Artemis: October 2020 Archives

Keith's 28 October update: I posted the following question to Jim Bridenstine at the AAS von Braun Symposium today: "NASA announced the presence of water on sunlit portions of the Moon. To use it ISRU will be required. Why has NASA not been talking about its extensive ISRU technology research in the wake of this announcement?" Bridenstine replied "Keith is right on. We need to put a focus on that. We formed the Lunar Surface Innovation Consortium and brought in expertise from outside NASA ... NASA may or may not have all the answers so we're bringing people in from outside." He then went through a long list of technologies needed to do ISRU on the lunar surface.

Keith's 27 October note: Last week NASA started to hype an "exciting" announcement about the Moon (that's the word they used). OK - so yesterday's news more or less passes the "exciting" threshold. So - what does NASA do to follow up on the importance of this discovery to "sustainable" lunar presence that Jim Bridenstine talks about? Nothing. They had a week to dig up follow-on stories and contributing research and present them so as to build upon this news. But nevermind - that would suggest that NASA has a consistent whole-agency strategy for this whole Artemis thing.

Lunar ISRU 2019: Developing a New Space Economy Through Lunar Resources and Their Utilization Workshop Report

"Background: The United States has an ambitious plan to get humans to the Moon to stay and to get humans to Mars. Technologies to extract and process lunar resources still need to be demonstrated but architectures that make use of these resources will lead to eventual sustainability, even if initially the "resources" need to be brought from Earth. Care must be taken to not accept architectures that preclude future use of ISRU resources in order to meet early mission goals."

- Looks Like The Moon Has Water All Over The Place, earlier post
- "Exciting" Moon News. More Water?, earlier post

NASA, European Space Agency Formalize Artemis Gateway Partnership, NASA

"NASA and ESA (European Space Agency) have finalized an agreement to collaborate on the Artemis Gateway. This agreement is an important element in a broad effort by the United States to engage international partners in sustainable lunar exploration and to demonstrate technologies necessary for a future human mission to Mars. The agreement, signed Tuesday, marks NASA's first formal commitment to launch international crew members to the lunar vicinity as part of NASA's Artemis missions."

ESA and NASA Sign Gateway MOU, ESA

"The historic agreement will see ESA Member States contribute a number of essential elements to the first human outpost in lunar orbit, known as the Gateway. It confirms ESA's commitment to delivering at least two European Service Modules that provide electricity, water, oxygen and nitrogen to NASA's Orion spacecraft - with more to come. ESA will also receive three flight opportunities for European astronauts to travel to and work on the Gateway."

NASA's SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon, NASA

"NASA's Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface, and not limited to cold, shadowed places. SOFIA has detected water molecules (H2O) in Clavius Crater, one of the largest craters visible from Earth, located in the Moon's southern hemisphere. Previous observations of the Moon's surface detected some form of hydrogen, but were unable to distinguish between water and its close chemical relative, hydroxyl (OH). Data from this location reveal water in concentrations of 100 to 412 parts per million - roughly equivalent to a 12-ounce bottle of water - trapped in a cubic meter of soil spread across the lunar surface."

Keith's note: I asked Jacob Bleacher: "Now that water seems to be a ubiquitous resource, one would think that the polar focus might pivot. Are you reconsidering landing sites as a result of this discovery? Up until now the Artemis program has put forth a persistent mantra about focusing human landings at the lunar south pole due to potential water resources. It has been polar, polar, polar." Bleacher replied that sunlight access more than half the time is also being sought in terms of power and you get that at the poles. "Water is one resource on the lunar resource but it is not the only resource - right now we are still focused on south polar region."

NASA to Announce New Science Results About Moon

"NASA will announce an exciting new discovery about the Moon from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) at a media teleconference at 12 p.m. EDT Monday, Oct. 26. Audio of the teleconference will stream live on the agency's website."

Keith's note: OK, let's use Google. Look what shows up if you search for some names, Moon, and SOFIA. Gee, I wonder if the "exciting" news has to do with water on the Moon.


"However, we developed a new approach to detect the actual water molecule on the Moon using observations at 6 µm, based on how geologists detect H2O in samples in the lab using infrared spectroscopy. Observations at 6 µm are only possible from an airborne infrared observatory, we were granted time on the Stratospheric Observatory For Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) to collect data of the Moon. Using data from SOFIA we report the first direct detection of the water molecule on the illuminated lunar surface."

Lunar Observations from SOFIA: Recent Results and Next Plans

"Date: Monday, October 26, 2020 - 12:30pm PDT Speaker: Casey Honniball - Bill Reach Affiliation: NASA Goddard - SOFIA/USRA"

A Clearer Look at Lunar Surface Hydration, AGU

"Using the thermally corrected IRTF data, the authors confirm the temperature-dependent variation of hydration on the lunar surface. The surface appears less hydrated closer to local noon, at which time the surface reaches its maximum temperature. They also observe a latitudinal dependence, with more hydration appearing at higher latitudes, particularly in the southern hemisphere."

Of course, there is the ongoing issue of somewhat underwhelming support for SOFIA - and I guess they could use some good news - hence the hype. ARC, GSFC and USRA are really rolling out the red carpet for this "exciting" news. Stay tuned.

