CSExtra – Monday, August 13, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers a roundup of the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, with a roundup from the weekend. NASA’s MSL/Curiosity rover continues to draw attention, both for the transmission of its first hi def imagery and an enthusiasm the mission’s early phase has engendered for future exploration, especially in the United States. Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney picks a running mate, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, whose space views get an early look. Proposals for 10-year appointment for NASA administrators and multi-year budgets, amid editorial calls for new space policy definition.
1. From CBS News, Aug. 11: NASA’s MSL/Curiosity returns an early high resolution image of its Gale Crater landing site. The northerly view shows the rugged crater wall in the distance. Still to be imaged in high resolution is Curiosity’s ultimate destination, Mount Sharp. http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/home/spacenews/files/081112_msl_update.html
A. From The Coalition for Space Exploration, Aug. 10: One in three Americans believes the goals of the U. S. space program should include sending humans to Mars. A poll by Rasmussen followed the Curiosity landing. http://spacecoalition.com/blog/new-public-poll-surveys-sending-human-to-mars.
B. From Space News, Aug. 10: MSL’s earliest post-landing data return could be a boon to future human deep space exploration. Sensors on the spacecraft gathered space radiation readings during the long cruise from Earth. They also gathered critical temperature and pressure data during the dramatic entry, descent and landing phases. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120810-msl-readings-safety-human-mars.html
C. From The Pasadena Sun, of California, Aug. 12: Student interns at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory lend intellectual expertise to NASA’s MSL/Curiosity success. Of 450 JPL interns, 30 are assigned to the Curiosity mission. One is credited with a clever iPhone app that proved key to a rover simulation. http://www.pasadenasun.com/news/jpl/tn-pas-0812-army-of-nasa-jet-propulsion-laboratory-interns-helped-curiosity-get-to-mars,0,5174546.story
D. From the Sacramento Bee, of California, Aug. 12: In an editorial, NASA’s Mars Curiosity mission receives accolades for raising the question, “Is there anyone out there?” http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/12/4715328/editorial-mars-tantalizes-us-with.html.
E. From Space News, Aug. 10: The drama surrounding the “seven minutes of terror” that led to NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission is now giving way to new hope. The “sky crane” landing system delivered a one metric ton payload to the Martian terrain, enabling more ambitious payloads than in the past. NASA’s Mars Program Planning Group is likely to incorporate the success into the Mars policy recommendations it will soon make. The MPPG was formed after NASA pulled out of the Exo-Mars partnership with ESA near a year ago.
F. From Space.com, Aug. 11: Scientists give the MSL rover’s landing site in Gale Crater a new name, Yellowknife. The name is a tribute to Canada’s Northwest territories. http://www.space.com/17060-mars-rover-curiosity-landing-site-yellowknife.html
G. From Collectspace.com, Aug. 10: MSL engineers offer the plans for a built-it-yourself Lego Curiosity. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-081012a.html
H. From Spaceflightnow.com, Aug. 10: MSL’s rugged electronic brain was built to withstand damaging radiation. Otherwise, it’s not unlike the microprocessor found in many smart phones. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/mars/msl/120810computer/
I. From Forbes.com, Aug. 10: Who speaks for Curiosity? With a social media following that exceeds 930,000 on Twitter and 250,000 on Facebook, the rover needs an urgent voice. A look at the rover’s all-female social media team. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexknapp/2012/08/10/the-women-whove-transformed-a-mars-rover-into-a-sassy-social-superstar/
2. From Spacepolitics.com, Aug. 11: The website offers some early clues into Paul Ryan’s views on space policy, a niche issue in the 2012 Presidential election. Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney chose the Wisconsin congressman as his vice presidential running mate on Saturday. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/08/11/paul-ryans-very-thin-space-policy-dossier/
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Aug 11: Additional early insight into Ryan’s congressional history show votes against NASA’s 2008 and 2010 authorization acts. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/romney-veep-choice-paul-ryan-voted-against-last-two-nasa-authorization-bills
B. From The Orlando Sentinel, Aug. 10: Surrogates for President Obama and Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney in Florida, a battleground state in the 2012 election, offer their positions on space. The president will continue the transition of low Earth activities by humans to the commercial sector. Romney’s camp is still formulating. http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2012/08/obama-campaign-to-romney-on-space-coast-where-are-you-on-space.html
3. From Politico, Aug. 9: An op-ed finds the U. S. at a financial crossroads, whose seeds were planted a half-century ago by Lyndon Johnson’s The Great Society and John F. Kennedy’s New Frontier. Today, policy makers are confronted with a stark choice between funding social programs like Medicare and Medicaid and making investments in science and education.”The younger child, the Great Society, has grown to be fat and happy,” write Gabriel Horowitz, of the Economic Program, and David Kendall, of The Third Way think tank. ”The older child, investments, is starved. NASA, the New Frontier’s crown jewel, is a shell.” http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79521.html
A. From The Houston Chronicle, Aug 10: In an editorial, the Chronicle urges changes at NASA it believes would lessen political influence on exploration goals, a 10-year appointment for the agency’s administrator and multi-year budgets. http://www.chron.com/opinion/editorials/article/Editorial-Let-s-bring-logic-to-NASA-s-budget-3779960.php
B. From The Denver Post, Aug. 12: In an editorial, the Post urges a place for space exploration on the national agenda. The call is based on the success of NASA’s MSL/Curiosity landing and NASA’s selection of Sierra Nevada, of Colorado, as one of three companies eligible for a third round of commercial crew space transportation development funding. http://www.denverpost.com/opinion/ci_21277560/editorial-returning-our-attention-space-exploration
C. From Spacepolitics.com, Aug. 10: MSL’s landing produced wide acclaim. However, it’s so far unclear whether the mission’s popularity will translate into new political support and funding for NASA’s Mars program. The Mars line is facing a steep reduction. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/08/10/will-curiosity-help-save-nasa-mars-funding/
D. From Spacepolicyonline.com and NPR, Aug. 12: More on MSL fight controller Bobak Ferdowski’s famous Mohawk haircut, and Adam Steltzner’s rise from rock museum to MSL control room symbol. The news: Steltzner’s now out of a job.
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