CSExtra – Monday, August 12, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe, plus a roundup of weekend activities. NASA’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission’s primary focus: advancing human exploration. NASA needs swagger. U.S. Mars MAVEN mission aims for Nov. 18 lift off. U.S. Space Fence, a factor in detecting and characterizing objects in Earth orbit, facing deactivation. International Space Station to host future laser communications test; International Space Station crew berths Japan’s HTV-4 supply ship. Mars analog mission in Hawaii drawing to insightful close. Summer Arctic sea ice loss makes surprising turnabout. Microsatellites, a coming thing. Early SETI advocate dies. U.S. astronaut twins Scott and Mark Kelly offer opportunity to sort out space genetic. U.S. Postal Service in Houston commemorates the International Space Station, Soyuz and Dragon spacecraft. Film Elysium’s vision of a vast orbiting space station challenging but “realistic,” notes former NASA official. A look at major space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From Spacepolitics.com, Aug. 10: The website finds a trend in recent comments from NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s proposed Asteroid Redirect Mission. The purpose of ARM is to advance human space exploration, more than to advance planetary defense or science, the trend suggests. Congress, so far, seems only mildly receptive to the proposal outlined in NASA’s 2014 budget.
2. From Florida Today, Aug. 10: NASA needs swagger as much as money, perhaps more so, writes columnist John Kelly. He finds examples of ”all in leadership” in Elon Musk, of SpaceX, and Richard Branson at Virgin Galactic. Lori Garver, who departed NASA as deputy administrator for the private sector last week, had the formula as well, he writes.
A. From The Houston Chronicle, Aug. 11: An op-ed from Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy finds U.S. space initiatives in need of public outreach from its most insightful leaders and a higher standing in Congress. The essay written by Rice sophomore Alejandro Botas urges policy makers not to cut what NASA spends on education as well.
3. Spaceflightnow.com, Aug. 10: Nov. 18 opens a 20 day window for the launching of NASA’s next Mars mission. MAVEN was developed to study the Martian upper atmosphere and its interactions with the solar wind. The outcome may offer new insight into how the red planet lost its atmosphere over time.
4. From Space News, Aug. 9: U.S. Air Force plans to close the Space Fence portion of the Space Surveillance Network assigned to detect and characterize spacecraft and debris orbiting the Earth.
5. From Florida Today: Engineers prepare a laser communications experiment, OPALS, for a launch to the International Space Station later this year. The technology promises the relay information from deep space missions at a faster rate.
A. From Spaceflightnow.com, Aug. 9: The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s HTV-4 resupply capsule reaches the International Space Station on Friday. NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg grapples the freighter as it moves within reach of the space station’s Canadian robot arm.
6. From Astrobiology Magazine via Space.com, Aug. 8: The 120-day Mars mission analog Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) nears an Aug. 13 conclusion for six volunteers living at 8,000 feet on the island state. Their agenda includes science activities, lava field excursions and food evaluations. Mission commander Angelo Vermeulen explains the significance in an interview. “We definitely have not experienced the boredom or lethargy that has been popping up in other isolation studies!” Vermeulen notes.
7. From The Washington Post, Aug. 9: Arctic sea ice loss slows in July, according to the Arctic Sea Ice blog. High winds may have scattered the ice and cooler temperatures may have contributed.
8. From The Washington Post, Aug. 10: Microsatellites gaining notice as potential source of Earth imagery.
9. From New York Times, Aug. 10: John Billingham, who advocated a radio telescope search for evidence of extra-terrestrial intelligence while at NASA, has died. A medical doctor, the British born Billingham also worked on early space suit development. NASA pursued the SETI search he advocated in the early 1990s. At his death on Aug. 4, Billingham was 83.
10. From Reuters, Aug. 10: Astronaut twins Scott and Mark Kelly volunteer to provide NASA researchers with a glimpse at genetic spaceflight influences. Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko are preparing for a year long stay aboard the International Space Station, starting in March 2015. Mark Kelly, a retired shuttle commander who is now retired and living in Arizona, is making himself available to medical researchers as a baseline for a trial investigation.
11. From Collectspace.com, Aug. 8: The U.S. Postal Service, in Houston, commemorates the International Space Station, NASA’s Mission Control, Russia’s three seater Soyuz and the Space X Dragon. Post includes details.
12. From Space.com via The Huffington Post, Aug. 9: The film Elysium offers a vision of a vast space station that is not that unrealistic, explains Mark Uhran, a former NASA International Space Station director in Washington. The big challenge is the propulsion technology to launch all of the hardware.
13. From Spacepolicyonline.com: A look ahead at space related activities planned for the week ahead.
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