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Tuesday’s CSExtra offers the latest reporting and commentary on space related activities from around the world. On Monday, the U. S. marked the 50th anniversary of Mercury astronaut John Glenn’s orbital mission. Glenn, now 90, expressed dismay at the nation’s decision to retire the space shuttle as the International Space Station reached its prime. NASA’s Kennedy Space Center is also marking its 50th anniversary this year with a new mission. New evidence of seismic activity on Mars raises the prospect for underground life. In commentaries, experts find U. S. human spaceflight at a crossroads and a messy course ahead in the forging of new commercial space markets. Retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly pens a children’s book.
1. From Spaceflightnow.com and CBS: Monday marked the 50th anniversary of America’s first orbital human spaceflight. Mercury astronaut John Glenn, now 90, flew the solo mission, helping the nation to catch up to the Soviets in space. Today, Glenn is disappointed the U. S. is four to five years from regaining its own ability to launch astronauts. Retiring the space shuttle with the International Space Station in its prime was a mistake, says Glenn. http://www.spaceflightnow.com/news/n1202/20crossroads/
A. From Politico via the Associated Press: Apollo 11 commander Neil Armstrong, the first human to walk on the moon, praises Mercury astronaut John Glenn. Monday marked the 50th anniversary of Glenn’s historic mission as the first American to orbit the Earth. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0212/73086.html
B. From the Los Angeles Times: Mercury astronaut John Glenn speaks with the crew of the International Space Station on Monday, the 50th anniversary of his ground breaking orbital mission. Glenn marveled at his almost unbroken communication with the station from a NASA space forum in Ohio. During his 1962 flight, Glenn’s ability to speak with a flight control team was dictated by the location of ground stations. http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-john-glenn-anniversary-20120220,0,2152346.story
C. From Time Magazine: A tribute to NASA’s Mercury astronauts, the risks they faced and an un-certain American era. http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,2107193,00.html?iid=ent-main-mostpop2
2. From The Washington Post: A look at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which will also mark its 50th birthday this year. Now that the space shuttle is retired, the sprawling coastal launch complex has facilities that are no longer in use, or in need of costly upgrades or demolition. NASA is embarking on a campaign to rent out what the space agency is not using. The commercial launch industry represents the market with the most potential. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/kennedy-space-center-at-50-a-spaceport-in-transition/2012/02/10/gIQA7abHQR_story.html
3. From MSNBC and Cosmic Log: A new study suggests Mars undergoes strong seismic shocks or “Mars quakes.” The activity hints at the possibility of an underground source of thermal energy, underground water and possibly some form of life. A report, based on findings from NASA spacecraft, appears in the Journal of Geophysical Research — Planets. http://cosmiclog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/21/10462386-rocks-hint-at-strong-quakes-on-mars
4. In a pair of commentaries from The Space Review, experts assess the future of U. S. human spaceflight as well as the prospect for an expanding commercial space market:
A. In “Is this the beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning, of deep space human space flight,” Charles Miller, the president of NexGenSpace LLC, finds urgency in the current state of U. S. human spaceflight. He suggests a human lunar base is the next step and possible by managing transportation costs with reusable space planes and in space propellant depots. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2030/1
B. In “Cislunar econosphere (part 1), Ken Murphy, president of the Moon Society, explores a blueprint for an expanding economy that reaches toward the moon. He embraces the complex free market process of successes and failures that work around advances in space transportation, satellites and orbital facilities for humans. They begin, though, with suborbital market successes, Murphy writes. http://www.thespacereview.com/article/2027/1
5. From the Associated Press via Florida Today: Retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly is writing a children’s book about space, “Mousetronaut: A partially True Story,” which is scheduled for release by publisher Simon and Shuster in the fall. Kelly’s previous book was written with his wife Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona Congresswoman, and another writer. “Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope,” tells the story of Giffords recovery from a gunshot wound. “Mousetronaut” was inspired by a one of Kelly’s shuttle missions, which included a number of mice as experiment subjects. http://www.floridatoday.com/article/20120221/NEWS02/302210007/Ex-astronaut-Kelly-pens-children-s-book-space?odyssey=tab|topnews|text|Space
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