CSExtra – Monday, March 26, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from around the world, plus a summary of weekend activities. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station take shelter briefly early Saturday as debris from a 2009 satellite collision makes a close pass. New studies of lunar samples challenge the prevailing theory on the moon’s origins. Filmmaker James Cameron makes a solo journey to the deepest part of the Pacific Ocean. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter finds evidence of small annual water flows on the red planet. A Senate appropriations panel will review NASA’s proposed 2013 budget this week. The hastily proposed salvage of a Russian satellite fails to materialize. A Russian Proton launches a U. S. communications satellite. Alabama’s aerospace community commemorates the 100th anniversary of Werner Von Braun’s birth. Engineers mark a satellite re-fueling technology demo aboard the space station this month. Major solar activity in March sends high heat toward the Earth. A look at major space related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From CBS News.com, Mar. 24: The six U. S., European and Russian astronauts aboard the International Space Station take shelter early Saturday as a piece of debris from a 2009 satellite collision threatens to pass close to the orbiting science laboratory. The moment passes without harm. http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/home/spacenews/files/1a370dae93560091e7a1f4cb0be35a66-392.html
2. From Nature, Mar. 25: New studies of titanium isotopes from lunar rocks collected by the Apollo astronauts appear to challenge a prevailing theory of the moon’s formation. According to the theory, the early Earth was struck by a Mars-sized object that cleaved away material that became the moon. New computer modeling suggests 40 percent of the moon should have come from the impactor. But that is not what a science team led by a University of Chicago researcher found. http://www.nature.com/news/question-over-theory-of-lunar-formation-1.10300
3. From the Washington Post, March 25: American filmmaker James Cameron became the first solo explorer to reach the deepest point of the Pacific Ocean, the Mariana Trench, on Sunday. Cameron made the journey in a one man submarine over seven hours, according to the National Geographic Society, which sponsored the excursion. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/james-cameron-begins-solo-dive-to-the-bottom-of-the-ocean/2012/03/25/gIQAPDwOaS_story.html
4. From Scientific American, Mar. 23: Scientists using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter find evidence of annual salty water flows on mid latitude equator facing Martian slopes. The findings are surprising. Liquid water is unlikely to last long in the cold, dry thin atmosphere of present day Mars. Evidence points to a warmer, wetter past that may have been favorable for some form of life. The findings were presented at the week-long Lunar and Planetary Conference, which concluded March 23 near Houston. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=mars-water-rsl
A. From MSNBC and The Cosmic Log, Mar. 23: A mysterious cloud appears to form over the Martian surface. The origins and composition have experts talking. http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/23/10831821-mysterious-cloud-spotted-on-mars
5. From Spacepolitics.com, Mar. 25: This week, a Senate appropriations panel will question NASA Administrator Charles Bolden on the agency’s proposed 2013 budget. Topics are likely to include the future of the Orion/Multi-Purpose Space Vehicle and the James Webb Space Telescope. A House appropriations panel questioned Bolden last week. The focus then was on proposed cuts to the agency’s planetary science program. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2012/03/25/senate-appropriators-to-review-nasa-budget-this-week/
6. From Spaceflightnow.com, Mar. 25: Russia ditches a communications satellite launched into a useless orbit in August. Efforts to salvage the Express AM4 spacecraft as a communications relay for scientists based in the Antarctic failed to materialize. Express AM4 was steered into the Pacific Ocean. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1203/25expressam4/
7. From RiaNovosti of Russia, Mar. 25: A Russian Proton rocket on Sunday successfully launches the Intelsat-22 communications satellite. http://en.ria.ru/science/20120325/172384080.html
8. From the Huntsville Times, Mar. 24: In Huntsville, Ala., the home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, a weekend commemoration of Werner von Braun’s 100th birthday takes center stage at the U. S. Space and Rocket Center. http://blog.al.com/breaking/2012/03/von_brauns_birthday_celebrated.html
A. From the Huntsville Times, Mar. 23: Tributes to Werner Von Braun on what would have been the rocket pioneer’s 100th birthday, also evoke memories of the late John F. Kennedy, who launched the United States and NASA on an epic mission to reach the moon with American astronauts. http://blog.al.com/huntsville-times-business/2012/03/wernher_von_braun_and_jfk_were.html
B. From Collectspace.com, Mar. 23 –Scanned transcripts of Werner Von Braun’s are included in the cargo lofted early Friday aboard the European Space Agency’s ATV-3 supply capsule. The supply vessel was launched toward a Mar. 28 docking with the International Space Station. The mission also includes scanned writings of Edoardo Amaldi, the Italian physicist, who is also the namesake for the ATV-3.
9. From Universe Today, Mar. 24: This month marked a milestone for U. S. and Canadian partners in a technology demonstration project placed aboard the International Space Station during NASA’s final space shuttle mission in July 2011. The team demonstrated the early stages of a robotic satellite refueling mission. The efforts could add new life to satellites, even those never intended to be re-fueled. http://www.universetoday.com/94122/robotics-refueling-research-scores-huge-leap-at-space-station/
10. From Space.com, Mar. 23: A fierce round of solar activity in early March transmitted large amounts of heat to Earth — the most thermal energy in seven years, say scientists. The extra heat puffed up the Earth’s atmosphere, creating additional drag for satellites. However, the terrestrial power grid damage that some experts predicted failed to materialize. http://www.space.com/15024-solar-storm-blasted-earth-mega-energy-dose.html
11. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Mar. 25: A look at the space policy related events scheduled for the week ahead. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/events-of-interest-week-of-march-26-30-2012
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