CSExtra – Tuesday, March 6, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers a collection of the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Russia’s S-400 will join U. S. and Canadian robots aboard the International Space Station. The U. S. Air Force X-37B un-piloted reusable shuttle marks the one year point in its latest test mission. In recent commentaries, experts find new footing for the emerging suborbital commercial space transportation industry and a persuasive public voice for the value of human space exploration. The sun erupts with a powerful coronal mass ejection. NASA sounding rockets will probe the jet stream. The new action movie John Carter takes a modern look at Mars through the eyes of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs.
1. From Rianovosti of Russia: Russia unveils a new handyman robot, the S-400, that will make its debut on the space station with two years. Testing aboard the orbital lab will prepare the device for missions to the moon and Mars, according to the Russians. The S-400 will join NASA’s Robonaut and Canada’s Dextre, an external robotic device. http://en.rian.ru/science/20120306/171789892.html
2. From Spaceflightnow.com: The X-37B, a reusable space plane launched by the U. S. Air Force on a classified test mission, marked a full year in orbit on Monday. At some point, the winged spacecraft will touchdown at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif. The mission is the second for the small family of Air Force test vehicles. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1203/05x37b/
3. Commentaries in Monday’s The Space Review find the commercial suborbital space transportation industry at a favorable financial and technical tipping point; and Neil deGrasse Tyson, astrophysicist and author, emerges as a popular voice for the value of science and space exploration with the publication of his new book, Space Chronicles: Facing the Ultimate Frontier, with additional commentary on Tyson’s views.
A. From The Space Review.com: In “Has suborbital’s time finally arrived?” TSR editor Jeff Foust finds commercial suborbital flight near at hand based on presentations at last week’s Next Generation Suborbital Research Conference in Palo Alto, Calif. Gradually a handful of pioneering companies in the field are finding commercial as well as technical success, Foust writes. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2039/1
B. From The Space Review: In a review of Space Chronicles, TSR editor Jeff Foust finds Neil deGrasse Tyson, the author and astrophysicist, everywhere in the media last week introducing his new book. The book urges a doubling of NASA’s budget. Tyson’s wit, intelligence and media savvy have earned him a distinction once afforded the late Carl Sagan, Foust writes. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2036/1
C. From Once and Future Moon, Air and Space Museum Magazine blogger Paul Spudis responds to Tyson’s call for a doubling of NASA’s budget, Without a strategic plan, NASA will not advance — even with more money, writes Spudis. From March 1. http://blogs.airspacemag.com/moon/2012/03/double-the-space-budget/
D. From The Atlantic Magazine: Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson rises to fill a void, an articulate spokesman for the value of science. In an interview to promote his new book, Space Chronicles, Tyson notes it may be adults more than children who lack a critical scientific and technical literacy. http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/03/neil-degrasse-tyson-how-space-exploration-can-make-america-great-again/253989/
4. From Space.com: A major solar storm erupted late Sunday in an X-class flare. The blast sent radiation on a course predicted to pass close to the Earth and perhaps interfere with some satellite operations. http://www.space.com/14791-solar-flare-radiation-storm-satellites.html
5. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NASA plans a barrage of sounding rocket launches from Wallops Island, Va., between March 14 and April 4. Launched within five minutes, the rockets will carry instruments to gather information on the jet stream. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/its-a-bird-its-a-plane-no-its-nasas-east-coast-launch-madness
6. From MSNBC and Cosmic Log: A much dated vision of Mars, created by popular writer Edgar Rice Burroughs in the early 1900s, returns to movie theaters this week with the release of the action movie John Carter. Based on the fanciful observations of astronomer Percival Lowell, Burroughs’ Mars teamed with life and alien adventure. Director Andrew Stanton, however, updates the vision with modern insight into the Martian landscape. Burroughs was the creator of the fictional Tarzan. http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/05/10586923-john-carter-director-blends-film-fantasy-with-a-real-feeling-for-mars
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