Intermediate Word:  pika (a) half-length pike  (b) printer's unit: 1/6th-inch  (c) letter-carrier's leather mail sack  (d) hare-like mammal
Difficult Word:
  firn -  (a) slender  (b) cavalry officer's riding crop  (c) partially compacted snow  (d) umbrella stand

Not your father's space mission ship  - C/Net   "The tests are the first look we have at the aerodynamics of the next generation of the crew exploration vehicle," said Thomas Edwards, director of aeronautics at NASA Ames. The space shuttle marks the final stages of the first era of space exploration, and the CEV models are kicking off the next stage, according to Edwards. The first two CEV models could easily have been mistaken for gussied-up shower heads. But in fact, one is a 2.77 percent-size scale model of the current design of the CEV that is covered with pink, oxygen-sensitive paint. It is designed to measure how pressure from winds up to Mach 2.6 would affect the capsule. The other is a shiny, metal model of the same size that measures forces like lift and drag in the wind tunnel. The final model is a 7 percent-size scale that is covered with the special paint and is bathed in ultraviolet light and held at the end of a long arm in the wind tunnel. Edwards explained that each of the models is used for testing different elements.   
'No quick fix' from nuclear power  - BBC  Building new nuclear plants is not the answer to tackling climate change or securing Britain's energy supply, a government advisory panel has reported. The Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) report says doubling nuclear capacity would make only a small impact on reducing carbon emissions by 2035. As North Sea supplies dwindle, nuclear is seen by some as a more secure source of energy than hydrocarbon supplies from unstable regimes. But the SDC report, compiled in response to the energy review, concluded that the risks of nuclear energy outweighed its advantages.  

One of the largest shockwaves ever seen in the universe - Digg  This photograph, taken by the Spitzer space telescope and a ground-based telescope in Spain, shows the Stephan's Quintet galaxy cluster, with one of the largest shockwaves ever seen in the Universe. Four of the five galaxies in this image are involved in a violent collision, which has already stripped most of the hydrogen gas from the interiors of the galaxies. The green arc in the photograph is the point which two galaxies are colliding. Two galaxiies have been so beaten up, all that's left are their bright centers. The galaxies are located 300 million light-years away in the Pegasus constellation. The titanic shock wave, larger than our own Milky Way galaxy, was detected by the ground-based telescope using visible-light wavelengths. It consists of hot hydrogen gas. As NGC7318b collides with gas spread throughout the cluster, atoms of hydrogen are heated in the shock wave, producing the green glow.

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