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White House confirms NASA plan to ‘lasso’ and bring asteroid near Earth

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President Barack Obama’s administration will seek $100 million in funding for a mission to tow an asteroid closer to Earth for the purpose of helping future expeditions to Mars, NBC News reported on Saturday.

This corroborates an announcement made by Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) on Friday. As the Associated Press reported, Nelson, who chairs the Senate Science and Space Subcommittee, said the request would be made in Obama’s proposed budget for 2014, with $78 million set aside for the mission to grab the asteroid and $27 million for helping NASA identify asteroids that could endanger the planet, a $7 million increase from current spending.

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NASA’s mission proposal, adapted from a scenario (PDF) designed by the Keck Institute for Space Studies, calls for a robotic probe to grab an asteroid measuring approximately 500 tons and 25 to 35 feet in width in 2019 and bringing it into orbit near the moon, which would shorten future asteroid expeditions by months, on top of providing access to the asteroid’s natural resources.

Donald Yeomans, who leads the agency’s Near Earth Object program, told the AP those dimensions would make the designated asteroid unlikely to damage Earth even if it entered the atmosphere, since it would burn up before reaching the ground.

Watch Newsy Science’s report on the potential benefits of NASA’s budding asteroid hunt, posted on Saturday, below.


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2020 Election

Trump’s tweets have ‘deteriorated’ because he knows he faces ‘landslide defeat’: Financial Times columnist

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President Donald Trump's tweets have grown even more erratic than usual lately, as he has promoted baseless murder conspiracy theories about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough and even a video that proclaims "the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat."

Financial Times columnist Edward Luce believes he knows the reason that the president has become more unhinged: He knows that he's "courting a landslide defeat" in the 2020 election.

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MSNBC’s Morning Joe busts Trump for tweeting out ‘vile’ attacks to distract from 100,000 coronavirus deaths

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MSNBC's Joe Scarborough hammered President Donald Trump for tweeting out "vile" slurs and attacks to distract from his coronavirus failures.

The U.S. crossed 100,000 dead from the COVID-19 pandemic, and the president is accusing the "Morning Joe" host of murder, threatening executive action against social media companies and retweeting videos calling for the executions of Democrats.

"He's known that the 100,000 mark death milestone was coming," Scarborough said. "He has done whatever he could do, including something I know about very well, hurt a family in Florida, just because he wants to distract. He wants to have fights with cable news hosts, fights with Twitter. He wants the public to follow that because he doesn't want us talking about the fact that, back on Jan. 22, he told CNBC while he was in Davos that he wasn't worried at all, that this was just one person coming in from China, it would be fine. A month later, he said it was 15 people but it would soon be down to zero."

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Dr. Fauci emotionally recounts his close relationship with the late AIDS activist Larry Kramer

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Dr. Anthony Fauci has burst on to the national stage as a result of the current coronavirus pandemic, but his work as a public health official extends back decades. He was a key figure in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and in an interview on PBS NewsHour on Wednesday, he offered a personal and emotional glimpse into that history.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that Larry Kramer, a famed writer and influential AIDS activist, had died at age 84. PBS host Judy Woodroof noted that Fauci and Kramer had been friends.

"In the beginning of the AIDS outbreak in the 1980s, the two of you had a pretty contentious relationship," Woodroof said. "But that changed over time."

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