Intermediate Word:  vole (a) mountain valley  (b) field mouse  (c) carpenter's leather apron  (d) springy doorstop
Difficult Word:
  pocosin -  (a) upland coastal marsh  (b) minor peccadillo  (c) painter's smock  (d) brief note

Russia Plans Mine On The Moon By 2020 - SpaceDaily  Russia is planning to mine a rare fuel on the moon by 2020 with a permanent base and a heavy-cargo transport link, a Russian space official said Wednesday. "We are planning to build a permanent base on the moon by 2015 and by 2020 we can begin the industrial-scale delivery... of the rare isotope helium-3," Nikolai Sevastyanov, head of the Energia space corporation, was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying at an academic conference. Rare on earth but plentiful on the moon, it is seen by some experts as an ideal fuel because it is powerful, non-polluting and generates almost no radioactive by-product.    
Russia's Kliper To Be Launched In 2015 - SpaceDaily  A new reusable space craft designed in Russia will start delivering crews and supplies to the world's sole civilian orbital station in 2015, the head of Russia's leading space corporation said Wednesday, reports RIA Novosti. RIA Novosti reports that the first unmanned flight of the Kliper has been set for 2012, and the first manned flight has been scheduled for 2013, according to Sevostyanov. The six-man craft will be able to double the current number of crewmembers being taken to the ISS. For example, it will be equipped with an orbital transfer vehicle and a container with a capacity of 12 metric tons, compared with the Soyuz's two-ton capacity.    

"THOR" Mars Mission To Seek Underground Water - SpaceDaily  Left: MOC image of gullies with a remnant of the snow mantle (arrow) proposed to be the source of water that eroded these gullies.  A new, low-cost mission concept to Mars would slam a projectile into the planet's surface in an attempt to look for subsurface water ice. "I'm interested in exploring mid-latitude areas of Mars that look like they're made of snow and ice," Phil Christensen, the project's principal investigator, told SpaceDaily.com. Christensen, of Arizona State University, and colleagues at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, are proposing a mission called THOR for Tracing Habitability, Organics and Resources as part of NASA's Mars Scout program. His idea was to attempt to land small probes in at least several locations to examine the surface, "but landing is difficult and expensive." After Deep Impact's success, however, "this light bulb went off. We could launch a projectile, dig a deep hole, and observe the ejected material." Christensen estimates that a projectile of sufficient size could blow a crater at least 30 feet deep in the Martian subsurface. Along with ground water, the impact could excavate organic compounds. 

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