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Elon is Not the Only One Who Wants To Nuke Mars

Former major leaguer Jose Canseco followed a string of out-of-left-field Mars terraforming tweets by posting this photo he took with his dog. Credit: @JoseCanseco

“By my calculations if we nuked the polar ice caps on Mars we would make an ocean of 36 feet deep across the whole planet.”

— former baseball player Jose Canseco, in a tweet Thursday discussing, for reasons unclear, the terraforming of Mars.

Canseco later suggested terraforming Mars could be accelerated by “redirecting Saturn’s moon Triton [sic] to collide into Mars,” which he said would create a magnetic field when it “liquidates Mars outer core into molten iron.”

Canseco’s comments come three months after Elon Musk, appearing on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” suggested dropping thermonuclear weapons over the poles of Mars to quickly terraform the planet.


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House appropriators hope to release the text of an omnibus spending bill on Monday. Work on the bill has been delayed by debates on policy riders, even as a continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government was set to expire Friday. The Senate passed a bill Thursday extending the CR through Dec. 16, and the House is expected to approve it Friday. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he hopes to have the omnibus bill completed and released Monday, but acknowledged that schedule may make it difficult to pass the bill before the new CR expires. [Roll Call]

A Soyuz spacecraft carrying three International Space Station crew members landed in Kazakhstan early Friday. The Soyuz landed in Kazakhstan at 8:12 a.m. Eastern time, nearly four hours after undocking from the ISS. The Soyuz returned to Earth NASA astronaut Kjell Lindgren, Roscosmos cosmonaut Oleg Kononenko, and JAXA astronaut Kimiya Yui after a 141-day mission. Three new ISS crew members are scheduled to launch on another Soyuz Dec. 15. [Spaceflight Now]

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The ground system for the next generation of GPS satellites is facing a two-year delay. The U.S. Air Force said the GPS Operational Control Segment (OCX) won’t be operational until 2021, two years later than previously planned. Without OCX, upcoming GPS 3 satellites will provide services no better than current GPS 2F satellites. Raytheon won the OCX contract in 2010 and has struggled with the work, leading to two reviews by the Pentagon’s top acquisition official in the last year. “The OCX program is a disaster, just a disaster,” Air Force Gen. John Hyten, commander of Air Force Space Command, said earlier this week. [SpaceNews]

SES said its SES-9 satellite will launch on a Falcon 9 next month. The satellite operator announced Thursday that the satellite has arrived at Cape Canavaral for a mid-January launch on a “full thrust” version of the Falcon 9. SpaceX and Orbcomm said earlier Thursday that a Falcon 9 will launch 11 Orbcomm satellites Dec. 19, pending the outcome of a static fire test on the launch pad Dec. 16, on the first Falcon 9 mission since a June launch failure. The SES-9 mission will be the second or third Falcon 9 launch, depending on the scheduling of a Dragon cargo mission to the space station. [SES]

Component problems forced NOAA to delay the launch of a weather satellite by six months. A transistor in the GOES-R satellite failed during a two-month environmental test at its prime contractor, Lockheed Martin. That failure, and a problem with a solar array control mechanism, led NOAA to conclude that rushing the repair work to meet a March 2016 launch date was unwise. The spacecraft is now scheduled to launch in October 2016 on an Atlas 5. [SpaceNews]

 

House appropriators hope to release the text of an omnibus spending bill on Monday. Work on the bill has been delayed by debates on policy riders, even as a continuing resolution (CR) funding the federal government was set to expire Friday. The Senate passed a bill Thursday extending the CR through Dec. 16, and the House is expected to approve it Friday. Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, said he hopes to have the omnibus bill completed and released Monday, but acknowledged that schedule may make it difficult to pass the bill before the new CR expires. [Roll Call]

Members of Congress and their staff are defending a new commercial space law with controversial provisions about space resource rights. In a speech Wednesday, Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas), chairman of the House Science space subcommittee, argued there were “a number of misconceptions about the intent and the legality” of the space resources section, which requires companies to extract resources in order to claim rights to them. House and Senate staff members said they did not believe the law granted any new rights to companies but instead made clear existing policy. [SpaceNews]

What may be the last Zenit rocket will launch Friday. The Zenit is scheduled to lift off at 8:45 a.m. Eastern from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, carrying the Elektro-L2 weather satellite. Strained relations between Russia and Ukraine, who makes the Zenit, and a lack of commercial business for Sea Launch, mean that no additional Zenit launches are currently planned. [Spaceflight Now]

NASA has released color versions of high-resolution images of the surface of Pluto taken by New Horizons. The images combine the black-and-white high resolution images released last week with the color data of the same terrain taken at lower resolutions. NASA also released a high-resolution image of “pitted” terrain on the dwarf planet, likely created by ice fracturing and evaporating. [Mashable]

Have astronomers discovered new planets in the distant fringes of the solar system? Probably not. Papers submitted earlier this week by astronomers in Mexico and Sweden claim to have detected large objects in the outer solar system in data from the ALMA radio observatory in Chile. Many other astronomers, though, are skeptical of the claims, believing the objects may be data artifacts and not real objects. [Scientific American]

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Source: Space News

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Elon is Not the Only One Who Wants To Nuke Mars

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