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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: October 2004
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new species of ape
'New' giant ape found in DR Congo
(Oct 10, 2004)

Scientists believe they have discovered a new group of giant apes in the jungles of central Africa. The animals, with characteristics of both gorillas and chimpanzees, have been sighted in the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo. They stand up to two metres tall, the size of gorillas, but unlike gorillas, they nest on the ground, not in trees. If they are a new species of primate, it could be one of the most important wildlife discoveries in decades.

Read more. Source: BBC

cluster of galaxies
How to build the Universe
(Oct 9, 2004)

Is causality an inherent and necessary characteristic of the Universe, or just an illusion produced by the way our brains interpret the world? It's real, say physicists, who believe they have worked out how the Universe is constructed from the tiniest building-blocks of space-time. The finding could also help the development of a theory of quantum gravity, which would marry the two currently estranged physical theories of the Universe: quantum theory and relativity.

Read more. Source: Nature

'No experiments' for SpaceShipOne
(Oct 9, 2004)

Burt Rutan, the man who designed and masterminded the X-Prize winning SpaceShipOne, says the craft will only be used for people, not experiments. The team has turned down offers, including from the US government, to do scientific experiments on flights. Rutan says SpaceShipOne's task will be to focus on test flights for the commercial passenger craft that will be operated by Virgin Atlantic Airways. Virgin has ordered five, five-passenger spaceliners over the next three years.

Read more. Source: BBC

NASA Mars rovers find more signs of water
(Oct 8, 2004)

The Mars rovers have found fresh evidence that water was plentiful in both the hills and plains of the now-barren Red Planet, scientists at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory said on Thursday. Opportunity was the first to send back evidence that a salty sea once covered the area where it landed, a flat plain known as the Meridiani Planum. Spirit also found signs that the massive Gusev Crater, where it landed, had seen small amounts of water. Now, recent data sent back by Opportunity suggests the area had a second drenching sometime after the plains dried out, scientists said.

Read more. Source: Reuters/MSNBC

EF Eridani
Faded star defies description
(Oct 7, 2004)

Some stars take, some give. Then there is the tortured relationship in EF Eridani, where the smaller of two stars gave so much to its larger companion that it reached a dead end, and scientists said on Tuesday they haven't seen anything like it. Doomed to orbit its more energetic partner for millions of years, the burned-out star has lost so much mass that it can no longer sustain nuclear fusion at its core and has become a new, indeterminate stellar object.

Source: CNN

Milky Way Galaxy
Frequent starbursts sterilize center of Milky Way
(Oct 5, 2004)

Life near the center of our galaxy never had a chance. Every 20 million years on average, gas pours into the galactic center and slams together, creating millions of new stars. The more massive stars soon go supernova, exploding violently and blasting the surrounding space with enough energy to sterilize it completely. This scenario is detailed by Smithsonian astronomer Antony Stark (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) and colleagues in the October 10, 2004, issue of The Astrophysical Journal Letters.

Read more. Source: Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics

Gordon Cooper
Mercury astronaut Gordon Cooper gone at age 77
(Oct 4, 2004)

Astronaut Gordon "Gordo" Cooper, a veteran of NASA's Mercury and Gemini programs that paved the way for the Apollo moon landings, died today at his home in Ventura, Calif. He was 77 and his death came 47 years to the day after the space age began with the launch of the Russian Sputnik satellite.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now/CBS

SpaceShipOne rockets to success
(Oct 4, 2004)

The rocket plane SpaceShipOne has shot to an altitude of more than 100km for the second time inside a week to claim the $10m Ansari X-Prize. The stubby vehicle raced straight up into the sky over the Mojave Desert in California, US, with test pilot Brian Binnie at the controls. The plane did not roll like it had done on previous flights and set a new record for sub-orbital flight.

Read more. Source: BBC

global warming
Russian move on climate welcomed
(Oct 1, 2004)

The Russian government's decision to approve the Kyoto climate change treaty has been hailed by the European Union and environmental groups. The Kyoto Protocol sets targets for greenhouse gas emissions, which many scientists believe are causing the Earth to warm at an unnatural rate. The cabinet has sent it to parliament to be ratified, where President Putin's supporters hold a two-thirds majority. The US, the biggest greenhouse gas producer, has not signed the treaty.

Read more. Source: BBC

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