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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: March 2005
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energy ribbon from Star Trek: Generations
Lookalike galaxies evidence for cosmic string?
(Mar 3, 2005)


Could two lookalike galaxies, barely a whisker apart in the night sky, herald a revolution in our understanding of fundamental physics? Some physicists believe that the two galaxies are the same – its image has been split into two, they maintain, by a "cosmic string"; a San Andreas Fault in the very fabric of space and time. If this interpretation is correct, then CSL-1 – the name of the curious double galaxy – is the first concrete evidence for "superstring theory": the best candidate for a "theory of everything", which attempts to encapsulate all the phenomena of nature in one neat set of equations. Image: the "energy ribbon" in Star Trek: Generations.

Read more. Source: Independent

Milky Way in Sagittarius
Strange space burst could be new object
(Mar 3, 2005)


A strange and powerful burst of radio waves from near the center of our galaxy may have come from a previously unknown type of space object, U.S. astronomers reported on Wednesday. Other experts nicknamed the mysterious source a "burper" and said there would be a race to scan for similar radio bursts. "We hit the jackpot," said Scott Hyman, a professor of physics at Sweet Briar College in Virginia, who led the study. "An image of the Galactic center, made by collecting radio waves of about 1 meter (3 feet) in wavelength, revealed multiple bursts from the source during a seven-hour period from Sept. 30 to Oct. 1, 2002 – five bursts in fact, and repeating at remarkably constant intervals." Image: Looking toward the Milky Way's core in Sagittarius.

Read more. Source: Reuters/MSNBC

Genesis crash site
Genesis capsule reveals solar wind secrets
(Mar 2, 2005)


Particles of solar wind have been extracted by scientists from NASA's Genesis space capsule which crashed to Earth in Utah in 2004. Genesis spent over two years in space collecting specks of solar wind. The capsule was supposed to be snagged by a helicopter after its re-entry into Earth's atmosphere on 8 September 2004. But the craft's parachutes never opened and it hit the Utah mud at about 310 kilometres per hour. The crash contaminated some of the capsule's collector trays with mud and water, while smashing other collectors into small pieces – raising concerns that the solar bounty might not have been salvageable.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

XMM-Newton
Most distant galaxy cluster yet is revealed
(Mar 2, 2005)


The most distant cluster of galaxies ever found has been revealed by astronomers – and it bears an uncanny resemblance to those nearby. The technique used to discover the cluster promises further discoveries at similar distances, which would help constrain cosmological models. The cluster of galaxies spotted by astronomers lies 9 billion light-years away. That beats the 8.5 billion light-years' distance of the previous record holder – a jump that represents a "significant fraction of a galaxy's lifespan", says Christopher Mullis, at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, US, who led the team. Image: XMM-Newton

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Richard Branson
Thousands keen for space flight
(Mar 1, 2005)


More than 7,000 people have said they will pay to fly into space in one of entrepreneur Richard Branson's space ships – which have yet to be built. The space adventurers have pledged a total of 805m to travel 70 miles above the Earth, Sir Richard said. The 54-year-old has put 74m into his Virgin Galactic plan, adding to the 115,000 each passenger will have to pay for the expected take-off in 2008. They will experience weightlessness and see the curvature of the Earth.

Read more. Source: BBC

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