8/19/2004:

Intermediate Word: 
saltatory
  (a) sardonic  (b) insulting  (c)leaping  (d) exuberant
Difficult Word: - tup   (a) a racetrack tipster  (b) a ram  (c) a dandy  (d) a dent-removal tool

NASA Scientist Sees Possible Mat of Martian Microbes - Space.com  A future astronaut traipsing across the landing sites of the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity might be squishing into a welcome mat of microbes, according to one NASA scientist. One big unknown: Did life ever take root on Mars? And if so, is that planet home to living organisms today? So far, the life-on-Mars card has not played out. Rover scientists have seen nothing they regard as needing a biological explanation. 
Human-Like Space Robot Goes Mobile With Leg, Wheels - SpaceDaily  Left:  Robonaut is not quite ready to take home and do the dishes.  Human-like hands, fingers and even television camera eyes have been hallmarks of NASA's Robonaut, but recent work seeks to give the nimble robot legs, or at least a leg, and even wheels. Robonaut took its first steps recently during tests at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, using a single "space leg" to move around the outside of a simulated Space Station. Other recent tests put the humanoid robot on wheels, a Segway scooter to be exact, and let it take to the road. In the tests using its "space leg," Robonaut commuted like a futuristic construction worker hand-over-hand outside a mock spacecraft. Aboard the gryo-stabilized wheels, it glided from one test station to another as its descendants might someday on the surface of the Moon or Mars.  

Mapping The Galaxy, And Watching Our Backyard - SpaceDaily  Left:  Gaia will produce the ultimate map (of the Milky Way), a star catalogue that could be used by every other space mission of the future.  One of ESA's most ambitious current projects has the aim of compiling the most precise map of one thousand million stars in our Galaxy. Gaia, a spacecraft which will carry two of the most sensitive cameras ever made, is due to be launched in 2010.  It will take five years to detect such a vast quantity of objects, some of which are incredibly faint, and another three years to plot them all in a giant three-dimensional computerised model that shows not only their current position, but their direction of motion, colour and even their composition. In short, Gaia will produce a completely new view of the Galaxy and everything in it. It will produce the ultimate map, a star catalogue that could be used by every other space mission of the future.





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