Space porn: These images are (quite literally) out of this world
A long chain of events set off by Sen. Max Baucus’ appointment as the next American ambassador to China has left the way open for Sen. Mary Landrieu of Louisiana to take over the Energy Committee, Foreign Policy reports. And Landrieu is a special kind of Democrat — the kind who advocates for the gas and oil industry.
The Keystone XL pipeline? Landrieu’s a huge fan. And she’s teamed up with ranking Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski, of Alaska, in drafting a bill that would give states a greater share of royalties from offshore oil and gas production. As FP executive editor Noah Shachtman put it: “Environmentalists are about to have a collective heart attack.”
But where she Landrieu differs from her predecessor, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), is in her approach to energy exports. As Fuel Fix explains:
Wyden has been a vocal critic of selling too much of the fossil fuel to overseas customers, insisting that the government needs to work to find a “sweet spot” that encourages more domestic production without throttling a domestic manufacturing renaissance driven by cheap natural gas. Wyden also extracted a pledge from Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to examine new energy market data and prognostications as the Department of Energy considers LNG [liquified natural gas] export applications.
Landrieu, however, is a fan of selling more LNG overseas, and her home state of Louisiana is home to several likely export facilities. She could leverage an energy committee chairmanship to push for a speedier export approval process.
She and Murkowski also could team up to propel a debate over relaxing a three-decades-old ban on most crude exports. Murkowski is set to release a major policy paper on the issue in January, amid a growing oil and gas industry clamor for greater freedom to sell U.S. crude harvests overseas.
Landrieu’s appointment, which seems likely, wouldn’t necessarily give free reign to the oil and gas industry. But she’s undoubtedly in its pocket: As Fuel Fix points out, her re-election campaign drew $393,500 in contributions from industry employees and PACS — making oil and gas interests her second-biggest industry supporter.
Lindsay Abrams is an assistant editor at Salon, focusing on all things sustainable. Follow her on Twitter @readingirl, email firstname.lastname@example.org.More Lindsay Abrams.
NASA astronaut Mike Hopkins
On December 28, 2013, Expedition 38 crew member Mike Hopkins participating in the second of two space walks to replace a degraded pump module on the International Space Station. (NASA astronaut Rick Mastracchio is reflected in his helmet!)
The Soyuz TMA-10M
The Soyuz TMA-10M headed towards the International Space Station with crew members from Expedition 37 onboard.
40 years ago the Apollo 8 mission flew up to the moon, orbited it ten times and then returned to Earth. This picture was taken from that flight and shows the Earth as it seemingly rises in similar fashion to a sunrise.
Sunrise from Expedition 36
NASA Flight Engineer Karen L. Nyberg of Expedition 36 took this photo of the sun rising -- a sight they saw nearly 16 times per day due to the speed of the International Space Station's orbit around the earth.
A pair of NanoRacks CubeSats -- nanosattelite spacecrafts carrying experiments -- were launched by Expedition 38.