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Russia to help NASA explore Moon, Mars

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Oct 4, 2007
Russia is to provide the US space agency NASA with instruments for scanning both the Moon and Mars under agreements signed here Wednesday.

Under accords signed by NASA administrator Michael Griffin and the head of Russia's space agency Anatoly Perminov, Russia will provide equipment for scanning for water on the Moon that could eventually help lead to its human habitation, said Gordon Chin, a NASA scientist leading the project.

Chin said the Russian equipment, based on nuclear technology currently used by geologists in the oil industry, would be part of a Lunar Reconaissance Orbiter that will orbit the Moon about 50 kilometres from its surface and is to be launched in 2008.

Russia will also provide similar equipment for a NASA rover that will land on the surface of Mars known as the Mars Science Laboratory. It is to be launched in 2009, said Igor Mitrofanov, a scientist at the Russian Space Research Institute.

Russia is spending the equivalent of four million dollars (2.8 million euros) on the two projects, said Mitrofanov.

"Russia sees cooperation with NASA as one of the most promising fields of cooperation and is ready in every way to contribute to the development and completion of new projects," said Perminov.

Speaking on what was the eve of the 50th anniversary of the Soviet Union's Sputnik satellite that marked the start of modern space exploration, Griffin said: "Our cooperation continues today through the International Space Station and many other noteworthy projects in a variety of fields.

Such projects "demonstrate the commitment by our countries to continue to search for new projects when it is useful to cooperate," Griffin said.

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Iowa State Engineer Develops Technology To Quickly Find Leaks In Spacecraft
Ames IO (SPX) Oct 04, 2007
Tiny meteors flash through space. There's spacecraft debris flying around, too. And so there's a risk that objects just a few millimeters across could pierce the thin aluminum skin of spacecraft such as the International Space Station orbiting 220 miles above Earth. A tiny hole means a tiny leak of pressurized air. "NASA wants to be able to find these leaks," said Dale Chimenti, an Iowa State University professor of aerospace engineering. "Fixing them is easy. But the question is, 'Where is the leak?"'

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