CSExtra – Friday, May 3, 2013
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. A new assessment of alien planet discoveries suggest our solar system may be unusual. In Florida, community support grows for a commercial space port next to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. In Virginia, authorities reach a plea agreement with a former contract scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center and National Institute of Aerospace. Bo Jaing receives a sentence of time served for misdemeanor use of government computer equipment. Near Earth Objects pose a legitimate threat to Earth. An analysis of small pebbles deepen the mystery over origins of a 1908 blast over Tunguska. Space Center Houston announces a unique shuttle era tribute. Robert Bigelow, founder of Bigelow Aerospace, explains his commercial space vision. Curiosity marks an anticipated communications loss with fresh pictures of Mars.
1. From Discovery.com: Reporting in the Journal Science, experts conclude our solar system may be quite unusual in the Milky Way. The analysis is based largely on observation by NASA’s four-year-old Kepler mission. Kepler is seeking evidence for Earth-like stars around distant starts. So far, most exo-planets fall in to the category of “super Earths,” bodies larger than Earth but smaller then Neptune. Our solar system has not one of them.
A. From Space.com: Planetary analysis appears to favor the core accretion planet forming model over a competitor.
B. From Space.com: As NASA’s Kepler space telescope mission deals with multiple reaction control wheel problems, experts look to follow on planet seeking spacecraft. Future European and U. S. missions are in development.
2. From Florida Today: Along Florida’s space coast, the Volusia City Council approves a resolution in support of a new commercial space port north of NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. Officials are hopeful the site will prove attractive to SpaceX and other U.S. launch enterprises. “We need jobs,” explains one council member.
3. From The Hampton Roads Virginian Pilot: Bo Jiang, a former Chinese contract scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center and the National Institute of Aerospace, is ordered to leave the U. S. as part of a plea agreement. The agreement included time served as punishment for a misdemeanor charge of improper use of a NASA computer. Jiang was detained at Dulles National Airport in March after a Virginia Congressman raised concern about possible export control violations.
A. From The Associated Press via The Washington Post: Former NASA contract scientist order to leave the U. S. as part of plea agreement in alleged export control case.
4. From The Newport Daily News, of Rhode Island: Asteroids that cross the Earth’s orbit pose a significant threat, explains Joan Johnson-Freese, a space policy expert at the Naval War College. Hollywood films have misled the public into thinking we can avoid being hit by a Near Earth Object (NEO) — the term for asteroids and meteors with the potential of colliding with earth, says Freese. Freese is among experts who have testified before Congress recently on the concern.
5. From Discovery.com: In 1908, a large explosion attributed to an asteroid or comet leveled more than 800 square miles of forested territory in Tunguska, Russia. A modern analysis of elusive fragments from the object leave open the possibility the impactor was a comet rather than an asteroid.
6. From Collectspace.com: Space Center Houston, the visitor/educational center for NASA’s Johnson Space Center, announces plans for a new $12 million tribute to the shuttle era: a NASA Boeing 747 Shuttle Carrier Aircraft topped with a replica of the winged shuttle orbiter.
A. From Collectspace.com: The original Canadian developed robot arm that became a fixture on many space shuttle missions goes on display at the Canada Aviation and Space Museum in Ottawa, Ontario
7. From Bloomberg Business Week: A look at Las Vegas businessman Robert Bigelow’s vision for commercial space — large privately operated space stations focused on science and other market driven enterprises.
8. From NBC News and Cosmic Log: NASA’s Curiosity rover transmits fresh images of Mars, following an anticipated interruption due to a solar conjunction.
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 Info@spacecoalition.com.