CSExtra – Tuesday, February 19, 2013
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Studies of the Higgs boson raise new concerns for the future of the universe. In Russia, searchers begin to recover fragments from the small asteroid that exploded in the skies over the Chelyabinsk region early Friday. New studies of the moon rocks recovered by NASA’s Apollo missions suggest the moon harbors a small internal water supply. Congressional auditors raise concerns over the future of U. S. weather satellite systems. Russia and Cuba outline a blueprint for cooperation in space. NASA’s Mohawk Guy talks Mars and hair styles.
1. From Reuters: Characterizations of the long sought Higgs boson, a sub atomic particle whose discovery was announced last year, suggest the universe is inherently unstable and in line for a catastrophic end, according to a presentation from a prominent theoretical physicist at the American Association for the Advancement of Science meeting in Boston.
2. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: Fragments recovered from Friday’s asteroid explosion may be named for ground zero, Chebarkul.
A. From The New York Times: Outsiders join those who live in the Chelyabinsk region of Russia in a scramble to find fragments of the asteroid that detonated over Russia early Friday. Prices may soar.
B. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: The Chelyabinsk region of Russia seeks $17 billion in aid from Russia’s federal government to deal with damages from the high altitude asteroid detonation.
C. From USA Today: Asteroid Friday should serve as a wakeup call, writes University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Harland Reynolds in an op-ed. “Asteroids,” tweeted astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson, “are nature’s way of asking: ‘How’s that space program coming along?’”, notes Reynolds.
3. From The Los Angeles Times: Another look at the moon rocks gathered by the Apollo astronauts suggests there may have been water in the lunar interior. Past theories suggest traces of water may have come from comet and meteor impacts.
4. Essays from The Space Review examine the prospects that Friday’s asteroid explosion in the skies over Russia and the close passage of Asteroid 2012 DA14 will prompt a global change of heart over asteroid detection and deflection as well as the pace of science aboard NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover.
A. In “Skyfall: Will a Russian meteor and an asteroid flyby change our minds about the NEO threat?” TSR Editor Jeff Foust addresses a question raised by last Friday’s explosion and the 2012 DA14 pass: Is the general global indifference to the collision threat posed by the asteroids and comets that cross the Earth’s orbit about to change? “Why worry about something that sounds like sci-fi when there are so many other terrestrial concerns to keep you up at night?” writes Foust. “The events of February 15th may have changed that risk calculus, though.”
B. In “From seven minutes of terror to seven months of science,” Foust recalls the drama surrounding NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover as it landed in early August. Since then, the robotic explorer has been focused on studies close to the landing site, rather than sprinting to a rise known as Mt. Sharp. The slow pace of activities is intended to inject thoroughness into the studies of a potentially habitable environment and prepare the rover for operations well beyond its two-year life span.
5. From The New York Times: In the U. S., the future of the nation’s weather satellites has reached a “high risk” status, according to the General Accountability Office, the watch dog arm of Congress. Cost, schedule and management issues are of concern, according to the GAO.
6. From Russia Beyond the Headlines: Russia and Cuba plan to cooperate in future space ventures, specifically space telecommunication technologies, satellite navigation, remote sensing, space medicine and biology.
7. From Scientific American: Bobak Ferdowsi, the Mohawk Guy, traces his involvement in NASA’s Curiosity mission. As far as his distinctive hairdo, it got Ferdowsi into President Obama’s State of the Union Address, but he predicts a change is inevitable.
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