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Submission + - Houston firm NanoRacks to take Chinese experiment to International Space Station->

MarkWhittington writes: The Houston Chronicle’s Eric Berger reported on that for the first time a Chinese experiment will fly on the International Space Station, thanks to an arrangement between a research group based at the Beijing Institute of Technology and a private firm in Houston called NanoRacks. The deal seems to have been designed to avoid the prohibition against space cooperation between the Chinese regime and NASA, since the space agency is not directly involved. The experiment, which involves the effects that space radiation has on DNA, will be carried to the ISS by another private firm, SpaceX. Presumably the experiment would be run by a non NASA crew member to avoid any direct involvement with the space agency.
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Submission + - How three enterprising Chechen ladies took ISIS for $3,300->

MarkWhittington writes: Yahoo Travel reported that three women in Chechnya took ISIS for $3,300 before getting caught. They are now under investigation for Internet fraud, which seems to be illegal even when committed against the most fearsome terrorist army in modern times. The scam seems to be a combination of the Nigerian Prince con, in which a mark is fooled into giving the con artist large sums of money and catfishing, in which the mark strikes up an online romance with someone he thinks is an attractive woman (or man depending on the gender and preference of the mark.)
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Submission + - Upcoming Mars movie to be heavy on teenage angst, light on science->

MarkWhittington writes: Aintitcool reported that Ender’s Game’s Asa Butterfield and Tomorrowland's Britt Robertson are set to star in a movie about the first boy to be born on Mars and the first interplanetary romance. The movie, which has yet to have a name, will be directed by Peter Chelsom, most famous for having helmed Hannah Montana: The Movie. The unnamed movie is just the latest of what seems to be a series of films set on a future Mars, the most famous one being Ridley Scott’s production of The Martian, based on the Andy Weir bestseller. Unfortunately, unlike the Scott movie, the Chelson project does not seem to be overly burdened by science.
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Submission + - National Geographic Channel to air Ron Howard produced series 'The Red Planet'->

MarkWhittington writes: Proof positive that Marsmania is about to strike comes with the announcement that the National Geographic Channel is to broadcast a miniseries called “Red Planet” in 171 countries and 44 languages in 2016. The miniseries will be produced by Imagine Entertainment, with Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, along with Radical Media. The show will depict the colonization of Mars from a unique perspective, mixing interviews and documentary footage from the present day with a dramatization set in the year 2032. Howard and Imagine Entertainment have been involved in such space related projects as the smash hit movie "Apollo 13" and the HBO miniseries "From the Earth to the Moon."
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Submission + - German scientists confirm NASA results of propellantless 'impossible' EM drive->

MarkWhittington writes: Hacked Magazine reported that a group of German scientists believe that they have confirmed that the EM Drive, the propulsion device that uses microwaves rather than rocket fuel, provides thrust. The experimental results are being presented at the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics' Propulsion and Energy Forum in Orlando by Martin Tajmar, a professor and chair for Space Systems at the Dresden University of Technology. Tajmar has an interest in exotic propulsion methods, including one concept using “negative matter.”
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Submission + - A lunar geologist gives a reality check for NASA funded return to the moon study->

MarkWhittington writes: The study that suggested that American astronauts could return to the moon by 2021 for $10 billion has caused rare excitement in the media though perhaps a little bemusement as well. Officially, due to a presidential mandate, NASA has eschewed a return to the moon. Of course, presidencies and thus space policy mandates change. In any event, Paul Spudis, a lunar geologist who frequently writes about space policy and is an advocate of a return to the moon, provided a reality check for the proposal.

One the one hand. Dr. Spudis noted with approval the plan’s emphasis on the mining of lunar water and its refining into rocket fuel. He has helped develop a plan to do just that, which the NASA-funded proposal seems to have borrowed heavily from.

However, Spudis has some objections to the plan.

