May 14, 2012

The Man Who's Flown Everything (Source: Air & Space)
An hour before the doors of the National Air and Space Museum's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center opened to visitors, the vast, multi-level space was filled with a theatrical pre-curtain hush. Only a few docents were here, getting reacquainted with the 170-some air- and spacecraft on display, machines that had made some of the most important history of the last hundred years. The docents were there to tell their stories.

So was the man I'd traveled to Chantilly, Virginia, to meet: Robert "Hoot" Gibson. Hoot (the nickname originated with cowboy movie star Edmund "Hoot" Gibson) knew many of these flying machines personally. From light piston aircraft to thundering World War II fighters to supersonic jets to the space shuttle, Gibson had flown them—111 types so far. Click here. (5/14)

Space Industry Veteran (Re)Entering The Commercial Space Race (Source: WIRED)
The Utah company that built the solid rocket boosters for the now retired space shuttle program announced plans to enter the next phase of American space flight with its own private launch system. Alliant Techsystems, or ATK as it is better known, says it plans to build a complete rocket and spacecraft package to transport astronauts and cargo to and from low earth orbit. The announcement adds another potential company aiming for NASA contracts as pressure from lawmakers and former astronauts is pushing to trim the selection to a single option.

The new launch system from ATK will use its Liberty rocket which was submitted as part of the NASA’s current Commercial Crew Development (CCDev) program, but was not selected. Instead programs from SpaceX and Sierra Nevada Corporation are participating in this round of CCDev funding and testing. Liberty will be the name of the new program, and this time it will include a capsule spacecraft, launch abort system and the rocket itself. ATK plans to begin flight testing in 2014 and is aiming for a crew flight in 2015. (5/14)

How NASA Led Tech to the Cloud (Source: FINS)
A decade ago in a Houston bar, an Air Force general named S. Pete Worden (pictured left) ran into a group of young, liberal graduate students who were attending the World Space Congress, a spaceflight industry convention, to protest the militarization of space. Worden, then 52, was a big proponent of weapons in the stars, having earned the name "Darth Vader" while working on President Reagan's "Star Wars" program, more formally known as the Strategic Defense Initiative. Overhearing the group arguing about space militarization, Worden plunked himself down at the group's table and pushed the merits of U.S. military policy. (5/14)

Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin Shares a Few Details About Outer Space Plans (Source: Puget Sound Business Journal)
Blue Origin, the secretive Kent company developing a new space launch system, briefly lifted the curtain on its plans earlier this month ... and then snapped that curtain back down. In an interview published in Aviation Week and Space Technology, Brett Alexander, Blue Origin director of business development and strategy, gave some new details about the company’s plans. Blue Origin is owned and primarily funded by Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of online retailer, although it has also won NASA contracts. Click here. (5/14)

NASA Mars Spacecraft Detects Large Changes in Martian Dunes (Source: JHU Gazette)
A team led by a Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory scientist has revealed that movement in sand dune fields on Mars occurs on a surprisingly large scale, about the same as in dune fields on Earth. This is unexpected because Mars has a much thinner atmosphere than Earth—only about 1 percent as dense—and its high-speed winds are less frequent and weaker than Earth’s.

For years, researchers debated whether or not sand dunes observed on Mars were mostly fossil features related to past climate, rather than currently active. In the last two years, researchers using images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter detected and reported sand movement. Now, images from MRO’s High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment have indicated that entire dunes as thick as 200 feet are moving as coherent units across the Martian landscape. The study was published online May 9 by the journal Nature. (5/14)

Engineer Wants Us To Build Real-Life Starship Enterprise (Source: Huffington Post)
A systems and electrical engineer who goes by BTE-Dan says we should build the USS Starship Enterprise and claims we can do it -- today. Nancy Atkinson of space and astronomy news site Universe Today picked up on a website launched by BTE-Dan on May 7, which provides a thorough overview of how the U.S. could build the Starship Enterprise in just twenty years.

