Search results for: "orion"

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The House Seems To Be Supporting Manned Flight To Mars

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man on marsPerhaps the recent National Research Council report lambasting NASA’s plan to get humans to Mars was the wake-up call the government needed. That report (which somewhat ironically cost upwards of $3 million to assemble) couldn’t have been clearer in stating that, under current circumstances, NASA’s manned Mars missions were nothing but a pipe dream, and an invitation to “failure, disillusionment, and the loss of the longstanding international perception that human spaceflight is something the United States does best.” Yikes. But sometimes, a kick (or ten) in the ass is what the government needs, and when the House passed a new NASA reauthorization bill last week, it took the step in providing a more feasible budget for putting people on Mars.

Just before the bill passed the House, Steven Palazzo, Chairman of the Space Subcommittee of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, said, “We are committed to once more launching American astronauts, on American rockets, from American soil,” and argued that the bill would “serve as a pathway to Mars.” The bill also reinforces Obama’s previous commitment to developing a cutting-edge heavy-lift rocket launcher, as well as the new generation of Orion spacecraft, which is currently undergoing testing.

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Comic(s) Relief: Darth Maul: Son of Dathomir Wraps Up Clone Wars Storyline

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Maul1One of the results of the Disney/Lucasfilm buyout that stung many fans was the cancellation of the Clone Wars animated series as of season five. This was in spite of work already having begun on season six, leaving Clone Wars fans without any closure and with stories they would never get to see. Thankfully, Netflix eventually rode to the rescue and resurrected the show for one last season exclusively on their streaming service. But even with Netflix serving up the so-called Lost Missions, there were still storylines that the abbreviated sixth season didn’t have time to address. Now you can see one of them given resolution in comics form, courtesy of the four-issue Dark Horse miniseries Darth Maul – Son of Dathomir.

Written by Jeremy Barlow, Son of Dathomir picks up where The Clone Wars’ left Darth Maul at the end of season five. He’s been defeated by Darth Sidious, and his brother Savage Opress has been killed. Maul is now a prisoner of his former master Sidious, but if getting cut in half by a lightsaber didn’t keep him down, you know a little thing like being locked up is only a temporary speed bump. And Maul’s got bigger plans than just escaping. He’s pissed off, he’s got an army of Mandalorians, and he’s in the mood to stir up some trouble. To paraphrase Wesley Snipes, always bet on black (and red).

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What Does Commander William Riker Google? Everything.

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rikerFew TV characters come across as more confident as Commander William T. Riker, the Star Trek: The Next Generation character that Jonathan Frakes made famous. Perhaps it’s something hiding in his signature beard. In any case, we now know some of the things that must have been floating around in his mind for all those years, thanks to a clever (and fake) Twitter account that offers insight into the things that Riker is searching for on Google. And yeah, some of it is total filth.

The plainly titled RikerGoogling has been active since February, but has seen a mere 96 tweets come through. This leads us to believe that either Riker already knows pretty much everything else, or he’s just going to Wikipedia for what he doesn’t. Unless there are RikerYahooing or RikerBinging accounts that I’m unfamiliar with.

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Steven Moffat Hints At Why The TARDIS Isn’t Crazy About Clara

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ClaraWe’re in the long dark between seasons of Doctor Who at the moment, so there’s no a whole hell of a lot of information flowing about what we’ve got to look forward to in season eight just yet. As such, we’re left to fill out Who cravings with things like this. But hold on, it turns out Who boss Steven might have let slip some intriguing tidbits in a recent issue of Doctor Who Magazine, specifically with regards to something you may or may not have noticed in the last season of Doctor Who: that the TARDIS might not be entirely fond of the Doctor’s latest companion.

It’s a story element that was easily overshadowed by the larger arc of the season, especially since it was leading up to the 50th anniversary 1-2-3 of the Name, Day, and Time of the Doctor. But the TARDIS is alive, after all, and in fact the Doctor even had a (Hugo-winning) adventure with her in human form. In a very real way, she’s his original companion, the one who’s been there from the beginning and outlasted all the others. So why should the TARDIS mind Clara any more than she did all the ones who came before?

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The U.S. Has A Space Plane That Has Been In Orbit Since 2012

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X37BI don’t know about every craft the U.S. sends into orbit, nor am I familiar with all of the missions, but I do keep a pretty close watch on space news. Thus, I’m pretty surprised to learn that the U.S. Air Force has a space plane that’s been in Earth orbit for nearly 500 days.

The X-37B plane, which looks like a much smaller version—roughly 25% of the size—of a typical space shuttle, is carrying out a classified Orbital Test Vehicle 3 mission. It’s unclear what that means, given that it’s classified, but this is the third trip to the cosmos for the unmanned vehicle, which launched in December of 2012. In March, the shuttle took the title for the longest spaceflight. It’s also the world’s smallest robotic space plane.

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DARPA Developing New Biotech Unit

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darpa soldierSome government agencies struggle with budget constraints, while others reap the benefit of prioritization. DARPA clearly falls in the latter camp, having received a budget boost from the Pentagon. A hefty chunk of that money will go toward establishing a Biological Technologies Office for bolstering national security.

DARPA has previously dabbled in biotech, but the new office makes it a priority and will expand on the existing offices of Defense Sciences and Microsystems Technology. The mission of the Biotechnical Technologies Office (BTO) is to “foster, demonstrate, and transition breakthrough fundamental research, discoveries, and applications that integrate biology, engineering, and computer science for national security,” and includes “human-machine interfaces, microbes as production platforms, and deep exploration of the impact of evolving ecologies.” This opens up a host of different directions and technologies for DARPA to pursue.