Episode 703: Don't Shoot the MESSENGER

On this episode of Talking Space, we look at what the private companies are doing here on earth, and what NASA is doing all around the solar system. We begin with SpaceX's most recent launch to the ISS, CRS-6 and the attempt to land the first stage on a barge in the ocean, just how close they got, and the amazing video of the attempt...which wasn't supposed to be seen by the public. We also look at people recreating the attempt using the game Kerbal Space Program. Next we discuss United Launch Alliance's announcement of their new rocket, the Vulcan, and some features that make it different from their current fleet of Atlas and Delta rockets. We then get an update on the status of the Antares rocket and Cygnus spacecraft made by Orbital ATK after the failure a few months back and get a new launch date for the resupply craft. Then it's a look at NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft, which has been orbiting Mercury for a few years, and how NASA is planning to dispose of the spacecraft. We also finally get the first color images of Pluto from the New Horizons spacecraft and look at what can be made from the blurry image. Lastly, we take a look at the 2015 Northeast Astronomy Forum held in Suffern, New York. We see some new telescopes and parts, including 3D eye pieces and hear about the two keynote speakers,  Director of NASA’s Human Space Flight Program Bill Gerstenmaier and NASA's Director of Planetary Science Jim Green. We also end with a heartfelt goodbye to a dear friend, Jan DuRaine.

Show recorded: 4/21/2015

Host This Week: Sawyer Rosenstein. Panel Members: Gene Mikulka, Kathryn Robison and Kassy Tamanini aka Craft Lass with a message from Mark Ratterman.