Daily Archives: January 7, 2020

Blue Origin will steer its space exploration efforts from new Kent headquarters – Seattle Times

Posted: January 7, 2020 at 9:58 pm

In a neighborhood dominated by terrestrial pursuits such as steel distribution and package delivery, Blue Origin has erected a bulbous, blue-and-white, U-shaped structure that looks like a dry run for a lunar apartment complex.

Its the new Kent headquarters for Jeff Bezos space exploration company, built for 1,500 employees.

Were going to fly humans, were going to build and design large engines as well as large rockets, and go back to the moon all based from here in Kent, company CEO Bob Smith told a large group of employees and contractors, along with half a dozen local politicians, at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Monday.

He said Blue Origins workforce grew by one-third last year, and will continue to grow at that pace. Between Kent and its facilities elsewhere, the company has more than 2,500 employees.

Blue Origin has a crowded agenda for 2020. It aims to fly its first human payload this year, though Smith emphasized that ensuring the safety of those first travellers will dictate the schedule. The company this year also plans to deliver the first of its BE-4 engines, which will be produced commercially in Huntsville, Alabama, and were making production parts now for the massive New Glenn rocket designed to repeatedly carry people and payloads to Earth orbit and beyond.

Its New Shepard rocket the launch vehicle seen repeatedly climbing to the edge of space and then maneuvering back to a landing pad, much like the Falcon 9, made by Blue Origin rival SpaceX completed its 12th flight last year.The company is taking names for early access to reservations for ticket-buying astronauts with the promise that at the apex of your 11-minute flight, you will float above the thin limb of the atmosphere and gaze upon the Earth below.

Along with its new headquarters, Blue Origin has a nearby building where workers toil amid a collection of real space artifacts and some science-fiction counterparts from Star Trek and Jules Verne.

The new building a peaked, elongated blob assembled from metal panels was built in less than a year, Smith said. After a January start, he said, Blue Origin vowed to celebrate the holidays in the new structure, so the mandate was, You can cancel Christmas or you can get this done.

Inside, a prototype of the companys proposed Blue Moon lunar lander dominates the lobby of the 230,000-square-foot building. Despite the structures high ceiling, it contains just one story of offices and an occasional loft-style upstairs gathering space.

In October, the company announced plans to partner with Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman and Draper to build the Blue Moon lander and offer it to NASA for itsupcoming Artemis program, which aims to send astronauts back to the moons surface by 2024.

Blue Origin is opaque about its finances, but Bezos said in 2017 at a space conference that my business model right now for Blue Origin is I sell about a billion a year of Amazon stock and I use it to fund Blue Origin. So the business model for Blue Origin is very robust.


Blue Origin will steer its space exploration efforts from new Kent headquarters - Seattle Times

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The Observer view on space exploration and the perils facing Earth – The Guardian

Posted: at 9:58 pm

We begin a new decade swamped by visions of our planet in peril. Australia is in flames; Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves are crumbling; thousands of species face extinction, and millions of humans are at risk of losing their homes as sea levels rise and deserts spread.

At the same time, amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the cause of the global heating that threatens to ravage our world continue to increase unabated. Our future is being threatened in a manner that would have seemed unthinkable only a couple of decades ago.

It may therefore seem odd at this time for scientists to look away from our afflicted world and to take a renewed interest in issues that lie beyond Earth in robot probes and vehicles that will take human beings beyond our atmosphere to the moon, Mars and the rest of the solar system.

Yet this renewed interest in extraterrestrial matters is real as we make clear in our survey of forthcoming space missions.

Not since the heyday of the space race to the moon in the 60s has so much space activity been planned, though this time missions will not be dominated by America and Russia but will also involve China, India and Japan as well as private companies such as SpaceX and Boeing, which plan to launch their own manned spaceships.

For good measure, the European Space Agency, of which Britain is a major, active participant, has also decided over the past few weeks to step up its commitment to space exploration with a 12.5bn (10.7bn) package of projects.

Some of these missions will have a bearing on our planets present plight, of course. For example, Europe is planning a new fleet of satellites that will monitor carbon dioxide emissions at every point on Earth and so create the first global system for tracking key polluters. Many other observation satellites are planned and should help scientists contain the ecological threats of global heating.

Space exploration tells us there is no Planet B, no chance to start over if we continue to make a mess of this world

However, there is another aspect of interplanetary travel that is relevant to the woes afflicting Earth. From space, we get a proper appreciation of our world and its vulnerability.

Until we sent probes to Mars and Venus, we thought our nearest planetary siblings could easily support life. Instead, spacecraft showed that Venus is an acid-drenched, scorching vision of hell while neighbouring Mars was found to have lost most its atmosphere aeons ago.

