Archive for the ‘Space News’ Category

Curiosity Right Navigation Camera B photo acquired on Sol 2549, October 8, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech


NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has begun Sol 2550 tasks.

Mariah Baker, planetary geologist at Johns Hopkins University reports: “Due to a brief network issue last week, the team had to postpone certain rover activities until after the weekend.”

Curiosity Mast Camera (Mastcam) photo taken on Sol 2549, October 8, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Curiosity Chemistry & Camera RMI photo taken on Sol 2549, October 8, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL


Drill campaign

As a result, Monday became “Drill sol 5,” which included the “portion to exhaustion” sequence of the latest drill campaign. That meant the robot portions out the remainder of the drill sample and prepares to dump drilled material onto the surface for further assessment.

Curiosity Mastcam Right photo acquired on Sol 2548, October 7, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

“Besides the portion to exhaustion activities, the schedule also included a one-hour science block,” Baker adds.



Back to work week

“Luckily, the team had already put together a straightforward plan for this block that required few modifications,” Baker concludes, making Curiosity’s recent activities a relatively low-key planning day, “ideal for transitioning slowly back into the work week.”


Virgin Galactic’s suborbital plans involve toting well-dressed space travelers into near space starting in 2020.
Credit: Virgin Galactic/Quasar Media 2018

A new alliance between Virgin Galactic and Boeing has been announced, an investment of $20 million by Boeing to work together to broaden commercial space access and transform global travel technologies.

The new deal is an effort to drive the commercialization of space and broaden consumer access to “safe, efficient, and environmentally responsible new forms of transportation,” said Brian Schettler, senior managing director of Boeing HorizonX Ventures in a press statement.

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic takes flight. Will public space travel?
Credit: Virgin Galactic

Natural next steps

“This is the beginning of an important collaboration for the future of air and space travel, which are the natural next steps for our human spaceflight program,” said Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic.

What specific projects the technological twosome are tackling “will be shared in the future,” according to a Boeing statement.

Reusable human spaceflight systems

To date, Virgin Galactic has invested $1 billion of capital to build reusable human spaceflight systems. The group is in the final stages of development, having already completed two crewed flights of its SpaceShipTwo vehicle into space, and anticipates initial commercial launch in 2020.

George Whitesides, CEO of Virgin Galactic, noted: “we are excited to partner with Boeing to develop something that can truly change how people move around the planet and connect with one another. As a Virgin company, our focus will be on a safe and unparalleled customer experience, with environmental responsibility to the fore.”

Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo/SpaceShipTwo launch system flies above New Mexico’s Spaceport America.
Credit: Virgin Galactic/Mark Greenberg

Transaction closing

In July, Virgin Galactic announced its intent to become a publicly-listed entity via a business combination with Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp.

The Boeing investment will be in return for new shares in Virgin Galactic and is therefore contingent on the closing of that transaction, which is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2019, and any such investment will be in the post-business combination company.

Credit: NASA


Lisa Watson-Morgan was named program manager for NASA’s Human Landing System in July, tasked with rapid development of the lander that will haul to the Moon the first female and the next man to the lunar surface in 2024 and help promote sustainable missions by 2028.

Lisa Watson-Morgan, program manager for NASA’s Human Landing System.
Credit: NASA/Marshall Space Flight Center

That’s a tall order…and Watson-Morgan sat down with to discuss the issues ahead and beyond.

Go to my new story at:

NASA’s 2024 Moon Goal: Q&A with Human Landing System Chief Lisa Watson-Morgan – This giant leap won’t be easy.

Joel Sercel (right) is assisted in demonstrating lunar power tower concept by Texas A&M researchers, Ali Hasnain Khowaja and Muhao Chen.
Credit: Leonard David/Inside Outer Space

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – Moon propellant mining outposts can grow into lunar cities. A futuristic architecture promises to greatly reduce the cost of human exploration and industrialization of Earth’s celestial next-door-neighbor.

