Intermediate Word:  manumit  (a) to free from bondage  (b) to hand-deliver a submission  (c) to certify  (d) to legally withdraw a suit
Difficult Word: - playa  (a) colonnade  (b) small town  (c) nearly level bottom of a desert basin  (d) plaza

Messages From Mars: New Findings Change Focus of Future Exploration - Space.com  Already on the books is a potent flotilla of NASA Mars craft, such as the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter for 2005, the Phoenix Mars lander in 2007, and a Mars Science Laboratory rover for 2009. Gauging the toxicity of martian soil has to be done, Weiler said. Also, how best to use the minerals on Mars for conversion to oxygen, or to power rockets is high on his action item list. 
Rare 'Tumbleweed' Survives Antarctica - SpaceDaily  A balloon-shaped robot explorer that one day could search for water on other planets has survived some of the most trying conditions on planet Earth during a 70-kilometer (40-mile), wind-driven trek across Antarctica. The Tumbleweed Rover, which is being developed at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., left the National Science Foundation's Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on Jan. 24, completing its roll across Antarctica's polar plateau roughly eight days later. The ultra-durable ball reached speeds of 30 kilometers per hour (10 miles per hour) over the Antarctic ice cap.


A Step Up for Toy Robots - ABC  Left:  The $99 RoboSapien can run, dance, and even perform karate moves using a design philosophy that espouses mechanical control systems should be based on those found in human bodies. (WowWee Toys) The secret of RoboSapiens is a philosophy called BEAM, or Biology, Electronics, Aesthetics, and Mechanics. Essentially the robots are designed with simple control circuits instead of complex computer chips and vast arrays of transistors. The simple controls are connected to sensors and the mechanics of the robot itself, in essence creating a machine that mimics a biological counterpart. RoboSapiens should hit U.S. shores later this year and is expected to cost less than $100.   

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