CSExtra – Thursday, February 2, 2012
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. U. S. experts spotlight 16 key technologies NASA will need to pursue strategic goals, including human deep space exploration. Russia considers a simulated Mars mission using the International Space Station and future human moon missions. Space Adventures looks to a commercial moon mission. NASA’s Ebb and Flow spacecraft deliver their first video of the moon’s far side, using the student MoonKAM. How much did a headline grabbing moon speech influence the outcome of Florida’s Republican presidential primary this week? SpaceX tests a powerful rocket. A meteor lights up the skies over North Texas. NASA astronaut Mike Massimino to guest on The Big Bang Theory tonight. Fighting fires in space. The U. S. Postal Service envisions a stamp for a Pluto-bound spacecraft. NASA readies NuSTAR, a black hole hunting spacecraft for a mid-March launching. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center to loose another round of shuttle workers.
1. From Spacepolicyonline.com: The National Research Council identifies 16 key technologies NASA should emphasize with future budget investments. The investments would nurture human activities beyond low Earth orbit, help to explain the evolution of the solar system and the potential for life elsewhere and enable a deeper understanding of Earth and the universe in which we live. http://bit.ly/zTrHqB
2. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Roscosmos chief Vladimir Popovkin says the Russian federal space agency is considering a repeat of the successful Mars500 experiment aboard the International Space Station. The experiment simulated the isolation of a 520 day journey to Mars in Moscow with six participates from Russia, Europe and China. The ground based exercise ended on Nov. 4. http://bit.ly/wWI9SI
A. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Russia is looking at launching cosmonauts to the moon by 2020, according to Vladimir Popovkin, head of Roscosmos. A new class of cosmonauts will be trained for lunar missions, he predicts. Russia is weighing either a moon or lunar orbiting base. http://bit.ly/y7JPFJ
B. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Observatories in Russia make plan search for extraterrestrial planets. http://bit.ly/ztaaOz
3. From the Houston Chronicle: Space Adventures, the U. S. travel adventure company, envisions a commercial passenger trip around the moon in 2017. http://bit.ly/woad7a
4. From Florida Today: Ebb and Flow, the two student named lunar satellites involved in NASA’s GRAIL mission, have transmitted their first video imagery of the moon’s far side. The imagery was taken on Jan. 19. The two spacecraft, launched last September are revealing new information about the moons subsurface. The “MoonKAM” on each probe is part of a student science project. http://on.flatoday.com/xps9qN
5. From Spacepolitics.com: Florida’s Republican presidential primary made national headlines last week. Mitt Romney emerged the winner. But how much did a widely assessed speech on space policy by challenger Newt Gingrich influence the outcome? http://bit.ly/zCSZVL
6. From Discovery.com: SpaceX reports a successful test of the SuperDraco, a compact rocket that will be part of the escape system on the company’s forthcoming Dragon orbital crew transport capsule. The rocket, fired at a Texas test site, could also be used to land spacecraft on the moon or Mars. http://bit.ly/yuzovK
7. From the Abilene Reporter News of Texas: A meteor streaked across North Texas and Oklahoma late Wednesday. Some reported the bright object was accompanied by a sonic boom. http://bit.ly/xwuM0A
8. From Space.com: NASA astronaut Mike Massimino, who twice assisted in upgrades to the Hubble Space Telescope, recently made a guest appearance on the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory. The episode will air tonight, Feb. 2. http://bit.ly/y1S7JP
9. From the Coalition for Space Exploration: FLEX, or the Flame Extinguishment Experiment is underway aboard the International Space Station, where it promises to help improve fire fighting techniques on the Earth as well as on the space frontier. http://bit.ly/yBzM0O
10. From Collectspace.com: NASA’s Pluto-bound New Horizons mission is due a commemorative U. S. postal stamp. Launched in 2006, the mission is years away from its destination. http://bit.ly/ySeOdC
11. From Discovery.com: So, where are we? NASA’s Interstellar Boundary Explorer spacecraft offers new perspective. The Earth is traversing a cloud of materials forged outside the solar system. http://bit.ly/wICEU0
12. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA’s NuSTAR spacecraft, an observatory equipped to survey the sky for black holes, arrives at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., where it is undergoing preparations for a mid-March launching from the Marshall Islands. http://bit.ly/yWO8SV
13. From Florida Today: The Kennedy Space Center’s workforce will shrink by about 200 jobs this spring in a continued response to the retirement of NASA’s shuttle program. http://on.flatoday.com/xxywPi
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