Power towers fully deployed.
Credit: TransAstra Corporation/Anthony Longman

“A lunar outpost can evolve into a tourist destination and then a town, and then a city,” reports Joel Sercel of TransAstra Corporation. He presented preliminary results of Phase 1 work supported by the NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) Program’s 2019 Symposium, held here September 24-26.

Power towers

One fresh aspect of Sercel’s lunar-polar propellant mining outpost proposal is how best to get power into dark places…that is, water ice-rich craters that haven’t seen the light of the Sun for ages. His patent-pending suggestion: a deployable, 3-stage packaged “power tower” that has its feet stabilized in permafrost and its head in the Sun perpetually. The tower is topped by a 1.5 megawatt solar panel.

Lunar north pole ice favorability index.
Credit: Kevin Cannon, UCF

How tall the power tower? “It looks like a kilometer is really quite reasonable…able to attain 93 percent continuous illumination,” Sercel said. Lunar power towers are mass efficient and an affordable approach to powering a lunar mining system, solving the power problem at high lunar latitude in many locations, he advised.

Ice favorability index

But where is the water? How to get and store the power? How to get the water?

Sercel points to new work by Kevin Cannon at the University of Central Florida’s (UCF) Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science, a part of NASA’s Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute housed at UCF.

Cannon has created an “ice favorability index,” places on the Moon that have had the longest exposure to extreme cold and darkness in shadow. At the lunar north pole, Sercel and team mates see both high ice favorability and plentiful solar power availability with modest power tower height requirements in a very unique high altitude glen that has a broad shallow depression located between the craters Whipple and Hinshelwood.

Cutaway of habitats
underneath regolith shielding.
Credit: TransAstra Corporation/Anthony Longman

While too soon to quantify just how much water may be present, “this is a very awesome place,” Sercel said, labeling it perhaps a “New Mesopotamia” – a region of southwest Asia in the Tigris and Euphrates river system that hosted the beginnings of human civilization.

Mining rovers

Coupled to power towers, site location, and regolith-buried habitats, Sercel’s NIAC study also proposes use of Radiant Gas Dynamic (RGD) mining rovers.

These rovers enable water collection without digging over massive areas on the Moon. RGD mining is a new patent pending technology invented by TransAstra to solve the problem of economically and reliably prospecting and extracting large quantities (1,000s of tons per year) of volatile materials from lunar regolith using landed packages of just a few tons each.

The intent of Sercel’s NIAC work is to vastly reduce the cost of establishing and maintaining a sizable lunar polar outpost “that can serve first as a field station for NASA astronauts exploring the Moon, and then as the beachhead for American lunar industrialization, starting with fulfilling commercial plans for a lunar hotel for tourists.”

Lockheed Martin’s McCandless Lunar Lander.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

A newly issued User’s Guide details the McCandless Lunar Lander.

Lockheed Martin’s commercial lunar mission services is explained in the guide describing the lander configuration, payload capabilities and interfaces, landing site options, testing and facilities, and mission operations.

In addition to standard capabilities described, the lander can be customized to mission-specific needs.

The McCandless Lunar Lander draws from Lockheed Martin’s experience developing, testing, and/or operating dozens of planetary spacecraft in collaboration with NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Astronaut Bruce McCandless
Credit: NASA

Named after astronaut Bruce McCandless

The McCandless Lunar Lander is named in honor of astronaut Bruce McCandless II who passed away in December 2017. He is well known for flying the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU) jetpack in the world’s first untethered spacewalk on STS-41B and for helping deploy the Hubble Space Telescope on STS-31.

McCandless joined the astronaut corps during the Apollo program in 1966. He supported the Apollo program in Mission Control as a capsule communicator for the historic Apollo 11 launch and moonwalk. After retiring from NASA in 1990, he joined Lockheed Martin, working for more than two decades with the aerospace firm.

Credit: Lockheed Martin

Cargo transport

From science instruments to exploratory rovers to resource extraction experiments, the McCandless Lunar Lander can transport up to 772 pounds (350 kilograms) of cargo to the surface of the Moon and provide up to 400 Watts of power to operate on the lunar landscape.

