CSExtra – Friday, February 8, 2013
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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Astronomers promise a record close approach but no danger to Earth as a 150-foot long asteroid speeds past on Feb. 15. However, new evidence strengthens the link between a massive asteroid or comet impact 65 million years ago and the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. An Ariane V rocket delivers a pair of communications satellites into orbit from a launch site in French Guiana. The International Space Station represents a catalyst for future commercial activities in Earth orbit, according to a top NASA official. The U. S. House Science, Space and Transportation Committee pledges a bipartisan course as it addresses space policy matters this year. Asia: poised for a space race, according to at least one expert. So far, astronomers have not detected signs of intelligent communication streaming from alien planets detected with NASA’s Kepler space telescope.
1. From The Washington Post. Astronomers anticipate a record close approach on Feb. 15 as 2012 DA14, an asteroid half the length of a football field, whips past the Earth. While there is no threat of an impact, 2012 DA14 will pass within 80,000 miles of the Earth’s surface. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/2013/02/07/ff47b876-714d-11e2-ac36-3d8d9dcaa2e2_story.html?hpid=z2i
A. From USA Today: After asteroid 2012 DA14′s close pass, the rock relic from the solar system’s earliest days will likely never come so close again, say experts. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/sciencefair/2013/02/07/nasa-asteroid-d14/1900387/
B. Space.com: The website offers an illustration of the course asteroid 2012 DA14 will follow as it comes close to Earth, then departs on Feb. 15. http://www.space.com/19669-asteroid-2012-da14-earth-flyby-explained-infographic.html
C. From Wired.com: Engineers at Texas A&M University have pioneered a strategy to deflect a future large asteroid on a collision course with the Earth. A thin coat of reflective paint, sprayed on the asteroid by a space probe, might produce the Yarkowvsky Effect — a small course altering force produced by light and heat from the sun. http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2013/02/painting-asteroids/
2. From Space.com: New evidence points to a massive crater in Chicxulub Mexico as the impact site for an asteroid or comet that prompted the extinction of the dinosaurs and other life on Earth 65 million years ago. The impact ended a 135 million year reign for the big reptiles. Evidence for the impact theory began to grow three decades ago. New findings suggest the mass extinction and impact occurred within 33,000 years of one another. http://www.space.com/19681-dinosaur-killing-asteroid-chicxulub-crater.html
3. From Spaceflightnow.com: An Ariane V rocket successfully launches a pair of communications satellites on Thursday. The satellites, one for Azerbaijan and a second spacecraft for a Spanish company to relay television and Internet services to Latin America, represent the most massive payload placed in geosynchronous orbit by the work horse launcher from the European space port in French Guiana. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/ariane/va212/130207launch/#.URTNzh1_F48
4. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: The 15 member International Space Station is driving a new market for commercial orbital space activities, according to a top NASA spaceflight official. The ISS is a draw for innovative research and as well as the delivery of crew and cargo by the commercial sector, Bill Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, told the FAA Commercial Space Transportation Conference in Washington. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/asd_02_07_2013_p04-02-545867.xml
5. From Space.com: Dueling satellite launches from North and South Korea as well as Iran’s recent suborbital spaceflight with a primate could signal the start of a new high stakes space race in Asia, according to one space policy expert. China, however, appears comfortably in the lead. http://www.space.com/19664-asian-space-race-north-korea-iran.html
6. From Spacepolitics.com: Members of the U. S. House Science Space and Transportation Committee pledged bi-partisan cooperation this week as they emerged from a retreat prepared to take on the oversight of issues that include future space exploration activities. Congressman Lamar Smith, of Texas, is the panel’s new chair. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2013/02/07/house-science-committee-pledges-bipartisan-cooperation/
A. From The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette ,of Indiana: NASA astronaut Kevin Ford, commander of the International Space Station, greets Indiana lawmakers on Thursday for a video conference tour of the orbiting science laboratory. Ford is an Indiana native. http://www.journalgazette.net/article/20130208/NEWS07/302089943
7. From Discovery.com: Follow-up observations of stars with prospective planets detected by NASA’s Kepler space telescope fail to reveal broadcast signals from intelligent civilizations. However, SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) scientists say their signal search is still in its infancy. The follow-up studies were conducted using the Green Bank radio telescope in West Virginia. http://news.discovery.com/space/alien-life-exoplanets/no-transmitting-aliens-detected-in-seti-kepler-search-130207.htm
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