CSExtra – Friday, March 15, 2013
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Wintry weather in Kazakhstan delays the return to Earth of three International Space Station crew members. The European and Russian space agency chiefs sign a pact for ExoMars, a series of European led missions that once counted NASA as Europe’s partner. Large planets circling the star HR8799 provide new insight into solar system evolution. Vibrant Northern Lights display possible Friday night. Quasar discovery reaches mysterious Golden Anniversary. NASA’s Curiosity mission gathers more acclaim.
1. From Space.com: Wintry weather in Kazakhstan on Thursday delays the scheduled return to Earth of American Kevin Ford and Russians Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelkin, after nearly five months on the International Space Station. Russian recovery forces were unable to fly their helicopters in the recovery zone for their Soyuz capsule. The recovery region is northern Kazakhstan.
A. From Spaceflightnow.com: Updates on the status of NASA’s Kevin Ford and cosmonauts Oleg Novitskiy and Evgeny Tarelekin as they prepare to make a weather delayed descent to Earth from the International Space Station late Friday.
2. From Space News: The heads of the European and Russian space agencies sign a pact Thursday to cooperate on ExoMars, missions scheduled for launches in 2016 and 2018 that will establish the ground work for an eventual Mars sample return initiative. NASA withdrew from ExoMars participation with Europe more than a year ago over budget concerns. Russia will provide Proton launch vehicles for a surface rover, telecommunications orbiter and trace gas analyzer.
A. From Ria Novosti: Europe and Russia agree to share access to science findings from the ExoMars missions. The orbiter will launch in 2016, the rover in 2018.
3. From Discovery.com: Four large planets circling the star HR 8799 are revealing details that explain how the solar system formed, say astronomers. HR8799 is a young star about 130 light years from Earth with planets bright enough for unusual observations.
A. From Science News: Planets circling HR8799 positioned to provide unprecedented atmospheric studies.
B. From Scientific American: Scientists see water vapor as well as carbon monoxide in the atmosphere of one planet orbiting HR8799.
4. From Space.com: Friday could bring a vibrant display of the Northern Lights in response to a major solar eruption on Tuesday.
5. From The Los Angeles Times: This weekend marks the 50th anniversary of the first quasar discovery. The bright distant objects, however, remain largely a mystery, say scientists.
6. From CNN: Jim Bell, planetary scientist and president of the Planetary Society, traces recent discoveries about the Martian environment. The findings led up to this week’s announcement that NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected evidence of past abundant water and conditions suitable for more than the most rugged microbes.
A. From AmericaSpace.com: Already recognized this week by the Smithsonian, NASA’s Mars Curiosity mission receives more accolades.
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