Exactly why these worlds went wrong, in terms of their abilities to support life, is not clear but the matter certainly merits further research.

The special perspective of our world that is provided by space missions was summed up by the late astronomer Carl Sagan when he described an image of Earth that had been beamed back by the Voyager 1 probe from a distance of 4bn miles in 1990. In that photograph, our world appeared as a tiny, single point of light.

Thats here. Thats home. Thats us, said Sagan of this pale blue dot. Our posturing, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.

And that, ultimately, is what space exploration really tells us. It says there is no Planet B and no chance of starting over again if we continue to make a mess of this world. The view from above shows Earth is precious and needs a lot more care and attention than it is getting at present.


The Observer view on space exploration and the perils facing Earth - The Guardian

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What To Expect From Space Exploration In 2020: Mars, Tourism, Blue Origin, SpaceX And More – Yahoo Finance

Posted: at 9:58 pm

This year will see major milestones in the space industry, as American companies prepare for the first private launches of people into outer space and possibly the first space tourism flights.

Elon Musk's SpaceX is leading the way toward a private ferry service to the International Space Station, while recently public Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc (NYSE: SPCE) continues to envision a 2020 tourist launch.

Here's a look at what's ahead in 2020.

Private American Ships To Take Astronauts To ISS

NASA has a couple things on the calendar, including an unmanned Mars launch. But the big thing for the United States this year is to start sending astronauts to the space station on American spacecraft again, something not done since the Shuttle program was retired in 2011. And private ships will provide the ride.

SpaceX's Crew Dragon is the most likely vehicle for the first private U.S. manned launch to the station, though Boeing Co.'s (NYSE: BA) Starliner is also working on getting a crewed vehicle ready. Both are still in testing, but launches of crews to the station this year are likely, with SpaceX expected to be first this summer.

Simulation of first crewed flight of Falcon 9 / Dragon 2020 @NASA pic.twitter.com/BSDPYTcVIG

"Crew Dragon should be physically ready & at the Cape in Feb, but completing all safety reviews will probably take a few more months," Musk tweeted last weekend.

Space Tourism

For Virgin Galactic, the timeline is murky, but it continues to shoot for a 2020 launch into suborbital space for the first space tourists. It should be noted, however, that it's been a stop-and-go timeline for Virgin and founder Richard Branson thought he would be flying customers into space years ago.

But after successful test flights, the company has been sending some paying customers to training programs, and is aiming for launch later this year. It has about 600 customers signed up.

Satellite Internet

One of the more immediately practical aims for space companies in 2020 is being able to dramatically boost internet coverage on Earth with the use of a constellation of satellites.

SpaceX is also among the leaders in this effort, and the company said last month it is nearly ready to begin offering broadband service - this year - though with an acknowledgement that the ramp up may be "bumpy," at first.

SpaceX isn't the only company working on this idea: Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN) are involved in a similar plan. Another competitor called One Web is also working on satellite internet.

Mars Launches

There are four planned unmanned Mars exploration launches set for 2020.

The trip to Mars is popular this year because the planet will be particularly close to Earth in July, when all of the launches are planned. NASA will launch its Mars 2020 rover July 17. The joint Russian-European Space Agency launch of ExoMars Rosalind Franklin is planned for later that month. Also launching for Mars in July: the Emirates Hope Mars Mission, which will be the United Arab Emirates first-ever space launch, and China plans to send a rover to the Red Planet.

Other 2020 Space Events

A NASA-European Space Agency partnership will send the Solar Orbiter on a trip around the sun. Liftoff is scheduled for Feb. 5, from Cape Canaveral.

SpaceX also will continue work this year on its Starship vehicle, part of the company's reusable launch system it hopes will be a key step toward taking people back to the Moon, or to Mars, one of SpaceX's main goals.

China's space agency plans to launch its next un-manned moon mission to collect and bring back new moon samples.

Blue Origin is expected to make its first manned space flight. It has sent its New Shepard space capsule up 12 times and says it is nearly ready for crewed missions.

Related Links:

New Horizons: Virgin Galactic Debuts, China's Moon Landing, Female Space Walk And More

FCC Allows SpaceX To Modify Starlink Orbit Plans, Hopes For Faster Deployment Of Satellite Internet


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What To Expect From Space Exploration In 2020: Mars, Tourism, Blue Origin, SpaceX And More - Yahoo Finance

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Covering a SpaceX rocket launch from NASAs Kennedy Space Center with the iPhone 11 Pro Max – 9to5Mac

Posted: at 9:58 pm

I recently had the incredible experience of attending a SpaceX rocket launch at NASAs Kennedy Space Center in Florida. NASA Social hosted the event that included close-up access to NASAs massive Vehicle Assembly Building, the historic 39B launch pad, and an awesome view of a Falcon 9 rocket launch.

