Wednesday, October 1, 2014

News Briefs

Sen. Garrett’s Proposed Abortion Bill Defeated

Republican Virginia Sen. Thomas Garrett proposed a bill Jan. 9 that would have ended tax-funded abortions in Virginia, specifically aborting the severely disabled.

According to Garrett’s press release, an 8-7 vote by the Committee of Education struck down the bill in the Virginia Senate.

Garrett made it clear that the bill would not prohibit an individual from obtaining an abortion — it would simply ensure that taxpayer money was not used to pay for the procedure.

The bill, known as SB 826, would bring abortion laws in Virginia up to date with the Federal Hyde Amendment passed by Congress in 1976, which guarantees that taxpayers will not be burdened by abortion procedures.

Opponents of the bill argued that, in many cases, abortions are performed for mothers who want their baby to be born, but doctors have determined their child to be incompatible with life.

“The idea of a doctor labeling a child incompatible with life was reminiscent of eugenics,” Garrett said in a press release.

It is not yet known whether Garrett plans to repeal SB 826 in the near future.

Mars Rover Celebrates Milestone

When the Mars rover Opportunity landed on the planet’s surface nine years ago, NASA officials in charge of the mission made it clear that it would be an accomplishment for the rover to last over 90 days.

It has been 3,205 days and counting. According to ABC News, in that amount of time, the rover has driven over 22 miles on the alien planet. Most of the movement has been from crater-to-crater at a snail’s pace, stopping for months at a time in the frigid Martian winters.

In January 2004, Opportunity and its twin, Spirit, reached Mars. According to ABC News, Spirit was placed in hilly territory on the other side of the planet. In 2009, the rover got stuck in crusty soil, and its radio went silent the following year.
Opportunity, on the other hand, has had some close calls, but has managed to survive them all.

In an interview with ABC News, John Callas, manager of NASA’s Mars Exploration Rover project, said that Opportunity is still in very good health, especially considering what it has gone through.

“The surface of Mars is a pretty tough place,” Callas said. “There can be temperature fluctuations of a hundred degrees each day. That’s pretty hard on the
hardware.”

NASA has not done much to recognize the impressiveness of this lengthy expedition. Instead, they just continue to work.

Callas told ABC News that Opportunity will head to an area nicknamed Cape Tribulation in a few months. The clay there could be rich in minerals suggestive of past life.

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