Jul 24-30, 2017 / Vol 36, No 30 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Human Solar System Complete Exploration: Unlocking Full Potential

Voyager probes are traveling through interstellar space and the heliosheath, New Horizons is heading into the 3rd Zone – the unexplored Kuiper Belt, Cassini is diving closer to Saturn through its rings, Juno is studying giant Jupiter containing 70% of all Solar System planetary mass, 6 orbiters and 2 active rovers are exploring Mars, 4 orbiters and one lander are studying the Moon, Akatsuki is circling Venus and Mercury explorer BepiColombo is set to launch Oct 2018. There are over 600,000 asteroids and 16,200 Near Earth Objects found so far. Hayabusa 2 is working toward an asteroid sample return 2020 and Dawn orbits dwarf planet Ceres. The International Space Station and Tiangong-2 are the only active Human exploration points in Space. Private companies such as Blue Origin, ILOA, SpaceX envision Multi World Civilization spreading throughout the Complete Solar System. NASA has proposed a Cislunar Gateway to the Stars. China, India, Russia, Japan, ESA, S Korea are all actively planning for Human Moon settlement, with Mars and Jupiter moon missions in mind. As the 50th observance of Apollo 11 landing and the 2020s are fast approaching, it is a pivotal time to lay a foundation for encompassing, strategic considerations for long-term Human species survival through extraterrestrial habitation, international cooperation and advanced technologies – starting with our nearest Celestial neighbor Luna. (Image Credit: SPC, ILOA, NASA, SpaceX, M. Carroll)


Jul 24 — ISS, 330-435-km LEO: Expedition 52 expecting 3 more crew members by end of week, documenting calorie intake and food preferences to aid future long-duration Moon / Mars missions, working with 11-day cancer cell experiment; SpaceX CRS 12 and cargo scheduled first week Aug; external mounted payloads on ISS include Sun Monitoring on the External Payload Facility of Columbus (SOLAR) and Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer.

Jul 24 — Solar System: New detailed global maps of Pluto & Charon; China Hard X-ray Modulation Telescope to begin regular operations in Nov, share data with international scientists; Elon Musk discusses need for Moon base to gain public interest and excitement, catalyze other businesses / services in space; images of Jupiter Great Red Spot from 9,000-km shared with public; astronomers at NMSU discuss how Earth ocean floor sand dunes aids understanding of Venus landscape.

Jul 24 — Galaxy: ESA Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) mission comes to end – will provide data necessary for 2030 mission to observe gravitational waves; University of Kentucky study presents evidence that Milky Way Galaxy central bar and spiral arms may have been shaped by ancient impacts; high-energy cosmic rays among the fastest particles in the galaxy are being contained by “trap” at Milky Way center.

Jul 24 — Global: Jet Propulsion Laboratory advancing plans for 2024 Europa lander mission and 2022 Europa Clipper orbiter; unnamed man from country in Asia to become ISS / Space tourist in 2019; Luxembourg adopts a draft law to offer framework ensuring private sector has rights to space resources; Russia talks about Human Moon missions involving upgraded Federatsiya spacecraft & lunar expeditionary complex.

Jul 24 — NewSpace: SpaceX Red Dragon undergoing concept changes for Mars landings – perhaps not using originally planned propulsion methods; Sierra Nevada Corp. performing ground tests of Dream Chaser, checking steering & brake systems, working toward captive-carry flights; startup Relativity in Los Angeles working to build small satellite boosters with “zero human labor”, conducts ~75 test firings of a new rocket engine; Astrobotic set to launch Peregrine lander in 2019, will carry DHL MoonBoxes, AEM & DLR payload, among others.

= All times

for terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

= All times for international terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

= All times for space events, and…

= All times for international space / astro events in Hawaii Standard Time unless noted. Add 10 hours to obtain UT (‘Universal Time;’ Greenwich, England).

Weekly Planet Watch – Evening Planets: Mercury (WNW), Jupiter (SW), Saturn (S); Morning Planets: Venus (E), Uranus (SE), Neptune (S).

Expedition 52/53 Crew members Set for Soyuz Launch to ISS

Russian launch of the Soyuz-FG MS-05 rocket on the flight designated ISS Mission 51S on July 28 is set to carry Randy Bresnik of NASA, Paolo Nespoli of ASI / ESA and Sergey Ryazansky of Roscosmos to the International Space Station from Baikonur Cosmodrome Pad 1/5 in Kazakhstan. This will be the 134th flight of a Soyuz spacecraft. Baikonur is the world’s first and largest operational space launch facility. The 3-member crew will join current ISS occupants Commander Fyodor Yurchikhin, Jack Fischer and Peggy Whitson to continue a wide variety of research including the Biochem Profile, Repository and Cardio Ox investigations and the Magnetic 3 Dimensional Cell Culturing experiment. The crew have underdone final exams ahead of their 5.5-hour trip to the ISS Rassvet module docking port for a 4.5 month-long mission in Earth orbit. Yurchikhin, who is a 4-time ISS cosmonaut as well as 1-time shuttle crew member, is working on life support systems maintenance. A total of 227 individuals from 18 countries have made 390 visits to the orbital research habitat, more than half of them Americans. (Image Credit: NASA, Roscosmos)

Jul 24-26 — University of Manchester, UK ALMA Regional Centre Node, Manchester, United Kingdom: Workshop: Measuring Star Formation in the Radio, Millimetre, and Submillimetre.

