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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: July 2005
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Deep Impact collision
Comet's huge plume hides crater
(July 7, 2005)


NASA's Deep Impact spacecraft may have missed its chance to see the crater made in Comet Tempel 1 because of the large plume of material kicked out. Seeing the crater was a key objective of the mission – scientists hoped the impact depression would tell them more about the structure of the comet. But the team can use indirect methods to estimate the crater's dimensions.

Read more. Source: BBC

human footprint
Footprints of 'first Americans'
(July 6, 2005)


Human settlers made it to the Americas 30,000 years earlier than previously thought, according to new evidence. A team of scientists came to this controversial conclusion by dating human footprints preserved by volcanic ash in an abandoned quarry in Mexico. They say the first Americans may have arrived by sea, rather than by foot. The traditional view is that the continent's early settlers arrived around 11,000 years ago, by crossing a land bridge between Siberia and Alaska.

Read more. Source: BBC

Deep Impact collision
Deep Impact smashes all expectations
(July 5, 2005)


Comet Tempel 1 has smashed into the Deep Impact probe, producing a blast of light that prompted the mission control room at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, US, to erupt into cheers and applause. Scientists and engineers jumped in the air, pumped their fists and hugged one another. Not only had their mission to deliberately collide with a comet for the first time succeeded perfectly, but the prospect of a damp squib – with the impactor passing right through a diffuse, rubbly comet – had fizzled away.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Deep Impact collision
NASA probe impacts Comet Tempel 1
(July 4, 2005)


NASA scientists say a projectile released by their Deep Impact spacecraft has struck Comet Tempel 1. The washing machine-sized 372kg (820lbs) "impactor" smashed into the huge icy body right on schedule just after 0550 GMT on Monday. The 37,000km/h (23,000mph) collision is expected to create a huge crater in the comet and throw off a stream of debris. The Deep Impact spacecraft, which is watching the event from a safe distance, is sending images to Earth.

Read more. Source: BBC

Saturn's rings
Saturn rings have own atmosphere
(July 3, 2005)


Saturn's vast and majestic ring system has its own atmosphere – separate from that of the planet itself, according to data from the Cassini spacecraft. And Saturn is rotating seven minutes more slowly than when probes measured its spin in the 70s and 80s – an observation experts cannot yet explain. Cassini-Huygens mission scientists are celebrating the spacecraft's first year in orbit around the ringed planet.

Read more. Source: BBC

Crab pulsar
Pulsar's signal generates giant space laser
(July 1, 2005)


A giant cloud in space is emitting regular flashes of laser light, astronomers have shown. The laser is powered by the spinning corpse of a dead star. The discovery is the first direct proof that laser mechanisms operate in interstellar clouds, says Joel Weisberg of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, US. In this case, the laser emits radiation at radio frequencies and is known as a “maser”.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

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