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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. The European Space Agency looks to the end of its Automated Transfer Vehicle program of re-supply craft for the International Space Station. Is Mitt Romney emerging as the GOP’s space friendly presidential contender? Two of NASA’s retired space shuttle orbiters head for national display venues this month. Pair of essays examine the missing ingredients in current U. S. space exploration plans and the case for a World Manned Spaceflight Day. The Earth’s unseen moons. The sounds of Mars and Saturn’s moon Titan. The U. S. Space and Rocket Center in Alabama joins a list of 15 must see landmarks for U.S. youngsters. The flying car: Still a possibility?
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: The European Space Agency is gradually closing production lines for its Automated Transfer Vehicle, the unpiloted re-supply craft for the International Space Station. Three of the capsules have flown so far, including the ATV-3 that docked with the station on Mar. 28, as part of ESA’s share of space station operating expenses. Production will stop at five of the capsules — enough to meet ESA’s operating obligations through 2017. Meanwhile, ESA’s member states are discussing their options for paying for future commitments now that U. S. led station operations have been extended until 2020.
2. From Time Magazine: The publication takes focus on Sunday’s CBS 60 minutes story on Central Florida’s struggle to deal economically with the 2011 retirement of NASA’s shuttle program. President Obama cancelled the previous administration’s shuttle replacement, the Constellation moon base initiative. During the Florida primary earlier this year, presumptive Republican challenger Mitt Romney promised to consult with top experts on the next move, perhaps enough of a commitment to win Central Florida’s election support, Time suggests.
3. From Space.com: Two of NASA’s retired space shuttle orbiters are scheduled to depart this month for their future homes. Orbiter Discovery heads for the Washington area on April 17 and a place in the Air and Space Museum. Enterprise leaves Washington for New York City’s Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum on April 23.
4. Two from Monday’s The Space Review examine the missing ingredients in future U. S. human space exploration plans and a proposal for a World Manned Spaceflight Day.
A. In “Seeking direction for space exploration,” TSR editor Jeff Foust examines the unfolding debate over NASA’s human exploration charter. While heartened by President Obama’s 2010 directive to NASA to pursue a human mission to an asteroid by 2025 as a stepping stone to an ultimate mission to Mars, experts remain troubled by the absence of details that would define mission requirements, such as landers and habitats.
B. In “Ushering in the final frontier,” space blogger Ayodele Faiyetole makes the case for April 12 as an annual tribute,” World Manned Spaceflight Day.” The date marks the first human space flight by Russian Yuri Gagarin in 1961 and the inaugural flight of NASA’s space shuttle two decades later.
5. From National Public Radio: At any one time, the Earth has one to two small asteroids as well as the moon in orbit around it, a study led by a University of Hawaii researcher concludes. These one to two meter long bodies are among a million or so small asteroids objects that whiz past the Earth each year. A couple manage to get snagged by the Earth’ gravity — until they are nudged free.
A. From Discovery.com: Recently discovered asteroids, albeit small, pass close to the Earth — with little public awareness.
6. From Wired.com: A team from the University of Southampton has attempted to artificially recreate the acoustic diversity of the solar system. How would the nursery rhyme lines from “Mary had a little lamb” sound on Mars, or Saturn’s moon Titan. How about a dust devil on Mars? Wired offers some answers.
7. From the Huntsville Times: Budget Travel magazine includes Huntsville’s U.S. Space and Rocket Center on a list of 15 U. S. landmarks every adolescent should visit. The Center joins Mount Rushmore, Hoover Dam, the Golden Gate Bridge on the list.
8. From the Los Angeles Times: Terrafugia’s prototype flying car, Transition, takes flight over New York.
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