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DailyTech's middle of the month International Space Update, March 2007 edition

NASA is headed for a "train wreck" if the U.S. space agency is unable to get better funding to help finish construction of the International Space Station, according to Bart Gordon, chairman of the U.S. House science committee.  NASA also is unable to secure proper funding to find killer asteroids by 2020.  Also happening today at the Capitol, other representatives attempted to give NASA a $1 billion budget raise.  NASA has a $17.3 billion tentative budget for 2008.  

"I think it's clear that we have a budgetry situation that bears little resemblance to the rosy projections offered by the administration... a vision that is now increasingly blurred," Gordon said.

NASA reported that the Cassini spacecraft has discovered what appears to be large lakes and seas on the surface of Titan, one of Saturn's moons.  The images were taken on Feb. 22, and reveal that the largest is around 39,000 square miles -- larger than any North American Great Lake.  Their minimum size is the only key feature because the radar on Cassini has only been able to observer a portion of the features.    

Astronomers initially believed the entire surface of Titan was a global ocean, but Cassini helped prove that wrong.  It is unknown if the seas contain liquid, but initial radar observations indicate that liquid is likely present.

Researchers studying information gathered by NASA's Spirit space rover are interested in some bright Martian soil that contains high amounts of sulfur and traces of water.  "This material could have been left behind by water that dissolved these minerals underground, then came to the surface and evaporated, or it could be a volcanic deposit formed around ancient gas vents," said Dr. Ray Arvidson of Washington University, St. Louis.  Arvisdon is the deputy principal investigator for the NASA's Spirit and Opportunity space rovers.

It will ultimately take some time before researchers are able to figure out which hypothesis is correct -- the discovery of the correct hypothesis, however, will give further insight into the Columbia Hills region of the Red Planet.

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RE: Demand more from NASA
By rcc on 3/16/2007 10:57:01 AM , Rating: 4
Part of the problem with the manned program is the change in societies outlook. In the 60s society was comfortable with the realization that people working on new frontiers (be is space, ocean, etc.)were at risk. The people involved were aware of it, and ok; and the general public realized it, and supported them.

Today the attitude is that anything that might endanger a life is inherently bad. Do not strive, if to strive involves risk.

So, being politicians, the leadership at NASA has to find a way to advance under these conditions. As with most politicians, they take the easy way out and smother manned programs with safeties (which is cool, to a point), bureacracies, and delays.

I'm not advocating throwing lives at the problem. But if anyone actually believes that the "final frontier" can be conquered without risk, they need to study history a bit, and read up on the topic.

RE: Demand more from NASA
By Tsuwamono on 3/16/2007 11:06:57 AM , Rating: 2
i agree. its not like we force these people into space.. they WANT to do it. Its retarded the way people think. Its their choice so leave them be.

And 15 years is a joke, like someone said before. Should be 5 at maximum. Give me 2 years and the funding and ill have them on the moon and building a damn base. Give me 15 years and ill have my first kid born on mars. Thats god damn retarded that they need that time frame.

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson
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