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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: April 2005
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Table-top fusion 'demonstrated' Apr 30, 2005
Saturn probe spies 'cheese' moon Apr 29, 2005
NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft spots its quarry Apr 28, 2005
Whatever happened to machines that think? Apr 27, 2005
Organic materials spotted high above Titan's surface Apr 26, 2005
Cavers smash world depth record Apr 25, 2005
Mice put in 'suspended animation' Apr 22, 2005
Dusty debris may be asteroid belt Apr 21, 2005
Five giant impact basins reveal the ancient equator of Mars Apr 20, 2005
Early Universe was a liquid Apr 19, 2005
Early Universe was packed with mini black holes Apr 18, 2005
Distant planetoid Sedna gives up more secrets Apr 16, 2005
Eggs found inside dinosaur fossil Apr 15, 2005
Relic star poses cosmic puzzles Apr 14, 2005
Sunny spot picked out for future lunar base Apr 14, 2005
Look out for giant triangles in space Apr 13, 2005
Ray burst is extinction suspect Apr 12, 2005
Cosmic particle accelerator seen Apr 12, 2005
Why Einstein may have got it wrong Apr 11, 2005
Titan probe's pebble 'bash-down' Apr 11, 2005
Ground telescopes to 'super-size' Apr 10, 2005
Deepest X-rays tell merger story Apr 8, 2005
Possible signs of life on Titan Apr 7, 2005
Swift measures distance to gamma-ray bursts Apr 7, 2005
Fleshing out the 'first ape-man' Apr 7, 2005
Mars rovers enjoy a new lease of life Apr 7, 2005
Telescope catches early starlight Apr 6, 2005
Galaxy has mystery star clusters Apr 5, 2005
Plenty of Earths await discovery Apr 5, 2005
Black holes 'do not exist' Apr 4, 2005
Great extinction came in phases Apr 4, 2005
Confirmed picture of a planet beyond the solar system Apr 2, 2005


nuclear fusion
Table-top fusion 'demonstrated'
(Apr 30, 2005)


A US team has created a "pocket-sized" nuclear fusion reactor that generates neutrons, Nature magazine reports. Scientists have tried to harness nuclear fusion – the same process that powers the Sun – for commercial uses but this goal has remained elusive. The new device is expected only to have small niche applications, such as in fine-control thrusters on spacecraft. Full-scale fusion is a key target because it would provide an abundant source of relatively clean energy.

Read more. Source: BBC

Epimetheus
Saturn probe spies 'cheese' moon
(Apr 29, 2005)


The international Cassini spacecraft has obtained the closest picture yet of Saturn's small moon Epimetheus. At just 116 km (72 miles) across, the satellite is slightly smaller than its companion moon, Janus, which orbits at much the same distance from Saturn. Looking not unlike a large lump of cheese, Epimetheus sports many craters. One large impact site featured in the new picture is known as Hilairea, and appears as a deep hole with a diameter of about 33 km (21 miles).

Read more. Source: BBC

comet Tempel 1
NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft spots its quarry
(Apr 28, 2005)


Sixty-nine days before it gets up-close-and-personal with a comet, NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft successfully photographed its quarry, comet Tempel 1, at a distance of 39.7 million miles. The image, the first of many comet portraits it will take over the next 10 weeks, will aid Deep Impact's navigators, engineers and scientists as they plot their final trajectory toward an Independence Day encounter.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Borg queen
Whatever happened to machines that think?
(Apr 27, 2005)


Clever computers are everywhere. From robotic lawnmowers to intelligent lighting, washing machines and even car engines that self-diagnose faults, there's a silicon brain in just about every modern device you can think of. But can you honestly call any machine intelligent in a meaningful sense of the word? ... the next few months, after being patiently nurtured for 22 years, an artificial brain called Cyc (pronounced "psych") will be put online for the world to interact with. And it's only going to get cleverer.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Titan_false_color
Organic materials spotted high above Titan's surface
(Apr 26, 2005)


During its closest flyby of Saturn's moon Titan on April 16, the Cassini spacecraft came within 1,027 kilometers (638 miles) of the moon's surface and found that the outer layer of the thick, hazy atmosphere is brimming with complex hydrocarbons. Scientists believe that Titan's atmosphere may be a laboratory for studying the organic chemistry that preceded life and provided the building blocks for life on Earth. The role of the upper atmosphere in this organic "factory" of hydrocarbons is very intriguing to scientists, especially given the large number of different hydrocarbons detected by Cassini during the flyby.

Read more. Source: NASA/JPL

Krubera cave
Cavers smash world depth record
(Apr 25, 2005)


A Ukrainian team has set a new depth record for caving. The nine-strong group travelled 2,080 m (6,822 ft) underground, passing the elusive 2,000 m mark at Krubera, the world's deepest known cave. The team was part of a project that has made breaking through 2,000 m its goal for the past four years. It built on records set by a previous expedition, which blasted through blocked passages in the cave, within Georgia's breakaway region of Abkhazia.

Read more. Source: BBC

mouse
Mice put in 'suspended animation'
(Apr 22, 2005)


Mice have been placed in a state of near suspended animation, raising the possibility that hibernation could one day be induced in humans. If so, it might be possible to put astronauts into hibernation-like states for long-haul space flights – as often depicted in science fiction films. A US team from Seattle reports its findings in Science magazine. In this case, suspended animation means the reversible cessation of all visible life processes in an organism.

Read more. Source: BBC

extrasolar asteroid belt
Dusty debris may be asteroid belt
(Apr 21, 2005)


The Spitzer telescope has detected what looks to be an asteroid belt around a star some 41 light-years from Earth. US astronomers say that if confirmed it would be the first such band of rocky material found around a star of similar age and size to our own Sun. The alien girdle is quite close to its star, known as HD69830, and is much thicker than the asteroid belt seen between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. The scientists hope to use the Spitzer data to learn about planet formation.

Read more. Source: BBC

Mars
Five giant impact basins reveal the ancient equator of Mars
(Apr 20, 2005)


Since the time billions of years ago when Mars was formed, it has never been a spherically symmetric planet, nor is it composed of similar materials throughout, say scientists who have studied the planet. Since its formation, it has changed its shape, for example, through the development of the Tharsis bulge, an eight kilometer [five mile] high feature that covers one-sixth of the Martian surface, and through volcanic activity. As a result of these and other factors, its polar axis has not been stable relative to surface features and is known to have wandered through the eons as Mars rotated around it and revolved around the Sun. Now, a Canadian researcher has calculated the location of Mars' ancient poles, based upon the location of five giant impact basins on the planet's surface.

Read more. Source: spaceref/AGU

Big Bang
Early Universe was a liquid
(Apr 19, 2005)


The Universe consisted of a perfect liquid in its first moments, according to results from an atom-smashing experiment. Scientists at the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider (RHIC) at Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island, New York, have spent five years searching for the quark-gluon plasma that is thought to have filled our Universe in the first microseconds of its existence. Most of them are now convinced they have found it. But, strangely, it seems to be a liquid rather than the expected hot gas.

Read more. Source: Nature

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