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These news clips on global space news are provided by the Coalition for Space Exploration for distribution by the Space Foundation to our constituents. You can also subscribe to receive a daily email version.

CSExtra – Top Space News for Tuesday, December 10

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Today’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. Scientists characterize radiation levels at Martian surface, which will have implications for future human exploration. Readings from NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover also suggest the spacecraft is exploring the rock bed of an ancient fresh water lake that could have supported microbial life 3.5 billion years ago. Scientists meeting at American Geophysical Union fall conference also suggest Curiosity’s focus may shift to a search for organic evidence of past Martian life. China exercises soft power with moon mission. Time for U.S. and other space faring nations to work out a property rights incentives. Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield’s book rises to 4th on New York Times list of science best sellers. Fewest possible barriers for space station research. Time for U.S. launch liability regulations to fall away for good? Chinese rocket launch fails with Brazilian Earth observation satellite. Orbital Sciences names mission for Gordon Fullerton. Virgin Galactic looks to 2014 to begin passenger paying suborbital flight.

Human Deep Space Exploration

Radiation on Mars ‘manageable’ for manned mission, Curiosity rover reveals (12/9): Readings gathered from Gale Crater by NASA’s Curiosity rover find radiation readings within limits for a human mission to the red planet, say scientists. Long mission carries 5 percent increase in risk of cancer, vs. NASA’s 3 percent standard.

Curiosity measures radiation at Martian surface: The first measurement of radiation at Mars’ surface has implications for a human mission to the Red Planet, as well as for where Mars’ missions might find traces of Martian life if it was ever there.

Christian Science Monitor (12/9): Scientists wrestle with implications of radiation readings from the Martian surface gathered by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Could humans make the long round trip journey without a significant elevated risk of cancer?

Unmanned Deep Space Exploration

Ancient Martian lake may have supported life

New York Times (12/10): About 3.5 billion years ago, Mars hosted a freshwater lake in Gale Crater that may have supported some form of life. The time frame coincides with the rise of life on the Earth. The findings come from NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover, which landed on Gale in early August 2012.

NASA Curiosity rover discovers evidence of freshwater Mars lake

Washington Post (12/10): Ancient Martian lake filled Gale Crater. Water was considered “drinkable” and suitable for microbial life to establish a foothold. Rocks in now dry lake bed date back 4.2 billion years. Lake itself was present 3.5 billion years ago.

Mars crater may have supported microbial life forms: Curiosity rover uncovers evidence of a past lake on Mars that had the kind of chemicals that could have supported life.

USA Today (12/10); “Is this the smoking gun that says there was life on Mars? No,” according to one NASA scientist involved in the new research. “Is this a smoking gun that this was a habitable environment? There’s pretty good evidence for that. We have an environment that is very much like on Earth.”

Mars was habitable longer, more recently than thought: Warmer, wetter conditions lasted until 3.5 billion years ago

Science News (12/9): Scientists offer evidence at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union that Mars hosted life friendly conditions for up to a million years. Findings come from NASA’s Curiosity rover mission.

Six cool takeaways from NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity discoveries: Some big discoveries are being made on the red planet.

National Geographic (12/9): NG’s takeaways from Monday’s major news about Mars at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco include: Mars was habitable, water flowed, and radiation from the sun and deep space reaches the planet’s surface.

Ancient fresh water lake found on Mars

From Xinhuanet, of China, (12/10): Ancient fresh water lake on Mars capable of supporting life, say scientists linked to NASA’s Curiosity rover mission.

New results send Mars rover on a quest for ancient life

From Science Now (12/10): NASA’s Curiosity rover now to look for organic signatures of past Martian life.

It’s not bragging if you do it

The Space Review (12/9): China exercised an effective soft power demonstration as it launched the Chang’e-3 lunar lander mission on Dec. 1, complete with live television programming devoid of self-promotion, according to essayist Dwayne Day. China’s openness about the Chang’e-3 mission stood in contrast to regional tensions in the East China Sea instigated by China over air defense identification zone. “…it is yet another reminder that the peaceful actions of nations in space are still governed and often overshadowed by their interests back on Earth,” notes Day.

How to form the Lunar Development Corporation to implement the Moon Treaty

The Space Review (12/9): The lack of an internationally agreed-to regime for the commercial development of the moon and other celestial bodies is arguably the most significant barrier to more rapid commercial development beyond Earth orbit, writes Vid Beldavs. The Latvian futurist offers proposals to establish effective incentives.

Low Earth Orbit

Science bookshelf

New York Times (12/9):  An Astronaut’s Guide to Life on Earth, penned by Canadian Space Agency astronaut Chris Hadfeld, reaches 4th place on the NYT’s list of science best sellers.

Commercial to Low Earth Orbit

Editorial: Clear the barriers to commercial research on ISS

Space News (12/9): In an editorial, the trade publication urges U.S. policy makers to remove every barrier possible to private sector use of the International Space Station.

Make space launch indemnification permanent

Space News: In an op-ed, space consultant James Muncy urges policy makers to extend launch indemnifications to U.S. commercial launch services providers on a permanent basis. Enough of the year to year extensions, writes Muncy. Muncy explains how taxpayers benefit.

Chinese-Brazilian Satellite Destroyed after Long March Rocket Fails

Space News (12/9): Brazilian-built Earth observing satellite destroyed in the launch failure of a Chinese Long March 4B rocket early Monday.

Loss of Brazil satellite deals setback to China space ambitions: Earth-observation unit built by China and Brazil fails to reach orbit after rocket malfunctions

South China Post (12/10): China’s space arc blemished by satellite lost.

Orbital names next space station freighter for late pilot-astronaut (12/9): Orbital Sciences Corp names its upcoming commercial re-supply mission to the International Space Station in honor of C. Gordon Fullerton, the late NASA astronaut and test pilot. Launching is set for Dec. 18 from Virginia’s Eastern shore.


Virgin Galactic ‘on track’ for 2014 passenger flights (12/13): Virgin Galactic affirms intentions to begin launching commercial passengers in 2014. The company is preparing the WhiteKnightTwo and SpaceShipTwo for the flights.

Brought to you by the Coalition for Space Exploration, CSExtra is a daily compilation of space industry news selected from hundreds of online media resources.  The Coalition is not the author or reporter of any of the stories appearing in CSExtra and does not control and is not responsible for the content of any of these stories.  The content available through CSExtra contains links to other websites and domains which are wholly independent of the Coalition, and the Coalition makes no representation or warranty as to the accuracy, completeness or authenticity of the information contained in any such site or domain and does not pre-screen or approve any content.   The Coalition does not endorse or receive any type of compensation from the included media outlets and is not responsible or liable in any way for any content of CSExtra or for any loss, damage or injury incurred as a result of any content appearing in CSExtra.  For information on the Coalition, visit or contact us via e-mail at


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