COVID-19--The largest isolation study in history: the value of shared learnings from spaceflight analogs, Nature (Open source)

"The world is currently experiencing the largest isolation experiment in history. In an attempt to slow down the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic numerous countries across the world have been shutting down economies, education, and public life. Governments have mandated strict regulations of quarantine and social distancing in an unprecedented manner. The effects of these measures on brain, behavior, neuro-humoral and immunological responses in humans are largely unknown. Life science research for space exploration has a long history in using high-fidelity spaceflight analogs to better understand the effect of prolonged isolation and confinement on genes, molecules, cells, neural circuits, and physiological systems to behavior. We here propose to leverage the extensive experience and data from these studies and build a bridge between spaceflight research and clinical settings to foster transdisciplinary approaches to characterize the neurobehavioral effects on the immune system and vice versa. These approaches are expected to develop innovative and efficient health screening tools, diagnostic systems, and treatments to mitigate health risks associated with isolation and confinement on Earth and during future exploratory spaceflight missions."

Keith's note: For NASA: This week's NASA Spaceline just came out and this article is listed. DLR and ESA supported it and IBMP and NASA data were used - so this is an international effort. Not that the ISS was just waiting for COVID-19 to happen so as to justify its existence, but there are some real parallels between LEO and deep space exploration and the way that people are currently working in isolation on Earth due to COVID-19. If you want to make the ISS seen as being relevant to real world issues (and vice versa) then making more prominent mention of research space medicine/space biology such as this is an option you might consider.

Everyone on Earth is participating in a long duration space travel isolation analog to some extent. We all wish it would end, but since we're going to be in this situation for quite some time to come perhaps there is something that NASA can offer to foster an understanding of what people in isolation are going through - and that people going through this experience may have something to offer to NASA in response.

HeroX Helps NASA Advance Lunar Exploration with a Miniaturized Payload Prototype Challenge, HeroX

"HeroX, the world's leading platform for crowdsourced solutions, today launched the crowdsourcing competition "Honey I Built the NASA Payload, The Sequel" on behalf of the NASA Tournament Lab (NTL) and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The challenge seeks to develop miniature payload prototypes that can be sent to the Moon to help fill gaps in lunar knowledge. Lunar resources are potentially abounding, and these prototypes can also help discover some of these key resources scientists think might be on the Moon."

Keith's note: This stuff is cool. NASA should do more of it. But, coolness, aside, NASA is not interested in making any mention if it as far as I can tell. If you go to the NASA Tournament Lab website no mention of this new challenge is made. Indeed the page was last updated on 9 July 2020. This NASA Tournament Lab is apparently run by the Center of Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) at JSC in collaboration with Harvard University - they do not mention this challenge either. Nor does SMD, HEOMD, STMD, or the Artemis web page. And the official Twitter account @nasa_ntl and the main NASA Twitter account for these sort of things at @NASASolve have not made any mention either.

Why hold these cool events if you don't bother to tell people about them, NASA?

NASA has announced the addition of seven additional countries as signatories of the Artemis Accords (text): Australia, Canada, Italy, Luxembourg, Japan, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The announcement was made today by NASA Administrator Bridenstine at the International Astronautics Conference. Bridenstine and Acting Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations Mike Gold held a press briefing in advance of the announcement.

The Artemis Accords were first announced by NASA in May 2020. These Accords are statements of principle and guidelines for behavior on the Moon and other locations in our solar system. They are built upon - and cite as references - earlier international agreements including the historic Outer Space Treaty first signed in 1967.

The Artemis Accords were originally announced by NASA but then went through a series of reviews and comments by a variety of nations and interested parties. The revised version that resulted is what these seven nations have signed onto.

House space subcommittee chair still seeking NASA plan for 2024 lunar landing, Space News

"The chair of the House space subcommittee says NASA has still not convinced her that the agency has a viable plan to return humans to the moon by 2024. Speaking at a Wilson Center event Oct. 6 about the geopolitics of space, Rep. Kendra Horn (D-Okla.) said she was waiting to see a plan from NASA that explained how the agency's Artemis program could meet its goal of a human return to the lunar surface in four years. "We still haven't seen a plan that shows us we can get to the moon on the 2024 schedule," she said, including the ability of NASA to manage "multiple, simultaneous, large" development programs and the various demonstrations leading up to that crewed landing."

Keith's note: Actually NASA did issue a thing with the word "plan" in it except it skips the whole concept of answering important questions as to how it will actually happen.

- Important Artemis Questions Will Be Answered Today (Update), earlier post
- House Appropriators Just Made Doing Artemis Landing More Difficult, earlier post
- NASA Hits The Pause Button Again On The Back-To-The-Moon Thing (Update), earlier post
- NASA Releases Its Artemis "Plan" - 5 Months Late, earlier post
- NASA Really Really Needs An Artemis Plan - Soon, earlier post
- Where Is NASA's Plan For Sustainable Moon/Mars Exploration? (Update), earlier post

- Boeing Really Needs To Get Their Software Fixed, earlier post
- ASAP: Boeing Starliner Software Issue Potentially "Catastrophic", earlier post
- Boeing Dropped The Ball Again - And NASA Let Them, earlier post
- SLS Upper Stage Changes While Software Problems Linger , earlier post
- SLS Software Problems Continue at MSFC, earlier post
- This Is How NASA Covers Up SLS Software Safety Issues (Update), earlier post
- MSFC To Safety Contractor: Just Ignore Those SLS Software Issues, earlier post
- SLS Flight Software Safety Issues Continue at MSFC, earlier post
- SLS Flight Software Safety Issues at MSFC (Update), earlier post
- Previous SLS postings



Monthly Archives

About this Archive

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

Artemis: September 2020 is the previous archive.

Artemis: November 2020 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.