Intermediate Word:  Rubenesque (a) ruddy-faced  (b) generously proportioned  (c) beautiful  (d) statuesque
Difficult Word: - hemisitch  (a) hemispheres oriented in opposite directions  (b) any great circle splitting a sphere into two halves  (c) plane dividing the left and right hemispheres of the brain  (d) half a line of verse

Robots ready to race in Grand Challenge  - CNN  Last year's inaugural contest ended soon after it began when the robots careered  Fast forward 18 months, and double the prize to $2 million. On Wednesday, 40 teams and three alternates compete for a spot in the October 8 race during the semifinals at the California Speedway in Fontana. While sweetening the purse, organizers promise that the course will be tougher and meaner. The Pentagon wants one-third of the military's ground vehicles to be unmanned by 2015. If a winner crosses the finish line, Tether said, DARPA will probably not sponsor the same race next year. That would be "anticlimactic," he said. But if no one wins this year, the stakes will be raised again, to $4 million.
Mars: A history of false impressions ...  - MSNBC  Christian Huygens  seems to have been the first to speculate on intelligent life on Mars. William Herschel wrote that Mars' dark areas were seas, and its light areas represented land, and that it was probably inhabited by intelligent features. Camille Flammarion attributed Mras' reddish color to vegetation. Sciaparelli, followed by Percival Lowell, popularized the Martian "canals". H. G. Wells popularized these extra-terrestrial interpretations with his 1998 "War of the Worlds". Guglielmo Marconi spearheaded a search for radio signals in the early 1920's. By the 1950's, Mars was concluded to be lifeless. However, the recent discovery of submerged icebergs and atmospheric methane have rekindled the possibility of primitive Martian life.     

ESA Picks an Asteroid to Move ... - FirstScience  Instead of waiting for asteroids to slam into the Earth, the European Space Agency is working on a mission that will reach out and try to shift a space rock's orbit. The mission is called Don Quijote, and it will consist of two spacecraft: an orbiter and an impactor; similar to NASA's Deep Impact. The Sancho orbiter will rendezvous with a target asteroid and carefully calculate its orbit before and after the Hidalgo impactor slams into it. The ESA has chosen two candidate asteroids as potential targets, and will make a final decision in 2007. Earlier this year the NEO Mission Advisory Panel (NEOMAP), consisting of well-known experts in the field, delivered to ESA a target selection report for Europe’s future asteroid mitigation missions, identifying the relevant criteria for selecting a target and picking up two objects that meet most of those criteria. The asteroids’ temporary designations are 2002 AT4 and 1989 ML.Industrial studies are now about to start; it will be down to European experts to propose alternative solutions for the design of the low-cost NEO precursor mission. This will be the first step towards the development of a means to tackle asteroid impacts.    

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