From the Earth to the Moon and around the Moon
July 12, 2019 10:55 AM   Subscribe

This week in space. The human race and its machines have been busy with projects beyond the Earth's atmosphere.

On Monday the Indian Space Research Organization (previously) plans to launch Chandrayaan 2, an orbiter, lander, and rover aiming to explore the Moon's south pole.

Elsewhere in space:

Japan's Hayabusa-2 (previously) landed itself for the second time on the asteroid it's been probing since XXX. Photos; Japanese-language video.

Crowdfunded solar sailer craft LightSail 2 (Wikipedia, Planetary Society) reached orbit last week, and is preparing for its next step.

The China Manned Space Engineering Office (CMSEO) is preparing for a planned deorbiting of the Tiangong-2 space station. (Previously)

Amazon explained plans for its forthcoming Kuiper System satellites. A first wave will include 578 sats; more than 3,000 are in the works.

NASA's head of human spacelight was kicked out of that position.

As the Apollo 11 anniversary draws nigh, that mission's Laser Ranging Retroreflector is still being used.
posted by doctornemo (6 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
 
Lots going on right now. Sad news about Gerst. I imagine he had a few choice words about 2024...
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 12:03 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


The Chandrayaan 2 mission is possibly the most bling spacecraft I have ever seen. The orbiter, lander and rover appear to have every non-essential surface painted gold!

I mean, there's a bit of gold on spacecraft normally. There are certain types of thermal blanket that are gold, and Kapton flim has a golden hue under the right light. Apollo famously used gold because back then we weren't quite sure the space environment wasn't going to corrode everything else, but we have better environmental models and cheaper materials now.

That much gold on a spacecraft must be an aesthetic choice, and now I'm wondering if there's a story behind it.
posted by Eleven at 12:21 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Sad news about Gerst. I imagine he had a few choice words about 2024...

Nothing to worry about, it's not like sidelining space program whistleblowers has ever resulted in disastrous loss of life before.
posted by tobascodagama at 12:32 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Amazon explained plans for its forthcoming Kuiper System satellites. A first wave will include 578 sats; more than 3,000 are in the works.

This is my favorite space news because how are certain countries I won't name right now but which are the largest two countries in east Asia going to block this internet. Can't even shoot 'em all down my dudes. Long-term, this may be the thing that breaks internet censorship for good.
posted by saysthis at 12:59 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


how are certain countries I won't name right now but which are the largest two countries in east Asia going to block this internet

Unfortunately these satcom services will still require ground stations and those may be easily spotted and taken down, though they're much smaller than existing satellite internet dishes. But I certainly agree with the sentiment and hope they find a way! People in those unnamed countries are very savvy about getting around barriers to a free internet.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:19 PM on July 12 [1 favorite]


Wow, Chandrayaan is shiny. I'm here for colorful spaceships.

(Regarding the Great Firewall, there is a lot of countryside out there for ground stations and in many places very little regulation, especially for something like a random building out in a field. And you can make your own.)
posted by storytam at 11:35 PM on July 12


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