CSExtra – Tuesday, February 12, 2013
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. A new poll shows strong support among Americans for the human exploration of Mars. In California, NASA launches the newest spacecraft in its long running Landsat family of Earth observing satellites. In orbit, a Russian Progress achieves an accelerated six hour launch to docking with the International Space Station. U. S. aerospace, defense and other research interests call on Congress to postpone a looming March 1 sequester that could automatically cut billions from the federal budget. Two essayists attempt to frame the major issues facing U. S. space exploration over the next decade. NASA’s Mohawk Guy will take a seat next to the First Lady for President Obama’s annual State of the Union Address. The moons of Pluto need names.
1. From The Coalition for Space Exploration: A new poll finds most Americans believe the U. S. should and will send humans as well as robots to Mars within the next two decades. “This is a wakeup call to our leaders that Americans are still explorers,” said Chris Carberry, executive director of Explore Mars, the organization that sponsored the poll. The survey found Americans ready to fund NASA with more to pursue the goal. http://spacecoalition.com/blog/humans-on-mars-by-2033-new-poll-shows-high-confidence
A. From U. S. News and World Report: The poll also finds that most Americans greatly over estimate the level of funding NASA receives annually. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2013/02/11/poll-americans-overwhelmingly-support-manned-mars-mission
2. From CBS News: NASA launches a new Landsat Earth observation satellite from California on Monday. Imagery from a long line of Landsat spacecraft have helped the international community manage the planet’s natural resources. http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/home/spacenews/files/1690a2b544291340605938c2292ca7a4-542.html
A. From CNN.com: NASA’s newest Landsat spacecraft joins an aging fleet of spacecraft that monitor the Earth’s natural resources from orbit. The last working satellite in the Landsat family was launched in 1999. http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/11/us/nasa-landsat/index.html?iref=allsearch
3. From Space.com: Russia’s 50th Progress re-supply mission to the International Space Station launches and docks within six hours, or four orbits, on Monday. The trek, normally a two to three day operation, sets the stage for an accelerated launch of astronauts to the space station in late March. http://www.space.com/19734-russian-supply-ship-docks-space-station.html
A. From Itar-Tass, of Russia: Russia’s Soyuz crew transport missions will attempt the accelerated six hour launch to docking timelines as well. http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c154/646814.html
4. From Spacepolicyonline.com: In Washington, the U. S. Defense and Aerospace industries rally others from the health and academic research communities to call on Congress to head off a March 1 sequester. If not postponed, as it was just before Jan. 1, the country faces sharp automatic budget cuts across its defense and non defense agencies. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/as-deadline-nears-sequestration-called-stupid
5. Two essays from The Space Review assess challenges facing the space community over the next decade and the proverbial debate over whether space exploration is best carried out by humans or robots.
A. In “Asking the big questions for the next 10 years,” TSR editor Jeff Foust marks the 10th anniversary of his online publication by examining the top issues facing space proponents in the decade ahead: What’s the heading for the U. S. human spaceflight program — more focus on the International Space Station or a push to explore? Is commercial human spaceflight a viable pursuit? What about commercial suborbital space transportation. Can NASA match programs with budgets? http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2239/1
B. In “Ten years back, ten years forward,” Louis Friedman, the previous executive director of the Planetary Society, finds the future of human space exploration at a cross roads. Will the U. S. be satisfied with orbital missions, or is it ready to push itself towards Mars. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2238/1.
6. From The Orlando Sentinel: Bobak Ferdowsi, also known as the Mohawk Guy from the Jet Propulsion Lab mission control room that supported the August 6 landing of NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover, will join First Lady Michelle Obama for President Obama’s State of the Union Address. http://blogs.orlandosentinel.com/news_politics/2013/02/nasa%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%98mohawk-guy%E2%80%99-to-get-prime-seat-at-state-of-the-union.html
7. From Sky and Telescope: SETI Astronomers announce a contest to name the moons of Pluto. The International Astronomical Union must approve. http://www.skyandtelescope.com/news/Naming-Plutos-Moons-190616021.html
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