astronauts practice underwater in a buoyancy lab before a mission. I had the chance to talk to the astronauts, and they explained the mechanics.I got lots of inspiration, and it was really a source of joy for me to be so close to that mission," he added.

It's easy to get lost in the fanfare of the world premiere, but the second half of the programming offers its own treat as well. Violin virtuoso Gil Shaham joins for Brahms' classic Violin Concerto. Known for his flawless technique, Shaham interprets this beautiful and emotionally powerful masterpiece - widely considered one of the great works of the violin repertoire.

Houston Symphony also kicks it up a notch with the Saturday night performance during an "Out of This World" party. Ticket holders are invited tosip celestial inspired cocktails, dance the night away to DJ tracks under a luminous moon globe, and mingle with Houston Symphony musicians.

It's a fitting party to capstone Lpez' work as composer-in-residence, but he's not done leaving his mark both in the city and in music. In May, the chorus and orchestra will perform his oratorio Dreamers, which was premiered by conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Philharmonia Orchestra in March.

And as for his future, he seems quite hopeful.

He said, "I have commissions lined up. There is no lack of work, thankfully. For the time being, I choose to focus on creating. That will keep me busy for a couple of years. Im always open to other positions. If I have the chance to do it again, it will be wonderful to apply all the lessons I learned during my stay in Houston."

Shaham Plays Brahms + Lpez World Premiere takes place December 5 and 7 at 8 p.m. and December 8 at 2:30 p.m at Jones Hall, 615 Louisiana. For information or tickets, call 713-244-7575 or visit houstonsymphony.org. Tickets range $24 to $109.

Sam Byrd is a freelance contributor to the Houston Press who loves to take in all of Houstons sights, sounds, food and fun. He also loves helping others to discover Houstons rich culture.

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Things To Do: Witness The World Premierere of Ad Astra with the Houston Symphony - Houston Press

This Astronaut Found Sunken Treasure From Space and Kept It Secret Until His Deathbed – VICE

Original Mercury 7 astronaut Gordon Cooper was supposed to be looking for nuclear launch sites on his record-breaking Faith 7 flight in 1963. He did his duty over the course of those 22 revolutions around the earth, clicking away on a camera that kept getting loose in zero gravity, barely able to move for 34 hours.

But he also kept getting anomalous readings from his equipment, pinging him for objects that were definitely not nuclear sites. The keen-eyed astronaut couldnt help but put two and two together: metallic hulks beneath the sea, along the same routes used by Spanish traders? It had to be sunken treasure.

Cooper splashed down into the Pacific after that record-breaking flight, but he never told anyone not NASA, not the Department of Defense about what hed seen. But he did take notes, scribbled down in the cramped capsule only a bit bigger than himself.

Cooper kept his secret for 40 years. Just before his death in 2004, he shared it with professional treasure hunter Darrell Miklos. The two had struck up a friendship years before hunting for treasure-laden wrecks in various seas. Miklos has a long history in the field he and his sisters would hunt for debris from the space shuttles solid rocket boosters. We were both explorers, Miklos says.

So Miklos hooked up with independent reality TV production studio Ample, which, along with Steven Spielbergs Amblin Television, has chronicled Miklos journey for the aforementioned TV series for Discovery, Coopers Treasure, premiering April 18.

The aim of the show is to connect several different generations of explorers, from colonial times through the present day. The producers dont have any affiliation with NASA, but the show serves as a reminder of what can be done with space exploration, and the Herculean efforts expended to get there in the first place.

Before Miklos set out, he had to do some fact-checking. Thats where former McDonnell Aircraft engineer Jerry Roberts comes in. Roberts and fellow engineers Bob Schepp and Earl Robb created the systems that ran the Mercury and Gemini spacecraft. We were basically taking the nuclear warhead off a missile and putting a space capsule on it, Roberts explains. They gave us the outside shape, and then we had to launch a man and bring him back.

Space inside the capsule was so limited that none of the astronauts could be taller than 511, and they couldnt move their feet. Roberts worked very closely with Cooper throughout the mission. For me, Gordo was the yes on the other end when I asked him to throw a switch, he said. He also confirmed that Coopers eyesight was preternatural said to rival that of legendary pilot Chuck Yeager and he could indeed have seen what he said hed seen.

Cooper, once a household name in an America that now seems far removed from todays, was the youngest of the original seven astronauts, and perhaps the most devil-may-care. Gordon went to sleep on top of a fully fuelled missile and it didnt bother him at all, Roberts says. The other guys, their heart rate might get up a bit at launch, 150 or so. Not Gordo. His death in 2004 came after a long battle with Parkinsons Disease, which Miklos says was torture for the fiery, physical astronaut, as it left him unable to control his body with his mind.

But though Miklos and the camera crew had no idea if Coopers maps would really pan out, theyre now five for five on confirmed shipwrecks at Coopers coordinates, with just a little more than a hundred to go.

This article originally appeared on VICE US.

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Boots on the Moon – 2024 | Opinion – Southernminn.com

Dazzling and breathtaking movement is afoot in the newly reconstituted National Space Agency. The past twenty-four months have seen a renaissance of the American space program with vision cast by President Trump and now, under the capable leadership of Vice President Mike Pence as chairman, to once again be the global leader in human space exploration.

On Oct. 5, 2017, the National Space Council convened for the first meeting in a quarter of a century. It was hosted by the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Since that meeting, remarkable cooperation and coordination between the Departments of Transportation, Commerce, Defense and Energy, NASA with its revitalized leadership under Jim Bridenstine, our civil, military and commercial partners, have charted the course for this exciting new chapter in mankinds history-the goal of returning human astronauts to the moon in 2024.

NASA shortly thereafter, will then be establishing the lunar outpost Gateway, with its focus to support deep space exploration, and landing human astronauts on the red sands of Mars.

The Artemis Project, recently named, (she is the twin sister of Apollo from Greek mythology) isnt merely a repeat of the 1960s lunar missions that set American astronauts on the moon. The cornerstones of the National Space Councils vision are:

Space Policy Directive One charts the course for sustainable missions beyond low Earth orbit, which include the return of humans to the Moon for long term exploration and utilization, followed by human missions to Mars and other destinations.

Space Policy Directive Two sets the framework for streamlining regulations on the commercial use of space. Specific provisions include simplifying outdated launch and re-entry licenses, protecting radio frequencies, and ensuring entrepreneurial commercial space activities a regulatory environment in which to prosper unencumbered.

Space Policy Directive Three sets up a Space Traffic Management Policy which includes the mapping of space debris that imperils commercial and satellite machinery and a registry of these flying derelicts.

Space Policy Directive Four stands up the sixth branch of the Armed Forces-the U.S. Space Force.

These four directives will support and guide the global policy architecture that commercially develops low Earth orbit, which then frees up taxpayer dollars to provide the resources for the establishment of a lunar industrial complex and space exploratory projects.

While the energetic, constructive activities are exciting, counter efforts by the enemies of freedom are growing unabated, putting our national security at risk. Both China and Russia have invested heavily in their own space programs and are weaponizing their space capabilities. One has only to consider the effects of Communist control in any arena to understand the threat this poses to our national and the worlds security.

President Trump and Vice President Pence are leading, along with international global alliances to foster a foundation of peace through strength and establish the rule of law in space. American leadership has lagged in this area the past several decades, but those days are behind and on the horizon lies the day when we will once again, have Boots on the Moon.

Janalee Cooper is a Bridgewater Township resident and a Republican Party activist.

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Best science fiction and fantasy books of 2019 | Books – The Guardian

Todays science fiction, the cliche runs, is tomorrows science fact. Considering how SF tends towards the pessimistic, from cyberpunks urban cynicism in the 80s to todays glut of post-apocalyptic dystopias, thats a worrying thought. Still, we cant ignore geopolitics, or the planets climate emergency. SF is the literature most attuned to contemporaneitys harsh music and so remains the best predictor of our collective future.

In 2019, authors turned a clear eye on these dark possibilities. My pick for the book of the year, Tim Maughans Infinite Detail (MCD x FSG Originals), is a before-and-after tale of near-future social collapse after a coordinated attack takes the internet down. Its hard to believe it is a debut, so assured and evocative is Maughans writing. As a portrait of the fragility of our current status quo it is as thought-provoking as it is terrifying; you wont ever take your wifi for granted again. Running it a close second is Vicki Jarretts Always North (Unsung), another before-and-after-the-disaster novel, about climate collapse. Protagonist Isobel is on an Arctic mapping expedition for an oil-surveying company when she encounters something strange: though there are echoes of Ballard and Joanna Russ here, Jarrett is very much her own writer, with a talent for extraordinary images.

If I say The Migration by Helen Marshall (Titan) is about a plague called Juvenile Idiopathic Immunodeficiency Syndrome, whose fatalities dont stay dead, you might think it yet another zombie story. But this emotionally resonant, cleverly creepy novel has much to say about climate change.

Ben Smiths Doggerland (4th Estate), another debut, is also set in a climate-collapsed near future. An old man and a boy inhabit a North Sea wind-turbine, no longer within sight of the shore. This vision of a flooded world possesses a pared-down, Beckettian plangency.

In Chuck Wendigs Wanderers (Del Rey), a new plague sends crowds of people sleepwalking around the globe. This slow shuffle through a world coming to an end takes a while to build momentum, but by its conclusion the book parses societal and climate change via a satisfying SF twist. Chen Qiufans Waste Tide (Head of Zeus) is set on Silicon Isle, a dumping ground for the worlds discarded computers and tech trash. Theres an old school cyberpunk quality to the book, and though its plotting is a touch choppy, its a compelling reflection on a world defined by its waste.

Post-apocalypse wasnt the only flavour in 2019: in Claire Norths The Pursuit of William Abbey (Orbit) a witness to a racial murder becomes literally haunted by the crime, but in a way that grants him the ability to see the truth of peoples motivations. As ever with Norths work, its a clever and thought-provoking conceit. Arkady Martines excellent debut A Memory Called Empire (Tor) is proper space opera, with lots of hi-tech, juicy political intrigues spread across a baroque interplanetary empire. Charlie Jane Anderss City in the Middle of the Night (Titan) has a classic Le Guinian vibe: culture clash and community on an unforgiving distant planet. Joe Abercrombies first volume in a new fantasy trilogy, A Little Hatred (Gollancz), gives us incipient industrialisation, a refugee crisis, violence, politics and magic, all handled with darkly funny aplomb.

Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstones This Is How You Lose the Time War (Jo Fletcher) is hard to categorise: we might call it an epistolary time-travel spy love story, but that doesnt really convey the books poetic quality its one of a kind. Annalee Newitzs The Future of Another Timeline (Orbit) is the sharply plotted story of a murder and the spiralling consequences of trying to undo it. Ted Chiangs Exhalation (Picador) is only the short-story masters second collection, while the connected tales of Lindsey Dragers The Archive of Alternate Endings (Dzanc), each set roughly 75 years apart to coincide with the appearance of Halleys Comet, are eloquent on the centrality of storytelling to who we are. Beginning with Hansel and Gretel as the prototype tale, the narrative spins forward into the future of space exploration, and the whole is quietly brilliant. The Rosewater Redemption (Orbit) brings Tade Thompsons award-winning Nigerian alien-encounter trilogy to an end.

Some of 2019s releases find magic in the darkness. The Starless Sea (Harvill Secker) by Erin Morgenstern features an ancient subterranean library whose books about pirates, spies and lovers bleed into reality. Booker-winner Marlon Jamess venture into fantasy, Black Leopard Red Wolf (Hamish Hamilton), is a dense, multi-stranded novel about (among many other things) a mercenary searching for a lost child through a fantastical Africa: stylistically ambitious, full of arresting images, and crammed with the myriad ways humans can be ghastly to one another.

