CSExtra – Top Space News for Friday, September 20
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary in space related activities from across the globe. Giant Space Launch System oxygen tank waits turn in Huntsville traffic. New U. S. commercial cargo capsule closes in on International Space Station. NASA among federal agencies facing employee furloughs if lawmakers cannot agree soon on a budget strategy. Plutonium supplies for U. S. deep space missions running low. Earth safe in event of ISON breakup. NASA’s Curiosity rover finds minimal evidence for methane on Mars, which would be a sign of possible biological activity. Plants: Don’t blast off for deep space without them. More than an astronaut. Passions for medicine, space shape newly minted NASA astronaut Dr. Serena Aunon. British scientists claim evidence of alien life in Earth’s stratosphere. Who better to explore: humans or robots? Earth’s time in the habitable zone: Less then we think? Venus: time for another visit? Universe saddle shaped. Image of Milky Way earns photography award for Australian.
1. From The Huntsville Times, of Alabama: Giant first stage oxygen tank hints a size of NASA’s 400 foot long Space Launch System rocket. SLS will start future human explorers on missions to deep space destinations.
2. From Florida Today: Successfully launched on Wednesday, the Orbital Sciences Corp. Cygnus re-supply capsule is making its way toward a rendezvous with the three person International Space Station early Sunday. Two astronauts will be positioned to grapple the capsule with the station’s Canadian built robot arm.
A. From Spacepolitics.com: Congress responds to Orbital Sciences Antares/Cygnus launch. The closer to the Virginia launch complex, the more elation.
3. From The Huntsville Times: With the end of the 2013 federal fiscal year but days away, Congress seems far apart on a budget for the next fiscal year starting Oct. 1. At NASA, that could mean 18,000 furloughs
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NASA releases detailed 2013 budget operating plan.
4. From Wired.com: Supplies of Plutonium 238, the power source for NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover as well as the distant Voyager probe, are running low. An absence could curtail the nation’s robotic deep space exploration plans. The best source of the radioactive material is the production of nuclear weapons, something the Earth’s advanced cultures would like to curtail. Just 38 pounds remain in the U. S., all of it already spoken for.
5. From Space.com: Earth safe in event of Comet ISON break up, say scientists. The large comet, which may be visible in the Earth’s skies later this year, is headed toward the sun.
6. From The New York Times: NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover finds absence of methane on the red planet, dampening for the moment, prospects for microbial life on the barren realm.
A. From Bloomberg News: Expectations for microbial life on Mars fade with methane measurements from NASA’s Curiosity rover. The gaseous hydrocarbon, whose sources include biological activity, is present in only minute quantities.
B. From The Wall Street Journal: Scientists seeking methane on Mars as a sign of biological activity are running on empty.
C. From Nature News: Methane evidence so minuscule on Mars the compound may never have existed on the planet, scientists conclude.
D. From Discovery News: Methane may rise and fall on Mars due to yet to be explained processes, say some scientists. The search for puzzling surges in the gas linked to biological and geophysical processes will likely continue.
7. From NASA: Plant life, an essential element for human voyages to deep space. Healthy plants promise nutrition, a natural means of cleansing water, exchanging oxygen for carbon dioxide, writes Charlie Qunich, key researcher in the field from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
8. From NASA: International Space Station astronaut Karen Nyberg reflects on her professional and personal life as well as her hobbies in a series of interviews with fellow astronaut Cady Coleman.
9. From NBC Latino: Dr. Serena Aunon, astronaut, medical doctor, electrical engineer. “Always follow your passion,” she advises. “Medicine is my passion, and it makes me a better astronaut.”
10. From Space.com and Journal of Cosmology: British researchers claim alien life evidence with stratospheric balloon mission.
11. From Slate: Who explores better, humans or robots? ”Can’t we just send robots for exploration and let them do the dangerous work?,” the website weighs the pluses and limitations for each approach.
12. From The Los Angeles Times: Experts in Britain estimate Earth’s time in the sun’s habitable zone restricted to as little as 1.75 billion years. As sun ages, it will enlarge, according to scientists.
13. From Popular Mechanics: The magazine ponders new missions to the Venusian surface, and reflects on past voyages to what was once described as the Earth’s sister planet.
14. From Physics World: Universe saddle shaped, say scientists after consulting data gathered by NASA’s WMAP mission, of 2004, and the European Space Agency’s Planck mission earlier this year.
15. From Astronomy Now: Image of Milky Way wins Astronomy of the Year photo contest for Australian.
Brought to you by the Coalition for Space Exploration, CSExtra is a daily compilation of space industry news selected from hundreds of online media resources. The Coalition is not the author or reporter of any of the stories appearing in CSExtra and does not control and is not responsible for the content of any of these stories. The content available through CSExtra contains links to other websites and domains which are wholly independent of the Coalition, and the Coalition makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such site or domain and does not pre-screen or approve any content. The Coalition does not endorse or receive any type of compensation from the included media outlets and is not responsible or liable in any way for any content of CSExtra or for any loss, damage or injury incurred as a result of any content appearing in CSExtra. For information on the Coalition, visit www.spacecoalition.com or contact us via e-mail at [email protected].