techkenyot.com
techkenyot.com March 26, 2019


NASA boss says first Martian 'likely to be a woman'

16 March 2019, 07:44 | Edward Lowe

A rendering of the NASA’s SLS rocket | Image credit NASA

A new budget has cut funding for the upgraded Block 1B variant of NASA's SLS rocket

This morning at a hearing of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, NASA Administrator Bridenstine mentioned that NASA is investigating an alternate approach to flying an Orion crew vehicle and European Service Module (SM) to the Moon by June of 2020.

'Lunar water can potentially be used by humans to make fuel or to use for radiation shielding or thermal management; if these materials do not need to be launched from Earth, that makes these future missions more affordable'.

The agency is now exploring options for meeting that deadline using "commercial capabilities", Bridenstine said.

The White House's proposed 2020 fiscal year budget seeks to shelve the development of an upgraded version of NASA's Space Launch System (SLS).

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Gwynne Shotwell, the president and COO of SpaceX in an interview with CNBC past year had wished to inspire more women to join space companies. United Launch Alliance's Delta IV Heavy also would be a capable alternative.

"I want to be clear: NASA has a history of not meeting launch dates, and I'm trying to change that", Bridenstine said.

It also decided that private companies would launch a probe towards Jupiter's moon Europa.

A team of UC Berkeley researchers was chosen as one of nine teams to analyzeuntouched moon samples collected during the last Apollo missions almost 50 years ago, NASA announced in a press release Monday.

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All eyes have been on the partnership between SpaceX and NASA in recent weeks, with the successful launch, docking, and splashdown of the Crew Dragon spacecraft heightening the anticipation of NASA having its own crew-capable launch system ready for manned flight testing.

NASA remains committed to using the moon as a launching point to Mars and finding which technologies will work there and which ones will not.

With the move away from the more powerful SLS variant, a number of missions slated to be launched aboard the Block 1B will be shifted to commercial rockets. "While I agree that the delay in the SLS launch schedule is unacceptable", Shelby said, "I firmly believe that SLS should launch the Orion".

At the Planetary Science Institute of Mount Holyoke College, Darby Dyer will lead a team that will study micro-beads of glass that formed during ancient volcanic eruptions on the moon to get a better idea of the volcanic activity that went on shortly after the moon was born.

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