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Northrop Grumman unveils successor to space shuttle.
A Northrop Grumman/Boeing team has unveiled new details about the successor to the space shuttle: the Crew Exploration Vehicle. This new spacecraft, reminiscent of the original Apollo capsule, is expected to carry humans to the International Space Station by 2012 and return them to the Moon by 2018. Unlike Apollo, however, the CEV will carry four astronauts to the Moon and back. It will orbit the Moon autonomously, allowing all four astronauts to descend to the surface.
NASA researchers have found that many of the basic building blocks for life here on Earth are common throughout the Universe. Using the Spitzer Space Telescope, the researchers observed that complex organic molecules called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) are everywhere they looked: in the Milky Way and in the most distant observable galaxies. Most of these molecules contain nitrogen, which is the key requirement for life.
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