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Travel from Earth to any destination in the solar system.
It's been said that an army travels on its stomach. Well, that's true with astronauts too. Especially when they're headed to Mars, and might need to stay a few years; or maybe even build a colony. The question is, how much space, soil, water, energy and air does it take to keep astronauts alive on another planet if they're growing all their own food? Ray Collins has locked himself inside a greenhouse in Alaska, and he's working towards discovering the answer.
Early rocketeers had a vision. They wanted to enable human beings to safely travel from Earth to any destination in the solar system. Wernher von Braun in the USA and Vladimir Chelomey of the Soviet Union both believed that a space station was a necessary first step to achieving this destination. Robert Zimmerman shares this vision and belief and in his book, Leaving Earth - Space Stations, Rival Superpowers, and the Quest for Interplanetary Travel he shows how humankind, especially the old Soviet Union, has made substantial progress in achieving it. He also shows that, sadly, the rational for this progress was predominantly for disparate political benefits rather than for satisfying any vision.
NASA's Mars Global Surveyor has delivered a series of new photographs of the Red planet taken in new high detail, including images of the Mars Exploration rovers. By rolling the spacecraft as it travels to match the movement of Mars underneath, NASA engineers have figured out a clever way to increase the resolution of images taken by the spacecraft. It's now capable of resolving images as detailed as half as 1.5 metres across (4.9 feet) - a threefold improvement. Mars Global Surveyor has been systematically mapping Mars since it arrived in 1999, and its latest mission extension beginning October 1 will keep it running into September 2006.
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