Intermediate Word:  palomino -  (a) golden coat, white mane and tail  (b) sturdy range pony  (c) Spanish for "companion"  (d) accomplice
Difficult Word: - ratafia    (a) a type of rattan  (b) brightly colored woven-rag throw  (c) Cambodian lute  (d) almond-flavored cordial

'Seeds of a Revolution' Could Help Change NASA - Space.com  Privatization and commercialization of space travel may be poised to skyrocket as NASA inches toward privatization and prize-offerings, leaders at a conference here said Tuesday Wednesday, NASA will announce the first two of its Centennial Challenges space prizes designed to encourage greater commercialization of transporting payloads beyond Earth. Details will be released at the Flight School 05 meeting.    
NASA's Spitzer Marks Beginning of New Age of Planetary Science - SpaceDaily  Left: This artist's concept shows what a fiery hot star and its close-knit planetary companion might look like close up in infrared. In visible light, seen below, a star shines brilliantly, overwhelming the little light that is reflected by its planet. In infrared, the star is less blinding, and its planet perks up with a fiery glow. Video: Spitzer Sees Light of Distant Planet  NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has for the first time captured the light from two known planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. The findings mark the beginning of a new age of planetary science, in which "extrasolar" planets can be directly measured and compared. "Spitzer has provided us with a powerful new tool for learning about the temperatures, atmospheres and orbits of planets hundreds of light-years from Earth." "It's fantastic," said Dr. David Charbonneau of the Harvard- Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, Cambridge, Mass., lead author of a separate study on a different planet.

Image: Climber demonstration

Space Elevator Program Begins with Currently Marketable Products - MSNBC  If the space elevator dream comes true, robo-cars powered by laser light will roll on a carbon-nanotube ribbon stretching up tens of thousands of miles from Earth's surface, carrying cargo and passengers on a monorail to the sky. But when Michael Laine, president of the LiftPort Group, manned a booth at a Seattle robotics exhibition last month, he didn't dwell on that dream for the next decade: Instead, he highlighted down-to-Earth applications that could emerge in the next year or two, such as servicing balloon-based platforms for wireless Internet access or aerial surveillance. And rather than flashing gee-whiz animations of future spaceships, he flipped a switch on a demonstration robot named "Squeak" that clattered up and down a 10-foot length of plastic webbing. "Our plan is to do this in an incremental fashion, producing revenue from the beginning," he said. Bit by bit, the space elevator concept is moving from high-flying science fiction into nitty-gritty business models, and its proponents are turning their focus from the grand scheme to the technologies required to make it work: hardy robotic transports, new super-strong materials and innovative power sources.  

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