AE Current Events

Per CAPP-15, the squadron AEO, "conducts weekly updates of AE current events."

These current events will be updated prior to each MAWG Wing Staff meeting (normally held first Wednesday of the month).  Please feel free to use them at your own units, and forward any interesting current events you might have to
me to include here.

The following are current events for the June 2019 staff meeting:

1.  Marsquake detected:  The NASA InSight lander on Mars detected a tremor on Mars.  Although scientists understand that Mars doesn’t have tectonic plates (source of earthquakes) as we do here on Earth, they still believed that Mars would have, well, Marsquakes due to the slow cooling of that planet.

2.  China to build lunar station:  The China National Space Administration stated that they will build a research station near the Moon’s south pole in about 10 years.  The first portions of the station will be launched in the “first half of 2020.  Additionally, CSNA plans to launch a permanent space station into orbit in the next few years.

3.  New non-mechanical flight-control system developed:  BAE Systems designed a new system that replaces mechanically-operated flaps, ailerons, rudder, elevator, etc. with blown air from the engine.  Since there would be no moving parts in this flight-control system, it would be less prone to failure.

4.  Amazon to the Moon:  Blue Origins, the company that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos started, announced plans to build a spacecraft called, “Blue Moon.”  There are two variants being developed:  A smaller one that would bring payload on a one-way trip to the lunar surface, and a slightly larger two-stage version.  Although both variants are smaller than NASA’s Apollo Lunar Module, Blue Moon will carry a larger payload.  Blue Origins may submit this design to NASA as part of NASA’s 2024 lunar mission.

5.  Need a Martian habitat?  Print one!  AI SpaceFactory, a NY company, demonstrated building a habitat that could be built on the Moon or Mars…with a 3D printer.  This was part of a NASA competition, and AI SpaceFactory won first place, and $500,000.  It’s not clear when (or even whether) NASA will implement something like this.

6.  Chile starts building “mega” telescope:  Construction crews have excavated the hard rock for building the Giant Magellan Telescope.  The GMT will be composed of seven primary mirrors; collectively, the mirrors provide light-gathering power of an 80-foot-diameter telescope.  There are two other megascopes that will be built:  the Thirty-Meter Telescope in Hawaii and the Extremely Large Telescope on another Chilean mountaintop.  All three be completed in the mid-2020s.

7.  Life on Mars:  No, this is not a David Bowie song…scientists believe that life may currently exist on Mars.  Many years ago Mars had rivers, lakes, and oceans, but when Mars lost its magnetic field nearly 4-billion years ago, the Martian atmosphere was blown away into space.  The best chances for finding life on Mars now may be underground in buried lakes.  NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected methane plumes, which might be a sign of microbes and other organisms.  The NASA 2020 Mars Rover will search for DNA- or RNA-based life.

8.  End of Red Bull races:  The Red Bull company, which has sponsored the air race that bears its name, has abruptly announced it will no longer sponsor the race.  The air race, which features top pilots from around the world (including Massachusetts’ own Mike Goulian) racing on a course delimited by fabric pylons, started in 2003.  It’s unknown whether another company will step up to sponsor the race after this year.

9.  Fuel-cell-powered aircraft:  Alaka’i Technologies, a Massachusetts company, has displayed a mockup of their new eVTOL (electronic Vertical Take-Off and Landing) aircraft that will be powered by fuel cells, the first such aircraft.  BMW’s Designworks division also contributed to the design.  Testing is expected to begin soon.

Shelley Rosenbaum-Lipman,
Jun 2, 2019, 6:25 PM