Today’s Tidbits: September 20, 2018

Today’s Tidbits: September 20, 2018

Here are’s tidbits for September 20, 2018:  Ivanka Trump visits JSC; JAXA’s Hayabusa2 about to release rovers onto Ryugu.  Be sure to check our website for feature stories and follow us on Twitter (@SpcPlcyOnline) for more news and live tweeting of events.

Ivanka Trump Visits JSC for “Workforce Development”

First Daughter and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump visited NASA’s Johnson Space Center (JSC) today. She was accompanied by NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine, NASA CFO Jeff DeWit (who managed the Trump campaign’s finances), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Rep. Brian Babin (R-TX), and Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick.  Their hosts were JSC Center Director Mark Geyer and Deputy Center Director Vanessa Wyche.

A White House statement issued this evening and tweets from her, Bridenstine and others capture the moments.

Ivanka Trump’s Workforce Development Visit to NASA Johnson Space Center 

Today, Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump traveled to Houston, Texas to visit the NASA Johnson Space Center and learn about our current capabilities in space and the future of space exploration.

The visit began with a tour of the Mission Control Center to see the operations of the International Space Station Flight Control Room and call the crew onboard the International Space Station. She was briefed by Holly Ridings, who was recently named the first female Chief Flight Director in NASA history.

The tour continued with a visit to the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility. While there, she went into a full-scale mockup of the International Space Station, sat in the Orion (NASA’s new deep space exploration vehicle) capsule used by astronauts and engineers to design and evaluate the spacecraft, viewed the Boeing Starliner (one of two commercial vehicles in development which will launch American astronauts from American soil for the first time since 2011), and saw where astronauts train daily for upcoming space missions.

After touring the Mission Control Center and the Space Vehicle Mockup Facility, Ivanka Trump engaged with students from the Clear Creek Independent School District FIRST Robotics Team and NASA interns, who are gaining valuable skills in engineering and aerospace, which will enable them to pursue careers in high-demand STEM fields and ultimately succeed in the modern economy.  – White House Press Office, September 20, 2018

Hayabusa2 About To Release Rovers

Asteroid Ryugu imaged by JAXA’s Hayabusa2 from an altitude of 6 kilometers. Image credit: JAXA, University of Tokyo, Kochi University, Rikkyo University, Nagoya University, Chiba Institute of Technology, Meiji University, University of Aizu, AIST.

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA’s) robotic probe Hayabusa2 is about to release three tiny rovers onto the surface of the asteroid Ryugu.  Hayabusa2 arrived at Ryugu in June after a four-year journey to collect a sample and return it to Earth.

This is JAXA’s second asteroid sample return mission.  Its Hayabusa spacecraft returned samples from the Itokawa asteroid in 2010 although there were technical problems and only about 1,500 grams were collected.

Hayabusa carried the first MINERVA rover, but it did not reach the surface.  Hayabusa 2 is carrying its successors: MINERVA II-1, a container with two small rovers (Rover-1A and Rover-1B) and MINERVA II-2, with Rover 2.  Rover-1A and Rover-1B have a mass of 1.1 kilograms each; Rover-2 has a mass of 1 kilogram.  They all have cameras and other instruments to collect data about the asteroid. Hayabusa2 will eject the rovers at an altitude of 60 meters above the surface.  At press time, it was getting very close.

The rovers are a prelude to the main event: on October 3, a small lander, MASCOT, developed by Germany’s DLR and France’s CNES, will grab a sample of the asteroid that will be returned to Earth.  The sample return capsule will land in Australia in 2020.

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