February 28 – March 6, 2011 / Vol 30, No 9 / Hawai`i Island, USA

Suborbital Researchers Conference in Florida to Highlight New Opportunities for Science

Up to 400 scientists, engineers and educators are expected to convene at the University of Central Florida for the Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference on February 28 to March 1. Several companies are building and testing spacecraft that will likely commence suborbital launches by 2012. This new generation of vehicles will revolutionize space access by providing the frequent, low-cost capability to carry research and education crew members into space. Along with establishing a new venue for tourism, suborbital vehicles promise to benefit the fields of atmospheric science, solar physics, microgravity science, planetary science, space life science, space physics, and education and public outreach. Representatives of Blue Origin, Masten Space Systems and Virgin Galactic are all expected to attend. On Monday night, CEO and President of Virgin Galactic George Whitesides (BL) will give a free public talk on the new avenues for science and technology opened by suborbital vehicles. UCF associate professor Josh Colwell (TL), the local organizer of the conference, will chair the closing session with Alan Stern. (Credit: UCF, rsc.org, Virgin Galactic)

Lunar Workshops to Precede 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference

Space scientists can attend several events this week in Texas as they prepare for the 42nd Lunar and Planetary Science Conference on March 7-11 in Woodlands. On Mar 3-5, the University of Houston and The Lunar and Planetary Institute will hold the ‘1st Annual Lunar Superconductor Applications (LSA) Workshop: Opportunities at 40 Kelvin – ‘All Cold’ Engineering for the Lunar Poles and Beyond’ in Houston. Recent discoveries made by the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) as well as the LCROSS impact prove the Moon still needs more exploration and discovery. Scientists and engineers will focus on the development of ‘All Cold’ designs that can operate for long periods below 100 Kelvin as well as discuss collaborative efforts in high temperature superconductor applications, low temperature / ultra low power electronics, also cryorobotic rovers, landers, and laboratories as well as astrochemistry and cryoscience at the Lunar Poles. On Mar 5-6, Brown University and the Vernadsky Institute will sponsor ‘Microsymposium 52:The Moon – The 1st Billion Years of Crustal Evolution’ in Woodlands. Scientists will discuss data from the Kaguya, Chandrayaan-1, Chang’E-1 and LRO as well as the upcoming GRAIL mission. Attendees include lunar scientists Carle Pieters (L), James Head (R), Alexander Basilevsky, Michael Wyatt and Harald Hiesinger. (Credit: NASA, LPI, Brown University, daylife.com, JAXA)


= 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 – Morning Planets: Venus (SE), Saturn (W) / Evening Planets: Jupiter (W).


MONDAY

Feb 28 — International Space Station, LEO: The 12 astronauts currently aboard the ISS include STS-133 crew Steve Lindsey, Eric Boe, Alvin Drew, Nicole Stott, Michael Barratt, Steve Bowen as well as E-26 crew Cmdr Scott Kelly, Oleg Skripochka, Alexander Kaleri, Dmitry Kondratyev, Paolo Nespoli, Catherine Coleman.

Feb 28 — NASA Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO), Lunar Orbit: All systems nominal in scientific phase of mission as LRO continues to make digital elevation and terrain maps that will be a fundamental reference for future human exploration.

Feb 28 — Mars Rover Opportunity, Red Planet: Rover continues normal tactical operations and will perform an upcoming rock abrasion tool grind on the surface of Luis de Torres for follow-on microscopic imager mosaics and alpha particle X-ray spectrometer measurements.

Feb 28 — The Space Show, Nationwide: This week’s Space Show continues to cover important space issues with informative interviews from space advocates.

Feb 28 – Mar 1 — University of Central Florida, Orlando FL:Next-Generation Suborbital Researchers Conference 2011.’

Feb 28 – Mar 3 — Canada France Hawaii Telescope, Kohala Coast HI:Telescopes from Afar: An International Conference on Remotely Operated, Automated or Ground Based Telescopes.’

Feb 28 – Mar 3 — Applied Technology Institute, Colorado Springs CO: ‘Earth Station Design,’ intensive 4-day course intended for satellite communications engineers, Earth station design professionals, operations and maintenance managers and technical staff.


Continued from . . .

Jan 29Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, NASA, San Clemente CA: ‘They Came From Outer Space,’ this fun and educational exhibition for the whole family is presented through NASA and explores how many of the everyday products we use were developed for the space program; through Mar 27.

