CSExtra – Thursday, June 20, 2013
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. In Washington, the House Science, Space and Technology Committee rejects the White House backed asteroid retrieval mission, while seeking future NASA budget cuts, including less money for Earth science research. NASA’s Curiosity rover captures Martian panorama. China’s Shenzhou-10 astronauts conduct class room instruction from the Tiangong-1 orbital outpost. Changes in leadership at the Canadian Space Agency raise questions about military influence. Russia seeks major role in future European Jupiter mission. China prepares lunar rover for late 2013 launch. NASA starts a preliminary design review of the Space Launch System, a cornerstone propulsion source for U.S. human deep space ambitions. Observations with Europe’s productive Hershel space telescope end. In Hawaii, volunteers assess nutritional needs for future human space missions.
1. From CBS News and Spaceflightnow.com: The Obama administration’s vision of a NASA asteroid retrieval mission received a setback on Wednesday as the House Science Space and Transportation Committee outlined a draft authorization bill that features future bases on the moon and Mars — but significant spending cuts. NASA Earth observation missions would face reductions as well.
A. From Space News: NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver says the agency will not give up on its asteroid mission and must do a better job of making its case before Congress.
B. From Space.com: Without more funding NASA will never reach Mars with human explorers, former U. S. aerospace executive Tom Young informs the U. S. House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Wednesday.
C. From The Orlando Sentinel: Support for a lunar base and a future sustained human presence on Mars places an emerging House NASA authorization bill at odds with White House plans. The Obama administration wants NASA to capture an asteroid and steer it into a lunar orbit for study by U. S. astronauts.
D. From Florida Today: The NASA spending plan unveiled by a House authorization panel would cap the agency’s budget in 2014 and 2015 at $1 billion less.
E. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: Proposed U. S. House bill seeks to end NASA’s reliance on Russia for the launching of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station through development of commercial space transportation services.
F. From Nature News: U.S. House panel seeks deep cuts in NASA’s Earth sciences mission.
G. From Business Insider via The Houston Chronicle: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson urges support for the Obama Administration’s asteroid exploration strategy.
2. From Wired.com: NASA’s Curiosity rover sends back a dramatic post card view of its surroundings in Gale Crater on Mars.
A. From Space.com: Scientists wrestle with differences in nickel and oxygen concentrations in Martian meteorites discovered on the Earth and observations of surface rocks made by rovers on the red planet. The differences suggest changing conditions in the Martian environment.
3. From Xinhuanet.com, of China: On Thursday, the two man, one woman crew of China’s Shenzhou-10 offers a classroom teaching session from the Tiangong-1 orbiting space outpost. Elementary and secondary students form the primary audience.
A. From The Associated Press via The Houston Chronicle: Chinese astronauts demonstrate weightlessness to student audiences by playing with gyroscopes and water globs.
4. From Space News: The selection of a former high ranking military officer, Walter Natynczyk, to lead the Canadian Space Agency raises questions about military influence over the nation’s civil space plans. The new leader takes over in August.
5. From Space.com: Russia and Europe unveil an ambitious plan to robotically investigation Jupiter’s moons. Russia would furnish a Ganymede lander for Europe’s JUICE mission.
6. From Space.com: China prepares for the fall launch of a lunar rover. The Chang’e 3 mission will demonstrate a capability to soft land a spacecraft on another planetary body.
7. From Flightglobal.com: NASA’s preliminary design review for the Space Launch System gets under way. The big SLS is a cornerstone of NASA’s plans to launch U. S. astronauts to deep space destinations. The first unpiloted flight of the SLS is set for 2017.
8. From The Huffington Post: This week, the European Space Agency ends operations of the Hershel Space Observatory. Launched in May 2009, the infrared instrument is credited with detecting water vapor in the dust and gas surrounding newborn stars and presumably a source for water on planets as they form.
9. From The New Yorker: In Hawaii, NASA works with volunteers on the nutritional needs of the first U. S. explorers launched to Mars.
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