CSExtra – Thursday, October 4, 2012
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Are astronauts prepared to spend a year in orbit aboard the International Space Station? Astronomers refine their calculation of the Hubble Constant. Scientists cast doubt on a 2010 claim that arsenic replaces phosphorus in the DNA of some bacteria. Two black holes cozy up. Dark specs on the Martian surface challenge the experts. Japan and Germany will collaborate on a robotic asteroid sample return mission. Astronaut provides guidance for CBS’ Big Bang Theory. Britain’s Sarah Brighton queues up as the next space tourist. Endeavour awaits commercial stardom.
1. From Space.com: The International Space Station partnership is ready to tackle a year-long mission, doubling the typical six-month stay on the orbital science outpost, according to Russian media reports. http://www.space.com/17878-astronauts-year-mission-space-station.html
2. From Space.com: Scientists, using NASA’s Spitzer space telescope, refine their calculation of the expansion of the universe. The expansion rate, also known as the Hubble constant, reveals impressive acceleration dating back to the big bang. http://www.space.com/17884-universe-expansion-speed-hubble-constant.html
3. From Nature.com: Claims, more than a year old, that arsenic could replace phosphorus in the DNA structure of some bacterium, loose its footing. http://www.nature.com/news/arsenic-life-bacterium-prefers-phosphorous-after-all-1.11520
4. From Nature via Science News: The discovery of two small black holes in the same star cluster surprises the experts. This star clump, 10,000 light years away, fell under the scrutiny of the Jansky Very Large Array in New Mexico and NASA’s Chandra X-ray Observatory. http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/345481/title/Cohabiting_black_holes_challenge_theory
5. From NPR: Mysterious black specs appear in images of the Martian surface gathered by NASA’s eagle-eyed Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. First spotted in 1998, they come and they go. http://www.npr.org/blogs/krulwich/2012/10/02/162147810/are-those-spidery-black-things-on-mars-dangerous-yup
6. From The Coalition for Space Exploration: Japan and German agree to collaborate on a robotic asteroid mission that would return to Earth with samples. Reaching its destination in 2018, Huyabusa 2 would deploy a hopper to move around the asteroid 1999 JU 3. http://spacecoalition.com/blog/japanese-asteroid-mission-sample-return-and-hopper
7. From the Rice News of Houston. NASA astronaut Mike Massimino explains his recurring role on the CBS comedy The Big Bang Theory. Massimino guests again on tonight’s episode and on Oct. 18. The appearances have brought new attention to space, says Massimino, who also serves as executive director of the Rice Space Institute at Rice University. http://news.rice.edu/2012/10/03/flight-of-fancy/
8. From ABCnews.com: Britain’s Sarah Brighton could be the next tourist destined for a visit to the International Space Station. Space Adventures, Ltd., plans an announcement soon. http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/space-tourist-sarah-brightman-buys-seat-russian-soyuz/story?id=17384120#.UGzi6JjR7Lp
9. From The Los Angeles Times: NASA’s retired shuttle orbiter Endeavour will get a tug from a Toyota Tundra pickup truck as it makes its way from Los Angeles International Airport to the California Science Center next week. The Tundra will pull Endeavour over the 405 Freeway and into a possible starring role in a commercial. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-endeavour-toyota-20121004,0,3160774.story
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