Spaceflight Insider

News Archive / Author: Paul Knightly

Paul is currently a graduate student in Space and Planetary Sciences at the University of Akransas in Fayetteville. He grew up in the Kansas City area and developed an interest in space at a young age at the start of the twin Mars Exploration Rover missions in 2003. He began his studies in aerospace engineering before switching over to geology at Wichita State University where he earned a Bachelor of Science in 2013. After working as an environmental geologist for a civil engineering firm, he began his graduate studies in 2016 and is actively working towards a PhD that will focus on the surficial processes of Mars. He also participated in a 2-week simluation at The Mars Society's Mars Desert Research Station in 2014 and remains involved in analogue mission studies today. Paul has been interested in science outreach and communication over the years which in the past included maintaining a personal blog on space exploration from high school through his undergraduate career and in recent years he has given talks at schools and other organizations over the topics of geology and space. He is excited to bring his experience as a geologist and scientist to the Spaceflight Insider team writing primarily on space science topics.

Articles By Paul Knightly

  • Mars 160: Crew returns to ‘Earth’

    August 21st, 2017

    The Mars Society's Mars 160 mission simulation has concluded and the six members of the international crew have started making their way home to “Earth”. The simulation in the Canadian high Arctic ended on Aug. 14, 2017, and the crew was flown out from the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Aug. 16.

  • Mars 160: Study evaluates crew performance, EVA procedures for future missions

    August 14th, 2017

    Over the last week, a break in the weather allowed the crew of the Mars Society's Mars 160 mission to conduct multiple science extravehicular activities (EVAs). The six-person crew wrapped up its last full week in simulation, capping off a shortened "Mars" mission at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) in the Canadian high Arctic.

  • Mars 160: EVA’s traverse nearly 500 million years of geological history

    August 5th, 2017

    The crew of Mars 160 continued to carry out its science research objectives despite poor weather as the second part of the Mars Society's twin analog Mars 160 mission wrapped up its third of five weeks in the Canadian high arctic. The shortened mission timeline, caused by lingering snow melt at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS), has meant expediting the research schedule.

  • Mars 160: Crew enters simulation, conducts first EVA’s

    July 31st, 2017

    The Mars 160 mission entered into simulation on July 20, 2017. It has since had a busy week in the arctic with its six crew members carrying out their science and research goals for the mission. Mars 160 is a two-phase Mars analog mission sponsored by the Mars Society.

  • Mars 160: 6-person crew arrives at Arctic station

    July 22nd, 2017

    The second phase of the Mars Society’s Mars 160 mission began at the end of June 2017 in the Canadian high Arctic. A six-person crew is staying at the organization's Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) for several weeks. However, due to inclement weather, the crew was unable to make it to FMARS until July 17.

  • Study suggests increased cancer risk on Mars missions

    June 13th, 2017

    A new study by researchers at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) suggests the cancer risk for astronauts on a mission to Mars could be higher than expected. The results of the study were published in the May issue of Scientific Reports and show the risk is effectively doubled compared with previous models.

  • Aerojet Rocketdyne ‘kill vehicle’ performs successful test

    June 6th, 2017

    Last week, Aerojet Rocketdyne announced the 10th successful test of its Divert and Attitude Control System (DACS) on its Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle (EKV) in the first live-fire missile defense test against an ICBM-class target.

  • Parker Solar Probe details revealed

    June 1st, 2017

    NASA announced on May 31, 2017, a groundbreaking new mission to explore the Sun at close range. The Parker Solar Probe will launch in 2018 and will spend nearly seven years spiraling in toward the Sun, utilizing Venus for seven gravitational assists before making its closest approach of about 3.7 million miles (6 million kilometers) from the Sun's surface.

  • Cassini prepares for sixth ring-grazing orbit

    May 25th, 2017

    NASA's Cassini spacecraft is currently completing its fifth ring-grazing orbit of Saturn as it conducts its Grand Finale nearing the end of its mission. It will reach its orbital apoapsis on May 25 at 08:50 UTC (4:50 a.m. EDT), at which point its sixth ring-grazing orbit will begin. The sixth ring crossing of the Grand Finale will occur on May 28 at 14:22 UTC (10:22 a.m. EDT).

  • Van Allen Probes detect barrier around Earth

    May 20th, 2017

    New results from NASA's Van Allen Probes have revealed the impact humans have on the environment is not limited to physical and chemical effects on the Earth's surface, but it also includes radio frequencies extending out into space.

  • NASA detectors delivered for ESA’s Euclid spacecraft

    May 13th, 2017

    NASA delivered three detector systems for the European Space Agency's (ESA) ground-breaking Euclid mission to study dark matter and dark energy.

  • India announces opportunity for instruments on Venus mission

    May 9th, 2017

    The Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) is seeking experiments to include on a potential mission to explore Venus. A launch date was not provided for the mission, but it seeks to build on past missions launched by other nations that have included satellites, landers, and atmospheric probes.

  • MUOS-5 Now Supporting Troops with UHF Communications

    April 28th, 2017

    The fifth Mobile User Objective System (MUOS-5) satellite is now delivering secure communications to troops using its Ultra High Frequency (UHF) telecommunications system. This comes as the U.S. Navy, partnered with the Army Forces Strategic Command, have worked to bring MUOS-5 into operation after it successfully completed on-orbit testing on January 19, 2017.

  • Cassini prepares for ‘grand finale’

    April 8th, 2017

    On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, NASA's Cassini spacecraft will conduct the first in a series of 22 dives between Saturn's atmosphere and the gas giant's rings as a part of the mission's “grand finale”. It will conclude a mission that has spent almost 13 years exploring the Saturnian system.

  • Laser communications to provide faster connections for Orion

    April 4th, 2017

    NASA engineers are continuing to push the limits of laser communication technology by developing a new system called LEMNOS that is to be tested on the second flight of the Orion spacecraft just beyond the Moon. Also referred to as optical communication, laser communication between a spacecraft and the Earth holds the promise of allowing higher data transmission rates than are currently possible.