Save up to 30% on the books of the year at guardianbookshop.com

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Best science fiction and fantasy books of 2019 | Books - The Guardian

TV highlights for the week of Dec. 1-7 – Detroit Free Press

Chuck Barney, East Bay Times Published 9:54 p.m. ET Nov. 29, 2019 | Updated 9:59 p.m. ET Nov. 29, 2019


In the milestone 250th episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, a former black ops agent (Carl Beukes) originally recruited and trained by Hetty Lange returns to seek revenge on Hetty for the life she introduced him to. (9:30 p.m., CBS).


Laugh and call him names all you want, but theres no denying that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer continues to be a major prime-time attraction. The beloved 1964 animated special gets another holly-jolly airing tonight. (8 p.m., CBS).

Garth Brooks: The Road Im On is a two-night Biography special that promises an intimate look into the life and career of the best-selling solo artist of all time. Included: interviews with Trisha Yearwood, Keith Urban, George Strait, James Taylor and many more. (9 p.m., A&E).

Alex Borstein, left, and Rachel Brosnahan in The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Amazon Prime is releasing the shows third season Friday.(Photo: Amazon)


Brad Paisley Thinks Hes Special is the title of, well, his new special. The country music star showcases his hits and his humor during a performance at the War Memorial Auditorium in Nashville. (8 p.m., ABC).

Residents of Whoville, beware: The green ol grouch with a heart thats two sizes too small returns in the latest airing of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. (8 p.m., NBC).

Country music star Trisha Yearwood hosts and performs on the 10th annual CMA Country Christmas special. Shell be joined by, among others, Kristin Chenoweth, Chris Janson, Tori Kelly, Lady Antebellum, Rascal Flatts, CeCe Winans and Brett Young. (9 p.m., ABC).


Move over, Griswolds, and meet The Moodys. Denis Leary and Elizabeth Perkins headline this holiday comedy series about a dysfunctional family that attempts to have the perfect Christmas and fails miserably. (9 p.m., Fox).

As the sixth and final season of Vikings begins, Ivar the Boneless has left Kattegat on a journey to parts unknown. Meanwhile, Bjorn Ironside has some struggles in his new role as king of Kattegat. (9 p.m., History).


A Charlie Brown Christmas returns to remind us of the true meaning of the holiday and that scrawny little tree needs our love, too. (8 p.m., ABC).

Project Runway apparently is poised to blast off into a new season. Challenge No. 1: Create an innovative look inspired by space exploration. (9:30 p.m., Bravo).


Rachel Brosnahan returns as the title character in Season 3 of acclaimed period comedy The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. As the new episodes drop, Midge is taking her stand-up comedy to the next level by embarking on her first national tour and opening for popular singer Shy Baldwin (Leroy McClain). However, she and her manager, Susie, will soon discover that life on tour can be just as humbling as it is glamorous. (Amazon Prime).

Octavia Spencer and Aaron Paul headline the new series Truth Be Told. Set in San Francisco, it follows a true-crime podcaster who is compelled to reopen a murder case that made her a national sensation. (Apple TV Plus).


In the feel-good holiday film A Christmas Love Story, Kristin Chenoweth plays a youth choir director who is struggling to write a big song for a Christmas Eve show. Sparks fly (of course) after the arrival of a golden-voiced boy and his widowed father (Scott Wolf). (8 p.m., Hallmark Channel).

Chuck Barney, East Bay Times

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TV highlights for the week of Dec. 1-7 - Detroit Free Press

Hungary to play a major role in the space industry – Emerging Europe

As the space industry is set to play a major role in the future, Hungary is interested in sending an astronaut into space by 2024.

This is another development and take-off opportunity for Hungary, at the focus of which is the training of the second Hungarian astronaut and his/her sending into space to the International Space Station (ISS), which we regard as being realistically achievable by 2024 in cooperation with Russian space agency Roscosmos, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Pter Szijjrt announced at the European Space Agencys Space19+ ministerial conference in Seville.

The second and third space modules in the history of the Hungarian space industry were launched from New Zealand this week, which will be measuring artificial electromagnetic smog in the upper atmosphere for the first time ever.

Further goals include Hungary putting its own satellite into orbit in 2024, in addition to which we will be putting Hungarian scientific and measuring instruments into commission in the International Space station by 2025 in cooperation with Russia. Furthermore, a space weather mission is also in preparation, within the framework of which we are constructing a fleet of micro-satellites, the minister added.

According to Hungarys new foreign trade and foreign policy, despite the fact that the country can count on a good number of enterprises and professionals within the field, space exploration has until now not been a factor. Therefore it should once again take part in the peaceful use of space.

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Hungary to play a major role in the space industry - Emerging Europe

Overheard: Houston experts weigh in on the future of the Space City – InnovationMap

Houston's been known as the Space City for about 50 years since "Houston" was the first word spoken from the surface of the moon. But whether or not that nickname will continue to stick was up for debate at a 2019 SpaceCom panel on November 21.

The panel, entitled "Regional Benefits of a Commercial Space Economy: Case Study Houston," the panelists set out to discuss the city's rich history of space exploration, as well as to answer the question of where Houston's space industry is headed.

"We could ask that question in a passive way, but my preference is that here in Houston we ask the question now, answer it, and be very proactive and deliberate about making sure we get the outcome that we want," says Vernon McDonald, senior vice president at KBR and moderator of the discussion.

If you missed the enlightening discussion, here are a few takeaways from the panelists.

Rick Jenet, director of the Center for Advanced Radio Astronomy. Jenet, who is based in Brownsville, Texas, is working to develop a vibrant commercial space hub in South Texas. In a lot of ways, the area looks to Houston's history for its development, he says.

Steve Altemus, president and CEO of Intuitive Machines. The creation of the Johnson Space Center developed generations within the community of scientists and engineers, but, moving forward, Houston has to be intentional about building its talent base. "I'm very passionate about doing that here in Houston," Altemus adds.

Altemus says, adding that it's going to take further development, talent, and funds like what's happening at the Houston Spaceport to make this transition.

Steven Gonzalez, technology transfer strategist at NASA's Johnson Space Center. At the risk of being unpopular, Gonzalez mentions that the city's attention has been diverted from space exploration. However, he adds, there are new initiatives from the Greater Houston Partnership and Houston First that are picking up the slack.

Harvin Moore, president at Houston Exponential. Houston is collaborative, and the city needs to make sure its resources are inclusive as commercial space develops in town.

Altemus responds when asked about the Space City's next 50 years.

Jenet, who mentions that there's space exploration innovation happening statewide.

Gonzalez says, adding that the first trillionaire is likely to make his or her fortune in the space industry, and he wants that money here in Houston.

Moore says, emphasizing the need for developing startup resources in Houston.

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Overheard: Houston experts weigh in on the future of the Space City - InnovationMap

ESA Ministerial Council Meeting: Switzerland to participate in new programmes and play a leading role in the removal of space debris -…

On 27 and 28 November 2019, State Secretary Martina Hirayama attended the European Space Agencys ESA Ministerial Council meeting in Seville (Space 19+). At this meeting, which brought together the ministers in charge of space affairs from the 22 ESA Member States, the Council conferred on ongoing programmes, new initiatives, and agreed on the Agencys budget for the next three years.

The decisions reached by the Member States at the end of the meeting negotiations illustrate their support for a political, institutional, programmatic and technological strengthening of ESA in order to maintain its position as the prime European player in space. In total, around 14.4 billion euros have been invested in the future of European space. Member States also support the development of optional programmes structured around four main pillars.

Switzerland has further reinforced its involvement in the space domain: contributing to securing Europes access to space (Ariane and Vega), participating in an exceptional global environmental observation programme; playing a leading role in the reduction of space debris; making a key contribution to a reusable mini-shuttle; and participating in Artemis, the USAs human lunar exploration programme.

Science and explorationMember States renewed their commitment to strengthening ESAs Science Programme. This pioneering programme led to the creation and completion of several successful missions, and also gives Swiss scientists the opportunity to work on the most advanced projects worldwide. CHEOPS is exactly such a mission, led jointly by the University of Bern and ESA, with contributions from the University of Geneva. The satellite, which will characterise exoplanets, is scheduled for launch on 17 December 2019. Switzerlands investments in ESA have made it possible for Swiss players in the space sector to participate in international projects, including Switzerlands close working relationship with NASA on the Artemis programme as well as future exploration programmes to the Moon and Mars.

Space safety and securityMember States have agreed to consolidate all activities in conjunction with space safety and security in a single envelope programme. Switzerland is taking the lead in one of the components of the framework programme, namely the ADRIOS mission. The purpose of this mission, launched by ESA, is the active removal of space debris. The leader of the industrial consortium selected by ESA is a Swiss company. Switzerland is continuing its activities in the field of orbital observations with optical and laser equipment and is making a significant contribution to the international effort in cataloguing and characterising space debris. Switzerland is also supporting the development of a mission to monitor space weather, which can have a direct impact on the availability of satellite services (communication, navigation) and ground facilities. Switzerland is also involved in a mission to protect the Earth from asteroid impacts (HERA) and the development of a system for automating avoidance of collision between satellites (CREAM).

ApplicationsThe concrete uses of space infrastructures and data illustrate how indispensable these are to society. Europes space sector has once again emphasised this by choosing to pursue scientific Earth observation missions. Participation in the development of new missions related to climate change and weather (including anthropogenic CO2 monitoring), Africa, the Arctic and Polar Regions as well as resources security, advance our knowledge and understanding of the Earth and its processes.

ESA has launched new initiatives in the field of optical communication and 5G, including projects for future infrastructures, such as quantum communication networks (SAGA). These projects offer a promising niche for Swiss companies and institutes with their unique and proven expertise. Switzerland excels in positioning, navigation and timing, affording strategic and commercial potential: mastering the atomic clock technologies of the future is a priority.

Space transportation and technologyThe development of space transportation systems and related technologies assures Europes independent access to space. This independent access is one the pillars of Switzerlands space policy. Swiss companies make key contributions to this sector and have developed excellent skills through their work on current and future European launchers (Ariane 6 and VEGA C), which respond to market developments, increasing competition and the need for sustainable solutions. The development and implementation of a space transportation system such as the mini-shuttle Space Rider are a crucial element of space logistics activities. Space Rider is autonomous, affordable and reusable, and its purpose is also to increase competitiveness at the European level.

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ESA Ministerial Council Meeting: Switzerland to participate in new programmes and play a leading role in the removal of space debris -...

Focus turns to water ice extraction as attempts to source minerals from space take back seat – Creamer Media’s Mining Weekly

Incredible as it might seem, one can, without too much exaggeration, argue that the space mining sector has already gone through its first boom-and-bust cycle.

Of course, it was, by the standards of the conventional mining industry, a tiny boom, and, consequently, a tiny bust (although no less painful for those involved).

Perhaps, the two earliest space mining companies were Planetary Resources, launched (no pun intended) in 2012, and Deep Space Industries (DSI), founded not long afterwards. Planetary Resources had raised $50-million by 2016 and was operating a development laboratory by 2017. But, reportedly, the business model did not work as hoped, the company was taken over in 2018 and is now, it seems, effectively defunct. DSI raised $3.5-million and won some US government contracts, but ran out of money and found investors unwilling to provide further funding, reportedly owing to its failure to deliver on its technology development promises within the required timeframe.

Other Worldly and Staying that Way

The idea of space mining is far from dead, however. But the romantic idea of sourcing metals and minerals from asteroids and bringing them back to earth is now very much on the back burner. Now the focus is on extracting the true source of real value: water ice (there are many different types of ice in space) and processing it and using it in space to enable further space exploration and colonisation.

