CSExtra – Tuesday, August 14, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the globe. President Obama praises NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory control team for the successful landing of the Mars Science Laboratory. An essay suggests NASA’s role should be the establishment of an outer space infrastructure that fosters space commerce. Another essay examines the future of NASA’s financially restricted Mars program. NASA gains a new chief astronaut. The latest on black holes.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: President Obama calls NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity control team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory early Monday with praise for their success at getting the lander safely on the Martian terrain early Aug. 6. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/mars/msl/120813obama/
A. From Politico.com: President Obama urges MSL engineers and scientists to inform him quickly if they discover life on Mars. http://www.politico.com/politico44/2012/08/obama-to-rover-team-if-you-contact-martians-please-131942.html
B. From The New York Times: Curiosity transmits more of a high definition panorama of the rover’s landing site back to Earth. Engineers at JPL complete a rover software upgrade. Mission managers report Curiosity is a little warmer than anticipated but in otherwise good shape. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/14/science/space/mars-looks-quite-familiar-if-only-on-the-surface.html?_r=2&ref=science
C. From The Los Angeles Times: Curiosity’s software upgrades are tailored to move the rover and carry out science operations. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/08/mars-rover-curiosity-gets-software-update-brain-transplant.html
2. Two essays from The Space Review propose a future calling for NASA and question whether the U. S. is prepared to follow-up on the exploration of Mars after the successful Aug. 6 landing of the MSL/Curiosity landing.
A. In “After Apollo: creating an economically robust space policy by learning from the American West,” Martin Elvin, a astrophysicist with the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, suggests NASA’s future is best suited to establishing an infrastructure that will permit the commercial exploitation of the space frontier. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2137/1
B. In “A curious future for Mars exploration,” TSR editor Jeff Foust attempts to unsort the spectacular success of the MSL/Curiosity landing against a confusing political/economic backdrop that almost seems to have no use for the imminent fruits of the hard fought, $2.5 billion mission. The Mars Program Planning Group, a small NASA task force appointed earlier this year, is re-scoping a Martian exploration strategy attuned to budget constraints, including the agency’s retreat from the Exo-Mars partnership with the European Space Agency. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2136/1
3. From Collectspace.com: Peggy Whitson steps back as NASA’s first female chief astronaut in order to become eligible for a future space flight assignment. Robert Behnken, an Air Force officer and two time space shuttle astronaut, inherits the Johnson Space Center chief astronaut post. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-081312a.html
4. From Space.com: Astrophysicist Kip Thorne discusses his profession’s latest thinking on the behavior of black holes in a question and answer session with the website. http://www.space.com/17086-bizarre-black-holes-kip-thorne-interview.html
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