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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 – Wednesday, March 20, 2013

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Wednesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. In Washington D.C., U. S. space experts outline the risks of catastrophic impact posed by asteroids and other Near Earth Objects. More testimony is expected Wednesday. NASA engineers resolve the latest computer difficulties with the Mars Curiosity rover. A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 launches an advanced missile warning satellite. NASA and the Department of Energy revive production of Plutonium 238 as a power source for planetary missions. Europe ponders improvements in space weather forecasting. U. S. export controls on space technology are easing, but by how much is unclear. Tributes and name changes. Mars and marriage.


1. From  In Washington, Congress turns its attention to the threat posed by Near Earth Objects — asteroids and comets that could impact the Earth — like the large meteor that exploded over Siberia early on Feb. 15. Representatives from the White House, Air Force and NASA testified before the House Science, Space and Technology Committee on Tuesday. Senate testimony is set for Wednesday.

A. From Bloomberg News via the Washington Post: The world is likely centuries away from facing an impact with a NEO rivaling the strike that wiped out the dinosaurs more than 60 million years ago, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden testifies. Smaller objects that could lead to regional disasters, however, are more difficult to predict.

B. From The Orlando Sentinel: NASA has identified 95 percent of the NEOs that could wipe out civilization. Smaller objects, however, also pose a threat. Experts have yet to develop a consensus on how to prevent “city killer” impacts.,0,5578747.story

C. From The Houston Chronicle: NASA’s goal of identifying 90 percent of the small “city killer” NEOs by 2020 is a decade behind schedule, under current budget projections, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden tells Congress.

2. From The New York Times: NASA engineers resolve the latest computer issues with the Curiosity Mars rover. Science operations will resume soon, say program officials for the mechanical geologist that settled to the surface of Mars in August.

3. From A United Launch Alliance Atlas 5 successfully places an advanced Space Based Infrared System Geosynchronous satellite into a preliminary orbit for the Pentagon on Tuesday. The surveillance satellite is part of a warning network for missile launches.

4. From Working with the Department of Energy, NASA moves to revive U.S. production of Plutonium 238, the radioactive substance that powers deep space robotic missions and spacecraft like the Mars Curiosity rover. Production slowed in the late 1980s. NASA intends to pair the 1.5 to 2 kilograms of Plutonium 238 it receives annually with the new Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator to make more efficient use of the fuel.

5. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: In Europe, experts look to improvements in forecasting solar activities and other space weather phenomena that influence life on Earth.

6.From Changes in U. S. export controls on satellite technologies are under way. But where they are likely to settle is still in question.

A. From Space News: A draft version of changes in export controls is anticipated in April.

7. From The Los Angeles Times: As 2012 drew to a close, the U. S. House voted to re-name NASA’s Dryden Flight Research Center for test pilot and Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, who died earlier in the year. In an op-ed, aviation writer Philip Handleman wonders if Hugh Dryden’s contributions are being diminished.–renaming-neil-armstrong-20130320,0,5906835.story

8. From The Houston Chronicle: Earlier this year, Los Angeles investor and space tourist Dennis Tito outlined an ambitious plan to launch two people on a return mission around Mars. Married couples may offer the best candidates, he suggested. The Chronicle checks in with the female side of a married professional astronaut couple.

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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