There is a quip in space exploration that the problem with space flight is the first hundred miles (roughly 180 km) that is, the great effort needed to escape Earths gravitational pull (or, to phrase it differently, to get out of Earths gravitational well). It is absolutely true. So, the less you need to launch into space, the better. Better, as in quicker, easier and, not least, cheaper.

Water, of course, is essential to life. But water is composed of hydrogen and oxygen. Split them apart (by electrolysis, for example) and you have atmosphere for astronauts to breathe. Also, in due course, water can be used to grow vegetables using hydroponic techniques. And hydrogen and oxygen can also be used in rocket fuels. Water can even be used for the radiation shielding of habitats.

Consequently, mining water ice in space, and converting it into liquid and its constituent gases would transform the economics of space out of all recognition. Unsurprisingly then, the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), which is on course to re-establish its long-range manned space exploration capability, initially to the moon and near-Earth asteroids and then later to Mars, is very interested in the potential of extraterrestrial water ice mining.

Early this year, a group of experts from Nasa, academia and the space industry released a report, Commercial Lunar Propellant Architecture: A Collaborative Study of Propellant Production. Science missions to the moon have provided direct evidence that regions near the lunar poles, which are permanently in shadow, contain substantial concentrations of water ice, it stated. [Owing] to the moons shallow gravity well, its water-derived products can be exported to fuel entirely new economic opportunities in space . . . A wide range of potential customers for the hydrogen and oxygen products has been identified. These include reusable landers shuttling between the moons surface and lunar orbit, refuelling spacecraft in low-Earth orbit and fuelling or refuelling interplanetary spacecraft before they leave Earth/moon space. This study has identified a near-term annual demand of 450 metric tons of lunar-derived propellant equating to 2450 metric tons of processed lunar water generating $2.4-billion of revenue annually . . . The initial investment for this operation has been estimated at $4-billion, about the cost of a luxury hotel in Las Vegas.

Not Your Dads Mining

The US space agency has a programme the Nasa Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) programme under which it funds concept studies and the early development of technologies that could transform space exploration. Set up in 2011 (it replaced the Nasa Institute for Advanced Concepts, which was shut down in 2007 for budgetary reasons), the programme has three phases. Phase I covers nine-month-long viability and development studies. At the end of Phase I, the research and development entity can apply for Phase II funding. Phase II further develops the concepts for another two years. This can then be followed by Phase III, which also runs for two years and, in the words of Nasas NIAC website, is designed to strategically transition NIAC concepts with the highest potential impact, whether that impact is for Nasa, other US government agencies or commercial partners.

Currently, two organisations TransAstra Corporation and the Colorado School of Mines have received NIAC funding to develop three water ice mining technologies. And none of them bear any resemblance to conventional terrestrial mining operations. All three involve the application of solar power, either directly or indirectly. No heavy machinery would be required, which is just as well, because sending heavy machinery to the moon would be prohibitively expensive.

It is TransAstra that has two NIAC projects currently under way. At the Phase I stage is the companys Lunar-Polar Propellant Mining Outpost (LPMO) project. At the Phase III stage is its Asteroid Provided In-situ Supplies (APIS) project.

The LPMO project is based on the fact that, at the lunar poles, there are plenty of small craters (between 500 m and 1.5km in diameter) with potential landing areas measured in the hundreds of metres. Further, the water-ice-rich floors of these craters are permanently in deep shadow, while their rims, which are only tens of metres to about a hundred metres high, are almost permanently in sunlight. Solar arrays mounted on lightweight deployable masts about 100 m tall (practical in the moons low gravity) would generate electricity, which would power the facilities established at the outpost and directly or indirectly (by means of charging batteries) power the long-duration lunar rovers that would actually mine the water.

The rovers would undertake Radiant Gas Dynamic mining. A rover would drive to a selected mining location, lower water vapour collection domes onto the surface of the crater floor, and then use a mixture of infrared, microwave and radio frequency radiation to cause the water ice to sublimate turn straight into water vapour. This would be caught in the domes and transferred to cryotraps where it would be condensed into water. When the rovers water tanks were full, it would return to its base and discharge the water before going back into the field to repeat the process. The company estimates that, using the new heavy rockets under development in the US, it would be possible to send a rover with a mass of between 2 t and 5 t to the moon, and that such a rover would be able to extract water amounting to between 20 and 100 times its mass, annually.

The APIS project is aimed at mining or harvesting near-Earth asteroids. The concept is that small asteroids be enclosed in bags. Sunlight would then be concentrated and directed onto the asteroid, ablating and fracturing it and so releasing its water. The project requires the development of a family of specialist spacecraft to carry out these operations. These would range from a low-Earth-orbit technology demonstrator, Mini-Bee, to an operational Queen Bee spacecraft, which would capture and mine an asteroid up to 40m across. The NIAC contract is focused on getting the Mini-Bee developed to flight-ready condition. At that point, TransAstra would be able to propose a demonstration mission in low-Earth orbit.

The Colorado School of Mines project is to develop the concept of thermal mining. This would involve the erection of heliostats (mirrors that follow the suns relative movement across the sky) on the rims of lunar polar craters. Capture tents would be set up on the floor of the craters. The mirrors on the rim would direct sunlight onto optics mounted on top of the tents, which would concentrate the sunlight and direct it down into the tent and onto the crater floor, again causing the water ice to sublimate. The resulting water vapour would be caught by the tents. This process could be supplemented by using the sunlight to heat conducting rods driven into the lunar surface.

The project is at the Phase I stage. Currently, its main focus is on creating materials that would simulate the water-ice-regolith mix that would be found at the bottom of the target craters. (Regolith is the lunar counterpart to soil on Earth; regolith is, however, totally different to soil, because soil contains a huge amount of organic matter and regolith has no organic matter at all.) The effectiveness of the various solar heating methods would then be tested in a cryogenic vacuum chamber.

Profit Motive

As refuelling decreases in-space transportation costs, entirely new business and exploration opportunities will emerge with potential to vastly benefit the economies of Earth, observed the Commercial Lunar Propellant Architecture report. Even with the early customers identified within this study, it has been determined that this could be a profitable investment with excellent growth opportunities.

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Focus turns to water ice extraction as attempts to source minerals from space take back seat - Creamer Media's Mining Weekly

Seeking the Killer Space App with Space Tango – The Planetary Society

Organizations are using the microgravity environment of the International Space Station to develop unique new products. One of them is Kentucky-based Space Tango. Well meet its chairman and co-founder and the woman who manages its Tangolab. Also, a NASA rep who works with these pioneers. Time magazine has named the Planetary Societys LightSail its aerospace invention of the year! Society CEO Bill Nye is grateful to all who have been part of the project. Bruce Betts provides a solar sail update at the top of this weeks Whats Up, and wishes Mat a happy 17th anniversary of Planetary Radio.

What is the largest known object in our solar system that, as of now, has NOT been visited by a spacecraft? Flybys count. The Sun does not.

What is the new or relatively new name for the most distant object visited by a spacecraft?

The winner will be revealed next week.

The Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity was the first spacecraft to see a planetary transit (Mercury) from another planet.

Mat Kaplan: [00:00:00] Hemp in space, how about beer? That's this Week on Planetary Radio.

Welcome. I'm at Kaplan of the Planetary Society with more of the human adventure across our solar system and beyond. Kentucky based Space Tango is actually conducting International Space Station research on far more than the catchy items in my opening line. We'll talk with co-founder Kris Kimel and others about the burgeoning effort to find the killer app or product for production at Zero-G. Happy Anniversary to us whose stats will help me celebrate 17 years of Planetary Radio in this week's what's up. He'll also give us a LightSail 2 update.

LightSail is also why we'll be joined by Planetary Society CEO, Bill Nye the planetary guy right after we check in with the downlink. The Planetary Society's weekly collection of the top headlines in Space [00:01:00] exploration presented by our editorial director Jason Davis. The insight lander on Mars keeps plugging or pounding away with help from the crafts robotic arm. The long trouble Mole hit probe is once again hammering itself below the surface of the Red Planet. Boeing has put at CST 100 Starliner spacecraft on top of an atlas five rocket. With luck, it will make its first voyage to the ISS in December. Science human crew, I'll also note that SpaceX hopes to fly a test of the Crew Dragon capsules escape system next month. Meanwhile, a prototype of that company Starship blew its top a few days ago. SpaceX says the mishap shouldn't delay development of the huge vehicle.

Lastly, scientists have for the first time directly detected water vapor above Europa using the Keck Observatory in Hawaii. The finding support prior research indicating that there may be transient [00:02:00] plumes erupting from the moon's subsurface ocean. Though other explanations are also possible. Go Europa Clipper. For more on these and other stories, including great links, visit planetary.org/downlink. Now to Bill Nye, who is celebrating recognition of the Planetary Society's LightSail solar sail project by the leading news magazine in the US. Bill, not that we needed Time Magazine to acknowledge the, uh... our pride or the success of LightSail 2 but, but it doesn't hurt, does it?

Bill Nye: No, no, it's pretty cool. So Time Magazine's inventions of the year, we are the aerospace invention of the year. It's certainly a heck of a thing. You know, and it's of the year, of, of a year. This thing depend when you start counting is you know, 42 years in the making. And so, uh, it's really gratifying, you know. And for those members who are listening or people who are not yet members, you know, [00:03:00] we flew Cosmos 1 in 2005 but it ended up in the ocean. And then we had an opportunity, uh, four years ago to fly LightSail 1 and we just took it because you just don't know when you're gonna get an opportunity to, to get on a NASA Flight or an ELaNa, Educational Launch of Nanosatellites opportunity so we took that. But LightSail 2 we were able to get to a high enough altitude, 720 kilometers where we could prove that the thing works. Is just... It's really gratifying, Mat. It's just cool as heck.

Mat Kaplan: You mentioned our members, but other people as well. I hear the number 50,000 bandied about.

Bill Nye: Yeah. That's what we say. 50,000 people contributed to LightSail... the LightSail program. Most of them were more recent LightSail 2 when we had Kickstarter awareness and so on. So, thank you all. Really, Mat, another extraordinary aspect of it is, I mentioned Kickstarter, that was one way we raise money, but the main way is just through membership in the Planetary Society. We did [00:04:00] our first $7 million over, over, uh, it depends how you count, over the last 12 years or what have you. If you were gonna do that at a regular space agency like NASA, or ISA, or CNES, or French Space Agency, it would cost about, people estimate about 20 times as much. 140, 150 million to do this project to fly two Solar sails in Earth orbit.

And the reason we did it so much more cheaply is we took risks. And we also do not have continuous coverage around the world. We don't have the Deep Space Network, we just have Hawaii, San Luis Obispo, California, Purdue in Indiana and Georgia Tech in Georgia in the US. And so it's very cool. We pulled it off.

Mat Kaplan: And I am very proud. I am, I'm proud to be a member who stood behind this, who stands behind this and I... I'm proud to be part of the organization, if not a direct part of the team that, uh, that put it up [00:05:00] there.

Bill Nye: Yeah. I'm not a direct part of the team either, Mat, I'm, once in a while I'd say, "Okay, write a check."

Mat Kaplan: [laughs]

Bill Nye: No. So the, the problems that these guys and gals overcame is really, really exciting. You know, and, and pers... the whole thing is so romantic, you know. If you're keeping track, it goes back to Johannes Kepler in 1607 looking at what we now call Comet Halley... Halley's Comet before Edmond Halley ever saw it. He noticed this comet in the night sky, and he noticed that the tail, noticed very carefully that the tail always pointed away from the sun. And Kepler, not really having any knowledge of photons or modern physics of light, he just reason that there's something about the sun that's creating this tail or these tails, the ion tail and the dust tail. Then 400 years later, we were able to exploit that feature of sunlight to fly. It's just exciting.

