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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: March 2005
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Brain chip reads man's thoughts Mar 30, 2005
Scales tip with tiniest mass yet Mar 30, 2005
From galaxy collisions to star birth: ISO finds the missing link Mar 29, 2005
New frontier opens in the search for life on other planets Mar 29, 2005
Number of very high-energy gamma ray sources doubles Mar 28, 2005
Fastest supercomputer gets faster Mar 26, 2005
T rex fossil has 'soft tissues' Mar 25, 2005
X-rays signal presence of elusive black hole Mar 24, 2005
Neptune's rings are fading away Mar 23, 2005
NASA's Spitzer marks beginning of new age of planetary science Mar 23, 2005
Superflares could kill unprotected astronauts Mar 21, 2005
'Kissing craters' on Mars reveal glacial activity Mar 21, 2005
Giant space-time ripples may cause cosmic expansion Mar 20, 2005
North Sea crater shows its scars Mar 19, 2005
Mars still alive, experts agree Mar 18, 2005
Lab fireball 'may be black hole'y Mar 17, 2005
Cassini finds an atmosphere on Saturn's moon Enceladus Mar 17, 2005
Martian dust devils finally caught on camera Mar 16, 2005
Europe tells US: 'Come to Europa' Mar 15, 2005
Young universe looks like "vegetable soup" Mar 14, 2005
Evidence of dark energy missed 30 years ago Mar 12, 2005
Stars can only grow so big Mar 11, 2005
Voyager probes in funding crisis Mar 11, 2005
Meteor Crater formation revisited Mar 10, 2005
Experts weigh super-volcano risks Mar 9, 2005
Zapped neutrinos zip through the Earth Mar 8, 2005
Scientists unearth early skeleton Mar 7, 2005
Star 'gnome' is nuclear surprise Mar 5, 2005
Unweaving the song of whales Mar 4, 2005
Comet spacecraft makes Earth pass Mar 3, 2005
Lookalike galaxies evidence for cosmic string? Mar 3, 2005
Strange space burst could be new object Mar 3, 2005
Genesis capsule reveals solar wind secrets Mar 2, 2005
Most distant galaxy cluster yet is revealed Mar 2, 2005
Thousands keen for space flight Mar 1, 2005


brain section
Brain chip reads man's thoughts
(Mar 30, 2005)


A paralysed man in the US has become the first person to benefit from a brain chip that reads his mind. Matthew Nagle, 25, was left paralysed from the neck down and confined to a wheelchair after a knife attack in 2001. The pioneering surgery at New England Sinai Hospital, Massachusetts, last summer means he can now control everyday objects by thought alone. The brain chip reads his mind and sends the thoughts to a computer to decipher.

Read more. Source: BBC

xenon
Scales tip with tiniest mass yet
(Mar 30, 2005)


US scientists have managed to weigh a cluster of xenon atoms at just a few billionths of a trillionth of a gram, or a few zeptograms - a new record. The atoms' mass is about the same as an individual protein molecule and they were detected using sensitive scales developed by a team at Caltech. The breakthrough may pave the way for sensitive devices that could be used in medical and environmental testing. Details were presented at the annual American Physical Society convention.

Read more. Source: BBC

the Antennae colliding galaxies
From galaxy collisions to star birth: ISO finds the missing link
(Mar 29, 2005)


Data from ISO, the infrared observatory of the European Space Agency (ESA), have provided the first direct evidence that shock waves generated by galaxy collisions excite the gas from which new stars will form. The result also provides important clues on how the birth of the first stars was triggered and speeded up in the early Universe.

Read more. Source: ESA

Sun's habitable zone
New frontier opens in the search for life on other planets
(Mar 29, 2005)


Scientists recently discovered a new frontier in the race to find life outside our solar system. Dying red giant stars may bring icy planets back from the dead. Once-frozen planets and moons may provide a new breeding ground for life as their stars enter the last, and brightest, phase of their lives. Previous ideas about the search for extra-solar life had excluded these regions. An international team of astronomers estimates that the emergence of new life on a planet is possible within the red giant phase.

