June 12 News Items

China May Set Up Moon Base Camp by 2030 (Source: China Daily)
China may send manned flights to the moon and set up a base there by 2030 and it could land on Mars by 2050, a technology think thank said. In a roadmap for the development of China's space technology, the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) said that China's manned spacecraft could also launch from a moon base to explore further planets in 2050. The roadmap was part of a report titled "Creation 2050: Science, technology and China's Future", a long-term strategy for the country's development of science and technology. The roadmap is "not an official plan, but more of a strategic suggestion to the decision makers." (6/12)

How NASA Can Keep Up with Star Trek (and China) in Space (Source: Esquire)
Forget airplane crashes, argues a top Washington policy expert. If America doesn't want its technological progress outpaced by the rest of the world, the time has come for Congress to stop blocking space funding — and for the Obama administration to start trusting the new Wright Brothers of aerospace. Click here to view the article. (6/11)

Japan, India Plan Joint Space Research Project (Source: SpaceDaily.com)
Japan and India plan to launch their first joint space research project this year, an experiment in growing plants in zero gravity. The two Asian powers are set to launch a small and unmanned Indian-made satellite in October, carrying Japanese laboratory equipment, that is set to orbit for about one week at a height of around 600 kilometers (370 miles).

Aboard the satellite they will seek to grow a type of algae, said Noriaki Ishioka, a professor for Japan's space agency JAXA, who called the experiment "a basic study on photosynthetic activity in space." "We will retrieve the satellite after a week or so and conduct genetic examinations on how the zero-gravity environment affects photosynthesis." While the project could eventually pave the way for "space farming," he cautioned that the basic experiment -- using a type of algae called spirulina, not related to the food supplement of the same name -- was an early step. (6/12)

Tight Squeeze Ahead on Space Station (Source: AFP)
Things may get a little tight at the international space station next week when it is set to be a temporary home to 13 astronauts with the arrival of the shuttle Endeavour and its seven crew. It will be the first time so many people have stayed on the orbiting station at once, and the 12 men and one woman will also represent the main countries involved in constructing the 100-billion-dollar outpost in space. (6/12)

Texas Worried About NASA’s Future (Source: Houston Chronicle)
With new leadership poised to take command of NASA, the next few months could be pivotal to the jobs of thousands of space program employees and contractors who depend on NASA for their livelihoods. As the shuttle prepares for its future as a museum exhibit and cost projections for a new moon mission rise while the timetable slips, the space agency’s political future is very much in doubt.

The best-case scenario for Texas interests is that the independent panel, headed by former Lockheed Martin CEO Norm Augustine, will provide Obama political cover to adopt President Bush’s previous NASA road map. The roughly 20,000 people working for Houston’s Johnson Space Center and NASA contractors in the area are expected to shoulder some of the cutbacks that result from the review, which is due at the White House by late August.

The review appears to be stirring even greater concern because Obama has sent mixed signals on manned space exploration. He distributed a campaign document in 2007 that proposed a five-year delay in the Constellation program in order to finance a proposal for early-childhood education. He abandoned that idea in 2008 to heartily support the manned space program during his successful courtship of the pivotal swing state of Florida, home of the Kennedy Space Center. (6/12)

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