CSExtra – Tuesday, March 19, 2013
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the globe. NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover returns to “safe mode” in response to a new computer glitch. The FBI detains a Chinese national and former NASA contract scientist at Dulles International Airport after a U. S. Congressman raises concerns about his access to space agency technology. Astronaut Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to command the International Space Station, expresses concerns about a changing global climate. Essays challenge the world’s industrial powers to confront the threat from Near Earth Objects and question North Korea’s lack of transparency in space activities. The solar storm menace. Must Martian life be intelligent before anyone cares? The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project looks to public support in its bid to enhance historic U.S. moon photos.
1. From The Associated Press via the Washington Post: NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover encounters a new computer issue over the weekend that could briefly stall efforts to resume science activities that were interrupted earlier this year. The first interruption, possibly triggered by radiation, is forcing a backup into the primary mission computer role.
2. From The Hampton Roads Virginian-Pilot, of Virginia: A Chinese national who worked as a contract scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center was charged Monday with lying to federal authorities about computer hardware he was carrying. Bo Jiang, a scientist, was pulled from a China-bound aircraft at Dulles International Airport over the weekend, the newspaper reports..
A. From Space News: Bo Jiang was caught up in a whistle blower’s incident recently brought to light through U. S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who chairs NASA’s appropriations panel. According to the Virginia lawmaker, Jiang had improper access to NASA technology as a contract scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center. Jiang’s access carried possible national security implications, said Wolf.
3. From Florida Today: Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield expressed concerns Monday for the global climate and damage from human activity. Last week, Hadfield became the first from his country to command the six person orbiting science laboratory. “During my life and my experience, over the last 20 years, the changes there have been amazing,” noted Hadfield, who is flying for the third time since 1995, in a space-to-ground news briefing with Canadian media.
4. From The Space Review: An essay urges a greater global commitment to planetary defenses as well as space resources to improve the world’s security and economy. A second essay challenges North Korea’s lack of openness in the Asian nation’s rocket and satellite development strategy.
A. In “Space industrialization and the G20,” multiple authors suggest this year’s summit of the world’s top industrialized nations include a discussion of a global planetary defense against Near Earth Objects and a strategy for a new round of economic growth based on using resources from planetary bodies and Space-based Solar Power.
B. In “Using ‘rocket science’ to understand North Korea’s space and missile efforts,” U. S. space policy analyst James Oberg checks the effectiveness of the deception surrounding North Korea’s efforts to develop a ballistic missile capability. North Korea’s secrecy has exposed it to problems encountered and solved by others, while raising growing security concerns over its nuclear capabilities, he writes.
5. From The New York Times: Powerful solar storms may be rare, but they threaten to cause major problems with the world’s power grid. One of the worst on record occurred in 1859. The consequences of a modern solar storm could be worse. Some places could be without power for months, according to a U. S. National Research Council analysis.
6. From Space.com: Unless it’s intelligent, life on Mars may do little to excite Earthlings, say some experts. Recent findings by NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover suggest the red planet once hosted habitable environments.
7. From Collectspace.com: The Lunar Orbiter Image Recovery Project looks to new public support for a five-year-old effort to gather and preserve photos of the moon, including prospective Apollo mission landing sites. So far, an estimated 600 of 1,400 images taken by U. S. Lunar Orbiters in 1966 and 1967 have been received and enhanced. The effort has moved forward with volunteer help and some now exhausted NASA funding. The project has raised more than half its $75,000 fund raising goal.
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