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November 28, 2005

Asteroid and media get poked

Some news seems to have escaped our popular media: the Japanese have landed a probe on the Itokawa asteroid. Itokawa is Described as a rotating obloid 2,300 feet long and 1,000 feet wide roughly 180 million miles away from Earth.

The probe, pictured courtesy of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency, is bringing us a sample from the asteroids surface for mineral assay. It is expected to arrive in the Australian outback during June 2007. Two things require mention.

The probe is compliant with planetary protection policies. Probably a good idea, considering the news of November 16th.

Secondly, we shouldn't have a problem with other countries getting into space, as long as they use names easy to pronounce. But, with more US kids spending time playing games instead of learning to create, this news should be another heads up.

Russia has launched an Iranian satellite, China intends to have its own orbiting space station and other technologies such as stem cell research is being conducted in many places outside the US. The rest of the world is getting strategic footholds in technology, and the reports say we're falling behind. Yet, the media prefers endless blow-by-blow accounts of Lewinsky and Jackson trials instead of maintaining attention on matters of long term significance.




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