CSExtra – Wednesday, July 18, 2012
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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. As NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover closes in on an Aug. 6 landing, space agency experts look at recovering the Mars Odyssey orbiter as a distant communications relay for the dramatic events accompanying the descent. Even in difficult economic times, great nations look ahead. NASA selects United Launch Alliance and SpaceX for the launching of future Earth observing missions. South Pole neutron detectors may be valuable in solar storm warning system. Harvard researchers look to a possible climate intervention demo. Jupiter’s high temperature fate. Sizing up a future wish list of robotic planetary missions.
1. From Space.com: NASA anticipates a full recovery of the Mars Odyssey spacecraft, enabling the 11-year-old orbiter to monitor and relay to Earth the real time landing activities of the $2.5 billion Mars Science Laboratory rover. Odyssey slipped into “safe mode” in June after a reaction wheel failure. MSL is barreling toward an Aug. 6 landing in Gale Crater and a two year mission to assess the habitability of the Martian environment. http://www.space.com/16630-mars-odyssey-orbiter-glitch-recovery.html
A. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: India nears approval of a robotic Mars mission that could be launched in 2013. The Indian orbiter would study the changing Martian environment. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/asd_07_17_2012_p01-01-477254.xml
B. From Space.com via MSNBC.com: Large and pricey, NASA’s ambitious Mars Science Laboratory mission is unlikely to be the last major U. S. mission to the Red Planet. At some point, scientists would like to recover samples of soil and rock from Mars with robots. Eventually, human explorers will embark for Mars, according to U. S. space policy. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48196407
2. From Spacepolicyonline.com: “…even in tough times you have to be thinking ahead,” notes Ralph Cicerone, the president of the U. S. National Academy of Sciences and chair of the National Research Council, in a recent interview with the Public Broadcasting System on science and society. “Show some ambition and get on with it.” says Cicerone, who took questions on topics ranging from climate change to the Higgs boson. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/cicerone-stay-interested-ask-questions
3. From The Washington Post: NASA awards nearly $500 million in launch service contracts to United Launch Alliance and SpaceX. All four Earth observation missions involved in the award will lift off from Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif between 2014 and 2016. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/post/spacex-united-launch-services-awarded-multi-million-dollar-nasa-contracts/2012/07/17/gJQAEVORrW_blog.html
4. From New Scientist: Neutron detectors at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station show promise for providing an early warning of major solar activity that can disrupt satellite communications and terrestrial power distribution. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn22068-antarctic-neutron-detectors-predict-solar-storms.html
5. From the New York Times: At Harvard University, two scientists ponder an experiment that demonstrates the prospects of climate intervention. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/17/trial-balloon-a-tiny-geoengineering-experiment/
6. From Science Magazine: Giant Jupiter faces a high temperature face as the sun nears the end of life. http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/07/scienceshot-jupiters-blistering.html?ref=hp
7. From Wired.com: The website presents a wish list of future robotic space missions, that begins with the moon. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/07/solar-system-exploration/
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