Below are some of my favorite shots captured on the iPhone 11 Pro Max. Some of these required the new ultra-wide camera to fully capture the scene.

In short, the NASA Social experience was a super effective catalyst for turning my passive interest in space into a full blown obsession.

Being surrounded by other space-curious people with varying levels of knowledge about space news and historical facts is uniquely informative. The trip also gave me perspective on how were all experts in our own fields. This was both humbling and inspiring.

Check out the work of some of my NASA Social colleagues who have already shared their experiences:

Photos cant capture that feeling, but hopefully theyre at least nice to view. If youre at all curious about space exploration, rocket launches, or modern science, I highly encourage you to learn about the NASA Social effort or plan to attend a rocket launch on your own.

In the final moments of the three day experience, Alex asked the remaining attendees to share a quick thought about the experience. Watch us pass the mic-equipped iPhone around:

What were we so excited about? CRS-19, a commercial resupply mission contracted by NASA and carried out by Elon Musks SpaceX company. We witnessed SpaceX launch its Falcon 9 rocket from a NASA launchpad to deliver research and supplies to the International Space Station using a Dragon reusable spacecraft. After 32 days, the Dragon capsule returned to Earth today.

Heres the view from the perspective of the iPhone 11 Pro Max camera.Special thanks to my colleague Michael Steeber for sorting through and over 400 photos and editing these shots from my trip.

As for the actual rocket launch, two things went right and one thing went very wrong while capturing the experience.

My iPad Pro and Sony RX100 cameras were positioned to capture video on their own during the launch. Both videos captured the first moments of the launch and the massive sound wave that follows very well.

I held my iPhone 11 Pro Max to capture both the rockets flight and my realtime reaction using the awesome DuetCam. Select iPhones (XR, XS, 11, 11 Pro) can record video from both the front and back cameras simultaneously with special camera apps.

I kept my eyes on the actual rocket as it lifted off the ground and rose through the sky so my memory wouldnt be through an iPhone screen, but the footage looked awesome as I glanced at it to check the view.

Then a spam call interrupted and killed the video recording. I should have used Do Not Disturb or blocked unknown callers, but phone calls should also behave like other notifications. Its not rocket science.

Alas, my iPad Pro saved the day:

Nothing beats the official launch footage, of course, and witnessing it from just across the water gave me a new appreciation for these spectacular events:

Learn more about the science onboard CRS-19 mission from nasa.gov.

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Space Photonics Opportunities Abound as NASA Renews Moon and Planetary Exploration – PRNewswire

Posted: at 9:58 pm

NEW YORK, Jan. 6, 2020 /PRNewswire/ --

Reports Includes:

- An overview of space photonics opportunities at NASA for revitalizing Moon, Mars and other planetary exploration initiatives

Read the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05834531/?utm_source=PRN

- Coverage of pre-Artemis Moon scientific missions and photonics- Comparative study on space-made vs. earth-made optical fibres- Knowledge about Lunar Crater Observing and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS), the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) and the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE).

SummaryThe recent ramp-up by NASA as it revitalizes its commitment to the Moon, Mars and other planetary exploration initiatives is providing new opportunities for companies involved in optics and photonics.Astronomy and optics go all the way back to Galileo's telescope, and instruments including the spectrometer date back to the first days of the NASA space program.

The potential "spin-off" effects of these activities are the stuff of marketing dreams. Who among us is not delighted by the transition from room-sized valve driven mainframe computers to semiconductors? Or memory foam mattresses, infrared thermometers, freeze dried ice cream, solar cells, Bowflex exercising and water filtration recycling systems? In optics, the tracking system for LASIK eye surgery owes a debt to velocity and range imaging LADAR first used for docking spacecraft.

Unlike the outcomes of the programs leading to the first Moon mission, Mercury-Gemini-Apollo, the program here is far longer lasting and the scope is far greater. NASA's intent is not just to land on the Moon, but to develop the Moon as a launching pad where water and rocket fuelamong other things can be mined indigenously, and space exploration to Mars and beyond can occur.

Read the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05834531/?utm_source=PRN

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Space Missions Scheduled for This Year – Dual Dove

Posted: at 9:58 pm

The year 2019 was a great year for everyone involved in space exploration, with the cherry on the top being the first ever image of a black hole captured by the Event Horizon Telescope.

This new year, 2020, is said to be an excellent year too. Here is what the space exploration agencies have scheduled for 2020.

The year 2020 is prone to be a rather big one for human spaceflight, more so for private companies. Both SpaceXs Dragon 2 capsule and Boeings CST-100 Starliner are scheduled to have their first manned expeditions to the International Space Station (ISS). These missions have been munched with delays, but in the last few months, both companies have managed to complete a few successful pre-flight tests.