Feb 27 — National Space Society, Space Exploration Alliance, Washington DC:2011 Legislative Blitz,’ participants and space advocates from around the country to show Congress that there is a strong constituent support for an ambitious space program; through Mar 1.


TUESDAY

Mar 1Deep Space, Extrasolar Planets: Exoplanet count currently stands at 528 as scientists work to confirm1235 planet candidates discovered by the Kepler telescope including 54 that may be in the ‘Habitable Zone.’

Mar 1-2 — Jet Propulsion Laboratory Business Opportunities Office, US Small Business Administration, Los Angeles CA: ‘23rd Annual High-Tech Conference.’

Mar 1-3 — Langley Research Center, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, et al, Charlotte NC: ‘3rd Annual NASA STEM Educators Workshop,’ free workshops to blend science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) using NASA education resources relating to current and future NASA missions.

Mar 1-3 — The National Academies, Washington DC: ‘Human Spaceflight Crew Operations.’

Mar 1-3 — Monash University, Phillip Island, Victoria, Australia: ‘7th Astronomy with Radioactivities Workshop.’

Mar 1-4 — Austrian Space Forum, Innsbruck, Austria: Final preparations for PolAres Rio Tino field tests, an interdisciplinary program of the Austrian Space Forum in cooperation with international partners to develop strategies for human-robotic interaction procedures in preparation for a future human-robotic Mars surface expedition.

Mar 1Asteroid 434 Hungaria: Closest Approach to Earth (1.084 AU).


WEDNESDAY

Mar 2 — Cassini OTM-279, Saturn Orbit: Spacecraft conducts Orbital Trim Maneuver #279 today.


THURSDAY

Mar 3 — Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, San Clemente CA: ‘Images From Space,’ JPL scientist John Hoot gives a visual history of the technology behind Google Earth, spy satellites, weather imagery, the Hubble Space Telescope and more.

Mar 3 — Celestis Memorial Spaceflight, New Mexico Space Grant Consortium, Online: Last day to make reservations for ‘The Goddard Flight,’ an Earth Rise mission to launch cremated remains into space on Apr 1.

Mar 3-5 — University of Houston, Lunar and Planetary Institute, et al, Houston TX: ‘1st Annual Lunar Superconductor Applications (LSA) Workshop: Opportunities at 40 Kelvin – ‘All Cold’ Engineering for the Lunar Poles and Beyond.’

Mar 3Asteroid 18626 Michaelcarr: Closest Approach to Earth (0.957 AU).

Mar 3Moon: 5.7° NNW of Mars; 20:00.


FRIDAY

Mar 4 — ULA, Launch Atlas 5 / OTV 2, Cape Canaveral FL: ULA Atlas 5 rocket set to launch US military X-37B prototype space plane also known as Orbital Test Vehicle.

Mar 4-5 — SETI Italy, Tradate, Italy: ‘ItaSETIcon 2011 / Italian SETI Congress.’

Mar 4Moon: New Moon (Beginning of Lunation 1091); 10:46.


SATURDAY

Mar 5 — Washington Science Teachers Association, Anacortes WA: ‘Addressing Student Misconceptions of the Earth-Sun-Moon System,’ a free workshop for teachers to deepen content knowledge and provide constructivist techniques to help students understand the Earth-Sun-Moon system.

Mar 5-6 — Brown University, The Vernadsky Institute, et al, The Woodlands TX: ‘Microsymposium 52: The Moon – The 1st Billion Years of Crustal Evolution.’

Mar 5-6 — NASA Planetary Science Division, Lunar and Planetary Institute, The Woodlands TX: ‘The Importance of Solar System Sample Return Missions to the Future of Planetary Science,’ will focus on why sample return science is important to the future of solar system science and exploration, including the implications for NASA as it plans and implements future missions to a variety of Solar System locations.

Mar 5-12 — The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Big Sky MT: ‘32nd IEEE Aerospace Conference 2011.’

Mar 5Moon: 6.0° NNW of Mercury, 03:00; At Apogee (Distance 63.75 Earth-Radii), 22:00.


SUNDAY

Mar 6-8 — Space Frontier Foundation, Washington DC: ‘Keep the Promise,’ members and supporters of the Space Frontier Foundation will head to DC to urge Congress to ‘Keep the Promise’ when it comes to supporting the new US commercial space industry.

Mar 6Moon: 6.0° NNW of Jupiter; 14:00.

Mar 6Asteroid (Near-Earth Flyby): 2011 BA12 (0.097 AU); 2010 C01 (0.082 AU).