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Friday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from across the globe. NASA returns to work Thursday with the rest of the U.S. government after shutdown ends. Former NASA managers call for more spending despite crunch. Orbital moves Cygnus re-entry up a day, prepares for another cargo run in December. International Space Station astronauts, NASA’s Cassini missions share new imagery of the Earth and Saturn. Now well into its second year on Mars, NASA’s Curiosity rover spots signs of potentially habitable environment as it heads for next major destination. U.S. and India ready new Mars missions for lift off. Chelyabinsk meteor explosion prompts search for small near Earth asteroids. Amateur radio to mark three decades in space with NASA, source of inspiration for students. Book best seller Astronaut Wives Club to become television series. More from new book Five Billion Years of Solitude: it may be up to Earthlings to spread intelligent life. Primer on viewing upcoming penumbral lunar eclipse, Orionid meteor shower.
1. From Space.com: NASA returns to work Thursday, re-opens public web sites and social media feeds as U.S. government shutdown, employee furlough comes a close.
A. From Space News: Government shutdown ripples out to work on Orion capsule. “We’re holding [off on that work], of course, because of the challenges with the government shutdown,” Jim Crocker, vice president and general manager for civil space at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver, said during a panel discussion at the American Astronautical Society’s Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium in Huntsville, Ala. So far, Crocker said, it does not appear that the work stoppage will delay the mission, scheduled for September 2014 and known officially as Exploration Flight Test-1.
B. From the Washington Post: Federal workers, including those at NASA, return to “mountain” of emails” and “serial” meetings as operations return to normal.
C. From the Huntsville Times: Marshall Space Flight Center back to work on two NASA priority missions: the Space Launch System and the James Webb Space Telescope. The furlough that began Oct. 1 idled about 2,500 civil service workers and a still-unclear number of the agency’s 2,500 contractor employees in Huntsville.
D. From the Houston Chronicle: “This is a calling. It’s not just a job,” said NASA worker Dennis Lawler, as he returned to duty at the Johnson Space Center in Houston after the 16 day furlough.
E. From Florida Today: Road signs at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center flash “Welcome back” as employee furlough ends.
2. From Space News: Former NASA managers call for more spending despite crunch. “Our community has to fight for a reinvigorated space program, even when budgets are tight,” said Doug Cooke, who was NASA’s associate administrator for exploration systems when he retired from the agency in 2011. Cooke spoke Oct. 8 during a panel discussion at the American Astronautical Society’s annual Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium.
3. From Space News: Orbital Sciences Corp. is planning to end its first cargo delivery mission to the international space station a little early, with the company’s now-trash-filled Cygnus spacecraft set for destructive re-entry over the Pacific Ocean Oct. 23, a spokesman said. “It used to be Oct. 24, but in looking at the orbital mechanics of release, the team updated their burn schedule and Oct. 24 became Oct. 23,” Orbital spokesman Barron Beneski said in a phone interview Oct. 16.
4. From National Geographic: During U.S. government shutdown, International Space Station astronauts share space imagery with Twitter.
5. From the Planetary Society: NASA’s Saturn circling Cassini mission delivers stunning imagery of giant planet and prominent rings.
6. From Universe Today: Curiosity mission scientists look to hematite laced ridge at base of Mount Sharpe as possible sign of environmental conditions on Mars are favorable for life.
A. From the Coalition for Space Exploration: Cameras aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spot small impact craters at the Gale Crater landing site of the Curiosity rover. Curiosity touched down in August 2012.
7. From AmericaSpace.com: Ground teams prepare U.S. and Indian Mars missions for fall lift off. NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft, set to lift off Nov. 18, will study the interactions between the thin Martian atmosphere and the solar wind.
A. From Space News: India readies its Mars Orbiter Mission probe for launch in late October. The launch window opens Oct. 28 and closes in Nov. 19. A success could vault India into a new global space.
8. From Discovery.com: Feb. 15 meteor explosion over Chelyabinsk, Russia prompts closer look for small asteroids that pose a collision threat. Scientists would like to know what they are made of, what kind of threat they pose in the future. The Chelyabinsk incident in which more than 1,000 people were injured was triggered by a space rock estimated at 17-20 meters in width.
A. From Ria Novosti, of Russia: U.S. and Russia discuss possible use of nuclear weapons as a defense against asteroid impacts, according to report from an investigative journalism nonprofit.
9. From eHam.net: Amateur radio enthusiasts will mark their 30th anniversary of involvement with U.S. human spaceflight in early November during AMSAT’s Space Symposium and Annual Meeting in Houston.
10. From Collectspace.com: The best-selling book, The Astronaut Wives Club, is headed to ABC as a television series.
11. From National Public Radio: Review of new book on extraterritorial intelligence, Five Billion Years of Solitude, suggests that it’s up to Earthlings to spread life through the cosmos.
12. From Space.com: Tips for sky watchers who plan to look for Friday night’s penumbral lunar eclipse and the Orionid Meteor Shower, Monday and Tuesday. The Orionids are debris from Halley’s Comet.
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