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Submission + - Ted Cruz is a 'Star Trek' fan and that is a good thing->

MarkWhittington writes: Just to prove that he is a multifaceted character, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas sat down for an interview for the New York Times Magazine and opened his mind, not on matters of high policy, but on comic books and science fiction. As a lad, he liked Spiderman and Han Solo. But it is in the realm of “Star Trek” that the presidential candidate may have created some controversy for himself. He very much prefers Captain James Kirk to Captain Jean-Luc Picard. There are Star Trek fans who will argue passionately for either Enterprise skipper. But then again, some Trek fans will fight over what angle Spock’s ears protrude from his temples.
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Submission + - NASA funded moon base study gives Newt Gingrich the last laugh->

MarkWhittington writes: Thus far, the NASA-funded study that suggests that American moon boots could be on the lunar surface by 2021 for $10 billion, which was rolled out not coincidentally on the 46th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, has not gotten any reaction from politicians. But, Newt Gingrich, former House Speaker and former presidential candidate, must be feeling a kind of bittersweet vindication. When he ran for president in 2012, he proposed building a commercial moon base and ran into a withering barrage of ridicule that sank his candidacy.
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Submission + - NASA funded study states people could be on the moon by 2021 for $10 billion->

MarkWhittington writes: The Houston Chronicle reported that NextGen Space LLC has released the results of a study that suggests that if the United States were to choose to do space in some new and creative ways, American moon boots could be on the lunar surface by 2021. The cost from the authorization to the first crewed lunar landing would be just $10 billion. The study was partly funded by NASA and was reviewed by the space agency and commercial space experts.
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Submission + - A $5 trillion asteroid passed by Earth->

MarkWhittington writes: It’s not every day that over $5 trillion passes by, just of reach. But that is exactly what happened Sunday night, according to Forbes. An asteroid with the innocuous name of 2011 UW158 passed the Earth at a distance of 1.5 million miles before moving back out into deep space. The reason the rock is so valuable is that it has a 90 million ton core of platinum group metals. If someone had managed to divert it into a safe orbit around the Earth and had started to mine it, that person would have become the richest in human history, with access to wealth greater than most nations.
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Submission + - Company aims to launch spacecraft on beams of microwaves->

MarkWhittington writes: The quest for cheap access to space, to make space travel as inexpensive as air travel, has eluded engineers, government policy makers, and business entrepreneurs from before the beginning of the space age. It has become axiomatic, almost to the point of being a cliché, that the true space age will not begin until launch costs come down significantly. Forbes reported about a company called Escape Dynamics that has a unique approach to the problem. The company proposes to launch payloads into low Earth orbit on beams of microwaves.
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Submission + - Could there be a joint 'US Iran space mission in the future?'->

MarkWhittington writes: 40 years ago on Friday, an American Apollo spacecraft and a Soviet Soyuz spacecraft docked in low Earth orbit in the climax of the Apollo-Soyuz Test Project mission. The mission was conceived as a symbol of the détente policy enacted by President Richard Nixon as well as a test of a common docking mechanism between the two spacecraft. The famous handshake between Soviet cosmonauts and American astronauts was considered by some to be an amicable end to the Cold War era space race. The anniversary inspired Iranian-American businesswoman and space advocate Anousheh Ansari to tweet Friday, “Hey may be there will be a US Iran space mission in the future!”
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Submission + - Scientists develop a seaweed that is healthier than kale but tastes like bacon->

MarkWhittington writes: One of the science breakthroughs that truly suggest that we are in the 21st Century is the development of seaweed that is healthier than kale and yet, when fried, tastes like bacon, according to a story in Gizmag. Thus, modern science seems to have combined two trendy foods, one that is healthy but is at best an acquired taste and the other that is delicious beyond the dreams of gluttony but is also a cardiologist’s dream.
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Submission + - 'Pluto Truthers' are pretty sure that the NASA New Horizons mission was faked->

MarkWhittington writes: Forget about Apollo moon landing hoax theories. That is so 20th Century. Gizmodo reported that the “Pluto Truthers” have followed the astonishing images being sent back by NASA’s New Horizons probe and have come to the conclusion that they are faked. After all, if the space agency could fake the entire moon landing, it would be child’s play to fake a robotic probe to the edge of the Solar System.
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Submission + - NASA's New Horizons has a close encounter with Pluto->

MarkWhittington writes: The New Horizons Twitter feed announced early Tuesday that the NASA space probe has passed by its closest approach of Pluto, the dwarf planet at the edge of the solar system, at a distance of 7,800 miles. The historic event happened at 7:50 a.m. Eastern time. However, as Wired noted, the event is not the end but the beginning of what will be a steady stream of data and images from New Horizons. The probe spent the close encounter with Pluto with its instruments fully focused on the dwarf planet. Tuesday evening it will send back telemetry to Earth indicating whether all is well. Scientific data will stream back, according to Wired, at an agonizingly slow rate of two kilobytes per second, taking four hours to get to Earth. Data and images will stream in for the next 19 months. Scientists will be analyzing the data for many years.
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