CSExtra – Tuesday, April 2, 2013
If you would prefer to receive CSExtra in e-mail format, e-mail us at [email protected] with the word SUBSCRIBE in the subject line.
Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Is the American private sector poised for profits in orbital space without public money? NASA’s James Hansen, well known in science circles for his global warning concerns, retires this week. Russia looks to a resurgence in lunar exploration. It’s state vs. state in the competition to summon commercial space business. Wading through the frenzy to settle the moon. Wide spread evidence for perchlorates on Mars strengthens the case for microbial activities on the red planet and perhaps explains why organics have been so difficult to detect. Have some in Congress gone too far in concerns over China’s access to U. S. space technology? Walt Disney will join with IMAX to produce a new 3-D space feature. Signs of alien intelligence may reside in our genes, two scientists suggest.
1. From Discovery.com: Close examination of the U. S. budget Continuing Resolution for the remainder of the 2013 fiscal year reveals a $75 million line to formulate a new robotic mission to Europa, the ice covered moon of Jupiter. A salty ocean beneath the ice layer may provide a distant ecosystem. A future mission that could tolerate the high radiation of the Jovian environment has been a priority among planetary scientists.
2. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: Are there markets for the U. S. commercial sector in Earth orbit? Current inroads point to the U. S. government as a customer eager for lower launch costs offered with commercial sector development and operations. But can private investment count on profits without public money?
3. From The New York Times: Scientist James Hanson, who has issued some of the loudest warnings about global warming from his post at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, will retire this week after a 46-year career. Hanson, 72, intends to pursue his activism on the issue into retirement.
4. From Space.com: Russia prepares for a resurgence in lunar exploration. Three robotic missions would lead the way, starting with a 2015 launch. Luna 25 would examine the top layers of lunar soil for volatiles at the South Pole, while testing landing technologies. An orbiter would follow a year later and another lander aimed at the South Pole would launch in 2017, according to a presentation from the Institute for Space Research in Moscow at the Lunar and Planetary Institute annual meeting in mid-March.
5. Two commentaries from The Space Review look at the state vs. state competition for new commercial space enterprise and the passion behind a new film promoting lunar settlements:
A. In “The great space race,” TSR’s editor Jeff Foust finds the competition among the states in the U. S. heating up as the commercial space industry matures. Texas and Florida appear to be the most competitive. California’s XCOR, for instance, announced last year it would establish a new headquarters in Midland, Texas. More recently, SpaceX founder Elon Musk has pointed toward Brownsville, Texas as the landing contender for a new commercial launch site, though neither Florida nor Georgia has thrown in the towel. Tax breaks, land and buildings rate among popular state incentives.
B. In “Lunarcy: is the idea of lunar settlement crazy?” TSR’s Jeff Foust wonders as much while reviewing a new documentary, Lunarcy, which airs this week on the Epix network. The work is full of passion for a settlement as expressed by the movement’s more colorful figures. However, more grounded pursuits like those outlined recently by Golden Spike and the Google Lunar X-PRIZE tend to be overshadowed by the frenzy, Foust writes.
6. From Space.com: A growing line of NASA spacecraft are finding widespread evidence for perchlorates on Mars. A form of salt, perchlorates, could serve as an energy source for micro organisms, and they could mask the presence of organics, a class of carbon chemistry the provides the building blocks for biological activity.
7. From AmericaSpace.com: SpaceX chief designer Elon Musk outlines plans to begin a “fly back” recovery of his company’s Falcon 9 first stage booster with the launch of the company’s third NASA Commercial Resupply mission to the International Space Station later this year. SpaceX plans to launch the first of its upgraded Falcon 9 rockets, featuring more propulsion and additional redundancy, in June.
8. From Space News: In an editorial, the trade publication questions whether members of the U. S. Congress have gone too far in questioning whether NASA has been lax in its efforts to keep sensitive technology from the hands of China. Space News speaks after a Chinese national and contract worker at the agency’s Langley Research Center was detained last month by authorities at the Dulles International Airport.
9. From Collectspace.com: IMAX will team with Walt Disney to produce a new 3-D space feature. The cameras and production gear used to make early IMAX features, including The Dream is Alive, were presented to the Smithsonian Institution’s Air & Space Museum a year ago.
10. From Discovery.com: Sure clear signs of extraterrestrials have so far eluded the scientists and engineers who sweep the skies in search of radio signals. Perhaps, the message of an alien intelligence is embedded in the human genome instead. Two scientists are raising the prospect.
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].