Archive by date | October 2009

To Mars on a shoestring – a nuclear powered shoestring

To Mars on a shoestring - a nuclear powered shoestring

The words Russia and nuclear always stoke the fires of hacks who hark back to the cold war. But this time the finger hovering over the red button will be launching a rocket to Mars, rather than a missile to end civilisation.

So news that Russia is planning a nuclear-powered rocket to get men to Mars (and back again?) has got widespread attention. The report comes from Russian news agency RIA Novosti who have a short account of Roscosmos head Anatoly Perminov’s address to a meeting of the commission on the modernization of the Russian economy. The spacecraft is still being designed, Perminov is reported as saying, with final plans finished by 2012. The cost will be at least 17 billion rubles, or $580 million.

Rocket problem dents image of launch success

Rocket problem dents image of launch success

A parachute failure has left a serious dent in part of the Ares 1-X rocket that NASA test fired on Wednesday.

Although NASA announced the launch as a success, it seems one of three parachutes meant to ensure a stage of the booster rocket drifted slowly back down failed. Although the chute deployed correctly, it later deflated.

Toni Iommi hopes stem cells will make him an Iron Man again

Legendary guitarist Toni Iommi is undergoing stem cell therapy in an attempt to keep him rocking.

On October 20th he told a BBC radio show, “I’ve had this problem with my hand and I’ve had this stem-cell treatment on it. The joints [were] rubbing on the joints. It was bone to bone and it was getting a bit painful.”

Charlie Bolden not afraid to cry

Charlie Bolden not afraid to cry

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden isn’t afraid let feelings and emotions reign at NASA. Speaking at a NASA Advisory Council meeting on Thursday at Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, Bolden choked up after viewing a short clip of the Ares 1-X test launch. “You don’t launch a new rocket every day,” he said, his voice breaking. “That was very special to me.” It’s not the first time that Bolden’s emotions have gotten the best of him. NASA’s Captain Kirk is clearly different from former administrator Mike Griffin, who once referred to himself as Spock.  Read more

UK still pushing to keep innocents’ details on DNA database

UK still pushing to keep innocents’ details on DNA database

Earlier this month it looked like the UK government had abandoned plans to keep the DNA of innocent people on its massive police database.

The European Court of Human Rights has already said that data on innocent people should not be retained. Now, however, leaked emails indicate that the government will try to keep hold of their DNA for six years…