Space Council Advisory Group to Study Role of Human Space Exploration Supporting Science | 1/11/2019 | Staff
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SEATTLE — The advisory group for the National Space Council is looking at ways that NASA's human exploration plans can also support space science, while acknowledging the lack of representation of the scientific community in the group.

Two members of the Users' Advisory Group (UAG) of the National Space Council met with attendees of the 233rd Meeting of the American Astronomical Society here Jan. 9 in the latest of a series of listening sessions held by the group with various space constituencies.

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The UAG, established last year as a "think tank" to support the National Space Council, is working on a variety of topics, including examining potential synergies between human space exploration and space science.

On January 12, 2005, NASA launched its Deep Impact mission to crash into comet Tempel 1, also known as 9P/Tempel. Two spacecraft were launched together for this mission: one was a flyby vehicle about the size of a Volkswagen Beetle, and the other was an impactor the size of a coffee table. The mission would study the comet's interior by smashing into its surface and taking pictures of the impact crater and all the dust and dirt it kicked into space. Deep Impact launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta II rocket and spent nearly six months chasing down the comet before the crash.

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"We've been asked to help the Space Council understand and explore the nexus between space science across its various disciplines — astrophysics, heliophysics, planetary science and Earth science — with human exploration in the upcoming era of returning to the moon," said David Thompson, founder and former chief executive of Orbital ATK.

That includes potential applications of the Gateway that NASA plans to develop in cislunar space. The agency has already been looking at potential scientific applications of the Gateway, including hosting a conference on the...
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