In Today’s Deep Space Extra… In spite of a successful first flight with a deep space payload, SpaceX’s powerful Falcon Heavy is not expected to become a human launch vehicle. NASA engineers address the challenge of safely landing on the Martian surface. Two asteroids draw near Earth this week.
Human Space Exploration
SpaceX no longer planning crewed missions on Falcon Heavy
Space News (2/5): Though the prospect was once raised, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk says the Falcon Heavy rocket will not be used to launch astronauts or space tourists. Instead, Musk will focus efforts on developing and testing an even heavier lift rocket, the Big Falcon Rocket.
The supersonic parachutes carrying NASA’s Martian dreams
Wired.com (2/6): Reaching the Martian surface with tons of hardware to support future exploration will require braking from parachutes designed with enough rigor to open in a thin atmosphere at supersonic velocities. Finding an engineering solution has not been easy.
Kennedy Space Center: Walk (virtually) on Mars
USA Today (2/6): At NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, visitors can get a taste of Mars exploration at the Astronaut Training Experience, a virtual venue that includes landing, driving and walking on the red planet. The cost and length of ...