Read more. Source: Goddard Space Flight Center

part of the HESS array
Number of very high-energy gamma ray sources doubles
(Mar 28, 2005)


Eight new sources of very high-energy gamma rays have been spotted in the Milky Way – doubling the number of such sources known. The discovery may shed light on the origin of mysterious, energetic particles called cosmic rays but it also raises new questions, as two of the sources cannot be traced to any nearby objects. Gamma rays are photons that come in a range of energies. At lower energies, some are produced by super-hot gas falling into black holes. But "very high-energy" (VHE) gamma rays are thought to arise in expanding shells of gas around supernovae and fast-spinning neutron stars called pulsars. Magnetic fields in the shock-fronts bordering these shells strongly accelerate charged particles, causing them to emit VHE gamma rays. Photo: part of the HESS (High Energy Stereoscopic System) in Namibia used to detect the new sources.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Blue Gene
Fastest supercomputer gets faster
(Mar 26, 2005)


Blue Gene/L, the fastest supercomputer in the world, has broken its own speed record, reaching 135.5 teraflops – a trillion calculations a second. That is double the speed it clocked up to take it to the number one spot in the Top 500 supercomputer league. The IBM Blue Gene machine that achieved the new mark is being assembled for the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, a US Department of Energy (DOE) lab. It did 70.72 teraflops last year to beat Japan's NEC Earth Simulator.

Read more. Source: BBC

T Rex soft tissue
T rex fossil has 'soft tissues'
(Mar 25, 2005)


Dinosaur experts have extracted samples of what appear to be soft tissues from a Tyrannosaurus rex fossil bone. The US researchers tell Science magazine that the organic components resemble cells and fine blood vessels. In the hotly contested field of dino research, the work will be greeted with acclaim and disbelief in equal measure. What seems certain is that some fairly remarkable conditions must have existed at the Montana site where the T. rex died, 68 million years ago.

Read more. Source: BBC

M74
X-rays signal presence of elusive black hole
(Mar 24, 2005)


Peculiar outbursts of X-rays coming from a black hole have provided evidence that it has a mass of about 10,000 suns, which would place it in a possible new class of black holes. The timing and regularity of these outbursts, observed with NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, make the object one of the best candidates yet for a so-called intermediate-mass black hole. Jifeng Liu of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and his colleagues used Chandra to observe the source in the galaxy Messier 74 (M74), which is about 32 million light years from Earth. They found that it exhibits strong, nearly periodic variations in its X-ray brightness every two hours, providing an important clue to its mass.

Read more. Source: Spaceflight Now / Chandra

Neptune
Neptune's rings are fading away
(Mar 23, 2005)


The first complete images of Neptune's outer rings to be taken in over a decade show that some parts of them have dramatically deteriorated and one section is close to disappearing altogether. The Voyager 2 spacecraft first photographed the rings in 1989. The images showed four bright arcs in the faint outermost "Adams" ring. These arcs spanned only about one-ninth of the ring in total. In 2002 and 2003, Imke de Pater of the University of California, Berkeley, and colleagues used the 10-metre Keck telescope in Hawaii to look at the ring again. They have now analysed the images and found that all the arcs seem to have decayed, while one arc, called Liberté, has faded considerably since the Voyager observations.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

extrasolar planets
NASA's Spitzer marks beginning of new age of planetary science
(Mar 23, 2005)


NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has for the first time captured the light from two known planets orbiting stars other than our Sun. The findings mark the beginning of a new age of planetary science, in which "extrasolar" planets can be directly measured and compared. "Spitzer has provided us with a powerful new tool for learning about the temperatures, atmospheres and orbits of planets hundreds of light-years from Earth," said Dr. Drake Deming of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., lead author of a new study on one of the planets.

Read more. Source: Caltech

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