This week in space: August 15, 2019

Welcome to Give Me Space, a weekly round-up of the most interesting things happening in space news.

It’s been a long break between the last newsletter and this one, and there’s been a lot of interesting space news happening over the past few weeks. Here are a few stories you should read.

Marina Koren wrote an excellent takedown of the term “manned” for spaceflight at The Atlantic. It is well past time we retired that phrasing and used “crewed” instead.

Over at Engadget, I interviewed four amazing women in my explainer for the Artemis program, which NASA claims will take humans back to the moon’s surface by 2024. Will it actually happen? That’s complicated.

India launched its uncrewed Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft on July 22, and it’s scheduled to reach lunar orbit in less than a week. The spacecraft is comprised of an orbiter, a lander, and a rover, the latter two of which are scheduled to land on the surface in September. Meghan Bartels has details of the mission at

Remember that Israeli moon lander that crashed on approach to the lunar surface? It turns out it was carring tardigrades, a nigh-indestructible form of life, and they probably survived the crash, as Amy Woodyatt reports at CNN. But as astrobiologist Monica Vidaurri pointed out on Twitter, the implications are not good.

Last week, small rocket launcher RocketLab announced an intriguing and bold plan to begin recovering its Electron rockets — in midair. With helicopters. Ashlee Vance describes the plan at Bloomberg.

LightSail 2, the spacecraft launched by the Planetary Society that’s designed to test the feasibility of solar sailing, successfully deployed its solar sail in July. Since then, it has successfully raised its orbit without the use of engines—it’s relying only on the power of sunlight. Loren Grush has more on this incredible feat at The Verge.