His site includes layouts of the proposed ship's size and specs, potential missions it could undertake, a schedule outlining its development and even a backup plan should the ship's creation be thrown off schedule. According to the site, the USS Starship Enterprise would be able to reach Mars in just 90 days. Compare the Enterprise's travel time to that of the last rover NASA sent to Mars: The Curiosity was launched last November and is scheduled to land in August, nine months after it was sent off. Click here. (5/14)

Dust Rings Not 'Smoking Gun' for Planets After All (Source: New Scientist)
There can be smoke without fire. Sharp rings of dust around stars aren't always carved by planets but can form on their own – bad news for those who use the structures to guide them to stars that host planets. The finding also has implications for the existence of a controversial candidate exoplanet. The discs of dust and gas debris surrounding stars sometimes produce sharply defined or elongated rings. These were assumed to be the calling cards of unseen planets, carved by the bodies as they travel through the disc. (5/14)

Nelson Opposes Hurry-Up Plan on Rocket Selection (Source: Florida Today)
Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida said Monday he strongly opposes a House spending bill passed last week that directs NASA to speed up its selection of a company to ferry astronauts to the International Space Station. Nelson called the plan, which instructs NASA to immediately choose a company for the Commercial Crew Program, “silliness” and “anti-competitive.” Currently, NASA is providing subsidies to four companies vying to develop a rocket to replace the space shuttle, a competition the agency and supporters like Nelson say is crucial to developing a viable and affordable system. (5/14)

SmallSat Lab Nurtures Spaceport Opportunities for NMSU Students (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
New Mexico State University has received $99,999 from the Air Force Research Laboratory to re-establish the SmallSat Laboratory in the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The SmallSat program was started by former NMSU professor Steve Horan in 2001, and is now run by Steve Stochaj, an electrical engineering professor. The lab's mission is to foster research and provide students with hands-on engineering experience through the development and operation of small satellites. (5/14)

DARPA Seeks Mini-Sats For Fractionated-Satellite Demo (Source: Aviation Week)
DARPA is seeking bids to provide four small satellites to demonstrate its fractionated spacecraft architecture in orbit. The System F6 program is developing technology to enable the functions of a large, expensive monolithic satellite to be distributed across a cluster of smaller, less costly satellites wirelessly sharing resources such as computing and communications.

DARPA plans a six-month on-orbit demonstration in the second half of 2015, launching four small satellites into low Earth orbit as secondary payloads on Atlas V or Delta IV Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicles. Each satellite will host an F6 Technical Package that will enable the wireless links between the spacecraft and allow semi-autonomous cluster-flight operations. The cluster will demonstrate the ability to scatter, each spacecraft leaving a 20-km threat box within 5 min. of the command, and subsequently regathering. (5/14)

Bus-Size Asteroid Zips Close By Earth (Source:
An asteroid the size of a school bus gave Earth a close shave yesterday (May 13), passing well inside the orbit of the moon, but our planet was never in any danger of being hit. The near-Earth asteroid 2012 JU, which is thought to be about 40 feet (12 meters) wide, came within 119,000 miles (191,500 kilometers) or so of our planet before zooming off into deep space, according to NASA's Near-Earth Object Program at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. The moon orbits Earth at an average distance of 238,000 miles (382,900 km). (5/14)

Private Sector Edges Deeper in Space (Source: New York Times)
It sounds like a routine event for NASA: At 4:55 a.m. on Saturday, a rocket is scheduled to lift off from the Cape Canaveral Spaceport and carry cargo — but no people — to the International Space Station. But if all goes as planned, that morning will mark something transformative for the space industry: a victory for capitalism in what has been for decades a government-run enterprise.

The capsule, built by SpaceX, would be the first commercial spacecraft to make it to the space station, and many observers view its launching as the starting gun in an entrepreneurial race to turn space travel into a profit-making business in which NASA is not necessarily the biggest customer. Already, there are some hints of how the era of commercial space travel might unfold. Companies like Virgin Galactic, XCOR and Space Adventures are booking passengers on suborbital joy rides to space, promised for dates within the next few years, and hundreds of people are signing up. (5/14)

Boeing $604 Million Verdict Reversal Won’t Get Rehearing (Source: Bloomberg)
Pendrell Corp. (PCO) said the California appeals court that reversed a $604 million jury award the company’s ICO Global Communications Ltd. won against Boeing Co. (BA) has denied its request for a new hearing. “Given the significant due process issues resulting from the late recusal of two appellate court justices from the case, and other errors contained in the Court’s decision, ICO intends to file a petition for review with the California Supreme Court no later than May 23,” Kirkland, Washington-based Pendrell said today in a statement.