The McCandless hardware design, flight and ground software, and operations concept are adapted from Lockheed Martin’s current generation of NASA planetary spacecraft, such as the InSight Mars lander, OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission, and upcoming Lucy mission to the Trojan asteroids.

For example, the avionics, propulsion, and landing gear are closely derived from equivalent systems on InSight.

McCandless lander can transport and deploy small to medium class lunar rovers using deployment hardware provided by the customer or by Lockheed Martin.
Credit: Lockheed Martin

Moon operations

Lockheed Martin’s Deep Space Exploration Mission Operations group will operate

McCandless missions from the Mission Support Area (MSA) in the Denver, Colorado facility.

Customers who will perform complex near-real time operations with frequent commanding through the lander, such as operating robotic arms or rovers, may consider locating an operations center at the Lockheed Martin facility for maximum efficiency, the User Guide explains.

To access the McCandless Lunar Lander User’s Guide, go to:

Curiosity Front Hazard Avoidance Camera image taken on Sol 2544, October 3, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover is now wrapping up Sol 2546 duties.

Reports Dawn Sumner, a planetary geologist at the University of California Davis, last Wednesday the rover did not receive its planned to-do list. A Deep Space Network problem required scientists to respond to the loss of all the robot activities, deciding which to leave undone and which to re-plan.

Curiosity Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) RMI photo acquired on Sol 2544, October 3, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL

“It turns out that it wasn’t too hard to merge the lost plan and our intended weekend plan – if we postponed emptying the sample out of Curiosity’s drill,” Sumner adds.

Two plans into one

As the “Long Term Planner” for this set of sols, Sumner helped evaluate the implications of postponing this activity on what the rover can do next week. “The team decided it was worth waiting to empty the sample, so we focused on merging two plans into one,” Sumner notes.

Curiosity Mast Camera Left photo acquired on Sol 2544, October 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

The activities from the Sol 2545 plan that we re-planned include: the SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) gas chromatograph column clean-up; the Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) Remote Micro Imager (RMI) photo of “Stony Side 2;” and ChemCam laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) analyses of a wide white vein called “Bighouse” and a pebble called “Sliddery,” with the robot’s Mastcam documentation images.

Curiosity Right Navigation Camera B image taken on Sol 2544, October 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Cold season

“The old environmental observations were not re-planned because the team had some particularly interesting environmental observation opportunities in the weekend plan,” Sumner explains. “Specifically, Curiosity is experiencing a cold season with relatively high humidity, so we planned a set of activities to see if frost is present on the soil right before sunrise.”

Right Navigation Camera B image acquired on Sol 2544, October 3, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

These activities include a ChemCam passive sky observation during the day to characterize atmospheric conditions, followed the next morning by pre-dawn ChemCam LIBS analyses of nearby soil to measure the hydrogen signature.

Look for clouds

“The team chose the spot carefully and did a preliminary analysis to ensure good focus even in the dark,” Sumner says. “The pre-dawn LIBS observation will be followed by a Navcam atmospheric movie to look for clouds within 15 minutes of sunrise. A little later after sunrise, more atmospheric characterization is planned, including measuring the opacity of the atmosphere toward the horizon and upward, as well as taking various movies to understand winds and cloud formation.”

Curiosity’s Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) will also provide wind data and air and ground temperatures.

“These suites of observations, planned in coordination,” Sumner concludes, “provide particularly valuable insights into atmospheric dynamics within Gale Crater.”

Curiosity NAV RIGHT B image acquired on Sol 2544, October 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech



NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has just started Sol 2546 duties.

Reports Roger Wiens, a geochemist at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, Curiosity is going through its list of analysis details that take place after taking a drill sample.

Curiosity Mast Camera Left photo taken on Sol 2543, October 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS


A recent main activity by the Mars machinery is a SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) gas chromatograph column clean-up.

Curiosity NAV RIGHT B image acquired on Sol 2544, October 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Remote-sensing data

Meanwhile, there has been time to take environmental observations and more remote-sensing data.

A Curiosity carried-out plan had quite a diversity of targets.

