Space News

We are the Borg.
Witness
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A private astronaut explains how Axiom plans to replace the International Space Station and potentially save NASA billions per year
  • NASA wants to deorbit the International Space Station before the end of this decade.
  • The space agency and Congress want a commercial replacement in orbit before the ISS is trashed in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Axiom Space, a startup founded by a former NASA executive, is working to build, launch, and assemble "AxStation," an all-private outpost.
  • Michael López-Alegría — a former NASA astronaut and Axioms' vice president of business development — says use of the new station would cost a fraction of the $3.5 billion NASA spends each year.
  • "That just makes good economic sense," López-Alegría told Insider, noting NASA could use the savings on deeper-space exploration of the moon, Mars, and beyond.
https://www.businessinsider.com/axiom-p ... ?r=US&IR=T
Witness
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NASA is extending Mars and Jupiter missions, citing notable success

Juno and InSight have 'increased our understanding of our solar system,' NASA said

Citing discoveries that have "produced exceptional science," NASA has decided to add several years to two of its planetary science missions: the Jupiter Juno mission and the Mars InSight lander.

After a lengthy review process, which can be found here, the space agency concluded that both missions have "increased our understanding of our solar system, as well as spurred new sets of diverse questions."

"The Senior Review has validated that these two planetary science missions are likely to continue to bring new discoveries, and produce new questions about our solar system," said Lori Glaze, director of the planetary science division, in a statement.
https://www.foxnews.com/science/nasa-ad ... st-success (links & video)


And here's an anime of the Perseverance mission:

Rob Lister
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Post by Rob Lister »

Excellent sim.
Witness
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Serious Science™ at last:
French wine returns to Earth after a year in space

https://i.imgur.com/7mWSMz6.jpg

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP)– 12 bottles of French Bordeaux wine and pieces of grapevine that spent a year orbiting in space returned to Earth.

SpaceX’s Dragon cargo capsule undocked and and aimed for a splashdown in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Tampa. The Atlantic Ocean was initially planned as the landing spot but due to poor weather the capsule ended up in the Pacific.

Each bottle was carefully packed inside a steel cylinder to prevent any breakage.

Space Cargo Unlimited, a Luxembourg startup behind the experiments, wanted the wine to age for a year in space.

None of the bottles will be opened until the end of February. The company will open a bottle for a wine tasting in Bordeaux by some of France’s top connoisseurs and experts.Lots of chemical testing will follow as researchers are eager to see how space altered the sedimentation and bubbles.

According to Nicolas Gaume, the company’s CEO and co-founder, agricultural science is the point of this experiment.

“Our goal is to tackle the solution of how we’re going to have an agriculture tomorrow that is both organic and healthy and able to feed humanity, and we think space has the key,” said Gaume.
https://nbc-2.com/features/tech/2021/01 ... -in-space/

And what about Space Cola©, uh?
Rob Lister
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Cork or screw-on?
Anaxagoras
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Remember the InSIght Lander that landed on Mars a couple years ago? It was supposed to drill down under the surface and stick a probe in.
Maybe you remember this image?
https://media1.s-nbcnews.com/j/rockcms/ ... t-360w.jpg
Well, apparently it never really worked the way they hoped.

Mars digger bites the dust after 2 years on red planet
NASA declared the Mars digger dead Thursday after failing to burrow deep into the red planet to take its temperature.

Scientists in Germany spent two years trying to get their heat probe, dubbed the mole, to drill into the Martian crust. But the 16-inch-long (40-centimeter) device that is part of NASA’s InSight lander couldn’t gain enough friction in the red dirt. It was supposed to bury 16 feet (5 meters) into Mars, but only drilled down a couple of feet (about a half meter).

Following one last unsuccessful attempt to hammer itself down over the weekend with 500 strokes, the team called it quits.

“We’ve given it everything we’ve got, but Mars and our heroic mole remain incompatible,” said the German Space Agency’s Tilman Spohn, the lead scientist for the experiment.
The mole’s design was based on Martian soil examined by previous spacecraft. That turned out nothing like the clumpy dirt encountered this time.
Witness
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↑ "Heroic mole" :figamagee:




Report: U.S. military space programs at risk of losing domestic sources of key components

WASHINGTON — U.S. military satellites and missiles continue to rely on customized hardware and niche components that are no longer manufactured domestically, the Pentagon said in a report to Congress released Jan. 14.

