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Submission + - SPAM: Eileen Collins touts space leadership but declines to endorse Donald Trump

MarkWhittington writes: One of the more anticipated speeches that took place on the third night of the Republican National Convention was delivered by Colonel Eileen Collins, the first woman to command a space shuttle mission. Her remarks followed a short video that celebrated the American spirit of exploration and innovation on the occasion of the 47th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing
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Submission + - SPAM: Taiwan building lunar lander for a joint mission to the moon with NASA

MarkWhittington writes: According to AFP, the Chung-shan Institute of Science and Technology on Taiwan is building a $47 million, 3.7 metric ton lunar lander on behalf of NASA. The vehicle is designed to carry a rover called Resource Prospector which would roll about the lunar surface searching out deposits of oxygen, hydrogen, and water. The Resource Prospector mission is still being formulated but is envisioned to be a joint project with several national space agencies and commercial companies. The lunar lander is the first vehicle of its type to be built in Taiwan.
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Submission + - SPAM: Russia and China forming space exploration axis to go back to the moon and Mars

MarkWhittington writes: In a development that ought to be of concern to the United States and her allies, Russia and China have started to forge a space exploration alliance, according to a recent article in Forbes. Joint missions to the Moon and Mars are under discussion between Moscow and Beijing.
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Submission + - SPAM: Space reporter reveals how President Jimmy Carter saved the space shuttle

MarkWhittington writes: Eric Berger has published an account in Ars Technica about how President Jimmy Carter saved the space shuttle program. The article is well worth reading for its detail. In essence, around 1978 the space shuttle program had undergone a crisis with technical challenges surrounding its heat-resistant tiles and its reusable rocket engines and cost overruns. President Carter was not all that enthused about human space flight, to begin with, adhering to the since discredited notion that robotic space probes were adequate for exploring the universe. His vice president, Walter Mondale, was a vehement foe of human space flight programs, maintaining that money spent on them were better used for social programs.
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Submission + - SPAM: Ted Cruz decries cancellation of NASA's space shuttle, Constellation programs

MarkWhittington writes: Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas convened a hearing of the Senate Subcommittee on Space, Science, and Competitiveness on the subject of “NASA at a Crossroads: Reasserting American Leadership in Space Exploration.” The theme of the hearing was of the necessity to stay the course on NASA’s space exploration program, called the Journey to Mars. In his opening statement, Cruz decried the cancellation of both the space shuttle program and the Constellation space exploration program, the latter of which would have returned American astronauts to the moon by the end of the current decade
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Submission + - SPAM: NASA and space policy are missing from the 2016 Democratic Party platform

MarkWhittington writes: As the Democratic Party continues to craft its platform, NASA Watch’s Keith Cowing noticed a conspicuous omission. Apparently, no mention exists about NASA or civilian space policy. Cowing puts this down to the idea that space is a “niche issue.” On the other hand, sections exist supporting statehood for Washington D.C. and closing Guantanamo, two matters that have not been in the news as of late.
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Submission + - SPAM: Vivian Kubrick provides another rebuttal to the fake moon landing conspiracy 1

MarkWhittington writes: One of the weirdest and in some ways most annoying conspiracy theories floating around is the idea that the government faked the moon landings. The theory has been debunked so thoroughly and by so many people, most famously the Mythbusters, that one should hardly be bothered revisiting it. However, Vivian Kubrick, the daughter of the famed film director Stanley Kubrick, weighed in on the matter on the occasion of NASA’s Juno’s arrival to orbit around Jupiter. Ms. Kubrick’s involvement stems from the idea advanced by some conspiracy theorists that her father was in charge of the fakery. After all, he made one of the greatest space films of all time, “2001: A Space Odyssey”, so doing a fake moon landing should have been easy (though truth to tell, it would have been impossible using 1960s video technology.)
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Submission + - SPAM: 13 percent prefer being hit by a giant meteor to Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump

MarkWhittington writes: Showing how bizarre Election 2016 has become, PPP has offered the results of a poll that ask do you prefer President Hillary Clinton, President Donald Trump, or for the world to be wiped out by a giant meteor strike? 13 percent of the respondents opted for the meteor strike. Red State bemoaned the fact that other catastrophes were not included, such as the Zombie Apocalypse, which would have been even more popular. After all, who would not prefer a choice between Rick and Nagin to a choice between Hillary and Donald?
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Submission + - SPAM: NASA's Juno spacecraft approaches Jupiter for a 4th of July arrival

