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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: October 2004
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Liquid 'suggested' on Titan Oct 29, 2004
Ancient star dust may point to human origins Oct 28, 2004
'Hobbit' joins human family tree Oct 28, 2004
Cassini snaps at Titan's surface Oct 27, 2004
Cassini set to pierce moon's haze Oct 26, 2004
Quantum quirk may give objects mass Oct 25, 2004
Shatner aims for real 'Star Trek' Oct 24, 2004
Radical fabric is one atom thick Oct 22, 2004
Einstein's warp effect measured Oct 21, 2004
Auras may be generated in the brain Oct 20, 2004
CERN to probe life, the universe and everything Oct 19, 2004
Is a 90-day Mars round trip possible via new propulsion? Oct 18, 2004
Newfound star cluster may be final Milky Way 'fossil' Oct 16, 2004
Paralysed man sends e-mail by thought Oct 15, 2004
Giant virus qualifies as 'living organism' Oct 15, 2004
Drilling for Africa's climate history Oct 14, 2004
Anniversary launch for 'nanosats' Oct 13, 2004
Radio astronomers remove the blindfold Oct 12, 2004
Lost in space: the killer screwdriver Oct 11, 2004
Black holes haunt ghost particle theory Oct 11, 2004
'New' giant ape found in DR Congo Oct 10, 2004
How to build the Universe Oct 9, 2004
'No experiments' for SpaceShipOne Oct 9, 2004
NASA Mars rovers find more signs of water Oct 8, 2004
Faded star defies description Oct 7, 2004
Frequent starbursts sterilize center of Milky Way Oct 5, 2004
Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper gone at age 77 Oct 4, 2004
SpaceShipOne rockets to success Oct 4, 2004
Russian move on climate welcomed Oct 1, 2004


Titan
Liquid 'suggested' on Titan
(Oct 29, 2004)


Scientists examining pictures from the Cassini spacecraft think they may be closer to showing there is liquid hydrocarbon on Saturn's moon Titan. Radar images taken of a strip of the moon revealed dark patches, which could indicate liquid methane or ethane. This is important because scientists have theorised that the satellite may harbour hydrocarbon oceans and lakes. The images also suggest that the surface of Titan could be shaped by strong winds. "Titan is an extremely dynamic and active place, not only in its atmosphere but on its surface as well," said Jonathan Lunine, Cassini imaging scientist.

Read more. Source: BBC

supernova 1987A blast wave
Ancient star dust may point to human origins
(Oct 28, 2004)


Star dust found deep beneath the Pacific Ocean has led German scientists to speculate that a supernova explosion 3 million years ago might possibly have helped bring about human evolution. Gunther Korschinek and colleagues at the Technical University of Munich in Germany reported on Wednesday they found debris from an exploding supernova that could have changed the climate on Earth around the time that humanity's ancestors first began to walk. Depending on how far away the supernova was, it might have caused an increase in cosmic rays for about 300,000 years that in turn could have heated up the Earth, they wrote in the latest issue of Physical Review Letters. (Image: blast wave from supernova 1987A)

Read more. Source: Reuters/MSNBC

Homo floresiensis
'Hobbit' joins human family tree
(Oct 28, 2004)


Scientists have discovered a new and tiny species of human that lived in Indonesia at the same time our own ancestors were colonising the world. The new species – dubbed "the Hobbit" due to its small size – lived on Flores island until at least 12,000 years ago. The fact that little people feature in the legends of modern Flores islanders suggests we might have to take tales of Leprechauns and Yeti more seriously. Details of the sensational find are described in the journal Nature.

Read more. Source: BBC

Titan
Cassini snaps at Titan's surface
(Oct 27, 2004)


The Cassini spacecraft has sent back images of Saturn's moon Titan giving scientists the closest views yet of the mysterious satellite. The hazy shots were beamed back to a Nasa antenna based in Madrid, Spain, on Wednesday, at 0225 BST. The probe went within 1,200km (746 miles) of the moon, 300 times closer than its first flyby in July. The first images were the clearest yet of the moon's surface, and scientists said they expected better images later.

Read more. Source: BBC

Titan
Cassini set to pierce moon's haze
(Oct 26, 2004)


The Cassini spacecraft is set to reveal the closest views yet of Saturn's moon Titan, when it makes a close pass of the satellite on Tuesday. At 1744 BST, the probe will make its closest approach to Titan, passing within 1,200km of the enigmatic world. Attempts to view Titan's icy surface have so far been frustrated by a thick, orange haze that shrouds the moon. But Tuesday's pass should be close enough for Cassini's radar to penetrate the satellite's dense smog.

Read more. Source: BBC

Quantum quirk may give objects mass
(Oct 25, 2004)


If you thought that quantum entanglement – the weird effect that allows two particles to behave as one, no matter how far apart they are – is too subtle to affect your daily life, think again. The phenomenon could be responsible for something as significant as the mass of everyday objects, yourself included, and could finally explain why the fundamental particles of matter have the mass they do. Sometimes, the interaction of two particles, say electrons, causes their individual properties, such as spin, to become “entangled”. If you then change the spin of one particle it will instantly affect the spin of the other, regardless of the distance between them. There is mounting evidence that entanglement has consequences in the macroscopic world.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Captain Kirk
Shatner aims for real 'Star Trek'
(Oct 24, 2004)


William Shatner wants to boldly go where he's only pretended to go so far. The "Star Trek" star is among more than 7,000 people who have told Richard Branson they would gladly pay him $210,000 (£115,000) for a trip aboard his planned spacecraft, the entrepreneur said Friday. Former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist Dave Navarro has signed up for a ride, and a Hollywood director who was not identified has booked an entire ship.

Read more. Source: CNN

graphene
Radical fabric is one atom thick
(Oct 22, 2004)


A new class of material, which brings computer chips made from a single molecule a step closer, as been discovered by scientists. Called graphene, it is a two-dimensional, giant, flat molecule which is still only the thickness of an atom. The nanofabric's remarkable electronic properties mean that an ultra-fast and stable transistor could be made. The physicists from the University of Manchester and Chernogolovka, Russia, published their research in Science.

Read more. Source: BBC

frame-dragging
Einstein's warp effect measured
(Oct 21, 2004)


Two scientists appear to have beaten a $600 million Nasa mission to be first to measure a phenomenon predicted by Einstein's theory of relativity. "Frame-dragging" is the effect wherein a massive body like Earth drags space-time around with it as it spins. Ignazio Ciufolini and Erricos Pavlis measured frame-dragging by studying the movements of two satellites in Earth orbit over a period of 11 years. The results are published in the latest edition of the academic journal Nature.

Read more. Source: BBC

aura
Auras may be generated in the brain
(Oct 20, 2004)


She sees colours emanating like haloes from her friends and foes. Blocks of colour form in her mind when looking at names of acquaintances, or even at words like 'love' and 'hate'. And no, she will not read your aura for a low introductory fee. She is not a charlatan, or a psychic – she's a synaesthete. People with synaesthesia, perhaps one in 2,000 by conservative estimates, get two-for-one sensory experiences. They feel music, taste art, and often see colours around words or things. A new case study now raises the possibility that cases like this are the origin of the new-age belief in 'auras', a coloured emanation of energy that can be seen only by the spiritually in-tune.

Read more. Source: Nature

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