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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: July 2005
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Life's ingredients found in early universe Jul 31, 2005
Distant object found orbiting Sun Jul 29, 2005
Earth life could invade Mars on contaminated craft Jul 29, 2005
Space check for shuttle damage Jul 28, 2005
Japanese develop 'female' android Jul 27, 2005
Japan plans mind-boggling number-cruncher Jul 27, 2005
Discovery blasts off from Florida Jul 26, 2005
Blink and you really do 'miss it' Jul 26, 2005
Shuttle may launch despite glitch Jul 25, 2005
Seafloor survey buoys Atlantis claim Jul 25, 2005
Has Huygens found life on Titan? Jul 23, 2005
'Four-billion-year chill' on Mars Jul 22, 2005
‘Cosmic Botox’ bashes asteroid wrinkles away Jul 22, 2005
Scotty's ashes to hit outer space Jul 21, 2005
Planet's impact forms dust disc Jul 21, 2005
Bizarre boulders litter Saturn moon's icy surface Jul 20, 2005
Mysterious planet baffles experts Jul 19, 2005
White House memo calls for slashing remaining Shuttle flights Jul 18, 2005
Cassini lines up close moon flyby Jul 16, 2005
Date set for China space shot Jul 15, 2005
‘Star Wars world’ found in triple star system Jul 15, 2005
Scientists try to harness teleportation Jul 15, 2005
Russia approves new space plans Jul 15, 2005
Date set for China space shot Jul 15, 2005
‘Star Wars world’ found in triple star system Jul 15, 2005
Scientists try to harness teleportation Jul 15, 2005
Russia approves new space plans Jul 15, 2005
Shuttle launch still on schedule Jul 13, 2005
Deep-sea animal hunts with light Jul 11, 2005
Discovery crew reports for duty Jul 10, 2005
Comet's huge plume hides crater Jul 7, 2005
Footprints of 'first Americans' Jul 6, 2005
Deep Impact smashes all expectations Jul 5, 2005
NASA probe impacts Comet Tempel 1 Jul 4, 2005
Saturn rings have own atmosphere Jul 3, 2005
Pulsar’s signal generates giant space laser Jul 1, 2005


Spitzer Telescope
Life's ingredients found in early universe
(Jul 31, 2005)


The molecular building blocks of life had already formed by the time the universe was only a quarter of its present age, new observations by NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope reveal. The research bolsters the case for extraterrestrial life and may shed light on the nature of galaxies in the early universe. Lin Yan, an astronomer at the Spitzer Science Center in Pasadena, California, US, and colleagues used the telescope to observe eight galaxies at an average distance of about 10 billion light years away. The images show the galaxies as they were just 3.5 billion years after the big bang.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

K40506A
Distant object found orbiting Sun
(Jul 29, 2005)


Astronomers have found a large object in the Solar System's outer reaches. It is being hailed as "a great discovery". Details of the object are still sketchy. It never comes closer to the Sun than Neptune and spends most of its time much further out than Pluto. It is one of the largest objects ever found in the outer Solar System and is almost certainly made of ice and rock. It is at least 1,500km (930 miles) across and may be larger than Pluto, which is 2,274km (1,400 miles) across.

Read more. Source: BBC

Mars
Earth life could invade Mars on contaminated craft
(Jul 29, 2005)


NASA needs to clean up its robotic spacecraft better or risk colonising Mars with terrestrial microbes, an expert panel has warned. But it says the reforms will probably take at least a decade to put in place, raising the chance that earthly life could still stow away on spacecraft scheduled to visit the Red Planet before then – if it has not done so already. NASA drew up its first "planetary protection" plans for its twin Viking landers three decades ago. These were baked at high temperatures for several hours to kill terrestrial bacteria. But the data they sent back suggested NASA need not have bothered – Mars appeared dry, barren and simply too hostile to support life. But that picture has changed dramatically in the last 10 years.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

insulation missing from External Tank
Space check for shuttle damage
(Jul 28, 2005)


Space shuttle Discovery is to be inspected for damage to its shielding tiles, as NASA announced the suspension of all shuttle flights. Discovery will be photographed by cameras on the International Space Station to inspect tiles on its belly. NASA grounded its shuttle fleet after foam debris peeled off the shuttle's external tank (see photo) in flight.

Read more. Source: BBC

Repliee Q1 android
Japanese develop 'female' android
(Jul 27, 2005)


Japanese scientists have unveiled the most human-looking robot yet devised – a "female" android called Repliee Q1. She has flexible silicone for skin rather than hard plastic, and a number of sensors and motors to allow her to turn and react in a human-like manner. She can flutter her eyelids and move her hands like a human. She even appears to breathe. Professor Hiroshi Ishiguru of Osaka University says one day robots could fool us into believing they are human.

Read more. Source: BBC

Blue Gene
Japan plans mind-boggling number-cruncher
(Jul 27, 2005)


Japan has revealed plans to build a supercomputer so staggeringly powerful that it will be five times swifter than the 500 fastest systems on the planet today – combined. The supercomputer will boast a peak performance of 10 petaflops and should be completed in 2011, officials from Japan's ministry for Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology announced on Monday. This means it will be able to perform 10 × 1015 floating-point operations (or flops) – every second. A desktop computer, for perspective, has a maximum performance of roughly one billion flops per second. (Photo: IBM Blue Gene)

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Space Shuttle Discovery
Discovery blasts off from Florida

(Jul 26, 2005)
NASA has launched its first manned space mission in two-and-a-half years. Space Shuttle Discovery blasted off on its 12-day flight at 10:39 local time from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It roared up into a bright blue sky to the cheers of spectating astronaut families and US space agency staff. Discovery's crew will test safety measures brought in after the Columbia accident in 2003 and resupply the International Space Station.

Read more. Source: BBC

eye
Blink and you really do 'miss it'
(Jul 26, 2005)


Parts of the brain are temporarily "switched off" when we blink, scientists have found. The team from University College London found the brain shut down parts of the visual system for each blink. Writing in Current Biology, they said this was the case even if light was still entering the eyes. The researchers said this could explain why people do not notice their own blinking, as it gave us an "uninterrupted view of the world".

Read more. Source: BBC

Shuttle fuel sensor
Shuttle may launch despite glitch
(July 25, 2005)


The Discovery shuttle could lift off on Tuesday even if the sensor problem that prevented the launch on 13 July recurs. Engineers have raced to isolate the glitch, and have come up with two likely candidates. The current launch window is open until 31 July, but may be widened into the first week of August.

Read more. Source: BBC

artist's impression of submerged Atlantis
Seafloor survey buoys Atlantis claim
(July 25, 2005)


"There occurred violent earthquakes and floods. And in a single day and night of misfortune... the island of Atlantis disappeared in the depths of the sea." This account, written by Plato more than 2,300 years ago, set scientists on the trail of the lost city of Atlantis. Did it ever exist? And if so, where was it located? In a recent paper in Geology, Marc-Andre Gutscher of the European Institute for Marine Studies in Plouzané gives details of one candidate for the lost city: the submerged island of Spartel, west of the Straits of Gibraltar.

Read more. Source: Nature

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