Artemis: May 2020 Archives

Russia will not accept attempts to privatize the Moon, says Roscosmos CEO, TASS

"Attempts to privatize the Moon run counter to international law, CEO of Russia's Roscosmos State Space Agency Dmitry Rogozin said in an interview with the Komsomolskaya Pravda radio station on Monday. "We will not, in any case, accept any attempts to privatize the Moon. It is illegal, it runs counter to international law," Rogozin pointed out. The Roscosmos CEO emphasized that Russia would begin the implementation of a lunar program in 2021 by launching the Luna-25 spacecraft to the Moon. Roscosmos intends to launch the Luna-26 spacecraft in 2024. After that, the Luna-27 lander will be sent to the Moon to dig up regolith and carry out research on the lunar surface."

- What Are The Artemis Accords And Why Do We Need Them?, earlier post

Keith's note: I am currently writing a piece now about the so-called "Artemis Generation", a phrase coined by NASA. Will they rise above things that now confront them or succumb to them? I am not sure. My Dad grew up during The Great Depression and then endured World War II - nearly being killed by a V-2 impact in London. From the sacrifice of the so-called "Greatest Generation" sprang the forces that propelled America to the Moon and later to send spacecraft into interstellar space on converted ICBMs - rockets directly derived from the missile that almost prevented me from existing. (Image: My Dad's dog tag and a spent round fired at his funeral).

The Artemis Generation faces many things - school shootings, crushing debt, the pandemic, and a government that seems to have failed them. Its almost as if they have to deal with The Great Depression and post-World War II life all at once - at high speed. My generation grew up inspired by humanity's first visits to the Moon as they unfolded before our young, impressionable eyes. World War II was as close to us then as 9/11 is now. Will the Artemis Generation be similarly inspired? If NASA wants to have a similar Apollo-like impact with the Artemis Generation they need to double down and work even harder than they are.

Meanwhile, on this Memorial Day I thought I'd repost an article I wrote about my father's brush with death from a weapon that fell upon him from space. I still stand in awe of what his generation went through and what they did after that was over.

That Time Wernher von Braun's Rocket Tried To Kill My Father

Keith's note: NASA got more from this guy in 6 months than some people contribute in an entire career.

What Are The Artemis Accords And Why Do We Need Them?, SpaceRef

"NASA has formally announced the "Artemis Accords" - a series of principles and processes whereby America and other countries would agree to a common set of principles covering how the Moon is to be explored and its resources utilized. But what are these accords and why do we need them? Given the renewed and expanded interest by many nations to explore the Moon this makes sense. There are two main issues involved here. One has to do with the common sense approaches that need to be made among multiple parties to ensure that things go smoothly. The other is the legalistic and diplomatic tedium that goes into international agreements."

- Artemis Accords website
- Artemis Accords briefing charts

Keith's note: Jim Bridenstine recently made some public comments about his interest in having NASA organize its efforts and interactions along the lines of DIME (Diplomatic, Information, Military and Economic) a buzz word that describes a strategic use of various forms of national power and influence. Often times you see the term "soft power" weaved into this discussion i.e. how can a nation use its capabilities in a peaceful, educational/humanitarian nature to project power while actually helping others.

I saw this interesting Tweet by @usembassydhaka - the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka (Bangladesh) about a partnership that NASA has with the EMK Center in Bangladesh. It has become obvious to me and a lot of people that NASA has an immense global brand awareness - and it is apparently almost perfectly good. I made mention of this in "Understanding NASA's Global Reach" where the NASA-assisted rescue of Chilean miners seems to have left a lingering positive glow and also in "NASA's Global Branding Reach Is Often Under Appreciated" which features a tweet about a group of students participating in NASA International Space Apps challenge in Kosovo. Now that NASA is sponsoring a special COVID-19 Space Apps Challenge NASA's visibility is certain to grow further.

This joint effort in Bangladesh is interesting. I have a strong interest in the region after the time I spent at Everest in Nepal in 2009 and I have supported multiple education projects in Nepal since my visit. So I sent NASA PAO and others at NASA HQ this inquiry. Let's see how they respond.

Keith's update: The folks at NASA PAO did a lot of sleuthing - globally - to answer my questions - thanks! As you can see this is not necessarily a NASA activity per se but it does show that the NNASA brand has substantial global impact such that it is seen as a de facto gold standard that many people and organizations w=seek to be allied with.

1. Can you tell me who the point of contact for this activity is at NASA?
This activity was initiated by the EMK Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh (see below), and NASA is not directly involved.

