CSExtra – Tuesday, June 26, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA nurtures biomedical research on the International Space Station. SpaceX makes strides with a rocket engine test. Mining the moon and asteroids to support an off-the-planet economy. Essays assess the wider value of a U. S. – Mars expedition and the prospects for robotic satellite servicing. As Apollo wound down, NASA looked seriously at a Mars mission — Washington, though, had moved on. Hollywood advances with space technology.
1. From U. S. News and World Report: A look at the little understood virulence of some bacteria in space and how the findings may offer medical and commercial benefits. The finding has sparked efforts to develop vaccines and treatments for ailments linked to Salmonella and stubborn MRSA infections. http://www.usnews.com/news/articles/2012/06/25/space-the-new-frontier-for-medical-breakthroughs
2. From Discovery.com: SpaceX reports a successful ground test of the company’s Merlin 1D rocket engine for future versions of the Falcon 9 rocket. The big Falcon propelled the Hawthorne, Calif., company to success in May as it carried out the first U. S. commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station. http://news.discovery.com/space/spacex-unleashes-some-raw-merlin-power-120625.html
3. From Space.com: Entrepreneurs look to the moon and the near-Earth asteroids as a repository for fuel, life support needs and other resources to support a future off-the-planet economy. A recent conference examined the prospects and challenges. http://www.space.com/16273-extraterrestrial-mining-asteroids-moon.html
4. Two essays from The Space Review look at the wider social value of a “mega project” like a human expedition to Mars and the prospects for robotic satellite servicing.
A. In “The value of Mars,” Frank Stratford, CEO of MarsDrive, offers a rationale for a human mission. More than any “mega project” Mars would require advances on a range of fronts – technology, medicine, education, green energy development and food production. Earthlings have become too bogged down in narrow efforts to solve the problems of the day, when something grander is warranted, writes Stratford. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2106/1
B. In “The space industry grapples with satellite servicing,” TSR editor Jeff Foust looks at emerging efforts to make refueling and repairs to existing satellites possible with robotics. Experiments currently under way on the International Space Station could be stretched to spacecraft in geosynchronous orbit. Several companies in the U. S. and Canada are exploring the opportunities demonstrated by NASA shuttle astronauts trained to repair the Hubble Space Telescope. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2108/1
5. From Wired.com: Space historian David Portree looks back at NASA’s Apollo-era planning for a human Mars mission by the end of the 20th century. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/06/the-last-manned-mars-plan-1971/
6. From The Los Angeles Times: Space technology advances Hollywood’s visual arts. Representatives from the two pursuits will discuss the relationship on July 10. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-academy-nasa-space-film-techniques-20120625,0,6237652.story?track=rss
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