CSExtra – Friday, March 8, 2013
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Americans express robust support for the future human exploration of Mars and would double NASA’s budget to accomplish the goal, a recent survey finds. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter finds radar evidence for an extensive underground water channel that suggests geologically recent water flows. Russia plans the spacewalk installation of atmospheric sensors outside the International Space Station to forecast earthquakes. Experts at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory work to recover a troubled computer on board the Mars Curiosity rover. Scientists start to define a future Mars mission for a second Curiosity rover. A powerful House appropriator raises new concerns about Chinese access to NASA installations. South Texas lawmakers court SpaceX for a possible new launch site. The pace of U.S. commercial space activity picks up. Astronomers unravel questions about the age of the Methuselah star. Stephen Colbert ponders a voyage to Mars.
1. From The Coalition for Space Exploration: The full release of the recent Mars Generation poll finds Americans in support of doubling NASA’s budget to support the human exploration of Mars.
2. From National Geographic News.com: NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mission reveals underground Martian canals that steered water across the red planet in relatively recent geologic times. The long channel appears to have been covered by Martian lava flows a half-billion years ago. Perhaps, the planet has not been as inactive as previous evidence suggested.
A. From Space.com: Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter findings challenge estimates that Mars has been largely geologically inactive for 2 1/2 billion years.
3. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: Three new crew members will be launching to the International Space Station on March 28. Among the plans for their stay are spacewalks for the installation of atmospheric sensors outside the station’s Russian segment. The sensors will monitor plasma wave disturbances that may signal earthquake activity and other natural disasters, according to cosmonaut Pavel Vinogradov, who will command.
4. From Wired.com: NASA’s Curiosity Rover turns to electronic slumber to wait out heavy solar activity.
A. From The Los Angeles Times: Curiosity’s control teams continue efforts to diagnose the rover’s recent computer ills. A backup or “B side” redundant computer is being groomed to take over science activities. Curiosity touched down in Gale Crater in early August to begin a two year mission.
5. From Space News: NASA’s Mars 2020 Science Definition Team begins to piece together the requirements for a second mission to the red planet with a rover similar to Curiosity.
6. From Florida Today: U. S. Rep. Frank Wolfe, who chairs the House appropriations panel responsible for NASA, raises questions about the flow of restricted information to China at the Langley Research Center. Wolfe also points to the Kennedy Space Center for failing to advise Congress of impending visits by Chinese. NASA denies there was a violation in the law regarding the Kennedy activities.
7. From The Brownsville Herald, of Texas: State legislators in the Brownsville area move ahead with legislation that would make South Texas a competitive location for a new SpaceX launch site.
8. From The Orlando Sentinel: The newspaper notes a series of near term developments, involving companies like SpaceX, XROR, Sierra Nevada and Bigelow Aerospace, that suggest commercial space passenger travel is close.
9. From Space.com: The Hubble Space Telescope helps resolve a puzzling past observation involving a star in the Milky Way that appeared to be older than the universe. More recent observations, however, are reigning in the age of the Milky Way galaxy’s Methuselah star.
10. From The Colbert Report: Mars moves within reach of the impatient, the television satirist reports.
Brought to you by the Coalition for Space Exploration, CSExtra is a daily compilation of space industry news selected from hundreds of online media resources. The Coalition is not the author or reporter of any of the stories appearing in CSExtra and does not control and is not responsible for the content of any of these stories. The content available through CSExtra contains links to other websites and domains which are wholly independent of the Coalition, and the Coalition makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such site or domain and does not pre-screen or approve any content. The Coalition does not endorse or receive any type of compensation from the included media outlets and is not responsible or liable in any way for any content of CSExtra or for any loss, damage or injury incurred as a result of any content appearing in CSExtra. For information on the Coalition, visit www.spacecoalition.com or contact us via e-mail at [email protected].