CSExtra – Friday, February 10, 2012
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency proposes an independent human launch capability. This week, Russian scientists completed an ambitious drill into the Antarctic, where they reached deeply submerged Lake Vostok. Does the isolated lake host forms of life? Germany and France form a working committee to reach an accord over the future of the Ariane 5 rocket and European contributions to the International Space Station. More on reported budget cuts in NASA’s planetary science program. A science upgrade for the International Space Station. A solar mission anniversary. NASA-TV goes high def. A popular sports sneaker embraces a space theme with a boost from the NBA’s elite.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency will seek an independent human spaceflight capability by 2025. The launcher and carrier will be based on Japan’s H-2 Transfer Vehicle, the re-supply craft Japan has twice dispatched to the International Space Station. Modifications will include a re-entry vehicle. Lawmakers, facing tight budgets, must approve the plan. http://bit.ly/znUtq5
2. From the New York Times: In the Antarctic, Russian drillers reach deeply submerged Lake Vostok earlier this week. Approximately the size of Lake Ontario, Vostok is a watery recess nearly two miles underground. The drilling project required two years. The lake has not been exposed for 15 to 35 million years. Samples, eventually retrieved, may reveal ancient microbial life forms, which could bolster hopes of finding life on Jupiter’s ice covered moons. http://nyti.ms/zLYT2B
A. From the Associated Press via the Huffington Post: Microbes found in Lake Vostok could add to growing evidence of life thriving in niches once considered too hostile for biological activity. http://huff.to/wZ8VcF
3. From Space News: Germany and France, the two largest contributors to the European Space Agency’s budget, form working groups to resolve issues over the future of Ariane 5 rocket upgrades and ESA’s obligations to the International Space Station. Should the powerful rocket be upgraded? Could the European Space Agency meets its ISS contributions with a spacecraft that removes orbital debris or one capable of transporting samples of Martian soil and rock from Mars back to Earth? http://bit.ly/zat6cD
4. From MSNBC: The website joins news other U.S. and European news agencies in reporting that NASA’s 2013 budget, set to be unveiled on Monday, will include reductions in the Mars program, initially affecting plans to join with Europe for missions in 2016 and 2018. The cuts were prompted by rising costs and delays in the development over the James Webb Space Telescopes. NASA had to make a choice on which to emphasize, MSNBC reports. http://on.msnbc.com/AsE9yr
A. From Science Insider: Reports in the U. S. and Europe this week suggest NASA’s planetary science program is facing a steep reduction when the agency’s 2013 budget is unveiled on Monday. Ed Weiler, the agency’s associate administrator for science, left the agency in September over the cuts facing future Mars missions, according to the news arm of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. http://bit.ly/AaJt2m
5. From the Coalition for Space Exploration: A commercial alliance will provide the International Space Station with a centrifuge that will permit scientists to vary the gravitational forces during biology experiments. http://bit.ly/ztdvps
6. From Space.com: NASA’s RHESSI spacecraft marks its 10th anniversary in space as a solar observatory. Over the period, the spacecraft has logged 40,000 powerful X-ray flares. http://bit.ly/z4hvTN
7. From The Huntsville Times: NASA TV goes hi-def on Feb. 17. http://bit.ly/znNFMH
8. From Collectspace.com: NBA stars Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and Kevin Durant inspire a new collection of space themed sneakers. Fans can buy the brightly colored shoes. http://bit.ly/z2YaxC
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