2. Who initiated this effort - NASA? The State Department? The Embassy in Bangladesh? Organizations in Bangladesh? Are there other NGOs or agencies involved?
This activity was initiated by staff at the Edward M. Kennedy (EMK) Center in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The EMK Center is run by the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka through its American Center in the city, in partnership with the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. The State Department informs us that EMK Center staff received information about the NASA at Home program from the State Department's regional public engagement specialists in India, as part of programming ideas during COVID-19 lockdown. EMK Center staff came up with the idea to use the NASA STEM@Home resources as a hook to engage virtually with Bangladeshi students (primarily classes 6-13) and EMK MakerLab program participants, as well as the broader public stuck at home due to the Government of Bangladesh's COVID-19 lockdown and to encourage them to participate in STEM activities. To incentivize participation in the program, EMK is offering prizes to participating students and a certification of participation for all participants. The top 5-10 projects will be displayed at EMK once it reopens to the public again and shared via EMK social media platforms at the end of the contest period. After the program started, "কিশোর বাতায়ন (Konnect), a Government of Bangladesh digital educational platform that works with adolescent and youth, joined EMK as a partner.

3. Is this a formal or ad hoc agreement? Is there a signed Space Act Agreement or MOU or cooperative agreement?
No agreements are required for this type of use of NASA-produced educational materials.

4. Is this part of a larger program to engage people around the world? NASA's online educational materials are freely available to all users.
NASA coordinates with the State Department to inform U.S. missions overseas about its digital content, and to respond to requests from individual posts on a case-by-case basis.

5. Is there any linkage between this effort and the NASA Space Apps Challenge?
This activity is not related to any of the Space Apps programming in Bangladesh.

6. Does NASA consider this effort part of its interest in reaching the "Artemis Generation"?
The Artemis Generation are today's students - regardless of location - who will take us farther into space than ever before. The NASA STEM content and activities found on the NASA@Home site is intended to inspire these students in science, technology, engineering and math and to be a part of the future STEM workforce.

7. The original tweet had a 30 April 2020 deadline and the Embassy tweet says that it is 31 May 2020. Is this effort still underway? Where will the results of this activity be posted publicly?
Initially, the EMK Center proposed April 30, 2020, as the deadline for submission of projects, but as the shutdown of the schools was extended gradually, it decided to extend the deadline to May 31, 2020, to reach the maximum number of students. As noted above, in addition to offering prizes to the top 5-10 projects, the best projects will be posted on EMK Center social media platforms and displayed at the EMK Center once it reopens to the public.

Keith's note: I tweeted this and it went viral due to a retweet by Trump critic Rick Wilson. Oops.

Executive Order on Encouraging International Support for the Recovery and Use of Space Resources

"Americans should have the right to engage in commercial exploration, recovery, and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law. Outer space is a legally and physically unique domain of human activity, and the United States does not view it as a global commons. Accordingly, it shall be the policy of the United States to encourage international support for the public and private recovery and use of resources in outer space, consistent with applicable law."

Trump administration drafting 'Artemis Accords' pact for moon mining, Reuters

"The Artemis Accords are part of the Trump administration's plan to forgo the treaty process at the United Nations and instead reach agreement with "like-minded nations," partly because a treaty process would take too long and working with non-spacefaring states would be unproductive, a senior administration official told Reuters. As countries increasingly treat space as a new military domain, the U.S.-led agreement is also emblematic of NASA's growing role as a tool of American diplomacy and is expected to stoke controversy among Washington's space rivals such as China."

Keith's note: I know that you need to start somewhere. But cutting corners on the ususal process and expecting that major space powers like Russia and China will not sign sounds like this thing will be lopsided at the onset. And everyone is going ahead with their existing Moon plans and will claim areas as their own zones. How is this going to have any real impact unless everyone who is going to be doing things on the Moon agrees in advance? Just wondering.

Keith's note: Oddly Space Force officials tell recruits that their jobs will be on Earth but then their OR people put out a video that suggests that there are offworld jobs available to recruit people. Confusing? Misleading?

Chairwomen Johnson and Horn Statements on Artemis Human Lander Systems Contract Awards, House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology

"Unfortunately, more than a year after their announcement to accelerate the Artemis program, NASA has yet to provide Congress a transparent architecture and technical and cost assessment, despite our repeated requests. The American taxpayer deserves to know their money is being spent wisely, especially if they are being asked to invest billions of taxpayer dollars in a private lunar landing system. Our nation should dream boldly and pursue aspirational goals but we have to do so thoughtfully and intentionally. I look forward to working with NASA in good faith to steer our nation's space program in a direction that allows our country to achieve inspiring goals and explore space in a responsible and measured way."

Key House Democrats "DIsappointed" With HLS Awards, Space Policy Online

"However, if Johnson and Horn's views are shared by appropriators, it could signal trouble for NASA getting the funding increase it needs not just this year, but for the next several years, to execute Artemis. The FY2021 budget request alone is a 12 percent increase over current spending. Bridenstine expressed optimism yesterday that NASA's budget will not be impacted by the trillions being spent on COVID-19 relief. Noting how small NASA's budget is compared to the rest of government spending, less than half a percent, he said "We're not going to be the solution to balancing the budget. ... I don't think we're in any jeopardy."

- NASA Picks Human Lander System Developers

"With these contract awards, America is moving forward with the final step needed to land astronauts on the Moon by 2024, including the incredible moment when we will see the first woman set foot on the lunar surface," said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine. "This is the first time since the Apollo era that NASA has direct funding for a human landing system, and now we have companies on contract to do the work for the Artemis program."

