CSExtra – Monday, April 1, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe, including a roundup from the weekend. Signs of an economic rebound emerge on Florida’s Space Coast. Prolonged impacts of the U. S. budget sequester may impact NASA’s efforts to develop commercial crew capabilities. A solar sibling? China transports Shenzhou 10 to a launch complex for a summer launch. NASA’s Inspector General finds the agency’s facilities vulnerable to improperly stored explosives. At the U. S. Naval Academy, astronaut alums shape the aspirations of future grads. Tracking a prospective Comet of the Century. Aim for Mars, says Apollo 11 astronaut Buzz Aldrin in new book. Eyes for Robonaut 2. NASA’s “We are the Explorers,” may open for the next Star Trek feature film, “Star Trek into Darkness.” A look at the major space policy activities slated for the week ahead.
1. From The New York Times, March 29: Florida’s Space Coast rebounds from the end of NASA’s space shuttle program. Nearly two years into the shuttle’s retirement, a skilled workforce is finding new opportunities in a more diversified economy. Housing prices are recovering as well. However, there are disparities, as the southern part of Brevard County shows more growth than its northern counterpart.
A. From Florida Today, March 30: As the final space shuttle mission drew to a close in July 2011, NASA revved up efforts to reassign or dispose of the program’s many assets. The Shuttle Transition and Retirement program officially disbanded Sunday. Since September 2011, it transferred or disposed of a million line items of shuttle program property worth $18 billion, including the orbiters, Florida Today reports.
2. From Spacepolitics.com, March 29: NASA’s efforts to partner with the U. S. commercial sector to develop crew and cargo transportation services to Earth orbit could be jeopardized if the impacts of the budget sequester extended beyond the current fiscal year, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden warned in a teleconference with news reporters late last week.
3. From Forbes, March 31: Does our sun have a companion? A small star with enough mass to direct the course of comets in the Oort cloud. University of Louisiana at Lafayette scientists are combing the data from NASA’s WISE mission in a search. Past efforts have tagged such a companion Nemesis. Tyche is the new name.
4. From CCTV, of China, March 31: China moves the Shenzhou 10 spacecraft to the Jiuquan Satellite Launching Center, where it will be prepared for a lift off between June and August. The destination will be China’s human tended space station, Tiangong-1.
5. From Florida Today, March 30: NASA’s Inspector General raises concerns about the space agency’s handling of explosives in a new report. Resources, including trained personnel, record keeping and lines of authority over explosives safety officers are some of the issues raised in the audit.
6. From The Baltimore Sun via The Houston Chronicle: The U. S. Naval Academy calls on accomplished alums who have traveled in space for NASA back to the classroom. Instruction from former astronauts Ken Reightler and Ken Ham may shape the aspirations of new generations of space explorers.
7. From Space.com, March 29: NASA’s Swift mission spacecraft captures an image of Comet ISON, which some astronomers have tagged a potential Comet of the Century. ISON could appear in the skies of Earth in late November on its present course.
8. From Space.com, March 29: Apollo 11′s Buzz Aldrin points to Mars as the next destination for U. S. explorers, in his new book, “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration.”
A. From Spaceflightnow.com, March 30: What lies beneath the surface of Mars? NASA’s InSight mission, set for a 2016 lift off, will listen to the Martian heartbeat.
B. From The Christian Science Monitor, March 30: Scientists suggest dune structures at Alaska’s Kobuk Valley National Park bear similarities to those near the Martian North Pole. If the analogy is accurate, the Martian dunes may host hidden layers of water.
C. From The Mars Quarterly via AmericaSpace.com, March 29: For decades water has been the focus of the search for life on Mars. But perchlorates, salts that form in water, may be the new focus of the search for water beneath the planet’s surface.
9. From The Washington Post, March 29: Robonaut 2, a humanoid living aboard the International Space Station and developed by NASA and General Motors, could use some eyes. Tournament Lab and Topcoder are sponsoring a contest.
10. From The Houston Chronicle: The Aerospace Industries Association leads an effort to place a NASA production on exploration before movie goers. If the effort succeeds, those who see “Star Trek into Darkness,” which is scheduled to open in theaters in May, will also see “We are the Explorers.”
11. From Spacepolicyonline.com, March 30: A look at major space policy related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
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