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Space News Headlines for February 18, 2005 - Weekend Edition

By February 18, 2005

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Cosmic Etymology: A Moon By Any Other Name

USATODAY asks, "Did you ever wonder how newly discovered moons and new features on planets are named?

"Many features on Saturn's moon Mimas are named after characters in King Arthur's court.

"When Galileo first aimed a telescope at the Moon in 1610 he saw mountains that looked very much like Earthly mountains. Thus we have a the lunar Alps, Caucasus, and Appennes Mountains named after terrestrial mountain ranges. The vast dark lava-flooded areas he saw he mistook for vast seas (mare in Latin) and thus we have the Sea of Tranquility, where the first Apollo 11 astronauts walked on the Moon, the Sea of Serenity, the Bay of Rainbows (Sinus Iridium) and the huge impact remnant known as Ocean Procellarum - the Ocean of Storms."

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New York Times to Buy About.com

MSNBC is reporting that "The New York Times Co. is buying About.com, an online consumer information company, for $410 million in cash from special-interest magazine publisher Primedia Inc., the companies announced Thursday. It was the latest acquisition of an online company in recent months by a newspaper publisher.

"The deal gives the Times a bigger footprint in the online world, where it has moved aggressively in recent years to expand its offerings and revenues from advertising. About.com has a network of Web sites that are maintained by about 500 experts on various topics including sports, personal finance, food and hobbies."

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GAO Looking Into NASA Chief's Spending

Also from MSNBC, "Congress' investigative arm is looking into Sean O'Keefe's tenure as NASA chief, including whether he misused government airplanes and went on too many expensive getaways with underlings, former and current senior NASA officials say.

"The focus of the Government Accountability Office investigation is not fraud, but waste, one of the four NASA officials told The Associated Press. The four - two still with NASA, two recently departed - asked not to be identified for fear of reprisals. Two said they had been questioned by the GAO."

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NASA Closer to Resuming Shuttle Flights

The long awaited return flight of the space shuttle is getting nearer, according to MSNBC. "NASA has met another one of the Columbia accident investigation board's recommendations for resuming space shuttle flights: developing better methods for inspecting the wing panels between missions.

"The task force overseeing NASA's effort to resume launches as early as mid-May said Thursday the space agency has fulfilled that recommendation."

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Russian Cargo Ship Set for Launch to Space Station

Finally, from Yahoo! News, "A Russian cargo ship filled with extra food, water and equipment to repair and upgrade life support systems is being prepared for launch to the International Space Station (news - web sites), NASA (news - web sites) officials said on Thursday.

"The supplies will not only build up the reserves for the station's live-aboard crew, but help prepare the outpost in case it needs to serve as a temporary shelter for visiting space shuttle astronauts."

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