Corning donates $1.8M in equipment to BoldlyGo Astro-1 space telescope project

An announcement from the BoldlyGo Institute:

BoldlyGo Institute & Corning Incorporated Announce $1.8 Million
Equipment Gift For Astro-1 Space Telescope Project

With Long History of Working on Astronomical Telescopes, Corning Donates Key
Components of 1.8-Meter Space Telescope Primary Mirror

BoldlyGo Institute Aims to Launch ASTRO-1 by Mid-2020’s

New York, NY (July 29) — The BoldlyGo Institute (BGI) – a new, privately funded, not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing space science and exploration – and Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW) today announced the charitable donation of the principal components for a 1.8-meter space telescope primary mirror for BGI’s ASTRO-1 space telescope project.

Corning has a long tradition of manufacturing key optical components for ground-based and space-based astronomical telescopes in the United States and around the world, and had previously developed these components that were “abandoned in place” after the NASA program they were originally intended for was cancelled. The estimated value of the equipment is $1.8 million.

“This generous gift marks an important step forward for the BoldlyGo Institute and the ASTRO-1 space telescope project,” said Dr. Jon Morse, chief executive officer of BGI and former Director of Astrophysics at NASA Headquarters. “Corning has made numerous contributions to frontier space science missions, and this donation makes it possible for ASTRO-1 to continue in that great tradition.”

“For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have transformed scientific research – including window glass for all of NASA’s manned spacecraft missions and the International Space Station. The work of the BoldlyGo Institute and the ASTRO-1 space telescope will continue this critical research for another generation and we are proud to support it,” said Curt Weinstein, vice president and general manager, Advanced Optics, Corning Specialty Materials.

The components donated by Corning will be used to conduct one of two world-class scientific missions unveiled by BoldlyGo in June, the ASTRO-1 space telescope. Scientists will use the ASTRO-1 space telescope to accomplish a wide range of scientific programs impacting topics across space astronomy, including the study of exoplanets orbiting near stars, the structure of the Milky Way and nearby galaxies, and cosmology. ASTRO-1 is designed to support goals and objectives described in major scientific, technical and programmatic reports by NASA, the National Research Council, and other science community-based organizations. ASTRO-1 is expected to launch by the mid-2020’s.

“As today’s announcement proves, New York not only has some of the best minds, but we have many of the leading institutions of science ready to help advance our knowledge of the cosmos,” said Congressman Paul Tonko, N.Y. – 20. “Throughout my time in Congress, I have worked to make New York a national leader in STEM education, which is why I was proud to work with the BoldlyGo Institute in the earliest stages prior to their public launch. I want to applaud Corning and the BoldlyGo Institute for developing this partnership, which should help to advance discoveries in space science and ultimately provide our students with a wonderful opportunity to better understand the universe.”

Earlier this month, Corning Incorporated announced the delivery of custom optical components to NASA for use in its OSIRIS-REx mission, the third mission in NASA’s New Frontiers Program. The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will visit a near-Earth asteroid named Bennu, launching in 2016 and reaching the asteroid in 2018. After a detailed study, the spacecraft will obtain a sample and return to Earth in 2023.

Corning’s previous contributions to science have enabled seminal discoveries, such as the multitude of planetary systems orbiting distant stars detected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Corning also produced the Hubble Space Telescope primary mirror and optics for ground-based systems such as the Subaru and the two Gemini eight-meter class telescopes. For ASTRO-1, Corning is donating six ULE® lightweighted core segments, which currently reside at the Corning Plant in Canton, N.Y.

“We are extremely proud to be partnering with Corning, a company with a storied history in space systems and scientific discovery,” added Steve Battel, member of the BoldlyGo Institute Board of Directors and President of Battel Engineering. “They have generously placed these seeds of new discoveries in our hands. Our plan is to move quickly to advance the system design and hardware development for ASTRO-1 with the objective of continuing and enhancing the incredible and unique legacy of the Hubble Space Telescope and other space observatories.”

BGI is fostering a new era of space science based on the idea that a private organization funded by small and large dollar donors can increase the number and variety of space science missions conducted, leading to more data, more discoveries and increased knowledge about the universe and our place in it. As part of their NewSpace Science movement, the BoldlyGo Institute strives to:

  • Accelerate world-class scientific discovery using the space environment;
  • Transform the funding model for space science and exploration;
  • Redefine the management model for advanced spacecraft development;
  • Engage faculty and students at universities in experiential science & engineering activities, and;
  • Create tangible impacts in public engagement through citizen science and participatory exploration.

BoldlyGo Institute is based in New York and is led by a highly qualified and reputable Board of Directors, comprising space scientists, engineers and explorers, with decades of combined space involvement, including recent senior leadership experience across NASA developing space hardware and flying in space. For more information about our Board, our missions and to support the effort, please go to

Mars Opportunity rover reaches driving distance milestone

The Opportunity rover takes the lead in distance roved off-earth:

NASA’s Long-Lived Mars Opportunity Rover
Sets Off-World Driving Record

NASA’s Opportunity Mars rover, which landed on the Red Planet in 2004, now holds the off-Earth roving distance record after accruing 25 miles (40 kilometers) of driving. The previous record was held by the Soviet Union’s Lunokhod 2 rover.

