Category Archives: Space Exploration

ANNOUNCEMENT OF PRESS CONFERENCE – CNRS and Mars Analogue for Space Exploration …

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS)

Mars Analogue for Space Exploration (MASE) Project

PRESS VISIT AND BRIEFING Wednesday 29th March 2017 (09:30 – 12 :00)

CNRS – Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire, Orléans, France.

If you are attending, you must RSVP in advance.

The CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) will hold a press conference and visit on 29th of March at the Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire (CBM) at Orléans. This press conference will be held the day after a scientific meeting of the FP7 MASE project (Mars Analogue for Space Exploration), being held in France for the first time.

The MASE project gathers European scientists from different countries who study the possibility to detect present / past life on Mars.

This press conference offers the opportunity for a briefing on:

– Current progress assessing the habitability of Mars and detecting life.

– Identifying the landing site for the Exomars Mission launching in July 2020.

– Using microfossil analysis to detect past signatures for Martian life.

This press conference will also cast light on research facilities studying signatures of life in other planets to maximise the scientific output of future space exploration missions.

– Visit to International Space Analogue Rockstore with rocks of billions of years in age.

– Visit to the analytical platform for Raman Spectroscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy.

DETAILS FOLLOW – please also see the news section at www,

Members of the Media are invited to attend this Visit and Conference – you must please register in advance.

To register, please contact: Florence Royer (+33) 02 38 25 79 86

Members of the media are also welcome to contact the relevant scientists and researchers working on these projects and their contact details are below.

For press conference issues please contact:

Florence Royer – Press Conference Room CNRS:
Dr. Patricia Cabezas – Administrative Coordinator, European Science Foundation:
Mr. Nicolas Walter – Administrative Coordinator, European Science Foundation:

For MASE project information please contact:

Prof. Charles Cockell – Scientific Coordinator, University of Edinburgh:
Dr. Patricia Cabezas – Administrative Coordinator, European Science Foundation:
Mr. Nicolas Walter – Administrative Coordinator, European Science Foundation:

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique
Mars Analogue for Space Exploration (MASE) Project
Press conference and visit
Wednesday 29th March 2017 – 9h 30
Centre de Biophysique Moléculaire – CBM (CNRS)
Entrée principale du campus CNRS – 3E avenue de la recherche scientifique

9h 30
About MASE (Mars Analogues for Space Exploration)

What landing site for Exomars 2020?

Looking for past life on Earth and on Mars: Why microfossils are so important?

Speaker: Dr. Frances Westall

Questions / Answers with Dr. Frances Westall, Dr. Frédéric Foucher and Dr. Frédéric Gaboyer

10h 30
Visit to the “lithotheque” ISAR (International Space Analogue Rockstore)
Speaker: Dr. Frédéric Foucher

11h 15
Presentation of studied samples and visit to the analytical platform of Raman spectroscopy and Atomic Force Microscopy

Further information about MASE:


Twitter: @MarsAnalogues

Facebook : MASE @MarsAnalogues

Lunar habitat on display at museum

Hampton visitors will soon be able to explore what life on the moon could be like.

The Virginia Air and Space Museum in Hampton received an inflatable 12-foot diameter lunar “habitat structure” exhibit this week from NASA Langley. Researchers at NASA Langley have worked on the concept for at least a decade to understand what space-related opportunities lay ahead not just for astronauts but for the public, according to Steve Lee, management coordinator at NASA Langley.

“Would you like to go to the moon and live one day?” Lee asked Tuesday. “Do you know someone who might want to go to the moon and live one day? There may be an opportunity for people to go and spend some time in outer space — that’s a speculation on my part. But I’d say these are opportunities.”

The 2,426-pound module was built by engineer and manufacturing company, ILC Dover, in 2007 and tested at NASA Langley. The Planetary Surface Habitat and Airlock Unit, has helped researchers in determining the best possible materials for sustaining human life on the moon for more than one year. A key component of the multilayer inflatable module is its ability to be compressed into a much smaller space than it would use when fully set up. The structure is made of temperature-insulated and impact-detection layers.

New NASA Bill Aimed at Sending Humans to Mars, Plus Commercial Space Flights

As the first NASA-authorization bill in seven years.

