This week in space

Course excellent, adjustment postponed

This makes me very very happy. I can't wait for this thing to touch down and start exploring!

Excellent launch precision for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission has forestalled the need for an early trajectory correction maneuver, now not required for a month or more.

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Good and bad news comes with NASA’s 2012 budget

We need to pour more money into space exploration and research before China is eons ahead of us.

On November 14, President Obama signed an Appropriations bill that solidified NASA’s budget for fiscal year 2012. The space agency will get $17.8 billion. That’s $648 million less than last year’s funding and $924 million below what the President had asked for. But it’s still better than the $16.8 billion proposed earlier this year by the House of Representatives.

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Caltech-led team of astronomers finds 18 new planets

I love that we are finding new planets a few different ways and that we are finding an incredible amount of them. Maybe soon we'll be able to detect life on them, or at least find some good candidates to listen to.

Discoveries of new planets just keep coming and coming. Take, for instance, the 18 recently found by a team of astronomers led by scientists at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech).

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Listening to the stars

While I'd rather be listening to planets with the potential of having life on them... this is good reserach too.

It is almost night on the island of Puerto Rico. Astronomer Joanna Rankin raises her head toward the sky. A few of the brightest stars shine through blue cracks in a ragged dome of gray clouds. To her back, a jungle throbs with the insistent call of frogs. In front of her, a giant bowl made of perforated metal dips steeply and rises on the other side of the valley, a thousand feet away. It looks like a colossal contact lens dropped from outer space.

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China post office offers letters from space

Ummm huge gimmick.

China's post office is hoping to boost business by allowing customers to send letters postmarked from space. Emails will be sent to a computer aboard Tiangong-1, a spacecraft currently orbiting the earth, and rerouted to a special China Space Post Office branch on the ground in Beijing, the country's space programme said on its website.

Read more HERE