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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. Planetary scientists express concerns about NASA’s proposed 2013 budget. Texas politicians wonder if NASA spending will become an election issue. Some in Congress express concerns over NASA’s ability to influence safety in the Commercial Crew Development initiative. NOAA announces a cap for the development of future weather and Earth observing satellites. Neutrinos appear to be observing nature’s speed limit after all. Russia looks to greater surveillance of global missile launches. A NASA rocket gathers close up photos of the Northern Lights. Efforts to win a new U. S. Postal Service stamp for Pluto gather momentum. Huntsville, Ala., welcomes news of a promotion for a Marshall Space Flight Center official.
1. From the Huffington Post: Jim Bell, president of the Planetary Society and planetary geologist, urges budgetary support for NASA. “To boldly go” is quickly becoming to cheaply dink around. What the heck is going on?” writes Bell in an op-ed that suggests the United States is gambling with its leadership position by slowing investments in space exploration.
A. From the Houston Chronicle: In Florida’s Republican primary, space policy emerged as an issue when contender Newt Gingrich proposed the U. S. establish a lunar colony by the end of the decade. Some Houston area politicians, concerned about the future of NASA’s Johnson Space Center and U. S. reliance on Russia for the launching of astronauts, would like another opportunity to make space an issue in the general election.
2. From Spacepolitics.com: The website re-visits testimony from White House Science Advisor John Holdren on NASA’s commercial crew space transportation strategy last Friday. Committee leaders expressed concern about a seeming lack of NASA authority over crew safety on the systems that are under development.
3. From Spacepolicyonline.com: NOAA agrees to a cap of just under $13 billion on the development and operation of future Earth observing satellites, including weather satellites.
4. From Discovery.com: Neutrinos moving faster than the speed of light? Not so fast. The 2011 announcement from European researchers seems to have encountered some sobering opposition and possibly a loose cable. With links to the participants in the scientific debate that seems to support the limits imposed by Einstein’s theories, after all.
5. From Ria Novosti of Russia: Russia will step up its reconnaissance of global missile launches with the launch of dozens of new satellites, Vladimir Popovkin, chief of Roscosmos, the country’s space agency, says in an interview. The surveillance capability will cover ballistic, tactical and cruise missiles, he says.
6. From the Washington Post: Imagery of the Northern Lights as captured by a camera aboard a NASA sounding rocket launched from Alaska last week. The imagery may help scientists better understand space weather conditions and their effects of U. S. GPS navigation satellites.
7. From Space.com: A petition seeking U. S. Postal Service approval for a stamp commemorating NASA’s New Horizons mission to Pluto has backing but needs many more signatures. With nearly 6,000 so far, the effort is seeking 100,000 signatures by March 13. New Horizons is on a course to flyby Pluto for the first time in July 2015.
8. From the Huntsville Times: In Alabama, the Huntsville home to NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, finds good news in the promotion of Marshall director Robert Lightfoot to a top leadership post at the space agency’s Washington headquarters.
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