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Space Talk

Space Talk features discussions on a variety of space related topics from SpaceRef and our partners as well as public domain sources such as NASA. Topics include robotic and manned space exploration, space science, space policy, Mars, Astrobiology and everything in between.

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CuriousMars: Rover Poised to Test For Organics Where Habitability Potential is High

The Mars rover Curiosity's team is beginning to amass enough diverse science data to actively consider whether the area around its first drilling site was potentially habitable. At the same time the science team is readying the rover's most powerful instruments to search for organic carbon and minerals supportive to life in its first sample of gray powdered subsurface rock. Read the full story on SpaceRef.


22 Feb 2013

Rank #1

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Meteor Explodes Over Russia

Estimated to have been a 9 tonnes in size, a meteorite streaked across the sky over the Ural mountains in Russia and exploded at 30 to 50 kilometres above ground. The supersonic reentry injured an estimated 1100 people according to reports in Russia. Part of the meteor crashed into a frozen lake. An estimated 3000 buildings were damaged in the city of Chelyabinsk, including the roof collapsing at a zinc factory.


15 Feb 2013

Rank #2

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Asteroid 2012 DA14 Earth Flyby on February 15th Update

The small near-Earth asteroid 2012 DA14 will pass very close, but will not hit the Earth on Feb. 15, 2013. It will be so close that it will pass inside the ring of geosynchronous weather and communications satellites. Learn more about this asteroid and research opportunity it presents.

1hr 5mins

8 Feb 2013

Rank #3

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Sierra Nevada Introduces Lockheed Martin as Dream Chaser Partner

Sierra Nevada Corporation (SNC) today announced they had selected Lockheed Martin Space Systems as a partner on its Dream Chaser program in its ongoing effort for NASA's Commercial Crew Program.

1hr 3mins

31 Jan 2013

Rank #4

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Space Policy Challenges Facing the Second Obama Administration

Secure World Foundation held a luncheon panel discussion on December 3, 2012, from 12 PM to 2 PM on significant space policy challenges facing the second Obama Administration, including civil space funding and Congress, ITAR reform, improving space situational awareness, and improving the overall coordination of U.S. space activities. Featured Experts: Ms. Marcia Smith, SpacePolicyOnline.com Ms. Patricia Cooper, Satellite Industry Association Mr. Brian Weeden, Secure World Foundation Dr. Eligar Sadeh, Astroconsulting International Moderator: Dr. Scott Pace, George Washington University Dr. Sadeh previewed a new book he edited entitled Space Strategy in the 21st Century. Published by Routledge as part of their Space Power and Politics series, the book contains articles written by experts who attended the SWF Workshop on National Space Strategy in February, 2010.

1hr 40mins

10 Dec 2012

Rank #5

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NASA Curiosity Rover Begins Hunt for Methane in Martian Atmosphere an Indicator of Biological Processes

According to NASA, the Curiosity rover has taken significant steps toward understanding how Mars may have lost much of its original atmosphere. Learning what happened to the Martian atmosphere will help scientists assess whether the planet ever was habitable. An important indicator is whether there is any methane present in the atmosphere. Scientists want to know about methane in the Martian atmosphere because life as we know it produces methane and most methane in Earth's atmosphere is due to biological processes. Today's first set of results came back negative for methane, meaning at present there appears to be no modern-day life. However these are preliminary results and NASA says that the hunt has just begun in earnest and not to draw any final conclusions yet.


2 Nov 2012

Rank #6

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Asia in Space: Cooperation or Competition?

The Secure World Foundation (SWF) and the Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (ACDIS) co-hosted a panel discussion on Thursday, October 25, 2012 from 12 PM to 2 PM: the discussion brought experts together to assess the current state of play in space, especially amongst Asian powers. The event also examined how that play affects regional security issues, as well as international cooperative efforts to promote the long-term sustainable use of space. Moderated by SWF DC Office Director Victoria Samson, the panel of experts included: Dr. Bharath Gopalaswamy, University of Illinois - Champaign/Urbana Dr. Joan Johnson-Freese, Naval War College Dr. Asif Siddiqi, Fordham University Dr. Kazuto Sazuki, University of Hokkaido and Princeton University (presentation online)

1hr 48mins

1 Nov 2012

Rank #7

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Arctic Sea Ice At Record Low

The extent of the sea ice covering the Arctic Ocean has shrunk. According to scientists from NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colo., the amount is the smallest size ever observed in the three decades since consistent satellite observations of the polar cap began. The panelists for the briefing are: Joey Comiso, senior research scientist, Goddard and Walt Meier, research scientist, NSDIC. A video is available on our web site.

1hr 2mins

20 Sep 2012

Rank #8

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Mars Curiosity Rover Update for Thursday, September 6, 2012

NASA hosted a media teleconference at 10 a.m. PDT (1 p.m. EDT) on Thursday, Sept. 6, to provide a status update on the Curiosity rover's mission to Mars' Gale Crater. The Mars Science Laboratory spacecraft is one month into a two-year mission to investigate whether conditions have been favorable for microbial life and preserving clues in the rocks about possible past life.


6 Sep 2012

Rank #9

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Trash in the Skies: The Challenge of Space Debris

Man's activities in space have benefited life on Earth greatly, but they have left their mark: over 22,000 pieces of man-made space debris are being tracked as they orbit our globe. How does space debris affect our space activities, both now and in the future? How do we monitor it? What are the national policies and international norms that limit it? And what can be done about it? These and other questions were answered as the Secure World Foundation, a private operating foundation dedicated to the sustainable use of outer space over the long-term, hosts a lunch-time briefing on space debris. Speaking will be: Dr. Darren McKnight, Technical Director for Integrity Applications, Inc. (IAI) based in Chantilly, Virginia, who recently served on the National Research Council's Committee on NASA's Orbital Debris and Micrometeoroid Program. Mr. Brian Weeden, Technical Advisor to the Secure World Foundation, and former active duty U.S. Air Force officer who worked at the U.S. Strategic Command's Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC) monitoring space debris. The event took place Friday, February 3, 2012 from 12:00-1:30 pm.


6 Sep 2012

Rank #10