A Los Angeles jury in 2008 found Chicago-based Boeing and its Boeing Satellite Systems International unit liable for breaking an agreement to build and launch 12 satellites for ICO. The appeals court last month said the trial judge should have granted Boeing’s request to set aside the jury’s verdict. (5/14)

Aerojet and Teledyne Brown Host Alabama Governor for Rocket Engine Factory Event (Source: Aerojet)
Aerojet and its strategic alliance partner Teledyne Brown Engineering, Inc. announced today that the companies hosted Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, along with Congressman Mo Brooks and several other dignitaries at Teledyne Brown's headquarters in Huntsville.

The event demonstrated the technical and program progress the partners have made since the alliance was created a year ago as well as highlighted the unveiling of an Aerojet AJ26 liquid rocket engine at its new home at Teledyne Brown. The AJ26 is just one of many potential development and production programs under the Aerojet-Teledyne Brown strategic alliance that could lead to significant engineering and manufacturing work in Huntsville. (5/14)

Industry, Space Agencies Seek Ways To Lower Launch Costs (Source: National Defense)
In an age of austere federal budgets, the Air Force and National Reconnaissance Office are looking to reduce the spiraling cost of placing their heaviest satellites into space. And rocket manufacturers — faced by overcapacity — are making adjustments to the way they do business.

While the approximately $140 million to $180 million per launch the two national security space agencies pay to loft spacecraft is costly, the price of losing a $500 million to $1 billion satellite can add up to more than the money spent. The shards of the destroyed spacecraft that took years to build fall uselessly into the sea — and more importantly — military personnel are deprived of their critical, sometimes life-saving, capabilities for years to come. (5/14)

Space Florida and Florida Chamber Recognize Legislative Support of Space Industry (Source: SpaceRef)
Space Florida and The Florida Chamber of Commerce honored Senate President Mike Haridopolos and Speaker of the House Dean Cannon for prioritizing the Space Industry during this years budgeting process. Over the past three legislative sessions, President Haridopolos and House Speaker Cannon have delivered over $80 million to Florida's Space Industry and passed countless laws to aide economic development entities, such as Space Florida. Click here. (5/14)

The Big Test (Source: Space Review)
On Saturday, SpaceX plans to launch a Dragon spacecraft on a test flight to the International Space Station. Jeff Foust examines how this flight is perceived not just as a test of the company's system to transport cargo to and from the ISS, but also in some quarters as a test of the viability of commercial crew. Visit to view the article. (5/14)

Why ISS Can Advance Mars Exploration (Source: Space Review)
To some, the International Space Station can seem like a distraction towards their preferred long-term goal of human missions to Mars. Chris Carberry argues that, if properly used, the ISS can help further the technology and other approaches needed for such missions. Visit to view the article. (5/14)

The Evolution of Near Earth Objects Risk Perception (Source: Space Review)
As our understanding of near Earth objects (NEOs) have changed, so has our perception of the risks associated with them. Luis Fernandez Carril explores this history of NEOs, from omens to potential sources of wealth. Visit to view the article. (5/14)

LightSquared, Failed Wireless Venture, Files Bankruptcy (Source: Bloomberg)
LightSquared Inc. filed for bankruptcy after its plan to deliver high-speed wireless to as many as 260 million people ran afoul of U.S. regulators. LightSquared, based in Reston, Virginia, listed debt and assets of more than $1 billion each in a Chapter 11 filing today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. The filing came after intense negotiations with creditors, who had requested that the company’s backer, Philip Falcone, step aside. (5/14)

Marshall Center Completes Wind Tunnel Testing for Dream Chaser Spacecraft (Source: SpaceRef)
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., successfully completed wind tunnel testing for Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC) Space Systems. The test will provide aerodynamic data that will aid in the design of the new Dream Chaser Space System. During tests at Marshall's wind tunnel facility, a scale model of SNC's Dream Chaser orbital crew vehicle was mounted on a scale model of the United Launch Alliance's Atlas V launch vehicle.