And so we [00:06:00] hope, as, as the goal of the Planetary Society this... democratizes spaceflight that other organizations, universities will use Solar sails to go to other destinations in the solar system.

Mat Kaplan: Or perhaps beyond.

Bill Nye: Whoo. Yeah, it really is the only technology anybody's thought of right now that could take you to another star system and that is you build a Solar sail, uh, similar in shape to LightSail 2 and you give it a push with a la- with a laser or a group of lasers either on earth or on the far side of the moon, has been discussed, where you'd have solar panels to make electricity to crank huge lasers and give this thing a push. And so the existing drawings, or plans, or artists concepts of inter [inaudible 00:06:48] or flight, uh, always... we always have a square sail very similar to LightSail. You know, you converge on the same answer, right? Do you want booms, things to hold the sail rigid, [00:07:00] or would you rely on just the spin of a sail. Just the centripetal centrifugal action of, uh, something on the, on the corners or the ci- circumference of the sail... perimeter of the sail. And, uh, now right now everybody's thinking is we... booms are good. Booms ar, are efficient.

Mat Kaplan: I would say that LightSail has had a good part in helping to convince people that those booms are a, are a, a, a good way to go.

Bill Nye: Or a worthy way to go. So everybody if you haven't done it, go to our control panel-

Mat Kaplan: Mm-hmm [affirmative]-

Bill Nye: Our mission, mission control, rather, on our website, planetary.org, and you'll find when you can go looking for it in the night sky, in the evening sky, the morning sky. It's really something... when... it's just a dot, it's just a pinprick of light, but it's, it's our.of light people built by citizens around the world who just thought that this was a worthy technology to pursue, and this... there are a couple missions [00:08:00] that a future LightSail style spacecraft is ideal for climate monitoring from above the poles, and, uh, the search for asteroids and especially monitoring solar weather. So there'll be a coronal mass ejection event on the sun. And this stream of particles is hurtling toward our planet that would damage... excessively damage, will create excessive damage to our satellites, to our space assets.

And with the solar sail station keeping with the earth at an inferior orbit, say around the orbit of Venus 0.7 astronomical units from the sun, you could get a head start. You could get three, three and a half, four hours warning against the stream of charged particles. In 2012 there's a very serious event that mised the earth by about two weeks.

Mat Kaplan: Mm-hmm [affirmative]-

Bill Nye: It, it slashed through Earth's orbit two weeks behind us. So we, uh, we... this is a real practical use of this technology along with the [00:09:00] romance.

Mat Kaplan: And I will say with a wink of my eye as we close here, more news approaching, more honors approaching-

Bill Nye: Oh, yes. Yes, your eyes are, are a wink.

Mat Kaplan: [laughs]

Bill Nye: That's cool. It's... But you guys in Time Magazine, come on, it's like Person of the Year, except it's our spacecraft with 99 other cool inventions. Carry on, Mat.

Mat Kaplan: Thank you, Bill. We will. Thanks for, uh-

Bill Nye: Let's keep them flying.

Mat Kaplan: Thanks for the leadership. That's Bill Nye. He's the CEO of the Planetary Society, which, uh, stands behind and under LightSail 2, which, uh, could be sailing on the light of the sun over your head right now.

Another SpaceX Dragon cargo capsule will head for the International Space Station in early December. It will carry a metric ton of science experiments to that national laboratory. One of them will contain barley seeds provided by none other than Anheuser-Busch Brewer of Budweiser and [00:10:00] many other beers. The fascinating story behind this and other efforts is what brought me in early October to the Kentucky headquarters of Space Tango. My host was the company's co-founder and chairman, Kris Kimel. Kris, it's pretty fun to be here at the home of Space Tango in, uh, Lexington, Kentucky. What is happening here? I see a whole bunch of workbenches.

Kris Kimel: Well, fundamentally there's... everybody's preparing for the next launch. Space Tango, of course, is really a research design and manufacturing company that just doesn't do work on the planet Earth. Uh, so everybody is busy preparing for, uh, a series of missions and experiments that will go up on, on the next launch, which I believe is going to be in, in late October. Um, we'll... we generally launch now about, about, uh, six times a year. So it's always very active. Uh, a lot of interesting things going on, and what you're basically around is all the, uh, engineering capabilities as well as some of the biotechnology.

Mat Kaplan: You know, the line from, uh, Captain James Kirk. He said, "Yeah, I'm from Iowa. I just work up there."

Kris Kimel: That's [00:11:00] basically it. Yeah. You know, I tell people about... when I give talks often, I say that or if I'm talking about some of the biot... biomedical things that we do that are really interesting. I sometimes say, you know, "What if the next big... Have you ever thought about it, the next big biomedical breakthrough isn't on the planet Earth?" Just to give them a sense of, yeah, its space it's exotic. But on the other hand, it's really just a... it's another physics environment. And we along with others are now be a- able to exploit that physics environment, use that physics environment for trying to answer different kinds of questions and look for different kinds of solutions.

Mat Kaplan: You're the chair... chairman, but you're also one of the co-founders. Why did you wanna create a company like this?

Kris Kimel: I would like to say that, oh, um, it all started when I was five years old, um, but it didn't have... I think a lot of people my, my, uh, my interest in my career have been very circuitous. Um, at one point I was president of the Kentucky Science Technology Corporation. Um, and that's where the genesis for this, this kind of organization started to, to percolate and we [00:12:00] created... the first organization we created was something called Kentucky Space, which was an independent nonprofit subsidiary. And, um, actually we started thinking we were going to, to build, um, small satellites. CubeSat.

Mat Kaplan: Mm-hmm [affirmative]-

Kris Kimel: Is which was where we started. We started will help high-altitude balloons, then moved to suborbital and into orbital. Um, actually Twyman Clements, who's now the CEO of Space Tango was actually hired, hired as a student to work at Kentucky space. So he's, he's been there since the... he's the other co-founder and has been there since the beginning. It kind of evolved.

And as we started to go into the, the CubeSat, uh, arena, and then had, had an opportunity to build something for Space Station, it was just one of those things where I think our curiosity, um, and the opportunity kind of converged and then we realized that low Earth orbit and microgravity, uh, may be a, a revolutionary, uh, new pathway for all sorts of no... new discoveries with materials and, and particularly in the, in the biomedical area for applications on earth in addition to no space medicine, which is, you [00:13:00] know, how do we keep people alive in space? Which is obviously a, a big issue too. But really our focus has been more on how do we, you know, utilize microgravity for... to benefit people on earth.

Mat Kaplan: Kentucky Bourbon Thoroughbred's, nothing against this town. It's a lovely town. But Lexington, Kentucky is not the first place most people think of in terms of developing or exploring space. And yet you've been able to build this company here. I mean, it seems to say something about the progress that we've made in space development, space utilization.

Kris Kimel: Well, I think clearly over the, particularly the past 10 years, five to 10 years, the spa- you know, the space industry, commercial space research has, has really opened up. I think a couple things have been driving that that made it more difficult for places like Lexington or people here and other places to get involved. One was the access to space. Um, I, I think since actually I think, at the time, it was controversial, but I think NASA's decision to scrub The Shuttle, uh, and then move to a different vehicle and encourage the private [00:14:00] sector to get involved, really opened things up. Uh, it was very difficult for anyone to compete with The Shuttle because of the cost and et cetera. I think that opened things up.

The other thing I think it's really been... is revolutionary, uh, is just the relentless and continued, uh, miniaturization and develop of new technologies.

Mat Kaplan: Mm-hmm [affirmative]-

Kris Kimel: Everything that we do here most everything is, um, is very small, very robust, very technical, and that ability to develop very, very small technologies, uh, and be able to partner with a NASA, or an Orbital, or SpaceX or some of the other vehicle, uh, launch vehicle companies to put things it's ve... it's really something that was not available 10 years ago. And because of that, I mean, we have a lot of people here in Lexington, like everywhere else in the country in the world that have great ideas and are very smart. I think a lot of things that, that may be kept us from creating, uh, synergy here in the past wasn't the lack of ideas. It wasn't a lack of people. It was just lack of the infrastructure and ability to do that.

Um, you know, you needed big stuff, you needed to be, you know, [00:15:00] you needed to, to handle... to launch capability or be near a NASA facility. And I think that's all changed. And that's opened a lot of opportunity up for places like this.

Mat Kaplan: What is the infrastructure? I mean, what have all these developments allowed you to create on the International Space Station so that you can basically host this work?

Kris Kimel: Uh, I think it's a lot of things. Uh, our, our engineers probably have or have a better deeper sense of some of the specifics. But clearly, we now know... we know, um, that, you know, when you move into microgravity, all biological and physical systems are scrambled. Uh, and that scrambling process, uh, opens up a whole new, uh, opportunity, one, to understand, uh, how things operate not only in microgravity, but they act differently there. Is it, you know, sometimes it tells us something about the system, how it operates on earth that we may not have seen on Earth. Just very briefly, we did an experiment a year, a year or two ago with Tuft University dealing with planarian flatworm is which our major focus were regenerative medicine. Those of you who didn't sleep [00:16:00] through high school sciences, I did.

Mat Kaplan: [laughs]

Kris Kimel: Know that when you cut them in threes, they regenerate heads, tails, and the midsection grows a head and tail. So they were very interested in one big, you know, focuses. Understand that mechanism. So we put, you know, we put 15 in space and then cut 15 other and cut them. And when we came back, they saw some really interesting differences. And one of the most intrig- intriguing differences they saw is that one of the mid sections had grown to heads. And I believe their offspring had two heads. So that's one of those things where you go, "Gosh, wh- wh... how did that happen?" And we don't know.

A lot of times people will ask us when we're doing experiments, "What do you think you're gonna see when you send something..." we planned experiments, for example, uh, plants that are the basis for chemo drugs, looking for chemistry changes or any kind of alterations. We've done, you know, things with stem cells, brain organoids. And people often ask, "What do you think you're gonna see?" And the answer most of the time is, "We don't know." Uh, this is very much a frontier and that's why we're going to space. But that microgravity environment, because of its very nature is, is opening up and allowing us and [00:17:00] others into a different room to look for different kinds of solutions that really we haven't been able to do in the past.

Mat Kaplan: Of course, that brain organoid work, we're also talking about because of the folks at UCSD that you're working with. But I'm curious about some of the other... some of these other experiments that have been set up. Uh, what's this thing about hemp?

Kris Kimel: Well, uh, we're a curious company. People understand that one of the aspects of, of Space Tango is that we, we don't see ourselves simply as a service company or a transactional company. I mean, that's a lot of what we do right now. Uh, but we also see ourselves as an idea company. We see ourselves as a company also pushing the envelope with our own ideas or ideas in partnership with others, to try to figure out new ways and new things, new ideas. We became, uh, very interested last year in looking at some of the potential biomedical applications primarily of things like cannabinoids, and CBD, and, and things of that nature and did a lot of research on, on CBD and of course, hemp being the non psychoactive cousin of THC, [00:18:00] and discovered, discovered or you know, uncovered in our mind, some... we thought are some very interesting opportunities to look at the properties of cannabinoids in a Zero-G environment.

Um, for example there's over, I think approximately 130 cannabinoids actually. And we really could only access wi- with any degree of accuracy and volume, a co... just a couple [inaudible 00:18:22] a THC and CBD I think, CBA or CB other things, other... a few others. But... So, one of the things we're really interested in is do we see which we have seen in the past with other planets perhaps epigenetic changes in the space that might turn on some of those genes that might, uh, allow us to see or turn on or activate, uh, other kinds of, of, uh, cannabinoids, uh, et cetera. Do we see differences in the plants and the chemistry and the genes. And so our really interest is looking at cannabinoids, looking at the hemp plant in that environment as a possible, understand is a possible pathway to enhancing the biomedical potential.