An unmanned orbital test flight conducted by Boeing on its Starliner spacecraft failed to reach its target, the ISS, as it was planned, because of a software issue. However, SpaceX has already concluded a first uncrewed flight of the Dragon 2 probe and is currently set to launch its first manned ISS expedition in the first quarter of this year.

In addition, NASA is scheduled to launch itsArtemis-1mission in November of 2020. This will be the first attempted take-off of its newSpace Launch System, and also theOrion probe developed in a joint project between NASA and the European Space Agency (ESA).

This launch, even though it is not carrying astronauts, will take the spacecraft far beyond the orbit of the Moon, before making a comeback to Earth a few weeks later. If it is successful, it will stand as the furthest distance from our planet a spacecraft has even flown.

The Orion probe is composed of the crew capsule, developed by Lockheed Martin, with enough space to carry six people, and a service module developed in Europe by Airbus.

China has also scheduled the launch of the first section of a new orbital space station.

The Japanese Space Agency (JAXA) has sent the Hayabusa 2 spacecraft to asteroid 162173 Ryugu in 2014 and managed to collect a handful of samples from the space rock. The probe should be coming back to Earth this year.

The mission gathered a sample from the inside of the space object, an area that has not been exposed to the interstellar environment or the solar wind. This difficult duty required firing a 2.5-kilogram object at high velocity into the asteroid and then shortly landing on it to gather material.

The samples taken by Hayabusa 2 will enable researchers to determine the composition of the asteroid and will give us an idea of where they might appear and if they are able to hold life.

The China National Space Administration (CNSA) has various plans for 2020. One of their most dashing plans is a Mars rover. The probe is scheduled to launch in the summer and should land on the Red Planet in 2021. It features a ground-penetrating radar to provide a sight into the internal structure of the planet.

NASAsMars 2020 rover, due to launch in July, is set to be the first in a line of expeditions, which will ultimately come back to Earth with Martian soil samples. The spacecraft will also be calculating the climate and magnetic settings of the planet.

ESAs Rosalind Franklin Rover, Europes first attempt to land a probe on the Red Planet, is also set to take off in July. The rover will transport a series of instruments created to search for signs of past and present life on Mars.

Known for her passion for writing, Paula contributes on both Science and Health niches here at Dual Dove.

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AI in Space Exploration Market, Trends, Analysis, Opportunities, Share and Forecast 2019-2025 – Digits N Markets News

Posted: at 9:58 pm

Machine learning and AI leave their imprints on various fields including construction, automation, image analytics, and space exploration along with many others. Many applications of AI in space is being researched on various domains which includes relative positioning, communication and many others. Various spacecraft and space vehicles including satellites that are operating in the space may generates large amount of data owing to the complexity of the research missions.

With AI in space exploration enables the data transmission over large distance with ease. Many organization and government agencies are collaborating on machine learning solutions for detection of new planets, space weather using magnetosphere and atmosphere measurement.

AI in space exploration Market is valued approximately USD 2 billion in 2018 and is anticipated to grow with a healthy growth rate of more than 7.25% over the forecast period 2019-2026.

To request a sample copy or view summary of this report, click the link below:


The objective of the study is to define market sizes of different segments & countries in recent years and to forecast the values to the coming eight years. The report is designed to incorporate both qualitative and quantitative aspects of the industry within each of the regions and countries involved in the study. Furthermore, the report also caters the detailed information about the crucial aspects such as driving factors & challenges which will define the future growth of the market. Additionally, the report shall also incorporate available opportunities in micro markets for stakeholders to invest along with the detailed analysis of competitive landscape and product offerings of key players. The detailed segments and sub-segment of the market are explained below:

By Product Type:

Robotic arms


Space probes


By Applications:



The regional analysis of AI in space exploration market is considered for the key regions such as Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Latin America and Rest of the World. North America is expected to dominate the market share of AI in space exploration market owing to the presence of space organizations such as NASA and CSA working effectively towards the development of AI in space exploration. Moreover, U.S. and Canada are investing in the R&D sector and technological innovations to explore deep space. Whereas, Asia-Pacific is also anticipated to exhibit highest growth rate / CAGR over the forecast period 2019-2026 owing to the factors due to various ongoing and upcoming space programs in developing countries such as India and China.

Major market player included in this report are:Orbital ATKDARPANeuralaDescartes LabsKittyHawkIris AutomationFlyby NavPrecisionHawkPilot.aiMRX Global Holding Corp.Oceaneering InternationalMaxar TechnologiesNorthrop GrummanAstrobotic TechnologiesMotiv Space Systems

About Digits N Markets:

Digits N Markets has a vast repository of latest market research reports on trending topics, niche company profiles, market size and other relevant data released by renowned publishers. We have access to the database related to niche markets and trending topics in various industries. We also update the data regularly to provide recent statistics to the client. Recent data and reports will be featured on our websites and clients will be able to access the same. Our clients will be able to benefit from qualitative & quantitative insights in the report which will support them in taking concrete business decisions.

