CSExtra – Top Space News for Thursday, March 20, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Key member of U.S. House changes course to support NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission. ARM would pair the Space Launch System heavy lift rocket with Orion to launch U.S. explorers on a mission to a small asteroid captured in deep space and maneuvered into orbit around the moon. Mars orbiter spots new gully on crater slope. Germany hopes to prevent NASA suspension of airborne SOFIA observatory flights. Spanish researchers spot evidence of double asteroid impact. Hubble Space Telescope nears 24th launch anniversary. In 2012, the Earth was in the right place at the right time to avoid a potentially devastating blow from a powerful solar discharge. Possible debris from missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 spotted in satellite imagery off Australian coast. NASA astronaut Steve Swanson to join two cosmonauts for launch from Kazakhstan to the International Space Station on Tuesday. Florida shuttle worker joins effort to enhance Endeavour display in Los Angeles. Earth’s radiation belt reveals eerie ‘tiger stripes’.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Space News (3/19): NASA Administrator Charles Bolden convinces U.S. Rep. Donna Edwards, of Maryland, that the Asteroid Redirect Mission merits her support. Edwards, ranking Democrat on the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, was compelled to reverse her opposition by Bolden’s presentation to a student group. “So I very quickly sent [Bolden] a text message,” Edwards this week. “I said ‘Charlie, I was totally mesmerized by your description of the asteroid retrieval mission and how that could fit in some of the other things that we’re doing.”’
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
Wired (3/19): NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter cameras detect recently formed gully on a Martian crater slope. Scientists believe a surge of carbon dioxide, not water, created the channel between November 2010 and May 2013.
Space News (3/19): Germany will attempt to persuade NASA to continue with flights of SOFIA, an airborne observatory based in California. Currently, NASA plans to cease flights of the telescope mounted inside a Boeing 747 in September because of budget constraints.
USA Today (3/19): Spanish researchers identify a double meteor impact in Sweden 458 million years ago. The source appears to be a double asteroid.
Orlando Sentinel: (3/19): The Hubble Space Telescope, launched April 24, 1990, marks its 24th anniversary in orbit soon. NASA releases a new photo set to mark the occasion.
Reuters (3/19): In 2012, intense solar activity unleashed flares that — had they hit the Earth — would have caused major damage to terrestrial electrical grids and disabled satellites.
Low Earth Orbit
Wall Street Journal (3/20): Satellite images spot debris, possibly from missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, in the Indian Ocean southwest of Perth, Australia. Search aircraft are following up.
University of Colorado (3/19): Swanson is scheduled to join two cosmonauts for trip to the International Space Station on Tuesday. Swanson, Alexander Skvortsov and Oleg Artemyev will launch from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan on March 25 at 5:17 p.m., EDT.
Orlando Sentinel (3/17): Dennis Jenkins was part of NASA’s shuttle launch team for three decades. Now, he searches for artifacts to embellish a public display for shuttle Endeavour at the California Science Center in Los Angeles.
NASA (3/19): One of two radiation belts strapped around the Earth, the lower one, has distinguishing features, zebra stripes, say researchers involved in NASA’s twin Van Allen Belt probe mission. The spacecraft were launched two years ago.
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