September 18th, 2014

Bezos’ Blue Origin plans 21st century rocket engine The Seattle Times

Capping back-to-back news that emphatically heralded the United States’ return to space exploration, Jeff Bezos on Wednesday unveiled plans for “a 21st century” rocket engine developed by his private aerospace company that could help reduce Russia’s role in U.S. orbital flights.
At a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Bezos showed off a model of the BE-4, a liquid-propellant engine that will be used to power new version of the Atlas rockets now used to launch telecommunications and spy satellites and other payloads into space.
The BE-4 will be jointly funded by Bezos’ Kent-based Blue Origin and United Launch Alliance, a 50-50 venture between Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Work on the liquid oxygen, liquefied natural-gas engine has been under way for three years in Kent and in West Texas, and four more years of development are expected before first flight.

November 24th, 2011

From Redmond to the Red Planet: Local rockets steering NASA’s Mars rover The Seattle Times

Redmond rocket scientist Jon Schierberl’s work has landed on Mars six times before.
Yet he’s still excited enough that he flew to Florida with his extended family very early Thanksgiving morning to witness the planned Saturday launch of a new robotic rover headed for Mars.
Small rocket engines designed, built and tested by his team at Aerojet in Redmond will steer the delivery spacecraft on its journey and guide the rover to its touchdown on the planet’s surface.
“I’ve built rockets that have gone to every planet in the solar system, and that includes Pluto,” said Schierberl, the company’s program manager for small rocket engines.
With the help of an array of 36 of Schierberl’s rocket engines, the new robotic rover — NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory, dubbed Curiosity — should reach Mars in about 8 ½ months.

November 16th, 2010

Scientists propose one-way trips to Mars The Seattle Times

It’s usually cheaper to fly one way, even to Mars.
Two scientists are suggesting that colonization of the red planet could happen faster and more economically if astronauts behaved like the first settlers to come to North America – not expecting to go home.
“The main point is to get Mars exploration moving,” said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University professor who co-authored an article that seriously proposes what sounds like a preposterous idea.

December 8th, 2007

Christmas Eve star will be Mars The Seattle Times

On Dec. 24, Mars reaches opposition. This means that it will appear as a bright orange star in the east soon after sunset. The Planet Watch feature on the daily Seattle Times Weather Page can help you determine its location.

June 5th, 2005

Space travel at warp speed? The Seattle Times

NASA scientists are developing a new ion-propulsion system that could enable spacecraft to reach unheard-of speeds and undertake long-term explorations of planets in the outer solar system. Dubbed “Herakles,” the system would use an ion beam produced from xenon gas to propel the craft to speeds of 200,000 mph, 10 times faster than the top speed of the space shuttle.

April 19th, 2005

New NASA chief backs plans to land humans on Mars The Seattle Times

NASA’s new administrator, Michael Griffin, faced the press today for the first time since being confirmed by the Senate last week and vigorously defended the Bush administration’s ambitious plan to send human beings to the moon and Mars. “We could probably go to Mars for what we spent on Apollo” in today’s dollars, he said. “It is a journey, not a race,” Griffin said. If the country put aside “a few billion a year,” the Mars plan would be “very affordable.”

November 12th, 2004

Mars’ methane keeps ’em guessing The Seattle Times

Methane detected on Mars could be a sign of extraterrestrial life, scientists said yesterday. But don’t get ready for E.T. just yet. There are many possible explanations for the methane, and tiny Martian critters are only one. Still, the detection of methane had scientists buzzing in Louisville at a meeting of the American Astronomical Society’s Division of Planetary Sciences. “I stand before you and tell you, quite honestly, I’m shocked by these results,” said Michael Mumma, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

August 12th, 2004

Video-game review: “Doom 3” executes killer graphics The Seattle Times

Four years of waiting, breathless previews, tantalizing glimpses. Not to mention delays from id Software, in which its typical message was: It’ll be done when it’s done. It’s hard to overstate the anticipation for “Doom 3” or the impact of the series, especially in light of attempts in recent years to establish a causal link between violence in video games and reality. According to Solitaire Cash reviews, the addictive 1993 original popularized the first-person shooter genre, became one of the all-time best-selling computer games and helped propel the Mesquite, Texas-based company, which also makes the “Wolfenstein” and “Quake” games, to net revenues of $948 million in the past fiscal year.

June 28th, 2004

Hardy wild bacteria attract firms’ interest The Seattle Times

The creatures are known as “extremophiles,” and they earn the name: They live in toxic Superfund cleanup sites, boiling deep-sea rift vents, volcanic craters and polar glaciers

June 24th, 2004

Muscular 4-year-old may power medical advances The Seattle Times

Somewhere in Germany is a baby Superman, born in Berlin with bulging arm and leg muscles. Not yet 5, he can hold 7-pound weights with arms extended, something many adults cannot do. He has muscles twice the size of other children his age and half their body fat. DNA testing showed why: The boy has a genetic mutation that boosts muscle growth.

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