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Thursday, July 20, 2017

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It was expected to be just another lump of dull basalt, but the first rock examined up close by NASA's Mars rover proved to be a little more interesting.  The pyramidal object, nicknamed "Jake Matijevic" after a recently deceased mission engineer, had a composition not seen on the planet before.  Scientists have likened it to some unusual but well known rocks on Earth.

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These form from relatively water-rich magmas that have cooled slowly at raised pressures and it is widespread available on Earth, on oceanic islands such as Hawaii, and St Helena, and the Azores; and also in rift zones like the Rio Grande and so forth. So, again, it's not common, but it's very well known," the mission co-investigator from the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, told reporters.

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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has touched down on the surface of the Red Planet, completing a 154-million-mile journey, and marking the beginning of a new era in planetary exploration.  President Obama released the following statement immediately after the landing: In the early morning of August 6, 2012, on the planet Mars, the United States of America made history.

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Click Here for a Virtual Tour of Mars

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has touched down on the surface of the Red Planet, completing a 154-million-mile journey, and marking the beginning of a new era in planetary exploration.We can now see panoramic images of Mars (above).

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Astronomers have found evidence for a planet being devoured by its star, yielding insights into the fate that will befall Earth in billions of years.  The team uncovered the signature of a planet that had been "eaten" by looking at the chemistry of the host star.

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They also think a surviving planet around this star may have been kicked into its unusual orbit by the destruction of a neighbouring world. Details of the work have been published in Astrophysical Journal Letters.  The US-Polish-Spanish team made the discovery when they were studying the star BD+48 740 - which is one of a stellar class known as red giants. Their observations were made with the Hobby Eberly telescope, based at the McDonald Observatory in Texas.

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Sally Ride, the first American woman in space aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger in 1983, has died at 61 after a 17-month battle with pancreatic cancer, according to Sally Ride Science:  Sally lived her life to the fullest, with boundless energy, curiosity, intelligence, passion, commitment, and love. Her integrity was absolute; her spirit was immeasurable; her approach to life was fearless.

 

sally_rideSally was a physicist, the first American woman to fly in space, a science writer, and the President and CEO of Sally Ride Science. She had the rare ability to understand the essence of things and to inspire those around her to join her pursuits.  Sally's historic flight into space captured the nation's imagination and made her a household name. She became a symbol of the ability of women to break barriers and a hero to generations of adventurous young girls.

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The B612 Foundation unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission – SENTINEL - a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of discovery and mapping. The Foundation leadership and technical team include some of the most experienced professionals in the world to lead this effort. 

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The B612 Foundation is working with Ball Aerospace, Boulder, CO, which has designed and will be building the Sentinel Infrared (IR) Space Telescope with the same expert team that developed the Spitzer and Kepler Space Telescopes. It will take approximately five years to complete development and testing to be ready for launch in 2017-2018. The launch vehicle of choice is the SpaceX Falcon9.