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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: August 2005
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Giant water plume spews from Saturn’s moon Aug 31, 2005
Saturn moon delights and baffles Aug 30, 2005
Domestic robot to debut in Japan Aug 30, 2005
Telescope views death of galaxy Aug 30, 2005
Boost to CO2 mass extinction idea Aug 29, 2005
More animals join the learning circle Aug 28, 2005
Scientists probe anti-ageing gene Aug 26, 2005
Space tourism companies aiming for orbit Aug 25, 2005
Space radiation may select amino acids for life Aug 24, 2005
Westerners and Easterners see the world differently Aug 23, 2005
NASA's Swift satellite finds newborn black holes Aug 22, 2005
Nanotube sheets come of age Aug 20, 2005
Virtual world fits on a smartphone Aug 19, 2005
US shuttles grounded until March Aug 19, 2005
Sample-return craft spots its asteroid target Aug 18, 2005
Strange fossil defies grouping Aug 17, 2005
Bar at Milky Way's heart revealed Aug 17, 2005
Cosmonaut clocks up record time in space Aug 16, 2005
Thin skin will help robots 'feel' Aug 16, 2005
‘Tenth planet’ may be bigger then expected Aug 15, 2005
Tsunami clue to 'Atlantis' found Aug 15, 2005
Moon orbit trip set for lift-off Aug 15, 2005
China on track for moon mission Aug 13, 2005
Mars probe launches successfully Aug 12, 2005
NASA scraps shuttle launch date Aug 12, 2005
Computer analysis provides Incan string theory Aug 12, 2005
Record satellite lift for Ariane Aug 12, 2005
Astronomers unravel cosmic explosion mystery Aug 11, 2005
Solar system's first triple asteroid system found Aug 11, 2005
'Thoughts read' via brain scans Aug 11, 2005
Next US Mars probe set for launch Aug 10, 2005
Cosmic rays 'harm pilots' sight' Aug 9, 2005
Earth's surface transformed by massive asteroids Aug 7, 2005
Moon soils store Earth's early breath Aug 5, 2005
Discovery may need more repairs Aug 4, 2005
Titan may be as dry as a bone Aug 4, 2005
Methane on Mars: the plot thickens Aug 3, 2005
Astronomers to decide what makes a planet Aug 3, 2005
Cosmic rays may prevent long-haul space travel Aug 2, 2005
Space shuttle to get critical fix Aug 2, 2005
Astronomers detect '10th planet' Aug 1, 2005
Ice lake found on the Red Planet Aug 1, 2005


Enceladus south pole
Giant water plume spews from Saturn’s moon
(Aug 31, 2005)


Four fissures in the south pole of Saturn's moon Enceladus are spewing out a plume hundreds of kilometres high, the Cassini probe has revealed, and the ejecta is leaving a vapour trail that rings Saturn. Scientists are shocked by this volcanic activity on what should be a small, quiet moon. "It is a stunning surprise," said Dennis Matson, from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. But researchers are beginning to develop theories about what is going on. Matson and other members of the Cassini spacecraft team revealed the latest data on Enceladus in London, on Tuesday. Cassini snapped an image of the fissures, nicknamed "tiger stripes", when it flew past Enceladus on 14 July 2005, skimming within just 173 km of the moon's surface.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Enceladus
Saturn moon delights and baffles
(Aug 30, 2005)


Space scientists say their discoveries about Saturn's moon Enceladus are stunning, if just a little baffling. Using the instrument-packed Cassini probe, they have confirmed that the 500km-wide world has an atmosphere. They have also seen a "hotspot" at the icy moon's south pole, which is riven with cracks dubbed "tiger stripes". But the US and European scientists told a London meeting they could not yet explain fully the energetic processes driving all the activity on Enceladus.

Read more. Source: BBC

Wakamaru domestic robot
Domestic robot to debut in Japan
(Aug 30, 2005)


A robot that recognises up to 10 faces and understands 10,000 words is to be offered to Japanese consumers looking for a high-tech helper in the house. The one-metre tall humanoid Wakamaru robot is being marketed as a mechanical house-sitter and secretary. Japanese manufacturer Mitsubishi Heavy Industries expects the first robots to go on sale in September. "This is the opening of an era in which human beings and robots can co-exist," the company said.

