An army of 35,000 aviation buffs, President George W Bush among them, will descend on the sand dunes of North Carolina today to mark the centenary of the first controlled flight by a heavier-than-air craft – the Wright brothers’ 12-second hop. Mr Bush is due to deliver what has been billed as a “major announcement” on space exploration, hoping to sweep aside a dismal few years for the once-proud American aviation and space industries, still reeling from by such disasters as the September 11 hijackings and this year’s loss of the space shuttle Columbia.
Bush to see ‘Wright brothers’ fly again The Daily Telegraph
The curse of Mars The Daily Telegraph
The British-led Beagle 2 probe is about to enter the last, and most risky, stage of its six-month-long, 250-million-mile journey. Robert Matthews meets Professor Colin Pillinger, the driving force behind the mission to the Red Planet Professor Colin Pillinger is not remotely superstitious. Even so, as the driving force behind Beagle 2, Britain’s first mission to Mars, he knows all about the curse of the Red Planet – about how it took the Cold War superpowers seven attempts to get their first probe anywhere near it, and how two thirds of those sent since have failed to complete their missions.
British probe survives solar storms on the final approach The Daily Telegraph
After surviving a vigorous battering from the worst solar storms in recent history, Mars Express and Beagle 2 are now well into the final leg of their six-month journey. Although Mars Express’s navigation system was temporarily blinded by the clouds of charged particles rushing from the Sun, tests have revealed that there was no long-term damage. Last month’s major course correction put the probes on a collision course with the red planet for the first time.
Is there life on Mars? The Daily Telegraph
Next year, a set of complex, temperamental and hugely expensive scientific instruments will be strapped to the top of a rocket and violently shaken as they are launched into space. Six months later, they will be hurled into the atmosphere of Mars at 14,000mph. Cushioned by balloons, they will bounce to the surface, roll to a stop and then switch themselves on without, it is hoped, a single glitch. The scientists behind the Beagle 2 project have spent the past few weeks making sure that those vibrations, knocks and shakes will not scupper their
How Man has left his mark on the Earth The Daily Telegraph
THE dominance of Man over nature is highlighted today in an extraordinary new series of satellite maps that reveal how one half of the Earth carries the “ecological footprint” of humanity. A vast swathe of pink – once the colour used to mark the British Empire but now chosen to show land that has been ploughed up or paved over – stretches across 24 per cent of all available land in the world. Another 26 per cent is pasture for livestock. The scientists who created the map from remote sensing satellites said yesterday that humans had become a force of nature “comparable to volcanoes or to cyclical variation in the Earth’s orbit”.