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Inside Space (Aug 16th, 2019)

Welcome one and all to a new edition of Inside Space. The List of the 100 Most Essential Twitter Accounts in Space is finally coming together and you can find it here. So far, I've included high-profile science communicators, space organizations, journalists, astronauts and rocket company executives. I need your help to continue adding people and to make the list more diverse so please send me your recommendations by replying to this email. A big "THANK YOU" to the many readers that have already done so!

-- Eduardo

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1. During a MAGA rally on Thursday, President Trump spoke about NASA's plan to send astronauts to Mars and reusable rockets but did not mention the agency's moon landing program. This is relevant because Trump has criticized Artemis, the program under which NASA plans to send astronauts to the moon by 2024. "NASA should NOT be talking about going to the Moon ... they should be focused on the much bigger things we are doing, including Mars (of which the Moon is a part)," he tweeted in June. Trump's disregard for NASA's moon plans could undermine the work that NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine is doing to secure more funds for the Artemis program. – ARS TECHNICA

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2. Strong winds forced Rocket Lab to cancel its eighth mission on Friday. The company said that it will announce a new launch date soon. The primary payload of the mission is a maritime surveillance CubeSat for French company UNSEENLABS. As a secondary payload, the Electron rocket will carry three satellites for rideshare aggregator Spaceflight – an Earth-imaging microsatellite for BlackSky and two CubeSats for the U.S. Air Force. – NASA SPACEFLIGHT

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3. Follow Friday: Meet Kellie Gerardi, an aerospace professional and science communicator who has worked with NASA, DARPA and several space companies. 

On her website, Gerardi says that working her way up in the male-dominated space industry has been challenging, in part because she often finds herself being the only woman in the room – and sometimes even the only woman in the company. 

In 2016, to celebrate her femininity and her love of fashion she created a space-inspired clothing collection named Paper Rocket.

"I decided that if I was going to be asked to moderate yet another all-male panel, I was going to do it in a ballgown," she said.

The Paper Rocket website is also home to a blog in which Gerardi posts pictures of her space-inspired outfits. 

If space fashion is your jam, you can follow Gerardi on Twitter and Instagram. To learn more about Gerardi's work in the space industry, make sure you check her website

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4. Observatories on Hawaii's Mauna Kea mountain have restarted operations in recent days following four weeks of protests. Thousands of people have been blocking access to Hawaii's tallest mountain to protest against the construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope, preventing scientists from working on the 12 observatories there. But most workers returned to the observatories this week after a deal was reached with the protesters, who argue that the Mauna Kea mountain is a sacred site. According to the Associated Press, astronomers canceled more than 2,000 hours of viewing at the telescopes over the period, work they estimate would have led to the publication of about 450 scientific papers. Earlier this month, the director of the TMT project, Ed Stone, said that his team may decide to build the observatory on the island of La Palma, in the Canary Islands. – SCIENCE MAGAZINE

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5. Why does Jupiter receive more asteroid impacts than any other planet in the Solar System? The obvious answer is "size," writes astrophysicist Ethan Siegel, since Jupiter has 317 times the mass of Earth. In addition, the fact that Jupiter is closer to the asteroid belt means that there are more space rocks around. But gravity is also a factor. "Jupiter's gravitational pull is sufficient to attract huge numbers of comets and asteroids that come too close to it, in a way that Earth cannot," writes Siegel. – FORBES

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6. NASA has ordered a review of the organization that manages the U.S. laboratory aboard the International Space Station (ISS). The agency also ordered the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS) to pause operations. "NASA is calling for an independent review team to evaluate the ISS Nat'l Lab, managed by CASIS, to ensure we are on mission & appropriately resourced to produce breakthroughs that improve lives on Earth," NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine wrote on Twitter. The announcement comes amid efforts by NASA to commercialize the ISS and Low Earth Orbit (LEO). "LEO commercialization is an important priority for the future space economy," Bridenstine added. – SPACE

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7. Virgin Galactic is building a third SpaceShipTwo. The vehicle's wing has recently been built and will soon be mated with the fuselage, the company said in a statement. The first SpaceShipTwo, VSS Enterprise, broke up during a test flight in 2014. The second one, USS Unity, has made two suborbital test flights. According to Richard Branson's space company, more than 600 people have signed up for rides on the SpaceShipTwo. – ARS TECHNICA

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8. SpaceX astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken took part in a "crew extraction" exercise that simulated a splashdown recovery in preparation for the first crewed flight of the Crew Dragon capsule. During the exercise, which took place in Cape Canaveral, Florida, NASA and SpaceX teams practiced the procedure they will have to follow to retrieve Hurley and Behnken when their capsule lands on the ocean. Although the Demo-2 mission is tentatively planned for November, NASA recently said that the launch date is "under review." – NASA

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9. Under an agreement with NASA, Northrop Grumman will start using the mobile launcher that supported the Apollo 11 mission. The space company will use the launcher, at the Kennedy Space Center, in Forida, for its OmegA rocket. As part of the lease deal with NASA, Northrop Grumman agreed to build a service tower for the 196-foot-tall (60-meter) launch vehicle. Last year, the U.S. Air Force awarded Northrop Grumman a $792 million contract to complete the development of OmegA and the required launch sites. – COLLECT SPACE

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10. Image of the Day: Although it looks like a jellyfish, this picture shows NGC 2022, an aging star surrounded by a shell of gas. Even though red giants like NGC 2022 are not planets, they are called planetary nebulas, a name that derives from the rounded, planet-like appearance they had when they were seen through early telescopes. 

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Written and curated by Eduardo Garcia in New York. Eduardo is a graduate of the Columbia Journalism School M.A. Science program and writes regularly for the New York Times Climate Fwd: newsletter. In one of his previous lives, Eduardo worked as a Reuters correspondent in Latin America for nearly a decade. 

Editor:  David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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