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SPACE & SCIENCE NEWS: April 2006
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Making money on the moon seen key to exploration Apr 29, 2006
NASA says comet fragments won't hit Earth Apr 28, 2006
Taking out a killer asteroid – with a tame one Apr 27, 2006
Galaxies don mask of stars in new Spitzer image Apr 27, 2006
Bumper crop of new objects revealed beyond Neptune Apr 26, 2006
Spirit to start digging the Martian dirt Apr 26, 2006
Strange satellite galaxies revealed around Milky Way Apr 25, 2006
Self-destructing comet to flash close by Apr 24, 2006
Colossal black holes seen in closest clinch yet Apr 23, 2006
Supertelescope to cast an eye on distant worlds and seek origins of the universe Apr 21, 2006
Rock maps revise Martian history Apr 20, 2006
Record test firing for futuristic rocket engine Apr 20, 2006
Secret rivers found in Antarctic Apr 20, 2006
Black hole mergers modelled in 3D Apr 20, 2006
Deadly cosmic event unlikely in our galaxy Apr 19, 2006
Apollo lunar rocks suggest meteorite shower Apr 18, 2006
Inflatable space hotel to blast off Apr 16, 2006
First images from Venus Express Apr 14, 2006
'Standard' star not so standard after all Apr 13, 2006
Search for dark galaxies Apr 12, 2006
Looking for alien lasers, not radios Apr 12, 2006
Tenth planet as bright as fresh snow Apr 12, 2006
Hybrid comet-asteroid in mysterious break-up Apr 11, 2006
Probe makes encounter with Venus Apr 11, 2006
Last minute diversion takes Mars rover to safety Apr 11, 2006
Saturn's moon 'best bet for life' Apr 10, 2006
HiRISE team releases first processed images from powerful new camera orbiting Mars Apr 10, 2006
Brazilian back on Earth from ISSn Apr 9, 2006
'Dead star' erupts for big show Apr 7, 2006
Blue ring discovered around Uranus Apr 7, 2006
NASA's Spitzer finds hints of planet birth around dead star Apr 6, 2006
Hardcore Mercury had soft edges smashed away Apr 5, 2006
Impactor ejects mighty water mass Apr 5, 2006
Rocky planets may circle many white dwarfs Apr 4, 2006
Merged stars whip up super fields Apr 3, 2006
Light shed on mysterious particle Apr 2, 2006


lunar base
Making money on the moon seen key to exploration
(Apr 29, 2006)


Making money on the Moon is an essential part of the U.S. plan for space exploration, NASA officials said on Friday after a four-day strategy workshop with international space officials and scientists. Billed as the first meeting to determine what explorers would do if they return to the lunar surface after more than three decades, the gathering drew some 180 participants from more than a dozen countries, including China, Russia, Japan and the nations of the European Space Agency. Shana Dale, NASA's deputy administrator, said one clear goal was to do business.

Read more. Source: Reuters

Breakup of comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
NASA says comet fragments won't hit Earth
(Apr 28, 2006)
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Chunks of a comet currently splitting into pieces in the night sky will not strike the Earth next month, nor will it spawn killer tsunamis and mass extinctions, NASA officials said Thursday. The announcement, NASA hopes, will squash rumors that a fragment of the crumbling Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 (SW 3) will slam into Earth just before Memorial Day. “There are some Internet stories going around that there’s going to be an impact on May 25,” NASA spokesperson Grey Hautaluoma, told SPACE.com. “We just want to get the facts out.”

Read more. Source: space.com

ESA asteroid nudging mission
Taking out a killer asteroid – with a tame one
(Apr 27, 2006)


It sounds like a Hollywood blockbuster. A potentially deadly asteroid is heading for Earth, and scientists mount a mission to intercept it – using another asteroid. But that is exactly what two French researchers propose in a plan to capture and "park" a small asteroid near the Earth for just such emergencies. But a second group of researchers says shooting a spacecraft into the asteroid would be simpler and more effective. Other experts warn that both plans risk having fragments of the initial asteroid strike the planet, but say they highlight the need for governments to devise strategies to ward off such impacts.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

NGC 2207 and IC 2207
Galaxies don mask of stars in new Spitzer image
(Apr 27, 2006)


A pair of dancing galaxies appears dressed for a cosmic masquerade in a new image from NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope. The infrared picture shows what looks like two icy blue eyes staring through an elaborate, swirling red mask. These "eyes" are actually the cores of two merging galaxies, called NGC 2207 and IC 2163, which recently met and began to twirl around each other. The "mask" is made up of the galaxies' twisted spiral arms. Dotted along the arms, like strings of decorative pearls, are dusty clusters of newborn stars.

Read more. Source: NASA JPL

artist's impression of a Kuiper Belt object
Bumper crop of new objects revealed beyond Neptune
(Apr 26, 2006)


Astronomers have found 45 previously unknown bodies of rock and ice orbiting beyond Neptune in the Kuiper Belt. They range from about 50 to 500 kilometres wide. The announcement is probably a record for the most new solar system objects reported simultaneously, increasing the number of distant objects with well defined orbits by nearly 10%.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Low Haven Ridge, Mars
Spirit to start digging the Martian dirt
(Apr 26, 2006)


NASA's Spirit rover, now safely holed up for the forthcoming Martian winter, is poised to start digging in the dirt. The rover is due to spend the next eight months at Low Ridge Haven and will take the opportunity to do something it has not had a chance to do since landing – an in-depth survey of a single spot on Mars. Since it touched down on 3 January 2004, Spirit has travelled 6.9 kilometres, and investigated a series of locations.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Satellite galaxy of the Milky Way in Bootes
Strange satellite galaxies revealed around Milky Way
(Apr 25, 2006)


Astronomers have discovered two new satellite galaxies of the Milky Way and one could claim the title of the faintest yet found. In the past two years, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey's measurements of stars stretching across a quarter of the sky have enabled astronomers to find several new companion dwarf galaxies for the Milky Way and its near-twin galaxy, Andromeda.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

comet Schwassmann-Wachmann 3
Self-destructing comet to flash close by
(Apr 24, 2006)


Astronomers will soon be treated to a close-up celestial show, with a fragmenting comet streaming across the sky in more than 30 chunks. Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 has been breaking up since 1995, but between 12 and 14 May will come closer to the Earth than any comet since 1983. Fortunately no threat is posed to Earth since, even at its closest, the nearest of the pieces will be twenty times more distant than the Moon.

Read more. Source: New Scientist

interacting galaxies
Colossal black holes seen in closest clinch yet
(Apr 23, 2006)


Astronomers have spotted two colossal black holes that appear to be orbiting each other 100 times closer than any previously seen. But they are still too far apart to produce large ripples in the fabric of space-time – suggesting some black holes may "stall" before spiralling towards each other and merging. Image: Interacting galaxies (NASA/ESA/Hubble Heritage/STScI)

Read more. Source: New Scientist

Giant Magellan Telescope
Supertelescope to cast an eye on distant worlds and seek origins of the universe
(Apr 21, 2006)


They call it the Planet Machine. Weighing 1,000 tons and standing as tall as an 18-storey building, the world's biggest optical telescope is designed to see where no-one has seen before. It has been a gleam in the eye of astronomers for nearly a decade and now they are on the verge of seeing the birth of their brainchild – a telescope that for the first time will enable us to watch other Earth-like planets orbit distant suns.

Read more. Source: Independent

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