Mat Kaplan: Mm-hmm [affirmative]-

Kris Kimel: [00:19:00] Uh, and health and, and wellness potential of CBD and other cannabinoids and other chemistry that are part of the hemp plant.

Mat Kaplan: So it's 95 degrees here today in Lexington, I maybe therefore I'm not that sorry that we're not gonna make it out to a field just out of town. You showed me some pictures and maybe we'll post one of those on the show page. Uh, were you doing a little bit of cultivation.

Kris Kimel: Yeah. Um, Space Tango is a small company, uh, which is great. And when you're in a small company, uh, you have to do a lot of things. And, uh, when we brought the hemp seeds back one of the things we did we planted them in a greenhouse, uh, and then we grew them out of the greenhouse and evaluated them, uh, at certain, certain intervals. And then we're gonna put them in the field and then once they've grown out in the field, and then harvest them from the field at a particular, uh, interval and then do genetic and chemistry analysis and see what, what, uh, might evolve from that point.

And, um, as luck would have it, last week, I got a call on Tuesday from one of our... Rob Gabbert who works with us and said, "Hey, we got to get 60 plants out in the [00:20:00] field by Friday." And I said, "Well, Who's we?" And he said, "Well, I guess it's you and me since the engineers are busy preparing for the next flight and we don't have, you know, people out there."

So, um, I put on my, my, my jeans and work shirt and Rob and I went out and dug and planted, uh, 60 holes and planted out, uh, 60, uh, of the hemp plants that had been in the, in the greenhouse that he had both the control group and the plants that had been, uh, the dry from seed that had been in space. Uh, and I will say, like a lot of places in this country, it hasn't rained here in about two months. So the, the ground was rock hard.

Mat Kaplan: Mm-hmm [affirmative]-

Kris Kimel: Uh, but that's what we had to do. And that's like a small company. You do what you have to do. There's no such thing as a small company as, that's not a good use of my time.

Mat Kaplan: Such other duties as maybe a sign.

Kris Kimel: That's right.

Mat Kaplan: I- I'm curious about the relationship with NASA. Because obviously, the space agency had to enable these things to happen on the ISS. How does that work for you?

Kris Kimel: NASA has been an, an amazing partner with Kentucky Space and Space Tango from the very beginning, as they have with a lot of other emerging space companies. We fortunately have [00:21:00] something called a Space Act Agreement with NASA that basically, uh, gives us access to the station, it gives us launch opportunities in partnership with NASA and some of the launch, launch companies. And so they're very much, uh, very much a... an ongoing full time really partner o- of what we do. Um, and wi- without NASA and some of their new innovative policies, we certainly couldn't... wouldn't able to be achieving what we do. And, uh, those Space Act Agreements and other kinds of, of collaborations that we have in NASA are, are absolutely essential. Not only to I think Space Tango, uh, feature, but really the, the, the commercialization of space in general.

Mat Kaplan: It sure seems like all of this is still happening at a pretty embryonic level. Do you see enormous potential? Do you expect to see, well, I'll call it the killer app, but it might be a killer product or do you think that microgravity is going to pay off basically? Not just in terms of a profit for you and your partners, but in, in terms of, uh, helping us down here on the surface of [00:22:00] earth.

Kris Kimel: Absolutely. Um, a lot of times its Space Tango we talk about. You know, every time we've, we have been able to get a hold of, or, uh, capture a physics environment, a new physics environment, um, harness it, whether it be, uh, electromagnetism or the vacuum, it has led to a couple of things. It has inevitably led to exponential growth in new ideas and, and applications and, and significant capital creation. And really what we're talking about here is the fact that we are now at the beginning of being able to harness the physical environment of microgravity in a real way.

You know, on Earth, you can't mimic it on Earth, you know, drop towers, you know, the vomit comet, you get a few minutes, but-

Mat Kaplan: Mm-hmm [affirmative]-

Kris Kimel: ... you really don't get any kind of prolonged exposure like we do now. And yes, we're on the, we're on the cusp of that. But just like other physics environments, we fully expect and anticipate that this too, uh, we will look back upon, um, in the years ahead and realize that this was a, a monumental breakthrough that has led to all [00:23:00] sorts of new understandings and improvement in, in people's lives.

Mat Kaplan: We like pioneers on this show. Kris. Thank you. Exciting stuff. Best of success.

Kris Kimel: Thank you.

Mat Kaplan: That's Kris Kimmel. By the way, we'll learn more about those so called brain organoids Kris mentioned in an upcoming episode of Planetary Radio, stick around, we're about to meet the woman who manages all of the amazing research taken on by Space Tango and its clients.

Casey Dreier: I know you're a fan of space because you're listening to Planetary Radio right now. But if you want to take that extra step to be not just a fan, but an advocate, I hope you'll join me Casey Dreier, the Chief Advocate here at the Planetary Society at our annual Day of Action this February 9th and 10th in Washington, DC. That's when members from across the country come to DC and meet with members of Congress face to face and advocate for space. To learn more, go to planetary.org/dayofaction.

Mat Kaplan: Back to Space Tango.

Gentry Barnett: My name is Gentry Barnett and [00:24:00] I am the TangoLab Program Manager at Space Tango.

Mat Kaplan: And do a lot of the biomedical stuff here right here.

Gentry Barnett: I am a biomedical, uh, engineer by trade. Yes. And so I, I, I oversee all the payloads in this role. For each mission we'll select a couple of mi... payloads for that mission depending on payload readiness, uh, and some of the logistics they need for each flight. So that, that kind of determines what payloads go on a mission. Uh, yes, and then I will oversee all those, the development, the engineering, uh, a- and making sure those get to space.

Mat Kaplan: So as our listeners know, I'm a gear head at least that's what my boss, the, the science guy says. Uh, this is kind of heavenly. And tell me about this amazing collection of circuit boards, and tubes, and, and a bag of seeds. What's going on here?

Gentry Barnett: So this is actually a payload that's going up on our next mission. This is a payload with, uh, Anheuser-Busch. Um, what they're looking at or the seeds you're looking a, um, are barley seeds.

Mat Kaplan: Uh-huh.

Gentry Barnett: And, and they're really exploring with this payload, the malting process. [00:25:00] Uh, wh- which consists of three different phases: Steeping, uh, germination, and kilning. Normally, obviously, they do this in a much larger environment. Um-

Mat Kaplan: They make a lot of beer.

Gentry Barnett: Yes, they do. Uh, so we, we went out to their facilities in Fort Collins, Colorado, uh, to learn this process. So what we do, uh, uh, air space thing, uh, with the engineers is, is we really miniaturize that process, uh, into something, um, slightly bigger than a, than a shoe box, uh, which we call a CubeLab. Uh, and this is a self-contained environment, uh, that we automate from our offices in Lexington.

Mat Kaplan: They come to you Anheuser-Busch, "We would like to do something about malting, part of the beer mak... process of making beer in space in microgravity. You figure out how to make that work on the ISS.

Gentry Barnett: Yes, that's exactly what we do. A- as an engineer i- in this, uh, specific company, we have to have a very quick, uh, learning process. So, yes, we went out there, we, we went over the process that they normally [00:26:00] do. Uh, a- and then we have to, we have to miniaturize that. We have to learn each component of that. Uh, a- and then we'll set up what, what you're seeing in front of you, uh, this is the payload sprawled out, uh, i- in more of a benchtop prototype fashion, uh, so that we can see every functional piece of how this is working and, and follow along at e- at every step of the way.

Um, and what you'll see in the bag over here is actually the, the end of the steeping process. The seeds have actually developed these acro spires which is tunney, uh, growth at the end o- of one end of the seed. Uh, and that's exactly what we were looking for. So then tomorrow we'll, we'll go into the germination phase. Uh, and then the kilning where we will actually draw these seeds out and the end result will be malt that will send to them and they'll do a chemical profile and compare that... the different chemical profile and the, the taste profile, uh, that results from this malt. Uh, and then obviously we'll do the same thing for the result and malt that comes back from the Space Station.

Mat Kaplan: So this will all go into, I assume some kind of a rack mount unit and the self contained? I mean, [00:27:00] will astronauts have to tend this or will it pretty much take care of itself.

Gentry Barnett: Uh, no, once we, once we, uh, put the tops on our CubeLabs they become a, a self contained environment. So really the only crew interaction that we have is moving it from the rocket that takes it up. So either from the dragon or the Cygnus module, uh, will take that out and install it into our TangoLab facilities, um, on the Space Station that are in EXPRESS rack. And from that point forward, they will be fully automated. And we control that from our up station, um, here in Lexington upstairs.

Mat Kaplan: Is this experiment that has already been completed at least the first phase of it with so called brain organoids that we're also talking about today. Is it essentially similar to this? Where they, they came to you from UCSD and you had to figure out how to make it go into space?

Gentry Barnett: Yes, absolutely. So with the UCSD project, the brain, the organoids, they're studying how the brain develops, uh, in a microgravity environment under these different kinds of stresses that are normally [00:28:00] seen on Earth, obviously. What we have to do, um, as Space Tango is we have to take the environment that they have, uh, in their labs at UCSD, you know, how they normally keep these cells alive and do that in a much smaller, automated, fully sealed environment. Um, so we, we work directly, uh, you know, one on one with that team to understand their different requirements, uh, to explain our different requirements and really come together to develop this very unique, uh, minilab system that's put in our CubeLab.

Mat Kaplan: From beer to brains, with all kinds of other stuff in between, seems like a pretty fun job.

Gentry Barnett: Absolutely. It is a lot of fun. What's unique about everybody that works here and really all of our customers, um, is we're willing to discover. And we're willing to open the doors to whatever we may find, whatever we may not find. Uh, we're, we're always looking for another answer. We're always asking a different question. That drive for innovation, the drive for something new, just asking the question of, of what could happen, [00:29:00] uh, that's really what makes this job so interesting, and I think what brings a lot of our customers to our doors.

Mat Kaplan: Have you seen enough that you have confidence as Kris Kimel does in the potential of microgravity for developing manufacturing products that will be unlike any we can create on earth?

Gentry Barnett: 100%, yes. There's, there's really endless potential here. Uh, and again, it's just being... having that willingness to ask these questions. Every question you ask may not have this profound answer that you were expecting, uh, that these unique, I guess, side questions that you could also ask along the way, tend to bring results that you weren't expecting.

Mat Kaplan: Mm-hmm [affirmative]-

Read more here:

Seeking the Killer Space App with Space Tango - The Planetary Society

Satellite Remote Sensing Market Share, Global Insights and Leading Players from 2019-2025 : Boeing (US), Space Exploration Technologies (US) – The…

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Satellite Remote Sensing Market Share, Global Insights and Leading Players from 2019-2025 : Boeing (US), Space Exploration Technologies (US) - The...

Space experience for Sheffield students is out of this world – The Star

Youngsters relive moon landings at Cineworld in Sheffield

More than 400 local young people and their teachers were treated to a unique commemoration of 50 years since the first moon landing, which was out of this world.

Following a screening of documentary Apollo 11, which was created entirely from restored archive materials, the UK Space Agencys Head of Space Exploration, Sue Horne, led a fascinating talk and Q&A with an engaged primary audience.

The screening was part of a major series of events organised by the Into Film Festival this year to educate and immerse young people in the history of the moon landings.

Others have included a collaboration with Live Cinema UK and Yorkshire-based art-rock collective Stems in Leeds Town Hall as well as several screenings of Armstrong and First Man across the UK.

Into Film is an education charity that puts film at the heart of children and young peoples educational, cultural and personal development. More than half of UK schools engage with the programme.