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AI in Space Exploration Market, Trends, Analysis, Opportunities, Share and Forecast 2019-2025 - Digits N Markets News

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How earth-bound mining lawyers think about space mining – MINING.com

Posted: at 9:58 pm

The asteroid mining marketis already valued at up to trillions of dollars, but a single drill from earth hasyet to make it to space.

European scientists have announced plans to startmining the moonas early as 2025.

Space mining is a concept still out of this world to most, but it is real for the mining industry. After being considered mostly science-fiction, governments are now implementing programs and legislation that allow them to join the race for mining in space.

Scot Anderson, attorney and Global Head of Energy & Natural Resources with Hogan Lovells in Denver, has a podcast on asteroid mining, and has compiled compelling legal implications and insider tactics for getting in the asteroid mining business. Anderson spoke with MINING.com to break down the issues, challenges and opportunities.

MINING.com: Tell us about your position.

Anderson: I do oil & gas and mining work for terrestrial mining. A lot of this is in the Mountain West, but we do work on mining projects all over the world. We have been interested in the asteroid mining piece of it, and we have an aerospace group out of Washington DC.

The way I think about it is that a lot of times these folks are doing space exploration and aerospace, trying to figure out mining, and our group here in Denver, were the mining folks who think about it would work in outer space. We figure out how to gain access to the minerals, how to develop them, and what were trying to do is take that expertise on how mining works on earth and translate that into how mining and resource development might work in outer space, which is a kind of interesting interaction because not everybody is coming out of that particular standpoint.

MINING.com: A big question is: How far away are we fromthis actually happening?

Anderson: Weve been in a lot of programs and you get different views on that. I would say that folks are kind of bullish on that for the next five to ten years, closer to ten years [we could] extract on the moon. Almost sure that it will happen on the moon first, because we know the moon a little bit at least, and we have a pretty good sense of where theres water, and where theres ice available, which is the key thing. The people who do space exploration talk about it, they say the moon is halfway to anywhere; If you can get to the moon, its a lot easier then to go somewhere else because youve got lower gravity.

What were trying to do is take that expertise on how mining works on earth and translate that into how mining and resource development might work in outer space

Some extraction using ice to create water and fuel, Id say in the next ten years, conceivably, and from there getting the asteroids is not as big a leap. Within 20 years it will probably be the beginning, and people start using the resources. Its not 100 years from now.

MINING.com: So how do earth-bound mining lawyers think about space mining?

Anderson: When we talk about how we do mining on earth: what are some of the issues? If youre going to do a project and you submit in a new jurisdiction, what do you have to know to make sure that youre comfortable youre going to get a project?

So we said: lets take that conceptual framework and thinkabout that in outer space, and there are four issues we think about: Securityof tenure do you actually have the rightto extract the mineral? The fiscalregime, and the other two are bankability and feasibility.

Heres the issue on the security of tenure and the fiscal regime: theres an Outer Space Treaty that was signed by a lot of countries when the moon exploration was going on, and the treaty includes a provision that says you cant appropriate celestial bodies, that would include the moon.

The question is what happens if I go to the moon? I set up shop, and I extract ice and rocks and start making things, do I own the rocks that Ive extracted? Im not saying that I own the moon, but if I put in the effort, do I own the resources? Same thing with asteroids, if I send a robot to the asteroid, it sets up shop and starts extracting things and using them, do you own the extracted mineral? And thats the legal issue, thats the unsettled question.

Heres how that question plays out: Ill say that the reason we view Luxembourg as the leader is that the States and Luxembourg have statutes that say: if youre a US or Luxembourg company and you extract a resource, you own the resource. Theyve interpreted the Outer Space Treaty to say that it doesnt preclude ownership of the extracted minerals. There are some folks who would argue thats not the right interpretation, but its a little bit uneven. So thats where the gap is, that needs to be resolved. Luxembourg already said weve resolved it under the law of our country, if you extract the mineral then you own it, because the Outer Space Treaty didnt talk about that.

If I send a robot to the asteroid, it sets up shop and starts extracting things and using them, do you own the extracted mineral? And thats the legal issue, thats the unsettled question

Theres this Outer Space Treaty, and then theres a new treaty, which came along later as the Moon Treaty, and none of the space countries signed the Moon Treaty. The Moon Treaty also includes other celestial bodies and asteroids as well, and it says the moon and other celestial bodies are the common heritage of mankind, and again, the Outer Space Treaty doesnt use that language, but the Moon Treaty does.

