It’s been quite the week in space news! In this brand new segment, we bring you the latest on some of the most exciting, relevant and eye-opening space & satellite stories of the week.
Australia to review future in space
Australia has begun a Federal review into the country’s space capabilities and policies with a view to potentially creating Australia’s first space agency! The review is being undertaken by an expert panel of nine people, headed by Dr Megan Clark AC, the former of Chief Executive of the CSIRO. It will analyse the advantages and disadvantages of a national space agency and whether Australia could offer something uniquely effective to the space industry which other countries can’t. Australia is currently one of the only developed countries not to have a national space agency. The review is expected to begin next week and the expert panel will report by the end of March 2018.
NASA probe gets a look at Jupiter’s Great Red Spot
Juno, the spacecraft launched by NASA, has boldly achieved what no human or probe has achieved before: it has flown by the Great Red Spot on Jupiter and captured the closest images of the storm ever taken. The Great Red Spot is essentially a raging storm on Jupiter which has continued for hundreds of years and is the biggest in the Solar System! Flying as close as 3,500km above the planet’s clouds, Juno took stunning images of the storm, which were just released to the public. It is hoped that these results can aid scientists understanding of this mysterious phenomenon and other probing questions about Jupiter.
Australia’s Eye On The Skies: 10-Year Deal Signed With European Space Agency
Australia has recently entered into a 10 year partnership with the European Southern Observatory that will give Australian scientists access to Europe’s hi-tech telescopes — telescopes which are actually based in the Atacama Mountains of Chile, and among the best in the world for optical astronomy. It is hoped that this deal will enable Australia to stay at the forefront of space research. The partnership will commence in 2018.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence visits NASA
Last week, Vice President Mike Pence made an official visit to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in which he spoke to staff, observed some of the sights and gave a speech which reiterated the President’s commitment to continue space exploration. Pence now serves as the Chairman of the National Space Council which will advise the White House on space policy. In his speech he outlined the country’s aims to send people to the Moon and Mars while continuing their presence in low-Earth orbit.
How Satellites Watched Birth of a Giant Iceberg in Antarctica (Photos)
One of the largest icebergs in history was ‘born’ this week. What started as a fissure in the the Larsen C ice shelf, first observed in the early 1960s, has grown into a crack so large that the iceberg now separated from the shelf contains more than 1.1 trillion tons (1 trillion metric tons) of water! The calving was confirmed by the European Space Agency’s Copernicus Sentinel-1 mission through satellite images.