Intermediate Word:  veldt -  (a) Australian watershed  (b) South African grassland  (c) soft-napped cloth  (d) grayish-purple
Difficult Word: - quagga   (a) extinct zebra-like animal  (b) edible clam  (c) temporary Indian shelter  (d) mullah's cloak

Earth's “Bigger Cousin” Detected - Space.com  Astronomers announced today the discovery of the smallest planet so far found outside of our solar system.  About seven-and-a-half times as massive as Earth, and about twice as wide, this new extrasolar planet may be the first rocky world ever found orbiting a star similar to our own. The planet orbits makes a full orbit in a speedy 1.94 days, implying a distance to the central star of 2 million miles, and is speculated to be a toasty 400 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit.
Detailing the Science of Man on Mars - SpaceDaily  The Mars Human Precursor Science Steering Group was chartered by MEPAG in June 2004 to analyze the priorities for precursor investigations, measurements, and technology/infrastructure demonstrations that would have a significant effect on the cost and risk of the first human mission to Mars. The SSG proposes the following tasks:
1. Assess airborne particulates.  2. Map atmosphere.  3. Check for harmful Martian pathogens.  4. Hunt for water.  5. Assess radioactivity.  6. Determine soil traction/cohesion. 7. Evaluate dust storms. 8. Determine toxicity of dust. 9. Measure atmospheric electricity.  10.  Find out how fast terrestrial life is destroyed.      

Ready For Dinner On Mars - SpaceDaily  'Martian bread and green tomato jam', 'Spirulina gnocchis' and 'Potato and tomato mille-feuilles' are three delicious recipes that two French companies have created for ESA and future space explorers to Mars and other planets. The challenge for the chefs was to offer astronauts well-flavoured food, made with only a few ingredients that could be grown on Mars. The result was 11 tasty recipes that could be used on future ESA long-duration space missions. The menus were all based on nine main ingredients that ESA envisions could be grown in greenhouses of future colonies on Mars or other planets.    

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