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Space Exploration

  1. Throw Money At This! You Can Help Kickstart Interplanetary Engines For Tiny Satellites

    Who needs a long, drawn out grants process when you've got a whole Internet full of folks with a couple bucks to throw in the kitty for space exploration?

    Researchers at the University of Michigan want your help to power the next generation of space flight. They're not counting on sending shuttles anywhere, though -- their plan for tiny, plasma-driven thrusters that could propel micro-satellites into interplanetary space as early as 2015. To hit that ambitious goal, though, they're not counting on the traditional grants process -- which can be quite protracted -- and instead taking their funding needs to the people via Kickstarter. 

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  2. Need a Tool on the Moon? 3D Print One Made Out of Moon Rocks

    Cross country road trips and voyages to outer space have at least one thing in common -- bringing along baggage is a hassle. Researchers working to minimize the cargo that space travelers will need to carry in the future are, quite naturally, looking to 3D printing as a solution. After all, why bring a tool box along when you can just print the contents of one as needed? A team of materials scientists at Washington State University is taking that tactic a step further, though, using material found in moon rocks in a 3D printer -- an advance that could one day mean that if you need a screwdriver on the moon, you can scoop up a handful of dust and print one at a moment's notice.

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  3. 50 Years Ago Today, John Glenn Became the First American to Orbit the Earth

    In the early afternoon of February 20, 1962, John Glenn climbed inside the cramped confines of Frienship 7. The spacecraft sat atop a modified Atlas missile, originally designed to ferry nuclear weapons towards targets toward the Soviet Union. However, in what might be the greatest triumph of the military-industrial complex, the rocket blasted off and made Glenn the first American to orbit the Earth, putting this country on the path to becoming a leader in space sciences.

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  4. Scientists Suggest Mars Voyage Should be One-Way

    Washington State University astrobiologist Dirk Schulze-Makuch and Arizona State University physicist Paul Davies co-wrote an article entitled "To Boldly Go" suggesting that a one-way trip to Mars would be more efficient than a roundtrip, and they believe the one-way explorations could take place in around twenty years.

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  5. Privatized? No Sweat! U.S. Space Program Should Steal Ideas From Video Games

    Now that the U.S. space program is being told to rely on private enterprise for crucial programs such as the Space Shuttle and Moon missions, our nation is going to have to find better reasons to heave men skyward than mere "scientific discovery." But the most likely solution is already woven into the very fabric of our national culture! Now that progress is out the window, what could be more American than voyaging to the stars in search of filthy, void-tainted lucre? We here at Geekosystem believe firmly that both N.A.S.A. and private companies should look to video games for models on how to monetize mankind's outward urge. Humans have been piloting imaginary spacecraft through the digital aether since way before they began exploiting space for pecuniary advantage; below are some of the ideas our best and brightest video games designers have dreamed up over the years.

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  6. Chilling: Amateur Video of 1986 Challenger Explosion Surfaces

    The explosion of the Challenger Space Shuttle in January of 1986 permanently dampened Americans' infatuation with space exploration. The nation was shocked by the tragic deaths of all seven of the Challenger's crew members, including schoolteacher Christa McAuliffe, and to this day, NASA has not fully recovered from the damage the accident did to its reputation. A report on the explosion commissioned by President Reagan specifically called out NASA's organizational culture and decision-making process as key factors behind its occurrence. Recently, a video of the Challenger explosion has surfaced. It was taken by a recently deceased optometrist, who lived not far from the launch site:

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