http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2011/0429/Cracker-size-satellites-to-launch-with-Space-Shuttle-Endeavour A new mini satellite has need developed to drift down through the atmosphere upon release and gather information about the makeup of the atmosphere of the planet being studied. They could drift slowly down through the atmosphere and sample the various layers on the way down giving humanity a valuable insight into the real makeup of the atmospheres of the outer planets. As they would not be traveling very fast due to their very low weight the speed of descent into the atmosphere would be kept very low as they would flutter downwards like a leaf in the air slowing down naturally and providing their their own air-braking instead of using a parachute to slow their descent. Larger space probes need braking parachutes to slow down in dense atmospheres before landing. These small satellites could also be dropped over a large storm system to gather data about the atmospheric conditions over the storm.
And in related space news, the space tourism destinations now include the moon, with a paying customer already lined up for a trip around the moon and back to Earth. Seven private citizens have gone to the International Space Station including Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical who developed the Ubuntu Linux distribution. But now you can buy a seat on a craft that will fly around the moon and bring you back for 150 million dollars US. That is not a bad price for the privilege of seeing the moon up so close and experiencing what the Apollo astronauts experienced during their flight through intervening gulf of space between the Earth and it`s moon. That is incredible, the moon is within the reach of those who can afford a ticket on the flight. Will Mars be next once they build a staging base on the moon? We will see, finally the era of space tourism and regular space travel for the private citizen, not just those in NASA. As well as the Google X prize offering 30 million US dollars for the first team that can send a robotic probe to the moon, which must travel 500 meters and send back photos and video of the lunar surface. This is why we need more of a focus on science and technology in this world, now that the royal wedding and all the fuss over Osama being slaughtered by Navy Seals is over we need to focus on something that will actually benefit the world at large.