Intermediate Word:  cabal (a) conspirational group of plotters  (b) pat hand in poker  (c) large dining room sideboard  (d) Jewish rabbi
Difficult Word: - monotreme  (a) ship with a single bank of oars  (b) egg-laying Australian mammal  (c) single-hulled boat  (d) frame in a single-shuttle loom

Huge Quake Cracks Star - Space.com  Astronomers have found the first evidence of cracks in a neutron star's crust. The star cracked when it was rocked by the strongest "starquake" ever recorded. Last December, astronomers worldwide monitored the explosion that caused this starquake.  The eruption was huge in the first 200 milliseconds of the event the star released energy equivalent to what our Sun produces in 250,000 years. The explosion was the brightest event ever detected outside of our Solar System.    
Deciphering Mars: The Future - SpaceDaily  The Mars Science laboratory, to be launched in 2009, is regarded as a keystone mission that marks the transition to the next decade of exploration. to summarize, what have we learned? Mars has had a prolonged aqueous history with widespread surface water during its early period, and hints of a subsurface hydrosphere through much of its younger history, possibly up to the present time. What do we need to know? We still have a lot to learn about the availability of basic nutrients and energy sources in both surface and subsurface environments.

Carbon Storage Could Take In More Than A Third Of World Pollution By 2050 - SpaceDaily  More than a third of annual emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), the principal gas blamed for global warming, could be stored underground by 2050, according to a report issued here Monday by a top UN scientific panel. By 2100, between 220 billion and 2,200 billion tonnes of CO2 could be stored in the Earth's crust, amounting to between 15 and 55 percent of global pollution by the end of the century. However, green activists worry especially about what would happen if an earthquake caused a chamber to rupture, sending hundreds or billions of tonnes of CO2 into the sky.     

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