Over 400 data runs were performed at subsonic, transonic and supersonic speeds to study the effects of how air moves past the model. Nine full-stack configurations were tested over a Mach range of .4, or 304 miles per hour at sea level, to Mach 5, or 3,800 miles per hour at sea level, at various launch vehicle roll angles. (5/14)

Ariane 5 Mission with Twin Satellites is Approved for Launch (Source: Arianespace)
The Ariane 5 mission with a “mirror” pair of relay satellites for Japan and Vietnam has been given the go-ahead for liftoff on May 15 from the Spaceport in French Guiana. Approval for this flight was issued following today’s launch readiness review, which is held prior to every Ariane mission – confirming the “green” status of the Ariane 5 vehicle, its JCSAT-13 and VINASAT-2 satellites, the Spaceport’s infrastructure and the network of downrange tracking stations. (5/14)

NASA Modifies Launch Service Contract To Add Falcon 9 Rocket (Source: SpaceRef)
NASA has announced a modification of its NASA Launch Services (NLS) II contract with SpaceX of Hawthorne, Calif., to add an additional configuration of the Falcon 9 rocket to its fleet. The SpaceX Falcon 9 v1.1 launch service will be available to the agency's Launch Services Program to use for future missions in accordance with the on-ramp provision of NLS II.

The NLS II on-ramp provision provides an annual opportunity for new launch service providers to compete for future missions and allows existing launch service providers to introduce launch vehicles not currently on their NLS II contracts.The NLS II contracts are multiple award, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contracts with ordering periods through June 2020. (5/14)

Endeavour Shuts Down for Good (Source: Florida Today)
Rest in peace, shuttle fleet. With a series of cockpit switch throws, United Space Alliance Spacecraft Operator Mike Parrish put the orbiter Endeavour to sleep Friday, executing the final electrical power-down for NASA’s long and storied shuttle program. “I want to thank the entire team, on behalf of the operations group,” Parrish said, his voice cracking over communications loop 132 in Orbiter Processing Facility Bay No. 2 at Kennedy Space Center. “It was a heck of a vehicle. It was a great vehicle.” Let the record show the time of final power-down for the shuttle program was 9:58 a.m. May 11, 2012. (5/12)

Astronauts Ready for Russian Launch to Space Station (Source:
Three astronauts are finally ready to blast off toward the International Space Station tonight (May 14), after weeks of delay caused during testing of their Russian-built space capsule. NASA astronaut Joe Acaba and Russian cosmonauts Gennady Padalka and Sergei Revin are slated to lift off from Kazakhstan's Baikonur Cosmodrome tonight at 11:01 p.m. EDT (0301 GMT Tuesday). They'll ride a Soyuz spaceship into orbit, ultimately berthing with the station early Thursday morning (May 17), NASA officials said. (5/14)

NASA, USAF Launch HIFiRE Suborbital Vehicle From Hawaii (Source: Parabolic Arc)
A team that includes NASA and the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) is celebrating the successful launch of an experimental hypersonic scramjet research flight from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai, Hawaii. NASA, AFRL and Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organization (DSTO) are working with a number of partners on the HIFiRE (Hypersonic International Flight Research Experimentation Program) program to advance hypersonic flight — normally defined as beginning at Mach 5 — five times the speed of sound.

The research program is aimed at exploring the fundamental technologies needed to achieve practical hypersonic flight. Being able to fly at hypersonic speeds could revolutionize high speed, long distance flight and provide more cost-effective access to space. During the experiment the scramjet — aboard its sounding rocket — climbed to about 100,000 feet in altitude, accelerated from Mach 6 to Mach 8 and operated about 12 seconds — a big accomplishment for flight at hypersonic speeds. It was the fourth of a planned series of up to 10 flights under HIFiRE and the second focused on scramjet engine research. (5/14)

ESA, Japan Remain Committed to Space Cooperation with U.S. (Source: Space Policy Online)
Despite concerns that NASA's withdrawal from two joint Mars missions with the European Space Agency (ESA) would chill the waters for future space cooperation agreements, both ESA and Japan have recently made clear that they remain committed to working with the United States.

At ESA's request, NASA recently sent a letter expressing its interest in participating in ESA's newly-selected Jupiter Icy moons Explorer (JUICE) program. NASA Planetary Science Division Director Jim Green told the NASA Advisory Council's Planetary Science Subcommittee last week that NASA told ESA it would like to be a "minor partner" in JUICE with a payload contribution totalling $100 million over the life of the project. ESA announced its selection of JUICE as its next large science mission on May 2. (5/13)

Musgrave Criticizes NASA and it's Future Goals (Source: Examiner)
A six time space shuttle astronaut spoke out on the way NASA is operating today and shared his personal feelings on commercial space travel's involvement. "The whole thing is chaos and a cop out. The whole thing is a Washington failure," former NASA astronaut Dr. Story Musgrave said in a firm voice during a on-on-one interview at the Tellus Science Museum near Atlanta over the weekend.

