CSExtra – Tuesday, April 9, 2013
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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the globe. NASA’s new TESS mission plan will reign in the Kepler’s search for potentially habitable planets. In Europe, researchers affiliated with NASA’s Curiosity rover mission present findings supporting Mars as a habitable realm four billion years ago. Russia looks to landers as part of a new emphasis on planetary missions. Scientists find new opportunities in the rise of U. S. commercial space.. A warmer Earth could mean higher odds of severe thunderstorms. Essays examine the future of President Obama’s U. S. human asteroid exploration mission and a mechanism to nurture future commercial space development. The nonprofit Inspiration Mars Foundation faces a challenging year in its bid to launch two humans on a mission around Mars in 2018. Yuri Gagarin’s vision for a winged space plane.
1. From The Los Angeles Times: NASA’s proposed TESS mission, scheduled for a 2017 lift off, will scan the skies in search of habitable planets circling stars 200 to 300 light years away. This new mission will complement Kepler, which looked at a narrow part of the sky and more distant stars.
2. From USA Today: Dial back four billion years ago, and Mars was likely a habitable realm, a planet with an atmosphere, according to scientists linked to NASA’s Curiosity rover mission on Mars. Their results were presented on Monday in Vienna, Austria.
3. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: Russia will turn its planetary research focus to missions that land on celestial bodies, a Russian aerospace expert predicts.
4. From Scientific American: The rise of U. S. commercial spaceflight will soon open doors for scientific research, writes Alan Stern, a former NASA associate administrator for science.
A. From Aviation Week & Space Technology: Boeing introduces Phantom Phoenix, a family of three small satellites structured for military and commercial use. The series is intended to meet a growing demand for lower cost satellite platforms.
5. From The Washington Post: A warmer Earth could mean thunderstorms with more punch. Expects will be watching as Spring unfolds.
6. Two essays from The Space Review ponder the future of President Obama’s 2010 directive that NASA reach an asteroid with human explorers by 2025 and propose a financing mechanism for commercial space development.
A. In “The uneasy state of NASA’s human space exploration program,” TSR editor Jeff Foust ponders the enthusiasm, or its lack, in the United States for the human mission to an asteroid outlined for NASA by President Barack Obama in 2010. Foust ponders the prospect that the 2014 White House budget proposal, which Obama is scheduled to unveil on Wednesday, will change some minds. The spending plan includes a $100 million investment in NASA robotic and human missions to corral a small asteroid in a stable orbit around the moon for scrutiny by NASA astronauts in 2021. Now, more than ever, the U. S. needs to stay the course, NASA Administrator Charles Bolden noted last week.
B. In “Move over NASA and make room for the TVA of Space: A model for accelerated commercial space development,” a trio of essayists find an old strategy a worthy model to spur large investments in commercial space expansion. They suggest the Tennessee Valley Authority created in 1933 in the U. S. to speed recovery from the impacts of the Great Depression is a part of that formula.
7. From Spacepolicyonline.com: The U. S Accountability Office finds risk of cost growth in U. S. Department of Defense space initiatives.
8. From Space.com: The coming year will be crucial to the prospective success of the Inspiration Mars Foundation and the nonprofit’s plans to mount a private mission to launch two people on a mission that loops around Mars. Organizers envision a 2018 lift off.
9. From Discovery.com: The world’s first space traveler, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, may share credit for the winged space plane concept that eventually materialized as NASA’s space shuttle and an un-piloted Soviet version called Buran.
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