The reason that matters is because theres another treaty, theres an existing treaty in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which says that the deep sea, which is outside of the territory of one of the countries and nobody owns, is the common heritage of mankind. As a result, theres actually an international seabed authority that exists that regulates activities in the deep sea and charges a royalty like a profit-sharing thing that all the countries on earth can share to some extent in the benefits of mineral extraction from the deep sea.

Because the Moon Treaty uses this common heritage of mankind language like the law of the sea, the Moon Treaty would imply that you have to pay some sort of a royalty that would get redistributed among all the countries of the world for the extraction of resources in outer space. But nobody signed the treaty thats active in outer space, but the Outer Space Treaty, which a lot of people did sign was a constitution of outer space development and did not have the language framework.

The argument is that under the Outer Space Treaty, which is the operative document, you dont have to pay a royalty for cost sharing among all the countries on earth for the minerals being extracted in outer space. Thats how the two things are tied together. Theres the notion of do you have the legal right to go and explore and extract minerals?

Luxembourg and the US have said yes, because they have used the language of the Outer Space Treaty and then the fiscal regime, do you have to pay anything? The argument for space explorers is no, because the Outer Space Treaty doesnt have the common heritage of mankind language that was interpreted under the law of sea, so therefore theres no royalty due or payable for extracted resources from the moon or other celestial bodies. Theres a lot of literature on this and a lot of academic thinking, and the UN has different bodies, but I would say the majority position is you can keep resources you extract in outer space and not pay royalties on resources, but theres strong minority view on both of those.

We attended a seminar here in Colorado, and one of thequestions was: Would the framework that I just described be a burden on outerspace exploration? People are not goingto move forward because of the uncertainty, and the strong consensus was thiswas not an impediment to moving forward with development of resources in outerspace. Theres enough certainty and theres enough stuff to do before gotthere, and that there wasnt an urgent need to get an international treaty tofix all of this. The framework was robust enough to allow further developmentof these projects.

MINING.com: Several challenges exist in outer space exploration. How advanced is the aspect? How developed are the trucks, ships, and mining robots needed?

Anderson: The Near Earth Objects (NEOs) are close enough that you can actually get to. A couple of things: water is crucial, because you can take the H2O and break it into hydrogen and oxygen and make fuel out of it. And in addition you can have people around it. But even if it was all done robotically, [an issue is] getting to somewhere where you can get water, thats why I said the craters in the moon that have ice in them are one of the most promising pieces of the puzzle. There you can start using it for manufacturing purposes.

As far as the engineering goes, there are engineers who are designing all this already, and the Colorado School of Mines, one of the great mining universities, they have a space mining program. You can go get a masters or PHD in space mining there, and their engineers are designing.

One of the presentations was to extract water from these craters in the moon, and its fully engineered. You set a kind of a bubble over the ice in the crater, and have these mirrors near the edge of the crater, and you focus the sun on the bubble and it heats up, and the water vaporizes and collects on the inside of the bubble. They also have the distances and calibrations; they have everything needed to make that work.

There are folks who are absolutely working through and running the numbers, and doing the engineering, to have all this happen. The other thing is on the NEOs, sort of the feasibility. Economically, for now at least, and probably for a very long time, you really cant justify bringing in an asteroid, however you do it. You bring the asteroid to earth or you break it up and process it. Right now the economics of getting it to earth just really dont make that viable. There are two ways: One is to bring an object near the moon and orbit it around the moon, work on it and bringing it down to the moon, which makes it a lot more cost effective. But the other one, which is very fascinating to me, is basically using a 3D printer. So you basically put a 3D printer up to the asteroid and you set it up, and can actually manufacture the equipment parts for your spaceship, so you actually set your manufacturing up in outer space rather than bringing [materials] back to the earth.

MINING.com: It has been argued that the most cost-effective way to build asteroid mining equipment is to do so in space, which would occur on assembly platforms with automated robots. How would those pieces get to the assembly stations?

Anderson: If youdid the 3D printing approach, you can also set up a space station, like amanufacturing platform in space, and then bring materials to that, so you canhave it relocated. The other thing is when you are mining metallic asteroids,is basically you put it in a big plastic bag and then you use vibration tobreak it up, take the bag full of processed granulated materials and move itsomewhere. You can either have the 3D printer on the asteroid itself and bringit to the moon, or you can have a centralized facility.

The thing about mining on an asteroid is that theyre not as stable as the moon. You can kind of tumble and spin. So you have to find the right one that is stable to do. I think the idea is that you build, and then bring them over. It would be done with robotics rather than people. The idea with moon based, you could have people on there, the economics of this. Space tourism is one of the things that would provide economics, where you got a bunch of people that would be willing to pay a large sum to go to the moon. So you set up your ice mining venture and you generate an environment with the water and the oxygen, and fund it by having people come out and do a tour.

