CSExtra – Friday, October 12, 2012
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities under way around the world. Orbcomm loses a prototype communications satellite in the otherwise successful SpaceX/Dragon re-supply mission to the International Space Station. Curiosity finds a rare Earth-like rock on Mars. Astronomers identify a planet made of diamond. How Europe’s Huygens lander reached the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan. Retired orbiter Endeavour to spend the weekend on the Los Angeles streets. Large asteroids zip close to the Earth this week.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: Orbcomm loses in an otherwise successful SpaceX/Dragon resupply mission to the International Space Station. Orbcomm’s prototype spacecraft re-entered the Earth’s atmosphere Thursday, a casualty of an engine loss as the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket involved in the NASA contracted Commercial Resupply Services 1 mission launched Sunday night. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/falcon9/004/121011orbcomm/
A. From the Washington Examiner: NASA’s use of Space Act Agreements in lieu of traditional spacecraft development contracts in the case of the SpaceX Falcon9/Dragon hardware draws criticism from the Examiner. Space Act Agreements, a feature of commercial space transportation services NASA has fostered, lack government oversight, the newspaper contends. http://washingtonexaminer.com/obama-funder-gets-insider-deal-at-nasa/article/2510466#.UHdpXBibR3I
2. From Space.com: NASA’s Curiosity rover checks a Mars rock and finds similarities in its makeup to Earthly rocks formed in volcanic processes. The Mars rock resembles a kind of rock found in Hawaii. http://www.space.com/18025-mars-rover-curiosity-jake-rock-surprises.html
A. From New Scientist: A meteorite of Martian origin that fell to Earth in Morocco in 2011 yields grains of soil from the red planet, according to an assessment of the chemical composition. The rock was likely ejected from Mars about 700,000 years ago by an asteroid impact, according to researchers. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22372-black-glass-holds-first-mars-soil-sample-on-earth.html
3. From ABC News.com: Astronomers find a planet twice the size of the Earth made of diamond. 55 Cancri circles a star 40 light years away. http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/technology/2012/10/a-planet-made-of-diamond-twice-the-size-of-earth/
4. From The Coalition for Space Exploration: Bounce, slide and wobble: The European Space Agency provides a detailed account of how the Huygens probe landed on Saturn’s moon Titan in January 2005.
5. From The Los Angeles Times: Shuttle Endeavour, ferried from Florida to Los Angeles International Airport last month, will start a two-day trip through the streets of LA on Friday as the spacecraft is towed to the California Science Center, its permanent display home.
A. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: Maps and pictures as Endeavour prepares for a two-day journey through the streets of Los Angeles to the California Science Center. Thousands of spectators are expected. http://www.aviationweek.com/Blogs.aspx?plckBlogId=Blog:04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385&plckPostId=Blog%3a04ce340e-4b63-4d23-9695-d49ab661f385Post%3a96eeb9b8-bab6-437c-bbf5-5a1cb59083d9
6. From Space.com: An asteroid as large as a house will zip close to the Earth on Friday. 2012 TC4 was discovered earlier this month. The website explains how to watch live. http://www.space.com/18013-asteroid-near-earth-flyby-friday-2012-tc4.html
7. From Aviation Week: In an op ed, former NASA astronaut Vance Brand warns that U. S. leadership in human deep space exploration is slipping — perhaps out of our grasp. “It’s approaching a tipping point,” cautions Brand, who compares the U. S. position to that of China centuries ago, when the Asian power dismantled its naval fleet, then watched as Europe rose to the exploration challenge. Make Mars the exploration focus and research nuclear or plasma propulsion technologies, writes Brand. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_10_08_2012_p58-503117.xml
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