Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Exciting week in space

All kinds of space stuff is going on.

China says its next lunar probe, in 2013, will have a lander.  It's been decades since anyone (Soviets, actually) put down a robotic lander.
Meanwhile, Russia has a new price on seats for orbital tourists.  The first such seats cost $20M - the latest cost is $150M.  Used to be, you could have your own space program for that kind of money. (Actually, in the modern world of microsatellites, you can.)

A privately owned lunar lander? There are plans for that, too.  Polaris is the first lander built in response to the Google Lunar X-Prize to have a contract with a launch date. A SpaceX Falcon is planned to take it up in 2013. 

Meanwhile, we learned the Apollo lunar landing flags - five out of six, anyway - are still standing.  (The exception, alas, is the very first flag, Apollo 11's.)  Take THAT, "Apollo hoax" idiots.

Finally, check out these NASA videos about the upcoming Mars Rover landing - narrated by Star Trek actors William Shatner and Wil Wheaton.  (F. Scott Fitzgerald famously said there are no second acts in American lives, but Bill Shatner is on his fourth or fifth.) 

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