MarkWhittington writes: July 4, if all goes well, will be an occasion for celebration at NASA as the Juno spacecraft, after a nearly five-year voyage, will go into orbit around Jupiter, the largest planet in the solar system. Juno will spend its time in a zone of intense radiation, against which it has been armored, in an effort to ferret out Jupiter’s secrets. By so doing, NASA hopes to gain insights into the origin of the solar system as well as gaining more knowledge of the gas giant, comprised mostly of hydrogen and helium with trace elements of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur.
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Submission + - SPAM: United Launch Alliance planning for 1,000 people working in space by 2045

MarkWhittington writes: Jeff Bezos, of both Amazon and Blue Origin, may ruminate about moving a lot of industry off the planet, but the United Launch Alliance, that joint venture of Lockheed Martin and Boeing, has a concrete plan to do so. ULA is working on an idea to have 1,000 people operating in Earth-moon space by 2045, less than 30 years away. The vision is based on three space vehicles that will rely on rocket fuel refined from lunar and asteroid water.
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Submission + - SPAM: With a mission to Mars, the UAE is turning from oil to a knowledge based economy

MarkWhittington writes: When most people think about the Middle East, they think of terrorism, religious fanaticism, and tyrants. The United Arab Emirates, a moderate oil-rich country, is seeking to change that image to a much older version of the Arab world when it was a center of science, mathematics, and culture. Back during the Middle Ages, when Europe was considered a backwater, Arab scholars were pioneering astronomy. The UAE is looking toward space again with its homegrown mission to Mars. Tellingly, as Scientific America points out, the deputy project manager and science lead for the UAE’s Mars shot is a woman named Sarah Amiri. She also leads the Emirates’ science council that advises the government on science and technology policy
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Submission + - SPAM: Axiom Space proposes commercial module for NASA's International Space Station

MarkWhittington writes: When the International Space Station, first proposed by President Ronald Reagan in 1984, reaches the end of its operational life in 2024, the question will arise what comes next for low Earth orbit activities. A number of proposals have emerged for building a commercial space station, such as the one to be constructed with inflatable modules proposed by Bigelow Aerospace. According to Geek Wire, a former NASA space station manager named Mike Suffredini suggests building a commercial module that would attach to the ISS. When the space station ends, the module will serve as the basis of a commercial space station.
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Submission + - SPAM: Austin is conducting sting operations against ride sharing drivers

MarkWhittington writes: The tragicomedy surrounding the expulsion of the ride-sharing companies Uber and Lyft from Austin, the liberal enclave in red state Texas, proceeds apace. Drunk driving has shot up since the two companies lost a deregulation referendum and were forced to leave the capital of the Lone Star State. With thousands of drivers and tens of thousands of riders who once depended on ride-sharing services in a lurch, a group called Arcade City has tried to fill the void with a person to person site to link up drivers and riders who then negotiate a fare. Of course, according to a story on KVUE, the Austin city government, and the police are on the case.
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Submission + - An American scientist makes the case for NASA returning to the moon (

MarkWhittington writes: Recently, the idea of an American return to the moon received a push in Congress, with the upcoming NASA spending bill mandating the cancellation of the asteroid redirect mission and a refocusing of the space agency’s efforts toward lunar surface operations in advance of the Journey to Mars. Now, the scientific community has weighed in, in the person of Clive R. Neal, a professor of geology at the University of Notre Dame. Professor Neal took to the pages of the latest issue Scientific America to advocate for a return to the moon

Submission + - Finnish scientist provides another explanation for the 'impossible' EM drive (

MarkWhittington writes: Ever since the EM drive entered the news about a year or so ago, it has sparked considerable controversy. The device is alleged to work by using microwaves that produce, in some fashion as yet unknown to science, thrust. Many scientists suggest that the EM drive is impossible as it violates known physics. However, a number of tests conducted in Great Britain, Germany, China, and at NASA’s Eagleworks at the Johnson Spaceflight Center have resulted in thrust that cannot, as yet, be explained by experimental error. The International Business Times reported that a Finnish scientist has published an article in a peer-reviewed science journal with a possible explanation as to how the drive works.

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