December 10 – 16, 2012 / Vol 31, No 50 / Hawai`i Island, USA

New Golden Spike Initiative Energizes ILOA Human Moon Mission Efforts

Golden Spike Company is emerging with the intention of offering routine Human expeditions to the surface of the Moon by the end of the decade. For many years the International Lunar Observatory Association has been working toward and advocating the development of an independent consortium to put Humans back on the Moon. Now, ILOA is one of 11 partners to commit to a 12-month US$1-M Human Lunar Lander study in collaboration with former Apollo Flight Director Gerry Griffin and planetary scientist Dr. Alan Stern of GSC – joined by Paragon, Southwest Research Institute, Tauri Group, Masten Space Systems, United Launch Alliance, Northrop Grumman, Armadillo Aerospace, Zero Point Frontiers, Space Florida and Moon Express. The estimated cost for a two-person surface mission starts at US$1.4B, comparable to what some national space programs are already spending on robotic planetary science missions. GSC hopes to make 15-20 expeditions in the decade following the first landing, which is currently projected for 2020. Dawn of the new era of Lunar exploration and enterprise signaled by ILOA, GSC, the Google Lunar X Prize and other Luna-ventures should inspire 21st Century Education, advance Multi-world Property Rights, enable Lunar Resource Utilization and boost future voyages throughout the Solar System. (Image Credit: ILOA, GSC, NASA)

APRSAF-19: Enriching the Quality of Life through Innovative Space Programs

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia will host the 19th session of the Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum on December 11-14. Jointly organized by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation and 4 other agencies, the conference typically attracts about 300 participants from more than 25 countries and 11 international organizations. These annual conferences advance space activities in the Asia-Pacific region and offer opportunities for international space cooperation / projects as well as solutions for Earth-based issues such as environmental protection. The majority of APRSAF-19 will be held at the Berjaya Times Square Hotel, but attendees will also experience a cultural tour of the Putrajaya area and the Malaysian National Planetarium which includes a colloquium on ‘Astronomy from ISS Kibo’ and a ‘Water Rocket Event.’ Dec 11 and 12 will run parallel sessions of 4 working groups: Earth Observation, Communication Satellite Applications, Space Education and Awareness, and Space Environment Utilization linked with Kibo-ABC (Asian Beneficial Collaboration through Kibo Utilization). The final 2 days will consist of plenary sessions with opening remarks from General Co-Chairs Dr. Mustafa Din Subari (R) and Dr. Satoru Otake (L). Dec 13 and 14 also include an APRSAF initiative report on Space Applications For Environment (SAFE), supporting activities report on University International Formation Mission (UNIFORM), and an announcement for APRSAF-20. (Image Credit: APRSAF, UNISEC, ANGKASA, Planetarium Negara)

= All times for terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

= All times for international terrestrial events in local time unless noted.

= All times for space events, and…

= All times for international space / astro events in Hawaii Standard Time unless noted. Add 10 hours to obtain UT (‘Universal Time;’ Greenwich, England).

Weekly Planet Watch – Evening Planets: Mars (SW), Jupiter (E). Morning Planets: Mercury (SE), Venus (SE), Jupiter (SW), Saturn (SE).


Dec 10 — ISS, LEO: Continuing science experiments, routine maintenance, daily exercise, media relations; preparing for planned launch of next 3 crew members Dec 19.

Dec 10 — Opportunity, Matijevic Hill, Mars: Using data from 354-m walkabout to further examine layers / ages of 2 outcrops: “Whitewater Lake” with light-toned material, possibly clay; “Kirkwood” with small spheres of composition differing fromiron-rich spherules found at landing site.

Dec 10 — Juno, Jupiter Trajectory: Traveling back to inner solar system at 57,240 km per hour relative to Sun for planned Earth flyby gravity assist on Oct 9, 2013; projected Jupiter arrival Jul 2016.

Dec 10 — Zero Point Frontiers Corp., Huntsville AL: NewSpace company collaborating with GSC; also designing 2-stage liquid-fueled LauncherOne rocket for Virgin Galactic to place small satellites in orbit; demo flight expected 2015; services expected to begin 2016.

