Sunday, September 14, 2014

China to Select Astronauts for Space Station in Next Two Years

Astronauts Nie Haisheng (C), Zhang Xiaoguang (R) and Wang Yaping wave during the setting-out ceremony of the manned Shenzhou-10 mission at the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in Jiuquan, northwest China's Gansu Province, June 11, 2013. (Xinhua/Pang Xinglei)

China plans to select its third batch of astronauts in the next two years, said deputy director of China's Astronaut Center on Saturday. Wang Weifen said at an annual meeting of the Association of Space Explorers that the third batch of astronauts are mainly selected for the construction of its space station, which is scheduled to be completed in 2022. "We will mainly take our task of space station into consideration when we select our third batch of astronauts in the coming years, and we will have a high standard for their physical, psychological capabilities and professional knowledge," said Wang.

Meteor Streaks Across Vancouver Skies And Beyond

Meteor over Vancouver on Sept. 13, 2014. Credit: Jen Pickard/Ruth Stefanek

A fireball mesmerized people in parts of B.C., Washington and Oregon on Saturday night. Jen Pickard was fortunate enough to snap a photo of the tail end of what's believed to be a meteor. She and her friend were paddling in Qualicum Beach on Vancouver Island after watching the sun set, when a "huge ball of fire flew by" at about 8:20 p.m. "It was yellowish blue and flew in an arc," Pickard wrote in an email to The Huffington Post B.C. She described the 45-second streak like a shooting star but much larger and closer.

Vostok-1 Rocket Fragment with Gagarin's Signature Sold in Berlin for $9,700

Vostok I capsule used by Yuri Gagarin in first space flight, on display at the RKK Energiya Museum outside of Moscow. Credit: SiefkinDR/Wikipedia

The Vostok-1 rocket fragment with the signature of Yuri Gagarin has been sold at the auction in Berlin for 7,500 euros [about $9,700]. The Soviet Space Memorabilia Auction is held by the auction house Auctionata. The fragment of the rocket is a lot at No. 69, a small piece of metal the size of 2.2-1.7 inches. The starting price of the lot was designated as 3,000 euros [about $3,877]. All 104 lots are a personal collection of Andreas Hoge, a German artist. Hoge's stage name is Andora, he was one of the authors, who painted the Proton rocket at Baikonur in 1992.

Galileo Masters 2014 Polish Edition

Experts meeting of the Galileo Masters 2014 competition. Credit:

On Friday Aug. 29, the expert team for the Polish region of Galileo Masters has met. Jury shortlisted the competition finalists and the winner. After July 7 the review phase of submissions began. Each region designated its team of experts, who by now have already met or soon will meet in order to select the best proposals. The Polish experts met at the Polish Agency of Industry Development (Agencji Rozwoju PrzemysĹ‚u, ARP) in Warsaw. The European Space Navigation Competition (ESNC) is a pan-European event, which aims to select and promote the best ideas related to satellite navigation (GNSS). It is commonly known as “Galileo Masters”, which refers to the name of the main competition prize and to the European navigation system.

Pluto Is a Planet, Panel Says

Dr. David H. Grinspoon (left), Senior Scientist, Planetary Science Institute, Dr. Bonnie Buratti (center), senior scientist at NASA's Jet Propultion Laboratory and Dr. Fran Bagenal, senior scientist at the University of Colorado (right) speaks during a panel discussion at the "NASA's New Horizons Pluto Mission: Continuing Voyager's Legacy of Exploration" event on Monday, August, 25, 2014, in the James E. Webb Auditorium at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. The panelists gave their accounts of Voyager's encounter with Neptune and discussed their current assignments on NASA's New Horizons mission to Pluto. Photo Credit: (NASA/Joel Kowsky)

Tucson, AZ scientist David Grinspoon joined a panel recently talking about NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto – but the scientists were most animated when talking about the feud over the status of the recently classified “dwarf planet.” Long sought by Flagstaff’s Lowell Observatory as Planet X, and classified as the solar system’s ninth planet in 1930, Pluto took a hit in 2006 when it was downgraded to the new category, upsetting Pluto’s defenders. “Dwarf people are people. Dwarf planets are planets,” said Fran Bagenal, a panelist and University of Colorado astrophysicist, when asked about Pluto’s current status.

Astronauts Meet in Beijing

A total of 93 astronauts from 18 countries, including China, the United States and Russia, gathered in Beijing on September 10, 2014 for the 27th Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE). [Photo from Xinhua]

A total of 93 astronauts from 18 countries, including China, the United States and Russia, gathered in Beijing on September 10, 2014 for the 27th Planetary Congress of the Association of Space Explorers (ASE). The meeting, organized by China Manned Space Agency, is themed "Cooperation: realizing humanity's space dream together." During the six-day event, participants will share their experience from previous manned space missions and talk about the future of space programs.

'We're On Our Way to Mars' Says NASA Chief as World's Largest Spacecraft Welder is Unveiled

A 16mm fisheye lens was used to show a wide angle view of the Vertical Assembly Center at NASA’s Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans at a ribbon-cutting ceremony Sept 12. The VAC is the largest spacecraft welding tool in the world. It is part of a family of state-of-the-art tools designed to weld the core stage of the Space Launch System, the most powerful rocket ever built for mission deep in space. Image Credit: NASA

The largest spacecraft welding tool in the world, the Vertical Assembly Center officially is open for business at NASA's Michoud Assembly Facility in New Orleans. The 170-foot-tall, 78-foot-wide giant completes a world-class welding toolkit that will be used to build the core stage of America's next great rocket, the Space Launch System (SLS). "We're on our way to Mars and I really mean that," said former astronaut and NASA Administrator Charles Bolden who came to town for the ribbon cutting ceremony attended by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, U.S. Senator David Vitters, and others. SLS will be the most powerful rocket ever built for deep space missions, including to an asteroid and eventually Mars. The core stage, towering more than 200 feet tall (61 meters) with a diameter of 27.6 feet (8.4 meters), will store cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen that will feed the rocket's four RS-25 engines.