These programs need to invest in new technology and qualify new suppliers to ensure they have access to domestic sources, said the Defense Department’s Fiscal Year 2020 Industrial Capabilities Report, which the Pentagon must submit annually to congressional defense committees.

“The DoD space industrial base remains a niche market with very specialized and capital-intensive requirements that are not efficiently managed through individual program investments,” the report said.

Many current and planned systems rely on dated technology and practices, as well as fragile or foreign sources, said the report. “Reliance on foreign sources for critical technologies, competition from subsidized lower-cost imports, and erratic demand from the national security space enterprise will erode essential space capabilities and critical skills, and threaten future access to space qualified domestic industrial sources.”

The 181-page report — which covers every sector of the defense industry — was written by the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Acquistion and Sustainment Ellen Lord. The space portion of the report was put together by the Space Industrial Base Working Group, a team of Pentagon, NASA, Federal Aviation Administration and National Reconnaissance Office representatives. The group was created in 2017 after President Donald Trump issued an executive order directing federal agencies to probe vulnerabilities in the nation’s manufacturing and supply sources.

Other findings from the report:
  • There is limited domestic production capacity of precision gyroscopes used in military spacecraft, launch vehicles and missiles.
  • Military and NASA satellite programs need access to lower cost space-qualified solar cells. U.S. suppliers are developing more advanced cells but foreign competitors are producing high efficiency cells at lower costs.
  • The United States is an overall world leader in commercial space, but competitors such as China are rapidly expanding their commercial space industries.
  • Recent commercial market downturns have resulted in layoffs and skills gaps in the U.S. industrial base for traveling wave tube amplifiers, used to improve radio frequency spectrum access and increase bandwidth in military satellites. A sole domestic supplier competes with a single foreign source for production of all space qualified amplifiers.
  • The long-term impacts of the coronavirus pandemic on the space industry are still unclear. Potential areas of concern include a slowdown in capital expenditures and more rapid industry consolidation than originally anticipated.
  • The largest six prime defense suppliers are Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Raytheon, General Dynamics, and BAE Systems. They collectively won 32 percent of all DoD contract obligations in 2019.
https://spacenews.com/report-u-s-milita ... omponents/
Anaxagoras
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Witness
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Exotrail demonstrates miniature Hall-effect thruster in orbit

French startup Exotrail announced Jan. 12 that its miniature Hall-effect thruster ignited in orbit, and propelled a NanoAvionics R2 cubesat to change its semi-major axis by 700 meters.

“This is the smallest Hall thruster ever flown and the first time a Hall thruster flew on a satellite of less than 100 kilograms,” Exotrail CEO David Henri told SpaceNews. “This kind of technology is used on large satellites because of its superior level of performance. We are bringing the performance level to the world of smaller satellites.”

In late December, Exotrail ignited its ExoMG Hall-effect electric propulsion system and demonstrated it could change the altitude of R2, a six-unit cubesat launched in November on an Indian Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle. Over the next few months, the Exotrail plans to fire the thruster to demonstrate collision-avoidance maneuvers, decrease the satellite’s altitude and change its inclination, Henri said.

With the new thruster, Exotrail customers can opt for an inexpensive rideshare flights and propel themselves to their optimal orbits, Henri said. In addition, satellites weighing anywhere from 10 to 250 kilograms can use ExoMG to maintain their orbit and to deorbit at the end of their missions, he added.

The ExoMG model demonstrated in orbit fits in a two-unit cubesat. Exotrail has developed a one-unit version of ExoMG, a product AAC Clyde Space is purchasing for Eutelsat’s internet-of-things constellation, Henri said.

Exotrail also sells larger tanks and larger thrusters for customers seeking propulsion for 100- to 150-kilogram satellites, Henri said.
https://spacenews.com/exotrail-demonstr ... -in-orbit/


A somewhet wordy video about ion thrusters:

robinson2
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Witness
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One hull crack located in ISS, another one suspected

ISS Russian Segment head Vladimir Solovyov underscored that air loss due to the crack are insignificant

https://i.imgur.com/R0QSnxe.jpg

MOSCOW, January 22. /TASS/. The specialists have discovered one more crack at the International Space Station and suspect that yet another one exists, ISS Russian Segment head Vladimir Solovyov told Rossiya-24.