Dec 10 — Firestar Technologies LLC, Mojave CA: Developing / testing 100 pounds-force NOFBX (Nitrous Oxide Fuel Blend) monopropulsion engine for ISS experiment set to launch 2013 on SpaceX Dragon spacecraft.

Dec 10 — RapidEye AG, Brandenburg, Germany: Advancing technologies for 5 current high-resolution satellites able to image about 5M km2 of Earth per day, incorporating ESA Collision Probability Assessment Services.

Dec 10 — National Air and Space Museum, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, Washington DC: Earth-Moon Space: The Art of the Possible 2012-2022; with astronaut Tom Jones; 16:00 – 17:00 EST at National Air and Space Museum.

Dec 10 — The National Academies, NASA, Washington DC: Human Spaceflight Meeting 1; to discuss engineering, space, aeronautics, and policies for science / technology; held at Keck Center.

Dec 10, 11 — NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field CA: An Evening with the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex; lecture by William Warmbrodt; 19:00 – 20:00 PST.

Dec 10-13 — Czech Republic Astronomical Institute of the Academy of Science, Czech Technical University in Prague, et al, Prague, Czech Republic: 5th International Workshop on Astronomical X-Ray Optics; to discuss recent / future innovative technologies for X-Ray astronomy space missions.

Dec 10-17 — International Centre for Theoretical Sciences, Mumbai, India: Winter School on Astronomical and Cosmological Surveys; preparing researchers to utilize astronomical database from different surveys, astronomy missions including VLT, Gemini, Subaru, Chandra, Herschel, ALMA, etc; coincides with Young Astrophysicists’ Symposium.

Dec 10 — Moon: 4.0° SSW of Saturn, 24:00.

Continued from…

Oct 3 – Jan 1, 2013 — Ontario Science Centre Exhibit, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Beyond Planet Earth: The Future of Space Exploration; future technologies on display including Lunar elevator model, inflatable space living habitat and robotic submersible potentially useful in search for life on Europa.

Oct 22 – Jan 18, 2013 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Universities Space Research Association, Houston TX: Accepting undergraduate applications for 2013 LPI Summer Intern Program in Planetary Science.

Nov 30 Jan 9, 2013 — NASA, Online: Accepting USA K-12 teacher team applications for Teaching from Space Flight Week; a MicroGravity eXperience (Micro GX) involving online course and development / performance of reduced gravity experiment.

Dec 3 – Mar 15, 2013 — Coordinate Metrology Society, Online: Accepting abstracts for 29th Annual Coordinate Metrology Systems Conference (CMSC 2013).

Dec 5 Jan 3, 2013 — WISH Aerospace Scholars, NASA, Online: Accepting applications from female USA high school juniors with accumulative 3.25 GPA to participate in Women In STEM High School (WISH) Aerospace Scholars 2013 Program; free.


Dec 11 — ULA, Launch Atlas 5 / OTV 3, Cape Canaveral AFS FL: A ULA Atlas 5 rocket set to deploy the 3rd US DoD X-37B prototype spaceplane; launch window 13:03 – 18:03 EST.

Dec 11 — U.S. Space and Rocket Center, Huntsville AL: Tribute to the 40th Anniversary of Apollo 17; private reception and dinner with Dr. Harrison Schmitt, one of last two astronauts to set foot on Moon; US$75 reception and dinner; US$50 dinner only.

Dec 11 — Washington Space Business Roundtable, Washington DC: Washington Space Business Roundtable’s December Luncheon; with Gwynne Shotwell of SpaceX.

Dec 11 — SETI Institute, Mountain View CA: Colloquium: Why the World Will Still Be Here After December 21st; presented by David Morrison of NASA Ames Research Center, Ed Krupp of Griffith Observatory, Andrew Fraknoi of Foothill College; 19:00 PST.

Dec 11 — The Space Transportation Administration, Washington DC: STA Breakfast with Robert Lightfoot; NASA Associate Administrator to discuss prospects for NASA in Space 2013; free.

Dec 11-14 — Asia-Pacific Regional Space Agency Forum, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: 19th Annual Meeting of the APRSAF; at Berjaya Times Square Hotel.

Dec 11 — Moon: 1.7° S of Venus, 04:00; 1.1° SSW of Mercury, 14:00.

Dec 11 — Jupiter: 4.7° N of Aldebaran, 20:00.

