February 17-23, 2014 / Vol 33, No 7 / Hawai`i Island, USA

International Missions, Moon South Pole in Focus at Upcoming Europe Meetings

ESA RSA Moon South PoleEuropean Space Agency and Roscosmos advance collaborations to explore and investigate the Moon with the developing Luna-25, -26, -27 missions. ‘Russia-ESA Lunar Exploration Cooperation: Lunar Mission Speed Dating’ will occur February 17 at ESTEC in Noordwijk, the Netherlands. Luna-25 (Luna-Glob lander to launch 2016) would be the first installment of the Russia Luna Programme after a 40-year hiatus; the successful Luna 24 sample return mission landed at Mare Crisium 12.25° N, 62.20° E in 1976. Polar orbiter Luna-26 would launch 2018 and Moon South Pole lander Luna-27 would launch 2019. On Feb 18-19 ESA, NASA SSERVI and Space Research Institute (IKI) will hold ‘Science and Challenges of Lunar Sample Return Workshop.’ Cooperative exploration scenarios including a proposed Roscosmos Moon South Pole sample return mission in the early 2020s and the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle will be discussed. Among the 46 presentations are ‘Enabling Solar System Exploration through Lunar Sample Return’ by Clive Neal (L) of University of Notre Dame, and ‘The Lunar Geological Record as an Archive of the Galactic Environment of the Solar System’ by Ian Crawford (R) of Birkbeck College. There will also be participation from Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, Poland, Switzerland, France and Japan. Truly international collaboration with countries including China, India, South Korea (not to mention private commercial enterprises) would greatly accelerate 21st century exploration plans and achievements. (Image Credit: ESA, NASA, Roscosmos, NPO Lavochkin, IKI, A. Zak/RussianSpaceWeb, C. Neal, Starship Century)

Square Kilometer Array: Africa Astronomy Blooming

calendar feature - SKA Feb 2014A symposium titled ‘Transformational Science with the SKA: Synergies with ALMA and other Contemporary Instruments’ organized by SKA, the National Research Foundation (SA), SKA Africa and RadioNet, takes place at Stellenbosch, South Africa on February 17-21. The participants will discuss progress in SKA science and its relationship to scientific results from other world-class instruments. Sessions encompass all aspects of modern radio astronomy including the early Universe, HI (neutral hydrogen) in galaxies, star formation, galaxy evolution, pulsars and transients. Increasing sensitivity of observations by two orders of magnitude over existing instruments was the original vision for the observatory that is now over 20 years in development. When it is fully completed NET 2020, experts say the data collected by SKA in a single day would take nearly 2 million years to playback on an iPod. The final foundation has just been laid for the 64-dish MeerKAT array, a precursor to and eventual constituent of SKA. The symposium is co-chaired by Bernard Fanaroff (pictured) of SKA SA and Chengmin Zhang of NAO China. A separate conference organized by Steve Crawford and Ilani Loubser on Feb 24-28 in Parys, Free State, South Africa, ‘Multiwavelength Studies of Populations in Clusters and Groups’ focuses on comparing observations with state of the art theoretical predictions. The main areas of study are brightest cluster galaxies, quiescent populations, star forming galaxies, active galactic nuclei and dwarf galaxies. (Image Credit: iAntConfig SKA SA)

FEB-APR = 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 (WSW), Mars (S), Jupiter (E); Morning Planets: Venus (SE), Saturn (S).


Feb 17 — ISS, LEO: Expedition 38 preparing for Cygnus demate / release on Feb 18, participating in media events, working with experiments involving combustion, flow of liquids, Earth observation.

Feb 17 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Beyond Mars orbital path approaching Main Asteroid Belt, traveling at about 89,051 kph; will study study Jupiter composition, polar magnetosphere, gravity & magnetic fields.

Feb 17 — Mars Odyssey, Mars Orbit: Will observe development of morning fogs, clouds, surface frost on Mars while slowly drifting into new orbit which will be reached Nov 2015.

Feb 17 — Cassini OTM-372, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #372 today.

Feb 17Tethers Unlimited Inc., Bothell WA: NewSpace company developing various technologies for in space fabrication of spacecraft components, thrusters for CubeSats, Terminator Tape to deorbit nano- and microsatellites.

Feb 17Skybox Imaging Inc., Mountain View CA: Partnering with Space Systems/Loral to build thirteen 120-kg satellites to launch 2015-2016, capture sub-meter color imagery, up to 90-second clips of HD video.

Feb 17Virgin Galactic, Las Cruces NM: Founder Richard Branson announces he will fly on SpaceShipTwo by late summer; more than 700 tickets sold, company unsure about accepting passengers from China due to ITAR restrictions.

Feb 17 — The Space Show, Online / Tiburon CA: Host Dr. David Livingston talks with Dr. Curt Bilby of Terapio biopharmaceutical company.

Feb 17 — ESA, RSA, Noordwijk, The Netherlands: Meeting: Russia-ESA Lunar Exploration Cooperation – Lunar Mission Speed Dating; to discuss ESA participation in Luna-25 (Luna-Glob lander), 26 (Luna-Resurs orbiter), 27 (Luna-Resurs lander); at Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC).

Feb 17-18 — Applied Technology Institute, Columbia MD: Planetary Science for Aerospace Professionals course: Gain A Modern Understanding of Our Solar System And Its Exploration; taught by Alan Stern, US$1,190.

Feb 17-21 — National Research Foundation, RadioNet, SKA, Stellenbosch, South Africa: Transformational Science with the Square Kilometre Array (SKA); at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study.

