CSExtra – Friday, March 22, 2013
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities under way around the world. The European Space Agency’s Planck mission delivers the most detailed images yet of the radiance emitted by the big bang, altering estimates of the cosmic age and energy composition. The U. S. House and Senate come together on a budget Continuing Resolution for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year; it lops $1 billion off the White House request for the 12 month period that began last Oct. 1. NASA has a funding issue, not a problem with its direction, agency Administrator Charles Bolden asserts in response to questions at this week’s Goddard Memorial Symposium. In Kazakhstan, U. S. and Russian astronauts prepare for the first expedited Soyuz launch and rendezvous with the International Space Station on March 28. New findings suggest a Russian satellite was not sidelined earlier this year by a collision with debris from China’s 2007 anti-satellite weapons test. The latest in the U. S. series of Landsat Earth observing spacecraft offers its first image. In 1958, U. S. President Dwight Eisenhower broadcast the first audio message relayed from space. A recording is headed for the Library of Congress.
1. From The New York Times: European Space Agency’s Planck mission offers new findings on the big bang and the evolution of the universe. Those lead to a new age estimate, 13.8 billion years, about 100 million years older than previous calculations. The cosmos is comprised of 4.9 percent ordinary matter — like the atoms that form all familiar objects; 27 percent dark matter, the little understood mass that holds star systems together; and 68 percent dark energy, the force behind the universe’s expansion.
A. From Astronomy Now via Spaceflightnow.com: ESA’s Planck mission presents the earliest phase of the universe with unprecedented clarity. The new detail includes new cold and hot regions that await further expert interpretation. Planck builds on a pair of previous NASA missions, WMAP and COBE, which also imaged the glow produced by the big bang.
B. From Space.com: Subtle variations in the thermal distributions imaged by Planck will likely challenge current interpretations of physics.
2. From Spacepolicyonline.com: The U. S. House agrees to the Senate version of a budget Continuing Resolution that would fund the U. S. federal government through Sept. 30. President Obama is expected to sign the measure, averting a March 27 government shutdown. NASA is in line to receive $16.65 for the 2013 fiscal year, about $1 billion less than the $17.77 billion the White House sought for the period.
A. From The Los Angeles Times: New federal spending limits will slow the pace of research in medicine, biotechnology and other areas in which the U. S. excels, according to some experts. The National Institutes of Health, NASA, and the Department of Defense are among federal agencies impacted.
B. From Space News: In a bid to cut spending, NASA curtails employee travel to space conferences, including the National Space Symposium in Colorado Springs and other major events where agency officials are often featured participants.
3. From SpacePolitics.com: NASA has a consensus of support for its strategic direction, according to Administrator Charles Bolden in remarks that followed an address before the Goddard Memorial Symposium this week in Maryland. Funding is the issue, and the space agency must become attuned to living with less, Bolden notes.
4. From AmericaSpace.com: In Kazakhstan, U. S. and Russian astronauts Chris Cassidy, Pavel Vinogradov and Aleksandr Misurkin are preparing for an expedited six hour rendezvous and docking with the International Space Station, following a March 28 lift off from the Baikonur Cosmodrome. The station transit, which normally unfolds over two days, should provide less exposure to motion sickness, but it will require more precision in the navigation.
5. From Space News: Reports of a recent Russian satellite loss due to a collision with debris from a 2007 Chinese anti-satellite weapons test appear to be in error. The experimental Russian satellite now appears to be in two pieces, separated by something other than debris from China’s satellite shoot down.
6. From The Longmont Daily Times Call, of Colorado: First images of the Earth from NASA’s Landsat Data Continuity Mission satellite were released Thursday. The March 18 images show portions of Colorado and Wyoming. Launched Feb. 11, the LDCM continues a program initiated in 1972 to furnish Earth imagery to those responsible for managing the planet’s natural resources.
7. From Collectspace.com: On Dec. 19, 1958, President Dwight Eisenhower delivered the first audio message relayed from space, “America’s wish for peace on Earth and goodwill toward men everywhere.” A full recording of the message relayed by Project SCORE is headed for the Library of Congress.
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