CSExtra – Top Space News for Wednesday, February 26, 2014
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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Famed retired NASA flight director Gene Kranz shares the Apollo 13 story and lessons learned with East Texas audience. Martian meteorite study revives debate over past life on the red planet. Hot Jupiter alien planet reveals atmosphere with water vapor. NASA’s Kepler alien planet hunter loses a second detector as the agency assesses a solution to a pointing system problem. China’s lunar rover communicating, but struggling to move. NASA to report on investigation into July 16 spacewalk incident in which Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano’s helmet flooded with water. The demands and smells of space. Oscar nominated drama Gravity airs on the International Space Station. Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome gets new chief. NASA assists California with drought response. U.S. and Japan collaborate on Global Precipitation Mission launch set for Thursday. Vandenberg Air Force Base becomes busiest U.S. launch site. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center debuts new public tours. Bill Shepherd, first International Space Station commander, named to security company post.
Human Deep Space Exploration
Port Arthur News, of Texas (2/25): Gene Kranz, who led the tiger team that engineered NASA’s Apollo 13 crew safely back to Earth in April 1970, discusses the lessons learned during an appearance before the Port Arthur Chamber of Commerce.
Unmanned Deep Space Exploration
NBC News (2/25): Another meteorite of Martian origins and recovered from the Antarctic, Yamato 00593, sparks debate over past life on the red planet. The 30 pound rock, recovered by a Japanese team in 2000, sports microscopic tunnels and blobs of carbon rich minerals deep within that hint at microbial activity. The find outlined in the journal Astrobiology is reminiscent of a controversial NASA announcement involving the Mars meteorite Allan Hills ALH84001 in 1996.
Space.com (2/25): One of the first alien planets discovered, Tau Boötis b, a hot Jupiter, has water in its atmosphere, astronomers report. The planet’s discovery was announced in 1996. Cal Tech grad student Alexandra Lockwood explains the find.
NASA (2/25): The near five-year-old Kepler mission to search for Earth-like planets around distant stars has experienced the loss of a second science detector module, NASA reported Tuesday. In all, there are 21 of the modules. The loss will have no impact on plans for a Kepler mission extension conducted with just two of the original four reaction wheels that provide precise pointing. The second reaction wheel loss last May, forced a suspension of observations until engineers could devise a workaround. The strategy to resume observations of Milky Way stars awaits a NASA senior review.
Science News (2/25): China’s Chang’e-3 lunar lander and its Yutu rover, are transmitting signals. Camera and radar are working, allowing the rover to observe when stationary. But the rover also known as Jade Rabbit is struggling to maneuver. A rover problem was announced Jan. 25. Earlier this week, the lander entered an inactive period during the two week lunar night.
Low Earth Orbit
ABC News (2/26): NASA is expected to release the outcome of an agency investigation into the reasons water leaked into the space suit helmet of Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano as he worked outside the International Space Station on July 16. ”…the same spacesuit had a leak on July 9. The report will say that information did not work its way up the chain of command,” ABC reports.
KAALTV.com, of Minnesota (2/25): NASA astronaut Tom Marshburn, a physician and former International Space Station crew member, describes his experiences including the risks of spacewalks, work schedule demands and the odd smell of space, which is like crispy bacon.
Collectspace.com (2/25): The Oscar nominated space drama Gravity went on sale Tuesday in DVD and Blue ray formats. NASA’s Mission Control uplinked the film that features the hazards of space debris to the crew of the six person orbiting science laboratory on Sunday.
Tengri News, of Kazakhstan (2/26): Mikhail Vardanyan becomes the new Chief of the Kazakhstan-based Baikonur cosmodrome, Interfax-Kazakhstan reports. He replaces Evgeniy Anissimov, who departed in mid-February for personal reasons.
NASA (2/25): NASA collaborates with the California Department of Water Resources to introduce technologies to help manage the state’s drought.
Nature News (2/25): The joint U.S. / Japanese Global Precipitation Measurement mission satellite is set for launching on Thursday at 1:07 p.m., EST, from Japan. The mission was developed to improve weather forecasting and studies of climate change.
Los Angeles Times (2/25): The colorful streaks are coming from rockets launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. Vandenberg has quietly become the nation’s busiest space port following a hiatus in the launch of NASA astronauts from Central Florida, the Times reports.
Orlando Sentinel (2/24): NASA’s Kennedy Space Center inaugurates a new program for tourists
Commercial to Low Earth Orbit
New Hampshire Business Review (2/25): William Shepherd, first to command the International Space Station, former NASA astronaut and U.S. Navy SEAL, becomes vice president of Advanced Development and Restricted Programs for Wilcox Industries Corp. Wilcox makes tactical equipment for special operators and first responders in the defense and law enforcement sectors.
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].