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Thursday’s CSExtra offers the latest news and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. China’s Shenzhou-10 closes in on docking with the Tiangong-1 orbital outpost. A new study suggests blocks of frozen carbon dioxide, rather than eruptions of subsurface water, are responsible for mysterious gullies on Mars. Canada looks to rovers as an exploration niche beyond the International Space Station. The U.S. need not treat the exploration of Mars like it did the moon, writes Apollo 11′s Buzz Aldrin. NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope finds a bounty of black holes. Spaceports to rival airports, one commercial space expert predicts. The FTC okays GenCorp’s purchase of Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. Testing, hardware converging for NASA’s first space test flight of an unpiloted Orion crew exploration vehicle.
1. From The Global Times, of China: Launched Tuesday, China’s three-member Shenzhou-10 crew will dock with the Chinese Tiangong-1 orbital outpost on Thursday. The Chinese astronauts are in the early stages of a 15-day mission.
2. From Discovery.com: Scientists provide a new explanation for the strange gullies sighted on Martian slopes. The distinctive tracks are caused by slipping blocks of dry ice rather than the seepage of underground water, say experts. The carbon dioxide blocks form on sand dunes and Martian slopes as they condense and freeze out of the thin Martian atmosphere in winter, according to a U.S. science team.
3. From Space.com: Canada looks to rovers and robotics as national contributions to space projects beyond the International Space Station.
4. From Parade Magazine: The exploration of Mars need not be Apollo redux, writes Apollo 11′s Buzz Aldrin. The U.S. should look to build up a permanent presence on the Red Planet, Aldrin writes in the first of two contributions to the publication.
A. From The Los Angeles Times: Apollo 11 lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin urges greater investment by the U.S. government in space exploration, as well as in assuming a leadership role in the international exploration of space. Aldrin spoke before a crowd at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in California.
5. From Discovery.com: NASA’s Chandra X-ray telescope finds as many as 35 black holes lurking at the center of the Andromeda galaxy. The count took 13 years to establish, and there may be more of the super massive objects.
6. From the Orlando Sentinel: With the rise of commercial space in the U.S., launch complexes could become as much a part of the urban landscape as airports, notes one Florida business development expert.
7. From Space News: The U.S. Federal Trade Commission approves plans by GenCorp., Inc. to purchase rocket-maker Pratt & Whitney Rocketdyne. The Pentagon urges regulators to allow the acquisition to proceed.
8. From NASASpaceFlight.com: Hardware and ground evaluations point to a seminal test flight of NASA’s Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, the unpiloted Exploration Flight Test-1 set for late 2014. The latest milestones include a successful static loads and pressure test of the capsule at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center.
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