President Trump has signed a bill aimed at assisting NASA in sending humans to Mars, with $19.5 billion in funding. NASA aims to send people to Mars by the 2030s, and congress’ funding will assist with the construction of the Space Launch System rocket, which is set to be NASA’s most powerful rocket ever, and will send astronauts farther into the solar system than ever before.

This is in line with Trump’s plan to have NASA focus on deep space exploration rather than Earth, with the bill specifically listing that NASA “should be a multi-mission space agency and should have a balanced and robust set of core missions in space science, space technology, aeronautics, human space flight and exploration, and education.”

Some specifics include Astronauts getting health care for life, and will require NASA to pay for “monitoring, diagnosis and treatment of any health problems related to spaceflight for all former astronauts.” NASA already monitors astronauts for health problems even after they return to Earth, but previously has not treated astronauts for any issues they discovered.

The Asteroid Redirect Mission (or ARM), which would have had NASA collect a multi-ton boulder from an asteroid near Earth for studies, has also formally been cancelled, since it no longer has funding. The ARM was intended to be a stepping-stone towards having humans on Mars, but congress has effectively asked NASA to find alternate study.

One of the most exciting parts, though it isn’t totally explicit, is that NASA is encouraged to explore ways to boost the private space industry. This means NASA may be allowing and actively seeking out commercial flights to the International Space Station some time soon.

Regarding the bill, President Trump said: “It’s been a long time since a bill like this has been signed reaffirming our national commitment to the core mission of NASA, human space exploration, space science and technology.”

Alanah is an Editor at IGN, and her #1 goal in life is to visit the International Space Station, for real. You can find her on Twitter @Charalanahzard.

Space Exploration: US congress approves $19.5 billion for NASA to get humans to Mars by 2033

Space Exploration: US congress approves $19.5 billion for NASA to get humans to Mars by 2033

United State Congress has passed a huge funding bill that gives NASA $19.5 billion for space exploration and has presented it to the president. The NASA Authorization Act of 2017 is focused on transforming NASA back into the great scientific organization it was during the Apollo Program. The bill authorizes NASA programs like the Space Station, deep space exploration, and asteroid redirect missions for 2017. Also included in the bill is a mandate for human space travel to Mars in 2033.

As part of the mission, Congress has asked NASA to create an “initial human exploration roadmap” by December 2017. The roadmap, which NASA has been working on for a while, is a step by step guide on how to get to Mars. It includes ever expanding stages of space travel starting with low-Earth orbit, then cislunar space, and culminating in the mission to Mars. NASA calls these stages “Earth Reliant”, “Proving Ground”, and “Earth Independent.”

The authorization report;

SEC. 435. MARS 2033 REPORT.

(a) In General.—Not later than 120 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall contract with an independent, non-governmental systems engineering and technical assistance organization to study a Mars human space flight mission to be launched in 2033.

(b) Contents.—The study shall include—

(1) a technical development, test, fielding, and operations plan using the Space Launch System, Orion, and other systems to successfully launch such a Mars human space flight mission by 2033;

(2) an annual budget profile, including cost estimates, for the technical development, test, fielding, and operations plan to carry out a Mars human space flight mission by 2033; and

(3) a comparison of the annual budget profile to the 5-year budget profile contained in the President’s budget request for fiscal year 2017 under section 1105 of title 31, United States Code.

(c) Report.—Not later than 180 days after the date of enactment of this Act, the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress a report on the study, including findings and recommendations regarding the Mars 2033 human space flight mission described in subsection (a).

(d) Assessment.—Not later than 60 days after the date the report is submitted under subsection (c), the Administrator shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress an assessment by the NASA Advisory Council of whether the proposal for a Mars human space flight mission to be launched in 2033 is in the strategic interests of the United States in space exploration.

NASA has often been criticized for being slow to adapt to change and advancements in technology. They have their old ways of doing things and are traditionally very hesitant to explore new options. This has given rise to the private space industry and companies like SpaceX.

Ever since Apollo 11, NASA has had its sights set on Mars as the new final frontier. The Curiosity and 2020 rovers are key tools in discovering what resources Mars has to offer. This funding bill and Mars mandate has the space community rejoicing; and for good reason. We’re one step closer to what will arguably be the greatest event in human exploration, ever.

