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    Some space news

    First from our nuclear-powered robotic operating buddy on Mars (Curiosity): Curiosity Rover Just Spotted This Super-Shiny Object on Mars

    An unusually smooth and reflective Martian rock has caught the attention of NASA scientists, prompting an investigation by the Curiosity rover.

    With the spectacularly successful landing of the InSight probe on Mars earlier this week, our attention has understandably been diverted away from Curiosity, which has been exploring the Red Planet since 2012. While we’ve been gushing over InSight, the six-wheeled NASA rover has been working at Vera Rubin Ridge, investigating the Highfield outcrop, a unique patch of grey bedrock.

    Curiosity has been at the Highfield drill site before, but NASA’s mission controllers wanted to take a look at four previously detected rocks—including an unusually smooth rock that, in black and white at least, looks a bit like a chunk of gold.
    The image reminds me of a smooth gold-colored rock I saw once (possibly a stone covered in iron pyrite), but I'm not a geologist. Or maybe Mars is just getting ready for the holidays?


    Now for a human-centric piece: Richard Branson Says He’s Going to Send People Into Space by Christmas

    Billionaire Richard Branson really, really wants you to believe he’s going to send people to space—and soon. In a new interview with CNN, the Virgin Group founder now says he’s “reasonably confident” his spaceflight company can beat out competitors like Blue Origin and SpaceX with crewed trips to space before Christmas.

    Pointing to Branson’s long-touted plans to send humans to space—and specifically addressing the gap between 2007, when Branson originally said that Virgin Galactic would send people to space, and now—CNN’s Rachel Crane asked how badly Branson wanted to “prove [his] critics wrong.”

    “Space is difficult. Rocket science is rocket science. This has taken us 14 long years, and it’s taken Jeff Bezos 14 long years,” Branson said, referencing the Amazon CEO’s private spaceflight company Blue Origin, which plans to begin selling tickets for suborbital flights next year.
    Claws crossed on that!
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  • #2

    I'm not sure about the Branson thing, honestly. I'll reserve judgement until it actually happens. On the other hand, Curiosity finding a Shiny is pretty big news. That's one of those things that sort of stands out. The rest of the Martian landscape doesn't really look like that, so when we see something like then thenwe have to wonder if that's natural or if it was a foreign object. More investigation must be done, that's for sure.
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    • #3

      Hmm... He's scheduled a launch for the next couple of weeks, then?

      Because Christmas is just under three weeks away.
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      • #4

        Originally posted by Arratra View Post
        Hmm... He's scheduled a launch for the next couple of weeks, then?

        Because Christmas is just under three weeks away.
        Well, maybe.
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