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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. In Florida, NASA showcases the arrival of the first space bound Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center. Have European researchers identified the elusive Higgs boson particle? U. S. experts point to the affirmative. Science Guy Bill Nye addresses the steep cuts facing NASA’s planetary science program. An active region of the sun turns toward the Earth. A pair of essays look at philanthropic efforts to chart the many undiscovered asteroids that pose a collision threat to Earth and the essence of China’s latest human space endeavors. German space sensors show promise in the early detection of devastating wildfires. More on the drama and scientific promise surrounding NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory mission.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com: NASA’s Kennedy Space Center celebrates the arrival of the first fight-bound Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle. The four person capsule is slated for an unmanned test flight in 2014. Future Orion spacecraft are slated to carry U. S. explorers to an asteroid by 2015 and potentially to Mars a decade later.
A. From the Orlando Sentinel: In a guest column, Lori Garver, NASA’s deputy administrator, hails the arrival of NASA’s first flight-bound Orion/Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle at the Kennedy Space Center. The first human test flight is planned for 2021. Orion is to carry explorers on missions of deep space exploration.
2. From The New York Times: The closely followed search for the Higgs boson particle in the U.S. falls just short of its goal. European researchers are expected to make a major announcement of their own in the quest for the cornerstone of modern physics later this week. Findings from the Fermilab atom smasher in Illinois, however, suggest the elusive particle exists.
3. From CNN: Science Guy Bill Nye, the executive director of the Planetary Society, takes issue with steep cuts facing NASA’s planetary exploration program in 2013. “This is a deep, deep concern,” says Nye. “…investment in space stimulates society, it stimulates it economically, it stimulates it intellectually, and it gives us all passion.”
4. Space Weather.com: The sun aimed an active sun spot toward the Earth early this week, unleashing a major flare that may give the Earth a glancing blow on July 4th or 5th.
5. Two from Monday’s The Space Review assess private efforts to find thousands of asteroids that pose a collision threat to the Earth and China’s latest accomplishments in human spaceflight.
A. In “A private effort to watch the skies,” TSR editor Jeff Foust assesses the philanthropic model proposed by the B612 Foundation last week for the charting of undiscovered Near-Earth Asteroids that could pose a collision threat with the Earth.
B. In “Divining a meaning from a divine vessel’s latest flight,” TSR editor Jeff Foust sizes up China’s successful Shenzhou 9 mission. During China’s fourth manned space flight, three Chinese astronauts carried out the Asian nation’s first manned docking. However, it’s the other things China is accomplishing in space that should concern the West, say experts.
6. From Space.com: In Colorado, efforts to overcome a wildfire siege that has displaced thousands of people this summer continue. In the future, space technology may improve early smoke detection techniques. Sensor technology developed by German space experts can spot signs of smoke in a range of weather conditions, day or night. A commercial version called FireWatch is mounted on a tower or tall mast to act as a sentry.
7. From The Wall Street Journal: The financial publication previews the landing of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory/Curiosity rover on Mars on Aug. 5-6. Over two years, the MSL will seek evidence that Mars hosts an environment favorable for microbial life.
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