CSExtra – Tuesday, August 21, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from around the world. NASA chooses a new Mars mission. InSight, a lander, will study the Martian interior. On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover flexes its robot arm for the first time since reaching Gale Crater early Aug. 6. Curiosity demonstrates the investment value of America’s space program, writes a prominent lawmaker. During a spacewalk outside the International Space Station, two cosmonauts prepare for the arrival of a new Russian science module. NASA’s Kepler mission helps to vault the exo-planet population. Russia invites regional proposals for a rocket that could take explorers to the moon.
1. From The Coalition for Space Exploration: NASA looks to 2016 for the launch of a new Mars mission. Insight, a NASA lander, will carry instruments to probe the Martian interior. Is the core molten, or solid? Does Mars have tectonics, like the Earth. http://spacecoalition.com/blog/insight-on-mars-new-mission-selected
A. From New Scientist: Insight, NASA’s next Discovery class mission, wins selection over missions that would aim for Saturn’s intriguing moon Titan and land on a comet. Cost? Capped at $425 million. http://www.newscientist.com/blogs/shortsharpscience/2012/08/nasa-decides-to-send-robotic-seismol.html
2. From the Associated Press via The Washington Post: Curiosity flexes its seven foot robot arm for the first time since it left Earth. Curiosity, which landed in Mars’ Gale Crater early Aug. 6, is undergoing a series of mechanical check outs, which may take weeks. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/mars-rover-curiosity-extends-a-hand-for-nasa-engineers-as-robotic-checkup-continues/2012/08/20/a48b02f6-eb30-11e1-866f-60a00f604425_story.html
A. From Time Magazine: NASA’s Curiosity pans its surroundings in Gale Crater on Mars. http://lightbox.time.com/2012/08/20/interactive-360-panorama-from-mars-curiosity-rover/
3. From Politico: “America’s space program is an investment we cannot afford to short change,” writes U. S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, in an op-ed. “Science and research fuel both our financial and intellectual economy. Breakthroughs in health care, missile defense, even everyday products we use at home have come from NASA research.” Hutchison is the top member of her party on a Senate panel with NASA oversight responsibilities http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79886.html#ixzz24AfNaG7P
4. From CBS News: Two cosmonauts float outside the International Space Station on Monday, moving an external cargo crane to make space for a future Russian science module and install shielding against orbital debris strikes, http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/home/spacenews/files/082012_eva.html
A. From Space.com: Spacewalking cosmonauts launch a satellite outside the International Space Station on Monday. “Sfera” will assist Russian experts model the movement of Earth orbital debris. http://www.space.com/17197-spacewalk-cosmonauts-throw-satellite-into-space.html
B. From Itar-Tass of Russia: During their spacewalk, cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Yuri Malenchenko install protective shielding on the outside of the International Space Station. http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/500395.html
5. From Space.com: The exo-planet count leaps by 41 new worlds, thanks to NASA’s Kepler mission. That brings to more than 2,300 the number of prospective new worlds Kepler has discovered since the mission’s March 2009 lift off.
A. From The New York Times: The newspaper checks in on Gliese 581g, a prospective exo-planet whose discovery was hailed in September 2010 as the first involving an alien world circling in the habitable zone of another star. Then, came a dispute about its very existence.
6. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: Russia’s Energia aerospace corporation looks to revive its Cold War era super booster, a rocket with enough muscle to place payloads and perhaps humans on the moon.
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