“Opportunity has driven farther than any other wheeled vehicle on another world,” said Mars Exploration Rover Project Manager John Callas, of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. “This is so remarkable considering Opportunity was intended to drive about one kilometer and was never designed for distance. But what is really important is not how many miles the rover has racked up, but how much exploration and discovery we have accomplished over that distance.”

Trek of NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity
NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity, working on Mars since January 2004,
passed 25 miles of total driving on July 27, 2014. The gold line on this map shows
Opportunity’s route from the landing site inside Eagle Crater (upper left) to its
location after the July 27 (Sol 3735) drive. 
Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/NMMNHS

A drive of 157 feet (48 meters) on July 27 put Opportunity’s total odometry at 25.01 miles (40.25 kilometers). This month’s driving brought the rover southward along the western rim of Endeavour Crater. The rover had driven more than 20 miles (32 kilometers) before arriving at Endeavour Crater in 2011, where it has examined outcrops on the crater’s rim containing clay and sulfate-bearing minerals. The sites are yielding evidence of ancient environments with less acidic water than those examined at Opportunity’s landing site.

If the rover can continue to operate the distance of a marathon — 26.2 miles (about 42.2 kilometers) — it will approach the next major investigation site mission scientists have dubbed “Marathon Valley.” Observations from spacecraft orbiting Mars suggest several clay minerals are exposed close together at this valley site, surrounded by steep slopes where the relationships among different layers may be evident.

The Russian Lunokhod 2 rover, a successor to the first Lunokhod mission in 1970, landed on Earth’s moon on Jan. 15, 1973, where it drove about 24.2 miles (39 kilometers) in less than five months, according to calculations recently made using images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) cameras that reveal Lunokhod 2’s tracks.

Irina Karachevtseva at Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography’s Extraterrestrial Laboratory in Russia, Brad Jolliff of Washington University in St. Louis, Tim Parker of JPL, and others, collaborated to verify the map-based methods for computing distances are comparable for Lunokhod-2 and Opportunity.

This chart provides a comparison of the distances driven by various wheeled
on the surface of Mars and Earth’s moon. Of the vehicles shown,
NASA’s Mars 
rovers Opportunity and Curiosity are still active and the totals
listed are 
distances driven as of July 28, 2014. Image Credit:  NASA/JPL-Caltech

“The Lunokhod missions still stand as two signature accomplishments of what I think of as the first golden age of planetary exploration, the 1960s and ’70s,” said Steve Squyres of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and principal investigator for NASA’s twin Mars rovers, Opportunity and Spirit. “We’re in a second golden age now, and what we’ve tried to do on Mars with Spirit and Opportunity has been very much inspired by the accomplishments of the Lunokhod team on the moon so many years ago. It has been a real honor to follow in their historical wheel tracks.”

As Opportunity neared the mileage record earlier this year, the rover team chose the name Lunokhod 2 for a crater about 20 feet (6 meters) in diameter on the outer slope of Endeavour’s rim on Mars.

The Mars Exploration Rover Project is one element of NASA’s ongoing and future Mars missions preparing for a human mission to the planet in the 2030s. JPL manages the project for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate (SMD), in Washington. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, in Greenbelt, Maryland, manages LRO for SMD.

For more information about NASA’s Mars rovers Spirit and Opportunity, visit: and

Follow the project on Twitter at:

On Facebook, visit:

An image of Lunokhod 2’s tracks, as imaged by NASA’s LRO, is available online at:

The Space Show this week – July.28.14

The guests and topics on The Space Show this week:

1. Monday, July 28, 2014: 2-3:30 PM PDT (5-6:30 PM EDT, 4-5:30 PM CDT): We welcome back JAY BARBREE, NBC News space reporter and author of the new book, Neil Armstrong: A Life of Flight.

2. Tuesday, July 29, 2014, 7 PM PDT (10 PM EDT, 9 PM CDT): We welcome back DR.. PAT PATTERSON to discuss the upcoming SmallSat Conference at Utah State in Logan, Utah.

3. Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 11AM-12 PM PDT (2-3PM EDT, 1-2 PM CDT): We welcome back Robert Meurer, Director, Corporate Business Development at ATK, Space Division, Beltsville, MD.

4. Friday, August 1, 2014:, NO LIVE SHOW TODAY, JURY DUTY. I will upload two NewSpace Conference interviews. When you see the program on the website and the blog, it is ready for play.

5. Sunday, August 3,, 2014, 12-1:30 PM PST, (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST). NO SHOW TODAY. I am heading to San Diego for the AIAA Space 2014 Conference.

See also:
/– The Space Show on Vimeo – webinar videos
/– The Space Show’s Blog – summaries of interviews.
/– The Space Show Classroom Blog – tutorial programs

The Space Show is a project of the One Giant Leap Foundation.