For your 'moon rocks' and more
: Puntzi, a new design house, has produced a replica of the lunar sample return bag that was used to hold and protect the first moon rocks and soil retrieved by Neil Armstrong during the Apollo 11 mission 50 years ago. The replica is made from some of the same materials as the original, including Beta cloth, but differs in two key ways: it is not stained with moon dust and it is $99 on Kickstarter rather than the almost $2 million that the flown artifact sold for at a Sotheby's auction in 2017.
'Apollo 11' launch
: Todd Miller's "Apollo 11," the new documentary featuring newly-found, never-before-seen footage, is launching onto IMAX screens March 1. The one-week giant screen exclusive will be followed March 8 by a wide release into movie theaters everywhere. The feature length film has received critical acclaim for its direct cinema presentation of the historic first moon landing mission.
: After 15 years exploring Mars, NASA's Opportunity rover mission has met its end. The victim of a global dust storm that blanketed the planet, attempts to revive the Mars Exploration Rover were to no avail. Opportunity, which set the off-Earth driving distance record of 28 miles, will now remain forever parked at on the rim of Mars' Endeavour crater in Perseverance Valley.
Now out from Smithsonian Books and the editor of collectSPACE
Native Americans in space
: Officially, John Herrington is not on the U.S. Mint's new coin honoring the role of Native Americans in the space program. Even though the coin shows an astronaut on a spacewalk, and Herrington is the only enrolled member of a tribe to do just that, living individuals cannot be depicted on United States coins. That said, Herrington looks forward to the 2019 Native American $1 coin, which the Mint is releasing Wednesday (Feb. 13).
'Revive the Saturn V'
: In preparation for the Apollo 11 50th anniversary, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center has launched the "Revive the Saturn V" campaign to bring its one-of-a-kind vertical replica of the moon rocket back to its vibrant, original condition. The $1.3 million project will clean and paint the 363-foot-tall display after 20 years of outdoor exposure and weathering. The effort will also collect photos and stories about the Saturn V replica, as well as provide a chance for the public to put the final touches on the rocket.
: The hybrid rocket engine that was used to power SpaceShipTwo's first flight into space is now a part of the National Air and Space Museum's collection. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Galactic, revealed the donation of the RocketMotorTwo on Thursday (Feb. 7), stating he hopes it inspires the Smithsonian's visitors. The museum plans to eventually display the motor as part of its "Future of Spaceflight" gallery scheduled to open in 2024.
Commercial Astronaut Wings
: Just a week shy of two months since they soared beyond 50 miles high on SpaceShipTwo, pilots Mark Stucky and Frederick Sturckow on Thursday (Feb. 7) received FAA Commercial Astronaut Wings. The Virgin Galactic crewmembers are only the third and fourth test pilots to be awarded the distinction.
: At one point in the first hour of "Space Dealers," now streaming on Netflix in the U.S. and U.K., searches are underway for Soviet space hardware, a watch worn on the International Space Station and the silver pin once worn by an Apollo astronaut — and that is just the start. The six-part reality TV series follows "Space Dealers" Larry, Torie and Cole as they "compete for, track down, buy and flip" artifacts that have left and then returned to Earth.
'Man in Space'
: Fifty years after he came up with the concept for a statuette on the moon, Belgian artist Paul van Hoeydonck has seen his original design released as a new limited edition. Van Hoeydonck's "Man in Space" art pieces feature the same aluminum figure as he created for the Apollo 15 crew's "Fallen Astronaut" tribute, but places it within a blue-tinted acrylic representing the rise of humanity into space, as was originally meant for the 1971 mission.
'Apollo 11' trailer
: Days after its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival, "Apollo 11" now has its first movie poster and new trailer. The Todd Douglas Miller documentary, presented by Neon and CNN Films, features previously unseen footage and newly-synced audio from the Apollo 11 first moon landing mission 50 years ago.
: A new virtual reality project promises to take the public where no VR film series has gone before: on a spacewalk. The ISS Experience, from TIME and Felix & Paul Studios, is a yearlong initiative to capture life aboard the International Space Station, both inside and out in 360-degree stereoscope 3D. The resulting cinematic VR media will be presented in augmented reality, virtual reality and other immersive platforms, including a touring exhibit.
: A new documentary crafted from never-before-seen footage and thousands of hours of uncatalogued audio has revealed a treasure trove of new details from the Apollo 11 first moon landing mission 50 years ago. Presented by Neon and CNN Films, Todd Douglas Miller's "Apollo 11" has premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Apollo 11 bag back in court
: A woman who sued NASA, won, and then sold an Apollo 11 moon rock bag for nearly $2 million has filed a new lawsuit over the same bag. Nancy Lee Carlson of Illinois claims NASA damaged the bag and retained lunar samples, depriving her the full value of the artifact, as well as causing her emotional distress.
Commercial crew change
: Astronaut Mike Fincke has replaced Eric Boe on the crew for Boeing's first piloted test flight of its CST-100 Starliner spacecraft, targeted for launch later this year. According to NASA, Boe "is unable to fly due to medical reasons." Fincke will immediately start training with Boeing's Chris Ferguson and NASA astronaut Nicole Mann, who were assigned to the mission in 2018.
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