By sending space probes to the edge of the solar system, by collecting Moon rocks and comet dust, by landing probes on Mars to dig for soils and search for signs of life, we are in constant exchange with outer space.
Plutonium has long been described as the most lethal radioactive substance. And the plutonium isotope used on the Curiosity rover is significantly more radioactive than the type of plutonium used in nuclear weapons or built up as a waste product in nuclear power plants.
American space exploration, built around manned space flights, fueled U.S. scientific and technological preeminence in the 20th century. Unmanned space exploration will be the key in the 21st century, and the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope promises to be an important part of it.
About eight months ago, a NASA Atlas V rocket launched the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity toward its August 5 encounter with the Red Planet. Now, just a few weeks before the rover is set to land, people are starting to get nervous and excited.
Sunday, July 8, 2012, marks the first anniversary of the last launch of the Space Shuttle Program. Atlantis lifted off LC-39A at 11:29:03 after a very brief delay and began STS-135, the last mission in the three-decade-long program.
Preserving freedom is serious business. The Declaration of Independence is rather hard to read in places because it was stored in direct sunlight for many years -- a definite no-no for historical artifacts.