Curiosity Chemistry & Camera (ChemCam) photo acquired on Sol 2544, October 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/LANL


“Having analyzed enough of the nearby bedrock, our attention has turned to white vein materials,” Wiens explains. For example, a recently taken Remote Micro-Imaging (RMI) photo shows Sol 2533 target “Glen Lyon,” which has some white material in the veins in the bedrock, he points out.

Curiosity’s Chemistry and Camera (ChemCam) is targeting a wide white vein in today’s plan, called “Bighouse.” Another type of target, pebbles.

“For those, ChemCam has a target at 2.3 meters called “Sliddery” using a 3×3 raster. ChemCam will add another row of RMI images (“Stony Side 2”) to a mosaic of a ridge located 180 meters from the rover,” Wiens adds.

Curiosity NAV RIGHT B image acquired on Sol 2544, October 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The rover’s Mastcam was slated to take documentation images of the ChemCam targets, and the Hazcams will take images of the near-rover field of view.

Curiosity NAV RIGHT B image acquired on Sol 2544, October 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Environmental measurements

The second day of the plan had several environmental measurements, including a Mastcam crater rim extinction and a Sun tau, that is tracking the amount of dust in the Martian atmosphere using a measurement of opacity called “tau.” The lower the tau, the clearer the air.

Curiosity NAV RIGHT B image acquired on Sol 2544, October 2, 2019.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Navcam will take a dust devil survey, a suprahorizon movie, a sky survey, and a zenith movie. There is also a DAN (Dynamic Albedo Of Neutrons) active observations, along with the robot’s RAD (Radiation Assessment Detector) and REMS (Rover Environmental Monitoring Station) taking data.


Once proposed SP-100 reactor.

A new NASA report examines various scenarios in which nuclear reactors that are used to power spacecraft could accidentally reenter the Earth’s atmosphere.

The report — Fission Reactor Inadvertent Reentry: A Report to the Nuclear Power & Propulsion Technical Discipline Team, by Allen Camp et al, NASA/CR−2019-220397, August 2019 – notes that there are a number of types of reentry events that can potentially occur with missions containing fission reactors.

The report is an upshot from a Nuclear Power and Propulsion Technical Discipline Team that was directed to consider possible improvements to the launch approval process as it relates to fission reactors.

The paper presents the next step in that examination, which is to accurately describe and frame the problem and suggest safety criteria that might apply to inadvertent reentry. The report includes a discussion of the issues associated with different types of inadvertent reentry, the possible consequences of those events, a review of previous work in the area, security and nonproliferation issues, and options for safety requirements that might be considered.

NASA’s Kilopower project: The power level would be suitable to access, extract, and process lunar ice in permanently shadowed craters and demonstrate propellant production.
Credit: NASA

Postulated scenarios

“Each type of reentry event can produce a variety of possible adverse environments for the fission reactor,” the report notes.

The postulated scenarios include accidental reentry upon launch, reentry from orbit, and reentry during Earth flyby.

“There are three potential outcomes for a fission reactor in a reentry scenario,” the report explains. “First, the fission reactor can burn up in the atmosphere due to the aerothermal loads imparted to it during reentry. Second, it can survive the reentry and impact the Earth’s surface with or without additional spacecraft components. Finally, it can break apart during reentry, but its various components survive reentry and impact the Earth’s surface (a scattered reentry).”

Former Soviet Union’s Cosmos 954 satellite in an artist’s rendition with labels showing key parts. Spacecraft reentered in January 1978, coming down across northwestern Canada, Major pieces of the nuclear-powered satellite remained intact and impacted the ground, scattering radioactive debris far and wide. Credit: US Department of Energy

Past guidance

The report’s conclusion observes that the general theme is that the likelihood of inadvertent reentry should be kept as low as possible. Further, if reentry is to occur, either burnup or intact reentry is preferred over scattered reentry.

“A significant departure from past guidance is the notion that reentry into the ocean may be considered a success state, whether or not criticality occurs. It is anticipated that the guidance in this report may be modified following the issuance of further policy guidance from the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP).”

