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U.S. Politics And The Vote Certification Process; The Purported Skeleton Of A Triceratops; Assessment Of NASA`s Next Moon Mission. Aired 4- 4:10a ET

Aired December 08, 2020 - 04:00   ET


CARL AZUZ, CNN 10 ANCHOR: Welcome to CNN 10, your daily down-the-middle explanation of world events. I`m Carl Azuz. We`re glad you`re watching.

More than a month after the U.S. presidential election, there`s a lot that`s still up in the air. For one thing, the makeup of the next U.S.

Senate. Will it be controlled by Democrats or Republicans?

When the 117th U.S. Congress convenes on January 3rd, current projections indicate that at least 48 seats will be controlled by Democrats and at

least 50 by Republicans. That doesn`t equal the 100 total seats.

There are two Senate seats from the state of Georgia that haven`t been determined yet, and they`re likely be decided by a runoff election on

January 5th. If Republicans win at least one of those seats, they`ll have simple majority they need to keep control of the Senate. If Democrats win

both of these seats, the Senate will be split with 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, and if any of the chamber`s votes are split 50/50, the vice

president will cast the deciding vote.

Democrats Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are projected to be the next president and vice president of the United States. Democrats are projected

to keep control of the House of Representatives. So, what happens in Georgia`s runoff is incredibly important to both major parties. If

Democrats gain control of the White House and both chambers of Congress, it will be much easier for them to pass laws and enact their priorities to the

country. If Republicans maintain control of the Senate, it will be easier for them to limit the Democrats` power and require compromise on new laws.

What`s unusual this time around is that the presidential election is still a dispute. President Donald Trump says, quote, there`s no way he lost the

election and his administration and supporting groups have legally challenged the results in several states. But so far, those challenges have

not led to any major changes in projections that former Vice President Joe Biden is now the U.S. president-elect.

The next step if all this happens today, and CNN 10 contributor Kelly Mena explains what it is -- Kelly.



Now, let`s take a look at a few key remaining deadlines left until inauguration day in January. The first thing to look out for is December 8.

That is safe harbor deadline.

This is the date by which states are meant to have counted their votes, settle disputes and determine the winner of the Electoral College votes.

It`s extremely important because when Congress needs to tally the electoral votes in January, it must accept the electors certified before this

deadline. Six days after election disputes are supposed to be settled, electors meet in their respective states to cast their vote for president

of the United States.

This year, that date falls on December 14th. Notably, many states have laws requiring electors to support the winner of their state`s popular vote and

can levy fines against state electors who choose to go their own way. Once electors have cast their votes, they`ll certify votes have until December

23 to make it to Washington, D.C.

Then on January 3rd, the new 117th Congress which includes the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate is sworn in. Three days, they need

to count and certify the election results. There are 538 electoral votes, one for each congressman and U.S. senator, plus three for Washington, D.C.

A candidate needs 270 to win.

Once certified, the new president is sworn in on January 20, 2021.

Carl, with a few key deadlines left until a new presidential administration, it will be interesting to see how these steps unfold in the

days ahead.



AZUZ (voice-over): Ten-second trivia:

American scientist O.C. Marsh was best known for his work with what?

Agriculture, telecommunications, dinosaur fossils, or fossil fuels?

O.C. Marsh was a paleontologist who described a creature named Triceratops in 1889.



SUBTITLE: A museum organization has acquired a near-complete and finely preserved dinosaur skeleton.

ERICH FITZGERALD, SENIOR CURATOR OF PALAENTOLOGY/MUSEUMS VICTORIA: I am touching the tooth of a Triceratops. This is a surreal experience. It`s

absolutely spectacular.

SUBTITLE: At 87 percent complete the Triceratops skeleton includes almost all the bones, say experts.

FITZGERALD: We will gain insights at last into how big Triceratops really grew to and also details such as how many bones, how many vertebrae were in

the tail. These are basic characteristics of Triceratops that until this find we simply didn`t know.

SUBTITLE: The skeleton was discovered in 2014 on a private property in Montana, U.S.

FITZGERALD: Scientifically, the detail that`s preserved, the anatomy that we can see -- this is a really important discovery.

