Earth might not be the only planet in our solar system to have
hosted salty seas. NASA's Opportunity has uncovered evidence that
the rocks near its landing site on Mars not only were once wet, but
likely formed at the bottom of a body of gently flowing saltwater.
At a press conference at NASA Headquarters announcing the findings,
NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe said the discovery would have
"profound implications for future exploration."
As if NASA needed any more controversy with its shuttle fleet
program, the agency just released findings that would make any
astronaut cringe. NASA said it will replace braking mechanisms on
all its space shuttles after discovering some of the gears were
installed backward. Shuttle program manager Bill Parsons said
Monday he has launched an investigation into why the rudder speed
brake gears — all old original parts in the shuttle tails
— were never inspected in more than two decades of flight. If
one of the improperly installed gears had been in a high-stress
position, it probably would have led to the destruction of the
spacecraft at touchdown, he said.
Move over NASA, you've got competition in the Lunar exploration
program. China announced that it plans to launch its first moon
rover in 2012 as part of its new ambitious space exploration
program. While void of any Neil Armstrong wannabes, the
spacecraft's main purpose will be to provide information on finding
a suitable location to set up a moonbase, the Beijing Youth Daily
newspaper said Sunday, citing Ouyang Ziyuan, lead scientist of the
country's lunar probe program.