"So far, we have found one place and suspect another, where as some kind of leak exists. We must bring a powerful microscope on a cargo spacecraft and use to examine this place. We are not totally certain so far," Solovyov said.

He underscored that air loss due to the crack are insignificant.

"This leak is like as if you’d drill the hull with a 0.2 mm diameter drill. I’m not sure such drills even exist in household. As for the leak it causes, our [space air] pressure is 750 mmHg, and this alleged crack causes us to lose 0.3 to 0.4 mmHg every day," the official said, adding that emergency leak starts when pressure falls at 0.5 to 1 mmHg per minute.

"We are working on it, of course. We understand clearly that these places are at issue. The are indeed not airtight, we understand that there could be some other places, but there is no horror in that, I can say it responsible as the mission head," he assured.
https://tass.com/science/1247847

Tass English is weird. :)
Witness
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Nasa's Perseverance rover is bearing down on Mars

The robot and the Red Planet are still separated by some 4.5 million km (3 million miles), but this gap is closing at a rapid rate.

The biggest, most sophisticated vehicle ever sent to land on another planet, the Nasa robot is being targeted at a near-equatorial crater called Jezero.

Touchdown is expected shortly before 2100 GMT on Thursday 18 February.

To get down, the Nasa rover will have to survive what engineers call the "seven minutes of terror" - the time it takes to get from the top of the atmosphere to the surface.

The "terror" is a reference to the daunting challenge that is inherent in trying to reduce an entry speed of 20,000km/h to something like walking pace at the moment of "wheels down".

"When the scientists look at our landing site, Jezero Crater, they see the scientific promise of everything: the remains of an ancient river flowing in and flowing out of this crater and think that's the place to go to look for signs of past life. But when I look at Jezero, I see danger," says Allen Chen, the engineer who leads the Entry, Descent and Landing (EDL) effort for Perseverance.

"There's danger everywhere. There's this 60-80m-tall cliff that cuts right through the middle of our landing site. If you look to the west, there are craters that the rover can't get out of even if we were to land successfully in one of them. And if you look to the east, there are large rocks that our rover would be very unhappy about if we put down on them," he told BBC News.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-55843377

Get ready! :)
robinson
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Anaxagoras
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Witness
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Interactive satellite map: https://maps.esri.com/rc/sat2/index.html
Witness
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Tensions rise as rival Mars probes approach their final destination

Anxious moment for scientists in US, China and UAE as spacecrafts enter crucial stages of long journey to red planet

https://i.imgur.com/fYZONjp.jpg

The skies above Mars will witness some startling aeronautical displays in the next few days when three rival space robot probes reach the red planet after journeying for millions of miles across space.

The United Arab Emirates’ probe Hope orbiter will arrive first, on Tuesday, followed by China’s Tianwen-1 spacecraft the next day. Finally, the US rover Perseverance will make its dramatic descent to the surface of Mars on 18 February.

It is a remarkable armada that reveals the growing desire of many nations to develop their own space technology and explore the solar system. Just how well they succeed when they reach their target this week and next remains to be seen, however. Mars is an unforgiving place to visit.

Of the dozens of Mars missions since 1960, about half have crashed or missed the planet altogether, thanks to component failures, rocket engine mishaps or software errors.

“It can be a heartbreaking business,” admitted UK physicist Colin Wilson, of Oxford University. “I have had instruments on two previous Mars missions – Britain’s Beagle lander and Europe’s Schiaparelli probe – and each time I was in the control room, clutching my seat, during their descents. And on both occasions the probes crashed.”

Mars is a difficult destination for several reasons. First, it is millions of miles away, astrobiologist Susanne Schwenzer of the Open University pointed out. “It is not like going to the moon which is only a quarter of million miles distant. That is the equivalent of a putt in a game of golf. By contrast, Mars is incredibly distant. In golf terms it is the equivalent of a full tee-shot and a lot trickier.”

In addition, Mars has an atmosphere but not a thick one. “That means there is enough air to trigger dust storms and winds that sheer and push your lander off course and into danger,” added Wilson. “On the other hand, it is not thick enough to allow you to use parachutes for a probe’s entire descent.”

In the past, US space engineers have relied on fitting airbags to their probes allowing them to bounce to a standstill after being dropped from a parachute. However, Nasa’s new generation of rovers are too complex and heavy for such manoeuvres and Perseverance will instead rely on a rocket platform called a sky crane to lower it to the Martian surface.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/202 ... estination
Witness
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United Arab Emirates successfully inserts probe into Mars orbit

The space probe, named Hope or Amal in Arabic, is the first of three which are due to reach the Red Planet this month.

