This week we are joined by Dr. Christopher J. Newman to talk space law and the Outer Space Treaty of 1967. Dr. Christopher J. Newman is a Reader in Law at the University of Sunderland. He has been active in the teaching and research of Space Law for a number of years and has recently worked with academics from other disciplines on a publication examining the ethical underpinnings of Space Governance.
Chris is currently working on research examining United Kingdom and European Space Policy and has made numerous appearances on British Radio and Television in relation to space law matters. In addition to being a senior member of the law team at the University of Sunderland, Chris is also a full member of the International Institute of Space Law and a member of the British Interplanetary Society.
And in space news:
Space Mike is back for News! * DSCOVR Launch on Falcon 9 * Progress Launch * Europe’s ATV space freighter bids final goodbye to space station * Dragon Returns to Earth * Mars One announced their 100 candidates * Mars One suspends work on Robotic Missions * SpaceX leases SLC-13 at Cape for landing
ISS cable laying by astronauts on an EVA is far more entertaining when speeded up several times. In this video, the EVA by NASA astronauts Butch Wilmore and Terry Virts last Saturday is shown in time lapse briefly at the start for about 15 seconds and then from 5:54 to the end. In between there is a narrated computer animation describing what they were to accomplish during the spacewalk. Via Spacewalk Timelapse Makes Cable Routing Look Fun – The Planetary Society,
2. Tuesday, Feb. 24, 2015:,7-8:30 PM PST (10-11:30 PM EST, 9-10:30 PM CST): DR. ELIGAR SADEH returns as the guest to discuss ITAR reforms.
3. Friday, Feb. 27, 2015; 9:30 -11 AM PST (12:30-2 PM EST; 11:30-1 PM CST): We welcome DR. JOHN PUTMAN to the program to discuss psychology, biofeedback, EEG biofeedback and quantitative EEG. as it relates to long duration human spaceflight. [See Putnam’s recent Space Review article.]
4. Sunday, March 1, 2015: 12-1:30 PM PST (3-4:30 PM EST, 2-3:30 PM CST): We welcome RICHARD EASTON AND ERIC FRAZIER for GPS updates including those on other international systems.
Exactly 85 years after Clyde Tombaugh’s historic discovery of Pluto, the NASA spacecraft set to encounter the icy planet this summer is providing its first views of the small moons orbiting Pluto.
The moons Nix and Hydra are visible in a series of images taken by the New Horizons spacecraft from Jan. 27-Feb. 8, at distances ranging from about 125 million to 115 million miles (201 million to 186 million kilometers). The long-exposure images offer New Horizons’ best view yet of these two small moons circling Pluto, which Tombaugh discovered at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona, on Feb. 18, 1930.
“Professor Tombaugh’s discovery of Pluto was far ahead its time, heralding the discovery of the Kuiper Belt and a new class of planet,” says Alan Stern, New Horizons principal investigator from Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado. “The New Horizons team salutes his historic accomplishment.”
Assembled into a seven-frame movie, the new images provide the spacecraft’s first extended look at Hydra (identified by a yellow diamond) and its first-ever view of Nix (orange diamond). The right-hand image set has been specially processed to make the small moons easier to see.
“It’s thrilling to watch the details of the Pluto system emerge as we close the distance to the spacecraft’s July 14 encounter,” says New Horizons science team member John Spencer, also from Southwest Research Institute. “This first good view of Nix and Hydra marks another major milestone, and a perfect way to celebrate the anniversary of Pluto’s discovery.”
These are the first of a series of long-exposure images that will continue through early March, with the purpose of refining the team’s knowledge of the moons’ orbits. Each frame is a combination of five 10-second images, taken with New Horizons’ Long-Range Reconnaissance Imager (LORRI) using a special mode that combines pixels to increase sensitivity at the expense of resolution. At left, Nix and Hydra are just visible against the glare of Pluto and its large moon Charon, and the dense field of background stars. The bright and dark streak extending to the right of Pluto is an artifact of the camera electronics, resulting from the overexposure of Pluto and Charon. As can be seen in the movie, the spacecraft and camera were rotated in some of the images to change the direction of this streak, in order to prevent it from obscuring the two moons.
