Saturday 23 December 2017

Legacy of sense in the US space sector

Whatever US political leader of the past sixty years 
one chooses to give the most credit to,
one good thing seems clear:
the American space sector has retained and further refined
its common sense and flair for efficiency.

A related article by Robert S. Walker,
followed by a whole series of relevant comments,
has been published this week by
and is definitely worth reading
(even by those who may not agree with its title).

Friday 24 November 2017

Pollution from above

In a very recent article of his,
Leonard David wisely and soberly reminds us once again
not to underestimate some specific side effects
of sending more and more objects and chemical substances into space,
because too much of what goes up 
may come down and harm the atmosphere of our planet.

As he says " ... there’s a line of research that needs exploring:
 The overall impact of human-made orbital debris, solid and liquid propellant discharges,
 and other space age substances that reenter the Earth’s atmosphere." 

Thursday 23 November 2017

Tuesday 21 November 2017

Thursday 19 October 2017

FT summary of current space mining plans

The Financial Times has just published a handy layman's digest
of what various countries and private companies
are currently focusing upon in terms of preparing the ground
for future space mining ventures.

Monday 16 October 2017

"Shangri-La meteorites" for sale?

Since a fireball over China was sighted on 4 October 2017,
the hunt for fragments of a new meteorite has been on
but there has been no scientific evidence so far
that any authentic samples have as yet been found
(although some have allegedly already been sold).

A concisely instructive article on this particular topic
 has recently been published by XINHUANET,
which also focuses on the subject of related ownership rights in China.

Saturday 14 October 2017

Goodbye flyby and see you later

Having come within 8,000 kilometres
of  "the 36,000 km plane at which hundreds of geosynchronous satellites orbit our planet"
Asteroid 2012 TC4 has gone (for now)
but should be back in 2050
and (perhaps dangerously closer) in 2079.

Wednesday 4 October 2017

60 years ago: Sputnik 1

beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep
that's how it all began

Picture by JR. CHINREST

There is a very interesting 4th October 2017 article
by Matthew Bodner in
on the former Soviet Union and on Russia's space endeavours,
entitled "60 years after Sputnik, Russia is lost in space".

Tuesday 3 October 2017

Martian impact 55 years ago today

On 3rd October 1962 an 18 kilogram Mars meteorite
(the largest of its kind found so far)
narrowly missed a farmer as it crashed into a field
near Zagami Rock in the Katsina Province of Nigeria.

Since the late 1980s much of this meteorite 
has been repeatedly cut up into increasingly finer pieces
so that it has become the most widely distributed Martian meteorite ever.
The so-called Lucite "Mars Cube", for instance, 
contains an embedded vial with just 1/10 carat 
of what is officially known as "Zagami".

                                                   Link to: Zagami webpage
                                                   Link to: The Meteoritical Society

                                                       ( For current research findings on
                                    " environments that would have been potentially habitable
                                          for Earth-like life on Mars", follow the link below:
                                        Link to: Los Angeles Times, Science Now, 2 Oct 2017 )

Wednesday 27 September 2017

GomSpace to open base in Luxembourg

                                          GomSpace Group AB ("GomSpace"),
                                                  the nanosatellite specialists,
                                    have now also chosen the tiny Grand Duchy
                                               for their international expansion.

                                                      Link to: Press Release
                                     Link to: GomSpace Science Missions page

Sunday 17 September 2017

Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky (born 17 September 1857)

                                             Today would have been the 160th birthday
                                            of the space research pioneer and visionary
                                                                        who said
                                                  “The Earth is the cradle of humanity,
                                           but mankind cannot stay in the cradle forever."

                                    Link to: International Space Hall of Fame (New Mexico)

Tuesday 12 September 2017

Keeping in touch with OSIRIS-REx

                                                           For up-to-date information
                                                       on OSIRIS-REx's whereabouts
                                                            go to

                                 Link to: University of Arizona - Lunar and Planetary Laboratory

Sunday 10 September 2017

They woo the moon.

                                                          NASA, Blue Origin, Moon Express,
                                                          Astrobotic Technology and others
                                                          clearly do not wish to moon about
                                                          but obviously mean business out there!

                                                          Link to: September article in GeekWire

Monday 14 August 2017

Study space resources at top-ranking institution in the field of mining engineering

                                                        The Colorado School of Mines
                             ( currently listed in the QS World University Rankings by subject
                          as the top institution in the world for mineral and mining engineering)
                                                  has made the following announcement:

                                                   "Mines is planning to launch in 2018
                                  a multi-disciplinary graduate program in Space Resources
                         to offer a Post-Baccalaureate certificate and a Master of Science degree
                         for college graduates and professionals interested in this emerging arena.
                              Qualified students who want to pursue research through a Ph.D.
                                     in collaborating departments at Mines are also sought."
                                                        Link to: Colorado School of Mines

                                (The Colorado School of Mines is obviously not a newcomer
                                                      in the field of space resource studies
                                 as -for example- various publications by Richard E. Gertsch
                                                         like the one of January 1st 1992
                                                               entitled "Asteroid Mining"
                                                                   clearly demonstrate.)
                                                         Link to: "Asteroid Mining" (1992)

Wednesday 2 August 2017

Is Luxembourg's new space mining law legal or not?