The United Arab Emirates has become the fifth nation to ever reach Mars, with its space probe successfully inserting into Martian orbit at 3.57pm UK time on Tuesday.

The probe, named Hope in English (Amal in Arabic), completed a tricky manoeuvre to enter into orbit after a seven month flight in which it covered more than 493 million kilometres following its launch from Tanegashima in Japan.

The Emirates Mars Mission is the first of three space missions due to reach Mars this month, and is being rapidly followed by China's Tianwen-1 orbiter and lander, and NASA's Perseverance rover.

Firing its six delta-v thrusters for 27 minutes to slow it from a cruising speed of 121,000 km/h to just 18,000 km/h, the Hope spacecraft was able to move into what is called its "capture orbit" where it will remain until its scientific instruments have been calibrated and it can descend to its science orbit.

The £160m satellite aims to provide a picture of the Martian atmosphere and study daily and seasonal changes on the planet, as well advancing the UAE's science and technology sector, enabling it to move away from its economic reliance on oil.

The spacecraft itself was designed and assembled by researchers at three American universities - the University of Colorado Boulder, Arizona State University, and the University of California, Berkeley.
https://news.sky.com/story/united-arab- ... t-12213345
Anaxagoras
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Post by Anaxagoras »

Witness wrote: Mon Feb 08, 2021 12:35 am
Tensions rise as rival Mars probes approach their final destination
Is it really a rivalry, and are "tensions" really rising because of this?

I would imagine the coincidence has something to do with the fact that the launches all used the same window for launching to Mars. Earth and Mars align once every 780 days or a bit over once every two years. So if you miss the best launch window, it won't come again until two years later. That would likely explain why all these Mars probes are arriving at around the same time.
United Arab Emirates successfully inserts probe into Mars orbit
I wonder who will be the first to successfully insert a probe into Uranus? :notsure:
robinson
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That is very old joke
Fid
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That planet, Uranus, could justifiably be the so called "Planet X". Remember that shit?
Yeah dickweeds with no knowledge of classical literature. Ha ha and yet another ha!
Fid
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That was the short version.
robinson
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We want the long version!
Witness
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Anaxagoras wrote: Wed Feb 10, 2021 8:21 am Is it really a rivalry, and are "tensions" really rising because of this?
Journalists. :roll:




Astronomers confirm orbit of most distant object ever observed in our solar system

Scientists have collected enough observations to determine the planetoid's orbit based on its slow motion across the sky

A team of astronomers, including associate professor Chad Trujillo of Northern Arizona University's Department of Astronomy and Planetary Science, have confirmed a planetoid that is almost four times farther from the Sun than Pluto, making it the most distant object ever observed in our solar system. The planetoid, which has been nicknamed "Farfarout," was first detected in 2018, and the team has now collected enough observations to pin down its orbit. The Minor Planet Center has now given it the official designation of 2018 AG37.
...
Farfarout's average distance from the Sun is 132 astronomical units (au); 1 au is the distance between the Earth and Sun. For comparison, Pluto is only 39 au from the Sun. The newly discovered object has a very elongated orbit that takes it out to 175 au at its most distant, and inside the orbit of Neptune, to around 27 au, when it is close to the Sun.

Farfarout's journey around the Sun takes about a thousand years, crossing the massive planet Neptune's orbit every time. This means Farfarout has likely experienced strong gravitational interactions with Neptune over the age of the solar system, and is the reason why it has such a large and elongated orbit.

"A single orbit of Farfarout around the Sun takes a millennium," said Tholen. "Because of this long orbital, it moves very slowly across the sky, requiring several years of observations to precisely determine its trajectory."

Farfarout is very faint, and based on its brightness and distance from the Sun, the team estimates its size to be about 400 km across, putting it on the low end of being a dwarf planet, assuming it is an ice rich object.
https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases ... 020921.php
Witness
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UAE Hope mission returns first image of Mars

https://i.imgur.com/5QP6Gum.jpg
The image shows three shield volcanoes in a line, as well as Olympus Mons, the largest volcano in the Solar System
The spacecraft entered into an orbit around the Red Planet on Tuesday, making the UAE the first Arab nation in history to have a scientific presence at Earth's near neighbour.

