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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities under way from around the world. On Mars, NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover finds compelling evidence that water once flowed on the planet’s surface, raising the prospects that some form of life may have once flourished there. Russia’s top government space official urges personnel cutbacks to keep the country’s aerospace field competitive. Black holes, close up. Human space exploration doesn’t seem all that attractive to Democratic and Republican presidential contenders. Orbital Sciences Corp., NASA’s second commercial International Space Station re-supply service, inches closer to the activation of a Virginia launch pad. NASA’s IG urges his agency to break the habit of cost overruns and schedule slips. Magnetic nozzles for matter/anti matter propulsion.
1. From National Geographic: NASA’s Curiosity rover finds evidence of an old stream bed, evidence that water once flowed over the now dry terrain of Mars.
A. From The Los Angeles Times: Eroded and aggregated pebbles offer compelling evidence of flowing water and water erosion on early Mars, when conditions were warmer.
B. From The New York Times: Visible signs suggest a stream bed with a water flow rate of one yard per second. The water flowed at ankle to hip depths, according to NASA’s Curiosity project scientists.
C. From The Washington Post: The Martian stream bed was likely active for thousands to millions of year, say scientists. The site is potentially habitable, says John Grotzinger, Curiosity’s lead scientist.
D. From Science News: NASA scientists chose the Curiosity rover’s landing site wisely, next to an ancient stream bed. Curiosity reached Mars’ Gale Crater in early August.
2. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Russia’s space infrastructure must shed jobs if it is to be globally competitive, according to Vladimir Popovkin, chief of Roscosmos, the country’s federal space agency. Reductions should approach 30 percent, he suggests.
3. From Space.com and Science: Astronomers measure with new precision the event horizon of a black hole. This black hole, with a mass of six billion suns, resides at the heart of M 87, a galaxy 50 million light years away. “It’s an exit door from our universe,” notes one scientist. “You walk through that door, you’re not coming back.”
A. From Nature News: Astronomers have never looked so closely at a black hole. How close can matter get before being sucked in?
4. From Spacepolitics.com: A look at the remarks from both Democratic and Republican presidential campaigns suggests human space exploration is on the back burner in both camps.
5. From Space News: Orbital Sciences, NASA’s second commercial International Space Station cargo provider, holds off a few days on placing the first stage of the Antares rocket on a Virginia launch pad for a future test leading to a demonstration flight this year.
6. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NASA’s inspector general warns the agency is on a historical track that places major programs in cost and schedule jeopardy. Constrained budgets will test NASA’s ability to overcome the obstacles, according to NASA IG Paul K. Martin.
7. From Discovery.com: Anti-matter propulsion, the concept moves closer to reality.
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