Dec 11 — Asteroid 2009 BS5: Near-Earth Flyby (0.022 AU).


Dec 12 — Hosted Payload Alliance, Washington DC: Hosted Payload Alliance Meeting at NASA HQ; to increase awareness of benefits of hosted government payloads on commercial satellites; 08:00 – 17:00 EST.

Dec 12 — NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt MD: It’s a New Moon 40 Years After Apollo: Asking What Was Once Unthinkable; presented by Dr. Noah Petro from Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Project Science team; 19:00 EST, free.

Dec 12-15 — Joint ALMA Observatory (JAO), et al, Santiago, Chile: ALMA 1st Science Workshop; new science results from Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array to be presented and future priorities discussed.

Dec 12-15 — IEEE, Ton Duc Thang University, et al, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam: IEEE International Symposium on Signal Processing and Information Technology (ISSPIT 2012).

Dec 12 — Moon: 5.8° N of Antares, 04:00; at Perigee (Distance: 356,712 km), 13:00; New Moon, 22:41.

Dec 12 — Geminids Meteor Shower Peak: Appearing to radiate from constellation Gemini, this major meteor shower may produce 50 meteors per hour; highly visible due to New Moon from both hemispheres; peak Dec 12, 21:00 HST – Dec 13, 18:00 HST.

Dec 12 — Asteroid 4179 Toutatis: Near-Earth Flyby (0.046 AU).


Dec 13 — NASA, Washington DC: Common Instrument Interface (CII) Guidelines Working Meeting; to discuss technical aspects of hosting NASA science instruments / technology demonstration payloads on civil and commercial spacecraft; 08:00 – 17:00 EST.

Dec 13-16 — Guangzhou University, Guangdong Astronomical Society, Guangzhou, China: Variability of Blazars: From Jansky to Fermi (VBJF 2012) Conference; to include discussion of new blazars (galaxies with intensely bright central nucleus containing supermassive black hole) discovered by Fermi and high energy gamma-ray experiments.


Dec 14 — Space Foundation, Online: Deadline to Apply to become a Space Foundation Teacher Liaison; program that provides educational benefits to teachers who effectively use space themes in their classrooms; 17:00 CST, free.

Dec 14 — Royal Astronomical Society, London, United Kingdom: Specialist Discussion Meeting: Future Exploration of the Outer Planets; held at Burlington House; 10:30 UT.

Dec 14 — Lunar and Planetary Institute, Houston TX: Opportunities Highlighted by the Geophysical Characterization of the Chicxulub Impact Structure; presented by Sean Gulick from University of Texas at Austin; 15:30 CST.

Dec 14 — Space Center Houston, Houston TX: Lunch with an Astronaut, John Blaha; US$49.95 adult.

Dec 14 — Moon: 5.5° NNW of Mars, 21:00.


Dec 15 — Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum, NASA, Washington DC: The Mission of the Mars Science Laboratory; Geologist John Grant discusses recent findings from Curiosity; 17:15 EST, free with reservation tickets.

Dec 15 — ‘Imiloa Astronomy Center, University of Hawai`i – Hilo, Hilo HI: Mauna Kea Skies Talk; astronomers from Mauna Kea observatories speak about recent discoveries; Director of Joint Astronomy Centre Dr. Gary Davis; 19:00 HST, US$8 adult.

Dec 15 — National Naval Aviation Museum, Pensacola FL: Salute to the Pioneers of Space; to include unveiling of full-scale Apollo Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) replica, discussion panels featuring astronauts and NASA officials from Mercury, Gemini, Apollo programs; US$25 luncheon, panel; US$150 reception, unveiling, dinner.

Dec 15 — The Planetary Society, Pasadena CA: Planetary Radio LIVE with Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity; Mat Kaplan interviews Richard Cook, John Grotzinger, Bruce Betts, Emily Lakdawalla, Bill Nye; 14:00 PST.

Dec 15 — Cassini, Saturn Orbit: Titan flyby scheduled.


Dec 16 — National Institute of Space Research, Sao Paulo, Brazil: 26th Texas Symposium on Relativistic Astrophysics (TEXAS 2012); topics include recent developments in cosmology, gravitation, astroparticle physics, related areas.

Dec 16 — Asteroid 2002 XQ40: Near-Earth Flyby (0.091 AU).