Future discussion

In particular, issues that may warrant future discussion, the report says, include:

 Definition of a “hot” reactor

 Whether or not to consider criticality for ocean impacts

 Suggested general design criteria

 Suggested risk criteria

 Application of criteria, i.e., parsing of numbers

 Mission Implications

This study was chartered by NASA’s Nuclear Power & Propulsion Technical Discipline Team (TDT) led by Lee Mason and Mike Houts. The Nuclear Power & Propulsion TDT governance resides under the NASA Office of Chief Engineer with oversight by the NASA Engineering Safety Center (NESC) Power Technical Fellow (Chris Iannello) and Propulsion Technical Fellow (Daniel Dorney).

For more information, go to: Fission Reactor Inadvertent Reentry: A Report to the Nuclear Power & Propulsion Technical Discipline Team, by Allen Camp et al, NASA/CR−2019-220397, August 2019 at:

Note: Special thanks to the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) for flagging this report.

NASA’s InSight Mars lander acquired this image using its robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC). This image was acquired on September 29, 2019, Sol 298.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

That trouble-plagued, Mars-situated, Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, HP3, continues to receive long-distance motherly attention.

InSight’s scoop has touched the Mole as shown in this image from the robotic arm-mounted, Instrument Deployment Camera (IDC). This image was acquired on October 3, 2019, Sol 302.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

The Germany-provided HP3 was deployed by NASA’s InSight lander that touched down on the Red Planet in November 2018.

A self impelling nail nicknamed “the mole” was designed to hammer itself down into the surface of Mars. But the device hasn’t been able to dig deeper than about 12 inches (30 centimeters) below the Martian surface since Feb. 28, 2019.

HP3 is designed to take Mars’ temperature, revealing just how much heat is still flowing out of the interior of the planet.

The self-hammering mole, part of the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP3) on NASA’s InSight lander, was only partially buried in the soil of Mars as of early June 2019, as shown in this illustration.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/DLR

Pinning tactic

Tilman Spohn, of the German Aerospace Center’s (DLR) Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin, is the principal investigator of the HP3.

In a new report, Spohn outlines the path forward in getting the Mole moving again.

Components of the HP3 heat flow probe. Top left: the radiometer (RAD), which is used to measure the radiation temperature (roughly equivalent to the ground temperature) of the surface. Right: the casing with the mole penetrometer, the temperature measuring cable (TEM-P) and the data cable (ET) connected to the lander. In addition, the casing contains an optical length meter for determining the length of the temperature measuring cable that has been pulled from the casing. The mole contains the TEM-A active thermal conductivity sensor and the STATIL tiltmeter. Bottom left: the electronic control unit, known as the back end electronics (BEE), which remains on the lander and is connected to the probe via the ET.
Credit: DLR

The InSight team has adopted a strategy of “pinning” the Mole with the spacecraft’s scoop mounted on a robotic arm. That tactic supersedes spending more time to collapse the pit. Everything seems to be ready for pinning and hammering on Martian Sol 308 which will be Tuesday October 8 with data coming down Wednesday afternoon (CET), Spohn explains.

Electronics box anomaly

“But before we could work on implementing the pinning,” Spohn adds, “HP3 had to solve an anomaly” that cropped up in an electronics box (the BEE) and that had motivated JPL to switch the experiment off until only recently.

Strange readings in downlinked data already suggested that some of the data stored in the mass memory of the BEE had been overwritten.

InSight Mars lander.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

“It was soon recognized that the most likely cause was what experts call a ‘bit-flip.’ This flipping can occur when cosmic particles hit the mass memory. This is not unusual at Mars where cosmic particles get through the thin atmosphere better then what we are used to on the Earth,” Spohn points out.


Typically, electronics box designers have critical paths implemented in a three-fold configuration and logic compares the values and decides democratically on the majority of the voting. “Thus most of the bit-flip problems can be avoided,” Spohn says.

“Unfortunately, our BEE has that protection mechanism not fully implemented as we were short in mass memory,” Spohn observes. “JPL needed to be convinced then that a bit flip could not cause any further harm, for instance, by erroneously commanding the mole to hammer.”

