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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: July 2004
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Moon rock's 'biography' revealed Jul 31, 2004
Stray star may have jolted Sedna Jul 30, 2004
Ship-sinking monster waves revealed by satellites Jul 29, 2004
Date set for space prize attempt Jul 28, 2004
Probe to 'look inside' asteroids Jul 27, 2004
Family words came first for early humans Jul 26, 2004
Plans for International Space Station cut back Jul 26, 2004
World's tiniest fish identified Jul 25, 2004
High-altitude light show in focus Jul 24, 2004
Cassini sees lightning on Saturn Jul 23, 2004
ET first contact 'within 20 years' Jul 22, 2004
New martian meteorite found in Antarctica Jul 22, 2004
Black holes turned 'inside out' Jul 21, 2004
Puzzling differences in Jupiter and Saturn Jun 21, 2004
Mars rover finds that water persisted Jul 20, 2004
Photos show two-faced Saturn moon Jul 19, 2004
NASA set to revisit Mercury Jul 18, 2004
Fractal patterns of early life revealed Jul 16, 2004
Ammonia on Mars could mean life Jul 15, 2004
Neutrinos 'topple matter theory' Jul 15 2004
Rover 'in training' for hill trek Jul 14, 2004
How to fail at being a star Jul 12, 2004
Texas observatory finds its first extrasolar planet Jul 11 2004
Ice and mud make up Saturn's rings Jul 9, 2004
Private space ship 'back to form' Jul 9, 2004
Sunspots reaching 1,000-year high Jul 8, 2004
Tranquil environment around Earth may be unusual Jul 7, 2004
Probe sees Titan's methane clouds Jul 5, 2004
Cassini makes first Titan flyby Jul 3, 2004
Hubble harvests 100 new planets Jul 2, 2004
Cassini enters orbit around Saturn Jul 1, 2004


Moon rock found in Oman
Moon rock's 'biography' revealed
(Jul 31, 2004)


The violent history of a meteorite from the Moon has been charted for the first time, Science magazine reports. Analyses of the rock's geology show it endured three giant impacts, before finally being hit so hard that it was catapulted into space. The rock's composition also allowed scientists to pinpoint its place of origin – the Moon's Imbrium Basin.

Read more. Source: BBC

Sedna
Stray star may have jolted Sedna
(Jul 30, 2004)


Sedna, the most distant planetoid ever seen in the Solar System, probably got kicked into its orbit when a star swept past the Sun more than four billion years ago, suggest the first detailed calculations of the object's origins. The research supports the leading theory of Sedna's origins but also leaves open more outlandish possibilities. The planetoid, about three-quarters the size of Pluto, was discovered in November 2003. It takes about 12,000 years to traverse an elongated orbit that stretches from 74 to 900 times the distance from the Sun to the Earth.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

big waves
Ship-sinking monster waves revealed by satellites
(Jul 29, 2004)


Once dismissed as a nautical myth, freakish ocean waves that rise as tall as ten-story apartment blocks have been accepted as a leading cause of large ship sinkings. Results from the European Space Agency's ERS satellites helped establish the widespread existence of these 'rogue' waves and are now being used to study their origins. Severe weather has sunk more than 200 supertankers and container ships exceeding 200 metres in length during the last two decades. Rogue waves are believed to be the major cause in many such cases.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now/ ESA

SpaceShipOne
Date set for space prize attempt
(Jul 28, 2004)


The team behind the private spacecraft, SpaceShipOne, says it will attempt the Ansari X-Prize in two flights on 29 September and 4 October. The $10m (5.7m) prize awards the first team to send a three-person craft over 100km, and repeat the feat in the same craft within two weeks. SpaceShipOne, built by aviation pioneer Burt Rutan, became the first private manned craft to go to space in June. Another 25 teams across the world are competing for the prize.

Read more. Source: BBC

Deep Interior
Probe to 'look inside' asteroids
(Jul 27, 2004)


A new space mission concept unveiled at a Paris conference aims to look inside asteroids to reveal how they are made. Deep Interior would use radar to probe the origin and evolution of two near-Earth objects less than 1km across. The mission, which could launch some time later this decade, would also give clues to how the planets evolved. The perceived threat of asteroids colliding with our planet has renewed interest in space missions to understand these mysterious bodies.

Read more. Source: BBC

Neanderthals
Family words came first for early humans
(Jul 26, 2004)


One of a Neanderthal baby's first words was probably "papa", concludes one of the most comprehensive attempts to date to make out what the first human language was like. Many of the estimated 6000 languages now spoken share common words and meanings, notably for kin names like "mama" and "papa". That has led some linguists to suggest that these words have been carried through from humans' original proto-language, spoken at least 50,000 years ago. Now Pierre Bancel and Alain Matthey de l'Etang from the Association for the Study of Linguistics and Prehistoric Anthropology in Paris have found that the word "papa" is present in almost 700 of the 1000 languages for which they have complete data on words for close family members.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

ISS
Plans for International Space Station cut back
(Jul 26, 2004)


NASA and its space partners on Friday approved a scaled-down International Space Station with fewer astronauts and less science so the United States can meet a 2010 deadline for ending shuttle flights, a top NASA official said. Space agencies in Russia, Europe, Canada and Japan gave unanimous approval to a NASA plan that means the orbiting platform, now about half completed, will never become the beehive of scientific and commercial research once envisaged. In exchange, NASA will continue with plans to launch research modules owned by its partners, some of them already built.

Source: Reuters

Stout infantfish
World's tiniest fish identified
(Jul 25, 2004)


The smallest, lightest animal with a backbone has been described for the first time, by scientists in the US. The minuscule fish, called a stout infantfish, is only about 7mm (just under a quarter of an inch) long. It lives around Australia's Great Barrier Reef and has snatched the "world's smallest vertebrate" title from the 1cm-long dwarf goby fish. The infantfish, which is no longer than the width of a pencil, is described in the Records of the Australian Museum.

Read more. Source: BBC

Sprite
High-altitude light show in focus
(Jul 24, 2004)


Fresh data on sprites, jets and elves – strange flashes of coloured light in the Earth's upper atmosphere – is being returned to Earth by a new satellite. The Taiwanese Rocsat-2 spacecraft has been in orbit for two months and is studying the high-altitude phenomena. They are believed to be discharges of electricity from above thunderstorms, part of a global electrical circuit. Rocsat-2's first goal is to make a map of the distribution of the flashes and how often they occur, say scientists.

Read more. Source: BBC

Cassini
Cassini sees lightning on Saturn
(Jul 23, 2004)


The Cassini space probe has observed lightning in Saturn's atmosphere. The probe detected radio wave emission from storms, which varied with the planet's latitude and rotation. This is the first direct observation of lightning in Saturn's atmosphere, although the Voyager probe made an indirect detection in the 1980s. Scientists now hope to use the same method to detect lightning on Saturn's large moon, Titan, when the probe makes a close flyby in October.

Read more. Source: BBC

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