CSExtra – Monday, February 11, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities, plus a roundup from the weekend. On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity drills a rock for a mineral sample, a first for the two-year surface mission that began with an early August landing. Experts align with assurances that asteroid 2012 DA14 will miss the Earth as it approaches Friday. But the crossing has many pondering the absence of a strategy to divert a future impactor. In California, NASA prepares to launch the next Landsat Earth observing spacecraft. A Russian Progress supply craft is poised to lift off Monday on a 1-day fast track docking with the International Space Station. A weekend solar eruption hurls a cloud of charged particles toward the Earth. Congress looks to a NASA re-authorization measure this year — with lots of attention on a vision the nation can afford. Lockheed Martin ventures into commercial human spaceflight. Golden Spike lines up the technical and financial expertise for commercial lunar missions. Lockheed Martin tests NASA’s MAVEN Mars mission for a November lift off. Desk top satellites. Is Someone Singing? A look ahead at major space policy related activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From CBS News, Feb. 9: On Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover drills into a rock at its current science site, Yellowknife. The drilling on Feb. 8 was followed up with imagery of the work site on Feb. 9. The drilled material will be examined by the rover for clues about the role water played in the Martian environment over time and conditions suitable for biological activity. http://www.cbsnews.com/network/news/space/home/spacenews/files/290100187774ef944cf4d5a9d5d1a849-540.html
A. From Wired.com, Feb. 10: Drilling marks a significant milestone for Curiosity, which landed on Mars in early August to begin a two -year mission. http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-02/10/curiosity-drill-sample
2. From The New York Times, Feb. 9: In an op-ed Don Yeomans, who manages NASA’s Near Earth Object program office, takes aim at 2012 DA14, the 150 foot long asteroid that will skim past the Earth on Friday. “It’s almost as if nature is firing a shot across our bow to direct our attention to the vast number of nearby rocky asteroids and a few icy comets that make up what we call the near-Earth object population,” he writes, “We should take the warning seriously.” http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/opinion/sunday/beware-of-errant-asteroids.html?ref=opinion&_r=1&
A. From The Washington Post, Feb. 8: Calculating the odds of an impact from a 2012 DA14 sized-asteroid. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/02/08/worried-about-asteroids-this-handy-calculator-will-assess-the-damage/
B. From The New York Times, Dec. 10: 2012 DA14 can serve as a warning that protecting the Earth requires attention without as well as within. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/reflecting-on-an-asteroids-really-close-encounter-with-earth-closer-than-some-satellites/
3. From Space.com, Feb. 10: At Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., NASA readies an Atlas 5 rocket for lift off on Monday at 1:02 p.m., EST, with the latest in the Landsat series of Earth observing satellites. Over four decades, the Landsat series has provided imagery that has helped to monitor the world’s natural resources. http://www.space.com/19717-landsat-satellite-science-monday-launch.html
A. From Spaceflightnow.com, Feb. 11: Updates on the Landsat countdown and launching. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/atlas/av035/status.html
4. From Space.com, Feb. 9: A Russian Progress supply capsule departed the International Space Station early Saturday, setting the stage for an express trip on Monday by a new cargo ship. For a third time in the last several months, Russia will attempt to launch and dock their newest Progress in four orbits, or six hours. The journey, normally a 50 hour trip, will set the stage for a possible fast track Soyuz crew mission later this year. http://www.space.com/19707-space-station-supply-ship-undocks-progress48.html
5. From Space.com, Feb. 10: The sun erupted over the weekend, unleashing an energetic cloud towards the Earth. A geo magnetic storm and auroral displays could be forthcoming. http://www.space.com/19713-sun-eruption-unleashed-toward-earth.html
A. From Spaceweather.com, Feb. 10: A glancing blow of the Earth by the Coronal Mass Ejection is possible. http://www.spaceweather.com/
B. From National Public Radio, Feb. 10: The sounds of the sun, as explained by sonification specialist Robert Alexander from the University of Michigan. http://www.npr.org/2013/02/10/171639280/want-to-create-a-space-symphony-wait-for-a-solar-storm
6. From Spacepolitics.com, Feb. 8: NASA is due a new authorization bill from Congress this year. The challenge for lawmakers will be cementing a vision in line with revenues. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2013/02/08/nasa-reauthorization-not-likely-to-make-major-policy-changes/
7. From Aviation Week & Space Technology, Feb. 11, Lockheed Martin establishes an inroad into commercial human spaceflight through a partnership with Sierra Nevada. Sierra Nevada is one of three companies working with NASA to develop commercial orbital human space transportation systems. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/AW_02_11_2013_p32-545224.xml
8. From Discovery.com, Feb. 9: Golden Spike, of Colorado, assembles experienced experts to develop a commercial approach to human lunar missions. http://news.discovery.com/space/private-spaceflight/fly-me-to-the-moon-130209.htm
9. From The Denver Post, Feb. 8: NASA’s next Mars mission, MAVEN, which will be equipped to study the red planet’s atmosphere, undergoes pre-launch testing at Lockheed Martin facilities near Denver. The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft is headed toward a November launching. http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_22551517/maven-spacecraft-enters-environmental-testing-phase-at-lockheed
10. From The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 8: Papafoxtrot miniaturizes the world’s satellite fleet for a tasteful desk top display. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324445904578284211547480722.html?mod=WSJ_Tech_LEFTTopNews
11. From Collectspace.com, Feb. 8: Spaceflight unites Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield, currently living aboard the International Space Station, and Barenaked Ladies guitarist Ed Robertson for new duet, Is Somebody Singing?. http://www.collectspace.com/news/news-020813a.html
12. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Feb. 11: A look at major space policy related activities scheduled for the week ahead. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/space-policy-events-for-the-week-of-february-11-15-2013
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