Melting ice sculpture

protests 'fake news'





Artists melted a ton of ice spelling out the word "truth" in the shadow of the US Capitol on Saturday, in a poetic protest at the caustic state of politics in the era of "fake news" under President Donald Trump.

"Truth Be Told," measuring 10 feet wide by seven feet tall, is the sixth sculpture in the "Melted Away" series launched in 2006 by artist duo LigoranoReese.

Marshall Reese and Nora Ligorano, both 62 years old, have collaborated on art projects for nearly four decades, including woven fiber optic mesh, video and new media in clocks, mirrors and books.

Their other temporary monuments shaped out of ice have included the words "democracy," "economy," "middle class," "the future" and "the American dream."

The artists decided to take their call for more transparency and honesty to Washington "because ice is a material that disappears, it's an urgent moment and truth is really melting," Ligorano told AFP, as crowds gathered around the sculpture.

"It's speaking truth to power."

Young and old alike touched the sculpture and snapped photographs under sunny skies.

A frozen T collapsed first. The first T and R then collapsed against one another in a big crash, leaving only "UH" for a moment until those letters, too, vanished.

The artists collaborate with locals for their projects and here used sculptors at Ice Lab in nearby Baltimore to carve into the ice.

"It's the first time I've walked into one of these places and was greeted by a woman who was dressed as an Eskimo," Ligorano said of the sculpture's ice carver.

The work and its hours-long melting process was streamed live online.

On Friday, the artists organized a poetry reading with Washington-based poets and on Sunday will join a panel with journalists, watchdogs and other creatives focused on the "quest to uphold truth."

"It's as much a Trump protest as a call for more transparency and a call for more honesty," said Ligorano.




Russian mission to land

on Mars in 2021





Russian landing module of the joint Russia-EU ExoMars-2020 mission will land on Mars in March 2021, Russia's state space corporation Roscosmos chief Dmitry Rogozin said on Saturday.

"On March 19, 2021, the Russian landing module should land Europe's Mars rover on the Red Planet," Rogozin said on Facebook.

ExoMars is a joint mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) and Roscosmos. ExoMars-2020 is the second stage of the joint project. The first stage of the project included the launch of the European Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and the Schiaparelli Demonstrator Module. Schiaparelli failed to achieve a soft landing, crashing on the surface of Mars in October 2016.

The ExoMars-2020 mission will include the launch of a European Mars rover and a landing module developed in Russia. The Russian landing platform, the final assembly of which is being conducted by Lavochkin NPO, will be equipped with 11 Russian and two European scientific instruments. The Mars rover will have seven European and two Russian scientific devices on board.








Japan launches unmanned

cargo spaceship to ISS






Japan successfully launched early Sunday a rocket carrying the unmanned cargo spaceship Kounotori 7 to deliver supplies for astronauts living in the International Space Station (ISS).

The H-2B rocket carrying the spaceship lifted off from the Tanegashima Space Center in Kagoshima Prefecture, southwestern Japan, at 2:52 a.m. local time (1752 GMT Saturday). The spaceship, seventh of its kind, carries batteries, food and scientific experiment supplies, as well as a small re-entry capsule for the first time for bringing back experiment samples from the space station.

The launch, originally scheduled for Sept. 11, was postponed several times due to bad weather and equipment problems.

Developed and built in Japan, the Kounotori spacecraft, also known as H-II Transfer Vehicle (HTV), has been used to deliver supplies to the space station.

The first mission of the HTV, or Kounotori 1, was launched in 2009.