Read more. Source: BBC

NGC 520
Telescope views death of galaxy
(Aug 30, 2005)


Two galaxies collide in the constellation of Pisces, some 100 million light-years away from Earth. Astronomers say it gives a scary insight into what may happen to our own planet some 5 billion years from now. The Milky Way is expected to merge with the neighbouring Andromeda Galaxy, swallowing up the Solar System. The image was captured last month by an instrument on the Gemini North Telescope at Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

Read more. Source: BBC

trilobites
Boost to CO2 mass extinction idea
(Aug 29, 2005)


A computer simulation of the Earth's climate 250 million years ago suggests that global warming triggered the so-called "great dying". A dramatic rise in carbon dioxide caused temperatures to soar to 10 to 30 degrees Celsius higher than today, say US researchers. The warming had a profound impact on the oceans, cutting off oxygen to the lower depths and extinguishing most lifeforms, they write in the latest issue of Geology. The research adds to the growing body of evidence that higher temperatures, rather than a giant space rock hitting the planet, led to the greatest mass extinction in history.

Read more. Source: BBC

killer whale
More animals join the learning circle
(Aug 28, 2005)


Killer whales and chimpanzees both pass on "traditions" to other members of their group, according to two separate studies of feeding behaviour. The findings add to evidence that cultural learning is widespread among animals. One study involved killer whales at Marineland in Niagara Falls in Ontario. An inventive male devised a brand new way to catch birds, and passed the strategy on to his tank-mates. The 4-year-old orca lures gulls into his tank by spitting regurgitated fish onto the water's surface. He waits below for a gull to grab the fish, then lunges at it with open jaws. "They are in a way setting a trap," says animal behaviourist Michael Noonan of Canisius College in Buffalo, New York, who made the discovery.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

mice
Scientists probe anti-ageing gene
(Aug 26, 2005)


Scientists in the United States have discovered a gene that can keep mice alive for 30% longer than normal. They say the gene has a key role to play in many of the processes related to ageing. Because humans have a very similar version of the gene, the hope is that it will show a way to improve our declining years. The gene studied in the new research is called Klotho, named after a minor Greek goddess who spins life's thread.

Read more. Source: BBC

orbital spaceplane
Space tourism companies aiming for orbit
(Aug 25, 2005)


Space tourism companies are aiming to send their customers into orbit on beefed-up versions of existing spacecraft designs. Some companies claim their spaceships could even ferry government astronauts to the International Space Station after NASA retires the space shuttle in 2010. The UK company Virgin Galactic has already announced plans to launch paying customers to the edge of space in 2008 on a suborbital craft called SpaceShipTwo. Now, it says it will develop a spacecraft to orbit the Earth if all goes well with those suborbital flights, which will initially cost $200,000.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Orion Nebula
Space radiation may select amino acids for life
(Aug 24, 2005)


Space radiation preferentially destroys specific forms of amino acids, the most realistic laboratory simulation to date has found. The work suggests the molecular building blocks that form the "left-handed" proteins used by life on Earth took shape in space, bolstering the case that they could have seeded life on other planets. Amino acids are molecules that come in mirror-image right- and left-handed forms. But all the naturally occurring proteins in organisms on Earth use the left-handed forms – a puzzle dubbed the "chirality problem".

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Zen garden
Westerners and Easterners see the world differently
(Aug 23, 2005)


Chinese and American people see the world differently – literally. While Americans focus on the central objects of photographs, Chinese individuals pay more attention to the image as a whole, according to psychologists at the University of Michigan, in Ann Arbor, US. “There is plenty of anecdotal evidence suggesting that Western and East Asian people have contrasting world-views,” explains Richard Nisbett, who carried out the study. “Americans break things down analytically, focusing on putting objects into categories and working out what rules they should obey,” he says. By contrast, East Asians have a more holistic philosophy, looking at objects in relation to the whole.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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