A student from St Albans Primary School, said: My favourite part of coming to the Into Film Festival was getting to ask lots of questions. My favourite question was, how much money would it cost to build a rocket. Apollo 11 taught me a lot about rockets and how to launch them

The Into Film Festival returned for its 7th year from 6-22 November and is the worlds largest free film festival. Standout Sheffield events included the Festivals launch premiere of environmental documentary 2040 with UNICEF, an exclusive preview of The Aeronauts presented with the BFI London Film Festival and a screening of Horrible Histories: Rotten Romans featuring a talk from the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification).

The Into Film Festival, hosted by film education charity, Into Film is supported by Cinema First and the BFI through National Lottery funding and backed by the UK film industry. It is notably one of the biggest, free cultural events of the year and is curated for UK pupils aged 5-19 offering over 3,000 film screenings and speaker events covering a vast range of curriculum-linked topics.

Continue reading here:

Space experience for Sheffield students is out of this world - The Star

Op-ed | Living off the land: Lunar water is key to crewed space exploration – SpaceNews

The moon has formed the isolated backdrop for a new era of space exploration. As you read this, there are teams of exploration advocates around the world striving to reach its surface. This goal may be accomplished as early as next year.

This new age is one that is being led not by spacefaring superpowers seeking to fly flags and footprints but instead by numerous private companies, each vying to demonstrate their capability to fly 385,000 kilometers through the vacuous darkness of space and safely soft-land on our celestial neighbor. The rise of such companies follows the renewed focus on the moon by space agencies around the world, spurred on the by the Global Exploration Roadmap, as we prepare once again for crewed deep space exploration. This resurgence of lunar exploration has reached fever pitch and soon these private companies will provide the capability to deploy scientific and commercial payloads to various locations on the moons surface for the first time in history.

The price tag to perform such a magnificent feat of engineering? About $1 million per kilogram. Think about that for a second; thats the mass of just 1 liter of water.

As the space industry continuously vies with the worlds biggest issues for its share of public support (and funding) it is imperative that we do everything we can to lower these costs and deliver milestones that truly benefit those of us left here on Earth. So, with such price tags on our most basic amenities, how could we ever possibly afford to permanently expand humanitys presence further into space?

The answer lies in going back to the roots of human existence; living off the land. The moons barren surface was once described by Buzz Aldrin as magnificent desolation and it appears to be exactly that at first glance. But lying within the unmoving surface layers is a treasure trove of resources adequate to nurture a settlement of future explorers.

Among the plentiful resources on the moon are various metals trapped as oxides in the surface material (regolith). These oxides can be used in the coproduction of oxygen and pure metals to provide astronauts with breathable air and sturdy 3D-printed structures in which to shelter from micrometeorite impacts and the constant stream of potentially lethal cosmic rays that emanate from supernova explosions far outside our solar system.

Looking much further ahead, rare Earth metals may also be extracted for use in our advanced electronic devices or even Helium-3 for fuel in our yet-to-be-built fusion reactors. But the most immediate, and to me the most exciting, avenue for resource utilization on the moon is lunar ice.

Water has long been theorized to exist on the lunar surface due to a unique quirk of the entwined orbital geometry between the Earth and the moon. Due to this very stable set up, which has existed for billions of years, the moons axis is tilted only 1.5 degrees relative to the suns incoming rays. This means that at the lunar poles there exist regions within deep craters that are utterly untouched by sunlight.

This, coupled with the fact that there is little-to-no atmosphere, means that there are extreme temperature differences between light and dark on the moon, upward of 150 degrees Celsius. These unlit regions within craters, referred to as permanently shadowed regions, or PSRs, are now known to host vast quantities of water ice that have been lying in perfect isolation for hundreds of millions of years. Although an exceedingly difficult number to quantify, it is commonly believed that the quantity of water in these PSRs exceeds 100 million tons.

Companies and agencies around the world are already investigating if this lunar water can be successfully and efficiently harvested. If so, it will unlock untold possibilities for our future in space.

The beauty of lunar water is that it may prove to be remarkably easy to harvest with robotic technologies. ESA already has plans to demonstrate this through a proposed mission called Heracles. By utilizing a new NASA-led space station around the moon, the Gateway, which is slated for construction in 2024, astronauts can tele-operate a rover and collect lunar samples for eventual return to Earth. Whats more, many of the transportation companies that intend to fly to the moon within the next few years seek to demonstrate roving capability once on the surface. This means that within the next decade there may be tens of companies with the ability to harvest water robotically in preparation for the return of humans to the surface.

A mission profile which relies heavily on precursor robotic utilization, although perhaps not as exciting as watching a human bounce gleefully across the dusty lunar surface in low gravity, will reduce risks for astronauts. If enough water can be harvested in advance by their robotic companions, astronauts can arrive at a rudimentary base with preliminary supplies, thereby reducing the amount of propellant used at every step in the mission.

With access to lunar ice, we can finally realize our vision of sustainable, affordable expansion beyond low Earth orbit. Of course, the most obvious examples of this are purifying lunar ice through a simple boil-off procedure into drinking water. Or one could use solar arrays to harness the suns energy to electrolyze the ice and form oxygen for astronauts to breathe; a practice which is already commonplace aboard the International Space Station. Water will allow us to begin cultivating fresh food, which will have huge benefits for astronauts physical and mental health during future missions.

The list goes on. Water is even vital when not being consumed. Due to its high hydrogen content, it can be utilized as an efficient radiation protection to help shield astronauts from the never-ending stream of cancer-inducing space radiation.

In the far future, it will also be possible to convert lunar ice into liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen to form a rocket propellant with impressive characteristics. By leveraging the moon, or more precisely cislunar space, as a refueling station on the highway to deep space it may be possible to drastically lower the price of space exploration as we would no longer have to lift hundreds of tons of extra propellant off the surface of the Earth. This point, I should note, is heavily contested due to the difficulties in storing liquid hydrogen over long durations. However, the skeptics would appear to be betting against the worlds richest man, Jeff Bezos, and his space company Blue Originit is no coincidence that their lunar lander, Blue Moon, will rely on a newly developed engine fueled by liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen.

Skeptics aside, there is no doubt in my mind that the moon is the ideal next steppingstone on our global exploration journey. And by utilizing the available resources in-situ, we will gain the ability to greatly reduce the costs of exploring the moon and work toward a truly sustainable and permanent outpost in space. Over the coming decades, and with the right nourishment from national agencies, new deep space industries will mature, and a lunar economy will be born: an economy with lunar water at its heart.

Calum Hervieu is a mission analyst at Planetary Transportation Systems GmbH (formerly PTScientists GmbH), a Berlin-based company that aims to land a privately funded spacecraft on the moon.

This article originally appeared in the Oct. 21, 2019 issue of SpaceNews magazine.

Continued here:

Op-ed | Living off the land: Lunar water is key to crewed space exploration - SpaceNews

SpaceXs Starship Craft For Space Exploration Blows Its Top During Test – Forbes

SpaceX's Starship prototypen before the explosion on Wednesday.

The top of SpaceXs Mk1 Starship appears to have blown off during a pressure test of the prototype rocket. Livestream cameras set up by third parties to watch the spacecrafts construction captured footage of the explosion.

The companys CEO and founder Elon Musk downplayed the incident, replying to a Twitter comment about what this means for the spacecrafts development by saying, This had some value as a manufacturing pathfinder, but flight design is quite different.

In an emailed statement, the company said, The purpose of todays test was to pressurize systems to the max, so the outcome was not completely unexpected. There were no injuries, nor is this a serious setback.

Starship is the space companys next-generation program for space exploration, which it intends to use to provide service to the Moon, Mars and possibly elsewhere. On a conference call organized by NASA earlier this week, SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell stated that the company could land a Starship craft on the Moon as early as 2022. Its not clear yet if this incident would impact that ambitious timeline, but the companys emailed statement indicated that its Starship team is focused on the Mk3 builds, which are designed for orbit.

This isnt the first time that SpaceX has experienced failures, either in testing or on the launch pad. It suffered a failure of a commercial Falcon 9 launch in 2016 as well as the failure of a test of its crewed Dragon spacecraft earlier this year. But the company tends to take such failures in stride, seeing them as part of the iterative process to improve its products.

For example, the company first successfully landed the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket in 2016, but not until after multiple failures that the company celebrated in a highlight reel called How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster on YouTube. That video has since been viewed over 14 million times.

This article has been updated since publication to include comment from SpaceX.

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SpaceXs Starship Craft For Space Exploration Blows Its Top During Test - Forbes

The Most Exciting Moments About Space in 2019 – Interesting Engineering

2019 has been a very exciting year for space-related events. Here we explore some of the most notable space missions of the past and explore the most notable and exciting space moments of this year.

Trust us when we say the events detailed below are far from exhaustive.


We are living through an exciting and vibrant time in space exploration. Events are happening at a break-neck speed, and news change almost daily.

For this reason, any declaration of the "latest" space mission would quickly become redundant.

There are many current and in-development space missions by various private and public space agencies around the world. For up to date news on missions it is recommended you sign up to and follow each organization on social media and via their websites.

But, taking NASA as an example, their website is the best place to find the latest news of their ongoing and planned space missions.

This is something of a personal choice, but there are some very significant events in space exploration over time. Some notable milestones in our exploration of the heavens are as follows:

1. The very first satellite in space - In October of 1954, the Soviet Union launched humanity's first artificial satellite in history - Sputnik 1. This was not only a triumph for humanity in general but it almost single-handedly led to the creation of NASA.

2. The first human in space - Another amazing achievement by the Soviet Union. In 1961,cosmonaut Yuri A. Gagarin, onboard the Vostok 1 spacecraft, became the first human in space.

3. The first lunar landing - In a classic game of one-upmanship, NASA pulled out all the stops to plant the very first human beings on the Moon. Apollo 11 stands as one of man's greatest technological achievements of all time.

4. The Hubble Space Telescope - Launched in April of 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope has been a gift that keeps on giving. Offering unprecedented views of the universe around us, Hubble has led to many discoveries beyond all the hopes and dreams of its designers.

5. The first private spacecraft - In June of 2004, SpaceShipOne was designed and built by an aerospace development company known as Scaled Composites. Flown by a South-African born American, it actually managed to fly past the boundary of space.

This laid the foundations for the current explosion in private enterprises turning their hand to space exploration. As more and more private enterprises enter the market, humanity's future in space will undoubtedly get better, cheaper and more accessible to private citizens in the future.

Here is a summary of the past and future events in all things space in 2019. A lot has happened this year and, as such, the following is just a hand-picked sampling of the most notable events of the year.

On New Years Day of 2019, NASA's New Horizons spacecraft completed its journey to Ultima Thule. This was the furthest object that we've ever managed to visit in our Solar System.

Scientists pored over the first images received but will have to wait for a little longer for the rest of the probe's data to arrive on Earth.

China was also hoping to land its Chang'e-4 lander on the far side of the Moon in January. On the 4th of the month, all their hard work paid off with the lander touching down on the mostly unexplored side of the Moon.

The probe returned some interesting images and very exciting data for astrophysicists to sift through at their leisure.

NASA's Mars Insight Lander's HP3began drilling the Red Planet's surface at the beginning of the month. They plan was to reach about 5-meters in-depth to take important measurements on the internal surface temperature of the planet.

But, for some as yet unknown reason, it hit technical issues and couldn't penetrate beyond 30 cmin depth.

This month, Israeli private non-profit, SpaceIL launched their first Moon lander onboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. The team hoped to plant an Israeli flag and make some magnetic readings if they successfully completed their landing sometime in April of 2019 (more on this later).

The Moon itself also made a show for Earth-bound spectators this month. On the 19th of February, it passed closer to the Earth than usual to provide a Supermoon in the night's sky.

