April 27th, 2004

Moon-Mars cost estimate is too high Florida Today

Mistaken as gospel and spread around the country by countless news outlets outside of Brevard County, an oft-quoted but flawed trillion-dollar cost estimate is coloring public opinion on President Bush’s plan to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020, and it’s swaying election-year political debates. A more realistic estimate: $229 billion over the next 16 years.

March 25th, 2004

In Florida, space means jobs Florida Today

State must aggressively pursue moon-Mars work. America’s space vision, recently announced by President Bush, establishes a bold new direction and places a renewed focus on space exploration. The plan calls for returning to the moon, going to Mars and beyond, and entails retiring the shuttle by 2010 after completion of the International Space Station and the development of a new Crew Exploration Vehicle.

March 23rd, 2004

Major Mars revelation likely today Florida Today

NASA will announce another “major scientific finding” from its Mars rover Opportunity at 2 p.m. today.
Scientists previously announced the rover found the first hard evidence water once drenched its landing site.
“This is the major announcement of the two,” spokesman Don Savage said Monday.

March 12th, 2004

NASA weighs risks of sending Spirit rover into Mars crater Florida Today

NASA’s Spirit rover inched toward the edge of a gaping crater on Mars Thursday as mission managers weighed the risks of driving into it.
A trip into the 660-foot-wide crater could yield an unprecedented look at subsurface Mars, one that might provide a window into the planet’s geologic history.
But the robotic field geologist could get stuck in the crater, nicknamed “Bonneville,” fouling plans to eventually head off and explore rolling hills east of the rover’s landing site.

March 7th, 2004

NASA faces rush of retirees Florida Today

NASA’s labor pool is overloaded with people soon eligible to retire. A pipeline once filled with American science and engineering graduates is shrinking. Students no longer see the aerospace industry as a choice career path. Higher-paying private sector jobs are alluring, and interest in federal service is declining. Together, those factors raise serious questions about NASA’s ability to recruit and retain a new generation of scientists, engineers and technologists needed to send astronauts back to the moon by 2020 and then on to Mars years after that.

February 10th, 2004

Mars rock formed like a blueberry muffin Florida Today

The rocks on Mars offer all the intriguing clues of a good mystery novel for principal investigator Steve Squyres. “Some of them mean something,” the Cornell University scientist said Monday. “Some of them are probably red herrings. We don’t know which is which.” NASA’s rover Spirit ground a circular hole in the rock called Adirondack and verified its volcanic origins. Even more intriguing, Opportunity, on the other side of Mars, has found fine layers of rock that could be caused by volcanic ash or dust.

January 14th, 2004

Cheney praises Mars team Florida Today

The people who are already on Mars with a plucky robotic rover see an important role for themselves in the future of U.S. space exploration, as outlined by President Bush on Wednesday. The director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, NASA’s prime developer of robotic missions beyond our world, said future robots would complement human journeys to the moon and Mars.

January 4th, 2004

‘We’re on Mars’ Florida Today

The Mars rover Spirit beamed crystal-clear photos from the planet’s Gusev Crater to Earth just after 2:30 a.m. EST, the first images from the surface since the little Pathfinder rover landed seven years ago. Earlier, the jubilant mission team at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory greeted signals from the Spirit rover with cheers, claps and embraces after the lander bounced and rolled to a stop on the red planet’s surface. It’s designed to spend three months journeying from rock to rock in what might be an ancient lakebed.

December 25th, 2003

Europeans wait to hear if Beagle 2 survived Mars landing Florida Today

Europe’s Beagle 2 spacecraft should be on Mars, but mission controllers in Germany will have to wait several more hours to learn whether the lander touched down successfully. Late Wednesday evening, the control teams sent the final commands to put the Mars Express craft into orbit and to plunge Beagle 2 through the planet’s atmosphere.

December 20th, 2003

Stakes high for Mars missions Florida Today

Mars has crushed David Crisp before. He tries to laugh about it now, but he clearly recalls the pain of watching a half decade’s worth of his life’s work disappearing in an instant. What’s worse, no one will ever know for sure why the Mars Polar Lander crashed into the red planet in 1999 never to be heard from again. Almost five years later, NASA senior research scientist Crisp is watching his wife prepare for the same nerve-wracking moment. Next month, the project of Joy Crisp’s career is supposed to go screaming through the thin Martian atmosphere, slam into the unforgiving terrain below and bounce four stories into the air, rolling to a stop about a mile away.