"When I say Washington, I mean administration, the legislation, congress and NASA, that's what I call Washington," Dr. Musgrave continued. "It's in total failure when it comes to a space program of which COTS is apart of that failure." Musgrave feels the space agency has no true goals or focus today. "What is the space vision today? Where is the visionary? We're not going anywhere... there is no where, there is no what, and there is no when," Musgrave began. "Tell me where... there is no where." (5/14)

The National Space Club Florida Committee Networking Event (Source: NSCFL)
The National Space Club Florida Committee is happy to announce our next Co-Sponsored with Fun and Games on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 at 4:00 to 7:30 pm EST at Fish Lips Upper Deck, Port Canaveral. You pay $5. You get food, drinks and surprises! Please RSVP by COB Friday, June 15. One night only: Join the National Space Club Florida Committee at Fish Lips and receive $5 off the annual $25 membership dues. Payment may be made at the door. Click here. (5/14)

NSS Urges Congress to Ease Export Control Restrictions (Source: NSS)
The National Space Society (NSS) calls on Congress to ease export control regulations on spacecraft and related items, as urged by the Departments of Defense and State in their recent, joint "Section 1248" report, "Risk Assessment of the United States Space Export Control Policy", available here. This report concluded that spacecraft and their components, designated as dual-use items, can safely be removed from the U.S. Munitions List (USML), which is controlled under the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR) by the Department of State. (5/14)

KSC Video Shows Future Plans (Source: Florida Today)
NASA's Kennedy Space Center has been the starting point for many of humanity's greatest adventures. Now, it is adjusting its unique facilities to continue to host dramatic acheivements in the future. Click here to see a video describing how KSC is evolving. (5/14)

End on Horizon for Historic AFTAC Building at Patrick AFB (Source: Florida Today)
When the Air Force Technical Applications Center’s change of command takes place Tuesday, it will likely be the last such ceremony at that building, which monitors nuclear explosions around the globe. A $158 million, three-building complex is under construction to be the new headquarters of AFTAC. It will include a laboratory and a parking garage, and is scheduled to open in early 2014. (5/14)

Survey: To Cut Deficit, Most Americans Want Larger Defense Cuts (Source: Defense News)
Facing mounting debt and a slow-to-recover economy, 62 percent of Americans prefer defense cuts over other debt reduction options, a survey by the Program for Public Consultation found. The results, released in a May 10 report, outlined the responses of survey takers to a series of arguments for and against defense cuts. Faced with the choice of raising revenues, including tax increases, reducing other discretionary spending or reducing defense, a clear majority preferred defense cuts.

Among Republicans, 49 percent preferred cutting defense, 52 percent of independents preferred the option and 78 percent of Democrats agreed. The survey, conducted in mid-April over the Internet, drew on the responses of 665 American adults and had a margin of error of 4.8 percent. Given the option to set a level for 2013 defense spending, 76 percent of respondents cut spending compared with 2012. More than two-thirds of respondents in all three self-identified voting categories chose to reduce defense spending. (5/10)

House Defense Panel Adds $3.1B to Pentagon Request (Source: Defense News)
A military spending budget created by the House Appropriations defense subcommittee is $3.1 billion larger than that proposed by the Pentagon. The House bill calls for additional equipment, equipment upgrades and a bigger budget for research. (5/7)

Lawmaker Defends DOD Spending Bill in Letter to Panetta (Source: The Hill)
Rep. Buck McKeon, R-CA, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has fired back at criticism by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. The committee last week passed a $643 billion defense spending bill. "As you and I have discussed, and as you have testified to my committee, those [cuts] ... cut through any fat that may have existed in the defense budget and into the muscle," McKeon wrote in a letter to Panetta. (5/11)

Canadian Telesat to Launch Satellite with Russian Rocket (Source: Itar-Tass)
Canadian broadcaster Telesat plans to launch its telecom satellite Nimiq 6 with a Russian Proton-M rocket, the International Launch Services (ILS) reported. It said the launch was planned from the Baikonur space center in Kazakhstan on May 18. The 4.5-tonne satellite will have the service life of 15 years. It was built by Space Systems Loral to become a part of the Telesat cluster transmitting television programs in Canada. (5/14)

