Intermediate Word:  paucity    (a) fewness  (b) strangeness  (c) state of ripeness  (d) hearty welcome
Difficult Word: -inspissate   (a) to urinate  (b) flaccid  (c) to demonize  (d) to thicken

Solar System Surprise: A New View of What's Out There - Space.com  In an emerging new theoretical view of our corner of the galaxy, several worlds larger than Pluto -- a few perhaps as big as Mars -- lurk in the outskirts of the solar system. Some are so far away that it would take more than a year, traveling at the speed of light, to reach them. For years, astronomers have been scouring the Kuiper Belt, a region past Neptune that's loaded with comet-like objects. The Kuiper Belt extends out to some 5 billion miles (8 billion kilometers) from the Sun.     
India Debates Manned Space Flight As First Lunar Mission Proceeds - SpaceDaily  Left:  India sent its first astronaut, Rakesh Sharma (pictured), aboard the Soviet spacecraft Salyut 7, in April 1984.  India's space agency is ready to send a man to space within seven years if the government gives the nod, while preparations have already begun for the launch of an unmanned lunar mission, a top official said. India's unmanned lunar flight, Chandrayaan (Moon Journey), slated to launch by the end of 2007 or early 2008, was on schedule, Nair said. The mission, to place a 525 kilogram (1,125 pound) orbiter using an indigenously-built polar satellite launch vehicle, is slated to cost the agency 83 million dollars. "It will explore its minerals, map the terrain and find out whether water and helium deposits exist. It will also give us a deeper understanding about the planet Earth itself or its origins," he said. 

Russia Rewrites Its Nuclear Doctrine With Mobile Launchers - SpaceDaily  Speaking to the country's top military brass on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin announced that Russia's nuclear deterrent would soon be significantly upgraded with weapons technology unmatched by other nuclear powers. Defense experts in Russia and around the world believe Putin was referring to either a new mobile version of the Topol-M ballistic missile, deployed in silos since 1998, or a significant upgrade of the Bulava intercontinental ballistic missile.   

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