InSight specialists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory have developed and implemented strategies to get the Mole moving again. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.

Next hammering

Fine positioning of InSight’s robotic arm will be done over the coming weekend, Spohn continues, prior to the next hammering, “the first one since the diagnostic hammering on March 26th. And this time it will not be just for diagnostics!”

The number of commanded hammer strokes has been limited to 20.

The concern is that the pinned Mole could proceed quite rapidly and make the five centimeters sticking out of the ground in only a few hammer strokes. “That might cause the scoop to hit and damage the tether coming out of the Mole’s backcap,” Spohn adds.

Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

20 strokes

“We here at DLR have used performance data for the Mole from laboratory measurements to determine that in the best (or worst) case it would take the Mole 8 strokes to make 4 centimeters. As this was thought to be overly conservative and it was feared that the Mole might make so little progress that the latter was unnoticeable, the team settled on 20 strokes,” Spohn observes.

Spohn’s report concludes by saying “stay tuned” until the InSight/HP3 team sees what happens next week and help them keep fingers crossed!

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – The 100 Year Starship (100YSS) project is building a global community to spotlight the capabilities for human interstellar travel beyond our solar system within the next ten decades. 

An independent, non-governmental, long-term initiative, 100YSS was started in 2012 with seed-funding through a competitive grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to foster the type of explosive innovation and technology and social advances born from addressing such an audacious challenge.

Former astronaut, Mae Jemison, is the Principal for the 100 Year Starship Project. A physician, engineer, educator and entrepreneur, she served as a mission specialist for the STS-47 mission that flew in September 1992. Jemison was the first woman of color to orbit the Earth.

Mae Jemison aboard STS-47 mission that flew in September 1992. Jemison was the first woman of color to orbit the Earth.
Credit: NASA

Jemison provided a keynote address during the 2019 NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts (NIAC) symposium, held here September 24-26th.

Best path forward

An initiative Jemison highlighted was “LOOK UP” – an effort to connect people worldwide, from all walks of life, to share what they see and their thoughts, hopes, fears, dreams and ideas for best path forward. 

Events are held every year focused around dates that have significance in terms of the sky and the greater Universe.

Already held this year: “Look Up Apollo: Footprints on the Moon, Pathways on Earth” celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo Moon Landing. Also held was an event for this year’s “Yuri’s Night” to celebrate the former Soviet Union’s Yuri Gagarin’s space voyage – the first human to orbit the Earth in April 1961.


Capture, create, express, share and explore

Ever wonder what people in far off places are seeing at the same time you’re looking up at the sky? 

“We started to look at what could we do with space and started to think about the whole idea of looking up,” Jemison told the symposium attendees. “Just look up. Remember when you were a little kid and looked up at the sky…and the feeling you got inside?”

Jemison noted that the Skyfie app is made exactly for that. The impact of looking up at the sky can be as profound as seeing the Earth from space orbit…particularly when it is a shared global experience. The Skyfie app is available for free on Google Play and the App Store.

The Skyfie app can capture, create, express, share and explore what participants see and feel when looking at the sky. The Skyfie app lets you easily, on a single page, generate your message to the world as a photo, video, audio recording or text and then upload it to an interactive globe of the Earth.

Mae Jemison: “The whole ability to look up from down here is as important as looking down from up there.”
Credit: Leonard David/Inside Outer Space

Sky tapestry

Furthermore, Jemison said, you can seamlessly, explore what everyone submitted across planet Earth on the Sky Tapestry – a fully interactive digital globe that shows Skyfies content from individuals worldwide in near real-time.

The Sky Tapestry renders the Skyfies on a satellite topographical map that can be zoomed to neighborhood resolution. However, your identity and specific location are not revealed.

Jemison said she has long been taken by the fact that by simply looking up, that view is tremendously significant.

“I was struck by how we are connected with each other. And the whole ability to look up from down here is as important as looking down from up there. Because it connects us with the Universe,” Jeminson said. “We’ve got to get people connected some kind of way.”


For more information on the 100 Year Starship (100YSS) project, go to:

Also, go to:

As well as: