CSExtra – Friday, July 13, 2012
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities under way around the world. U. S., Russian and Japanese astronauts prepare for a weekend launch to the International Space Station and a 4.5 month stay. Colliding asteroids from the inner solar system provided the Earth with water, a new study suggests. Two generations of space exploration, one grounded in the Apollo era and another representing the rise of commercial space operations, may be mending fences. More solar flare activity heads in the Earth’s direction. Pluto’s fifth moon raises some concerns for New Horizons. Congress documents the benefits of space exploration. NASA offers engineering support to the European Space Agency’s Exo-Mars initiative.
1. From Florida Today: Russia readies a Soyuz rocket for the weekend launch of three new International Space Station tenants. NASA’s Sunita Williams, Russia’s Yuri Malenchenko and Japan’s Akihiko Hoshide await a late Saturday liftoff and a near five-month stay on the orbiting science laboratory. Liftoff from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan is set for Saturday at 10:40 p.m. EDT. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120712/SPACE/120712002/Soyuz-rocket-rolls-launch-pad-Saturday-launch-ISS?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Space%20News
2. From Space.com: Asteroids originating in the inner solar system delivered water to the early Earth through collisions, according to a new study led by a researcher from the Carnegie Institution of Washington. The new findings, which appear this week in the journal Science, contradict earlier research that points to comets and asteroids from the distance reaches of the solar system as the water source. http://www.space.com/16556-asteroid-impacts-earth-water.html
3. From Spacepolitics.com: SpaceX receives a supportive photograph of the May 22 launch of its Falcon9/Dragon mission signed by a collection of Apollo astronauts. The image could mend some fences, anchored in past Congressional testimony by some Apollo veterans, who questioned the Obama administration’s commercial space transportation initiatives. Among those signing was Gene Cernan, Commander of Apollo 17. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/07/12/apollo-astronauts-spacex-and-a-special-photo/?tw_p=twt
4. From Discovery.com: On Thursday, an active sun fired off another powerful flare in the Earth’s general direction. The charged particle cloud should reach the Earth and produce auroral displays and other magnetic field storm phenomena in the coming days. http://news.discovery.com/space/sun-blasts-x-class-flare-right-at-earth-120712.html
A. From USA Today: The latest coronal mass ejection from the sun is likely to give the Earth only a glancing blow. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/sciencefair/post/2012/07/sun-uncorks-x-class-blast/1#.T_9dEfVQQuM
B. From Wired News: Satellite glitches, power distribution problems and auroral displays as far south as the U. S. Midwest are possible as a result of the latest solar flare. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/solar-flare-cme-aurora/
C. From Spaceweather.com: Satellite photos, forecast and other details on the latest coronal mass ejection directed toward the Earth. http://www.spaceweather.com/
5. From Space.com via MSNBC: Pluto hosts a fifth moon, astronomers announced this week. The find, however, comes with new concerns among the New Horizons spacecraft team. New Horizons, which launched in 2006, is on a course to fly by Pluto in 2015. New moons mean possible new debris hazards for the ground-breaking spacecraft. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48164054/ns/technology_and_science-space/
6. From Spacepolicyonline: The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology received testimony Thursday on the benefits that have been derived from the nation’s space exploration and utilization efforts. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/house-subcommittee-highlights-benefits-of-nasa-derived-technologies
7. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA pledges engineering expertise and other assistance to the European Space Agency’s Exo-Mars mission. NASA pulled out of a partnership role in the 2016-18 Exo-Mars missions earlier this year. Russia is preparing to step in. The missions are to lead to the eventual robotic gathering of soil and rock samples from Mars so the materials can be returned to Earth for analysis. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1207/10exomars/