CSExtra – Tuesday, October 16, 2012
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related developments from around the world. The National Research Council selects a former U. S. Secretary of Defense and a prominent astronomer to lead a long range study of U. S. human space exploration initiatives. Scientists point to the solar wind as a source of water on the moon. The European Union enforces a sanction against Iran on satellite communications. Solar systems appear to favor a pancake like shape. Uranus may host a moon with a subterranean ocean. Astronomers discover an alien planetary system lit by four stars. NASA’s Deputy Administrator Lori Garver checks in on Lockheed Martin projects in Denver, Colo. Morocco played catcher’s mitt to a rare meteorite with a Martian origin.
1. From Spacepolicyonline.com: The National Research Council on Monday named co-chairs for its independent look at the future of U.S. human spaceflight, a study required by Congress under the provisions of the 2010 NASA Authorization Act. The leadership roles fall to William Perry, a former Secretary of Defense, now at Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation, and Jonathan Lunine, who is a professor at Cornell University and Director of the university’s Center for Radiophysics and Space Research. The study, expected to take 22 months to complete, will look at justifying and shaping an agenda extending as far out as 2030. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/perry-lunine-to-co-chair-nrc-human-spaceflight-study-committee
2. From National Geographic News: The moon is graced with water from the solar wind, according to a new look at lunar samples gathered by NASA’s Apollo 11,16 and 17 missions. The water was captured in glass like structures in the soil created by a constant pounding from micrometeorites. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/10/121015-solar-wind-moon-science-apollo-nasa-soil-samples-water/
A. From The Christian Science Monitor: The solar wind may have graced the moon and perhaps the planet Mercury and main belt asteroids like Vesta with more water than previously believed. http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2012/1015/Water-on-the-moon-Maybe-a-lot-more-than-we-thought-thanks-to-the-sun
3. From Space News: Paris-based Eutelsat drops transmissions from Iran in response to sanctions. The sanctions were imposed by nations concerned about Iran’s nuclear activities. http://www.spacenews.com/satellite_telecom/121015-eutelsat-drops-iranian-channels.html
4. Two essays from The Space Review examine post election U. S. space policy challenges:
A. In “A space policy to do list for after the election,” TSR editor Jeff Foust highlights issues likely to face a lame duck Congress in the aftermath of the November elections. Each issue could have a significant impacts on U. S. space policy. The first is “sequestration,” the looming federal spending cuts some experts liken to a “fiscal cliff” that includes an 8 percent reduction in NASA spending. The others include a end of year expiration of commercial launch indemnification, a provision in FAA launch licensing that protects launch providers against large third party damage claims, and export control. The latter restricts sales of satellite and satellite components included on the U. S. Munitions List to foreign buyers. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2171/1
B. In “Is it time to create a Mars Exploration Directorate,” Chris Carberry, executive director of Explore Mars, Inc., urges a closer institutional coordination of NASA’s Mars exploration activities. These are activities that serve the current administration’s goals of launching a human exploration mission in the next two to three decades as well as robotic endeavors. Carberry writes in response to recent mission options outlined by NASA’s Mars Program Planning Group. The planning group was formed after the White House called for Mars program spending cuts in the agency’s yet-to-be-passed 2013 budget. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2172/1
5. From Space.com: Observations with NASA’s Kepler space telescope find our solar system is not alone when it comes to the way in which planets organize to circle their stars. http://www.space.com/18069-alien-solar-systems-flatter-than-pancakes.html
6. From Nature.com: Ariel, a moon of Uranus, may host a subterranean ocean. http://blogs.nature.com/news/2012/10/could-a-moon-of-uranus-harbour-an-underground-ocean.html
7. From The Los Angeles Times: Exo-planet discoveries continue to amaze. NASA’s Kepler space telescope points the way to a planet that is lit by four stars. Citizen scientists affiliated with a Yale University initiative are credited with the finding. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-planet-hunters-tatooine-four-suns-20121015,0,4093790.story?track=rss
8. From The Denver Post: NASA Deputy Administrator Lori Garver visits Lockheed Martin in the Denver suburbs to check in on MAVEN, NASA’s next unmanned Mars mission, as well as the Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Exploration Vehicle. http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_21779197/nasa-deputy-administrator-lori-garver-tours-lockheed-martin
9. From The New York Times: A meteorite of Martian origin falls into Morocco during the summer of 2011.
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