CSExtra – Monday, November 5, 2012
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, including a roundup of writings from the weekend. The National Research Council fills out the roster for a study panel that will carry out a Congressionally mandated assessment of NASA’s human spaceflight priorities. NASA’s Curiosity rover checks for, but finds no evidence of methane gas — a possible indicator of recent biological activity — in the Martian atmosphere. NASA’s Atlantis becomes the final shuttle orbiter to leave the space agency for a public display venue. Monday marks election eve, and three Congressional candidates from Florida, Texas and California have unusually close ties to space. An inspirational tale from Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney involves space, the U. S. flag and the Boy Scouts. Russia’s Proton delivers two satellites to orbit. The U. S. Air Force’s X-37B encounters another delay in its next mission. In Eastern Europe, Poland yields a large meteorite. Fireballs from Comet Encke. A look at major space policy activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Nov. 2: The National Research Council fills out the names of a 17 member panel that will examine the strategic direction of NASA’s human spaceflight program. The study, requested by Congress, will be led by William Perry, of Stanford, a former Secretary of Defense. The panel will meet first on Dec. 19 in Washington D. C.
2. From Space.com, Nov. 2: NASA’s Curiosity rover is checking Mars like never before for conditions that may have made the red planet suitable for microbial life. That includes a check for methane in the atmosphere, a waste gas that would indicate “recent” biological activity. So far, no methane, scientists report.
A. From Space.com, Nov. 2: Why methane on Mars matters in the search for alien life.
B. From Wired News, Nov. 2: Curiosity generates a stunning self portrait.
3. From CBS News, Nov. 2: Shuttle orbiter Atlantis moves to the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, where it is scheduled to go on public display in July. Marching bands, speeches and fireworks accompany a 10 mile, 12 hour over-the-road trek from Kennedy’s Vehicle Assembly Building to the new venue. Atlantis was the last of NASA’s winged orbiters to head for a public display home.
A. From Florida Today, Nov. 4: Atlantis will mean much to Central Florida in the coming years, explains columnist John Kelly — from the tribute it offers to decades of shuttle workers to the money it can bring to the region from tourists.
4. From Spacepolitics.com, Nov. 4: Tuesday’s election will decide the outcome of three contests for U.S. Senate and House seats in Florida, Texas and California involving candidates with close ties to NASA’s human space program. U. S. Sen. Bill Nelson, of Florida, and Congressional aspirant Jose Hernandez, of California, include shuttle missions on their resumes. In Texas, Nick Lampson once represented NASA’s Johnson Space Center.
5. From The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 4: On the campaign trail, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney offers a story of inspiration: It’s the tale of a Boy Scout troop from Colorado that sponsored the flight of a U. S. flag aboard the shuttle Challenger. The troop and its leader were persistent in their belief the flag survived the explosion that claimed Challenger and the lives of its seven crew members.
6. From Ria Novosti of Russia, Nov. 3: A Proton rocket successfully carries a pair of communications satellites to orbit. The rocket’s Breeze M upper stage, which has experienced problems on previous launches, performs successfully. One of the Russian satellites will relay communications from the International Space Station.
7. From Space.com, Nov. 2: The launching of the U. S. Air Force X-37B un-piloted space plane atop an Atlas 5 rocket faces another launch delay. Nov. 27 now looks like a possibility, as engineers probe a propulsion issue that accompanied the Oct. 5 launching of a Delta 4 rocket.
8. From Spaceweather.com, Nov. 5: Debris from the comet Encke may produce fireballs in the night sky through Nov. 12, say experts. They will appear to come from the constellation Taurus.
9. From AFP via Cosmos Magazine, Nov. 2: Searchers find Eastern Europe’s largest meteorite, a 300 kilogram space rock. in Poland. This mostly iron specimen plummeted to Earth about 5,000 years ago.
10. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Nov. 4: A look at space policy related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
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