- Does NASA Know The Real Cost Of Sending Humans To The Moon?, Earlier post
- NASA Releases Its Artemis "Plan" - 5 Months Late, Earlier post
- GAO Wants To Remind You That Artemis Is Lacking Detail, Earlier post
- NASA Authorization Bill Markup, Earlier post

Keith's note: There has been a lot of discussion of late about risk and safety - COVID-19, launching people on commercial vehicles, etc. There has also been a lot of talk about going back to the Moon too - to pick up the exploration of that world from where we left off half a century ago. The PR pictures are pretty and the videos are inspiring. But the exploits of Apollo still have an alternate reality to them - as if those people were somehow different than we are. In the end, human exploration is inherently risky. It was then. It is now. It will be in the future. And the people who set off on these expeditions to other worlds need to be prepared for things you can't easily prepare for. In Pat Rawlings iconic painting this injured lunar explorer just happened to have an ambulance nearby with two EMTs. That is not usually the case on expeditions.

Things can happen quickly on an expedition to remote, hazardous locations - even when you think you are safe. On this date, 1 May 2009 Astronaut Scott Parazynski and I were standing next to our tents at Everest Base Camp in Nepal. Before us lay the massive Khumbu icefall and the shoulder of Mt. Everest. Scott was preparing to climb the mountain. I was there to do education and public outreach. I am a space biologist and Scott is a M.D. so we were also doing a little astrobiology field research on the side for a friend at NASA.

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2020/IMG_3935.jpg http://images.spaceref.com/news/2020/IMG_3936.jpg

Click on images to enlarge

We had a commercial sponsor for our spectrophotometer (our tricorder) so we needed to get some promo shots of it for the company to use. I picked the icefall as a good backdrop to use. We were standing 2 km or so from its edge. It was 11:28:25 am local time. I took a series of pictures of Scott with the spectrophotometer. (see images above) Suddenly we heard a loud cracking/roaring noise and turned toward our left to look at the west side of the icefall. Something was happening. I got off one still photo and then switched my camera to video mode. What unfolded was widely described as the largest avalanche ever recorded on Everest. I did not plan for this. It just happened.

Luckily no one was killed. Alas, a week later, while Scott was climbing on the icefall a similar avalanche from the same location happened. I did not know what his status was for half an hour. Scott's climbing partner might have been killed had it not been for some quick thinking by his sherpa. In the middle of the area hit hardest by the avalanche a western climber was pulled out of a crevasse. His sherpa was not so lucky. I just happened to record that too. My footage has been used on multiple TV shows and the feature film "Sherpa." Until 2015 when some more graphic footage of another avalanche made news after a massive earthquake my video had an unfortunate notoriety to it. No more.

In 2009 Scott and I were standing where our outfitter had set up camp amidst the small temporary nomadic village of a thousand people at the foot of the Khumbu Icefall. Everyone thought this to be a safe place since the constant avalanches (you hear smaller ones constantly day and night) never reach this location. At one point Scott and I took some promotional shots for the Challenger Center for Space Science Education (we were both on the board of directors). Again, we did so in front of our tents.

http://images.spaceref.com/news/2016/scot.keith.cliff.jpg

In 2015 as I analyzed where the fatal avalanche came from I was shocked to learn that it was a hanging piece of snow between two peaks that let lose. Had we been in the same location by our tents we'd have stood an excellent chance of being killed. Again - the experts all thought this was a safe location in 2009. Things change. People camp elsewhere now.

Expeditions to other worlds are going to need to be prepared to adapt to dangers like this - both the obvious ones and the unexpected ones. NASA needs to start working on a broader expeditionary mindset wherein the agency - and the public - are taught to better understand the risks as well as the benefits - of human exploration.

You can read more about our Everest adventures at "My Star Trek Episode at Everest".

NASA Names Companies to Develop Human Landers for Artemis Moon Missions, NASA

"The following companies were selected to design and build human landing systems:
-- Blue Origin of Kent, Washington, is developing the Integrated Lander Vehicle (ILV) - a three-stage lander to be launched on its own New Glenn Rocket System and ULA Vulcan launch system.
-- Dynetics (a Leidos company) of Huntsville, Alabama, is developing the Dynetics Human Landing System (DHLS) - a single structure providing the ascent and descent capabilities that will launch on the ULA Vulcan launch system.
-- SpaceX of Hawthorne, California, is developing the Starship - a fully integrated lander that will use the SpaceX Super Heavy rocket."

- Maxar Selected to Support Dynetics in Designing and Building a Lunar Human Landing System for NASA
- NASA Selects Blue Origin National Team to Return Humans to the Moon
- SNC to Lead Crew Module Development for Critical Piece of NASA's Artemis Program
- Dynetics to develop NASA's Artemis Human Lunar Landing System
- CSF Statement on NASA's Selection of Multiple Commercial Human Lander Awardees
- AIAA Statement: NASA selection of Blue Origin, Dynetics and SpaceX for Artemis Lunar Lander Development
- Coalition for Deep Space Exploration Comments on HLS Awards


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This page is an archive of entries in the Artemis category from May 2020.

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