CSExtra – Tuesday, July 16, 2013
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. A SETI astronomer finds Neptune’s 14th moon in archived Hubble Space Telescope Imagery. Space Florida seeks FAA required environmental studies for new commercial launch site. Mars analog mission in Hawaii finds boredom a daunting obstacle to Mars mission. Are Earthling’s facing disaster? NASA drones to join Atlantic hurricane study. International Space Station capillary flow research brings patents to coffee loving NASA astronaut, terrestrial colleagues. The European Space Agency’s Mars Express provides a virtual journey through an epic canyon. MAVEN, NASA’s next Mars probe, nears departure from Lockheed Martin for Florida launch site. Essays examine NASA Space Launch System costs and an increase in International Space Station research. A two-year-old Russian satellite re-enters over China. Why the U. S. and China may not become allies in space.
1. From National Geographic: SETI astronomer Mark Showalter tracks down Neptune’s 14th moon in archived imagery from the Hubble Space Telescope.
2. From Florida Today: Space Florida, a state space development group, seeks contractors for an Environmental Impact Study that could lead to an FAA licensed commercial spaceport adjacent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. The site is in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge.
3. From The New York Times: A Mars analog mission underway in Hawaii, the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) project, suggests boredom could become an obstacle for isolated astronauts as they journey to Mars and back. The exercise, funded in part by NASA, finds that work — and lots of it — may be one countermeasure. Another is crew generated special events that keep participants looking to the future.
4. From USA Today: How long we got Earthlings? The newspaper looks to the experts who have pondered the risks facing humanity from an asteroid collision, hostile viruses and runaway computers.
5. From Space News: In August, a pair of NASA Global Hawk drones will become data gatherers in a California-based, space agency campaign to track Atlantic hurricane activity.
6. From Space.com: Can capillary flow lead to a better cup of coffee? International Space Station astronaut Don Pettit and terrestrial colleagues claim as much in a patent intended to improve the drink in the absence of gravity.
7. From The Houston Chronicle: Fly virtually through Valles Marineris on Mars courtesy of the European Space Agency’s Mars Express mission. Mars Express was launched a decade ago. Valles Marineris is the red planet’s Grand Canyon, but even grander.
8. From KUSA-TV, of Denver: Lockheed Martin’s next Mars probe, MAVEN, nears departure for Florida and a November lift off. NASA’s next Mars mission will study the Martian upper atmosphere and how it escaped into space over time.
9. Essays from The Space Review consider the cost of launching NASA’s Space Launch System and attracting scientists to the International Space Station.
10. In “Revisiting SLS/Orion Launch Costs,” John Strickland finds the cost of developing and operating the Space Launch System unclear, though with many trends suggesting it will eclipse that of the space shuttle and lift off far less often. Strickland, who serves on the board of the National Space Society, notes his assessment is his own.
A. In “Stimulating greater use of the ISS,” TSR editor Jeff Foust finds an emerging pathway to greater scientific use of the International Space Station. Zero Gravity Solutions, Inc., an example, hopes to patent findings from future stem cell and plant experiments carried out in the microgravity of the ISS as a profit maker. However, a recent audit from NASA’s Inspector General, notes that NASA and its non-profit ISS National Lab partner, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, face obstacles, including re-supply and crew transport. The U. S. led partnership must also reach a consensus on plans to operate beyond 2020.
11. From Interfax, of Russia: A Russian military satellite, launched into an improper orbit in early 2011, falls to Earth over China, according to U. S. military tracking experts.
12. From AmericaSpace.com: U. S. and China are unlikely to join soon in the exploration of space. The U. S. enjoys a substantial advantage in the field. On economics, China remains a formidable threat, writes Jim Siegel in an op-ed.
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