CSExtra – Monday, February 4, 2013
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Monday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world, plus a roundup from the weekend. Last week, the space community observed three closely spaced anniversaries marking the losses of the shuttle Columbia and Challenger crews and the Apollo 1 fire with Friday’s Day of Remembrance. Columbia’s loss a decade ago, the most recent tragedy, quickly prompted a debate over the nation’s next steps in human exploration that lives on. In Iran, space officials confront a photo swap that raises questions about the country’s claims of a suborbital primate mission. A prescription from Congressional auditors on reigning in space program costs wins an editorial endorsement. Sea Launch, attempting to emerge from bankruptcy, confronts a new launch failure. The global response to ozone depletion may offer important lessons in dealing with global warming. A look back at how the scientific community handled an extraordinary claim of life in an extreme environment. The sun crackles with new activity. Super Bowl 47 found an out of this world audience. A look at space activities scheduled for the week ahead.
1. From Spacepolitics.com, Feb. 3: The shuttle Columbia tragedy, which was commemorated with last Friday’s NASA Day of Remembrance, set off a chain of events that have greatly influenced the nation’s next steps in human space flight, from cementing the shuttle’s retirement to fueling a long running debate over where NASA goes next. Friday’s tribute prompted remarks from President Obama and other policy makers that suggest the discussion is far from over. http://www.spacepolitics.com/2013/02/03/on-a-day-of-remembrance-looking-to-the-future/
A. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Feb. 2: “The greatest risk in space exploration is to take no risk,” June Scobee Rogers noted last Friday, NASA’s Annual Day of Remembrance. Before there was Columbia in 2003, there was the Challenger tragedy that claimed the lives of seven astronauts. As part of this year’s tribute to the 17 astronauts lost in the shuttle tragedies and the 1967 Apollo 1 fire, Scobee Rogers, the widow of Challenger commander Dick Scobee, observed, “Without risk, there’s no new knowledge. Without risk, there’s no great discovery. Without risk, there is no bold adventure. That’s what it’s about with human spaceflight. Bold adventure helps the human spirit to soar.” After the 1986 Challenger tragedy, Scobee Rogers became the force behind the Challenger Center for Space Science Education. http://www.spacepolicyonline.com/news/june-scobee-rogers-greatest-risk-in-space-exploration-is-to-take-no-risk
B. From The Huffington Post, Feb. 1: Jerry Ross, a record setting former NASA astronaut and the author of a new biography, addresses the pace of U.S. human space exploration in an op-ed. The U. S. needs an inspiring agenda in space exploration, says Ross, who underscores the nation’s slumping performance in the STEM fields. “The exciting work of exploring the moon and deeper space will inspire young people across our country to study science, technology, engineering, and math and challenge them to lead the world in technology and innovation in the 21st century,” he writes. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jerry-l-ross/post_4363_b_2577104.html?utm_hp_ref=nasa
2. From The New York Times, Feb. 2: Iranian officials say a rocket mission reached its suborbital destination last week with a primate but acknowledge they released photos of a second monkey to signal the animal’s safe return. There’s been no cover up of a mission’s success, according to a senior Iranian space official. http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/02/photos-of-two-iranian-space-monkeys-were-a-mix-up-an-official-says/
A. From The Jerusalem Post, Feb. 1: Close examination of before and after images of Iran’s space primate reveals two different animals, possibly discounting Iranian claims of a successful flight. http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=301801
3. From Florida Today, Feb. 2: The U. S. General Accountability Office, the watchdog arm of Congress, has a prescription for NASA, the Pentagon and other federal agencies when it comes to major project development, writes columnist John Kelly. Set realistic requirements, cost and schedule estimates; establish stable funding strategy and recruit strong managers. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20130203/COLUMNISTS0405/302030037/John-Kelly-GAO-audit-offers-solutions-NASA?nclick_check=1
4. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: Last week’s Sea Launch failure shakes efforts by the company to emerge from bankruptcy. The failure of the company’s Zenit rocket led to the loss of an Intelsat communications satellite. Sea Launch emerged from bankruptcy in late 2010 with an anemic launch manifest. http://www.aviationweek.com/Article.aspx?id=/article-xml/awx_02_01_2013_p0-544004.xml
5. From The New York Times, Feb. 1: World leaders responded relatively quickly to the discovery of ozone depletion in 1985. Nonetheless, the fallout has been wide reaching and long lasting. The accumulation of carbon in the Earth’s atmosphere could have similar ramifications, warn experts. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/02/01/from-ozone-depletion-enduring-effects/
6. From USA Today: In 2010, NASA hosted a since refuted scientific claim that a bacterial strain with arsenic in its biochemistry thrives in California’s Mono Lake. The newspaper digs into a peer review process at the journal Science that led to publication and the spectrum of support for the decision that exists today. http://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/columnist/vergano/2013/02/01/arseniclife-peer-reviews-nasa/1883327/
7. From Spaceweather.com: Solar activity picked up over the weekend as a major sunspot turned toward the Earth. A weekend outburst produced enough energy to interfere with some amateur radio transmissions. http://www.spaceweather.com/
8. From Discovery.com, Feb. 3: Astronauts aboard the International Space Station were among those watching Sunday’s Super Bowl game. http://news.discovery.com/space/private-spaceflight/super-bowl-astronauts-space-station-130203.htm
9. From Spacepolicyonline.com, Feb. 3: 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-4-8-2013
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