This same month, the Juno probe was planned to make a sweeping visit to Jupiter. True to form, the probe got some great images of the gas giant. Further flybys were also scheduled for May, July, and September of the same year.

Japan also made its attempt to collect samples from the asteroid Ryugu this month. The probe called Hayabusa2, successfully fired a pellet at the asteroid's surface to gather some of the asteroids material for analysis.

Further sampling attempts were planned for later in 2019.

In March, SpaceX launched and tested one of their crewed Dragon 2 spacecraft in the rigors of space. the craft, called Demonstration Mission 1 (DM-1), wasn't actually crewed but the data they gathered would guide future crewed flights.

After months of delay, it successfully reached orbit and made its way to the ISS.

Boeing also planned to test its brand-new CST-100 Starliner this month. The craft is currently under development to provide a vehicle to transport crews and materiel to the ISS.

Sadly it was plagued with delays and rescheduled for April.The test was to be uncrewed, and following its successful completion, a crewed test would be attempted in August of 2019.

This has since been revised again, with current estimates for an unmanned test flight in December of this year.

April started out brilliantly with a close approach of NASA's Parker Solar Probe to the Sun. This followed other approaches in late 2018 and will not be the last for many years to come.

This month also spelled the end of a contract with Russia and NASAfor delivering people and stuff to the ISS using their Soyuz spacecraft. This contract was established following the unfortunate retirement of their own Space Shuttle program in 2011.

For this reason, NASA has been busy working with Boeing and SpaceX to find an alternative logistics solution. But it was announced in February of 2019 that NASA may still consider using Russian Soyuz craft until alternatives are found.

April was not the best month for the team behind the Israeli gambit to put a probe of their own on the Moon. SpaceIL, a private venture, had teamed up with Elon Musk's SpaceX to attempt to plant an Israeli flag on the lunar surface.

Sadly, all contact was lost with the Beresheet lunar lander in the afternoon of April the 11th as it crashed into the Moon's surface. Despite the setback, the team is hoping to send a second Moon lander in the not too distant future.

Also this month, SpaceX had hoped to make a test flight of their Starship craft. "Starhopper" managed to perform a short, tethered, engine test leading to future plans for untethered testing later in the year.

SpaceX also successfully tested another of its Heavy Falcons this month. Not only was the launch a success, but they also managed to recover all three of its booster rockets.

May was a quieter month for space exploration. But there were some notable events.

The first was the Eta Aquarid meteor shower on the 6th of May. This is a fairly regular event that peaks around early-May every year.

The meteors are actually debris leftover from Halley's comet when it passes close to Earth on its rare visits.

On a more dramatic note, SpaceX's Dragon Crew Capsule was confirmed to have exploded during another test this month. This was the very same capsule, DM-1, that had proved successful back in March of 2019.

Astronomers also released an interesting report on the recent asteroid impact on the Moon's surface this month. Leaving a crater about 15-meters wide, the collision was reported in theMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

In other news, a rocket designed by a team of students from the University of Southern California (USC) Rocket Propulsion Lab (RPL) successfully launched a small rocket that reached the edges of space. The tiny 8-inch (20.3 cm) diameter, 13-foot (3.96 m) tall rocket, called Traveller IV, is the first student-designed craft to ever do so.

Towards the end of the month, an asteroid also made a 'close' approach to our beloved home planet. The mile-wide (1.6 km) rock with its own small moon, passed around 3.5 million miles from Earth.

Also this month, a Soyuz rocket was hit by lightning with no ill-effects on the 27th of May.

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter took some impressive images of Mars this month. Using it'sHigh-Resolution Imaging Science Experiment(HiRISE), the orbiter captured images of an impressive and supposedly newly formed crater on Mars.

Also this month, NASA announced that their Curiosity rover had detected high levels of methane in the atmosphere of Mars. This sparked much debate about the likely source and potential for finding life.

By far, one of the most spectacular Space events this month was the Strawberry Moon. Many people around the world who were able to catch a glimpse were left awestruck around the world.

In the middle of June, a new study was released that pointed to the fact the Europa, one of Jupiter's moons, might have saltwater comparable to Earth's oceans under its icy crust. Using data fromHubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectograph (STIS)the team reported they've picked up the spectral signature of irradiated sodium chloride.

This month, SpaceX successfully launched another Falcon Heavy Rocket. What was different about this event was the fact that, for the first time, the company successfully resued one of their booster rockets from previous launches.

But it came at a cost. They failed to recover the central core unit.

Towards the end of June, scientists announced they had found an exoplanet that bears a striking resemblance to Earth.TheCARMENESsurvey team announced that the planet that orbits Teegarden's star, the 24th closest star to our own, is only 12 light-years away.

Airing on the 29th of June, the "Apollo 11" documentary premiered on CNN. The film was edited and directed by Todd Douglas Miller and was compiled from hours of real NASA archive footage of this history-making event in human history.

Earlier in the month, researchers revealed that there may be a way for black holes to form without the need for a collapsing star. The theory, called 'direct collapse' was proposed by two researchers at Western University in Ontario, Canada.

Also at the start of July, the first total eclipse of the Sun since 2017 was enjoyed by onlookers in South America. Parts of Chile and Argentina were treated to one of the most spectacular events the heavens have to offer.

Researchers also put to bed any notion that the now infamous'Oumuamua asteroid was actually an alien spaceship. Much to the disappointment of many excited members of the public.

Deployed into space in late June, the Carl Sagan inspired LightSail2 solar sail spacecraft was reported to be operational and ready to deploy its innovative propulsion device (which it did later in July). If successful, this will provide a proof of concept for the tech for future applications.

In mid-July, a United Arab Emirates spy satellite failed to make it into orbit and crashed into the Atlantic Ocean. It appears a serious rocket failure occurred only two minutes after liftoff.

The bad news was not exclusive to the UAE in July. The European Galileo GPS satellite system suffered a major outing in July too. Costing over 3 Billion Euros to date, a mysterious technical issue left Europe relying on American satellites until service was restored.

In late July, India also made its own attempt to launch a Moon lander and rover to the Moon. CalledChandrayaan-2, it had originally been planned for launch in January but was delayed for several months following technical issues.

In early August, researchers revealed they had detected the highest energy photons ever recorded from the Crab Nebula. The team was unable to explain how they are created by the nebula, however.

Also in early August, NASA announced they had found a new "Hot Earth" exoplanet. The space agenciesplanet-hunting satelliteTransiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, orTESS for short, spotted the new planet as well as two others orbiting its parent star.

Also this month, an "Ultra-Massive" black hole was discovered in the universe. With an estimated mass of over 40 billion suns, this new black hole is one hell of a monster.

SpaceX's space-bound Roadster made it's the first orbit of the Sun this month. Launched onboard a Falcon Heavy rocket test in February of 2018, the Roadster has been a tour of our solar system over since.

It won't come close to Earth again until November 2020. We say close but it'll be somewhere in the order of32.2 million miles (52.8 million km) away by then.

On the subject of SpaceX, a Chinese private space company, LinkSpace, also announced the third successful launch of its reusable rocket. The Beijing-based company reported it reached 300-meters in height before safely returning to its launchpad 50 seconds later.

Also on the subject of SpaceX, Elon Musk announced it might be a good idea to nuke Mars to prepare it for human settlement. Although it might sound a little gung-ho, there is some merit to his suggestion.

Back onto the subject of black holes, scientists revealed they had evidence of one swallowing a neutron star. The event appears to have occurred 900 million years ago,and must have been an impressive thing to have seen if you were close enough at the time.

On a lighter note, the hyped "Storm Area 51 Event" that was planned on the 20th September 2019, turned out to be a bit a flop. But it was fun to watch some of the attendees attempting to "Naruto run".

In September, SpaceX revealed its candidate landing sites for future Mars missions by the private space company. These sites appear to have been penciled in for their Starship once its development is complete.

Probably the main news event this month was the announcement of a million-dollar prize for the first image of a black hole. The team of eight at EHT split the 3 million prize between them.

On a completely different subject, researchers also announced they had made cement in space for the very first time. A recent series of experiments on the ISS discovered it was actually possible to get cement to solidify in microgravity.

India's Chandrayaan-2arrives at the moon but contact was lost with its lander, called Vikram, creating serious doubts about the mission's success.

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), the team behind the apparently ill-fated Vikram Lunar landerdid later announce that they had found it. The team was still unable to make contact, but they announced that it appeared to be operational and was expected to complete its planned 7-year mission.

Water vapor appears to have been discovered on an exoplanet for the first time, according to findings released in September. What's more, the exoplanet also appeared to be in the habitable zone of its parent star - - could it harbor life?

Our solar system was visited by another interstellar tourist in September.C/2019 Q4,believed to be a comet, was spotted by an amateur astronomer and got many stargazers very excited indeed.

Just at the close of the month, Elon Musk announced that he wants to put SpaceX's "Starship" into orbit within the next six months. Whether they can achieve it or not is anyone's guess.

There was some very exciting news earlier this month. Scientists announced that they had potentially discovered the existence of the basic ingredients for life on Saturn's moon Enceladus.

NASA also announced earlier this month that the Juno probe was ready to jump Jupiter's shadow. The maneuver was needed to prevent the probe's solar panels from being obscured by the gas-giant blocking the sun.

Astronomers announced they had found twin baby stars growing amongst gas and dust in October.The remarkable find sheds new light on the earliest phases of the lives of stars.

There was also some good news for people hoping to one day colonize the Moon. Oxygen and metal were found to be present in Lunar soil. Analysis of samples of regolith found that it was around 40-45% oxygen by weight.

A NASA engineer revealed information about a new form of propulsion that could achieve 99% the speed of light. Called an EmDrive, it requires no propellant and could prove to be the future of space exploration.

Scheduled for launch between October 15th and November 14th, the ESA plans to launch their own planet-hunting mission. CalledCHEOPS(Characterising Exoplanets Satellite), it will look for planets orbiting bright stars close to our Solar System.

Uranus(don't, just don't) is also scheduled to make its closest approach to Earth this month. This will mean it will look a little bigger and brighter than usual.

On the 2nd of November, the Moon will pass in front of the ringed planet Saturn. skywatchers in New Zealand will get the best views but it should still be impressive from other locations around the Earth.

On the same day,Northrop Grumman will launch the Cygnus NG-12 cargo mission. It will resupply the ISS.

On the 11th of November, Mercury is set to transit the Sun as viewed from Earth.This won't happen again until 2039 so be sure to check it out.

If you are hoping to see this amazing event, make sure you use special equipment. It is, after all, extremely dangerous to look directly at the Sun.

Sometime in November, SpaceX is also planning to send its first crewed Crew Dragon mission to the ISS.This will be the Crew Dragon's first test flight with astronauts on board following the uncrewed DM-1 mission in March.

SpaceX will need to ensure any issues they've uncovered with DM-1's untimely explosion earlier in the year have been rectified.

During the festive season, Japan'sHayabusa-2 spacecraft is scheduled to depart the asteroid Ryugu andreturning to Earth in December 2020. It will bring its valuable cargo of samples for rigorous analysis on Terra Firma.

December also means it's time for theGeminids meteor shower. This shower is caused by debris from an asteroid called 3200 Phaethon.

On boxing day 2019, we will be treated to a rare annular solar eclipse. But only, that is, if you are in the right place at the right time.For an annular eclipse to happen, the Moon has to be at its furthest from the Earth, so it doesn't quite cover up the Sun.

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The Most Exciting Moments About Space in 2019 - Interesting Engineering

NASA’s Orion spacecraft to arrive Sunday and undergo environmental testing in Sandusky – News 5 Cleveland

SANDUSKY, Ohio The next stage of human space exploration will start this weekend right here in Ohio at NASA's Plumbrook Station in Sandusky when the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft arrives for environmental testing.