Feb 17-21 — Lorentz Center, University of Leiden, Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), Leiden, The Netherlands: Tracing the Cosmic Web.

Continued from…

Jan 16 – Mar 17 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Online / Greenbelt MD: Lunar Cargo Transportation and Landing by Soft Touchdown (Lunar CATALYST) initiative; seeking proposals from U.S. private sector that would lead to 1 or more no-funds exchanged Space Act Agreements.

Feb 16-21 — Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan: The Impact of Galactic Structure on Star Formation.


Feb 18 — ISS, Cygnus Demate & Release, LEO: Cygnus spacecraft scheduled to be demated 10:15 UT, released 11:40, live coverage available.

Feb 18 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: SETI Talks: Bullet Galaxies and Dark Matter; presented by Marusa Bradac of UC Davis, 19:00 PST.

Feb 18-19 — ESA, NASA Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI), Space Research Institute (IKI), Noordwijk, The Netherlands: Science and Challenges of Lunar Sample Return Workshop; at Space Research and Technology Centre (ESTEC).

Feb 18-19 — Institute for Astronomy, Astrophysics, Space Applications and Remote Sensing (IAASARS), Athens, Greece: NETSPACE Workshop; at University of Athens Kostis Palamas Building.

Feb 18-20 — Keck Institute for Space Studies, Pasadena CA: Planetary Magnetic Fields: Planetary Interiors and Habitability – Part II.

Feb 18 — Asteroid 2000 EM26: Near-Earth flyby (0.023 AU).


Feb 19 — ISS, LEO: ISS Expedition 38 In-Flight Interview, 18:30 UT, live coverage available.

Feb 19 — MIT Enterprise Forum, Santa Barbara CA: MIT Enterprise Forum: Exploring the Next Frontier – The Commercialization of Space is Lifting Off; featuring Tom Mueller (SpaceX), Andrew Nelson (XCOR), Richard David (NewSpace Global), Col Shahnaz Punjani (Vandenberg AFB).\

Feb 19 — NASA HQ, Online / Washington DC: Media Teleconference about Supernovas; to announce new observations from high-energy X-ray mission NuSTAR, 13:00 EST, live coverage available.

Feb 19-20 — United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs, Vienna, Austria: United Nations Expert Meeting on the International Space Station Benefits for Health.

Feb 19-20 — Brown University, Providence RI: Space Infrastructure Workshop; to discuss role of pre-placed facilities, resources that allow spacecraft to accomplish mission goals.

Feb 19-22 — JAXA, RIKEN Research Institute, Japan Society for Promotion of Space Science, Matsuyama Convention and Visitors Bureau, Matsuyama, Ehime, Japan: Expanding the Frontiers of the X-ray Universe: Suzaku-MAXI Conference 2014.

Feb 19 — Moon: 1.8° NE of Spica, 08:00; 3.0° SSW of Mars, 12:00.

Feb 19 — Asteroid 2014 CE13: Near-Earth flyby (0.089 AU).


Feb 20 — ISS, LEO: ISS Expedition 38 In-Flight Event for “Destination Station,” 18:10 UT, live coverage available.

Feb 20 — United Launch Alliance, Launch Delta 4 / GPS 2F-5, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: ULA to launch Air Force 5th Block 2F navigation satellite for Global Positioning System.

Feb 20 — British Interplanetary Society, Bath, United Kingdom: Lecture: A Tail of Two Comets… and a Dog in the Night; presented by Nick Howes.

Feb 20 — Scientific Preparatory Academy for Cosmic Explorers (SPACE), Online / Orlando FL: Abstracts Due: 2nd SPACE Habitation Conference; to be held Jun 20-21 at Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel.

Feb 20 — Asteroid 2014 BR57: Near-Earth flyby (0.011 AU).


Feb 21 — Antelope Valley Board of Trade, Mojave CA: Business Outlook Conference: Breaking Boundaries; to include George Whitesides, Richard Branson, Kevin Mickey, Astronaut Mark Kelly; at Mojave Air & Space Port.

Feb 21 — Goddard Space Flight Center, NASA, Greenbelt MD: Goddard Scientific Colloquium: The NICER Mission: a Partnership in Science and Technology on the ISS; presented by Keith Gendreau of GSFC, 15:30 EST.

Feb 21 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, Tom Jones; US$49.95 adult.

Feb 21-22 — SpaceUp, American Patent Agency Co., Nanoracks, Space Update Inc., Houston TX: SpaceUp Houston; the “unconference” where participants decide space issues / topics to discuss, schedule and structure of event.

Feb 21 — Moon: 0.32° SSE of Saturn, 12:00.

Feb 21 — Asteroid 1995 CR: Near-Earth flyby (0.020 AU).

Feb 21 — Asteroid 2014 CL13: Near-Earth flyby (0.020 AU).

Feb 21 — Asteroid 2012 DY43: Near-Earth flyby (0.040 AU).


Feb 22 — Moon: At last quarter, 07:16; 7.8° N of Antares, 17:00.


Feb 23 — Kennedy Space Center, Cape Canaveral FL: Last Day: Up-Close Public Tour of KSC Vehicle Assembly Building; largest single-story building in the World (3,664,883 cubic meter volume); future working site of SLS, historical site for Apollo Saturn V rocket & Space Shuttle assembly; US$25 adult, $19 children.

Feb 23-25 — Space Exploration Alliance, Washington DC: SEA 2014 Legislative Blitz; to let Congress know there is strong constituent support for an ambitious space program.