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European scientists may have found faster-than-light neutrinos
Puzzling results from CERN, Switzerland, have confounded physicists - because it appears subatomic particles have exceeded the speed of light.
European astronomers discover 16 "Super-Earths"
European astronomers have claimed to discover at least 16 new so-called "Super-Earths" —planets similar to our own but many times denser— of which one is potentially habitable.
First Exoplanet found indirectly by observing other exoplanet's orbit
The NASA-spacecraft Kepler, which detects transits of exoplanets (which means it detects the reduction in starlight when a planet moves between us and the star) has discovered an "invisible" exoplanet through its gravitational influence on another exoplanet.
The death of the Out-of-Africa theory
New finds and research results disprove the theory which said that human evolution happened exclusively in Africa.
Global Warming For Peace
Several historical studies that analyzed war, violence and conflict in Europe and China suggest that a warm climate is in general more peaceful than a cool climate.
New fossil finds in China advances evolutionary history of mammals
The shrew-like creature is the earliest known example of an animal whose kind evolved to provide nourishment to their unborn through a placenta.
10/15/2011      share:derubg
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The Space Shuttle and space tourism

It is often said that space tourism has started 2001, but in reality it has started two decades earlier, in 1982, when the Space Shuttle was launched into space with more than two astronauts.

_In the first four Space Shuttle missions it was proven that two astronauts suffice to put a satellite into space (or retrieve one), yet more and more astronauts were sent along the trip and soon almost all missions included six or seven astronauts.

For example if one looks at the crew of the Challenger-mission which ended in a desaster: There was a commander, a pilot, a "payload specialist", a "teacher from space" and three "mission specialists".
What should these seven people have done on the Space Shuttle? Planned was to put out a satellite (which would have been done mostly automatically with a robotic arm) and the observation of Halley's Comet. One might argue that an astronaut may be able to solve unforseen problems (by making a "spacewalk") yet even that is doubtable - but seven? Wouldn't one astronaut suffice and maybe a second as a backup?

An even more obvious example is the STS-51-G mission, one year earlier, on which Sultan bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, a graduate of social and political sciences was chosen as a "payload specialist" and trained in a record time of two months to be an astronaut. Who was he, if not a space tourist?
And all that on a vehicle on which very expensive materials were used to reduce weight.

The Space Shuttle is an engineering masterpiece but at the same time an example of incredible waste, stupidity and decadence.
The combination of completely senseless requirements (for example horizontal landing - why?) with a naive-romantic basic concept (apparently the Space Shuttle should have become a "miniature Enterprise" from Star Trek: Commanders, pilots, chain-of-command, etc.) lead to a much too expensive and dangerous vehicle for space tourism.

On the one hand it is admirable that the engineers were able to meet the requirements at all, on the other hand it is sad how the strongest nation at that time wasted it's energy for a senseless project which eventualle led to the end of all manned-space missions.

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