CSExtra – Thursday, January 3, 2013
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities. Though confronted by a challenging budget environment, U. S. government and commercial space initiatives are poised for new milestones in 2013; NASA’s Curiosity mission is off to a successful start. In Washington, the House passes Senate sponsored legislation that nurtures commercial space initiatives, and allows NASA to purchase additional launch services from Russia. A look beyond a New Year’s House and Senate compromise on the Fiscal Cliff that postpones steep budget cuts by two months. A new study suggests the Milky Way hosts a staggering 100 billion planets. Researchers find Alzheimer’s like symptoms in mice exposed to cosmic radiation. The first meteor shower of 2013, the Quadrantids peaks. A virtual look at Mars during fertile conditions. A video tour of the International Space Station. Quickly, 2013 brings an important lineup of anniversaries for historic space milestones.
1. From The Space Review: Supporters of U.S. space exploration efforts will be challenged in a tough budget environment as 2013 unfolds. However, NASA’s Curiosity rover, which landed on Mars in early August, is off to a successful start on a two year mission. NASA’s work to regain a human deep space exploration capability with the Orion crew capsule and Space Launch System progressing. Commercial efforts to advance suborbital and commercial space initiatives are advancing. “The success or failure of these efforts could have significant implications for both public and private sector space efforts in the years to come,” according to TSR. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2211/1
2. From Spacepolicyonline.com: In Washington, the House joined the Senate on Wednesday in passing legislation affecting space development activities on several fronts. The measure extends FAA indemnification that protects commercial rocket launches from third party damage claims; extends a waiver to the Iran, North Korea, Syria Nonproliferation Act that will permit NASA to purchase additional Russian crew launch services; and discourages NASA from raiding budgets assigned to Orion/Space Launch System and Commercial Crew development. The measure awaits presidential signature. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/house-passes-senate-version-of-indemnification-inksna-exploration-bill
3. From Spaceflightnow.com: The U. S. government, including its civilian and military space agencies, received a reprieve from the steep budget cuts spelled out in the Fiscal Cliff and sequester. Abrupt budget cuts scheduled to take effect on Jan. 2 were postponed until March 1 by Senate sponsored compromise legislation passed by the House late on Jan. 1. Many of the issues that could disrupt civil as well as military space development efforts will be re-considered by a new Congress that will be seated this week. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1301/02sequestration/#.UOTm8ORjp49
A. From Science Insider: Though averted on New Year’s Day, the threat of sequester may cut into future civilian as well as military research efforts on a variety of fronts. http://news.sciencemag.org/scienceinsider/2013/01/fiscal-cliff-deal-delays-major-b.html?ref=hp
4. From Space.com: The Milky Way galaxy may host 100 billion planets, possibly many more, according to a new study based on observations with NASA’s Kepler space telescope. Kepler was launched in 2009 to look for Earth-like planets around other stars. http://www.space.com/19103-milky-way-100-billion-planets.html
A. From USA Today: NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope finds two immense lobes emerging from the center of the Milky Way. The structures could be the remnants of rapid star formation. http://www.usatoday.com/videos/tech/2013/01/02/1805257/
5. From Discovery.com: Researchers find evidence of Alzheimer’s like symptoms in mice exposed to a form of high energy radiation explorers will be exposed to on future deep space missions. http://news.discovery.com/space/mission-to-mars-could-cause-brain-damage-130102.html
6. From USAToday: The Quadrantid meteor shower debuts as the first week of 2013 winds down. Unfortunately, the best viewing from the ground will be in Asia. The Western U. S. will get a peek. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2013/01/02/quadrantid-meteor-shower/1804991/
7. From Discovery.com: A software engineer uses his skills to translate findings from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter into an image of the red planet in a fertile era. http://news.discovery.com/space/blue-not-red-did-ancient-mars-look-like-this-130102.html
8. From The Washington Post: Former International Space Station commander Sunita Williams, a NASA astronaut, hosts a video tour of the six person orbiting space lab. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/01/02/a-tour-of-the-international-space-station/
9. From Collectspace.com: 2013 brings a growing list of anniversaries for significant historical space achievements. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-010113a.html
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