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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: June 2004
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claimed photo of Atlantis
Satellite images 'show Atlantis'
(Jun 7, 2004)


A scientist says he may have found remains of the lost city of Atlantis. Satellite photos of southern Spain reveal features on the ground appearing to match descriptions made by Greek scholar Plato of the fabled utopia. Dr Rainer Kuehne thinks the "island" of Atlantis simply referred to a region of the southern Spanish coast destroyed by a flood between 800 BC and 500 BC. The research has been reported as an ongoing project in the online edition of the journal Antiquity.

Read more. Source: BBC

Venus transit
Extrasolar planet hunters eye Venus transit
(Jun 7, 2004)


Extrasolar planet hunters will set their sights close to home on Tuesday when Venus passes in front of the Sun for the first time since 1882. About 120 planets have been discovered orbiting other stars. Three of these were revealed because they dimmed their stars' light during transits, which also gave information about the planets' masses. And future space missions such as NASA's Kepler, due to launch in 2007, aim to find many more transits by monitoring 100,000 Sun-like stars. The transit of Venus will dim the Sun's light by just a tenth of one per cent but the data astronomers hope to gather will help interpret future extrasolar searches. Graphic: BBC.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

W49B
Proof found for gamma-ray burst in Milky Way
(Jun 5, 2004)


Combined data from NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory and infrared observations with the Palomar 200-inch telescope have uncovered evidence that a gamma-ray burst, one of nature's most catastrophic explosions, occurred in our Galaxy a few thousand years ago. The supernova remnant, W49B, may also be the first remnant of a gamma-ray burst discovered in the Milky Way. W49B is a barrel-shaped nebula located about 35,000 light years from Earth. The new data reveal bright infrared rings, like hoops around a barrel, and intense X-radiation from iron and nickel along the axis of the barrel.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now / Chandra


Vernanimalcula guizhouena
Fossils hint at early complexity
(Jun 4, 2004)


Blob-like fossils dating back about 600 million years may indicate that complex life evolved much earlier on our planet than had been thought, scientists say. The animals are less than a fifth of a millimetre long and have a two-sided body plan previously thought to have existed much later in Earth's history. These "bilaterians" have what look like mouths and guts, as well as internal and external layers of body tissue. The findings are reported by a US-Chinese team in Science magazine.

Read more. Source: BBC

asteroid collision
Meteorite turned Earth inside out
(Jun 4, 2004)


A devastating meteorite collision caused part of the Earth's crust to flip inside out billions of years ago and left a dusting of a rare metal scattered on the top of the crater, says new University of Toronto research. The study, published in the June 3 issue of Nature, examines the devastating effects of meteorite impacts on the Earth's evolution. Researchers from the University of Toronto and the Geological Survey of Canada studied the remains of a 250-kilometre wide crater in Sudbury, Ontario, known as the Sudbury Igneous Complex, caused by a collision with a Mount Everest-sized meteorite 1.8 billion years ago.

Read more. Source: Space Daily

Columbia Hills
Mars rover Spirit nears hills as Opportunity probes crater
(Jun 4, 2004)


More than a month into bonus time after a successful primary mission on Mars, NASA's Spirit rover has sighted possibly layered rock in hills just ahead, while twin Opportunity has extended its arm to pockmarked stones on a crater rim to gather clues of a watery past. Spirit has driven more than 2.9 kilometers (1.8 miles) since arriving at Mars five months ago, more than three-fourths of that since completing its three-month primary mission. It now has only about 400 meters (440 yards) to go – possibly less than a week of driving – before reaching the base of a range of hills informally named "Columbia Hills," which scientists identified in January as a desirable but potentially unreachable destination for the rover.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now / NASA-JPL

>/tr>
Hubble Space Telescope
Robots to rescue Hubble Telescope
(Jun 3, 2004)


NASA's chief, Sean O'Keefe, has taken a step toward a robotic repair mission to save the Hubble Space Telescope. In January, he said there would be no more space shuttle visits to service Hubble because it was too dangerous. He has now said the US space agency would ask for proposals regarding the feasibility of a robotic servicing mission. It could take place in 2007. His announcement was made to applause at the 204th meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Colorado.

Read more. Source: BBC

SpaceShipOne
Date set for private space launch
(Jun 3, 2004)


Scaled Composites, the company behind the first private manned spacecraft, will launch it into space on 21 June carrying an as yet unnamed astronaut. SpaceShipOne is built by aerospace pioneer Burt Rutan who hopes to win the Ansari X-prize of $10m (5.7m) for the first private flight into space. The craft has to reach an altitude of 100km (329,000ft) twice in two weeks to win. A total of 25 other teams across the world are competing for the prize.

Read more. Source: BBC

Saturn from approaching Cassini probe
Probe positions for Saturn orbit
(Jun 2, 2004)


The Cassini spacecraft has performed what may be its final course correction before entering orbit around the ringed planet Saturn on 1 July. The short pressurised engine burn was the first carried out in five years and simulates a firing that is still needed to make the probe circle the planet. The manoeuvre also places Cassini on course for a fly-by of the little studied Saturnian moon known as Phoebe. The four-year mission is a joint venture between the US and Europe. "You could think of it as a dress rehearsal for Saturn orbit insertion," Dr Linda Spilker, Cassini deputy project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, US, told BBC News Online.

Read more. Source: BBC

black hole
Black holes multiply in new observations
(Jun 1, 2004)


European researchers have found 30 previously hidden supermassive black holes anchoring faraway galaxies, which suggests there at least twice as many of the colossal gravity wells as thought. Supermassive black holes hold as much matter as millions or billions of suns. The newfound black holes were long sought but went unnoticed because they lurk behind veils of dust and are so faraway that even the galaxies they anchor are difficult to examine in any detail.

Read more. Source: CNN/space.com

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