“The first powered flight of Virgin Spaceship Enterprise was without any doubt, our single most important flight test to date. For the first time, we were able to prove the key components of the system, fully integrated and in flight. Today’s supersonic success opens the way for a rapid expansion of the spaceship’s powered flight envelope, with a very realistic goal of full space flight by the year’s end. We saw history in the making today and I couldn’t be more proud of everyone involved.”
- Richard Branson
To make discoveries, you have to be curious about why the universe is the way it is.
Isaac Asimov on curiosity, taking risk and the value of space exploration – priceless 1983 Muppets Magazine interview
A press release indicated that a new organization, Inspiration Mars Foundation, led by the first private space traveler, Dennis Tito, would make a major announcement, February 27th concerning a 501 day mission to Mars. http://spaceref.com/mars/the-first-human-mission-to-mars-in-2018.html
NASA’s Kepler mission confirmed the discovery of its first rocky planet, named Kepler-10b. Measuring 1.4 times the size of Earth, it is the smallest planet ever discovered outside our solar system.
Acqua Alta Floods Venice
Spotlight See more photos of the flooding of San Marco Square by visiting the Piazza San Marco location page.
In many parts of Venice, Italy, including the famous San Marco Square, tourists and Venetians are being forced to wade through knee-high waters.
Flooding is common in November and December, the most active months for high water. Today’s level reached a peak of 55 inches (140 centimeters), but was below the 63 inches (160 centimeters) recorded four years ago in the worst flooding in decades. Sea bed barriers that would help to protect Venice from high tides have been in the works for years but will not be operational until 2014.