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November 3, 2014

Environmental groups want Farmington's BLM Field Office to pause issuing permits for oil and gas wells -- Daily Times: Four Corners News

Officials with the Bureau of Land Management say they will organize an internal committee to respond to a letter from environmentalists that calls for the bureau to stop issuing oil and gas drilling permits until an environmental analysis of the Mancos Shale/Gallup Formation is complete.

The San Juan Citizens Alliance, the Chaco Alliance, WildEarth Guardians and the Western Environmental Law Center sent a 34-page letter to the bureau on Monday outlining issues with BLM's Farmington Field Office and its approval of Mancos Shale drilling permits. -- 10/30/2014

October 31, 2014

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo Crashes During Test FlightThe New York Times

SpaceShipTwo, a rocket plane that is to carry tourists on a short ride to space, crashed in the Mojave Desert on Friday during a test flight, killing one of the two pilots.

SpaceShipTwo is a prototype commercial spaceship by Virgin Galactic. Like its smaller predecessor, SpaceShipOne, the craft is designed to be lifted aloft by a carrier plane, then released. It fires a rocket engine to reach the upper atmosphere, then glides to a landing.

Virgin Galactic’s operations will operate commercially from SpacePort America in New Mexico. -- 10/31/2014

October 28, 2014

Satellites Map Climate Change

According to climatologists, the increasing impact of climate change means some regions will be wetter than ever, and some will experience unprecedented droughts.  Yet while it’s already too late to entirely avoid the consequences of such changes, farmers and water supply managers will soon have a satellite-based tool to help address these mounting challenges.  NASA’s Soil Moisture Active Passive SMAP satellite mission, which is scheduled to launch November 5, will measure the water content of the planet’s soil every two to three days.

While SMAP’s microwave devices measure only the moisture content in the top two inches of soil, scientists can infer more about water conditions deeper in the ground.  The data will be of sufficient accuracy for the biggest data users of soil moisture data – agriculture and those who do flood modeling and drought monitoring.  -- GCN October 2014, page 42


"$12M grant helps UNM unlock cells’ secrets" – Albuquerque Journal

Cells talk to each other, and new tools are helping University of New Mexico scientists learn the language.

The work uses innovative microscopes and mathematics to unlock the innermost secrets of cells, said Bridget Wilson, a UNM pathologist.

Wilson directs a UNM center that has received a $12 million five-year grant from the National Institutes of Health. The grant will allow the New Mexico Center for the Spatiotemporal Modeling of Cell Signaling to continue through 2015.  – 10/28/2014

October 30, 2014

"Obama signs New Mexico disaster declaration" – Las Cruces Sun News

Federal aid is coming to New Mexico after areas of the state were hit by severe storms and flooding last month. The White House announced Wednesday that President Barack Obama signed a disaster declaration for New Mexico as the state continues to recover from the storms and flooding on Sept. 15-26. 10-30-14

October 24, 2014

"Delayed launch from Spaceport America set for Thursday" – Las Cruces Sun News

Funded by NASA's Flight Opportunities Program, a rocket launch to suborbital space from Spaceport America on Thursday morning was deemed a success. The flight of the 20-foot-long rocket reached a new altitude record for the launch company. That may have been because the payloads were lighter than in past launches. - 10/23/2014

"Proposed legislation would protect NM health organizations" – Las Cruces Sun News

A top state senator wants a law requiring the state to prove wrongdoing before cutting off government dollars to health-care organizations suspected of committing fraud or overbilling Medicaid. Sen. President Pro Tem Mary Kay Papen, D-Las Cruces, on Wednesday introduced the legislation to fellow lawmakers sitting on the Legislative Health and Human Services Committee during a hearing in Santa Fe.  - 10/24/2014

"19 left unclaimed buried in Doña Ana County service" – Las Cruces Sun News

Doña Ana County officials buried the remains of 19 people Thursday whose bodies weren't claimed by anyone after they died in recent years. 10-24-14