Obituary: Henry S. F. Cooper, Jr.

Author Henry S. F. Cooper, Jr. (b.1933) died on January 31. Cooper was a journalist who covered the Apollo program, writing Thirteen: The Apollo Flight That Failed and Apollo on the Moon. Cooper was the great-nth grandson of James Fennimore Cooper.

Obituary: Marvin Minsky

Marvin Minsky (b.1927) died on January 24. Minsky was integral to the field of artificial intelligence. He served as an advisor on the film 2001: a space odyssey and later collaborated with Harry Harrison on the novel The Turing Option.

Petition to Name New Element

A petition on Change.org has been created asking IUPUI, the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to name element 117, currently called Ununseptium “Octarine” in honor of the late Sir Terry Pratchett.

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New Rock on Moon

The Chinese Yutu rover, which has been exploring the moon for two years, has discovered a new type of lunar rock. The basalt rock was found in the bottom of Zi Wei crater in Mare Inbrium, which was exposed by the formation of the crater. The find may indicate that lunar composition is more diverse than previously believed.
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SpaceX Touches Down

On December 21, SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, deployed 11 satellites, and made a successful vertical landing on land, the first successful land based landing for the spacecraft. In June, a Falcon 9 scheduled to resupply the ISS exploded shortly after launch. This was the first launch after that failure. Previous Falcon 9s were able to successfully deploy satellites.

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Mapping Columbia

On December 10, the Smithsonian removed the Plexiglas cover protecting the Columbia capsule from the Apollo 11 mission in order to begin a computer scan of the interior and exterior of the capsule to permit the creation of virtual 3D replicas of the command module that took Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins to the moon in 1969.
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Apollo 16 Booster Found

In April, 1972, John Young and Charles Duke landed on the moon in the Lunar Module Orion. NASA scientists also arranged to have the third stage booster of the Saturn V rocket that propelled them to the moon to crash into the moon so measurements could be taken of the reverberations. Although the impact of the rocket could be measured, its location was never found until Jeff Plescia of Johns Hopkins University discovered its location.
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Blue Origin Launch and Land

Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin rocket was successfully launched from West Texas on November 23. The unmanned rocket achieved a height of a little more than 100 kilometers and a speed of 4600 kph before descending for a vertical landing on within two meters of its target. The Blue Origin also deployed an unmanned crew capsule during the test flight. Although Blue Origin reached space, the rocket is designed for suborbital trips only.
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Stern and Mouly Honored

Fran├žoise Mouly and Alan Stern will be among those honored with the American Ingenuity Award by the Smithsonian on November 12. The American Ingenuity Awards are selected by a poll of Smithsonian directors to find innovators making a difference in their fields. Mouly is being honored for her work on comics such as Raw, while Stern is being recognized as the leader of the New Horizons mission to Pluto.
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Water on Mars

NASA scientists announced today that they have found evidence of liquid water on Mars. A series of Recurrent Slope Lineae on the sides of some canyons, which darken seasonally, have shown evidence of salt deposits, leading scientists to believe that in certain seasons, there is some briny seepage that runs down the striations.
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