CSExtra – Monday, February 18, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from around the globe. The surprise explosion of a Near Earth Object over Russia early Friday and the subsequent predicted close encounter with a larger asteroid, has many in the space community discussing detection and deflection. First results of observations with the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer aboard the International Space Station coming soon. State attorneys move to halt the sale of microfilmed bibles carried to the moon by an Apollo astronaut. This week brings an important anniversary in the history of U. S. human space flight. A look at major space policy activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From The New York Times, Feb. 16: Russia’s encounter with a small asteroid on Friday justifies warnings from experts on the crucial nature of Near Earth Object detection. “Wouldn’t it be silly if we got wiped out because we weren’t looking?” said Edward Lu, a former NASA astronaut and Google executive who leads a detection effort at the B612 Foundation. “This is a wake-up call from space. We’ve got to pay attention to what’s out there. It’s time to stop dismissing the doomsayers,” writes the Times.
A. From Space.com, Feb. 17: The United Nations confronts the issue of asteroid detection and deflection.
B. Ria Novosti, of Russia, Feb. 16: Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin calls for a strategy to identify and fend off dangers posed by Near Earth Objects a day after a small asteroid exploded in the skies over his country.
C. From Spacepolitics.com, Feb. 15: U. S. Rep. Lamar Smith, chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, pledges a hearing in the coming weeks on Near Earth Object detection and protection.
D. From The Washington Post, Feb. 15: We must do more to map and track Near Earth Objects like 2012 DA14, which skimmed by the Earth on Friday afternoon, and a smaller meteorite that exploded over Russia earlier in the day, injuring a reported 1,200, write U. S. legislators Donna Edwards and Rush Holt; the first a member of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, and the second a professional physicist. The commitment should include disaster preparations, they write.
E. From Science News, Feb. 15: Scientists conclude Russia’s meteor fell into a class of NEO that could not be easily detected. Most asteroid surveys are carried out with ground based observatories that could not spot such a small object before it slammed into the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed.
F. From Spaceflightnow.com, Feb. 15: Russia’s meteor blast was the biggest in a century, according to astronomers as they review their estimates of the size, mass and explosive force.
G. From USAToday, Feb. 18: Friday’s asteroid explosion over Russia exposes gaps in detection of small but destructive space rocks.
H. From The Los Angeles Times, Feb. 16: Even a small impact in an age of high technology can wreak havoc, say Russian experts.
2. From The New York Times, Feb. 18: Searchers find tiny fragments of the asteroid that exploded over Chelyabinsk, Russia early on Feb.15. The debris is found close to a hole in an ice covered lake at ground zero for the detonation.
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Feb. 15: Russian meteor explosion is similar to nuclear blast.
B. From NBC News and Cosmic Log, Feb. 16: Experts raise their estimates of the explosive power of a small asteroid that exploded over Russia early Friday to 500 kilotons, or 30 times the yield of the Hiroshima bomb.
C. From The Associated Press, Feb 16: Cuba, too, experienced the explosion of a bright meteorite Friday night. The event followed the close passage of Asteroid 2012 DA14 Friday afternoon and the explosion of a large meteorite over Chelyabinsk, Russia early Friday.
D. From NBC Bay Area, Feb. 16: A Fireball streaks cross the San Francisco Bay area late Friday as well.
E. From The Washington Post, Feb. 16: Russia’s meteor blast goes viral over social media.
3. From Physicsworld.com, Feb. 17: Nobel prize winning physicist Samuel Ting says first results from the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer, an observatory placed outside the International Space Station, should be released with weeks. Ting spoke at the AAAS meeting in Boston. The AMS was developed to search for galactic anti-matter and other particles locked in the cosmic fabric.
4. From Collectspace.com via the Houston Chronicle, Feb. 18: In Texas, attorneys for the Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services attempt to stop the auction of microfilmed copies of the bible carried to space by former NASA astronaut Edgar Mitchell on the Apollo 14 mission.
5. From AmericaSpace.com, Wednesday will mark an important space anniversary. NASA Mercury astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth on Feb. 20, 1962. The website looks back in a multi-part retrospective.
A. From AmericaSpace.com: Part 1: http://www.americaspace.com/?p=31405
B. From AmericaSpace.com: Part 2: http://www.americaspace.com/?p=31410
6. From Spacepolicyonline.com: A look at major space policy events scheduled for the week ahead.
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