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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: January 2005
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NASA's mission to the edge of the solar system, and beyond Jan 31, 2005
Milky Way's super-massive black hole was active Jan 31, 2005
Pluto's moon created by cosmic hit-and-run Jan 29, 2005
Lunar probe's amazing new images Jan 28, 2005
Dark matter clouds may float through Earth Jan 27, 2005
Turin shroud 'older than thought' Jan 27, 2005
Spacewalkers find clue to station air problems Jan 27, 2005
Chimps have 'sense of fair play' Jan 26, 2005
Search for life signal on Titan Jan 25, 2005
Cosmic birth theory gets support Jan 25, 2005
Sunspot cluster ejects huge radiation storm Jan 24, 2005
Young low-mass objects are twice as heavy as predicted Jan 22, 2005
Methane rivers and rain shape Titan's surface Jan 21, 2005
Image shows Huygens landing site Jan 20, 2005
Amazing hominid haul in Ethiopia Jan 20, 2005
Human Hubble mission wins support Jan 19, 2005
Hubble finds infant stars in neighboring galaxy Jan 18, 2005
Black hole's particle jets trigger star births Jan 17, 2005
Scientists thrilled by bird's eye view of Titan Jan 16, 2005
Sky surveys reveal cosmic ripples Jan 16, 2005
Why the Sun seems to be 'dimming' Jan 16, 2005
From 750m miles away, a glimpse of a frozen, ancient Earth Jan 15, 2005
Space probe lands on Titan Jan 14, 2005
Opportunity spots curious object On Mars Jan 14, 2005
Huygens set for Titan encounter Jan 13, 2005
Three largest stars identified Jan 12, 2005
Comet probe prepares for lift-off Jan 11, 2005
Iapetus moon bulges at the sides Jan 10, 2005
New study shows that dark matter clumps in galaxies Jan 10, 2005
Rats show off language skills Jan 10, 2005
Swift catches first cosmic blasts Jan 9, 2005
Nano-propellers sent for a spin Jan 7, 2005
Microbes brave briny basins Jan 7, 2005
Most powerful eruption in the universe discovered Jan 6, 2005
Probe passes 'moon of two halves' Jan 5, 2005
Rover hits one-year mark on Mars Jan 4, 2005
NASA can't wait to smash spacecraft Jan 2, 2005


Pioneer in interstellar space
NASA's mission to the edge of the solar system, and beyond
(Jan 31, 2005)


Buzz Lightyear wanted to go to infinity and beyond, now the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) wants to venture almost as far with a survey of the edge of the solar system. The mission will involve launching a space laboratory and could answer some basic questions about the nature of interstellar space, as well as laying the groundwork for the first journey of exploration beyond our solar system to the stars and their planets. NASA has given the go-ahead for the Interstellar Boundary Explorer – or IBEX – to be built. It will be launched in 2008 from a Pegasus rocket, which will be dropped from the underbelly of a high-altitude aircraft.

Read more. Source: Independent

Milky Way core
Milky Way's super-massive black hole was active
(Jan 31, 2005)


The center of our galaxy has been known for years to host a black hole, a 'super-massive' yet very quiet one. New observations with INTEGRAL, the European Space Agency's gamma-ray observatory, have now revealed that 350 years ago the black hole was much more active, releasing a million times more energy than at present. Scientists expect that it will become active again in the future.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now / ESA

view from Pluto
Pluto's moon created by cosmic hit-and-run
(Jan 29, 2005)


Pluto's moon, Charon, may have been blasted off the planet in a large collision early in the solar system's formation, new research suggests. The process is similar to that thought to have formed the Earth's own moon. "An impact is the simplest way to form the Pluto-Charon pair, which makes it appealing," says Robin Canup, at Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, US, who conducted the study. The object that hit Pluto probably measured between 1600 and 2000 kilometres in diameter, and struck the planet at a speed of 1 kilometre per second. it may have come from the Kuiper Belt – the ring of icy rocks on the fringes of the solar system where Pluto also resides.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Moon's surface from SMART-1
Lunar probe's amazing new images
(Jan 28, 2005)


The European-built SMART-1 spacecraft has sent back its first close-up images of the Moon, showing the cratered landscape in glorious detail. Smart-1 entered its initial lunar orbit on 15 November 2004 and has spent the two months since spiralling ever closer to the Moon and testing instruments. The images provided mission scientists with confirmation that the probe's crucial Amie camera is working. The SMART-1 team plans to build up a full map of the lunar surface.

Read more. Source: BBC

Earth
Dark matter clouds may float through Earth
(Jan 27, 2005)


Small clouds of dark matter pass through Earth on a regular basis, suggest new calculations. The clouds may be remnants of the first structures to form after the big bang and could be detected by future space missions. Dark matter interacts gravitationally with normal matter and appears to be seven times more abundant in the universe. But physicists do not know what the mysterious matter is made of or exactly how it is distributed through space. Nonetheless, they have devised a number of hypothetical dark matter particles that were created in the Big Bang. These particles formed the universe's first structures, where mysterious "quantum seeds" caused matter to clump more densely in certain spots. Dark matter slid into these spots which grew into structures that merged to become giant clouds – or haloes – with millions or trillions times more mass than the Sun.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Turin shroud
Turin shroud 'older than thought'
(Jan 27, 2005)


The Shroud of Turin is much older than suggested by radiocarbon dating carried out in the 1980s, according to a new study in a peer-reviewed journal. A research paper published in Thermochimica Acta suggests the shroud is between 1,300 and 3,000 years old. The author dismisses 1988 carbon dating tests which concluded that the linen sheet was a medieval fake. The shroud, which bears the faint image of a blood-covered man, is believed by some to be Christ's burial cloth.

Read more. Source: BBC

International Space Station
Spacewalkers find clue to station air problems
(Jan 27, 2005)


A spacewalk by International Space Station astronauts on Wednesday has revealed vents encrusted with residue on the exterior of their orbital outpost. The residue might explain problems that the station's air systems have experienced in recent months. Russian cosmonaut Salizhan Sharipov reported to ground control that he saw brown and white residues covering the vents and that the surrounding area was like a honeycomb. "What that substance may be is not known," says Johnson Space Center spokesman Rob Navias.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Titan surface
Chimps have 'sense of fair play'
(Jan 26, 2005)


Chimpanzees display a similar sense of fairness to humans, one which is shaped by social relationships, experts claim. They found that, like humans, chimps react to unfairness in various ways depending on their social situation. Details of the study appear in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. A similar finding has been reported in capuchin monkeys, suggesting that a sense of fairness may have a long evolutionary history in primates.

Read more. Source: BBC

Titan surface
Search for life signal on Titan
(Jan 25, 2005)


Scientists will comb data sent back from Titan by the Huygens probe for the chemical signature of life in a bid to identify the moon's source of methane. Methane is constantly destroyed by UV light so there must be a source within Titan to replenish the atmosphere. Life is a possible – though some think unlikely – source of this hydrocarbon along with geological processes. The surface is too cold for biology, but microbes could survive in an ocean within Titan, a senior scientist says.

Read more. Source: BBC

supernova remnant G292
Cosmic birth theory gets support
(Jan 25, 2005)


New meteorite data lends support to a controversial theory that the violent explosion of a star was involved in the creation of the Sun and its planets. The primitive space rock contains signs that a short-lived, radioactive form of the element chlorine may have been present in the early Solar System. A US-Chinese team claims the most likely source of this "isotope" was a supernova – or exploding star. The findings appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Read more. Source: BBC

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