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This was supposed to be a secret until this coming Wednesday, and it was secret, right up until someone spilled the beans almost a week early:

Buzz is building about a planned 2018 private mission to Mars, which may launch the first humans toward the Red Planet. A nonprofit organization called the Inspiration Mars Foundation — which is led by millionaire Dennis Tito, the world's first space tourist — will hold a news conference on Feb. 27 to announce the 501-day roundtrip mission, which will aim for a January 2018 launch.
Yes, there are many unresolved questions. But these people are not flakes; they are serious veteran space travel professionals. I think they're really thinking about doing this. There will be more info soon.
  • A development that will no doubt astound some and possibly leave others deeply confused: Permafrost melts when the temperature rises, and it often releases stored methane.
  • Internet moguls establish new lucrative science prizes.
  • I'm sorry, the universe is beautiful and all, but it really is out to kill every last one of us.
  • This is, like, the only half-way happy news I could find in all of science-dom, via EvoBlog:
    In 2012 the Creation Museum reported a 10 percent decline in attendance from the previous year, and its parent group, Answers in Genesis, posted a 5 percent drop in revenue. That continues a four-year slump and a new low for the museum at 280,000 total visitors last year. Even more ominously, fundraising for the Ark Encounter has slowed to a crawl. Its future is further imperiled by the decline of the Creation Museum, whose visitors were expected to be a huge source of funding for the ark park.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Feb 23, 2013 at 06:00 AM PST.

Also republished by SciTech and Astro Kos.

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