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.

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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Brother Guy Promoted

Brother Guy Consolmagno, who has been a long-time fan, attending numerous conventions, and giving a major talk at this year’s Worldcon, has been appointed Director of the Vatican Observatory by Pope Francis.

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Next Stop: 2014 MU69

NASA’s New Horizons team has determined that the probe’s next target will be the Kuiper Belt Object 2014 MU69, which isn’t quite as lyrical as “Pluto,” but will probably receive a more mythical name before the probe reaches it. Discovered only last year, the 45 km wide object is about a billion miles beyond Pluto and just happens to be in the right location for a flyby.
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Earthlike Planet Discovered

NASA has announced that the Kepler Spacecraft has discovered a planet orbiting 1,400 light years away in the constellation Cygnus. The planet, designated Kepler-452b, is 60% wider than earth and has 5 times the Earth’s mass. It orbits its primary every 385 days within the “Goldilocks Zone” and is believed to have an atmosphere and may have oceans and continents.

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Perihadean Achieved

The New Horizons spacecraft made its closest approach to the planet Pluto today, following a nine year voyage. New Horizons has been sending back a stream of pictures of Pluto and its largest moon, Charon, over the past week and will resume sending out more images over the next couple of months.

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Obituary: Jack King

Jack King (b.1931) died on June 11. King served as the Kennedy Space Center’s Chief of Public Information from 1960-71 and as NASA’s Public Affairs Officer from 1971-5. During that time, he was the voice of Mission Control, announcing the launch of Apollo 11, among others.