Source: Techspot

Space Florida Congratulates Congress on Passage of the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017

Press Release From: Space Florida
Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

“With today’s passage of the NASA Transition Authorization Act of 2017, Space Florida  congratulates Senate Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee Chairman John Thune, Ranking Member Bill Nelson, Senate Space Subcommittee Chairman Ted Cruz, Senator Marco Rubio, Space Subcommittee Ranking Member Gary Peters, House Space, Science, & Technology Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, Ranking Member Eddie Bernice Johnson, House Space Subcommittee Chairman Brian Babin and Ranking Member Ami Bera,” said Frank DiBello, Space Florida President and CEO.
“This legislation ensures the continuation of our nation’s extraordinary legacy of space exploration. Space Florida applauds the bipartisan effort by members of both chambers, as well as House and Senate staff over the past several months, to come to an agreement on this legislation that secures Florida as a key player in future efforts and successes of the aerospace industry and space exploration.”

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USU, NASA to research ways astronauts can manufacture critical products during missions

Utah State University is part of a new research institute created by NASA that could make it possible for humans to explore Mars or go on deep space explorations.

The Center for the Utilization of Biological Engineering in Space, or CUBES, has USU and other partnering institutions and businesses creating systems for space exploration crews to produce fuel, materials, pharmaceuticals and food all by themselves, as opposed to getting all of these materials via resupply missions to Earth.

“There’s no way you can envision putting humans onto Mars without this kind of foundational research, so I think NASA’s right on the money in saying we have to have this research happen now and let’s bring together the best teams we can to try to push this forward,” said Lance Seefeldt, USU professor of chemistry and biochemistry.


CUBES is just one of two Space Technology Research Institutes created by NASA in mid-February focused on “the development of technologies critical to extending human presence deeper into our solar system,” according to an agency news release. Each institute will get $15 million over a five year period, NASA officials said.

The other institute besides CUBES, the Institute for Ultra-Strong Composites by Computational Design, includes the University of Utah.

“NASA is establishing STRIs to research and exploit cutting-edge advances in technology with the potential for revolutionary impact on future aerospace capabilities,” said Steve Jurczyk, a NASA official, in a agency news release.

CUBES institutions include University of California campuses in Berkeley and Davis and Stanford University. Industrial partners are Autodesk, a California-based software company, and Physical Sciences Inc., a Massachusetts-based research company.

“This is like an all-star team of scientists, and the potential synergism is just enormous,” said Bruce Bugbee, USU professor of plant, soils and climate science.

Bugbee said USU and CUBES partners will meet in Berkeley next month and they might get started on research in April, when NASA starts funding the institute.

“This is going to be ground-based research to look at how to build and recycle everything in a small space — that’s why the CUBES acronym is so relevant,” Bugbee said. “Imagine you’re living in a cube; you’re recycling all of the air, water, growing your own food. It would be so expensive to bring stuff from Earth. We want the space crews to make everything there.”

Bugbee said USU’s research in CUBES must come up with solutions for space crews that are reliable.

“If something goes wrong, you could be dead pretty fast,” he said.

One aspect of research Bugbee, a plant physicist, will be involved in is figuring out how space crews can genetically engineer dwarf crops for food in space.

Bugbee will also work with Physical Sciences Inc. to optimize the design of a fiber-optic system to deliver light to the plants.

“Fiber optics are considerably more efficient than LED or any other electric lighting source, but they are expensive,” he wrote in an email to the newspaper. “In space, however, the mass of the system is more important than the cost.

One of the aspects Seefeldt, a biochemist, will research is how to take the carbon dioxide, nitrogen and scarce water on Mars to turn those resources into elements that would be useful for growing plants.

Seefeldlt will also work with the CUBES partnering company Autodesk to develop 3D printing for making parts for deep space missions.

According to a NASA news release announcing CUBES, the same research USU and others will be doing will result in applications for living on Earth.

Seefeldt agrees — finding ways to take nitrogen from the air and turn it into nutrients for plants could be extremely useful for parts of the world, like sub-Saharan Africa, that don’t have as much fossil fuels to burn in fertilizer production.

Bugbee and Seefeldt both said it will likely take more than the five years NASA is awarding to CUBES to solve all the challenges necessary to allow space crews to successfully go on deep space missions.

“But we hope to make some pretty big breakthroughs that will make everything a lot easier to do,” Bugbee said.

Elon Musk's SpaceX says two wealthy passengers put money down for 2018 moon trip

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Two super-wealthy people could be the first to enjoy commercial space trips to the moon next year, entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Space Exploration …