MINING.com: What about the impact of the influx of space commodities on economies here?

Anderson: Theres a website called Asterank. It ranks the asteroids and shows all the asteroids in the solar system. It models the asteroids and planets. They have a ranking of how valuable the minerals from each asteroid are, but thats a little bit spurious, because its an earth-bound price but the cost of getting to earth significantly diminishes its value. Its kind of a plunked-up number.

The thing about a mining project anywhere is that you spend a lot of capital before you get anywhere, its different kind of investment than any other.So the psychology of a mining company is well suited to developing resources in space

There is some concern if you brought some gigantic palladiumasteroid to earth efficiently, where that metal is not significantly rareanymore, and that would have an effect on pricing. But I think were a long wayfrom that. Theoretically, if you could get it to earth efficiently, it couldhave a dramatic effect on pricing.

As we deal with the change and how we generate energy and how we consume things, and somebody said if you electrified all the vehicles that are planned to be electrified, you need three times as much copper thats ever been mined. There are a thousand numbers that are like that. So, there are some practical limits on how much we can transition to different models and how you get this. So to an extent, we want to change the way we generate and use energy, and perhaps there maybe reasons to try to get this to earth. There are papers where part of the pitch is they talk about asteroid mining and they say well, were going to create colonies in outer space. You just look at how many people are coming over the next 20 years, so that sort of flattens out 40 or 50 years from now. Theres all these people coming and theres stress on resources, of course the next move is to open up outer space. Again, I think there are some practical limits. Its definitely an artificial environment and you cant just wander around.

MINING.com: Whats the next thing that needs to happen tomove the whole concept toward fruition?

Anderson: I think its probably proof of concept. Theres a lot of engineering on the drawing board, but the actual work has been fairly limited. But there are companies like iSpace, a Japanese company thats going to do a lap around the moon and put a rover down, in 2022 to 2024, and the engagement of private enterprise in this process is really different. I think the public-private partnership and having funding coming from outside the governments is going to break this open.

To me, its the investment of private industry and continuing this investment, getting the proof of concept and return on the investment will take a while, but if companies are willing to make the long-term investment, then theres definitely some opportunities to make this all work and make it economically viable at some point. But its a long-term play. The thing about a mining project anywhere is that you spend a lot of capital before you get anywhere, its different kind of investment than any other. So the psychology of a mining company is well suited to developing resources in space, because its got to have the same level of basics to making the investment in the front end before making a return somewhere down the road.

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Chang’e 4 Celebrates a Year on the Farside of the Moon – Sky & Telescope

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Chinas Change 4 mission has sent back fascinating insights and images in the year since its historic landing on the lunar farside.

China's Change 4 lunar lander and Yutu 2 rover have powered down at the end of the missions 13th lunar day, completing a year of pioneering exploration of the farside of the Moon.

The lander and Yutu 2 (Jade Rabbit 2) rover powered down at 06:11 and 12:30 Universal Time (UT), respectively, on January 2nd. According to the end of mission day update from the China Lunar Exploration Program (Chinese blog), the spacecraft and all science payloads remain healthy.

The Change 4 lander took this high-resolution image of Yutu 2. CNSA / CLEP

Yutu 2 drove 12.63 meters (41 feet) during lunar day 13, bringing its total drive distance to 357.69 meters (1171.26 feet) since its deployment on Von Krmn Crater on January 3, 2019. The Soviet Lunokhod rover of the 1970s still holds the record for long-distance driving on the Moon, but in November, Yutu 2 set a record for sheer longevity.Going strong a year later, the 140-kilogram rover has far exceeded its design lifetime of three lunar days (three Earth months). Its long life is in part a product of lessons learned from the Yutu rover on the Change 3 mission in 2013, which lost mobility in its second lunar day due to a short circuit.

Tracking Yutu 2 activities reveals that the solar-powered rover awakens about 24 hours after sunrise over its location, and powers down roughly 24 hours ahead of sunset. The rover also enters a dormant phase for roughly six Earth days around local noon to protect itself from high direct solar radiation and temperatures. (While the Lunokhod rovers likewise halted during lunar noon, they did so because the lack of shadows made driving hazardous.)

This map shows the route Yutu 2 traveled by the end of day 12. The map was produced by space exploration historian and cartographer Phil Stooke.

Change 4 has been exploring the Von Krmn Crater in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, where it landed on the farside of the Moon. Over the past year, it has returned images from the surface and carried out in situ measurements.

Chinas Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP) recently made the first high-resolution images from the lander and rover available online. These include shots of the spacecraft, projection and cylindrical panoramas, and videos of the mesmerizing landing.

