LightSail 2 gets ready to make its debut in space

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Artist’s concept of LightSail 2 above Earth. Image: The Planetary Society

Yesterday, a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket successfully launched NASA’s STP-2 mission from Cape Canaveral, Florida, carrying with it a whole raft of technology demonstrations that will one day aid in smarter spacecraft design and help the agency’s efforts in getting to Mars.

Some of the more high profile projects included a Deep Space Atomic Clock that could change the way deep-space navigation is conducted, and a new propulsion system that runs on a high-performance and non-toxic spacecraft fuel called the Green Propellant Infusion Mission (GPIM).

However, also stashed amongst NASA’s payloads was a small satellite built by Georgia Tech students, called Prox-1 and packed safely within that like a Russian nesting doll, is a citizen-funded project that originally sprang from the mind of Carl Sagan.

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Year 2036: Mars colonization and a date with destiny

Year 2036: Mars colonization and a date with destiny

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson host of the NOVA scienceNOW PBS program

From a half billion kilometers away, the message was powerful. In 1994, fragments of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet slammed into Jupiter. The earth-size fireballs ejected into space were captured and relayed back to be seen again and again in Internet replay. The message: we need a foothold in space if our species is to survive.

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Petition to put Carl Sagan on a stamp

Sagan StampThe Sagan Appreciation Society is petitioning for the US Postal Service to issue a postage stamp honoring astronomer and science writer Carl Sagan. An article last week in the Ithaca Journal says the petition should be available online at the Society’s site, but it isn’t currently there. This is one of the proposed stamps, illustrated by Skeptics Society founder Pat Linse.
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