SUBTITLE: The fossil weighs more than 1,000 kilograms is estimated to be six to seven meters long, with a height of over two meters.

Triceratops, one of the last known dinosaurs, lived 68-66 million years ago.

The dinosaur fossil will be on display from 2021 in the Melbourne Museum, in Australia.


AZUZ: Up next, to the moon and back. And back again?

NASA is moving forward with its Artemis 3 mission. Its goal was to put a man and for the first time a woman on the moon in 2024. No one has set foot

there since 1972, and there are concerns about whether NASA will have enough money for this, whether it will be worth the cost, whether it will

be safe enough to do and whether it will be a goal of the next presidential administration. Political priorities for NASA are always changing. The

agency is focused on the moon and beyond.


RACHEL CRANE, CNN BUSINESS INNOVATION AND SPACE CORRESPONDENT (voice- over): Nearly 50 years after humans first set foot on the moon --

NEIL ARMSTRONG, ASTRONAUT: It`s one small step for man --

CRANE: NASA is planning to go back, this time to stay.

JIM BRIDENSTINE, NASA ADMINISTRATOR: We`re going to prove how to live and work on another world, and then take all of that knowledge to Mars. That`s

the goal.

CRANE: Dubbed Artemis for Apollo`s twin sister, NASA hopes to send a woman this time. The space agency originally planned a Lunar landing for 2028.

BRIDENSTINE: We have the opportunity to do this. A lot of things have to go right. I`m not saying that there`s no risk here, but it can be done.

It`s good for our country. It`s got NASA moving in a very serious way.

CRANE: NASA has already spent years working on a new rocket booster and a crew capsule for the mission. Once beyond Earth`s orbit, astronauts will

dock with the small space station.

Lunar landers built by commercial partners like Jeff Bezos` Blue Origin will carry astronauts back and forth from the moon. There are still a lot

to work out, but the biggest obstacle probably isn`t technology.

LAURA FORCZYK, FOUNDER, ASTRALYTICAL: As the saying goes, it`s not rocket science that`s the hard part, its political science, convincing the

politicians that they need to fund this adequately. Whatever it is you think it might cost, it`s probably actually going to be more.

CRANE: NASA estimates total cost could hit $30 billion over five years.

What do you think it`s going to take to get that bipartisan support and also to get the American public jazzed about going back to the moon?

BRIDENSTINE: I think when it comes to science, there`s not partisanship in Congress. When it comes to exploration, there`s not partisanship in

Congress. You walk around this agency, you talk to scientists and engineers, they can tell you exactly where they were on when Neil Armstrong

and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, July 20th, 1969.

I`m the first NASA administrator that was not alive. I don`t have that memory. I`ll tell you what I do remember. I remember where I was in fifth

grade, Ms. Powers` class when Challenger exploded. The whole world was watching.

Christa McAuliffe, the first teacher in space was on the mission, so all teachers were interested on -- I`m sorry I`m getting a little emotional

here, but the reality is that`s my kind of moment where I know where I was.

I want to be clear, shuttles, amazing program. International space station, amazing program. But I don`t remember where I was on each one of those

launches. I remember where I was on that day. We need to do these stunning achievements to inspire the next generation.

CRANE: Fifty years ago, the Apollo 11 mission changed the world. Now, the Artemis program could inspire a whole new generation.


AZUZ: Is this the world`s most beautiful aircraft? It`s certainly the best smelling. This is a full scale Airbus A380 made entirely out of flowers, 40

tons of flowers. It`s one of the astonishing arrangements that the Dubai Miracle Garden in the United Arab Emirates. It`s also the Guinness World

Record holder for world`s largest flower arrangement.

The garden`s creator says the goal here is to make displays that the world marvels at.

Well, that`s plane to see. And you can see why anyone would want to deck or petal on over to the garden. There`s no stigma. No one is going to pick on

them, for wanting to stamen around for a while with the filamentality of searching for answers. All flowers have styles. Some apollenly (ph) so and

like our puns, they grow on you.

Hey, speaking of flowers. Our web producers picked this school from Albany, Oregon, today. Shoutout to South Albany High School in full bloom there.

I`m Carl Azuz for CNN 10.