Jul 24-28 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA/Caltech, Pasadena CA: NASA’s 29th Annual Planetary Science Summer Seminar.

Jul 24-28 — Sexten Center for Astrophysics, INAF, ASI, Sexten, Italy: Conference: Exploring Dark Matter and Dark Ages with Lensing Clusters.

Jul 24-28 — Warsaw University, Warsaw, Poland: Conference: Celebrating 25 years of the OGLE Project; sky survey contributing to exoplanetary astronomy, stellar astrophysics, Galactic and Local Group astronomy, cosmology.

Jul 24 — Moon: 0.84° N of Mercury, 23:00.

Jul 24 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 MT8: Near-Earth Flyby (0.094 AU).

Continued from…

Jun 30 – Jul 29 — Space Media Ventures, National Space Society, Online: Kickstarter Campaign: Space Odyssey Game; presented by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, for people of all ages to experience new Worlds and add to them as real science & their collective imagination allows.

Jul 11 – Aug 11 — Mars Spacecraft, Mars Orbit: Superior Solar Conjunction to prevent normal operations for international Mars missions, craft will undergo critical operations stand-down and most will rely on automated systems.

Jul 18-27 — Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG), ESA, International Space Science Institute, AustroSpace, Alpbach, Austria: 41st Summer School Alpbach 2017 – The Dusty Universe.

Jul 23-28 — The Meteoritical Society, Santa Fe NM: 80th Annual Meeting of The Meteoritical Society.

Jul 23-29 — Rencontres du Vietnam, Quy Nhon, Vietnam: 13th Rencontres du Vietnam: Exploring the Dark Universe.


Jul 25 – Aug 3 — Stockholm University Astrobiology Centre, University of Tartu, European Astrobiology Campus, Nordic Network of Astrobiology, Saaremaa, Estonia: Summer School: Impacts and their Role in the Evolution of Life; at Kuressaare and Kaali impact crater site.

Jul 25 — Moon: 0.10° NW of Regulus, 01:00.

Jul 25 — Mercury: 0.95° SSW of Regulus, 12:00.

Jul 25 — Apollo Asteroid 2014 WW202: Near-Earth Flyby (0.052 AU).

Jul 25 — Apollo Asteroid 480858 (2001 PT9): Near-Earth Flyby (0.069 AU).


Jul 26 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Flyby of Titan scheduled at 549,000-km altitude.

Jul 26 — Icarus Interstellar, Online: Last day to support 2017 Starship Congress Kickstarter funding campaign.

Jul 26 — Mars: At conjunction with Sun, 15:00.


Jul 27-29 — National Radio Astronomy Observatory, Charlottesville VA: 5th U.S. – China Workshop on Radio Astronomy Science & Technology.

Jul 27 — Moon: 0.32° S of comet 45P Honda-Mrkos-Pajdusakova, 08:00.


Jul 28 — Roscosmos State Corporation, Launch Soyuz MS-05 / ISS 51S, Baikonur Cosmodrome, Kazakhstan: Expedition 52/53 members Randy Bresnik of NASA, Paolo Nespoli of ASI / ESA, Sergey Ryazansky of Roscosmos to launch to ISS; journey should take 5.5 hours until docking.

Jul 28 — Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center, NASA, Assateague Island National Seashore, Delmarva Space Sciences Foundation, Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, Berlin MD: Astronomy & Night Sky Summer Series; in celebration of Perseid Meteor Shower.

Jul 28 — Moon: 3.0° NNE of Jupiter, 12:00.


Jul 29 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Mark Polansky, adult US$69.95.

Jul 29 – Aug 3 — Boston University, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, MIT, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Cambridge & Boston MA: Cambridge Workshop on Cool Stars, Stellar Systems and the Sun (COOL STARS 20).

Jul 29 — Moon: 6.6° NNE of Spica, 02:00.

Jul 29 — Apollo Asteroid 2017 FQ64: Near-Earth Flyby (0.073 AU).

Jul 29 — Southern Delta-Aquarids Meteor Shower Peak: Shower mostly visible in Southern Hemisphere, meteors appear to radiate from Aquarius constellation; shower may produce up to 20 meteors per hour with speed of ~41 km/sec; peak 19:00.


Jul 30 – Aug 5 — Rencontres du Vietnam Institute for Astronomy, Quy Nhon University, CNRS, Aix-Marseille University, Hanoi National University of Education, Quy Nhon, Vietnam: Conference: Hot Topics in General Relativity and Gravitation.

Jul 30 – Aug 11 — Benasque Science Center of Pedro Pascual, Benasque, Spain: Workshop: Understanding Cosmological Observations.

Jul 30 — Moon: At first quarter, 05:23.