                                                              ... that is the question!

                                               Link to: Article published by INVERSE.COM

                                         Link to: "Luxembourg space exploration laws criticised"
                                                        (Link to: Original French version)

                                        Link to (indirectly) related older article from NEW ATLAS

Thursday 27 July 2017

The multi-faceted benefits of astrobiology

                                                             In a recent article entitled
                        "Why looking for aliens is good for society (even if there aren’t any)"
                                             Professor Ian Crawford captivatingly highlights
                                              the richly variegated potential of Astrobiology
                                                  as a most valuable 21st-century means
             "to broaden minds in such a way as to make the world less fragmented and dangerous".

                                        Link to: Ian Crawford's article in "THE CONVERSATION"

Sunday 23 July 2017

Anybody prepared to meet Asteroid 2012 TC4 ?

                                                      Could this not be the time
                                               for a bit of space harvesting practice
                                                  as on October 12th of this year
                                         Asteroid 2012 TC4  is expected to pass Earth
                                         at a distance of perhaps only 7000 kilometers?

                                   Link to: Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS)

Sunday 16 July 2017

Luxembourg's new law on the exploration and use of space resources

                                     This law will come into force on August 1, 2017.
                                                              It explicitly states
                            "Les ressources de l’espace sont susceptibles d’appropriation
                                             en conformité avec le droit international"
         and it "establishes the procedures for authorizing and supervising space exploration missions".

                                                     Link to: ""

                             The English translation of the draft law is now available online.


                       As Planetary Resources have formulated it in their latest press release
                        "Luxembourg is the first European country to have a legal framework
                                         recognising the right to space-based resources
                         that they have extracted in compliance with existing international law,
                                             most notably the 1967 Outer Space Treaty."
                                      Link to: "Space Mining Law Passes In Luxembourg"

Friday 7 July 2017

"Giuseppe should soon be whirling towards Mercury"

                                         Watching Bepicolombo's gravity-assist itinerary
                                                     to the planet closest to the Sun
                                                       might well make some of us
                                                              feel a little bit dizzy.

                           Link to: "ESA Science; BEPICOLOMBO'S JOURNEY TO MERCURY"
                                  Link to: "Giuseppe 'Bepi' Colombo: Grandfather of the fly-by"

Wednesday 28 June 2017

Reflection on Asteroid Deflection

                                                            Unlike the dinosaurs
                                                              the human species
                                                                is at least trying
                                                                 to keep an eye
                                            on those potentially very nasty space rocks.

                                   Link to: "Are asteroids humanity's 'greatest challenge'?"

Wednesday 21 June 2017

"Asteroid Day Live" on Friday, 30th June 2017

                            30th June 2017 could become an "impactful" new-media event,
                         as this will be "the first-ever global 24-hour broadcast about space,
                                                         and specifically asteroids".

                                             Link to: "Learn more about the Broadcast"

Tuesday 20 June 2017

Making "Space Dirt": a clean-cut project by DSI

                                          Deep Space Industries have started delivering
                                                             space dirt made on Earth
                                                     (i.e." asteroid regolith simulants ")
                                                                    to NASA 
                                                and are expected to produce more 
                                for the scientific community and the space mining industry.

                      Link to: "Small Business Manufactures ‘Space Dirt’ for NASA Research"

Friday 2 June 2017

Not promising the moon, but ...

                               The European Space Agency remains staunchly consistent
                                    in its quest to create habitable structures on the moon
                                         "using all resources available at the destination".

                                                   Link to: ESA "Returning to the Moon"

Wednesday 24 May 2017

India : The dark horse in the new space race?

                                                        At times a little inconspicuously,
                                                      but with a clear sense of purpose,
                                                 the Indian Space Research Organisation
                                                            is aiming higher and higher.

                                                          Link to: Reaching for the Stars

Wednesday 3 May 2017

The spider that can harvest water

                                                       It won't "wriggle and jiggle",
                                                             but "walk and hop",
                                                           and drill to get water
                                                                from asteroids.

                          Link to: "Honeybee Robotics’ Spider Water Extraction System"

Tuesday 4 April 2017

Focus on sustainable life in space

                           OHB Venture Capital and LuxSpace establish company in Luxembourg
                                           to develop new life science products and services
                                                                 for space and Earth use.