According to NASA, the Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft is "built to take humans farther than theyve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities."

Artemis 1 Orion left the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday and it and its crew will arrive at Mansfield Lahm Airport, 2000 Harington Memorial Road, on Sunday afternoon. The Artemis I Orion will be delivered via NASA's Super Guppy aircraft.

The airport will be open to the public for anyone interested in watching the spacecraft being unloaded. Anyone who plans to attend should arrive no later than 1:30 p.m. The Super Guppy is scheduled to land at 2:30 p.m.

Astronaut Doug Wheelock will make an appearance at the main airport terminal office and be available for autographs from 4 to 4:30 p.m. Additionally, there will be exhibits and activities from noon to 5 p.m.

NASA will use a 135-foot-long truck to take the Artemis I Orion to its Space Environments Complex (SEC) at the Plumbrook Station. According to the agency, the SEC "houses the largest and most powerful space environment simulation facilities in the world."

To see a virtual tour and find more information about NASA's Plumbrook Station, click here.

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NASA's Orion spacecraft to arrive Sunday and undergo environmental testing in Sandusky - News 5 Cleveland

Out Of This World: Is Space A New Twist On Frontier Investing? – MarketWatch

The term frontier markets typically refers to international diversificationthat is, investing outside United States bordersand specifically nations that are developing economically and newly open to investment. But what if we were to widen that definition out a bit, from international to interplanetary? Would that be the final frontier in investing?

Richard Bransons space-tourism company, Virgin Galactic Holdings SPCE, -9.85%, had its initial public offering (IPO) in the last week of October 2019, making it one of the few pure-play, publicly traded companies in the space industry. If you want to hitch a ride, a single round trip will set you back $250,000and no, theres no one-way rate.

Is that price tag out of your budget? There are other ways to push toward the heavens, namely by launching your portfolio into space.

Michael Fairbourn, education coach at TD Ameritrade, noted there are two ways to look at investing among the stars: Space tourism and space exploration. Space tourism companies such as SPCE are officially called suborbital space tourism because they remain in the earths atmosphere. The privately held Blue Origin, owned by Amazon.com, Inc. AMZN, +0.63% founder Jeff Bezos, is in the space tourism business but is also developing a variety of technologies, including vehicles to access suborbital and orbital space.

The second type of space-related investing focuses on traditional space exploration that goes beyond the earths atmosphere. According to Fairbourn, the driving force for space exploration investments is what the National Aeronautics and Space Administration [NASA] invests in. "It has the knowledge base and the spending. But the funny thing is, SpaceXs activity is what really prompted NASA to get back on board and start looking again at exploration, Fairbourn said, referring to the company owned by Tesla Inc TSLA, -6.14% founder Elon Musk.

Privately held SpaceX falls into the space exploration category because it aims to deliver satellites into space. The company received Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval in March 2018 to deliver 4,425 satellites into space. In October, the company and the FCC filed paperwork for another 30,000 satellites with the International Telecommunication Union, a United Nations entity.

With so many satellites approved for launch into space, interested investors may want to look at companies manufacturing satellites. There are four publicly traded companies in this industry: ViaSat, Inc. VSAT, +0.48%, Intelsat SA I, +0.57%, Iridium Communications Inc IRDM, -1.75%, and Teledyne Technologies Inc TDY, +0.99%.

Another category for space exploration is companies involved in rocketry, which delivers both space tourists and payloads into orbit. Some names better known for their work in the defense sector spring up here, including Northrop Grumman Corporation NOC, +0.27% and Lockheed Martin Corporation LM, +0.31%. Some of these companies are devoting significant research to rocket science, such as LMT, which gets 18% of its total net sales from space.

There are fewer of these companies, but it could potentially be a growing division because of what NASA is looking to do with increased exploration, Fairbourn explained. But he was quick to add that the outlook could change at any time.

Boeing Co BA, +1.34% also has significant money tied up in space. The firm is creating the X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle as well as the Space Launch System, which is designed to carry people and cargo into deep space.

Not a recommendation. For illustrative purposes only.

NASA is also looking at moon exploration. Maxar Technologies Inc MAXR, +3.00%, a newer company in the space industry, was awarded the first propulsion system contract from NASA for the Artemis program that aims to land the first woman and the next man on the moon by 2024. MAXRs system drives the spaceships to the moon and navigates back to Earth. The firm is also assisting in the development of the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, a U.S.-European spacecraft.

Another smaller company involved in the moon mission is Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings Inc AJRD, +1.06%, which develops propulsion and power systems for space vehicles.

Some companies are using their space ties to help push boundaries back home on terra firma. Sports equipment and apparel maker Adidas (otcmkts:ADDYY), for example, is launching an effort with the International Space Station to test productsincluding sneakers, soccer balls and compression garmentsin a gravity-free environment, in hopes of optimizing performance.

Speaking of apparel, astronauts cant go into space without protective gear. Earlier this year, SPCE teamed up with Under Armour Inc UAA, +2.59% to supply passenger outfits. And for the rest of us? News reports mention that UA said it would offer a capsule collection in 2020 featuring flight jackets, base layer pieces, and hoodies to wear on Earth. So even if you cant afford $250,000 for a trip to space, you can go boldly and dress like youre taking a suborbital vacation.

And who knows? It was only a generation ago that intercontinental air travel was a luxury reserved only for the well-heeled among us. Perhaps by the end of the next decade, well all be accustomed to standing in line at the Space Transportation Safety Administration, removing our moon boots as we walk through the X-ray machine, and grabbing our assigned seats, preferably not middle seats in the coach section.

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

2019 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Out Of This World: Is Space A New Twist On Frontier Investing? - MarketWatch

Bill Nye shares the future of space exploration at Houston’s annual SpaceCom – InnovationMap

Looking for some help navigating an innovation-filled month in Houston? Look no further.

November is jam packed with Houston business and innovation events from huge conventions like SpaceCom and Global Corporate Venture taking over downtown on the same days to the Digital Fight Club battling it out in Houston for the first time and The Houston Innovation Summit planning a week of programming.

If you know of innovation-focused events for this month or next, email me at natalie@innovationmap.com with the details and subscribe to our daily newsletter that sends fresh stories straight to your inboxes every morning.

Houston is full of entrepreneurial women and this event aims to bring women together and give access to top female entrepreneurs and passionate women in local businesses. They will share their 'why,' their stories, challenges, successes, tips, and answer your burning questions about local entrepreneurship. Join us for a panel and lunch in a closed setting where we discuss what it takes to be a successful female entrepreneur.

Details: The event is from 11 am to 1 pm on Tuesday, November 5, at Houston Exponential (410 Pierce St.). Learn more.

Rice Alliance's Texas Life Science Forum brings together members from industry, emerging life science companies, academic, and investors. This is the "must attend" event for anyone in the life science industry in Texas or affiliated with innovation at the life science academic institutions.

Details: The event is from 8:30 am to 5 pm on Wednesday, November 6, at BioScience Research Collaborative (6500 Main St.). Learn more.

Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 1 pm on Wednesday, November 6, at The Cannon (1336 Brittmoore Road). Learn more.

In honor of Lung Cancer Awareness Month, JLABS sitting down with experts at The Lung Cancer Initiative at Johnson & Johnson and MD Anderson Lung Cancer Moon Shots as well as innovators in the field to present on and create dialogue around the core challenges faced by innovators in the field, new discoveries, emerging technologies, and potential solutions.

Details: The event is from 11 am to 1:30 pm on Wednesday, November 6, at JLabs @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

TMCx's annual medical device cohort celebrates the end of another program as the participating entrepreneurs take to the main stage to pitch their solutions. During the event, 16 medical device startups will showcase the progress they have made on their solutions, and what they have planned for the future.

Details: The event is from 1:30 to 8 pm on Thursday, November 7, at TMC Innovation Institute (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

CareSet presents the second annual Health Equity Hackathon using newly available data that will help address innovations for the underserved community in the U.S.

Details: The event is from November 8 through 10, at United Way of Greater Houston (50 Waugh Dr.). Learn more.

Rice University is planning to develop 16 acres around Houston's Wheeler Station to create a neighborhood centered around technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship. To demand that the developers sign a Community Benefits Agreement, we are establishing the Houston Coalition for Equitable Development without Displacement (HCEDD). All individuals, community groups, advocacy organizations, and supporting businesses/organizations who are interested in supporting this initiative are invited to attend.

Details: The event is from 6 to 8 pm on Tuesday, November 12, at Wesley AME Church (2209 Emancipation Ave). Learn more.

In collaboration and partnership with Equinor Technology Ventures, BP Ventures, Shell Ventures, Saudi Aramco Energy Ventures, and Cannon Ventures, hear the latest trends in upstream technology implementation.

Details: The event is from 5 to 8 pm on Wednesday, November 13, at The Cannon (1336 Brittmoore Road). Learn more.

The Topcoder Innovation Summit is the premier innovation event for industry leaders. At the Innovation Summit, you'll have the opportunity to speak with industry leaders, attend panels on innovation and emerging technologies, and meet with the Wipro and Topcoder executive teams.

Details: The event is from 8 am to 4:45 pm on Thursday, November 14, at InterContinental Hotel (6750 Main St.). Learn more.

JLABS and the University of Houston Technology Bridge present a special installment of Startup Pains, a monthly talk given by entrepreneurs who share their journey of launching a company and overcoming unanticipated obstacles in order to find success in their industry. This month's focus is to arm those contemplating entrepreneurship with a road map for navigating the startup waters, specifically focused on therapeutics.

Details: The event is from 5:30 to 7 pm on Thursday, November 14, at JLabs @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

Tilting the Grid is the conference where you can eavesdrop on what the most daring companies in the REP space are doing and discuss what the next "big" thing might be. Ready to learn what big data can reveal about customer behavior? Prepared for a deep dive into the latest customer acquisition trends?

Details: The event is from noon to 5 pm on Friday, November 15, at Whitehall Hotel Houston (1700 Smith St). Learn more.

For the third year, Houston's innovation ecosystem is taking over the city for a week of events and programming coordinated by Impact Hub Houston. To check out the panels, meetups, and all other programming, click here. Note: Some of the specific events will also appear in this curated list of Houston events.

Entrepreneurs and experts are taking the stage or in this case ring to battle out their ideas on tech and innovation in Houston. The high energy debate will take place across five fights and networking opportunities. Secure your tickets it's expected to sell out.

Details: The event is from 6 to 10 pm on Wednesday, November 20, at White Oak Music Hall (2915 N Main St.). Learn more.

Join JLABS @ TMC and explore the mind and motivations of Dr. Billy Cohn, the renowned surgeon, inventor and innovator.

Details: The event is from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm on Wednesday, November 20, at JLabs @ TMC (2450 Holcombe Blvd.). Learn more.

SpaceCom, America's Commercial Space Conference and Exposition, addresses the strategic issues impacting the commercial space industry that will enable your business to set a clear course to gain a competitive advantage in the coming trillion-dollar space economy. SpaceCom is operating under a Space Act Agreement with NASA. In 2019, the Department of Commerce's Office of Space Commerce and the Department of Energy's Office of Technology Transitions join NASA and the commercial space industry in collaborating on the development of the show.

Details: The event is from Wednesday, November 20, to Thursday, November 21, at the George R. Brown Convention Center (1001 Avenida De Las Americas). Learn more.

Never has the energy industry been more vulnerable to disruption, but as open to change. The world's leading energy and transportation companies are using venture capital to invest in, and help deploy, new technologies and business models that will fundamentally change the way we generate, distribute and use energy.

Details: The event is from Wednesday, November 20, to Thursday, November 21, and takes place at various locations throughout the two-day conference. Learn more.

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Bill Nye shares the future of space exploration at Houston's annual SpaceCom - InnovationMap