Clock Ticking for Mars Mission
Europe and America are now in a race against time to rescue their plans for joint missions to Mars. Unless solutions to budget woes are found, launch opportunities may be missed.
What's the Latest Development?
N.A.S.A. and the European Space Agency (E.S.A.) want to send an orbiting satellite to the Red Planet in 2016, followed by a large rover two years later, but unless solutions are found to current budget problems, the space agencies may miss their launching opportunities. "Europe does not have all the money it needs to do the missions, but anxiety has been heightened in recent days following the inability once again of N.A.S.A. to make a full commitment to the ventures." Some think the agencies should seek external financing.
What's the Big Idea?
Without financial guarantees from N.A.S.A., the E.S.A. is unwilling to commit the large sums necessary to develop a Mars orbiter. One solution to the impasse is to ask the Russians for money. In return, their scientists would be given a role in engineering and planning the projects. "More likely, however, is a de-scoping option that drops the plan for a landing demonstrator on the 2016 mission." Dr. David Parker, director of the U.K. Space Agency said: "The frustration is that we are very close to getting what we want, but we have to resolve this budget situation and soon."
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The 21st century is experiencing an Asianization of politics, business, and culture.
- Our theories about the world, even about history or the geopolitics of the present, tend to be shaped by Anglo perspectives of the Western industrial democracies, particularly those in the United States and the United Kingdom.
- The West, however, is not united. Canada, for instance, acts in many ways that are not in line with American or British policies, particularly in regard to populism. Even if it were united, though, it would not represent most of the world's population.
- European ideas, such as parliamentary democracy and civil service, spread across the world in the 19th century. In the 20th century, American values such as entrepreneurialism went global. In the 21st century, however, what we're seeing now is an Asianization — an Asian confidence that they can determine their own political systems, their own models, and adapt to their own circumstances.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
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