Yutu 2 took this high-resolution image of the Change 4 lander during lunar day 1. CNSA / CLEP

In the December 15th Earth and Planetary Science Letters, Yue Zongyu (Chinese Academy of Sciences) and colleagues analyzed rock fragments from the nearby Finsen Crater. Like earlier results of lunar soil, or regolith, published in the May 15th Nature, the new data suggest that some materials on the surface of Von Krmn Crater were long ago excavated from the lunar mantle. Discerning the composition of regolith in the South Pole-Aitken Basin, a primary goal of the mission, could help scientists understand the formation of this huge impact feature.

As Yutu 2 drives, its Lunar Penetrating Radar also explores what lies beneath its path. Lai Jialong (State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Sciences) and colleagues are finding that the Moons regolith is thicker than similar measurements of the nearside. The researchers report these results in the November 28th Geophysical Research Letters. They speculate that the thicker regolith at Change 4 could come from more impacts, since the site is on the leading side of the Moon with respect to its orbit around Earth.

Yutu 2s spectrometer also revealed a unique material in a small crater within Von Krmn. The Our Space Chinese science blog provoked widespread interest in August, when it described the substance as , which could be translated as gel-like. However, scientists now think the material is likely impact glass, which forms when rock mashes up during an impact.

Yutu 2 discovered material within a small impact crater that initially sparked widespread curiosity. CNSA/CLEP/NASA/GSFC/Dan Moriarty

Scientists are still awaiting results from Chang'e 4's Low Frequency Radio Spectrometer, which deployed its three 5-meter antennas in late November. This instrument will take advantage of the radio quiet on the lunar farside. And now, scientists are also looking forward to results from the Netherlands-China Low-Frequency Explorer, another radio astronomy instrument that has just been deployed on the the Queqiao (Magpie Bridge) relay satellite.

Queqiao launched ahead of Change 4 to a halo orbit around the Earth-Moon L2 Lagrangian point in order to facilitate communications between the mission and Earth. Now, after 18 months in space, three 5-meter-long antennas have been deployed from the orbiter. Only one antenna has achieved full extension; the other two have extended to only about 2.5 meters.

However, this limitation may have unintended benefits: The two shorter antennas will be better suited to collect signals from the cosmic dawn, when the first stars began to shine, while the fully extended antenna will listen for the longer-wavelength signals that come from the cosmic dark ages that preceded star formation. NCLE operates across a frequency range between 1 and 80 MHz; observations below 30 MHz are difficult to make from the ground due to interference within Earth's upper atmosphere.

Sunrise over the Statio Tianhe landing site in Von Krmn Crater will take place late January 17th. Both lander and rover are expected to begin activities for a 14th lunar day by late January 19th UT. With the abundant scientific data already returned, more science results are expected to follow throughout 2020.

Yutu 2 left tracks in the lunar regolith during lunar day 13. CNSA / CLEP

This image shows lunar regolith and the distant rim of Von Krmn Crater on lunar day 12. CNSA / CLEP

Yutu 2 took this partial panorama during lunar day 12. (Click for higher-resolution image.) CNSA / CLEP

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Have Space Suit Will Travel – Space Daily

Posted: at 9:58 pm

To put it simply, a space suit is a garment worn by a space traveler for the purpose of safely supporting life in the harsh environment of space while allowing the wearer to perform many desired functions. Anytime a space traveler is outside of the spacecraft, this suit is absolutely essential for survival. Often these suits are worn inside spacecraft for precautionary measures.

Different suits may be found on different missions due to differing operations and environments. For example, there have been a variety of space suits that have been used for short suborbital flights and lunar missions. Most recently, NASA released a new suit design for use in planned lunar colonies.

Modern space suits are quite complex. In addition to the basic pressure garment there are a number of equipment systems including environmental controls that keep the wearer comfortable and special joint mechanisms to minimize forces needed to bend limbs.

In order to freely move outside the spacecraft, some suits can support maneuvering units that incorporate propulsion devices. Of course, a self-contained oxygen supply is usually part of the environmental control system.

There are three categories of space suit for differing uses. One type is used for intravehicular activity (IVA), one for extravehicular activity (EVA) and one for intra/extravehicular activity (IEVA).

IVA suits are worn inside a pressurized spacecraft. So, they have less mass and offer more comfort. IEVA suits can be used inside and outside of the spacecraft. EVA suits are used outside of the spacecraft and for planetary exploration.

In summary a space suit must perform several functions to ensure safety for the occupant while outside of the spacecraft:

+ Maintain stable internal pressure while providing breathable oxygen+ Eliminate carbon dioxide+ Permit mobility+ Regulate temperature+ Include a communications system+ Collect and contain solid and liquid bodily waste

In reality, some of these suits have many of the same systems as spacecraft.

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