Those hotel chocolate-chip cookies will be the closest astronauts have come to truly baking something in their high-flying kitchens. NASA says astronauts won’t actually eat the cookies, because they are, technically, a science experiment. The treats will be returned home for examination.
Source: Why NASA Should Bake Cookies in Space – The Atlantic
NanoRacks created a cylinder-shaped oven lined with heating components that can bring the interior temperature to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. It bakes one slab of cookie dough, which is held in place inside a sealed tray, at a time. The oven will plug into an apparatus about the size of carry-on luggage that supports scientific experiments with electricity, cooling, and other needs.
As he spoke about the heightened risk, the NASA administrator also emphasized that both the space station and the astronauts aboard it are safe. The station can be maneuvered out of harm’s way if needed, he added.
But another danger, he said, is that “when one country does it, then other countries feel like they have to do it, as well.”
Source: NASA: Debris From India’s Anti-Satellite Test Raised Threat To Space Station : NPR
On February 21, the first mission of the Moonrush embarked aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. The Beresheet lunar lander built by Israel’s SpaceIL was launched as a secondary payload, sharing the ride with the Indonesian communications satellite PSN-6. After reaching geostationary transfer orbit, Beresheet and the communications satellite separated from the Falcon 9 launcher. The communications satellite will propel itself to geostationary Earth orbit. Meanwhile, Beresheet is slowly raising its orbit. In early April the spacecraft will enter lunar orbit, then land on the Moon.
Source: The Space Review: The Moonrush has begun
For the scientists, that ends a mission of unexpected endurance. The rover was designed to last only three months. Opportunity provided scientists a close-up view of Mars that they had never seen: finely layered rocks that preserved ripples of flowing water several billion years ago, a prerequisite for life.
Source: NASA’s Mars Rover Opportunity Concludes a 15-Year Mission – The New York Times
“New Horizons is like a time machine, taking us back to the birth of the solar system. We are seeing a physical representation of the beginning of planetary formation, frozen in time,” said Jeff Moore, New Horizons Geology and Geophysics team lead. “Studying Ultima Thule is helping us understand how planets form — both those in our own solar system and those orbiting other stars in our galaxy.”
Source: New Horizons: News Article?page=20190102
Those who live in areas with low levels of light pollution will most likely be able to see the comet with the naked eye. People who live in cities may need binoculars or a telescope to get a glimpse. Online charts can help pinpoint its location.
Source: A Bright Green ‘Christmas Comet’ Will Fly the Closest to Earth in Centuries – The New York Times
The RemoveDEBRIS satellite consists of a large, 220-pound main satellite that carries two smaller cubesats and a net. The mission involves deploying these cubesats as artificial space junk and them capturing them to demonstrate the effectiveness debris removal technology. The first cubesat was successfully captured on Sunday evening with a net after six years of testing the technology on Earth.
Source: Watch This Net Capture Orbital Space Debris for the First Time in History – Motherboard
The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in—a box just six centimetres (2.4 inches) long, three centimetres wide, and three centimetres high.
If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two mini satellites that will keep it taut.
Source: Going up! Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’
Plans to send a probe into the Sun’s corona date back to 1958 and the very start of NASA. At the space agency’s inception, a special committee listed 14 different missions that NASA should pursue, including visiting all the planets of the Solar System. All 14 missions have been accomplished in some form apart from one: a probe to visit near the Sun.
Source: NASA’s newest spacecraft will fly through the Sun’s scorching hot atmosphere – The Verge
The Trump administration’s proposed 2019 budget says the U.S. will end its funding of the International Space Station by 2025. The news led to speculation the goal is to simply sell off the ISS to private enterprise. But experts say it’s not so simple.
Source: Why selling off the International Space Station would be a tricky mission for the U.S.
“There is a democratization of space going on … that you could never imagine 10 years ago.”