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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: November 2004
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the Moon taken by SMART-1
Europe probe arrives at the Moon
(Nov 16, 2004)

The Smart 1 lunar probe has entered into orbit around the Moon, the first European mission to do so. "Europe has arrived at the Moon, we're in lunar orbit," said Professor David Southwood, director of science for the European Space Agency (Esa). On Monday, Smart 1 began firing its ion engine to bring it into lunar orbit.

Read more. Source: BBC

sonar image of purported Atlantis
New claim on location of Atlantis
(Nov 15, 2004)

American researchers claim to have found convincing evidence that locates the site of the lost kingdom of Atlantis off the coast of Cyprus. The team spent six days scanning the Mediterranean sea bed between Cyprus and Syria using sonar technology. They believe they found evidence of massive, manmade structures beneath the ocean floor, including two straight, 2-km (1.25 mile) long walls on a hill. They say their discoveries match accounts of the city written by Plato.

Read more. Source: BBC

NASA 'scramjet' to launch on Mach 10 flight Monday
(Nov 15, 2004)

NASA's high-risk, high-payoff Hyper-X Program is ready to attempt its greatest challenge yet – flying a "scramjet"-powered X-43A research vehicle at nearly 10 times the speed of sound. Officials have set Monday for the flight, weather permitting, which will take place in restricted U.S. Naval airspace over the Pacific Ocean northwest of Los Angeles. This will be the last and, by far, the fastest of three unpiloted flight tests designed to explore an intriguing alternative to rocket power for space access vehicles.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now / NASA

Spitzer Telescope
New observations help Kuiper Belt lose weight
(Nov 14, 2004)

Objects in the Kuiper Belt – the region beyond Pluto's orbit where many comets originate – may be much smaller than astronomers thought, according to observations made with NASA's Spitzer infrared telescope. The objects are so far away that even the most powerful telescopes only see them as faint specks of light. While their existence had been inferred decades earlier, the first one was only discovered in 1992. More than a thousand have been found since.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

SMART-1 arrives at the Moon
(Nov 13, 2004)

It's been a long trip, but Europe's first Moon mission is finally nearing its goal. SMART-1, launched by the European Space Agency (ESA) way back on 27 September 2003, will go into orbit around the Moon on 15 November. In January, the craft will begin the first comprehensive X-ray survey of the Moon's surface, giving scientists clues about its composition and age. This geological map will help scientists to establish exactly how the Moon formed.

Read more. Source: Nature

Phobos from Mars Express
Mars moon emerges from the dark
(Nov 12, 2004)

Europe's Mars Express spacecraft has taken its most detailed image yet of the Red Planet's largest moon, Phobos. The photo was taken from a distance of about 200km (124 miles) from the irregular-shaped satellite and shows the side of the object that faces Mars. Scientists hope to explain the origin of a network of grooves that extend from the equator to the north pole. Phobos is slowly falling down to Mars and is expected to crash into the planet in the next few million years.

Read more. Source: BBC

Crew Exploration Vehicle concept
Firms look to shuttle successor
(Nov 11, 2004)

Two US firms are in discussions on forming a team that will compete to build spacecraft able to take humans to the Moon, Mars and possibly beyond. Boeing and Northrop Grumman have taken the first step towards putting together a team that will bid to build Nasa's Crew Exploration Vehicle (CEV). The CEV was announced by President Bush in his "Moon to Mars" speech this year. It is likely to be based on the module and capsule concept used by the US space agency Apollo and Gemini missions.

Read more. Source: BBC

Cosmos 1
Solar sail craft gets launch date
(Nov 11, 2004)

The world's first spacecraft to use a solar sail for propulsion is set to be launched from a submerged Russian submarine on 1 March next year. Cosmos-1 has been built by space advocacy group The Planetary Society and will deploy eight triangular sail blades once it is in space. Photons from sunlight will push on the spacecraft sails to propel it on the first controlled solar sail flight. Some hope solar sails will one day help humans travel to the stars.

Read more. Source: BBC

rings of Saturn
Cassini discovers music of the rings
(Nov 10, 2004)

Saturn's magnificent ring system – a huge disc resembling an old gramophone record – turns out to share another property with the LP: it constantly emits a melodic series of musical notes. The surprising discovery was made by radio and plasma wave detectors on board the Cassini spacecraft as it passed over Saturn's rings during its arrival at the planet in July. The tones are emitted as radio waves. Don Gurnett of the University of Iowa says his team reduced their frequencies by a factor of five to bring them into the range of human hearing. Gurnett says he was “completely astonished" when he heard the musical notes.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Cassini radar sees bright flow-like feature across Titan surface
(Nov 9, 2004)

A strikingly bright, lobate feature has turned up in one of Cassini's first radar images of Saturn's moon Titan. "It may be something that flowed," Cassini radar team member Ralph Lorenz of the University of Arizona said. "Or it could be something carved by erosion. It's too early to say. "But it looks very much like it's something that oozed across the surface. It may be some sort of 'cryovolcanic' flow, an analog to volcanism on Earth that is not molten rock but, at Titan's very cold temperatures, molten ice."

Read more. Source: University of Arizona

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