CSExtra – Friday, December 7, 2012
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. In Washington, Golden Spike unveils plans for commercial passenger missions to the moon. A report this week from the U. S. National Research Council suggesting NASA needs new strategic guidance stirs discussion. U. S., Canadian and Russian astronauts prepare for a Dec. 19 lift off to the International Space Station. A mission to Enceladus?
1. From The Washington Post: Golden Spike, a Colorado-based company, unveils plans to launch commercial customers to the lunar surface by 2020 using existing rockets and space hardware. “The trick is 40 years old. We know how to do this.” explained Alan Stern, the company’s CEO and one of several former NASA officials involved.
A. From Space News: Golden Spike will look to foreign countries for its first passengers. With “fixed costs” behind it, the company will aim for round trip missions for two passengers priced at $1.5 billion.
B. From Space.com: Golden Spike’s $1.5 billion price tag includes a round trip for two. ”We’re selling to nations, corporations and individuals,” said Alan Stern, the CEO.
C. From USA Today: In spite of the high price, Golden Spike predicts long lines for its proposed commercial missions to the moon.
D. From Discovery.com: In Colorado, investors in Golden Spike offer an ultimate in tourism –a trip to the moon at a cost of about $1.5 billion. Golden Spike’s investors include former NASA officials. Flights might begin by the end of the decade, according to Golden Spike.
2. From Spacepolitics.com: The U. S. National Research Council, an arm of the National Academies of Science, finds NASA’s exploration priorities — an asteroid, then Mars in 20 to 30 years, less than compelling. The blue print was established by the current administration and Congress.
A. From Space.com: The U. S. needs to a new agency to focus on the human exploration of deep space, Apollo 17 astronaut Harrison Schmidt says at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
B. From The Los Angeles Times: NASA’s focus should be on: Where did we come from? And are we alone? suggests Bill Nye, aka the Science Guy, and executive director of the Planetary Society, “Those two questions drive all of us as humans. Everyone has asked those questions. Since you were a little kid you’ve asked those questions,” said Nye.
3. From Spaceflightnow.com: A U. S., Russian and Canadian crew looks to a Dec. 19 lift off for the International Space Station. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield will become the first from his country to command the orbiting science laboratory in March.
4. From Space.com: Saturn’s moon Enceladus draws interest as a future destination for a sample return mission at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. Geysers rising from the moon’s surface suggest Enceladus may host some form of life.
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