..NASA Names New Crew Exploration Vehicle Orion..

NASA announced Tuesday that its new crew exploration vehicle will be named Orion.

Orion is the vehicle NASA’s Constellation Program is developing to carry a new generation of explorers back to the moon and later to Mars. Orion will succeed the space shuttle as NASA’s primary vehicle for human space exploration.

Orion’s first flight with astronauts onboard is planned for no later than 2014 to the International Space Station. Its first flight to the moon is planned for no later than 2020. ..

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..Scientists work to colonize space..

“To put a human colony of four or five scientists on the moon for any extended period of time, it’s necessary to figure out how to produce the oxygen and water and propellant that might be required for simple life support, largely because it’s too darned expensive to get it all the way from Earth and stockpile it there,” says Dale Boucher, director of research and development at the Sudbury-based Northern Centre for Advanced Technology…

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..Big new reservoir of water ice suspected under Mars..

Water ice was expected in the polar caps, since they represent the largest known reservoirs of water on Mars. Estimates suggest that if they melted, they would cover the planet in a layer of water up to 33 metres deep.

But as it scanned the region around the south pole, MARSIS also turned up an unexpected ice source. It lies near the southern polar cap and is underneath a region of Martian surface that shows no visible signs of ice. The radar signals reveal what appear to be relatively thin layers of underground water ice – layers that may contain water of a equivalent to half of that locked up in the entire southern polar cap.

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