: Just two days after their history-making return to Earth, the crew of the SpaceX Dragon “Endeavour” spoke to the press about the Demo-2 mission. Asked by collectSPACE to consider the fate of their spacecraft (and a certain sequined dinosaur), Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken said their capsule could someday land in the Smithsonian – but not yet. First, Endeavour is slated to fly again. (And as for “Tremor,” what’s in it for their sons?)
Mars 2020 Zippo
: As NASA’s Perseverance rover lifted off to cache signs of life on Mars, Zippo launched a new lighter in tribute to the mission. The Mars 2020 Collectible Lighter is a limited edition of 1,000 that features a gold plated depiction of Mars and laser engraved wireframes of the six-wheeled rover and Martian surface. The new lighter continues Zippo’s 60-year history of celebrating the United States space program with NASA and contractor designs.
: Looking ahead to the day that boot prints replace wheel treads, NASA is flying its first spacesuit material swatches on its Perseverance Mars rover. The sample fabrics include Vectran, Orthofabric, and two types of Teflon, as well as the polycarbonate from a helmet visor. In addition to observing how the materials fare on the surface of Mars, the spacesuit squares will also be used to calibrate the rover’s SHERLOC laser and spectrometers.
Save Space Camp
: Threatened by financial shortfalls due to the pandemic, Space Camp and the U.S. Space & Rocket Center may be forced to permanently close by October. The Huntsville, Alabama museum and astronaut training experience have launched the “Save Space Camp” campaign to raise the $1.5 million that is needed to remain open. Donations are sought from Space Camp alumni and the millions who have visited the Space & Rocket Center.
‘The Right Stuff’
: The cast and crew of “The Right Stuff,” the Disney+ scripted series from National Geographic, debuted a clip from the pilot episode during a virtual panel as part of Comic-Con@Home on Saturday (July 25). A new adaptation of Tom Wolfe’s book by the same title, “The Right Stuff” focuses on the Mercury astronauts and NASA’s early efforts to send an American into space. Moderated by (real-life) astronaut Mae Jemison, the panel also discussed the research that went into shaping each of their portrayals.
Tianwen-1 to Mars
: A Chinese Long March 5 launched China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft to Mars Thursday (July 23), beginning China’s first attempt at landing on the red planet. The Tianwen orbiter, lander and rover are now on their way to arriving at Mars in February 2021, followed by a descent two to three months later. The probes will study Mars’ geological structure, environment and atmosphere.
: When NASA announced that the 300th American spacewalk was upcoming, it hinted at a change to how the extravehicular activities were counted. Saying only that the definition of an EVA has evolved, NASA has opted to rewrite the record for many of its historic missions, including the Apollo moon landings. The result has created ripples that affect previously celebrated spacewalks.
Apollo 11 joysticks auctioned
: Three hand controllers that helped achieve the first moon landing mission 51 years ago hit the auction block on Saturday (July 18), where they sold for over $780,000. The two rotation control sticks and translation hand controller were used aboard the Apollo 11 command module by Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins in 1969. NASA sought the artifacts be returned so they could be handed over to the Smithsonian, but was unsuccessful. The controllers were sold by Julien’s Auctions of Beverly Hills to unidentified buyers.
‘Eau de Luna’
: Having already raised almost half a million dollars for the smell of space, a crowdfunded perfumer has now set sights on the moon. The “Eau de Space” campaign on Kickstarter, which is bottling what astronauts have described as the smell of outer space, is adding “Eau de Luna,” the smell of the moon, as a stretch goal. Backers will be able to choose between the two cosmic fragrances, compared to burnt metal and gunpowder, respectively, after the campaign reaches $700,000 in pledges.