9/5/2005:

Intermediate Word:  sporran (a) spore case containing sporangia  (b) Scottish Highlander's belt pouch  (c) a spore-bearing structure  (d) a small, offshore sailing vessel
Difficult Word: - nates (a) related elements  (b) blocks that clamp blade in a jigsaw  (c) buttocks  (d) swimming trunks

New Mexico Charts Future of Spaceport - Space.com  The first official meeting of the New Mexico Spaceport Authority met in Las Cruces last week to begin work establishing the Southwest Regional Spaceport in New Mexico as a major departure site for commercial space launches, including proposed passenger-carrying rockets offering suborbital and orbital treks. A license is anticipated in 2006. The space port will be located on 27 square miles of land near Upham, New Mexico.     
Plastic Spaceships - Seattle Times  Most household trash bags are made of a polymer called polyethylene. Variants of that molecule turn out to be excellent at shielding the most dangerous forms of space radiation. Scientists have long known this. The trouble has been trying to build a spaceship out of the flimsy stuff. But now NASA scientists have invented a groundbreaking, polyethylene-based material called RXF1 that's even stronger and lighter than aluminum. Plastic is an appealing alternative: Compared to aluminum, polyethylene is 50% better at shielding solar flares and 15% better for cosmic rays. The advantage of plastic-like materials is that they produce far less "secondary radiation" than heavier materials like aluminum or lead. These lighter elements can't completely stop space radiation. But they can fragment the incoming radiation particles, greatly reducing the harmful effects.  

Reaping The Fruits Of Their Labor Will Keep The New Martians Heatlthy - Seattle Times  At NASA's Space Life Sciences Lab at Kennedy Space Center in Florida, a team of engineers are devising ways to keep an astronaut's pantry stocked by designing greenhouses to grow vegetables on barren Mars. A round-trip to Mars will take more than a year and a half, requiring more food than a spacecraft can hold. Vegetables are the best candidate for feeding astronauts because the seeds are easy to carry, can be germinated in space, and then planted upon reaching the surface of Mars. Wilkerson's work to determine how plants behave in low pressure is critical in designing a Mars greenhouse. If plants can grow well in lower air pressure, this means explorers won't have to build immensely heavy and expensive structures to raise crops in a high-pressure, Earth-like atmosphere, but in lightweight, inflatable greenhouses,    




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