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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: August 2005
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Spartel Island
Tsunami clue to 'Atlantis' found
(Aug 15, 2005)


A submerged island that could be the source of the Atlantis myth was hit by a large earthquake and tsunami 12,000 years ago, a geologist has discovered. Spartel Island now lies 60 m under the sea in the Straits of Gibraltar, but some think it once lay above water. The finding adds weight to a hypothesis that the island could have inspired the legend recounted by the philosopher Plato more than 2,000 years ago.

Read more. Source: BBC

future shuttle to the Moon
Moon orbit trip set for lift-off
(Aug 15, 2005)


Intrepid travellers with $100m (55m) to spare could soon enjoy the trip of a lifetime – a journey around the moon. The firm which launched the first "space tourist" into orbit in 2001 now wants to send two passengers on a round trip to the moon as soon as 2008. According to Space Adventures, the trip would last between 10 and 21 days while travelling conditions, although not exactly luxurious, would be bearable. Several people have already shown interest in the project, it said.

Read more. Source: BBC

Moon
China on track for moon mission
(Aug 13, 2005)


China is preparing to launch its first ever lunar orbiter in 2007, as part of its burgeoning space program. The spacecraft will pave the way for future missions, which may include China putting a lander on the Moon. The expedition, christened Chang'e-1 after the Chinese Moon goddess, will map the moon in 3D in an effort to identify future landing sites. Designs for the spacecraft have been completed and development will begin next month, officials say.

Read more. Source: BBC

Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter ready for launch
Mars probe launches successfully
(Aug 12, 2005)


The US space agency's new spacecraft to Mars has launched successfully from Cape Canaveral. The $720m Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) blasted off at 1143 GMT on Friday after being delayed for two days running. A launch attempt on Thursday was scrubbed due to a sensor malfunction. MRO will arrive at Mars in March on a four-year mission to search for water; its cameras will send back the clearest images yet of the planet from space.

Read more. Source: BBC

Space Shuttle
NASA scraps shuttle launch date
(Aug 12, 2005)


The US space shuttle fleet is to remain grounded until November at the earliest, NASA officials have said. A September launch was cancelled as NASA tries to stop large pieces of foam debris being shed from the fuel tank. A large foam chunk fatally damaged the Columbia shuttle in 2003, causing it to burn up on re-entry, and smaller pieces were shed during Discovery's launch. Solving the problem may prove expensive ahead of the planned retirement of the entire shuttle fleet by 2010.

Read more. Source: BBC

khipu
Computer analysis provides Incan string theory
(Aug 12, 2005)


The mystery surrounding a cryptic string-based communication system used by ancient Incan administrators may at last be unravelling, thanks to computer analysis of hundreds of different knotted bundles. The discovery provides a tantalising glimpse of bureaucracy in the Andean empire and may, for the first time, also reveal an Incan word written in string. Woven from cotton, llama or alpaca wool, the mysterious string bundles – known as Khipu – consist of a single strand from which dangle up to thousands of subsidiary strings, each featuring a bewildering array of knots.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Ariane launch
Record satellite lift for Ariane
(Aug 12, 2005)


The heaviest commercial communications satellite to go into orbit has been successfully launched from Europe's Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. The Thaicom 4 (Ipstar) craft, operated by Thailand's Shin Satellite, will provide net access across Asia-Pacific. The 6.5-tonne satellite beats the previous heaviest telecoms satellite which was the Anik F2 satellite. Thaicom 4 (Ipstar) was launched into orbit by an Ariane 5-Generic rocket, operated by Arianespace.

Read more. Source: BBC

site of gamma-ray burst
Astronomers unravel cosmic explosion mystery
(Aug 11, 2005)


Astronomers have taken a big leap towards solving a long-standing mystery – the source of the titanic cosmic explosions called short gamma-ray bursts. The breakthrough came when, for the first time, astronomers were able to accurately pinpoint the locations of two recent short GRBs. They traced the bursts to relatively distant galaxies, bolstering the prevailing theory that the GRBs arise from collisions involving dense stellar corpses, called neutron stars.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

components of asteroid 87 Sylvia
Solar system's first triple asteroid system found
(Aug 11, 2005)


The solar system's first triple asteroid system has been found, boosting predictions that such systems result from collisions between asteroids. About 20 binary asteroids have been found in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Now, a third object has been spotted around one of these pairs, which includes one of the largest asteroids in the belt. Called 87 Sylvia, the 280-km-wide, potato-shaped asteroid lies about 3.5 times further from the Sun than the Earth does. Astronomers discovered an 18-km-wide moon orbiting it at a distance of about 1360 km in 2001. The newly found moon lies about twice as close to Sylvia and measures just 7 km across. The orbits of both moons are shown in the composite image above taken over a 9-day period by the Very Large Telescope.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

brain scan
'Thoughts read' via brain scans
(Aug 11, 2005)


Scientists say they have been able to monitor people's thoughts via scans of their brains. Teams at University College London and University of California in LA could tell what images people were looking at or what sounds they were listening to. The US team say their study proves brain scans do relate to brain cell electrical activity. The UK team say such research might help paralysed people communicate, using a "thought-reading" computer.

Read more. Source: BBC

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