Space Music: Earth Music on Titan (Source: Discovery)
Travel to Saturn's frozen moon of Titan and you'll discover lakes of liquid methane, thick smog clouds and exactly 13 minutes and 46 seconds worth of Earth music. Back in 1997, French musicians Julien Civange and Louis Haeri composed four tracks to place aboard ESA's Titan-bound Huygens probe, which would in turn make the seven-year journey board NASA's Cassini spacecraft. Click here. (5/14)

Black Holes are Bad for Star Formation (Source: Discovery)
Black holes, regions of space so dense that even light can't escape, lie at the center of virtually every galaxy including our own Milky Way. New research suggests that black holes are at least partially responsible for the size of their host galaxy as well; it seems galaxies with more active black holes produce fewer stars. It's the first piece of concrete evidence astronomers have about the relationship between a black hole and its host galaxy. (5/14)

Tuesday Meeting to Detail Texas SpaceX Launch Site Project (Source: Brownsville Herald)
The social media is making a push to get residents out to attend a scope meeting to learn more about the SpaceX project and the possibility of its coming to Cameron County. Brownsville/rural Cameron County is one of three sites being considered by SpaceX for the construction of a launch site. The other sites under consideration are in Florida and Puerto Rico.

Brownsville Living has posted a video on its Facebook page informing residents of why it believes SpaceX is good for Brownsville. In the video, realtor Craig Grover says it has been tough for Brownsville in the past because the city has "been burned so much." He says Brownsville needs to look past that and concentrate on the future. The FAA will hold a scope meeting on SpaceX on Tuesday at the International Technology, Education and Commerce Campus, or ITECC. It is open to the public. (5/14)

SmallSat Lab Nurtures Spaceport Opportunities for NMSU Students (Source: Las Cruces Sun-News)
New Mexico State University has received $99,999 from the Air Force Research Laboratory to re-establish the SmallSat Laboratory in the Klipsch School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. The SmallSat program was started by former NMSU professor Steve Horan in 2001, and is now run by Steve Stochaj, an electrical engineering professor. The lab's mission is to foster research and provide students with hands-on engineering experience through the development and operation of small satellites. (5/14)

Satellite-Based Navigation for Air Travel Safety (Source: Deccan Chronicle)
Air travel in India is getting safer and better as the GPS-aided Geo Augmented Navigation system (Gagan), a satellite-based facility to enhance safety and efficiency of aircraft operations, will be installed in all airports across the country by June next year. Gagan is a joint venture between Airports Authority of India (AAI) and Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO).

After commissioning the Air Traffic Signal Automation at the Tiruchy airport, AAI Air Navigation Services member V. Somasundaram said Gagan would improve air traffic management through timely information on aircraft movement, integration of meteorological data and aeronautical information. The pilots will directly receive details from satellites. (5/14)

Method to Find New Moons Uncovers Hidden Planet (Source: San Francisco Chronicle)
The search for distant planets in the Milky Way is now so sophisticated that astronomers are searching for unseen moons around the planets that the Kepler mission's scientists have discovered. A team of astronomers hunting for those moons reports that in their quest they have unexpectedly detected a hidden planet - and probably two - by using a technique that promises to aid the search for smaller planets much like Earth. (5/14)

The Great Exoplanet Debate (Source: Astrobiology)
Astrobiology Magazine recently hosted a Great Exoplanet Debate during the 2012 Astrobiology Science Conference (AbSciCon 2012) in Atlanta, Georgia. The panelists were David Grinspoon of the Denver Museum if Nature & Science, Sara Seager of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dirk Schulze-Makuch of Washington State University, Vikki Meadows of the University of Washington, and Eric Ford of the University of Florida. Click here to watch a video of the entire debate. (5/14)

An Open Letter to the CEOs of DigitalGlobe and GeoEye (Source: Directions)
What should the satellite companies DigitalGlobe and GeoEye do now that ongoing talks of mergers and acquisitions are a well-publicized fact? It’s a pretty fair bet that something has to happen soon since it looks increasingly like the government will cut spending for commercial remote sensing satellites. Click here. (5/14)

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