The right-hand images have been processed to remove most of Pluto and Charon’s glare, and most of the background stars. The processing leaves blotchy and streaky artifacts in the images, as well as a few other residual bright spots that are not real features, but makes Nix and Hydra much easier to see. Celestial north is inclined 28 degrees clockwise from the “up” direction in these images.
Nix and Hydra were discovered by New Horizons team members in Hubble Space Telescope images taken in 2005. Hydra, Pluto’s outermost known moon, orbits Pluto every 38 days at a distance of approximately 40,200 miles (64,700 kilometers), while Nix orbits every 25 days at a distance of 30,260 miles (48,700 kilometers). Each moon is probably between 25-95 miles (approximately 40- 150 kilometers) in diameter, but scientists won’t know their sizes more precisely until New Horizons obtains close-up pictures of both of them in July. Pluto’s two other small moons, Styx and Kerberos, are still smaller and too faint to be seen by New Horizons at its current range to Pluto; they will become visible in the months to come.
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory manages the New Horizons mission for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. Alan Stern, of the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), headquartered in San Antonio, is the principal investigator and leads the mission. SwRI leads the science team, payload operations, and encounter science planning. New Horizons is part of the New Frontiers Program managed by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. APL designed, built and operates the spacecraft.
Image credits: NASA/Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory/Southwest Research Institute.
Click for large image.
NASA’s Terra satellite captured this picture of snow across the eastern United States on Feb. 19 at 16:20 UTC (11:20 a.m. EST). Image Credit: NASA Goddard MODIS Rapid Response Team
NASA’s Terra satellite captured an image of the snow-covered eastern U.S. that looks like the states have been sitting in a freezer. In addition to the snow cover, Arctic and Siberian air masses have settled in over the Eastern U.S. triggering many record low temperatures in many states.
On Feb. 19 at 16:40 UTC (11:40 a.m. EST), the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument that flies aboard NASA’s Terra satellite captured a picture of the snowy landscape. The snow cover combined with the frosty air mass made the eastern U.S. feel like the inside of freezer. The MODIS image was created at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
On the morning of Feb. 20, NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center (WPC) noted, “There were widespread subzero overnight lows Thursday night (Feb. 19) extending from Illinois to western Virginia, and numerous record lows were set. Bitterly-cold arctic air is setting numerous temperature records across the eastern U.S. and will keep temperatures well below normal on Friday (Feb. 20).”
In Baltimore, Maryland, a low temperature of 1F broke the record low for coldest morning recorded at the Thurgood Marshall Baltimore Washington-International Airport.
In Louisville, Kentucky, temperatures dropped to -6F, breaking the old record low of 0F, according to meteorologist Brian Goode of WAVE-TV. Meanwhile, Richmond Kentucky bottomed out at a frigid -32F.
In North Carolina, a record low temperature was set at Charlotte where the overnight temperature bottomed out at 7F breaking the old record of 13F in 1896. In Asheville, temperatures dropped to just 4F breaking the old record of 10F in 1979. Temperature records for Asheville extend back to 1876.
Several records were also broken in Georgia, according to Matt Daniel, a meteorologist at WMAZ-TV, Macon Georgia, who cited data from the National Weather Service. Daniel said that Macon set a new record low when the temperature dropped to 18F, beating the previous record of 21F set in 1958. Athens broke a new record low, too dropping to 14F and beating the old record of 18F set in 1958/1928.
NOAA’s NPC noted that “Highs on Friday (Feb. 20) will struggle to get out of the teens from the Ohio Valley to the Mid-Atlantic region. After Friday, temperatures are forecast to moderate and get closer to February averages as a storm system approaches from the west.”