CSExtra – Monday, August 20, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra presents the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from around the world, with a roundup of weekend activities. On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover zaps its first rock with a laser and other developments. Aboard the International Space Station, two cosmonauts prepare for a spacewalk on Monday. The U. S. and China have reached a peak moment for space policy deliberations, writes one observer. Russia’s prime minister presses for aerospace reforms. In Florida, the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation raises money to support science and engineering scholarships. Cal Tech receives a new NASA contract to manage the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. China reaches an agreement to launch a Spanish lunar rover. SpaceX finds a potential new military customer. A look at major space events scheduled through early September.
1. From The Los Angeles Times, Aug. 19. NASA’s Curiosity rover zaps its first rock sample with a laser on Sunday, scientists at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory report. Cameras tracked the activities so Curiosity can establish the composition of its first rock. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-rover-curiosity-glenelg-laser-rock-mars-20120819,0,2166534.story
A. From the Los Angeles Times, Aug. 19: It was an investment in the best kind of research, probing the unknowns that created the opportunity for NASA’s Mars Curiosity mission, writes Ahmed Zewail, a past Nobel prize winning chemist from the California Institute of Technology. Increasingly, though, research investments are shrinking and the focus is turning to applied outcomes. “These constraints and practices raise the question: Would a young Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman or Linus Pauling be attracted to science today?” writes Zewail. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-zewail-science-funding-innovation-20120819,0,3246653.story
B. From CBS News and Spaceflightnow.com, Aug. 17: NASA’s Curiosity rover team outlines plans to spend the remainder of 2012 close to the Aug. 6 landing site, monitoring the Martian weather, collecting radiation data and analyzing rock and soil samples. The rover’s ultimate destination, Mount Sharp, lies nearly five miles away. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/mars/msl/120817mslroute/
C. From Ria Novosti of Russian, Aug. 17: A Russian neutron detector on board NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity is activated on Friday. The detector was developed to search for water bound to shallow underground minerals along the rover’s path. http://en.rian.ru/science/20120817/175284775.html
D. From U. S. News and World Report, Aug. 17: Scientists size up the cross contamination risks as the exploration of Mars moves ahead. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/08/17/if-curiosity-finds-life-on-mars-then-what
2. From Space.com, Aug. 20: Cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Yuri Malenchenko will prepare the International Space Station for the arrival of a new Russian science module during a six hour spacewalk scheduled to get underway on Monday at mid morning. http://www.space.com/17172-space-station-cosmonauts-spacewalk-expedition-32.html
3. From the Washington Post, Aug. 17: The U. S. and China have reached a sensitive point over space policy, not unlike the moment in the late 1960s when the U. S. and former Soviet Union began to negotiate for limitations on strategic arms, writes Michael Krepon, director of space security for the Stimson Center, in an op-ed. “What happens in space will heavily influence whether relations between China and the United States become more dangerous or more cooperative,” he writes. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-space-pact-with-china-could-be-the-new-salt/2012/08/17/34c7a590-da7e-11e1-9745-d9ae6098d493_story.html
4. From Space News, Aug 17: In Russia, prime minister Dmitry Medvedev calls for more accountability within the nation’s aerospace sector in remarks also posted on the website of Roscosmos, the Russian federal space agency. “You need to decide who is to blame for the recent series of setbacks, where mistakes were made, and determine the degree of responsibility of all those implicated,” Medvedev said in the aftermath of a Proton rocket upper stage failure earlier in the month. http://www.spacenews.com/civil/120817-medvedev-sets-september-deadline-for-roscosmos-overhaul.html
A. From Aerospace America magazine, a publication of the AIAA, July -August issue. A look at the events that precipitated Russia’s recent aerospace crisis, the wider stakes for Russia, efforts to recover and the implications for NASA, which is relying on Russia’s aerospace industry to transport astronauts to and from the International Space Station. http://www.aerospaceamerica.org/Documents/Aerospace-America-PDFs-2012/July-August-2012/Feature-Jul-Aug-2012-RussianSpace.pdf
B. From Ria Novosti or Russia, Aug. 19: A Russian rocket launched by Sea Launch from the Pacific delivers an Intelsat communications satellite to its initial orbit on Sunday. http://en.rian.ru/russia/20120819/175309277.html
5. From The Orlando Sentinel, Aug. 17: Collectibles from the past to the present of the space age are being auctioned through Aug. 23 to raise funds for scholarship for students pursuing careers in science and engineering. The Astronaut Scholarship Foundation, whose members include former astronauts, are the sponsors. Bid online. http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_space_thewritestuff/2012/08/sold-american-space-auction-aims-to-raise-money-for-astronaut-scholarship-foundation.html
6. From The Pasadena Star-News of California, The California Institute of Technology will continue to manage NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, under a new five-year, $8.5 billion agreement announced Friday. http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/news/ci_21339429/nasa-caltech-renew-jpl-contract
7. From Xinhuanet, of China, Aug. 18: China plans to launch a Spanish rover to the moon in 2014 as part of the Google X-Prize competition.http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/sci/2012-08/18/c_131793696.htm
8. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, Aug. 17: SpaceX is a candidate to provide rockets for the launching of U.S. Global Positioning System satellites, according to a high ranking military official. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/asd_08_17_2012_p03-02-486227.xml
9. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Aug. 19: A look ahead at major space policy events scheduled for the next two weeks. Congress is in recess. The Republican and Democratic presidential nominating conventions are among upcoming events. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-weeks-of-august-20-31-2012-update
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