CSExtra – Tuesday, March 5, 2013
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. In Washington, the House Appropriations Committee includes a small funding increase for NASA to a new continuing resolution that would fund the federal government from March 27 to the end of the 2013 fiscal year. On Mars, Curiosity recovers from a software glitch. International Space Station astronauts hustle through SpaceX Dragon cargo activities. Upcoming in Florida on Wednesday, Florida Space Day. Essayists find favor with Dennis Tito’s bold Mars mission. NOAA takes possession of a new high tech Earth observing satellite. In Arizona and New Mexico a pair of Apollo-era memories live on. The Science Channel looks to March for a showcase session on extraterrestrial life.
1. From Spacepolitics.com: On Monday, the U. S. House Appropriations Committee introduces legislation that would extend the current Continuing Resolution based on the 2012 budget through Sept. 30. The current CR, necessary because the White House and Congress could not agree on a 2013 fiscal year budget, expires on March 27. Unlike most federal agencies, NASA’s top line would rise slightly, benefiting the agency’s Space Launch System and commercial crew initiatives. The SLS represents the heavy lift rocket under development for future human deep space missions. The second initiative would place the transportation of humans to Earth orbit in the hands of private companies.
2. From CBSNews.com: Engineers at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory continue to bring the Mars Curiosity rover back on line after a computer malfunction placed the robotic geologist in safe mode last week. Limited science activities are expected to resume soon, while ground controllers methodically switch Curiosity to a backup computer.
3. From Florida Today: International Space Station astronauts focus on cargo exchanges on Monday, a day after a SpaceX Dragon resupply capsule berths. SpaceX overcame a post launch thruster issue to reach the station a day late. Post berthing activities include operations with a pair of new experiments that will return to Earth when the Dragon is unberthed on March 25.
4. From AmericaSpace.com: In Florida, the aerospace community prepares for the annual Florida Space Day on Wednesday in Tallahassee, the state’s capital. The day offers an opportunity for the state’s space interests to discuss the industry with state lawmakers and the public.
5. From The Space Review: Two essays examine the inspiration promised by Dennis Tito’s plans for a human mission around Mars and the future of NASA’s human space exploration model.
A. In “A Martian adventure for inspiration, not commercialization,” TSR editor Jeff Foust looks at the motivation and inspiration behind Dennis Tito’s plans for the 2018 launch of a two person crew that would loop around Mars and return. The mission would unfold over 501 days. The essay finds Tito more motivated by inspiring a future generation with a bold endeavor than accumulating wealth.
B. In “The future of the U. S. human spaceflight program is not reliving its past,” essayist Roger Handberg suggests the best hope for advances in space exploration rests with the commercial sector. The U. S. model embodied by the Apollo explorations of the moon, even the development of the shuttle and the International Space Station, has passed, writes Handberg, a political scientist at the University of Central Florida. “The fiscal cliff, embodied in the budget sequestration, further hampers any dramatic rebooting of NASA’s efforts,” he writes.
6. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NOAA takes control of the NASA launched Suomi NPP satellite. Launched in late October 2011, the spacecraft was developed to test technologies for a new generation of weather and climate research satellites.
7. From Wired.com: More on PANSTARRS, a comet close to a debut in the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere. Binoculars, or an amateur grade telescope may help with amateur observations.
8. From AmericaSpace.com: Ground cameras flooded by the launch of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket on March 1.
9. From Discovery.com: In the 1960s, the U. S. Geological Survey teamed with NASA to recreate a lunar landscape at Cinder Lake, a high altitude volcanic stretch, in Arizona. The setting served as a training place for the Apollo astronauts.
A. From Collectspace.com: The Smithsonian Institution loans a significant replica of NASA’s Apollo capsule to the New Mexico Museum of Space History.
10. From The Washington Post: The Science Channel and the SETI Institute partner to produce a March series on the existence of life beyond Earth.
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