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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the globe. NASA receives nearly 6,400 applications for the 9 to15 astronaut positions it plans to fill in 2013. Russian experts size up the impact of a Soyuz spacecraft test failure that could affect future launch plans. Russian experts look to computing and testing errors in the loss of their recent Mars probe. Two essays look at the rise and presumed fall of space as a presidential campaign issue as well as Russia’s initial public response to its Mars mission failure. NASA’s Mars bound Mars Science Laboratory mission detects a rush of solar radiation. NASA teams with Facebook for a new space trivia game. NASA leads an effort to digitally record the design and development history of the retired shuttle orbiters. Missing aliens.
1. From Florida Today: A chance to be a NASA astronaut attracts nearly 6,400 applicants. The application period, which opened in mid-November closed last Friday at midnight. NASA intends to hire from 9 to 15 new astronauts by early 2013. The next astronaut class will be the first of NASA’s post shuttle era. http://bit.ly/y4pYRq
2. From Florida Today: Scheduling for Russian missions to the International Space Station, slated for late March and May, could be affected by a recent pressure test failure involving the first of the two spacecraft. An inquiry is under way. For now, the incident is not a threat to crew staffing of the six-person orbiting science laboratory, according to NASA, the program’s managing partner. http://on.flatoday.com/zz88vj
A. Spacepolicyonline.com: Russian experts are looking at computing, testing errors as the cause of the Phobos-Grunt mission failure. Launched in early November, the probe crashed to Earth earlier this month. http://bit.ly/xoafNS
3. Two from The Space Review, of Monday, assess the surprise emergence of space as an issue in the race for the Republican presidential nomination and Russia’s finger pointing in the loss of the Phobos-Grunt Mars mission:
A. In “Campaign Lunacy,” TSR editor Jeff Foust predicts last week’s Republican presidential primary campaign dust up in Central Florida over space policy marked the start and the end of the nation’s future in space as an election issue. http://bit.ly/xR0QVd
B. In “The need for real rocket science to solve Russian spaceflight setbacks,” James Oberg, former NASA flight controller and Soviet space historian, sounds a warning over Russia’s handling of the Phobos-Grunt mission loss. Initial finger pointing, especially at the U. S. and its space radar arrays, suggests Russia’s space leadership was hesitant to dig into the causes. That may not bode well for the United States, which is depending on Russia for the transportation of astronauts to and from the International Space Station until it can nurture a space shuttle replacement, Oberg writes. http://bit.ly/AE71RS
4. From Discovery.com: NASA’s Mars bound Mars Science Laboratory detects radiation unleashed by a Jan. 22 solar storm. That’s a good thing. Scientists want to know what a spacecraft with astronauts aboard might expect on its way to the red planet. http://bit.ly/w4bRDN
5. From Space.com: NASA joins with Facebook to launch a new space trivia game. The answers to Space Race Blastoff are “out there”. http://bit.ly/y6jz81
6. From Collectspace.com: The design and development history of NASA’s retired shuttle orbiters, starting with Discovery, will be digitally archived by the space agency through the efforts of several state archivists and the National Park Service. An emphasis will be placed on changes made after the Columbia and Challenger tragedies. http://bit.ly/wnKKc9
7. From the Huntsville Times: Alabama Google Lunar X-prize contestants launch a lander competition for school students. Got a name? http://bit.ly/xeew3r
8. From Discovery.com: If there is life elsewhere in the universe, why hasn’t it been here? An old question gets a fresh look. http://bit.ly/w0235m
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