This first image will be followed by many similar such views of Mars.

Hope was put in a wide orbit so it could study the planet's weather and climate systems, which means it also will see the planet's full disk.

It's a type of view that's familiar fare from Earth-based telescopes, but less so from satellites actually positioned at Mars.

They traditionally have been kept close in to the planet so they can get high-resolution pictures of the surface and act as telecommunications relay stations for landed robots in contact with Earth.
...
Hope is now running in an initial ellipse around Mars that comes as close as 1,000km from the planet and goes out to almost 50,000km. Over the course of the next few weeks, this will be trimmed to a 55-hour, 22,000km-by-43,000km orbit that is inclined to the equator by about 25 degrees.

It's from this high perch that Hope plans to carry out some novel research. It's going to trace how energy moves through the atmosphere from the very bottom to the very top.

One of its quests is to study the leakage into space of neutral atoms of hydrogen and oxygen - remnants from Mars' once abundant water. This will add to our understanding of precisely how a previously warm and wet planet became the cold, dusty, desiccated world it is today.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-56060890
robinson
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Has anyone wondered about who will be the first person on Mars? And will they be able to claim it? The nation that pays for the mission?


An entire planet up for grabs.
Witness
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https://i.ibb.co/GxQjHSv/njwo7h69gqh61-1.jpg
Pyrrho
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Chat is full of asshats.
shemp
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Aren't they always?
Witness
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Witness
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NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Completes Final Functional Tests to Prepare for Launch

February marked significant progress for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which completed its final functional performance tests at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California. Testing teams successfully completed two important milestones that confirmed the observatory’s internal electronics are all functioning as intended, and that the spacecraft and its four scientific instruments can send and receive data properly through the same network they will use in space. These milestones move Webb closer to being ready to launch in October.

These tests are known as the comprehensive systems test, which took place at Northrop Grumman, and the ground segment test, which took place in collaboration with the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

Before the launch environment test, technicians ran a full scan known as a comprehensive systems test. This assessment established a baseline of electrical functional performance for the entire observatory, and all of the many components that work together to comprise the world’s premiere space science telescope. Once environmental testing concluded, technicians and engineers moved forward to run another comprehensive systems test and compared the data between the two. After thoroughly examining the data, the team confirmed that the observatory will both mechanically and electronically survive the rigors of launch.

Through the course of 17 consecutive days of systems testing, technicians powered on all of Webb’s various electrical components and cycled through their planned operations to ensure each was functioning and communicating with each other. All electrical boxes inside the telescope have an “A” and “B” side, which allows redundancy in flight and added flexibility. During the test all commands were input correctly, all telemetry received was correct and all electrical boxes, and each backup side functioned as designed.
https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/20 ... for-launch

'Bout time. :jaded:
robinson
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I just realized the starship can easily put very large items into orbit
shemp
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Witness wrote: Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:45 am
NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope Completes Final Functional Tests to Prepare for Launch

February marked significant progress for NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, which completed its final functional performance tests at Northrop Grumman in Redondo Beach, California. Testing teams successfully completed two important milestones that confirmed the observatory’s internal electronics are all functioning as intended, and that the spacecraft and its four scientific instruments can send and receive data properly through the same network they will use in space. These milestones move Webb closer to being ready to launch in October.

https://www.nasa.gov/feature/goddard/20 ... for-launch

'Bout time. :jaded:
Yeah but they didn't say what year.
sparks
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Picky picky picky.
It ain't brain surgery. It's rocket shit and that takes time shemp. :)
Witness
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ceptimus
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It didn't land quite right - it bounced a bit, and then was leaning like the Tower of Pisa and on fire... and then it exploded five minutes later, making a short "second flight" and backflip to belly flop on the ground. Still, a successful test - big improvement on SN8 and SN9. Maybe SN11 will actually survive its test flight in one piece.
Anaxagoras
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Did it explode 5 minutes later?

The video I saw ended before that.
ceptimus
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Witness
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Some retro-news:



:mrgreen:
Witness
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https://old.reddit.com/r/nextfuckinglev ... _the_move/
Rob Lister
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Witness wrote: Wed Mar 10, 2021 3:28 am https://old.reddit.com/r/nextfuckinglev ... _the_move/
Oh! to be just a pea under the smooth roadway