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Astronauts nail first spacewalk to fix station's cooling system
By Irene Klotz CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - Two NASA astronauts, their spacesuits rigged with snorkels in case of a water leak, floated outside the International Space Station for 5-1/2 hours on Saturday, successfully completing the first steps to fix the outpost's cooling system. The spacewalk, which was broadcast live on NASA Television, was the first for NASA since July when the spacesuit helmet worn by Italian astronaut Luca Parmitano began filling with water, a situation that could have caused him to drown. No such leaks were detected in Saturday's spacewalk, the first of two or possibly three that will be needed to complete the cooling system repair. While the six-member crew is not in danger, the remaining cooling system cannot support the three laboratories and other modules on the U.S. side of the $100 billion station, a project of 15 nations.
Sat, 21 Dec 2013 23:37:37 -0500
Robots to the rescue at international trials in Florida
By Zachary Fagenson HOMESTEAD (Reuters) - As a squat, red-and-black robot nicknamed CHIMP gingerly pushed open a spring-loaded door a gust of wind swooped down onto the track at the Homestead-Miami Speedway and slammed the door shut, eliciting a collective sigh of disappointment from the audience. The robot, developed by the Tartan Rescue team from the National Robotics Engineering Center at Carnegie Mellon University, was one of 17 competing in the U.S. military's Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency's (DARPA) Robotics Challenge. ...
Sat, 21 Dec 2013 23:57:40 -0500
China to expand presence in Antarctica with new research bases
China will expand its presence in Antarctica by building a fourth research base and finding a site for a fifth, a state-run newspaper said on Thursday, as the country steps up its increasingly far-flung scientific efforts. Chinese scientists are increasingly looking beyond China for their research, including sending submersibles to explore the bottom of the ocean and last weekend landing the country's first probe on the moon. Workers will build a summer field camp called Taishan and look for a site for another research station, the official China Daily reported. "As a latecomer to Antarctic scientific research, China is catching up," the report cited Qu Tanzhou, director of the State Oceanic Administration's Chinese Arctic and Antarctic Administration, as saying.
Thu, 19 Dec 2013 05:27:14 -0500
China eyes collection of lunar samples in 2017
China aims to launch its next unmanned lunar probe in 2017, with the key aim of collecting and bringing back lunar samples, an official said on Monday, after the country's first probe landed successfully on the moon over the weekend. China's leaders have set a priority on advancing its space program, with President Xi Jinping calling for the country to establish itself as a space power. The development of the Chang'e 5 probe, tasked with the moon sampling mission, is well underway and it is expected to be launched around 2017, a spokesman for the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense said. "After the success of the Chang'e 3's mission, the lunar exploration program will enter the third phase, with the main goal being to achieve unmanned automatic collection of samples and returning them (to the earth)," spokesman Wu Zhijian told a news conference.
Mon, 16 Dec 2013 00:51:30 -0500
Scientists still waiting for clear signs of ozone hole healing
Full recovery of the ozone layer, which shields Earth from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, should occur around 2070, atmospheric scientist Natalya Kramarova, with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, told reporters at the American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco last week. "Currently, we do not see that the ozone hole is recovering," she said. "It should become apparent in 2025." Researchers report puzzlingly large variations in the size of the annual ozone hole over Antarctica. In 2012 for example, the ozone hole was the second smallest on record, an apparently positive sign that the 1989 Montreal Protocol agreement - which called for the phasing out of Freon and other damaging chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs - was working.
Mon, 16 Dec 2013 15:21:14 -0500
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