                                                   Link to: Press Release of 4th April 2017

Monday 3 April 2017

The new rivals: Musk versus Roscosmos

                                         The Kremlin, too, is keeping an eye on Elon.

                                                  Link to: TASS Science and Space
                                                       Link to: The Moscow Times

Saturday 18 March 2017

The Federation strikes back

                                              As the new space race era has begun,
                                                          Russia means business
                                                and is determined not to lag behind.

                                      Link to: Article in "Russia Beyond The Headlines"

                            Link to: CHRONICLE OF SOVIET-RUSSIAN SPACE PROGRAM

Thursday 2 March 2017

First Japanese partner for Luxembourg space venture

                              The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and ispace (,
                                            a Tokyo-based lunar robotic exploration company,
                                                       sign Memorandum of Understanding
                                         to co-operate within the initiative.

                                             Link to: Luxembourg Government press release

                                             Link to: Related job advertisement by ispace-inc.

Thursday 23 February 2017

"The dawning of the age of Aquarius?"

                     New Earth-size planets found in a habitable zone only 235 trillion miles away

                                                     Link to: NASA Telescope Reveals

Wednesday 22 February 2017

Union Jack's beanstalk into outer space

                                                         Britannia is obviously keen
                                                            on having her fair share
                                                          of golden space eggs, too.

                         Link to: Government announces boost for UK commercial space sector

                               Link to: Launch UK brings together UK commercial space sector

Thursday 9 February 2017

Can one bank on ASTERANK ?

                                                          Asterank, which defines itself as
                                " a scientific and economic database of over 600,000 asteroids",
                               appears to be as scientifically sound as can currently be expected
                                                    and is consequently not to be dismissed
                                            as some kind of cleverly presented student prank.

                                                (Even so, potential investors in space mining
                                                    are likely to take it all with a grain of salt.)

                                                                  Link to: ASTERANK

                                                Link to: JPL Small-Body Database Browser

Wednesday 1 February 2017

"Luxembourg is a bit analogous to a utopian space colony"

                                          This line is from Sarah Scoles's latest article
                                                   on Luxembourg and space mining,
                     entitled "Luxembourg’s Bid to Become the Silicon Valley of Space Mining"
                          and written in a lively, playfully factual and objectively critical way.

                                 Link to: Sarah Scoles's January 2017 article in WIRED.COM

Friday 27 January 2017

Outer Space Treaty opened for signature fifty years ago

                                            On 27th January 1967, the Outer Space Treaty
                             (adopted by the UN General Assembly on 19th December 1966)
                          was opened for signature in London, Moscow and Washington, D.C.

                                 Christopher D. Johnson has published a rather thorough article
                                  (followed by some interesting, thought-provoking comments)
                                       in The Space Review on how this treaty came into being.

                                     Link to: The Space Review, "The Outer Space Treaty at 50"

                                                 Link to: Secure World Foundation website

Tuesday 24 January 2017

The IAU on "Buying Stars and Star Names"

                                    On the International Astronomical Union's website
                                                there is a pleasantly worded page
                         of no-nonsense information on the Naming of Astronomical Objects,
                                            which is definitely worth a quick perusal.

                                         Link to: IAU, "Buying Stars and Star Names"

                        (On a related page of theirs, there is, of course, more scientific detail.)
                                        Link to: IAU, "Naming of Astronomical Objects"

                    In addition, the following (timeless) September 2008 article from
                               contains some very interesting historical particulars on this topic.
                                         Link to: "Look, Up in the Sky! Strange Star Names."

Thursday 19 January 2017

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs' FAQ page

                                                This is just a brief reminder
                                    that for anybody in need of an "aide-mémoire"
                                         on international space law essentials,
                          the UNOOSA (United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs)
                         has supplied a very useful set of basic questions and answers
                                                      on its official website.

                                  Link to: - Frequently Asked Questions

Wednesday 18 January 2017

New Zealand's miniature "Cape Canaveral"

                            As the Mahia Peninsula is about to become the testing ground
                                                     for Rocket Lab's Electron rocket,
                                                        the New Zealand Parliament
                         are working on their Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Bill,
                       in view of clearly regulating future space launches from their country.

Link to: Anna Hensel (Assistant editor, Inc.) "How This Tiny Island Became the Hottest Spot on Earth for the Rocket Industry"

Link to: Outer Space and High-altitude Activities Bill

Link to: Brian Lada at, "Why does NASA launch rockets from Cape Canaveral, Florida?"

Saturday 7 January 2017

OSIRIS-REx to search for Trojan asteroids sharing Earth's orbit

                           In February 2017 OSIRIS-REx will be looking for Earth Trojan asteroids
                                                      by activating its onboard camera suite
             as "the OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will be positioned in an ideal spot to undertake a survey".

                                            Link to: NASA Mission to Search for Rare Asteroids