Friday, January 05, 2007

Blue Origin and Titan's Lakes

Exciting space news got off to a fast start in 2007 this week with Blue Origin, headed by founder Jeff Bezos, releasing pictures and videos of the November flight of the company's Goddard flight test vehicle. Blue Origin has shrouded its development activities in secrecy up until now. The exciting videos are reminiscent of the DoD and NASA funded DC-X test flights of the 1990s except that the Goddard vehicle appears to use more operationally efficient propulsion technology and, most important, is privately funded.

Meanwhile, analysis of data from the Cassini spacecraft combined with the imagery and data from the landing of the Huygens probe on Saturn's moon Titan two years ago lead to the conclusion that liquid methane lakes presently exist on that moon.

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