CSExtra – Thursday, February 28, 2013
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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space-related activities from around the world. Nonprofit Inspiration Mars Foundation and Los Angeles financier and pioneering space tourist Dennis Tito announce Mission for America, a bold privately financed human mission to Mars for two. New Washington legislation would refocus NASA into more of an investment group than a federal agency. Astronomers from the U. S. and Europe measure the spin rate of a “nearby” black hole. International researchers announce efforts to protect orbiting satellites from harmful space weather. Russia appoints a new general director of space systems.
1. From National Public Radio: Los Angeles financier Dennis Tito, recognized as the world’s first space tourist, announces the creation of his Inspiration Mars Foundation, a nonprofit mechanism to swing two Americans around Mars. Mission for America would launch two pioneers in early 2018. Tito is a former employee of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
A. From The Washington Post: Who will fly Mission for America? The proposed passengers are a middle-aged married couple, handy with tools and not prone to claustrophobia.
B. From Spacepolicyonline.com: At the National Press Club on Wednesday, Los Angeles financier Dennis Tito outlines plans for a privately initiated voyage to Mars for two. Mission for America will unfold over 501 days and use a free return trajectory that will swing the two person spacecraft around the Red Planet and back to Earth. The next such opportunity will not arrive until 2031. Tito stressed that this is not a commercial endeavor and he will not be richer at the end of it — “let me guarantee you I will come out a lot poorer … but my grandchildren will come out a lot wealthier due to the inspiration this will give them.”
C. From NBC News and Cosmic Log: Mission for America, a plan that may be just crazy enough to work, reports NBC. The nonprofit group led by Dennis Tito is not out to make a profit — just enough to cover the cost of the 501 day voyage.
D. From Fox News: The U. S. must move quickly to push out with the human exploration of space, explains Dennis Tito, Los Angeles business man, and the first U S. space tourist. “If we don’t seize the moment, we may miss the opportunity to explore Mars,” say Tito and his colleagues.
E. From The Houston Chronicle: Mission for America by the numbers, except for the cost.
2. From Spacepolicyonline.com: In Washington, lawmakers update the proposed U. S. Space Leadership Act.
A. From the Houston Chronicle: U. S. Rep John Culbertson, of Texas, testified Wednesday in favor of changes to NASA that would operate the space agency as more of an investment group and protect against “political whims”.
3. From The Los Angeles Times: U. S. and European astronomers join forces to measure the spin rate of super massive black holes. The calculation may help to unravel the evolution of the universe and galaxy formation.
4. From the Coalition for Space Exploration: The U. S., European and Japanese experts join efforts to establish a protective network for Earth orbiting satellites.
5. From Interfax.com, of Russia: The head of Russia’s federal space agency, Roscosmos, announces a new space systems general director, Gennady Raikunovew.
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