CSExtra – Friday, June 8, 2012
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Some scientists are turning to car washes and bake sales this weekend in a symbolic gesture to raise money for future space missions jeopardized by looming budget cuts. NASA cancels GEMS a low cost but over budget astrophysics mission for the study of neutron stars and black holes. Spring in the U. S. generates record heat. Sierra Nevada’s Dream Chaser achieves preliminary design review milestone. NASA helps Hollywood lend “alien feel” to new box office feature Prometheus. Comet discovery wins award for Russian amateur astronomer. A future space telescope named for popular sci fi writer Ray Bradbury, might be a fitting honor.
1. From Space.com: Scientists will host symbolic car washes and bake sales this weekend in a bid to call attention to NASA’s sinking planetary science budget. http://www.space.com/16062-bake-sale-nasa-planetary-science.html
A. From Space News: NASA’s science mission directorate cancels the GEMS X-ray astrophysics mission. Rising costs are to blame. The mission, slated for a late 2014 launch, was to study the interactions of strong magnetic fields around black holes, some neutron stars and super nova remnants. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120606-gems-team-appeals-cancellation.html
B. From the Houston Chronicle: In an editorial, the Chronicle urges adequate funding for NASA’s science and exploration programs. The editorial praises the White House and Pentagon for the gift this week of two Hubble class space telescopes to study “dark energy,” but says NASA needs the resources to establish a launch system for the nation’s astronauts. http://www.chron.com/default/article/Editorial-NASA-s-future-is-a-future-worth-funding-3617949.php
2. From the Associated Press via the Washington Post: U. S. endures warmest spring on record. http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/its-a-different-kind-of-spring-fever-us-temperatures-in-march-april-and-may-hottest-by-far/2012/06/07/gJQAeZ2ELV_story.html
3. From Space.com: Sierra Nevada Corp’s Dream Chaser completes the preliminary design review milestone in the company’s bid to develop a transportation capability under NASA’s Commercial Crew Development initiative. http://www.space.com/16056-dream-chaser-space-plane-review.html
4. From The Los Angeles Times: Hollywood’s Alien science fiction film series rates a prequel. Prometheus opens in U. S. theaters this weekend. Alien brought a gritty, high risk industrial feel to the exploration of space — lots of risk, treachery and big money rewards. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/movies/la-et-prometheus-20120608,0,5161428.story
A. From The New York Times: NASA’s influence shapes the “alien feel” of Prometheus. http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2012/06/07/movies/prometheus-designs-1.html
5. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Amateur astronomer Leonid Elenin wins a prestigious prize for his discovery of a notorious comet in 2010. The ice ball, once the centerpiece of an Earth collision disaster theory, was itself smashed by a coronal mass ejection. http://en.rian.ru/world/20120607/173905624.html
6. From The Washington Post: The death this week of popular science fiction writer Ray Bradbury prompts a call to name one of two Hubble class space telescopes handed to NASA this week by the National Reconnaissance Office in the writer’s honor. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/achenblog/post/the-bradbury-space-telescope/2012/06/07/gJQAQvN3KV_blog.html